Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Touch a Truck

Last Saturday we had our annual visit to the Pittsburgh Touch a Truck! I think this is our third year going, maybe? It's still too noisy for the kids, but they seemed to enjoy themselves anyway! Gillian in particular had a delightful time collecting accessories. I think she ended up with a crown, a tattoo, a necklace, a pin, and two bracelets. And a cookie.

Starting with a firetruck or two and a police motorcycle. And some cool shades.

It took a while for G to warm up to climbing up the big trucks, but finally she took a turn.

Oh, Daddy's favorite? This guy and his station wagon.

And then Gillian found the booths ringing the truck parking lot where she could make a crown, a necklace, a smiley cookie, and everything else her little heart desired. Fun times.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Last Day of School

First off, I've experienced the last day of school as both a student and a teacher. Both are very fun days. And now I've experienced one as a parent. Not nearly as thrilling. We have a fun, busy summer planned, but I'm still going to miss my few hours a week of "alone" time. I had gotten in the habit of weekly exercise at that time and some time to run errands by myself in a more relaxing manner! BOO HISS to losing that time. Oh, well, September will be here before we know it and I hope to have two morning of "alone" time. What a luxury!

So, anyway, last Friday was our last day of school for this year. Completion of the Two's Class! C&G had a wonderful school year. They loved their teachers, the toys and activities, the playground and muscle room, and all the kids in their class. I think it was a great experience for all of us! Even the concussion. Maybe.

Obligatory Last Day of School Pictures.
You can compare to First Day of School Pictures and see how they've grown!

Parents were invited for a short ice cream party at the end of the day and for a little "good bye" ceremony. I got a quick picture of the kids and Miss Heather (left) and Miss Kim (right).

And then the kiddos got nice certificates of completion to mark the end of the year! Colin immediately put his to good use.

Great last day! And after a fun summer, we'll be ready for more!

Sunday, May 20, 2012


Pittsburgh is a great place for kids. Just a great city full of fun. Especially when the weather gets nice. Last week it was the International Children's Festival in these parts. I had heard of it in years past but we hadn't visited it yet, but when we saw The Caterpillar last month, Colin saw an ad for it and we HAD TO GO.

In particular Colin had seen a picture of an apple falling in a big pool of water and splashing everything and he wanted to go see THAT. "That" was a play called "Plop." So I did my research, enlisted Uncle Willis to accompany me (I'm not so crazy as to take the kids into a giant festival alone), and got us tickets to see "Plop."

There was great excitement for many reasons: 1. We had to drive into the city (FUN), 2. We parked in a parking garage (BIG fun!), 3. We were seeing an Uncle (WAY fun.), and 4. Splashing apples (SUPER fun). Pre-show fun and excitement:
(Gillian had self accessorized with silver sparkle stars that day)

"Plop" was in a small theater in the basement of the Cathedral of Learning on the campus of the University of Pittsburgh. It was intimate. And we sat on the floor about 4 feet from the action (Uncle Willis took advantage of a small stool nearby claiming he was too old for the floor. Whatever.). You can see in this picture some tubes above a tank of water; totally central to the plot.
Basically, the story was that these people were on a picnic next to the "lake" and kept hearing a bear. The bear was played by this HILARIOUS DJ guy on the side of the stage. He had all sorts of microphones, recordings, sound effects, toys, and whatnot to make audio for the production. So, the bear was scaring the people. He would pull the rope handle, we would hear, "PLOP, Plop, plop, PLOP!" and then SPLASH down came an apple. At first the people were frightened but then they discovered all the fun things they could do with the apples, like toss them, float them, hit them, cook them, and so on. It was FUNNY. Finally the bear came after the people's pie (made from the afore mentioned apples) and the people snuck over to the handle, pulled it, and scared the BEAR. Preschool hilarity, I assure you. Excellent theatrical selection Colin!

After the play we explored the Cathedral a bit and then headed across the street to see all the festival happenings. Like giant bubbles:

We also hit up the petting zoo for some baby animal attention. The goats REALLY liked Gillian's necklace. A lot.

The one place I wanted to check out was a giant (like football field sized) inflatable maze that was set up for the festival. It was supposed to be a "quiet, contemplative" space with no running or yelling. I'm not sure WHY it was set up a Children's festival then! The kids did enjoy it. So did Willis and I, even though it was HOT in there! The pictures don't do it justice.

Shots of the ceiling:

A side "nook":

Group shot!

After the maze I was trying to convince the kids it was time to head home. No one was pleased with that suggestion. We did walk back towards the (SUPER fun) parking garage, but got distracted by the carousel. Ok fine, ONE time on the carousel. Colin really wanted to ride the "spinning tub" seat and thankfully some nice little boys shared with him.

And Gillian was VERY pleased to get a bejeweled bunny to ride!

THEN I had to drag them kicking and screaming to the car. And that's why it was so awesome that Uncle Willis came along! Along with the pleasure of his charming company! Fun, fun day. We'll put it on the calendar for next year! Although I'm already having trouble convincing Colin that "Plop" won't be back next year! Oh boy!

Friday, May 18, 2012

M-Day 2012

Mother's Day once again. I don't think we've quite yet hit upon a tradition that we will continue year after year except that the day is spent together and with Grandmas! Oh well. On actual Mother's Day we met Grammy, Papa Frank, and Uncle D at a local place for brunch. The kids were excited since they are super into restaurants lately. Especially if they can order "chicken nuggets, french fries, milk, and ketcup." Luckily they let us order OTHER food for ourselves! It was a nice lunch and since I had a mimosa with brunch, I joined the kids in sleeping at nap time. Since it was a rainy, dreary day, we just hung out at home, watched a movie together, and had breakfast for dinner to wrap up the day.

Before we went to lunch I asked Daddy to take our traditional Mom and Kids picture. Oh, the cheese faces. We really need to do something about that. And, yes, I bribed them again to take pictures with me. So what.


We spent the day before Mother's Day with GraGra and Papa since they were down that Friday for Uncle Willis' law school graduation. We had donuts for breakfast, visited our peacock friend, and got lots of playground time. That was a nice day too! But no pictures!

And for myself??? Daddy and I made an arrangement the week earlier for him to be IN CHARGE while I had a day to myself. I shopped leisurely by MYSELF, had lunch by MYSELF, and treated myself to a pedicure. Perfect. And very much enjoyed. Thanks, Daddy.

Oh, the pictures from our previous annual Mom and Kids photo can be seen here, if you have an interest:

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Beary Special Tea

Last Friday the kids invited me to their "Beary Special Tea" party at school. I was happy to accept! Daddy had to work and since he had just been in the week before to read, we decided it was probably ok for just Mommy to come to tea. And it turns out that all of their classmates had Mommy there too, so while it wasn't meant as a Mother's Day event, it kind of turned out that way!

As we arrived, Miss Heather had us wait in the hall and she called all the Moms in one at a time so our kid/s could give us a bear they had made and a hug. Then we all sat a table that the kids had made a "centerpiece" for. Apparently they had a ball arranging the artificial flowers in cups for the table. Colin was sure to point them out to me.

For our special treat we each got a pretzel rod, a big marshmallow, some icing, and some rainbow sprinkles. I'm pretty sure this treat was imagined with the kids in mind, NOT their guests! Holy sweet! Anyway, they were enjoyed!
(Colin just kind of nibbled at his until I removed the marshmallow, then he devoured the pretzel.)

One of the other Moms was kind enough to take a picture of the three of us.

A Beary Special treat indeed!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Science Center Fun

Last week one day I had an early morning appointment and Daddy just took the whole day off so we could have some fun! When we got up that day, the weather looked iffy for the afternoon, so we decided going to the Science Center was the safer (dryer) choice. And, really, it was the ONLY choice Colin was willing to entertain anyway. The entire week previous he woke every morning and told me "Let's go to the Science Center today." He didn't even want to wait for Daddy to come with us!

So anyway, off we went! We had a variety of fun stops.

Water fountain play:

Robot friends:

Especially RD2 (no, not a typo, that's what Colin calls him, RD2):

And a REAL METEORITE. Holy cow. We talk about meteorites EVERY single day, so this was a TREAT.
(See that talk out of the side of his mouth thing Colin is doing? It's this awesome new "thing" he does. Makes me bonkers.)

After the meteorite and the model trains (that we have no pictures of) we went into the digital planetarium to watch a short movie. It was pretty neat. Full of Big Bird, stars, constellations, the moon, and MORE METEORS! Then we had a quick lunch and moved on to the upper floors. They are "hands on" stuff that Gillian couldn't wait to get to.

Brusha, brusha, brusha....

And then onto the "Sports Works" portion of the museum. Gillian's favorite part! She headed directly for the trampoline. And got in line to wait (a short-ish wait this time).


And then it was her turn! And I got really blurry pictures.

Daddy used his phone to grab a quick video too. Colin is obviously unimpressed.

Colin declined to trampoline. He and Daddy took a virtual body tour (which was totally up his alley) and played some table hockey, maybe?

And then some BIG Operation.

And a race or two...
(She likes to win.)

And some yo-yoing.

And then home after a lot of fun. We got a membership this time, so I'm sure we'll be back! Kids LOVE it.