Thursday, May 27, 2010

It's All Happening at the Zoo!

Michael and I have been wanting to get back to the zoo before the schools let out and before it gets too hot. Well, we met one of those criteria!

Since Michael is finally finished with his crazy work project, we headed to the zoo yesterday morning. It also happened to be the warmest day of the year so far, just our luck! It was just the four of us, so Michael and I were on our A-game!
(The family that wears hats together, stays together??)

Our plan was to arrive at 9:00 when the zoo opened and stay until lunch and then come home for nap. Thanks to rush hour we were a little behind schedule, but that didn't end up mattering anyway. The place was pretty empty when we got there, and, actually, stayed pretty empty (unless you are counting the MILLIONS of field trips). It was still better than a weekend.

I like the zoo in the morning because the animals are actually DOING things. We were really lucky this time; we saw/heard the male lion roaring, the baby elephant splashing, the giraffes eating, and, oh yes, the POLAR BEARS SWIMMING.

We have been to the zoo probably four times since the polar bear exhibit opened, and each time Michael is desperate for the bears to be in the water so he can see them from the underwater tunnel. He was set for disappointment this time too since the bears were not cooperating when we were checking them out above ground. By the time we got to the underwater tunnel though: TA DA!

Ok, so now you know Michael and I enjoyed ourselves, but what about the kiddos? Well, we decided that they had a good time, but they couldn't have cared less if there were actually animals at the zoo. What did they like? Well, Colin liked the 1,000 school buses we saw on the way there, he liked the grasses and leaves that grew along the paths, and he really, really like the water in all the exhibits. Like it so much that he kept trying to get IN the water.
Checking out the cement termite mound:

He totally wanted to get in with the fish:

And Gillian? Well, she like pushing the stroller, picking grasses along the path, and playing with the binocular stands at each exhibit. I accidentally took a picture of the ground, but it's pretty cool with Bean and my shadows in it:

Using the binoculars:

Despite the fun at the rest of the zoo, the kids REALLY had fun at the children's section of the zoo. Especially the slides. Bean was wicked fast on those slides too! Fast down the slide, then ZIP back up the steps again. She was hard to keep track of! She tried out a few of the animal statues, briefly. She was already climbing off the camel:

Here is Colin climbing the "wall" that served as the stairs for one of the slides:
Is it any wonder they were tired?

Oh, they did end up being interested in some animals. On our way out, the elephants were in the elephant house and we could get about 15 feet away from them. Much more interest then! We had both kids making lots of elephant noises!
Look at this cute baby!
All in all, very fun, if not a little hot. We're planning to go back at least one more time this summer!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Self Family Portrait

Pretty good, right?


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Alternative Bean

Gillian was rockin' the stocking cap that's in her dress up box today. Minus pants. That's how she likes to roll.

We thought she looked like a little snowboarder.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I (w)on(e) the Sandbox...

The Kids love the outside... they love the it! This gave Lea the idea that they needed to have a sandbox. So on Saturday we drove down to the local K-Mart where Lea had it on good authority that they had Turtle sandboxes for rock-bottom prices. After searching around the inside of the store, we finally managed to locate some turtles outside in the garden department. After picking up a turtle and a mini-picnic table (and some flowers), we headed home for a nap. Well, the kids took a nap, and I went to work, but to each their own.

After work, a nap, and dinner, we went to Lowes and bought our sand. By the way, Colin LOVED Lowes too. The reason: THEY HAVE A WHOLE SECTION DEDICATED TO CEILING FANS! He was in Heaven! Despite the fact that the natives were starting to get restless we headed over to Rita's for some ice and ice cream.

The next day, after the kids' afternoon nap, we went out and used the sandbox for the first time. It was a hit:
I took the liberty of procuring some miniature excavation equipment for the kids when we were out at Wal-Mart earlier in the day...
Colin thought it was great:
While Bean thought it was fun, she did need to take a break and mow the lawn with bubbles:

Monday, May 17, 2010

You Scream, I Scream

We all scream for ICE CREAM. Well, maybe not ALL of us.

It was a beautiful day in Pittsburgh on Saturday, so we took good advantage of it. We picked up a sand box for the kids, some flowers for the deck, and played on the playground and in the backyard. After dinner, we ran to Lowes to get some play sand, and then on for some ICE CREAM!

Colin and Gillian have both tried ice cream before, but they've never had cones. Time for that to change! We stopped at our local Rita's and placed our orders! Gillian really enjoyed it, I think! She dove right in!

