Sunday, January 27, 2013

Winter afternoon

 When we went to Chico last week we planned to go snowshoeing, but there was no snow! Even though we were stretching it a bit we went out in the Missoula snow this weekend.
Three girls, ready for adventure!
Clara was having some fun playing with perspective here, and being big in comparison to her Dad and sister.
And here's the regular perspective of Elena and Steve:
After some practice the girls took off on their own up the hill, but...
...that shortly led to some exhaustion!

We renewed the girls' energy by having them pretend they were bears and mountain lions.  Steve was very good at bringing this fantasy to life.

We also figured out that Christina had dramatically overdressed the girls for the 37 degree weather.  As soon as we took off a few layers they were good to go!
Even though we didn't trek for miles we had a really fun time - it was great to be out together, and it turns out snowshoeing was fun for all of us.

After the outdoor fun we headed to one of our local micro-breweries, Draughtworks.
The girls love the bartenders there, and also their home-brewed ginger ale and free snacks.

They drew this picture of one of their favorite bartenders, Danielle.
Western Montana is rich in natural beauty, in microbreweries, and in opportunities for family togetherness.  We are grateful for all of these things!

Off to Chico Hot Springs

Clara had croup again this year (she's had it every year of her life, and the doctor says this might just be her reaction to colds).  This girl can really rally - even when she was home from school sick she still wanted to do all kinds of things (like make this 'ghost' outfit below).
It was a long weekend from school and we decided very last minute to make a spontaneous trip to Chico Hot Springs.  We thought the steam would be good for Clara, and that being out there would be good for us all.  Thanks to the tablets from Uncle Scott the four hour trip out there was a piece of cake!
As soon as we got there we soaked for two hours in the hot springs, had a quick dinner at the cafe, and then after brownies in front of the fireplace we fell deep asleep in our beds.

We were back out at the hot spring at the crack of dawn.  The girls were ecstatic, and Steve and Christina just tried to stay awake.
Clara was happily showing off her "double wrist bands"- it looks like she wants to punch us out, but that was honestly not the case.

These girls truly soaked up joy at the hot spring -we were so glad we went.

We drove out to Livingston for a huge breakfast.

And then headed back home to Missoula.  We are truly blessed to live in such a gorgeous spot, where we have this kind of retreat available to us.  We are all back and ready for school again!

Mom's Birthday

While we were in Arizona Christina turned 36! It is always so fun to have a birthday celebration in the warm weather and with wonderful family around.
Steve made an applesauce cake with sparklers on top, and we soaked in the hottub and had a really relaxing, great time.
On top of that, as part of her birthday present Nana Rose and G-Daddy had an overnight movie-date with the girls and Steve took Christina to an Arizona resort.
It was still all dressed up for Christmas, and was relaxing and lovely.

It was a beautiful time, but so was coming back together again with our sweet girls.  Christina had so many opportunities to be grateful for all that has happened in her 36 years.  We hope the girls are this happy when they turn the corner past their mid-30's!

Christmas-time catch-up

So, although we are mostly caught up there are a few December occurrences we missed here on the blog.  The first was our visit to Santa at the mall.  Elena was convinced Santa wanted to meet a cowgirl, so that explains her outfit.  Clara was just proud to have a list of things she had written up for Santa.  We are lucky to live in a place where we just walk up to Santa and don't have to wait in line.
Next up are some fine times in Arizona.  One day when we were ready for lunch steve found us a fun place called Magic Noodle that actually pulls all the noodles fresh when you order them.  You choose the length and width and can watch them forming your noodles before they are cooked up.  That was a perfect lunch for our noodle-loving girls!

Whenever we are in Arizona we get to meet up with our good friends Mike and Maria, and their kids (Madeline, Joseph, and Xander).  Oh, how we wish we lived closer together!  This year Elena told me she was going to marry Madeline, and Clara said that she was going to live with Mike and Maria.  One way or another we are destined to be intertwined with this family.

While we were visiting Clara exhibited a spurt of spontaneous phonetic writing, which has only grown in time.  This is her first spontaneous sentence: Cad did run down the street.
Elena followed suit, with: Mom bad to the bathroom.  While a bit embarrassing, we are going to blame this on Joseph, who wrote a very similar sentence right beforehand! No actual bathroom visits were related to this sentence.
Much sweeter - I love my Mom so so so so so.
We had a very fun, very lucky warm Christmas day - perhaps this didn't make it in to the earlier pictures, but this was the picture Grammie Ellen took of us by the lake on Christmas day.
We had a fun outing to the mall, where we saw a store that catered to special events for young people.  It is very likely that this was meant for quinceanera dances (and young attendees at these dances) but our girls were so excited to go try on dresses, and very disappointed when we told them we couldn't buy them the $80+ dresses when we had nowhere to wear them.
We stopped at America's Taco's for a great lunch and a goodbye to the very sick Uncle Scott (he got a bad case of the flu that we were lucky enough to avoid).
Elena and Clara wanted to take pictures to show to their class that they were at the desert - these are the settings they chose:

Like the country bumpkins we are we took some time to play at stores we never get to see -the masks at CostPlus were a big hit!

G-Daddy and Nana Rose gave all four of us ice skating passes for Christmas, and we had fun skating in the unlikely desert setting.

We tried to go see Wreck It Ralph with Nana and G-Daddy (which had to be postponed until a time when it wasn't sold out) and instead ended up at a double-decker carousel.  Awesome!!!

We spent one day walking around in downtown Mesa, exploring coffee shops and boutiques and fun settings.  Look at grown-up Elena in front of a pretty yellow door!
There were also a lot of sculptures, which the girls liked posing with:
We had so much fun - it is great re-living these little tidbits!