Monday, August 31, 2009

My New Niece!

This is indeed exciting news!
Maia Sage Miller
August 29, 2009
7lb 9oz

She's so beautiful. You all look beautiful. Welcome to the family, Maia.

Photos courtesy of Farrah Moser

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Music and Dancing

Yay for Friday night music and dancing at the Clement house! I love it when Mitch gets out his guitar. I've never seen Ruthie crawl as fast as she did when Mitch started to play and she wanted to get over there and check out where that music was coming from. She loved it. Josie had her banjo out and Anna had her guitar, they both had their own picks (Anna's was dark purple), and they played right along with Mitch. I like it. Then they had fun zipping each other inside of the soft-sided guitar case.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Santa Came to our House!

Honestly, he did. Left three packages outside our door the other night with the names of three little girls on them. Talk about believing in Santa, there's no question about it in our house now, he came. Signed the Christmas wrapping paper himself: ~Santa.
The girls are loving their new outfits and have worn them all over even though they would fit more into the category of winter wear. Right now I think Anna's doll is taking a nap in her new shirt. But Anna wanted me to post these pictures of her in her new outfit (her idea, promise, 'and of the back, too, Mama!') and Josie would not be left out of the post. So here are the pictures of the girls in their new clothes from Santa:

Thank you, Santa!
While on the subject of clothes I thought I would show you what the girls wore all day yesterday in between wearing their new clothes from Santa (they change clothes at least 5 times a day, they are girls, you know):

Yes, bandanna shirts, that Mommy 'sewed' for the girls. And whatever other odd assortment of hats, belts and socks they could find in the drawer. They even wore their bandanna shirts up to the University when we walked up to meet Mitch after his last class. We got lots of smiles. I don't know if they were smiling at the girls shirts or at the smiles on the girls faces as we laughed the whole way up there. Lots of laughter in the Clement house and it is contagious.

Potty Training

We're attacking the potty training hurdle in our household right now and actually seem to be making some progress. Josie is consistently going pee on her own little toilet and the accidents are becoming fewer and fewer. She's wearing underwear around most of the time. Pooping is another story. We're not there yet. We'll let you know how it goes. Any encouragement you might have for our little learner would be wonderful and any tips/ideas for mama would be appreciated as well. I'm tired of washing diapers for two little girls so I have plenty of incentive, but I'm finding my patience to be very small for accidents when they happen.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Tent Fun

We set up the girls' tent on top of our bed yesterday and the girls had a blast jumping and rolling around. Here's two videos of the fun they had:

Last Potluck of the Summer

We've had a wonderful summer here and are finally feeling rejuvenated and enjoying the rhythm of our life after a hectic last year. It's good to be able to say that! Mitch starts classes again on Monday and we'll see how we weather this next transition in our lives. At least we feel like we're starting out from a good place.

We have had a potluck in our courtyard every Thursday this summer which was a fun time of connecting with our neighbors and eating good food together. Once school starts we all hunker down and start to live a different pace of life, but we have enjoyed our undemanding summer together. In honor of it being our last potluck of the summer Mitch and I made homemade ice cream. It's the best ice cream I've ever had.

Mitch's Pictures

Mitch took the camera to work one day this week and this morning this is what I found when I went to download pictures:
On one of the last days of his internship he got to take a tour of this pumphouse. Most of the rest of the pictures were up close shots of different parts of the piping in this picture. I just thought I'd share with you what Mitch gets excited about. I'm glad somebody does because I like drinking clean, fresh, safe water out of the tap at my sink.

Popcorn and Milk for breakfast

Almanzo Wilder talks of this treat in "Farmer Boy", so when Josie requested popcorn for breakfast, I obliged. They loved it, had a lot of fun with it, and left plenty for Ruthie to find as her treat later (notice how much ended up under Josie's chair in the second picture).

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

If You Can Remember...

I came across this poem yesterday and really liked it. It was what I needed to hear, what I needed to be reminded to remember. I thought I would share it with you:

If You Can Remember

If you can remember that it takes three of my steps to equal one of yours;
If you can understand that I must view life at an eye level three feet below yours;
If you can touch my life with your faith, without taking away my need for self-determination;
Then I can grow, learn and become.
~ ~ ~
If you can remember that it takes time for me to gain the experience in living you have already had;
If you can understand that I can only relate to those things which have meaning on my levels of maturity;
If you can let me take a step of independence when I can, instead of thrusting me out or pulling me back;
If you can touch my life with your hope, without destroying my sense of reality;
Then I can grow, learn and become.
~ ~ ~
If you can remember that it takes courage for me to try again after failure, just like you;
If you can let me find my own path when I want, instead of choosing for me the way you think I should go;
If you can touch my life with your love, without taking away the space I need to breath;
Then I can grow, learn and become.

-Marti King
for the Montessori Foundation

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Our Very Own Swimming Pool

The girls have been jealous of Jack and Caroline's pool all summer and have been asking for one of their own. Now we have one! We have water days every Wednesday here during the summer where they bring out a bunch of kiddy pools for the kids to play in. This Wednesday was the last one and the Resident Managers were throwing out the pools afterwards because they were getting pretty beat up. So we brought one home!
Anna wanted you to see her jumping skills and Josie wanted you to see how she lies down in the water:Ruthie had a ball:
Josie's my one girl that actually gets cold sometimes and will be done swimming before the other two:

The girls are hoping for lots more warm days this summer now! Well, I should rephrase that. They don't care if its a warm day or not. I'm hoping that all the many days they'll be asking to get out the pool will be warm for a while now until the newness of the pool wears off. So far it's been on the chilly side and slightly rainy here. They don't care, since I've just been filling it with warmer water.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Pickles and Crab Apple Jelly

I tried my hand at making pickles yesterday and jelly today. I thought the pickles would be a flop because I was using sub-prime cukes ( didn't get around to making them until yesterday and they'd been picked a while ago, plus I think they were all slicing cukes not pickling ones). But they are the best pickles I have ever eaten! Dill from the garden, cukes from ours and Bill and Judy's garden, and Judy's recipe. Mmm Mmm Mmm. Quite simple, as cooking goes, and such amazing results! I thought it would be harder and that they would be a flop. What a yummy surprise.
The Crab Apple Jelly, on the other hand, was fun to make but I think it will be called Crab Apple Syrup for our pancakes this winter. We have a crab apple tree out by the garden. I had heard that you could make jelly from them (they're pretty tart to just eat straight) but I had no idea how. Then the other day we ended up bring a Little House Cookbook home from the library that had recipes in it for all the foods that the Ingles and Wilder families make in Laura's books. Crab Apple Jelly was in there! So we had to try. Mitch and the girls picked the apples, and then I went to work this morning. They're so little you don't even try to core them and make jam or apple sauce/butter out of them. You just cut them in half and remove the stems. Here is Anna helping me squeeze the pulp out of the juice after cooking the apples down: Cooking the juice and sugar:Voila! Crab Apple Syrup:

After I did more research I found out that I did every single thing they say not to do or else your jelly might not jell. Oh well. It looks beautiful! This was my very first canning experience, too, and I must say, I had a good time! I definitely learned some things not to do next time. If I care I think I can open some of the jars and fix the 'jelly', cook it some more, maybe get it to jell, and re-can it. We'll see. I might just like the syrup.

We also made Sourdough biscuits from the Little House Cookbook. We were hoping to have some jelly to go on them, but oh well. They were good! Notice the two biscuits in the front, one is Anna's and one is Josie's, they had fun forming them. We cooked some of them in the skillet and baked some, both ways were delicious. I would say we've kept ourselves busy the last two days. Good busy! Maybe tomorrow we'll just relax and play in our pool all day. Yes, we have a new pool, Jack and Caroline! More on that to come. But for now, I'm going to bed.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

8 Months Old

Ruthie's getting bigger all the time! She is a big girl and people always ask me how old she is and then are surprised that she is only 8 months. People also always comment on her blue eyes, they are a very intense blue and she always looks you straight in the eyes. She's got a few words now. She says Mama, Dada, Bye-bye, Night-Night and Anna. Those are all sounds that she makes, too, randomly in her play (ma-ma-ma-ma-ma...) but she knows how to use them according to their true meaning (when she wants me she says Mama and holds her hands out to me).

She connects waving with hi, bye-bye and night-night and if she hears one of those words will often start waving. She also connects waving with Mitch since she sees him come and go to work each day. When he leaves she says "bye-bye Dada" and says "hi Dada" when he comes home, always waving and grinning. The other day I asked her to say hi to Anna right after she got up in the morning. She waved at Anna with a big grin and then she started looking around the room and said "Dada?" Mitch had already left for work but she wanted to know where he was.

If she gets tired when we're out and about she asks to be picked up (Mama, with her hands up to me) and then when I pick her up she says "night-night" and starts waving to whoever we are with and then snuggles into me. Her other favorite motion right now is clapping. She loves to clap and especially loves it when we clap with her and say "Yay!"

She is quite the mimicker of sounds, even when she's not quite sure what they mean. Sometimes she will mimic 'I love you', which sounds something like "Ah wuh ooh" when she tries. She will mimic any sounds her sisters will repeat to her over and over (which they love to do).

Enjoy this little video I took of our sweet 8 month old. I was trying to get her to wave for us, and she does once, but the rest is just her playing and trying to get the camera.


This is a typical bedtime scene at our house.
Mitch is reading Farmer Boy to the two older girls and Ruthie is playing around on the trundle bed below. She likes to play peekaboo while they read and pop her head up over the side of the bed and grin at them. I like the daily rhythm of quiet family times like this and the antics of sweet, content Ruthie adding laughter to the mix. She is one active little girl, she hardly stops moving unless she is actually asleep.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

What happens when a roadie tries mountain biking?

