Friday, March 25, 2011

Sledding

This was the best sledding hill I have ever seen, safe enough for a Mommy to enjoy sending her little ones speeding down, no obstacles to hit, free, not crowded, and FAST! They even had inner tubes you could use for free that were the best sledding ride I've ever had. Grand Lake Golf Course which doubles as a Nordic Center in the winter.

If you have the time, enjoy this series of videos of our sled rides. Granted, nothing is as fun as actually experiencing it yourself, but if you like watching us laugh you'll enjoy these videos full of little girls' laughter.

Three girls one at a time down the hill:

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'Mitch flipping' (Can you hear the girls laughing at him in the background?):

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'UP the hill':

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'Helmet Cam', Mommy and Ruthie:

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Josie:

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Anna:

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And my favorite- 'All Together Now!':

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Josie was getting tired by the end of our time sledding so I offered her the camera and let her take a video of her sisters sledding. That kept her content for a while longer so her sisters could keep sledding. She really wanted me to post her video so you could see it, she was quite proud of it. Be forewarned, in Josie's own words: "I couldn't really see if it was pointed at them or not, but I think it was." Four year old cinematography:

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Junior Rangers

Grand Lake is on the southwestern edge of Rocky Mountain National Park, almost due west of Boulder. There's not much you can do in the mountains around the town of Grand Lake that doesn't enter the National Park boundaries. We visited the Kawuneeche Visitor Center one afternoon, part of RMNP, and the Ranger there gave the girls activity books to complete to become Junior Rangers. This was a serious endeavor to them and they worked hard to complete all the activities in the book so they could earn their Junior Ranger badge.
The activities mostly centered around learning good stewardship of the Park and other natural environs, attending a ranger program, and spending time observing the natural world around them and all the little details they could notice about the plants and animals that live there. Because of the cold temperatures this time of year we just talked about everything in the book while we were out snowshoeing and then filled the book out later when we were back at the cabin in the evening. The girls did learn a lot and enjoyed being so observant about God's creation around them. The next day we took their completed books back to the Ranger station to present for their badges.
This is the Ranger looking over their books with them and talking about all the things they learned and saw:
She gave them so much attention and was so sweet to them, they loved it and loved sharing with her everything they learned. I'm sure it would have been a slightly different experience if we were doing this in the middle of the summer at the height of the tourist season when the Rangers are much busier, but she was so glad to spend time with them and look in detail at the work they had done, noticing things that usually only your own Mommy would notice.
After looking over their books she had them take the Junior Ranger pledge:
Each of the girls got to wear a Ranger hat while she pinned their badge on them.


Josie getting her badge pinned on her:

Proud Junior Ranger Jo:
Anna getting her badge:


Junior Ranger Anna:
The Ranger even offered to give us a badge for Ruthie, understanding how hard it is to be the littlest and be left out of something like that (Ruthie really was too young to complete any of the activities), but we refused. Anna and Josie were so proud of the work they had done to earn their badges and took their responsibilities as Junior Rangers so seriously that it seemed it would trivialize it for them if Ruthie received a badge as well for doing nothing and pledging nothing. Luckily for us she slept through the whole thing anyway and wasn't too jealous of their badges afterwards. She understood that they had worked hard to earn their badge and she hadn't. Her big sisters assured her, though, that soon she would be old enough to earn her own Junior Ranger badge.
Congratulations, Anna and Josie, my little Junior Rangers! May you always keep your awe of and love for the natural world around you and may you never cease to notice all the amazing little details of this world.

Snowshoeing

This was a first for Anna and Josie, snowshoeing! We rented snowshoes for them and hit the trail. They had a blast.Anna during our lunch break:


Cool Jo:

Silly Ruthie on Mama's back:

We had the sled with us for whoever might need a break, we had no idea how the girls would do. Ruthie was the only one who took a turn in it today, the other two just wanted to keep snowshoeing. Here we are trekking down the trail:

Ruthie along for the ride:

Me!


This next picture was actually the next day, when we headed out first thing in the morning to get one more snowshoeing expedition in before we had to return the girls' snowshoes. Our favorite thing about this trail was all the animal tracks we saw, rabbit, squirrel, coyote (sometimes chasing the other two), and some mystery tracks (Josie swears they were skunk). Winter in Rocky Mountain National Park means all the animals are hiding, hibernating, or have headed down to lower elevations, so it was fun to see evidence that a few of them were still around.

Josie wanted to show you a video of how she hopped on her snowshoes:

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What wintertime expedition is complete without a little hot chocolate afterwards to warm you up? The girls loved the snowshoeing and are ready to buy their own snowshoes so we can head out more often. Watch out, Grandpa and Nona, they're already working on their birthday and Christmas lists! You've trained them well. We ended up snowshoeing three times and I think they never would have stopped.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Cabin Cooking

What do three little girls do in a cabin with no toys?

This is how they decided to entertain themselves yesterday afternoon after we got home from snowshoeing:

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Yummy for me:) Except that anytime I want to eat some of what they are making they get all serious and remind me that it's just pretend, Mommy, just pretend. Sometimes their pretend food really disappears when Mommy eats it, and it worries them.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Grand Lake

Since this is Mitch's Spring break we are taking a little vacation to Grand Lake, CO. We rented a cabin for a couple of nights and are enjoying lots of family time and winter play up here in the mountains.
The girls brought their beads and string and settled into the cabin immediately stringing beads on their hide-a-bed.
But it wasn't long before we headed out to play!
The huge snow pile in front of our door was the first attraction.
Queen of the Mountain!


We made some stairs up it so even Ruthie could climb it (that's Josie in the picture).

