Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sunday Funday

Today we tried our hands at making homemade puffy paint - our results were a bit less glamorous than what we'd seen as examples, but we had fun, and it does indeed puff up!

In an effort to check whether Elena's recurring abdominal pain was somehow psychologically related to sleep instead of physiologically related, we skipped nap when she began talking about her belly pain and took both girls to the International Festival on campus instead.  Since she didn't have any pain there, at the same time of day she has had pain every day for three weeks, we are beginning to suspect that she's getting nervous-stomach pain at the idea of sleeping.   Perhaps tonight will be  better?

At any rate, the International Festival was a huge success for us.  We stayed three hours, which may be our record at any crowded event ever.  The girls each ate a bowl and a half of these Taiwanese noodles, and we also got to have fried bananas, baklava, swedish meatballs, beef and yams, and empanadas. 
We spent hours at the Children's World, where different campus and community groups set up displays and activities to reflect different cultures.  And we had a blast at the pretend dress-up section!
At one point, Steve was getting counseled by Clara to be quiet while her name was getting written in Russian on a bookmark.  Not quite sure why that required silence!
We ended out the trip watching some of our graduate students do a Bollywood dance - that was a fun one to watch.  Even more fun, though, was watching Clara emulate the belly-dancer who was on stage beforehand - that girl can really move her belly!

Such a fun Sunday with such agreeable little girls (at least, they were very dear and obliging in the last several hours, and that's something to hang on to!).

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Daddy turns 39

Yesterday was Steve's birthday, and the girls were so very excited to celebrate with him.  Although they occasionally still hope for presents on someone else's birthday, mostly they now know that they are celebrating a particular person, and when it was going to be their dad they just couldn't stop talking about it.  They told everyone they met that day that it was their dad's birthday.

Christina took the girls to the party store, and they picked out some things for our celebration.  Top on their list was hats, which they made Dad wear as soon as he woke up!
Along with several twirly decorations we hung inside, the girls were convinced that Steve would like a pinata (and he actually had experienced some interest many years ago, before they were even born, so that was pretty intuitive of them!).  They picked this sun, which we definitely needed on a grey day.  Schedule-wise it was tough to figure out when to crack this guy open, and we ended up opting for 9am.

Success!  Confetti fills the air - along with several toys, noisemakers, and odds and ends the girls had asked to put in there.

After work, we all headed down to our favorite local spot, a brewery called the Kettlehouse.  They have a deck in the back that opens up to the railroad and the mountains, and it's a great place to have a drink or two.  Several friends joined us there for one of the first warmish afternoons we've had.

Some of the lovely girls of our group of friends - Elena, Annie, Clara, and Sylvie.

Then it was on to dinner.  Christina had made reservations at a restaurant in town, and unfortunately they got the number wrong - we needed 17 seats and had only twelve.  Our disappointment lasted only a few minutes, until the owner came over and escorted us downstairs to the private dining room - which had these great long wood tables with hefty benches, leather couches, a tv, etc.  It could seat up to 40, but the owner made one set of tables a "craft table" for the kids by spreading paper all over it and giving them bunches of crayons.  They had a little dance party in the couch area, and we all were so happy to have a place where we could be loud and run around and not bother anyone - it definitely turned out for the best!

Christina, Clara, and Elena had been busy that morning making Steve his favorite cake - a Guinness Chocolate Stout cake with cream cheese froth at the top - it's made to look like a pint of Guinness.  Clara and Elena had picked out candles, and each put half of them on the cake.  Christina took the lighting job on.

Champagne flowed, cake was eaten, shoes and socks were cast aside by some of our smaller party go-ers, and lots of dancing, playing, and  laughing commenced.  It was a great way to celebrate our favorite guy.  As we were leaving, we caught sight of the super full moon (one day early) and marveled at what a wonderful world it is.

Of course, a few hours later, the universe just wanted to show us life  isn't all roses and moonlight and we got to experience a great deal of vomit (Clara), tantrums and hysteria (Elena) and frayed nerves (Christina and Steve).  But, happily, there are no pictures of that.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Dream a little dream of me

This is the good night song the girls have been getting for a few weeks now - Clara has got about 80% of the three verses down, Elena can just barely get through the first verse.  Here, they chime in on that first verse together in a teeny concert.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Cheap dates and copycats

Today we took a page out of my (virtual) friend Jill's book and made a xylophone/science experiment.

Let us never mind that Jill could pull together six equal-sized glasses, none of which sported logos.  We are simply not that level of classy over here.  But we did gather six glasses and pour a different amount of water into each.  We first showed the girls how each glass sounded different when you (lightly!) tapped it. 

Then we added food coloring to each to make these colorful glasses that we could "play" by singing out colors for notes.

Somehow it was way more exciting for the girls to reach OVER their sister to tap the glasses furthest out of their reach.
And eventually, instead of singing colors, they started making up songs with words.  At this point, Clara was singing about "a dog and a CAAAAAT!"

