Thursday, June 30, 2011

Happy Cats

Our cats love summertime when they have access to the deck. Our deck doesn't have steps off of it, so it's pretty safe to leave them out there for as long as they'd like. At least in the day time. Schmo has been known to get into some trouble out there after dark. So he has a curfew.

But, daytime? It's all good!
MoMo has been on a diet. Can you tell?

Right after I snapped these pictures, the kids came tromping and screaming onto the deck. The cats quickly excused themselves. Schmo and Weasel love the deck, but not enough to share with crazy toddlers!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Another Statement

This isn't what she started the day wearing, but by 4:00 she looked like this:
Oh boy.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Once we moved the kids into their big beds, we set up a chart to help us reinforce the "stay in your bed and go straight to sleep" aspect of the new bed set-up. We let the kids pick their own rewards this time. Gillian has had her eye on a Marshmallow Peep lollipop from Easter (yes, two months ago) so that was her pick, and Colin really, really like his popsicle from our last day of school, so that was his pick.

They are doing a great job of staying in their beds and (usually) going straight to sleep, so they earned their treats pretty quickly! Good job, kiddos!

(We gave G a popsicle too, just to be nice. Colin declined a marshmallow peep. Smart boy.)

Yum. Yum.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Bums and Bucket Trucks

Last week one day, perhaps Thursday, we had great excitement at breakfast! Colin heard a noise, peaked his head out on the deck, and, low and behold, there was a bucket truck in the neighborhood taking down a tree! You would have thought the Pope pulled up with The Beatles in his trunk, that's how excited C&G were!

They ran and got their stools and pulled them up to the deck railing for a better view. The sight of them, in their undies, watching the tree trimming truck was just too funny.
(You can see the boom of the truck just above the deck railing on the left-hand side of the picture)

Fortunately I did convince to them come in for some breakfast after a bit, but once they ate, they went back out to watch them finish the job. Such excitement. We could hardly stand it.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Daddy's Day!


After our crazy Friday and Saturday full of running here and there, we were quite ready to spend a quiet day at home. We had planned on taking Daddy out for breakfast and the kids had their hearts set on it (and had talked about it for 5 days before Father's Day), so we did run out for French Toast, bacon, and bagels. Other than that though, it was a quiet day at home. Thankfully.

The kids played in the yard and caught up on some sleep. I caught up on laundry and tried to tackle the never ending de-cluttering process! Daddy relaxed and worked on some computer projects he's been plugging away at. He assures me it was a very nice day.

I really hope he did enjoy his day. Michael is pretty much the best Daddy in the world, in our minds. He deserves at least one day of appreciation!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Not Such a Great Evening

After our busy evening of concert-going, we had a slightly grumpy morning around our house. So the kids went down for nap a little early and had a good, long sleep. We were running again after nap though because we were supposed to be going to a birthday party for a 2 year old friend of ours'. His party had been rescheduled from a few weeks ago when he was sick; we thought they had just switched the date and left everything else the same! So we made our way to a local park that we had never been to before (it was nice, we might go back sometime) and looked for our party. No luck.

So Daddy went for a walk to make sure we were in the right spot and see if he could find our party. No luck, again. Hmmm. Interesting. Michael assured me we were in the right spot. I assured him it was the correct date and time. We don't have smart phones, so no checking, email, or whatever. For some reason I don't have the birthday boy's mom's phone number either! BOO. What to do? Well, we just decided to go out for some dinner and make the best of it.

It was still early so we took a bit of a walk through the neighborhood. We found a fountain and train tracks, so that was fun.

The kids were less than enthused to go to the restaurant and their "legs were tired." That should have been a sign. We sat down and BOOM a very large crash from outside as the waiter walks up to the table. Hmmmmm. Turns out there was a three car accident on the street right outside. It wasn't super serious and no one was hurt, but there was lots of this:
Much to Colin's delight. Anyway, there was lots of wiggling, dropping things, and going to the potty. And not much eating by the young ones. At least Daddy and I ate our (very yummy) food. Sigh. Just not an enjoyable experience. I guess that will teach us to take very tired, grumpy little people out to eat on a whim.