Colin grabbed his right away, and said, "Mmmm, num, num." And PRETENDED to eat it. More, "Mmmm, num, num." No eating though. We put the kids down in the back of the car to eat their cones. And Colin immediately climbed over TWO rows to seats, leaving his cone in the dust, so he could "drive" and push buttons.

Gillian was kind enough to hang out with her parents and eat some ice cream.

Well, Michael and I enjoyed our treats anyway.
(Colin's untouched ice cream)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

How to Wrestle Alligators (AKA My Mother's Day Photos)

I had a lovely second Mother's Day! I was certainly better rested than I was for my first Mother's Day. That, in itself, is enough reason to celebrate in my book.

We had a pretty low key day; up early with the kids and waiting for the Grandmas. We also had Uncle Stevie and Aunt Emily visiting for the weekend, so it was a full house by 11:30. Grandma RoRo, Grammy Lynn, Grandpa Frank, Uncle Stevie, Aunt Emily, Michael, Colin, Gillian, and I met Uncle D and Aunt Mercedes for lunch. Yes, a large crowd. We had a nice, but not speedy, lunch and headed home.

I drank tea and watched the TiVo during naptime while Michael mowed the lawn. After the kids got up, we bundled up and played outside for a while. Then dinner and bed for the kiddos. Michael was nice enough to treat me to a movie COMPLETELY of MY choosing in the evening. I chose "It's Complicated," and I really enjoyed it. Michael did not. I think this is my new Mother's Day tradition!!

Before lunch I asked Michael to try to get a picture of the kiddos and me. Um, this is what we got:

Aaaaaannnndddd, the winner!

Yeah, 2 out of 3 ain't bad.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Bubbles and Babies

Some of C&G's favorites right now are baby dolls and bubbles. Colin kind of likes the gear that goes with the baby dolls, like the stroller and the pretend spoons, but Gillian is REALLY loving the baby dolls right now. She likes to carry them every where, feed them, put them in an old sleep sack, put them to bed. It's pretty cute. Daddy got some pictures of her on the deck with her stroller the other night. She was trying to make the seat belt buckle work and she was making some funny faces.

(She looked so sweet in her summer dress! She really enjoyed it too, as she would much prefer to be naked anyway!)

Both kids really like bubbles too. We have a few different bubble delivery systems. Colin has a bubble mower, they have a little spill proof bottle and wand, and they have a really cool tiger that blows awesome bubbles when you squeeze him. Colin was using the old fashion blow-on-the-wand model on the deck the other night. I'll add that he DID wear a shirt with these overalls on Friday, but he had been stripped down for dinner and only the shorts got put back on. (I am just not a glutton for laundry anymore, so they eat naked when it's warm enough!)

Couldn't you just EAT HIM UP??? (And pardon my rear end in the background. Thanks Daddy.)



Fun times!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Colin's Happy. And He Knows It.

One of Colin's current favorite songs is "If You're Happy, and You Know It." He picked up the motions pretty quickly too. He claps for the claps, stomps for the stomps, and attempts to snap for the snaps. The last move he does looks like more snapping, but it's more of a fist pump. The absolute BEST part of the video though, is the small sibling squabble towards the end. Over a book nobody really wants anyway. Classic.


Thursday, May 6, 2010

School Days, School Days!

Last Friday was a big day for C&G! Since they are officially 18 months old, they are old enough to join me at the school for daycare! Miss Amy, our regular babysitter, is awesome, and she will still come to the house every Thursday to watch the kiddos. And Daddy has them every other Friday on his day off, but Grandma RoRo had been driving over 2 hours the other Fridays to watch them, and that needed to stop. We loved having Grandma visit every other week, and she loved watching them, but it was getting to be too much for her, especially in the winter! I also thought it was time for my little monsters to get some experience with other kids and try out some new experiences. (Oh, the employee discount for daycare didn't hurt either!)

I had to get Colin and Gillian up a bit early to be at school by 8:00 (the worst part is that we have a 50 minute drive to school), but they woke up happy and raring to go! So, I got them dressed and shuffled us all to the car. They snacked on cheerios and milk in the car, and Colin kept us entertained by pointing out every bus and truck along the way. I grabbed a couple of quick pictures on the way:

(Oh yes, Baby came with us.)


They were totally fascinated by their classroom and immediately warmed-up to their new teacher, Miss Linda. It was nice that there were only two other toddlers in the room that day; there were two other little boys that are about 2 1/2 years old. I was a brave toaster and only stayed for a few minutes then left. No one cared. At all. Awesome?

