Wednesday, April 25, 2012

You Never Know....

It was a sleepy Sunday afternoon outside the castle.

Everything seemed so calm and wholesome.

Everyone so unsuspecting.




Is that who I think it is???? Why YES! Two Belles, a Cinderella, AND Prince Charming.


And not a stitch of clothing.

Well. I never.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Gillian's Spree

Months ago I took Colin to Barnes and Noble one Sunday morning, just the two of us. Gillian was under the weather so she stayed home with Daddy. We spent most of the morning playing with the train table. Surprise, right? But then Colin discovered the selves and shelves of Thomas merchandise. And he found a "track signal" that he could just not resist. He wanted it. OH, how he wanted it. It would COMPLETE him. And his track. And it was $30. THIRTY. Now, I'm not above buying my kids little stuff when we are out and about, but $30 is a bit steep. So I drug him yelling and mad out of the store after his first tantrum about buying something. So fun.

When we got home, we talked it over with Daddy and came up with a plan. Colin had gotten some money from Grammy and Papa for Valentine's Day and that fund would contribute half the money to the signal. BUT, Coin would have to do little chores to earn the rest. I found the signal online for slightly less, so he would have to earn about $11. We made him a little chart and came up with some jobs, like putting his shoes in the cubby when we came home and getting his dirty laundry in the basket before bath. Little stuff. He did really well until he earned about $8. Then he lost interest. In a big way. He went weeks and weeks saying "no thank you" to doing his extra work and not earning any money. Thankfully, the Easter holiday "egg hunt haul" put him over the top and he could get the SIGNAL. Phew. And, really, he does love it.

Anyway, so in the middle of all of this Gillian decides she needs to earn some money too. Ok, that's fine. Same deal: Valentine Treat fund gives her $11 and she earns the other half before she can buy what she wants. I didn't really know exactly WHAT she wanted to buy with her money. She hadn't been asking for anything, so I inquired of her what she was wanting to buy.

Her answer? Jewelry.


Ok then.

Much like Colin she earned about $8 and then lost interest. But, her Easter Egg stash put her over her goal. It took us a few weeks to find time to go out "jewelry shopping," but finally this Sunday we found some time. I decided to make it a bit of a "Mommy and Gillian Date" because, honestly, we are having a rough go of it lately. Too much stubborn between the two of us. We needed some fun together.

So after nap on Sunday, Gillian packed all her money up in her fancy purse, put on her fancy coat, and off we went. My lovely Book Club ladies (who have older daughters) recommended a fantastic accessories store to us, so we had a destination. The very friendly sales lady pointed us to the little girl section and Gillian was in HEAVEN. They had little girl sparkly bracelets, earrings, necklaces, hair bows, purses, scarves, name it.

We took our time and looked at everything. Twice. And then G made her choices. She found a pretty pink flower bracelet, a pink and purple beaded butterfly necklace, and some pink hair poufs. She made really nice choices. And since they are pink and purple, they will match 80% of her wardrobe! She paid for them herself at the register and immediately put them all on!


She got a lot of attention as we walked around the mall! She IS such a cutie. We grabbed a lemonade to share and rode the escalator quite a few times, and then headed home to the boys. She was excited to show Daddy her bounty.


We had such a nice time. We really need to do it more often. I think it would do both of us good to spend some FUN time with just the two of us!


Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Caterpillar Play

A few weeks ago I found an advertisement for the Children's Theater Series in Pittsburgh and saw they were having "An Eric Carle Favorites" collection at the Byham Theater. I checked the details and the show was an hour long and tickets were $9.50, so we decided it was a PERFECT introduction to theater for the kiddos. We been interested in a few other shows in town, but tickets are usually more than $20 a piece, and that's a bit steep for preschoolers! But, Eric Carle was just our style!

So, Sunday morning we got all spiffy for our adventure. Daddy and I had a music teacher in high school who instilled a "You must DRESS for the theater" attitude. And besides, I was HOPING for a better family portrait than I got at Easter! I admit to bribing my children to take this picture. I am not proud. But I DO like the picture. And they liked their rainbow goldfish treats in the car.
(See the cute accessorizing Gillian did? I picked the dress (with her approval). She picked her long pink beads and pink bead bracelet to go with it. She ended up looking very Flapper-ish. Super cute. I think this girl is going to be FAR more fashionable than I.)

We got to the theater a little later than anticipated. Not LATE, but just not early. So we ended up in the balcony, and that ended up being fine. We could see everything anyway. Daddy took this cute shot of us waiting excitedly!
Camera Roll-215

The show was very nice. It was all puppets done in glow paint and black light with music and narration of "The Very Hungary Caterpillar, "Brown Bear, Brown Bear," and "Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me." We had never read that last one, so it was a surprise! Caterpillar was a HIT. Our favorite part was when the caterpillar would boot his leftover food off stage with his bum. Very funny. Brown Bear was very slow paced; I'm assuming it had something to do with the two puppeteers needing time. In the middle of it, Gillian looked up at me and whispered (very dramatically), "I am DONE with this THEATER." Fortunately, she decided to hang in there until the end.

After the show, we stayed for a few extra minutes while the puppeteers did a little Q&A. Daddy and I found it interesting to see how they did everything. Not so entertaining to the little people though. So, we headed out for a nice lunch and then a breezy walk over the Roberto Clemente Bridge. We had such a nice day. The kids were so good and interested in everything. We already have another theater adventure lined up for May!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Easter Sunday 2012

Sunday morning the kids were quite eager to find what the Bunny had left for them. He was pretty tricky this year and they both need a smidge of help to find their baskets. Gillian found hers' in the hall closet with all the shoes! And Colin had to look and look for his behind the curtain in the family room! Silly Bunny! He did leave fun treats though!

We had a nice breakfast with Uncle D, Aunt Cedes, Papa, and Grammy and then the kids played with their goodies while we made some stuff for lunch and got ready for church. Gillian wanted to put on her "fancy dress" almost immediately, but Colin had to be wrestled into his duds right before church. Boys. He was especially booger-ish that morning. I think it was partial tiredness and partial "I don't really like to go to church-ness".

Gillian was happy to pose with Grammy for some pictures. But would not sit in her lap.

I love this picture of G. It's such a typical expression for her. She did that all morning with her new sunglasses. Even at church.

Then we tried to get Colin in some pictures. Oy. See the above description of BOOGER.

And he kept it right up through our attempt at a family picture. Sigh.

Thankfully, he was better behaved at church. And Gillian was good too. Colin even shared with everyone at the Junior Sermon that he is ALLERGIC to eggs. Oh boy.

After church we came back to Grammy's for Easter dinner with the Keisters. And another egg hunt with JOE. Oh Joe. So much fun. All in all, a fun holiday. Even with boogers.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Pre-Easter Rundown.

Trying to catch up on Easter before the next holiday gets here! Lots of pictures to share!

We had a great Easter holiday. Dry, semi-warm weather and lots of friends and family to celebrate with. We headed to the Great North on Friday and had a nice pizza dinner with Dickie, Noonie, Uncle Stevie (who will hence forth be known as Stinkiedoo) and Aunt Emily.

We stayed with Grammy and Papa Frank this trip and Saturday morning we had some fun coloring eggs. Gillian had picked out a cool "glitter dye" set at the grocery store LONG before Easter, so we were READY.

Look how patient she appears to be.


Getting close!

Apparently we have no "finished" egg pictures! They turned out very pretty. The colors were quite intense and the glitter was pretty. Not so nice when you try to peel and eat the egg, maybe?

After eggs we met some "old" hometown friends and their kiddos at the Brockway playground for some fun. These diggers got a good workout!


Both kiddos took good naps that afternoon! Then we headed to Great-Grandma and Great-Papa's house for (a DELICIOUS) Easter dinner and an egg hunt with Sarah and Ben!

All warmed up and ready for Easter now!

Saturday, April 14, 2012


Or A-weeze as G often calls her. One of our favorite buddies. She's a sweet little baby. Although she poops a lot. She also plays a mean "Baby Simba" in the Lion King productions.


Friday, April 13, 2012

Hello Mr. Peacock!

One nice day last week, when it wasn't snowing like it was today, we hit the park and visited our friend peacock for the first time this year!

First up, we fed the ducks and geese. Colin would just throw giant chunks of bread in the water. But Gillian would take her time and rip off tiny little bites to throw. Lasted longer that way. I can you this, the ducks and geese don't care what size the bread is!

Then we visited our buddy Mr. Peacock and his nervous-Nelly Peahen.

After seeing all the fowl, we took our bikes down to the bike park. We were the only ones there so we took advantage of all the space and RACED. Colin calls his red bike Lightening McQueen and Gillian calls her blue bike Holly Shiftwell and they like to RACE. And Gillian wins every time. EVERY time. It's not that Colin is slow. It's that he's unfocused. Gillian stares down the finish line and is intensely focused. Colin? Not so much. He prefers to "enjoy the view" while he moseys his way across the parking lot. It's pretty funny to watch. I need to get a video of it!

The kids got tired of racing after a bit so we walked across the road to a little playground and bridge to play before lunch. There was more racing. Foot racing this time!

Yep. They took good naps that day. Love those active, outdoor mornings.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Bridge Builders

Colin and Daddy built this "pedestrian bridge" one night before bed. Colin got a step by step lesson is constructing the tetrahedrons (I just had to ask again what they were called) to make the bridge piers. He's catching on!
Camera Roll-207

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Birds, Birthdays, and Trains

A weekend or two ago (so behind on the blog) the kids were invited to their first "friend" birthday party by their classmate Alana. The party was at the Pittsburgh Aviary. We hadn't had a chance to get the kids to the Aviary before this, and for very good reason: Mommy doesn't like birds. At all. Unless they are well caged or on the other side of glass. At the Aviary they have free flying bird exhibits and that just sounded creepy to me.

The invitation was fortuitous though, as Colin has been BEGGING to ride the "new part of the trolley" for weeks. And lucky him, the new part of the trolley line takes you over to the North Shore and a nice, short walk from the Aviary. So, we combined two fun things into one day!

So, we parked at the local station and waited for a train. And it was chilly. Later in the day it was quite nice and warm, but the morning started a bit cooler than I had been expected. Colin took it well though:
Camera Roll-199

We had a great time on the train and took in all the sights. We greatly enjoyed our trip under the Allegheny River, even though Colin was SURE that the tunnel was going to be like the polar bear tunnel at the zoo and we'd be able to SEE the water as we passed under.

Alana's party was a PENGUIN PARTY! We actually had a real, live penguin come visit our party room!
Camera Roll-201
Camera Roll-202

And we had some snacks. It was technically lunch, but Colin refused to acknowledge that and insisted it was a SNACK.
Camera Roll-200

Gillian and I hung around the party and watch Alana open her gifts. Gillian and Alana have very similar tastes, so G was impressed with her haul! Colin was ready to move on though, so he and Daddy explored the Aviary for a while.

When they came back it was time for cake! Yum. Gillian really enjoyed that too. By then the party was winding down, so we headed out and all four of us went to see the rest of the Aviary. Which was quite stinky. Yet another reason to dislike birds. We did see some cool birds though. And none of them flew at me or pooped on me, so that was a success.

And look how cool these flamingos are!
Camera Roll-204

So, now we've been to the Aviary. And need not return. We did have a good time on the trolley though! I KNOW we'll be back on that!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

When I Grow Up

This is one of Colin's current favorite phrases....

"When I grow up, I'm going to....." a tow truck. a firefighter.
....have a motorcycle and drive fast. an engineer like Daddy. an engineer. Like on a train. an astronaut. a trolley.

Busy boy.

And Gillian? She never tells us what she wants to be when she grows up. I asked once and she told me she was going to be a ballerina. But she never brought it up again.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Flower Show Fun

Last weekend we had the pleasure of meeting Grammy, Papa Frank, Uncle D, and Aunt Cedes at Phipps Conservatory. We had been meaning to get the kids to Phipps for a while and with the spring flower show starting, it was perfect timing.

Checking out the plant globe with Grammy.

Some pretties:

The kids had a very good time. They actually checked out some of the plants and enjoyed the pathways. Colin also really like the windmill set up in "The Netherlands" room with all the tulips.
Apparently Colin and Uncle D were very photogenic.

Phipps had a cute little "farmer's market" set up with booths of vegetables and fruit, shopping carts, and check outs. Very fun.

We were pushing buttons (always a favorite) that controlled the fountain. Fun times.

Oh, one other funny from the day. As we wandered through the Desert Room, Colin was pointing and chatting away. Then all of a sudden he stopped dead in his tracks and just STARED at this ceiling tall cactus. He whispered, "What is THAT?" And then he literally CLIMBED up my body onto my shoulder. He was majorly FREAKED by that cactus. Thankfully he was easily calmed once we scooted past it. Ok, so no western adventures for him!