Oh yeah, and the party? Turns out I missed the email that changed the time of the party to before lunch. It went to my junk account instead of my "good" one. So, yes were in the right PLACE (thank you, Daddy) but not the right time. Sigh.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

First (not so great) Concert

Last Friday night we gathered up the kiddos and headed out over the hill to one of the county's free summer concerts. It happened to be the "Hometown Music Fest" that evening and we were particularly interested in hearing a local band called Lohio. We knew there was a chance of NOT hearing them since we didn't know the exact line-up of bands, but it was free and a nice evening, so WHY NOT?

So over the hill we went and settled in.
We packed some food and drinks, and Matt and Rachel (or Match and Rachel as the kids were calling them) joined us with more food!

We had fed the kids some before we left, but apparently we didn't need to. I've never seen these two chow down like they did on Friday night! They ate chicken, watermelon, pretzels, name it. It was pretty funny; they just kept going back for more!

And then they ran. A lot. Up and down. Left and right. Around and around. And we went potty. We always have to go potty. Gillian has a severe case of "I've gotta use every public restroom." Oh, and we visited the ambulance and police car. Good thing the music was less than stellar because we couldn't have enjoyed it anyway!

Gillian did manage to slow down long enough to get Daddy to dance with her! Colin helped me take these pictures too!
Isn't that lighting ridiculous? So pretty!

Anyway, we stayed way past Kid Bedtime and the music was not good, so home we went without hearing Lohio. But, the kids had fun, although Colin did tell us "That too loud for me," several times! We are hoping to catch one or two more concerts this summer with the kids, hopefully they will be First (Good) Concert material!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Last Day

Last Wednesday was our last day of Mommy & We class. The kiddos and I had been going for about a year to a class offered by the company I work for. It's open to children 18 months to 3 years and is lead by the wonderful and amazing Miss Melanie. Colin and Gillian absolutely loved going to that class. As soon as I told them each Wednesday that it was Melanie School Day, I'd get big grins and Colin would tell me, "I think I love Melanie."

Daddy and I are so grateful to Miss Melanie for such a positive first "school" experience for the kiddos. I think those early learning experiences really do set a child up with a mindset that school is either FUN or not-so-fun. We definitely have two HUGE school fans here! C&G are all signed up to go to preschool (without Mommy, as G is sure to tell you) one day a week in the fall. They can already point out "New School" when we drive past it and are quite excited to start after Labor Day!

I only got a couple of pictures from our last day of Melanie School Beach Party. I'll just say that the highlights were push-pops and water balloons!

Gillian playing "store" during free play.

Colin showing off the fish we made at craft-tine:

We are going to miss Melanie a whole bunch, but we already made promises to meet to go swimming sometime soon!

Monday, June 20, 2011

And a Big Boy Too!

About five days after we moved Gillian over to her big girl bed, we moved Colin into his Big Boy Bed. Or Big Bear Bed, as he calls it! He is doing very, very well with it. He is such a phenomenal sleeper that I wasn't too worried about him, but toddlers can throw you for a loop sometimes!

As you can see, he was pretty excited about it!


Friday, June 17, 2011

Little Backyard Picnic

Colin and Gillian have been wanting to have a picnic for a few weeks now, and we finally had a nice weekend day to squeeze one in! Sadly, due to mowing, cleaning, and other whatnot we ran out of time to actually drive over the hill to picnic in the park, so we just threw a blanket out on the back lawn for lunch last Sunday! Fortunately, the kids were satisfied with that! Really, they are easy going about stuff like that most of the time!

So, a bagel with cream cheese on the lawn...made Colin happy, anyway!

G scarfed down her bagel, grapes, and "stinky" pretzels too!

They really did have fun, and we ate dinner on the deck that evening, which they loved too! We'll have to get some more of that this summer!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Hello, Big Girl Bed


Last Friday night we finally had to take the rail off Gillian's crib and turn it into a "big girl bed," I know we did really, really well to make it past 2 1/2 years with cribs! Despite being fully capable of getting in and out of the cribs by themselves for quite a while, neither kiddo really ACTED on that skill until about two weeks ago. So, Mommy finally worked up enough nerve to let GO and we made the leap.