I actually had a paperwork day last Friday, so there weren't any kids to see, so I sat at my desk and did paperwork all morning. The teacher I work with, Miss Laine, was kind enough to take the camera to the gym when the kids had gross motor time and she took a few pictures and a little video for me. I can tell you that I heard Colin laughing his head off the entire them they were in the gym! I could tell he was loving it!

(This video is mostly Colin, but you can see Gillian and baby in the background)

After the kiddos had eaten lunch, and Miss Linda called them little piggies, I went back to their room to pick them up to head home! I could tell they were exhausted, but they seemed pretty pleased to see me! They made some awesome glitter spider webs, played with play-do for the first time, and enjoyed themselves so much! Miss Linda said that were just such happy children and were so much fun to have in class! She said that Gillian really like playing housekeeping in the kitchen and that Colin really liked dancing and music! Yay! Makes a mommy proud!

So, off we headed for home and a nap. The thing I was most nervous about was that they would nap in the car for 30 minutes, and then not nap when we got home. That would make me cry. Colin was quite happy to stay awake, ok, not totally happy, there was some whining, but he was awake at least! Gillian, on the other hand, wanted to fall asleep within five minutes. I kept her awake for about 20 minutes, but then I lost that battle. Majorly:

Luckily, she fell back asleep when we got home. At least for a little while!

So, good first day of school! We got back next Friday for round two!!

Monday, May 3, 2010


C&G love a good playground. Who am I kidding? They love a crappy playground. Give them something to swing, slide, climb, push, or spin and they are happy campers. While we were north for Great-Grandpa's birthday party, we tried out the playground at the park in Brockway. I think it's a really nice playground, and the kids seemed to agree. We were there for an hour!

Of course, Daddy had the camera, and he got some nice pictures to celebrate a year and a half with our munchkins. I really like these pictures because you can see their wonderful, distinct personalities, and you see how full of energy and curiosity they are. They are also beginning to be little hams for the camera!


The playground had these fancy type Sit N' Spins that both kids (and Grandpa Frank and Mommy) really enjoyed. They liked spinning on them and playing in the dirt around them.

All of the plastic tunnels and slides made Gillian's hair a little crazy:


I like the next three pictures because you can see just how happy Colin was to be playing, and you can see how crazy huge his teeth are. We have some serious orthodontist bills in our future.

Look at this cutie-pie Bean! She totally posed for Daddy!

Well, after a good long time of fun play, it was time to go. We had a party to get ready for! Despite several warnings, Gillian did not take kindly to saying bye-bye to the playground. As you can see:

Anyway, we had a great time. We love the playground!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

18 + 80

Well, 18 months and 80 years, that is. Colin and Gillian turned 18 months old on April 24th. We were visiting the Great North for the weekend, since my Grandpa turned 80 on April 26th, and my family had planned a BIG party for the awesome occasion!

Grammy Lynn and Grandpa Frank were nice enough to keep the kids while they napped, so Michael and I could help get ready for the Big Party! C&G, Grammy, and Grandpa joined us a little later after the kiddos got some rest.

Great-Grandpa had a "Tractor Themed" party, what else? So, the cake and cupcakes were decorated accordingly:

(Rachel and Matthew made the tractor picks for the cupcakes. How tedious. But cute.)

80 never looked so DELICIOUS! (That's an exclamation point after the 80. We had a few too many cupcakes!)

Then the guests started arriving! I believe Michael and I compromised on an estimate of 70-85 guests in total. Most of the guests were extended family, but my Grandpa has quite a collection of friends, and of course there were church friends as well. It was a great group of guests....who managed to eat four freezers of homemade ice cream, a sheet cake, and about 40 cupcakes! Some pictures from the event:

Grandpa and my cousin Jacob. This is a great picture of both of them:

Grandpa and his first cousin Wesley. I believe Wesley was in my Grandma and Grandpa's wedding party, but I may be wrong about that.

The Head Table! My Grandpa and his cousins Anna Bess and Jack. They all turned 80 this spring. And, why yes, those are good genes.

Since we had so much family present, Michael was kind enough to try to get a family portrait. All of the people in these photos are descendants of my grandfather, his sister, and his twin brothers (and those related by marriage to those descendants!). Each picture by itself is nothing spectacular, but as a flip-book style slide show, they crack me up. It so hard to take pictures of large groups, but we gave it a try.
(The slide show doesn't go quite fast enough on here for the humor to be apparent, sorry)

Anyway, my Grandpa seemed to have a fantastic time, which was the point. He is a wonderful, hard-working, good man. He deserves a party and all the love and affection he can get.

Update - Here's the final, properly cropped portrait: