Monday, May 30, 2011

Finally, the walk!

Although today dawned just as cloudy and dark as yesterday, we decided to try again for our hike to see the wildflowers.
We had a little trouble convincing Clara we were really going to see the flowers (as they don't show up until you get to higher elevations!) but once we started seeing the little meadows of flowers she was definitely up for the adventure.

She and Elena took turns pointing out different flowers to us, making sure that we got to see them all.

It didn't hurt that the views on this walk are lovely. 

Elena was intrepid the whole time - she convinced us she wanted to carry her own bag with sandwiches and water, and she really did carry it along the whole, several mile trip. 
Our favorite flowers of the day were the wild lupine (Grandma, these are the ones we were telling you about!).
We grow these in our garden, but it's fun to see them just spring up in the wild.

Even if the weather wasn't quite what we had hoped for, it was still a fun little hike to take.
And it was also lovely to set off again for a warm house, and Steve's homemade yummy sourdough bread with Nutella.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Rainy Sunday

We had so many plans for our Sunday!  Of course, we were assuming we were having a summertime Sunday, and that was our mistake.  It was cold, it was rainy, and it was kind of a downer.  When there was a break in the rain we ran out, hoping to hike Mount Jumbo to see some wildflowers.  We stopped for a minute to pose by the lilacs we've waited so long to see bloom.
We were remarking about how little the girls still look in Steve's arms...

...until we compared this picture with the one we took three years ago!  I guess they've gotten bigger after all!

Sadly, the non-rain window ended right after we snapped those pictures, and so we abandoned all hopes of hiking and headed downtown instead.  We went to Butterfly Herbs coffeeshop and got mini hot chocolates for the girls.

And a big one for Steve!
 It was a very cozy treat, and Christina was enjoying snapping pictures.

That is, she was enjoying it until both Clara and Elena decided they were "too busy!!" having hot chocolate to have their pictures taken.  Mind you, Christina wasn't asking them to smile or do anything, but apparently it was too taxing to even passively have their pictures taken.  It's the first time they had ever really asked us to stop taking pictures - and though Christina obliged right away, it was a little bit of a sad flash of times to come.

Saturday, May 28, 2011


 An early birthday present arrived for the girls this week - SWINGS!  Christina had asked her father if he might one day make the girls some swings, like the ones she remembers he made when she was young.  Well, he went above and beyond the swings of her childhood - we will cherish these always.  And the girls LOVE them!

 We put Clara's down a bit low, for her tiny little legs, but we can see that she isn't going to need it that low for long - she got really good at hopping up!
 She was so proud of herself - and utterly unwilling to share her swing.  When she had to go inside to the bathroom, even when only Elena was in the yard and on her own swing, she'd go to Christina and ask very seriously: "Can you keep my swing for me?  You get the rope and you don't let go, okay?"
 We started Elena's swing off a bit higher, and as we expected she had no problem whatsover getting on it.  She would hold the rope, run ahead, and then leap up and sweep her legs around the rope.  It was amazing to see.


She moved on shortly after this to doing her running leap technique and landing with both feet on the seat, so that she was standing on the swing! 
Thank you, thank you, thank you, Grandpa!  You have made two girls very happy, and have made our yard look complete!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

I want to be the smile...

Elena's favorite song right now is the Friendship Song (by Carbon Leaf) and she and Clara can both sing most of the lyrics - we will try to get them on camera doing so soon. But the beginning of the song goes: "I want to be the smile, I want to see the change, I want to be a friend from the start and once it starts it never ends..."
Although they definitely have their challenging moments, they are really being quite sunny, smiley, and friendly lots of the time lately. They do this with each other, they do it with new and old friends alike, and they are really growing as little social beings.
These photos are the girls playing with their friend Chkai's dogs.  They had such a great time this evening with the puppies, and with Ckhai and his parents.  Earlier today, Elena recalled all of our instructions on how to meet a new dog while she was playing a bit away from us in a grassy park near the Farmer's Market.  She went up to the owner, asked: "May I please pet your dog?  What is her name?" and held her hand out backwards for the dog to sniff.  After petting, she said: "Thank you!" and the owners of the dog told us how impressed they were with her.  She is growing up so fast.
Clara's here playing with Chkai.  Her imagination is growing in leaps in bounds, and she will tell us stories all the time.  The other day she said: "You want to come to my house?  Is in Arizona.  You have to get on a big plane to get there.  I have a pool there.  It has lots of starfish.  And crabs, but they don't have hard things to pinch, only soft things, so you put your finger in and it doesn't hurt.  You want to come to that house?"  Indeed, we do!
The kids made up a really funny game while we were grilling things up for dinner.  They grabbed this exercise ball first.
Then one of them would throw it up at the plum tree, which is heavy with blossoms right now.
Then the blossoms would come falling down, and they'd run to get under them so it would "snow" on them.

Elena could not get enough of being in charge of this puppy.  She'd walk around and say: "Ask Miss Mandy (her current alter ego) if you can pet this puppy!"  
Although the dog gamely stayed on a leash for quite some time, it wasn't always clear who was walking whom.
   Puppy love!

We haven't really posted pictures yet of the girls' new bikes.  This was a bad time to get them to pose for pictures, as they were intent on playing with their friend, but at least you can see that these are their bikes.  Christina was inspired by their love of bikes to get one as well, so now we have a Yoshimura bike gang.  We bike down to our local pub/brewing company, and hope to bike to the Farmer's Market soon.  Christina and Steve have both been regularly biking in to work, but the girls are a little young yet for that distance!

One more sweet saying before we wrap up.  Today Christina was missing her grandparents, parents, and siblings, and said out loud in the car: "I'm really missing my family!"  Elena piped right up from the backseat saying: "We're your family, silly!!"  How lucky that they are.