And, it's been going really well. Gillian had already been working on a bedtime chart for going "straight to sleep" and we added a "stay in bed until Mommy gets you" caveat, and she's been chipping right away at filling up her circles. She's already earned an ice cream cone!

She's obviously loving it!
This was her first night in the "big girl bed"!!!!

Colin's up next. I just couldn't do both at once......

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Smokestack Visit

I think I've mentioned before that our Costco is located on a reclaimed brownfield site. Yum. One supreme advantage to this, in the kids' minds at least, is that we have access to SMOKESTACKS whenever we go shopping! Another advantage is that huge freight trains rumble by every 10 minutes while you shop.
(Note: These aren't ACTUALLY smokestacks, but instead open hearth furnace stacks used in steel production)

It was nice on Friday while we were down at the store, so after we loaded up our purchases we spent 5 minutes exploring and running and touching.

First you have to check out the sign. Gillian says so.

Then we just ran.

Friday was a very, very rough "toddler" day around it's nice to have picture proof that we did have SOME fun.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Charts and Balloons

Continuing along our potty training journey.....the kids were doing very, very well staying dry most of the time while they were awake. They would each have an accident every once in a while though, so I thought I'd see if some visual, positive reinforcement could make a difference! So, we made them each a chart with five squares on it and at bath-time if they had stayed "clean and dry" all day long, then we colored in the square. I told them when they got five days "clean and dry" in a row, we would go get a BIG balloon treat!

Gillian got her balloon about a week ago and I think it took her about 2 weeks to earn it. She, of course, picked a big Cinderella balloon, just like we got Grammy and GraGra for Mother's Day!

It took Colin a bit longer to earn his balloon....he's really good about telling us when he needs to poop....not always so great with the pee. Oh well, he's still doing a GREAT job! So, on Monday we were going to get a Thomas balloon for Colin!

We had spent the morning in the park and I left just enough time before lunch to stop at the dollar store to grab a Thomas. So, OF COURSE, they didn't have any! Seriously, who doesn't carry Thomas balloons??? And at this point, I had talked the thing up so much that there was NO WAY Colin was going to go home without his Thomas. I knew Giant Eagle had balloons, so we drove down the road to the grocery store, booked it across the parking lot, and rushed to the balloon and flower desk! Thankfully there was a very nice lady working there and she hooked us up!

As I was tucking Thomas into the back of the car, Colin was staring at him happily, and said, "Mommy, Thomas is a really good friend." How sweet is that?

After lunch I got some quick pictures with the oh-so-goofy kids and their balloons!


Poor Cinderella is starting to get kind of soggy and tonight Gillian had a total fit when Cinderella got caught in the ceiling fan, but beside that, we are really enjoying our BIG BALLOONS!! Good work kiddos!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Concert Season!

Michael and I have been quite, quite spoiled (musically) in the past few weeks! I posted earlier that we went to an Avett Brothers show on my birthday (if you are unfamiliar, think Joey Ramone crossed with Jed Clampet...honest). They are my current favorites and I was pretty excited to see them on my birthday!


Matt and Rachel went with us!

The show was great. Super high energy. And we stood the whole time...nearly 4 hours. Ok, I am WAY TOO OLD to stand for a concert like that. Ouch. But, totally worth it.

Then two weekends ago, Michael's favorite singer/songwriter, Josh Ritter, was going to be nearby for a FREE, yes, FREE show at the county park. It was too late in the evening to take the kids, so GraGra stayed with them, so Michael and I got ANOTHER evening to ourselves! It was a really nice night too, perfectly warm and clear. You can take food and drinks with you to these shows, so we packed a little picnic too!

Beautiful evening!
Oh yeah, and we SAT the whole show. That's what I'm talking about.

There were some technical difficulties when Josh first came out and the audio wasn't working. See the sad man....
He was very worried. Fortunately, the roadies ran and fixed it pretty quickly. Good thing too! It was a great show and we sang along to the WHOLE thing.

