Visiting Old Things and the Grandparents

(The title of this post may seem redundant, but it’s not.)

Clara and Nicolyn will tell you that the three biggest holidays of the year are (in order) Christmas, their birthday, and visiting their grandparents in Utah.  The last of these commands particular preparation from them.  For example, Clara begs to start packing her things for the summer trip months in advance, and all of the girls start making gifts for their grandparents in the spring.  All of the Little Women agreed that this year’s trip (in July) was worth the wait.  Along with annual traditions like Aunt Autumn’s Nail Salon, they visited a cave in Idaho and an Oregon Trail museum.

They also drove to eastern Utah, where Dinosaur National Monument straddles the Utah-Colorado border.  There they saw and touched dinosaur fossils that were millions of years old.

While in the area, they also visited the McConkie ranch, which is famous for its collection of petroglyphs created by the Fremont Native Americans.  But these were at most 2000 years old, so they couldn’t really compare with the dinosaur bones.

Annika with a Petroglyph

The Little Women Enjoy Raspberry Shakes at Bear Lake with Their


More photos are here and here.

Digging for Fun

Clara and Nicolyn ended July by attending the annual Amazon picnic with Jonathan. This is an event that has become an official Big Deal among the Little Women. This year’s attractions included digging for dinosaur bones (well, little plastic dinosaurs), along with the usual bouncy houses, junk food, balloons, and live entertainment.

Digging for Dinosaurs

Memorial Day

The Little Women celebrated Memorial Day by hiking through Seattle’s Seward Park, which graces the shores of Lake Washington.


Of course, the best part of the day was scouring the beach for rocks, and throwing many of them into the lake._DSC4350

Armchair Travelers

The Little Women’s newest hobby is “visiting” places around the world through Google Maps.


Clara and Nicolyn claim that this hasn’t whetted their appetite for real travel, except for visiting Disneyland and Antarctica.

A Gingerbread Neighborhood

Due to popular demand, the Little Women got to decorate gingerbread houses last week before Christmas.  This year Jenelle baked all of the gingerbread from scratch.

This first picture shows Clara’s “house”.  It looks like a diabetic nightmare, but it’s really a nativity scene.  The stable collapsed before she could get started, leaving only the figures. Finding Waldo Baby Jesus is left as an exercise for the reader.


This is Annika’s castle.  (Why stop at a house?) Note the drawbridge and the coat-of-arms over the portal.

_DSC4241This is the house that Jonathan built (or decorated, anyway). _DSC4245And this is Nicolyn’s house, which she didn’t finish in time for the photo shoot._DSC4248Jenelle topped everyone this year with her Swiss-style, two-story house. _DSC4256Note the attention to detail and the tasteful use of red M&Ms. _DSC4257

The Dancing Little Women

Just in time for Nutcracker season, Clara and Nicolyn had their first dance recital yesterday. Their number was 13th on the program and just a few minutes long, but they lit up the stage in the way that only six-year-olds can.  Here are some pictures for our readers who couldn’t be there.



_DSC4210In true dancing form:_DSC4221Here they are in action.  Clara is second from the left, Nicolyn is on the far right._DSC4229The big finish.  Clara is standing in the center, Nicolyn is standing on the far right._DSC4234

Finding Satisfaction at Cape Disappointment

With Clara and Nicolyn having finished their stint in summer school, the Little Women were ready to once again brave the Great Outdoors.  They knew that the perfect place was Cape Disappointment State Park, on the southern tip of the Washington coast.  The place name came from a disgruntled 18th-century explorer who missed the entrance to the Columbia River, but that didn’t worry the Little Women.  After all, there was so much else to do at the Park, like . . .


The Little Women Camp Dish CrewHunting for shells on the beach!Looking for Shells at Cape DisappointmentSand sculptures!

Detail of the Sand TurtleOne of the highlights of the three-day visit was a hike in a nearby forest.  There the Little Women saw their first banana slug, in all its slimy-yellow glory.  This proved to be just the first of many banana slugs on the hike, and they made a lasting impression.  By the end of the hike, Nicolyn was singing her self-composed song about how she had kissed eight banana slugs.

And thus the Little Women learned that the secret to finding satisfaction at Cape Disappointment is to look for banana slugs, not the mouth of the Columbia River.

More photos are here.

Grand Teton National Park

To celebrate their tenth anniversary, Jenelle and Jonathan spent three days enjoying Grand Teton National Park (by themselves).

Grand TetonsThey enjoyed hiking and photographing the local wildflowers.  Also, Jenelle measured the park’s magnetic pull on tourists by tracking the different license plates that they saw: 40 different US states, plus three Canadian provinces and the District of Columbia.

More pictures are here.