Monday, January 31, 2011

Sound of Music

I don't think I posted this here, and wanted to get it up for those of you who hadn't seen it.  The girls love the Sound of Music, but most notably the scene where the children are saying goodnight.  Here they have their own rendition, which starts slow and picks up steam.  Clara especially loves the little kick the kids give each other as each one goes up to bed, and re-enacts that with quite a flourish.  Elena sweetly sings "I'll even say" instead of Auf Weidersehen, as in: "So long, farewell, I'll even say adieu!"

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Frost Fever

Today Steve ran the Frost Fever 5k.  He's training for another triathlon, so a 5k wasn't as big to him as it is to us, but he let us come root for him anyway.  As is our way, I brought treats to keep the girls busy while Dad was running - this time they were courtesy of Auntie Cyndie in a surprise care package - THANK YOU Aunt Cyndie!

The runners all got these hats with their registration.  The girls loved Steve's, so while he was racing we went inside to ask if they had any extras we could buy (all proceeds for the day went to a youth scholarship fund, so they were happy to sell us a few extras).

They happily waited until they saw their dad coming around the last curve towards the finish line.

And then Steve totally made their day by inviting them on the course to run the last part of the race with him - they LOVED being racing girls, and later told us it was their favorite part of the day today (well, Elena did - when we ask this question every night at dinner, Clara almost always replies that her favorite part of the day was when we went bouncing on the trampoline, which we did a month ago in Arizona - she is so stuck in that memory!).

Racing to the finish line.
A happy racing crew- nice race, guys!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Snowy Sweets

Today we got a few new inches of snow, and we decided after preschool to have some sweet, snowy fun.  First up, snow ice cream!

All you need is what you see here - fluffy snow, milk, sugar, and vanilla extract.  (We used 1/2 cup sugar, 1 cup milk, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla).
Stir and stir and stir in the fluffy snow last.
Then, just taste!  Clara loved it (Christina did, too).
Elena pronounced it: "Not so special to me," but she ate some anyway.
Then, after naps we went outside to make maple syrup candy.  For this one you boil 1 cup of maple syrup and 1/4 cup butter until it reaches 220 degrees (stirring constantly).  Then, you take it (and two adorable girls) outside in the snow.

Then you pour it out on the snow, and after just a minute it is a chewy, yummy treat.

If you wait just a minute or two longer, it is more like maple brittle.  Either way, it's pretty fun to scoop up with some sticks and eat and eat.

This, apparently, was a treat that was special enough for both of them.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Ski Day!

We decided that today was the day for the girls' first ski trip!  We've been planning to take them this year, and last minute decided that today would make the perfect day.  So we traveled an hour and a half to Discovery, enrolled the girls in half-day ski class, and got them suited up.  Here, they are finding ski boots for their tiny feet:
Ski boots, check.  Identifying school uniform, check.
Helmets!  The part they were most excited about, check and check.

Luckily, the girls were really good at figuring out how to snap the boots into their skis, and we were soon ready to go - they look like they are perhaps not thrilled here, but the truth is that they were not thrilled that Mom STOPPED them from their ski school to take this picture.  The other kids were all going ahead of them!

Heading up the magic carpet for the first time - instead of a lift or tow rope, this mountain uses this revolving bit of rubber to haul the kids up the bunny slope - we thought it was awesome!

Elena gives a sweet glance back as she gets ready to go for her first run.
She practiced her "french fry" skis (parallel) for starting down the slope.
Clara demonstrates the bent knees that help her keep her center of gravity low - she's going down the hill in this picture, though it's hard to tell!
So proud after getting down the hill without Mom or Dad!
Clara being encouraged by one of the teachers to do her "pizza" move (snowplow) so that she can slow herself down - it took her a while to get this, so you can see the teacher is excited she was doing it - and Clara is pretty excited herself!

Elena was showing me her how she had found her "ski legs" and was able to walk herself back over to the magic carpet on her own.
And here she is on her next (solo!) trip down the hill - concentrating so hard!
Clara, on one of her last runs down - getting so good at this!
As we were packing it in, Elena showed us how she can carry her own skis!  They were pretty heartbroken (especially Elena) that they had to leave the rental skis there.  We forsee a trip pretty soon in our future to get these girls some skis of their own, and many more fun trips to the slopes for all four of us.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Fun in the sun

We're winding down our time in the sunshine and the warmth, and there are so many things we're going to miss!  Foremost is being close to family - the girls are so enjoying their time with their family out here.   G-Daddy might miss his weights..
..and they will miss their bodybuilding coach!
We're all going to miss the time we have here to goof off and be silly.

