Thursday, September 30, 2010

Wait, what?

Tomorrow is October? Huh. Not sure how that happened.

Anyway, we've been pretty boring lately. No crazy Canadian ice sports or whatnot. Although, happily, Colin did make it through his first cold with NO WHEEZING since last Thanksgiving. Happy Sigh. The same cold really knocked Bean for a loop and she was pretty much drowning in snot for about nine days. Fun times.

Anyway, last Saturday or Sunday it was reasonably warm, dry, and snot-free around here, so we headed to the park. The kiddos had fun pushing their strollers around the duck pond and over the foot bridge, and then we headed down the the mini-Stonehenge (our best guess is it's an art installation). Bean and Bubba really like to climb on the rocks, and JUMP off (with help)! They were looking pretty cute in their (Grammy provided) Halloween shirts, and luckily, we had the little camera!

I had to remove Gillian's large, pointy stick first!

Not so pleased with her Mama...luckily, I'm used to it.

Ok, getting back to cuteness....and teeth.



And, we're done with this!

Anyway, we are headed straight into October, and it's a crazy, crazy month for us. I apologize in advance if we get behind!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Crazy Curling!

This past weekend, Michael and I had a fun date night (thank you GraGra and Papa Greg) and we met a bunch of people to go curling. Yep, curling. That crazy ice sport that only surfaces on American tv during the winter Olympics. We've actually been before, so this was our second attempt!

Pittsburgh is home to, not surprisingly, The Pittsburgh Curling Club housed at the Robert Morris University ice rink on Neville Island. They offer several open houses throughout their season and offer to teach random people (such as us) how to curl. It is a blast.

You cannot take yourself very seriously while trying to glide on ice, pushing 42 pounds of granite, and aiming for a four foot circle about a mile down the ice rink. You are guaranteed to fall on your bum at least once, so you might as well get it over with.

Anyway, this is what curling is supposed to look like. Crazy Canadians.

This is what our curling lessons looked like.....

This is me learning how to push off, being taught by the awesome Mark. He's Canadian. Listen to how positive Rachel is about this!

Now Matthew "throwing" and Rachel and Michael sweeping. Matthew had a tendency to throw a little "heavy" and shoot through the back of the target...

And finally, Rachel throwing and Michael and Matthew are sweeping. Now, standing down at the target is the "Skip" of the team. The Skip tells his teammates when to sweep and how fast to sweep (to help the stone go faster or farther). Michael and Matthew do not listen well to their Skip. That's all I'll say on that.

Anyway, our little foursome played a mini-game against some other newbies (although, I hear they had a ringer). We lost. We didn't even score a single point. Very sad. But still fun.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Please, Turn Down Your Volume

WARNING: This video is funny, but very, very ear piercing.

The kids are currently cracking each other up. The just look at each other and laugh hysterically. It's pretty cute, but L-O-U-D.

Yes, that is a plastic bag. And, yes, we did take it away.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


So, Bean's favorite new word is, "SELF!" She says it proudly and frequently whenever she a) wants me to leave her alone to do it herSELF or b) she accomplishes something BIG all by herSELF! It's pretty funny, when it doesn't throw a kink in our plans to accomplish anything quickly.

Anyway, Thursday was a rainy, inside kind of day around here. Our first in a long while actually. So, we did play-dough for a while, then got the blocks out. Colin quickly lost interest in the blocks and went off to play "bus." But, Gillian was INTENT on using every.single.block in one structure. Her focus is amazing when she gets on a task. She was SERIOUS about this. And, she did it. All I did was "shore up" some of the less stable off-shoots.

When she was done, I got out the camera to take some pictures of her with her creation. She was very pleased with the attention, I think.

She's a funny Bean. That intensity, while maddening at times, will get her far in life!


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Headed Back Down the Rabbit Hole

Sigh. The day I've been dreading since early April is here. Colin woke up this morning with a cold. I know, I know, we've been incredibly healthy for FIVE months, which is amazing with two toddlers. But, I DON'T WANNA! I just don't wanna have the asthma mess happening all over again. I am hanging on to the idea that he is now on two preventive drugs, and we have a plan of action in place with the allergist. Perhaps that will be enough to keep the wheezes away. Fortunately, he is quite happy this morning, just snotty and congested. We'll keep you posted....

Ok, so I'll throw in a cute picture to cheer us all up!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Green Bean!

Apparently she wanted to taste the green marker.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Zoo Reunion!

On Saturday we took the kiddos to the zoo! I had made plans to meet up with two friends from graduate school and their children. I hadn't seen Erinn since graduation in 2002, and I hadn't seen Amy in about 3 1/2 years! So, it was time to catch up!! I was really looking forward to meeting Amy's son, Nicholas, and Erinn's two cuties, Ellie and Jack! We were lucky enough to have known Amy's twins, Maddie and Alina, since they were about two weeks old!! And, of course, we were happy to introduce Colin and Gillian, as well! (So, that's 5 adults and 7 kids under 7 at the zoo!)

It was a beautiful, beautiful fall day in Pittsburgh on Saturday. Actually, it was reminiscent of the actual 9/11. It was fitting to be with Amy and Erinn on 9/11 since, in 2001, we were all together at Penn State starting our second year of graduate school. I remember huddling in Moore Building with these ladies all day, listening to the radio (we didn't have a tv) and scrambling for information, like most of the country. What a scary day, but at least we had each other.

So, our zoo day! I will just say, that Colin had the time of his life!! He just seemed to love it all. He really looked at all the animals, what they were doing, and telling us all about it!
He was impressed with the elephants apparently:

And the koi:
(And isn't he just the cutest in he Penn State jersey??)

