Sunday, January 31, 2010

Great Chieftain o' the Puddin-race!


So, what does one do to make the cold, dark, dreary month of January a little more fun? Well, one way is to humor a good friend and cousin in his quest to eat (supposedly) disgusting food, drink Scotch, and listen to bagpipes. In other words, we attended my cousin Matthew's Burn's Supper on January 23rd. In case you don't want to click on the link: a Burn's Supper is a dinner given in celebration of the famous Scots poet, Robert Burns.

I'm not exactly sure what prompted Matthew to WANT to have a Burn's Supper. He is not a poet, or a poetry lover, to my knowledge. I strongly suspect that he a) wanted to make all his friends and family eat haggis b) wanted to listen to bagpipe music and c) wanted to wear a kilt. In any case, he succeeded on all accounts.

So, Matthew and his girlfriend, Rachel, put lots of work into this evening!
They researched the traditional menu, music, readings, and other traditions for the dinner. They, and other family members, cooked a lovely meal of potato soup, roast lamb, mashed turnips, boiled carrots, Shepherd's Pie, drunken triffle, shortcakes, and cheese. Oh, wait, and did I mention: Haggis.

So, the haggis. The haggis is the STAR of this event. It has an entrance, like the President at the State of the Union. Seriously. Matthew had invited our second cousin, Molly, to dinner and to play the bagpipes for the Entrance of the Haggis. Sadly, Molly forgot her bagpipes at her home in State College. She was crushed. We were resourceful and found bagpipes on the internet! Not the same, but still within the spirit of the evening. So, the music was found, haggis cooked and paraded into the dining room, and THEN the pinacle of the evening. The Address To a Haggis!!

This was the SECOND performance of the Address. If you can believe it, the first was even better. Oh yeah, there was a lot of scotch consumed post-haggis. Here are some stills from the first performance:

How did the Haggis taste? Not nearly as bad as you would suspect. Honestly, I only tried a bite. It was sweet and non-offensive, to me. Michael thought it was good, but dry. I'm glad I can say I tried it.

After dinner, we snacked on cookies and cheese and had readings of various poems. There were several Rabbie Burns' poems read, and, much to everyone's delight, Matthew had found some of my great-grandfather's poems to share with everyone. My Great-Grandpa John was apparently a bit of a poet; it seems he mostly wrote down little goofy poems about farm life, his pets, friends, and kids. It was nice to read his poems, and hear my Grandfather talk about his dad a bit.

All in all, it was a very, very enjoyable evening. Oh, yeah, Colin and Gillian stayed with Grammy and Grandpa Uhl, so Michael and I REALLY had a good time! Thank you Matthew for being such a goof, and for having such a great idea! Cheers!


So Lea and the kids were kind enough to get me a miniature remote controlled helicopter for Christmas. Observe the look of joy on my face as I practice flying it before we head North for Christmas proper.
Well it turns out that the kids LOVE to watch it fly. They Love the Helicopter. They love it so much that when I come home from work, they run over to the door in the entertainment center where I keep the it and pound on the door until I get the helicopter out (this pounding is behavior that we'll have to modify, but anyway...).

Well, it turns out that it's not just actual flying helicopters that they like but even non-flying ones too. We went on an outing to Barnes and Noble today so that we could get them some new books. After playing for a while in one end of the kids' section, we migrated down toward the other end. There we discovered a train table outfitted with Thomas the Tank Engine trains. Among the trains Gillian discovered the "Harold", the helicopter that goes along with the trains. After finding it, she started to fly it around the kids' section:

(I apologize for the poor quality of the video, it's my first cell phone video). When Gillian eventually got tired, Colin had to pick it up and fly it around too. They're OBSESSED with helicopters! I see this as a hopeful sign that they'll be engineers.

Monday, January 25, 2010


The kiddos tried their first Oreos tonight. Gillian seemed to enjoy hers' (along with the pulled pork, oven fries, applesauce, and blueberries); Colin didn't eat his and asked for a graham cracker instead.


(Can you see how swollen and miserable her gums are?)


Tuesday, January 19, 2010


C&G were getting pretty shaggy around Christmas, so I finally got them an appointment with Miss Mary Ellen for a trim. She cut Colin's hair preeeeeeetyyyy short, the way Daddy and I like it! And Miss Gillie just got a trim to keep the mullet away!


Monday, January 18, 2010

A Moment of your Time....

Last October, a friend of mine's beautiful baby daughter was diagnosed with SMA (Spinal Muscular Atrophy) at birth, and in three short weeks passed away from this horrible disease. There's a great thing happening on facebook, where Chase Community Giving is giving money to charitable organizations based on how many votes the organizations can get from facebook users. The Gwendolyn Strong Foundation, a grassroots organization committed to finding a cure for SMA, made it through the first round of voting (and received $25,000, which they promptly donated in its entirety to SMA research), but needs your help to make it to the top 5. If you have a facebook account, please go to and vote for the Gwendolyn Strong Foundation!

If you'd like more information on SMA, visit my friend Molly's blog:
or go to the website for the Gwendolyn Strong Foundation:

Vote! It's FREE and easy, and by voting you could help fund the research that will find a cure for a devastating disease.