All the young cousins here are a BIG thrill to Elena and Clara.  Here the are cuddled up with their cousin Amanda, who they didn't leave alone the entire time she was over here.  They've been similarly caught up with cousins Rachel and Megan.
We are absolutely delighting in all the outside time, and the warm-weather fun.  We went to this fun ice cream shoppe where there were cone shaped chairs and tables.
Elena sweetly offered her Dad some ice cream.
Clara, however, is shocked (and clearly not-so-secretly delighted) that Dad swiped hers.


This ice cream shoppe also had games, along with a very sweet proprietor who gave them tokens to play them. 

He then also let them take all the tickets from those games and redeem them for way more prizes than they had earned!

We're going to miss walking outside to shop in the sweet downtowns here (Scottsdale today) and seeing the interesting mix of art for sale.  Clara was totally smitten with these wood carved people, and she and Elena wanted to pose with them.
We couldn't quite tear Clara away from them!
This is one of many, many figurines of the storyteller - ever since the girls first started clinging to Christina, Steve has called her the storyteller mom - always girls climbing up and around her.  We don't see these figurines everywhere in MT, and we miss them!
Not photographed here, so unfortunately, is the tremendous fun we had at an indoor trampoline park!  We'd never even heard of one of these, but it is huge building full of trampolines that bend up the walls.  You can bounce up, down, and sideways - and you bounce HIGH!  We had a great time together getting sweaty and exhausted and having such a fun time. 

So it will be a very bittersweet goodbye here - we are leaving behind so much we will miss!  But Clara and Elena ask every day when they get to see their beds (and Big Bunny) again, so we know they'll be happy to get home, too.

Friday, January 7, 2011


We went yesterday to the Phoenix Art Museum for just a short time, and we all had such a great time that we went back for several more hours today.

The girls were given scavenger hunt sheets, and we looked for art using various media (paint, cloth, video, yarn) and in various forms (sculpture, paintings) and even six specific art pieces from throughout the museum.  Here, Steve was teaching the girls that this piece was both a sculpture, and something ceramic.

Our favorite section ended up being the modern art section.  Steve and Christina were both struck by this installment in the middle - hundreds of pieces of petrified wood, hung from the ceiling by transparent filaments.

The girls' favorite was "You who are getting obliterated in the dancing swarm of fireflies" by Kusama, which was really amazing.  It was a dark room, covered on walls, ceiling, and floor with mirrors.  Much like the picture above, there are filaments hanging all over the room, but instead of petrified wood there are LED lights at the bottom of each, and they blink in different colors (and are sometimes completely dark).  You walk in, and are, indeed, completely disoriented and lost.  There is a much better write-up of this here.
The really interesting thing for us was seeing how the girls reacted - when they first saw what was in the room, they both backed out and said they were scared.  We told them they didn't have to go in, but then they said they wanted to go in, holding our hands.  They would call to each other and to us to make sure we were all still there together.  Then, before we knew it, they asked us to leave, and wanted to be in by themselves and 'teach' us how to go through!

We went to eat at the museum cafe, which we though was cafeteria-like and turned out to be more fancy-restaurant than we had anticipated.  Elena and Clara did fantastic though- no breaking their glassware, no spilling anything, and wonderful manners and behavior the whole time.  Fancy girls (even if they did just order PB&J!).

One of the exhibits we saw after lunch was of Philip Curtis' work - we are big fans.  While Steve and Christina were looking around, Elena and Clara sat at this desk to play school - note Clara raising her hand for Elena to call on her.

We also stopped by the Asian art section, and Clara quickly pulled us over to the camel (her symbol at playschool).  She was so excited!
At the end of our visit, the girls were invited to visit this large outside sculpture, and were allowed to go in the cage with the dinosaur!  Here's Clara, springing Elena from imprisonment.
So long, art museum!  We'll definitely be back!
When we got back to Nana and G-Daddy's house, Steve made the girls some cocktails to relax with.

Despite the fun glasses, we promise that these were just mocktails - lingonberry fizzie drinks.  But for our sophisticated girls?  Only the fanciest.