Saturday, June 25, 2011

Farmer's Market

 We love Saturdays - Farmer's Market days!  Today we sat in sunshine, got rained on, were too hot for the clothes we wore, were too cold for the clothes we wore, and had fun nonetheless. 
 Our first stop was this little fountain outside the coffee shop that Steve loves.
 From there, it was on to get the baked doughnuts that are made in town every week, which the girls love to sample.

 Okay, we love to sample, too.

 We told the girls they could buy anything new at the market this week they wanted - they chose "chicken eggs."  Earlier this week we went to a neighbor's house and gathered eggs from his chicken coop, and the girls took some home and ate them for breakfast.  They ADORED those eggs, and recognized that they are different from the ones we buy at the store (although we do tell them they are really both from chickens).  So it was no surprise that these were there picks from the market today.
 Messy Clara, post-doughnut - that girl always picks the messiest variety possible!
 Elena, showing off our bounty from the market today (golden beets, broccoli, and the eggs).
 Next to the Farmer's Market today was an antique car show.    We stopped over to look, and both girls were amazed at this little display in the trunk of the one of the cars!
 On our way out of the market there is a little path with huge rocks here and there (so that no one can go down it too fast, we imagine!).  We love stopping to play here - today Steve was the troll who wouldn't let anyone on his rock.

 Then, on our trip back to the car we saw this butterfly land in some flowers - it was remarkably un-alarmed by our presence.

 It even let them pet it before it flew off!
 Goodbye, friend!

When we passed a fence backed by flowers, Christina took a second to capture what these little almost-four year olds are like right now.  This about sums it up!

Father's Day 2011

We are not only late in posting this, we are also very low on pictures from Father's Day this year!  We had a lovely time celebrating Steve and his wonderful role in our family, but we didn't take many pictures, it seems.

We started out the day letting Steve sleep in, while the girls and Christina went and got the Sunday paper, coffee, and pastries.  We cooked up some eggs and sausage, so that by the time Steve awoke he had the makings of a relaxing Sunday morning before him.  A little later on he took the girls for a bike/run down by the river, and then we all headed out to lunch together (we're not sure why the girls decided the occasion warranted dressing up as a cat and a bunny, but they did!).

Then we went to see some open houses (a favorite past time) and went back to our own home to relax in the yard. Despite some chilly temperatures, the girls really wanted their pool filled, and so we filled it with warm water from the tap and let them slide into the pool until rain drove us all inside. 

Christina turned around for a minute, and when she looked back at the crew "watching a movie" she saw this:

The mark of a fun day!   We grilled Steve his favorite porterhouse steaks with some local herbed butter, and pretty much called it a day after that.  Looking back, it doesn't seem like nearly enough to celebrate a man who makes our lives so enriched, safe, and enjoyable - luckily, he knows we love him every day!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Happy Adoption Day

Today is the third anniversary of when we went into court and legally adopted Clara and Elena.  We love celebrating this day!  It has turned into a day where the girls mostly pick what we do all day, and we tell stories and soak up being together.

So we started out the day having a coffee and doughnut date together - we meant to take pictures there, because it's such a sweet moment. Christina and Steve used to have that date together weekly, and wish for a little one there to join them.  We never dreamed we'd have two!  We were thrilled that the girls thought it was fun to join in with us. 

Then, we went to shop for the cupcake ingredients.  For the last two years Christina has made the girls whatever cupcakes they pick for Adoption Day.  This year, they picked penguins again, so that's what we made.  We cheated a little and did a quicker version than last time, and they came out a little wacky - and SO gooey and sugary.

We ate them after a trip to the Children's Museum, and then we played around the house for awhile.  For the first time, Clara picked up a baby doll and said: "This is my baby - I'm gonna adopt her."  We talk about adoption and birth and different kinds of families often, but it's the first time we've heard either girl use the term adoption on their own!

Then the girls decided on a bike ride, and so we biked down to our local brewery, Kettlehouse, and got rootbeers and peanuts for the girls, and a little drink for Steve and Christina.  We marveled at our daughters and what beautiful people they are growing up to be.

Then we went to our family restaurant, Ciao Mambo.  They are so nice to us there!

They got the dough they give kids there, and practiced throwing their own pizzas.

We ordered the girls Shirley Temples for the first time.  "These are so really good!" was the verdict.