(Thanks to Suzi for this blog post, I out and out copied it)

Looking Fine.....

On Saturday, C&G got a little spiffed up. Mostly for fun, since they have SO many clothes, and not many places to wear them. First up, Colin in his first flannel. What a little MAN!

And our pretty little lady:

It's Like Kissin' Your Sister

Gillian is a kissin' fool, although her kisses are rather toothy and wet. But, she pretty much kisses on request. The other day Daddy told her to give Colin a kiss, she leaned in, puckered up, and then......Colin escaped.

He does give her a bedtime kiss though, so there is SOME love for his sissy.


So, Colin and Gillian are really interested in toys right now. Obviously, they've been playing with toys for a long while now, but they are really into using toys the way they are supposed to be used now! If you show them what is supposed to be done with a toy, they mimic it pretty well, especially Gillian. They received a metric ton of toys for their birthday, and half a metric ton for Christmas, so I am bringing new stuff into the "playroom" (AKA our living room) every 10 days or so. They are pretty excited to see new stuff. Michael took these pictures a few weeks ago after the rocket entered the mix!

Gillian putting the alien into the driver's seat:

And then putting the alien into the Rover:

Now it's the astronauts' turn!

We also had recently brought the ride on car upstairs, and both kiddos had fun sitting on it, "fixing" it, and, mainly, pushing the buttons.

Another current favorite toy is a teddy bear, large or small! Colin, in particular, loves teddy bears. He picks them up, hugs them, and kisses them. It's just about the cutest thing ever. Teddy Tackle!

They are also enjoying the tunnel that they got from Uncle Stevie and Aunt Emily for their birthday. It is the first thing they request when they get up in the morning, and we HAVE to get it out about four times a day. I don't have a recent picture of them in the tunnel, but the cats enjoy it as well.

Sunday, January 3, 2010


Daddy took a few pictures on Saturday while I was getting some groceries. C&G had just gotten up from their nap; Gillian had awesome bedhead (they both need haircuts again) and they were both wanting to play with the same stuffed doggy. You can see more of these pictures on Flickr if you'd like.

Bedhead Gillie!


Got him!
(A little out of focus here, but too cute to delete)

No, I got him!


Ok, fine, I'll play with a sock.

No, wait, I want the sock.
(It's around the back of her neck)

Twins. Toddlers. Awesome.

You Know You're in Trouble....

When this is the best picture you get when trying to get a family portrait.....


C&G would have NONE of it. (Honestly, the ones of the four of us are worse)

Happy New Year

Grandma RoRo and Grandpa Greg were kind enough to come down and watch C&G so that Lea and I could go out for New Year's Eve. We had made plans with friends to go downtown for Pittsburgh's First Night celebration. Alas, we made it downtown a little late to see many of the events/activities. We did however listen to a swing band for a while, watch a glass blowing demonstration, and catch the last half of a performance from "Good Night, States".
We then went down to the main stage to wait for midnight and fireworks...
Here's a brief video from the First Night celebration:

Christmas: Times Four, Part 2

We celebrated Christmas with the Uhls on the Saturday after Christmas. We headed over to Grammy and Grandpa's house after the kiddos took their morning nap. We were greeted by Great-Grandma Hannold, Uncle D, and Aunt Mercedes too! By this time Colin and Gillian had determined what presents were for, and helped themselves to the pile under the tree! To distract them a bit, Grammy offered them their new sleds to try out!


Colin also had some fun playing WallWalker slash Spiderbaby with Uncle D!


Gillian was very interested in helping to open everyone's presents....and then biting them.....

And then examining them...

We also learned at lunch that Colin is a big fan of prime rib! That was quite a discovery since he somewhat of a picky eater! Also, we discovered that Gillian is NOT a fan of cole slaw, no matter how much she may tell you that she wants to eat some.

On Sunday evening we went back to Grammy and Grandpa Uhls' for pizza supper and Christmas with the Keisters. Unfortunately, the Keisters had other plans that day and weren't able to make it until it was almost time for us to leave for the evening. We only got to see them briefly! Colin did take the chance to sit in Grandpa's big chair and try on Grandpa's special Christmas hat.....

Friday, January 1, 2010

Christmas: Times Four, Part 1

After Colin's dr's appointment on Christmas Eve morning, we piled in the ole' car and headed the the Great North for our many Christmas engagements. The kids were so tired that they slept really well in the car, and since she was sitting up, Gillian didn't cough the entire time. It was tempting to let her sleep in her car seat at night after that!

We traditionally celebrate Christmas Eve at Grandma RoRo and Grandpa Greg's house. This year Uncle Willis made yummy mushroom risotto and Uncle Stevie grilled up some yummy flank steaks. Gillian really enjoyed the risotto! I couldn't spoon it in fast enough!