When we'd had enough of that fun, we guessed what colors the water would turn when we mixed them together.  Elena was phenomenal, and knew that pouring blue into the yellow would make green (her favorite color) and that pouring all of them together would make brown.  We credit Curious George goes to school for this bit of knowledge...boy does that monkey love mixing paint.
This was amazingly much less messy than we'd thought it would be.  Both girls seem to have a good hang of pouring for the most part (they frequently pour their own juice or milk into their cereal) so even though these were odd-shaped glasses to pour from there were really only a few spills. And, as the title would indicate above, overall this was a VERY cheap, but fun date.
We also took another page out of Jill's idea book (see where the copycat part of this title comes from?) - she often uses her kids' hands and fingers to make different shapes/art.  We were a bit less brave on the paint front and stuck with washable ink, but both girls loved putting a finger in ink, putting it on the paper, and telling Christina: "Make it into a cat!" or "some ice cream!" or "Rachel!"
We don't stay home in the mornings nearly enough - it was nice to just hang around and have fun together.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Laying low

Today we laid low, low, low at home.  We usually grocery shop on Fridays, and often get a doughnut when we do. When Clara said she really wanted one today, Christina thought of bringing out the deep fryer, but lamented that she hadn't made up a yeast dough earlier.  Then she remembered this little thrift store find that we hadn't used since before the girls were born!  You make up a quick batter, pour it in, and the doughnuts cook up in 2-3 minutes (it's a lot like a waffle maker in doughnut form!).
It makes cute little doughnuts, perfect for spreading Nutella on and sprinkling with multi-colored sprinkles.

Lately the girls have been warming Christina's heart by wanting to sew with her a lot.  This week they grew out of the velveteen pants she made them a few weeks ago (they each had a BIG growth spurt recently!) so they picked out some courdory and helped her sew up two pair of pants.  For the first time, the whole project was really done while the girls were awake, entirely with their help.  We'll have to get a picture of those. 

The story of today, though, is that they looked at a sewing book and said "Mama, can we make THAT?" about baby carrier.  Christina remembers doing that so many times with her own mother, and it was a thrill to take the girls downstairs to pick their fabrics, and then to sew these up during an hour in the morning.  We had such fun, and the girls loved carrying their dolls/animals around for the rest of the day.

We also spent some good time in bed, watching movies.  It is a cozy way to spend a winter afternoon, and with these cuties on either side of you, who wouldn't want to just stay put??

Saturday, March 5, 2011


Somehow the girls got it into their heads that they wanted a sleepover - they've talked about it for a little while now, off and on.  Last night the girls invited their friend Sylvie over for a sleepover, and while none of the parents involved believe the kids are ready for that yet, we had her come over this afternoon for a pretend sleepover.
They laid out their sleeping bags in the living room, they got cozy with their pillows and loved animals, and they got popcorn and a movie set up for them.
Elena said: "Let's get a good picture of me and Big Bunny."  So we did.
After both Mulan and Peter Pan proved too scary, we broke out some of the glow sticks Auntie Cyndie sent and had fun looking at them inside the sleeping bags.
Then we played Candyland and Elefun.  Turns out Elefun was out of batteries, but the girls liked putting the netting from this game on their heads - they said they were chef's hats, but then they kept riding around on things, so we're not exactly sure what they were doing.

It was a fun time with friends, even if it wasn't a "real" sleepover.  And tonight, when it truly was bedtime, Clara was chatting with Christina, and they were talking about what a nice day it had been and how much they loved eachother, and Clara suddenly said: "Mama!  Open your eyes real big.  Look - it's me in there!!"  She could see her reflection in Christina's eyes - and thought it was a best thing ever.  And that sure touched this Mama's heart - who could have her go sleep somewhere else and miss these loving bedtime moments??  Real sleepovers are going to be a good long time away.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Dance Class

Today was the girls' fourth dance class (I think) and they are really starting to hit their stride in the classroom.  They talk about class all week, have been insanely excited to go to it, then get shy as soon as they get to the classroom.  Today they ran in, participated the entire class, and got rave reviews from their teachers.  We're so happy they're having fun!

They are more "twinny" in this class than we've seen them at any other time in their lives.  They primarily interact with each other.  They originally had these mats a few inches apart, but five minutes into the class Elena had moved hers right on top of Clara's, as you see here.
Shortly afterwards, Clara abandoned her mat in favor of standing on her sister's.
It didn't matter, because soon it was time to run around like crazy things - they don't call this class creative movement for nothing!
They line the kids up at one side of the room midway through class, and they take turns crossing the length of the studio either fast or slow, up high or down low, like a cat or like a snake, etc.  (Sorry for the phantom staircase - once they started doing this I couldn't get very good pictures from my perch in the observation area!).
Elena was one of the first to get sent over today, and she was a little reluctant but walked across nonetheless.
Clara was one of the last sent over, and she skipped like crazy across that room!
And, although it's totally blurry, take a look at how she leaps right to her sister at the end!

At the very end of the class, they run out to Christina.  This is their very favorite part of the class, as we've mentioned before.  Here they come!

We usually hang out on campus (where the class is) until Steve is finished teaching his class, then we all go home together.  So we have a little snack to get reinvigorated after dance.

Today as the girls were walking across campus Elena said: "Sister, let's hold hands!"  So they did.

We passed a big tree, and they decided they wanted to play hide and seek.  Christina thought they meant hiding around the tree, but apparently the girls had another idea together.  Clara immediately turned in to face the tree:

And Elena went off to "hide."  When Clara turned around, she pretended for quite awhile that she couldn't find Elena.  So funny to watch - she did very exaggerated looking about and tiptoeing around until she got right upon her sister!

Tonight Steve asked the girls: "What do you think you are to eachother - are you sisters or are you friends?" 

And Elena said: "We're sisters, and because we're sisters we're friends, because we hold hands with each others.  And Clara is my friend.  And she is my sister." 

This statement went on and on and got way cuter, but neither Steve nor Christina can remember exactly how it went.  But we are so, so happy that they so often enjoy each other's company.