Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Bell Tolls

Today was the last day of Grammie Ellen's visit, and we were all sad to have her leaving.  We took a little hike to a place she found one time while she was visiting, which has now become our spot with her.  It's a meditation spot up in the hills above town, and their is a large bell there that can be rung in prayer and contemplation (or by kids learning those things).

The view of town is lovely from here.

Can't we convince ANY of you to come live here with us?

Sunday, April 24, 2011



The Grizzly Triathlon

Steve participated in the triathlon held here in town again this year, and Grammie Ellen came into town to join us as his support team (oh, and to celebrate Easter).  Clara and Elena have got this routine down by now, and we are good at being racing supporters.  Here they are with Dad as we were loading up to take him to the race, with his race number painted on their faces.
 They helped him bring his bike and gear to the transition area, then we left Steve to set up so we could set ourselves up (the support team has some strict requirements).
 SNACKS!  Clara and Elena took right off to the market on campus, where they picked something from a fruit category, a cracker category, a sweet category, and a drink category - this can pretty much get us through the whole race.
 Then, it was back to the pool to watch the first event - the 1000 yard swim.
 Elena is pretty impressed at her dad's swimming.
 Clara is pretty impressed with her race day support shirt that we made up for her to wear.
 Both girls rally get into ringing their cowbells and yelling encouragement at their dad.

 Nearing the end of his swim...
 ...and then transitioning to the bike!   While he biked, we went to the nearby playground and thanked our lucky stars that it is not their regular playground.  It was covered in wood chips, and we must have gotten a dozen splinters there.
 Then, Steve was back at the transition area again.  He handed off his bike, and went off to change into running gear.
 And he's off for the last part, the 3.1 mile run!

And the support team is off for the last snack break of the race.  We also had fun playing the "guess what animal is in my head" game, a new favorite around here.
 Then, we set ourselves up at the finish line, ready to spy our racer.
 More cowbell, please!

 And there he is!  At his personal best time (1 hour 30 min) he rounded to the finish line, and beckoned his support team to join him to the finish.

 Whew - finished!  We were all so very proud of Steve.

You would have thought by that time he would just want to drop, but instead, he helped the girls bike on his "big bike" so they could pretend to be racers, too.  Both girls tell us that they are going to race when they get big - what a great role model they have for a dad! 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Kyi Yo Powwow

This weekend we got to go to a powwow held annually in town - tribes from all over the Northwest US and nearby areas of Canada attend, and we've always wanted to go, too.

We got there way too early, not really understanding the schedule of events.  The girls did pretty well waiting, and we saw lots of people getting ready.  Clara was very interested to see all the girls getting their hair done, and asked me to do hers, too.
We did the best we could, lacking any ribbon or a comb.
When the main entrance began it was pretty incredible.  The drums beat so loudly, the singing was transformative, and the dancing is much, much better in person (or captured on video) than these pictures could ever portray.
Different dancers are allowed to enter at different times - we don't know the classifications of all the dancers, but these in the lower right were some of our favorites, and were relatively early in (so pretty important).

We LOVED the drum roll call - we thought there was one large drum circle, but it turns out there are lots of little drum circles like this, made up of clans.  When they do the roll call, they call out "Nighthawk clan!" or "Highway 89 clan!" and that drum circle does its own beat.  It was riveting.
Eventually things get pretty crowded, and while any one of these formal outfits would have been amazing on its own, putting them all together and having everyone move together was inspiring, even without us understanding much of what was specifically communicated by the different dances and songs.

We all started out watching in our own seats (Clara drumming much of the time on her flipped-up seat).

But soon all three girls moved right to the ground to get as close as they could to the action.  It was fun to watch them watching.

We felt so lucky to get to be a part of this tradition this year - next time we hope to learn even more.