Monday, July 30, 2012

Camping we shall go

We've been wanting to go camping all together all summer - Steve and the girls got to go, but the four of us hadn't gone together. This weekend our sweet neighbors invited us up to a campsite they had found at a place called Hidden Lake, and we jumped at the chance to go.

 We spent plenty of time swimming in the lake itself - since their swim lessons the girls have gotten SO much more comfortable out in the water.

They made a new friend who was visiting at a nearby campsite - the girls had a good time playing and piling up together.
Of course, being together just as sisters was pretty sweet, too.
Steve grilled a pork tenderloin over the fire, and Christina made a cherry salsa to go with it.
Two girls who were very, very ready for food after their swimming and running about!

There was some great early evening light out in the little meadow near the campsite, so Christina got the girls to go tell her stories out there so she could take some pictures.  It was so amazing to see all of their different facial expressions, but we tried not to share them all here (this post will be long enough anyway!).

Our neighbors Linda and John were so amazingly gracious - their dog Caeli was a constant source of entertainment for the girls, too.
An inviting hammock for an after dinner swing...
And Linda and John's camper for many a fun card game!

As evening wore on we headed out in the canoe we'd brought to tour the lake.  The girls couldn't believe we were 'away from land!'

When we got back on land it was time for s'mores, and enjoyment of the sunset.
The next morning dawned so clear and beautiful.  We had hot chocolate, coffee, and zucchini bread lakeside.

And then Steve got out to do some fishing.

He didn't catch anything, except an Elena who wanted to have a try at going out fishing herself.
Then there was quite a bit more hammock time.

While Christina took her turn in the hammock she took some pictures of the main activity that occupied Clara and Elena during the weekend of camping - butterfly catching!  They spent hours and hours going through the woods trying (and often succeeding!) to catch butterflies.

We had meant to stay for only one day and night, but the girls had so much fun and asked us if we could stay longer.  There really wasn't any reason to say no (Steve has got us expertly packed now for camping so we had everything we needed, and the lake was so very beautiful...) so we stayed another day and night.  Eventually we did have to get home, though - Steve secured the canoe to the truck, and it was back to Missoula for us.

But the happy camping memories will be with us forever!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Bits and Pieces

This just may become a new regular thing - we're at a "bits and pieces" point again as we download photos taken on our phones (still a new thing for us!). I don't want to lose them as part of our story together, but they are usually only a picture or two of any given occasion. We'll try to continue sharing them here like this!

Here are the girls in the sunflowers they planted this spring at their school -w e went to visit them.
Here Christina and the girls are out to dinner at their favorite restaurant for when Steve is out of town - Jakers!  Since it's not his favorite it works well for us to go out and have fun there when he has to be gone.
Banana split time at Big Dipper!
We stopped in at Joann's for something quick and the girls found these mini sewing kits.  They begged and begged for them, and when Christina bought them the girls went home and sewed for an hour!
Showing us what they want for their birthday:

We went to a block party a few weeks ago, and the girls got their faces painted.

At the same block party there was a group of people showing kids how to throw pots.  Both of our girls took a turn at making their own bowls.

They also go to paint on a neighborhood mural:
Elena's contribution - two little guys.
At the same party - a bounce house!
Friends of ours had this motorized car for years before their boys got done playing with it (they outgrew it, poor things!).  They gifted it to Elena and Clara, who drive it almost every day around our neighborhood.  Since it has a tractor bed in the back they decided to store their gardening gloves in there, and they pick up garbage around the neighborhood with their gloves and dump the back out in our garbage when we get home.  They came up with this mission themselves, and we're pretty proud of their civic mindedness! (Sorry to Grandpa that this is a John Deere and not a Massey Ferguson).
One day we were bored in the afternoon and looking for something fun to do.  we decided to make cupcakes, and the girls got to pick any out of the cupcake book that they wanted to make.  They settled on these princesses - holy sugar!!
They were pretty proud of them in the end.
And pretty sugar-high, too.
Dark picture, but it is us back at the ballpark for another Osprey game.

At the seventh inning during every game we yell "Peanuts" over and over and if there is a home run during that inning the loudest people get free peanuts.  Guess who got them in the kid section?  Yep, the two loud little ones in the white shirts!   They shared their peanuts with all of the other kids who came up, looking envious.
They tried to share with Ollie the Osprey, who was hanging out above us, but he indicated that hew as full.

Steve and Christina dressed up to go out for their 11th wedding anniversary this weekend.  Clara and Elena were happy to have a babysitter come hang out with them, but they wanted to take pictures of us outside before she came over.  It turned out really sweet, because after taking pictures of us on our own they each took a picture of their sister in the middle of both parents.  Such lovely girls!