Gillian's favorites were the African Painted Dogs. They were right up close to the glass wall, sleeping, and she thought they were pretty cool:

Both kiddos were super excited to see the BIG FISH in the aquarium tanks! Also, they really enjoyed the penguins swimming around like nutballs (like penguins are want to do). Colin was just giggling and giggling at those silly birds.

Colin loving the fishies!

G getting up close and personal with the tank:

One together!

Gillian's other favorite part of the zoo was this kayak near the sea otters:
If you remember from the beach, she is really into boats!

Colin took a different approach:

Oh, yeah, another highlight from Colin's day...WORLD'S BIGGEST FAN!

So, Gillian was none too pleased to have to leave her kayak, so we took that as a clue that it was time to head home (it was already 1:45 and WAY past naptime). Before we left, we wanted a picture of the ladies and kiddos together.

So, chaos:

Then we settled into semi-chaos:

Look at those lovely ladies, and those adorable kiddos!

It was so nice to see old friends, and meet those awesome kids. We are going to try to plan a whole class reunion in State College for next summer. I can't wait!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Big, Big Boat

Pittsburgh had a visitor over Labor Day weekend. The Point hosted a WWII-era Landing Ship-Tank for five days, and it was open to visitors all weekend. It so happens that my Grandpa Bish served on an LST during WWII both in the invasion of Normandy and in the Pacific through the end of the war.

In the past ten years or so my Grandpa has started talking more about his WWII experiences, so we had heard some LST stories (although, I'm SURE we haven't heard the best ones). My brother, Willis, had wanted to go see the boat, and it turns out that my Aunt Pat and her kids arranged to bring my Grandpa and Grandma down for the day. My Grandpa's health and memory haven't been good lately, but they borrowed a wheelchair for him and they safely made the two hour trip to Pittsburgh. Michael and I took C&G into town on Labor Day to meet Uncle Willis, Grandma, Grandpa, my aunt and cousins. I think there were 13 of us in total.

We got there a bit before the traveling contingent, and this is what we saw:

A big, big boat with a big, big line! The line stretched WAY beyond the end of the boat and down towards the casino. Ugg. This wasn't going to be good. So, Michael and Uncle Willis helped the kiddos explore while I was the place-holder in line.
Colin enjoyed playing under the pedestrian bridge:

And G enjoyed playing on the steps:

So, I finally met up with the rest of our party, and soon after a volunteer with the LST came down the line. He stopped and asked my Grandpa if he was a veteran. "Yes," we said. My aunt mentioned that he had served on an LST as well. This nice man then said, "Gather up your party, we'll take up right up to the front." WHAT? How nice is that? I mean, the youngest WWII vets are now in their 80's and their numbers dwindle by the day and it was just the nicest thing to let them go ahead (and save, literally, hours of waiting).

So, we got on board. It was pretty surreal. You could still smell diesel, grease, and dirt. It was hot, and in my opinion, cramped. It was hard to imagine the bottom of this ship filled with twenty tanks (TWENTY!), troops, and gear headed out across the ocean. It took my Grandpa a while to realize where we were and what was going on. He kept asking, "What kind of ship is this?" We'd tell him, and he would say, "Oh, I served on one of those for years." But, by the time we worked our way onto the upper decks, he seemed to adjust and started telling some stories.

Grandpa on the lower deck with my cousin Chris, her son, Adam, and her niece Lindsey.

While serving on active duty, Grandpa was a signalman. Meaning he used Morse code and signal flags to send and receive messages from other ships. Here he is telling Uncle Willis and my cousin John how that worked, and probably several other stories:

We thought the big compass on the bridge was pretty cool:

A view of the bridge looking back from the deck:

Oh, Gillian used the deck for some sunbathing:

It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience to be on this kind of ship with my grandfather. I hope it meant a lot to him, and I hope he remembers the day. It's events and experiences like this that remind how indebted this country is to the bravery, sacrifice, hard-work, and resilience of the Greatest Generation. It is amazing to realize what their daily lives were like during WWII, and how much of a difference they truly made.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

N' Cream Cheese

In the past few weeks, Colin has discovered the beauty of cream cheese. YAY! I'm happy to have the excuse to keep it in the house! Both kiddos are happy to scarf down a bagel and cream cheese for breakfast, or even for a quick lunch! Yum. Colin will request it, frequently, with a, "N', Cream Cheese!"



Colin talking about cream cheese and being a ham.

Monday, September 6, 2010

King of Summer!

This summer we joined a CSA, or Consumer Supported Agriculture program. It's a farm share in which we get a beautiful bag of fresh produce every week from a local farm. Specifically, we joined the Dillner Family Farm's CSA. We have been delighted with our weekly fruits and vegies (that we also supplement from the local Farmer's Market). I will admit that I was a little nervous at first about ALL of the vegies that we've never tried before, like collards and kale, but we've done remarkably well trying them, and (mostly) like them. We are, it turns out, not fans of kohlrabi. Michael has been waiting ALL summer for a farm fresh watermelon. I knew it would be late August before they were ripe locally, and, sure enough, this past week, WATERMELON. (Or WATIE if you are Colin)

Now, this was a lovely specimen, if I ever saw one. So lovely, that we had a take pictures!

(The pepper, potatoes, and peaches also came from the CSA)


How was it? BEST of the summer, without a doubt.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Just Peachy!


Just wanted to slip in a picture of this beautiful pie that I made last weekend! It sums up our summer: Just Peachy!!

Funny Buffles

Just wanted to post some pictures of our picnic in the park last Friday. This is when Colin told us all about the "Funny Buffles!"

First we eat:

G really enjoyed her first hoagie!

Colin stuck with the crackers and grapes:

Mmmmm, lemonade!

And, finally, checking out the buffalo!