Steve ordered pasta with clam sauce, and one of the clams, "Clammy," became the hit of our table.
Then Elena said: "You know what's something really very special?  We can get...zeppolis!!!"  So we did.
You have to concentrate hard to dip them, but they were indeed special.

Our server was so lovely, and fawned all over the girls.  We know that people often say things just to be nice, but we got several comments about how well-behaved the girls were, and truly, they are.  And one person said: "You just all look so happy - you're such a happy family."  And truly, we are. 

I don't think we can say if often enough.  We are so very, very grateful to be a family together.  And we are forever grateful to Ashley and Sean for making that happen. 

Friday, June 10, 2011

Adventures close to home

The schedule we've worked out for this summer has so far been fantastic.  Christina and Steve switch midway through the day so someone is at school and someone is home with the girls. Then we both take off Friday-Sunday so we have at least a three-day weekend every week.  We were THIS close to taking off and just driving to Portland today, but decided to adventure closer to home.  We went up to Arlee to pick strawberries.  On the way driving up the highway, you pass under this animal bridge, which we just love - such an animal-focused community!
We were lucky to catch a beautiful, sunny day for our drive - the first we'd had all week!
When we got up to the strawberry farm, we found it was a bit muddy, but not as flooded as we'd thought it might be.
Sadly, the only strawberries to be seen were on Clara's dress - even though the recorded message said the strawberries were ready, the message must have been left over from last year  - the strawberries were still only blossoms!
Look at this timeless beauty - that Clara is such a cutie.
We played around on the farm for a little bit, considering our options.  Elena found it to be her job to keep her Dad out of puddles.
We drove down the street for a bit and looked at horses (the girls are obsessed - they talk all the time about how it will be when they have their own horses - always WHEN, not IF).
 Steve, caring for his two horses, who were galloping back and forth to him on the country road.
We made a stop by this sign, and thought we'd check to see if they had any honey (after the strawberry disappointment, we weren't counting on it!).
These sure seemed like good signs, though - if you click you should see a bigger version where you can see some of the bees swarming around - they were everywhere!
We hit the end of the road, and success!  A honey stand!  It was so charming - it was an honor-system honey stand, and they had everything ranging from our $4.95 honey bear to a $115.00 barrel!
We couldn't help sampling right away - this honey was delicious!
And the views weren't bad, either (Steve took this picture)!
As we drove back to town, we accidentally took a wrong turn and ended up coming in near the airport.  We saw the sign for the Smokejumper Center, and realized we'd always wanted to go see the visitor's center there, and never had.  So, we stopped in and learned all about the brave men and women who jump from airplanes to get fires under control during fire season.  We are so lucky to have the training center right here in town!
(Side note - see the bed there in the corner?  Norman McLean slept on it in his cabin while he was writing "A River Runs Through It").
We learned a lot, and had a very fun morning with our adventures.  It wasn't Portland, but it was still great!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

TGIS (Thank God It's Summer!)

It may have taken its sweet time, and it may not really be here to stay, but this weekend felt like SUMMER and we are absolutely thrilled.  We celebrated yesterday by dropping in on friends and not leaving for six hours, in the process introducing the girls to yogurt in a tube, slip-and-slide, corndogs, and many other fun things.

They LOVE the trampoline at this house - almost as much as they love feeling like part of a kid gang.  They are really having fun being part of a group these days - thank you Larsons and neighborhood for making the girls so welcome!

Today we extended the fun summer weekend by having a day of it downtown.  The main street downtown was opened up for pedestrians/bicyclists and closed to all cars for a good mile.  They call it Sunday Streets and people all up and down the street have fun things to do and lots to visit. 
The girls got free asthma-screening (no asthma here!), jumped MULTIPLE times in the big bounce house, decorated rocks, got tattoos and new frisbees, made maracas, and biked all over the place.

Some bears even came down to join the party!
This grizzly and black bear got hit by cars, and so they now have been "preserved" and serve an educational function.  Or, if you're 3, an entertainment function.  Clara begged Christina to "make the bear talk"and that was not at ALL embarrassing, no sir.

Then we checked out the girls' baseball prowess.  Turns out they are not half bad at what they call "bat-ball."

Finally, it was time for their favorite activity of all  - riding the ponies.  They get to do this every week if they do a good job sleeping, and sometimes this must be all that is keeping Elena in her bed when she is desperate to get out!

No trip is quite complete without cotton candy (at least not at any location where it is being sold) and so we leave you with the sticky, sweet image of the close of our Sunday Streets experience.

It's so good to welcome summer!