After dinner Grandma RoRo, Michael, and I took the kiddos to Christmas Eve service at the Beechwoods Church. We kind of dashed out the door, so there aren't any pictures of them looking totally cute, but trust me, they did. They were pretty good at church, but Colin needed Grandpa Frank and Daddy to take turns taking him to the back of the church. He just wanted to explore and move too much for the pew. Gillian stayed in pew, but had to pass toys and whatnot back and forth with Cousin Sarah and Jacob. After church, we went back to Grandma RoRo's and quickly put the kids to bed (only an hour later than usual). Then Grandma, Grandpa, Steven, Emily, Willis, Michael and I exchanged presents.

On Christmas morning the kiddos were up and at 'em at the usual 7:00, although they had slept very well! After breakfast, we directed them to the present pile from Grandma and Grandpa. There was one very BIG box, and it was more fun to climb on than to unwrap!
Inside was a very cool basketball hoop!

They were really getting the hang of it by now:
(Colin is wearing a Halloween shirt because I forgot our nighttime diapers and he kept soaking through his pajamas. This was all that was available!)

We were all headed to Great-Grandma Smith's for Christmas lunch that day. Unfortunately, Colin did not nap well that morning and lunch was running a little late. (Let's just say that Mommy and Colin were NOT in the best of moods and leave it at that. It was not our finest hour) Anyway, lunch was finally ready and served, then it was on to more presents. This side of my family is so big that we exchange names from Great-grandparents down to the youngest cousin (excluding great-grandchildren), so everyone gets one or two gifts but no one breaks the bank. We all crowd in the living room and open one at a time. Usually it works pretty well, but it was a little much this year for some reason. Anyway, Michael snapped some cute shots during present time.

Grandpa Greg and Gillie checking out the new Jack in a Box from Great-Grandma (it's actually NOT scary):

Colin looking handsome in his snowman shirt:

Gillian showing off a new favorite toy, a mug. She really likes them for some reason. She is wearing the dress that I wore for my second Christmas. She looked pretty darn cute in it. I need to find a picture of me in it to scan for on here....

Pretty soon after those pictures the kids had HAD IT. Daddy took them to our temporary home for a nap, and I had some pie. After the afternoon nap, we headed into Dickiedoo and Noonie's for Christmas supper. By this time Michael and I were worn out, and had decided that next year we would be serving pizza buffet at our house for any and all who would travel to see us. But, the kids did well at my Dad's; they ate well and were quite charming for their grandparents and great-grandparents Bish. However, we were so tired that no pictures were taken. We will try harder next time!!

Part Two to follow with Christmas #4.

Christmas at Home!

Before we left for Grandma's on Christmas Eve, Michael, Colin, Gillian, and I celebrated our own little Christmas. Fortunately, Santa is a very understanding fellow and was accommodating enough to drop off some presents a day early for Colin and Gillian. He totally understands that some children have to travel on Christmas. What a guy.

Here's our little pile of Santa presents! He brought Colin and Gillian cell phones, two little pillows, and the stockings with their names on them with books inside!

Both of the kids are far more interested in presents than they were two months ago at their birthday. They now like to rip the paper, and will sign "OPEN" if there's something in side that they want!
(Note to self: Wear something cuter for Christmas morning photos next year)

The kids LOVED their cell phones from Santa! He know exactly what kids want!

Mommy and Daddy got Colin and Gillian a nice toy storage unit with shelves and bins for the living room. Very function and needed, but certainly not as fun as Santa presents!

T'was the Week before Christmas and all through the House...

All the babies were sniffly, wheezy in fact! Oh yes. You read correctly, more illness for a holiday. Monday before Christmas I could tell C&G were getting colds. We were already headed to the pediatrician to check on the cough that Gillian had had since Thanksgiving. That visit was fine, Gillian's lungs were clear and Colin's were too, as I asked her to kindly take a listen to him too!! Tuesday morning, I could tell Colin wasn't breathing well. I had a mandatory work meeting, so Daddy took him to see the doctor (again). The dr said he was definitely wheezing, so he got a steroid shot and we were to use the nebulizer. Wednesday rolls around and Gillian's cough is much worse, AND Colin is only making it 45 minutes between nebulizer treatments (not good). So, Daddy takes Gillian to the doctor (again), and I have to take Colin to the ER since the dr can't get him in soon enough. Gillian got another all clear, and an apology from the dr that she couldn't do anything for the cough. Colin and I had a fantastic time in the ER. He had an HOUR LONG nebulizer treatment. I tried to convince him that it was the perfect opportunity for a nap, but no luck there. He also had a chest x-ray, flu swab, and RSV swab. All negative, thankfully. They send us home saying to use the nebulizer every two hours and see the pediatrician in the AM. That brings us to Christmas Eve morning. Fortunately, we got an 8:30 appointment. The dr was pleased with Colin's breathing at that point in time, although he, thankfully, prescribed an oral steroid (which they should have done at the ER). He told us to be aggressive with the nebulizing, and that we were darn close to an inpatient stay. He also found a lovely ear infection! At least we found THAT before leaving for Grandma's!

So, let's sum up: two sick kids, 4 dr's visits, a trip to the ER, three prescriptions, one nasty cough, and a partridge in a pear tree. However, we did make it to Grandma's for Christmas Eve. And, by Sunday both kids were feeling much better. We follow up with our regular pediatrician in a few weeks to see what our long term plan for the asthma is.