Here are two little videos of the fun we had with that pile of snow!
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There's a bench swing in the little courtyard outside our door.
Beautiful and relaxing for this mama.


More places these climbing girls found to play outside our cabin:


Three sisters sticking their tongues out at you swinging on the bench swing:


Dinner inside the cabin.
With a full kitchen stocked with pots and pans and utensils we are able to cook our own food while we're here. This kitchen is bigger than our kitchen at home! All right, that's not saying much, but it still is nice for us. We are enjoying our stay.


Today we took a little hike out to Adam's Falls at the eastern edge of Grand Lake.

Anna, leading the way, and Josie being pulled by her Daddy'O in the sled:
Josie was hiking until she fell through the snow up to her waist. The trail itself was packed, but you had to stay on it. If you stepped off onto the side, down you went. We have snowshoes, but didn't wear them, since the trail was packed enough.


At the end of the trail, at the lookout by the falls, Josie is waving goodbye in the traditional Miller way:)
Goodbye for now! We'll post more pictures of our adventures at Grand Lake soon!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Follow the Leader

Two cuties headed down the trail:Little Anna Needy and little Ruthie Clement

Exploring:



Adventuring:


Splashing barefoot through the creek:

I won't be left behind!

Follow the leader


Wherever they may lead.


Ready for anything


Onward Ho!
All in a good days adventure.

Let's Go Fly a Kite

"With tuppence for paper and strings
You can have your own set of wings.
With your feet on the ground
You're a bird in flight
With your fist holding tight
To the string of your kite."
"Oh, oh, oh, Let's go fly a kite!
Up to the highest height!
Let's go fly a kite
And send it soaring.
Up through the atmosphere,
Up where the air is clear,
Oh, let's go fly a kite!"


"When you send it flying up there
All at once you're lighter than air.
You can dance on the breeze
Over houses and trees
With your fist holding tight
To the string of your kite!"
I just thought I'd get a little classic Mary Poppins stuck in your head on this beautiful, almost Spring day:)
Now go fly a kite!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Four Years Young

I swear, it is so hard for me to get good pictures of my Josie girl. She is a beautiful girl with a sparkle in her eye. I love her smile and how her whole countenance lights up when she smiles. I wish you all could be as present in her life as I am to see all the things about my four year old that make her so unique that I never seem to be able to quite capture with my funky camera or my words. But I will never cease to try.
Here's my birthday girl, in all her spunky glory.
We're about to take the rag curlers out, first thing in the morning. She's showing you she's four. Quite an exciting moment in this little girl's life, finally being four. She waits for so long for her birthday to come (I know, 365 days, just like you). What I mean is, all the other members of her family have a birthday in October or November, so hers seems such a long way off.


Her Anna sister wanted to get her a gift herself this year, with her own money. We had a fun time walking all around the toy store looking at EVERYTHING in it. Anna was so excited thinking about what Josie would want. At one point in time she was talking about getting some item she saw and from the way she said it I couldn't tell if she meant getting it for herself or for Josie, so I asked her. She quickly assured me that she was only shopping for Josie that day, that she only wanted to look for things that Josie would want, not for herself. She was so focused on her little sister, on making her happy, and she was beaming with the knowledge of how excited Josie would be opening the gift that she chose for her. I felt privileged to watch my five year old, and a bit in awe of her selflessness. I have much to learn from you, my sweet Anna girl.
Here they are opening the gift Anna got for Josie:

This, my friends, is a picture I am also quite proud of. That is the dress that I made for Josie.
Quite a feat for me. I've never made anything like it and let me tell you, I learned a lot! Reading a sewing pattern is a whole other language. I kept thinking about you, Grandma Ginya, and how you made ALL the clothing your 5 little girls wore their entire childhood. How did you do it?


This is not the greatest picture, but I also wanted to show you the cape that I made Josie. She's been begging for one since Christmas, when I made one for Anna. This was a little easier, since it was my second time following that pattern. Practice makes perfect, right? As Ginya would say, material is very forgiving, it stretches. And sewing is an art, and there is no such thing as perfection in art, only creativity and uniqueness. That's what I remind myself of as I sew:)
The smile on my little girl's face makes all those late night hours of sewing so worth the effort.
I love you, Josie Joy.



In the afternoon we got out the ice cream maker and made vanilla ice cream. Mmm mmm mmm. You can't beat homemade ice cream in pure yumminess.
Putting the ice and rock salt in the bucket around the ice cream canister:

Josie cranking the handle:
We've still got some in the freezer if you want to come on over and try some!




Josie also wanted to make tie-dye shirts on her birthday. Mitch was the ring-leader of that operation. Here they are twisting up the white t-shirts and putting rubber bands around them to direct the dye into the fun pattern of each girl's choosing:


Putting on the dye:
We'll see how they come out in the end. It's hard to get the dye to take to the fabric with the intesity that we're always looking for with tie-dye. The shirts are still drying, but sometime I'll have to show you a picture of the final product.


Josie got the game Guess Who from her grandparents. It's a great one for this age! We all had fun playing a couple of rounds of the game yesterday. I even remember playing this classic game when I was their age with Grandma Ginya. The actual board has been changed a bit, but everything else is the same.

My four year old Josie Joy. My fun loving, daring little girl. May you never lose that smile on your face, may the brightness in your eyes never dim. Follow that spark inside of yourself and stay true to your own uniqueness. Your laughter brightens our days, your silliness makes our hearts lighter. The ways you care for those around you and work to give of yourself to meet their needs is an example to everyone in your life. Thank you for being you. We love you, sweet girl. This world is a better place because of your beautiful spirit.