See Josh sing.

See the happy parents. We sat, ate, and watched all these other parents try to corral their small children. And we laughed at them.
However, THIS weekend we are taking the kids to another free concert just over the hill from us. I'm sure other people will be laughing at us.

There are several more free shows we want to see this summer. Pittsburgh has some SERIOUSLY good talent coming, and most of it for FREE. Yet another reason to love this town.

Thursday, June 9, 2011


Last Friday was Daddy's day off and it was a beauty! Sunny and not overly hot, so we planned a trip to the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium. It was Grammy's first day of summer vacation from school, so she and Papa Frank met up with us for a fun, fun day. The kids have enjoyed the zoo in the past, but this time they absolutely loved it. Especially Colin!

We didn't tell C&G that Grammy and Papa were meeting us (we've found it best to NOT share information ahead of time with the kids, keeps expectations LOW). So the kiddos were pretty tickled to see who was there to accompany us!
Ok, G doesn't look thrilled, but that's just how she rolls. Trust me, she was happy.

First up are the big cats. These are Daddy's favorite. He just has a big soft spot for lions, tigers, leopards, cheetahs, and the like. They were mostly sleeping when we were there, but we stopped back on our way out the three tiger cubs were have a good wrestle then.

Nestled in the middle of the big cats is a flamingo exibit. I don't know why. I'm sure it makes sense to someone. Colin had been talking about the flamingos for a WEEK before we got to the zoo. He has a couple books with flamingos and would bring them to us and make us find the picture of the flamingo and then talk about it for 10 minutes. I have NO idea why.

Needless to say, Colin was VERY excited to see the mini-flock of flamingos! They were dancing, eating, standing on one leg, and even flapping their wings at us. Colin was just so thrilled. Thrilled enough to demonstrate his own one-leg-stand!


More crazy bird fun with this very curious ostrich!

The elephants were also pretty popular! The herd at our zoo has three young elephants; two were born the summer/fall of 2008 (I remember I was on bed-rest when they arrived) and one was born last summer, I think. The youngest one and an older sibling were out in the yard when we got there. The baby was drinking with his trunk. It was just pretty darn cute! When we went into the elephant house, one of the adult elephants was getting a bath, with the help of some carrot treats. The kiddos thought that was pretty funny, they are still talking about it!

Colin: Still smaller than a newborn elephant. For which his mother is very grateful.

The highlight of my day (besides watching the kids have fun) was Mr. Silverback Gorilla. He was just amazing. He was munching on celery and a head of lettuce. His expressions and movements were just SO human.
And, yes, he was sticking a stick up his nose.

The OTHER highlight of the day, for kids and adults, was this crazy peacock. The zoo has a couple free-roaming peacocks and peahens that just show up randomly where ever they want throughout the zoo. This one really liked the roof of the aquarium. Excuse me, the PPG Aquarium. He would spread out his tail feather and CROW. He thought he was HOT STUFF. Colin thought he was HILARIOUS.

As our day wound down, we made our way through the Kid's section of the zoo and snapped a quick picture on the tortoise. It's pretty much mandatory.

As we were headed out of the zoo, we came across the bottom portion of the sea lion exhibit. We had checked them out up top, but the kids weren't much impressed. However, when they pressed their faces against the viewing window and the sea lions buzzed by them underwater, they were very amused!
They were both laughing their heads off. Colin kept telling us "He KISSING me!" as the sea lion swam by. The big bull sea lion was just doing lap after lap and almost rubbing his belly up against the window. It was very funny!

Lastly, we hit the carousel. Daddy and I usually try to bypass the rides at the zoo. But, you know, Grammy was along to say yes! The kids were thrilled!

Colin and I picked a nice spotted horse. I was so relieved he liked to ride! Last summer he did NOT like rides.

Grammy and G picked a pretty black steed! And, as always, Gillian LOVED her ride!

Oh, where was Papa Frank??? Poor guy got stuck pushing the double stroller all day. I don't think he minded though.

So, fun times at the zoo! We got a family membership for the year, so we'll be going back again soon!