Transformation Tuesday: The Zoo

When we realized that there was a photo of Greg and Arianna from July 2, 2010 that looked exactly like what a photo of Greg and Isla would look like, we decided to go to the zoo and grab another photo.


One, hasn’t Arianna grown up so (way too) much?

Two, I think that Isla and Arianna are the twins, just six and a half years apart, right?

Three, don’t we all wish we could age like Greg?


A Zoo Day

Today was a Zoo day for us. The trip was planned basically last-minute to get a picture for a #tbt, honestly. But the kids really proved themselves out yesterday and this morning, so they more than earned this “surprise”.

Note – posts on this blog may contain affiliate links. 

Admittedly, we don’t get to the zoo enough. We had to think about it – had the girls been there yet? The answer was yes, but was the Ice Cream Fundae the first time? We still aren’t sure, sorry girls. We will be remedying our lack of zoo time with more trips because did the kids love this day.

First, we were excited to try out our freshly bought Graco double stroller (the girls have moved on up in size and the Snap n’ Go). But, as always, getting to the zoo and actually walking around with a double stroller was a bit of a pain. Though watching the girls react to the animals and seeing the Bigs light up at their reactions made it all better.

The Bigs had to get measured by the elephants, of course.

zoo day

We had to adjust Ava’s seat so she could see, and even carried her for a little bit (wishing we’d brought some baby carriers with us – but testing out the stroller was top of our list).


Isla really enjoyed sitting out front, telling everyone (especially the elephants and monkeys) hi!


I hung out on the beach with Ari and Evan at the Islands.

Pittsburgh Zoo Islands

And Greg got a chance to sit with all four of his kiddos in the shark tank.


What a great day it was for a zoo day!


Disclosure: This post is brought to you by Bolthouse Farms Kids™ and The Motherhood. All opinions are my own.


The four ‘lil Burghers are always snacking. Thankfully, I’m trying to show them how to make healthy snack choices when they must eat all the things right this minute. Since it’s back to school season, we’ll also be looking to reinforce healthy snacking habits by packing options that kids will love (like veggies, salsa, low-fat cheese sticks, or fruits). It’s like we are a real, live SnackMob! 😉

We were able to catch the Bolthouse Farms Kids™ Snack Mob truck at the Pittsburgh Zoo last weekend. It was a hot day, so we all welcomed a taste of the Strawberry Meets Banana smoothie. This snack quickly made its way to our grocery list because it was refreshing, healthy, and tasty.

Arianna and Evan couldn’t wait to get to open these! If you’re wondering, they are a twist cap but still easy enough for them to open.

And the truck? It was awesome to see the truck in action after hearing about it. We LOVE food trucks, especially ones that hand out treats and coupons! (Psss…you can snag a coupon good August 1 – December 31, 2015 here if you can’t make want to give these a try.)



If you have yet to catch the Bolthouse Farms Kids™ Snack Mob trucks in the Pittsburgh area, you still have time before back to school. They will be at the Junior Great Race on September 19 (8 AM at Point State Park) in addition to several other weekend events up until then. You can find more here: You even have a chance to have the SnackMob truck crash your own party. Tweet the date and type of event you’re hosting to @BolthouseFarms with #SnackMob and #Contest in your tweet. Must be 18 years old to enter / have 100 people minimum at your event. Contest ends September 10, 2015 at 11:59 PM (see



Bolthouse Farms Kids™ is making it easy for kids to go back to school in a healthy way with their refrigerated line of real fruit and veggie snacks. We’ll be integrating grab-and-go choices like Chili Meets Lime Veggie Snackers (carrots) or Peach Meets Mango Smoothies in Arianna’s school lunch while Evan might chose a Blueberry Meets Raspberry Fruit Tube for an after school treat. With 25 to 90 calories // real ingredients // on-the-go packaging, we can’t go wrong. (You can read more about these treats on my first post about them here or at

Bolthouse Farms Kids


Experience Columbus: The Columbus Zoo

Disclaimer: Experience Columbus sent my family and four other Pittsburgh Mom Blogger families on a weekend getaway to check out their city. We were compensated in the way of attraction passes and gift cards; however, this does not impact the views expressed in my recap posts (including this one). All opinions are my own (or my kids’ / husband’s).

‘lil Blogger me is supposed to sit down and right yinz a stellar post about the #1 Zoo in the United States. The Columbus Zoo. The zoo that I knew as an elementary school kid  that now my children beg to go back to. It’s a post that’s been spinning in my head for weeks (among five zillion other things that we have going on in our ‘lil world).