Well, if he is not accustomed to disc brakes, he will hit the front brake too hard, do an endo and end up on the ground. At least that's what happened to this inexperienced mountain biker.

A quick warning: If you are particularly squeamish, you may not want to scroll down to the picture. Chad, you might want to skip this post.

Today was our friend Jon Nienhouse's birthday, so for his birthday a group of friends gathered at the Betasso Preserve up Boulder Canyon. There is a great picnic shelter there where we all had a wonderful meal in a beautiful location. It is also the trailhead for one of the favorite mountain bike rides near Boulder. Jon, being an avid mountain biker, wanted to do a ride with his friends for his birthday, so this was a great spot for it. After dinner three of us: Jon, myself and Sean Prag, left to ride the three mile loop. A short way in I took a tumble and landed on some rocks. I paused to make sure everything felt okay, and kept going. A little further down the trail I realized that I felt something on my arm and expected it was probably blood running down from my elbow, so the next place we stopped I looked at it, and sure enough I had a pretty good gash on my elbow. (Dad, it was pretty reminiscent of when you fell off of the horse in Honduras.) Fortunately Jon is a nurse. I squirted the wound with my water bottle to wash off the dirt and figured I would have Jon look at it when we got back. We finished the ride and arrived back at the picnic shelter where there were three other people besides Jon that were medical professionals of some sort, so I was in pretty good hands. We got it washed off (a fair amount of blood had been running down my arm by this point), and they each took a look at it to see if they thought it needed any further treatment.

To make a long story short: After the party finished up, Jon found a set of sutures in the first aid pack in their van, so they followed us down to our place where he put in three stitches. He didn't have a full suture kit, so he used the tweezers from our Swiss Army Knife, sterilized in a candle flame, and a pair of little scissors he had with him. Here is a picture of Jon finishing up the suturing while I'm lying on the girls' bed:

Anna was very interested in what was happening from the beginning and wanted to watch while they were cleaning it and while Jon was stitching it. Josie was quite bothered by it and had a hard time (I think she must take after her dad). She really didn't want to come near me before the stitches had been put in and it was all done. We got some good time to reconnect and talk about it as she was going to bed, though.

Here is a picture of Jon's wife, Jennifer, reading to the kids while Jon was stitching me up in the other room. The two on the right are their kids, Ellie Grace and Ben. Our friends Michelle and Nora were also here at the time, but Nora just missed being in this picture.

Many thanks to our friends for taking care of us once again. Jon, I don't know if this was how you wanted to spend your birthday--giving somebody stitches after your bike ride, but we are grateful you were willing to make the house call.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Summer Meals

Yummy, fresh food and family around to eat it with.

Corn on the cob, fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil, fresh baked bread by Mitch, good local cheese (Red Buck from Windsor Dairy, our new favorite)... Surrounded by the plenty of summer in every way.

Swim Party at the Hotel

We had our own pool party at Grandpa and Nona's hotel yesterday during the hot afternoon. Josie loved floating around with Grandpa and getting tossed high up in the air to come splashing down into the water. Anna liked playing around on the stairs where she could touch and floating holding onto something. Ruthie just went wild, splashing and playing and screeching. I would say they all had a good time.

Josie floating on her life jacket. Anna floating on my life jacket.

Little Ruthie enjoyed splashing around...

And screeching at the camera.
Grandpa kept the girls in suspense with how long he would float face down in the water.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Having Fun With Nona and Grandpa

-Nona made the girls their own Didgeridoo and we gave a family concert. Ruthie even played the shaker but she was done by the time Nona snapped this picture.
-A beautiful morning hike that got cut short when Anna fell and cut her knee pretty good. She was a real trooper about it, though.- A trip to the County Fair where they saw lots of horses and goats and got to drink lemonade. Anna said "They were riding the horses, Mommy! And we got to have lemonade, real lemonade! It even had ice in it and a real lemon!"

-Bath time with Nona

-Everybody with their mug of good Carolines Coffee in the evening (As Josie said, hers is actually just water) and Grandpa's reading a book in Spanish to Josie, who is so proud that she is able to repeat the words.
-Grandpa waiting for the bus:
-Here came the bus, but it was a little full for Grandpa to get on:

- And Mommy went on a retreat all day. Little Ruthie came with me, and it was a relaxing, meditative, refreshing and much needed retreat. Lots of real quiet time with God.

Summer Reading Party

The girls signed up for a reading program in our neighborhood for the month of July and faithfully read every day. Well, I should say, we read to them every day. It was good for me, I think, to be reminded to make reading to them a priority even in the summer. Winter, with so much time inside, seems to be our season of reading and it easily goes by the wayside in the warm summer outside days. But the girls did a good job, even reading while we were camping. Anna listened through "Little House in the Big Woods" and "Little House on the Prairie" and we're almost done with "Farmer Boy" now. She really likes them. It's fun to see both girls incorporating things they heard from the books into their play. They definitely earned the ice cream party they got to attend on Friday night for reading all month. They even got to design their own book at the party.