But I mean, seriously. How am I supposed to put words to paper about how incredible the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is?

Maybe it’s telling you that Jack Hanna is kinda a big deal there, and he’s made sure that the animals have plenty of space and real-to-life habitats in this zoo.

Or that the Zoo has a really awesome “Hoofit” Program with the local health plan, telling you ways to stay healthy & hydrated during your visit. (By the way, we walked/ran the zoo twice and I had almost 30,000 steps that day between the trip and my morning 5k.)


Or the fact that you can get super close to the elephants (our favorite).


But maybe you’d want to hear about how good the brand new Heart of Africa exhibit is, complete with a great lunch spot, camel rides, and giraffe feedings.


Or that there are manatees in the aquarium.


I’m sure my mom and dad want to check in on the gorillas that I know Jack and I kept them at for hours during our visits.


And Jack will totally be jealous to hear about Dinosaur Island, which was well worth the 45 minute wait and near potty accident to take a 3-minute boat ride around a river of dinosaurs.



And Grandma and Pop Pop would not be surprised to know that Greg’s kids like snakes.


And you all want to see our family photos from the trip, too (source: Kaman’s Art Shoppes).



There are just way to many things to tell you and show you and gush about. And while I don’t want to mix up my ‘Burgh loyalty (’cause our zoo is pretty awesome), I’ll tell you that the Columbus Zoo deserves its accolades. I can push out of my mind that I am pretty sure the attached waterpark, Zoombezi Bay, was probably crowded because it was oh so hot that I spent way too much money on water bottles to keep us hydrated throughout the day. And I’ll forget the fact that even after two loops, we still missed stuff because the path isn’t straight (but totally keeps you on your toes). Or that I got super frustrated in the Discovery Reef because there were too many people in there trying to catch a break in the A/C. Because lemme tell you. This zoo is incredible.

Bonus? The polar bears swim. Lots. They get it.


If you get it and want to check out the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium, head over here to learn more about tickets (including how to add Zoombezi Bay to your entry — we are going back in July to take advantage of this!). And HERE to see more of our photos!!!

Members’ Night

Last night was the Pittsburgh Zoo Members’ Night. Being a busy mom, I still haven’t shared the Members’ Night photos from last month (but need to–we got some great moments captured with the kids and Day-Day).

This time around, we opted to leave the camera at home and just enjoy. Of course, that’d be the time when Arianna decided to go up to non-creepy characters and cheese. And at the same time, I would be bumped by 5,000 other families trying to leave the zoo at the same time, thus a quick second to take a blurry photo with my phone. Either way, here’s the moment:


You’ll have that. Call it camera karma.

I promise to do some photo uploading this weekend. I’m a poker widow tomorrow night and backed out of shopping with mom due to back to school shoppers sure to be out in full force. All I need is a dress!

Roses Really Smell Like

On Sunday, we had a beautiful day in Pittsburgh. I did my run and then convinced Greg to get out of bed and we take the kids to the zoo. We went with about 5,000 of our closest friends, it seemed.

Our favorite exhibits, the elephants and the rainforest caused some interesting conversations for (a potty-training) Evan.

As he and Arianna stood against the rail in the elephant house, some ‘lil boys came up and pointed to the remains of the dinner the animals were eating. Of course, being ‘lil boys, they giggled and laughed, yelling out that it was “Elephant poo”. Our ‘lil “Pete n’ Repeat” decided this was hilarious and that they would scream and shout it as we traveled from the elephant house to the giraffes.

Thinking they had given up on the phrase of the day, we ventured through the rainforest, only to finish it up with a display of the poo in action by the gorillas. So now the new funny was “gorilla poo!” and it stuck pretty much through the rest of the time there.

As I helped Evan get ready for bed, he was taking care of business and proclaimed his poo less stinkier than the elephant or gorillas. Oh, we definitely have a ‘lil boy on our hands and have so many crazy years ahead of us!

(PS, have you considered helping me help other parents with the precious years they have with their kids? Sponsor my half marathon run for Genre’s Kids today!)

Our Elephant Memories

When we visit the zoo, our kids, by far, enjoy the elephants the most. ‘lil Miss A’s first real word (at 2 months old, and I can’t make this stuff up) was “Ellie”. (Granted, she didn’t speak a peep again for a LONG time.) ‘lil Man was captivated on this last trip, staring for minutes on end and waving (as if the elephants could see him). One of the best things that the Zoo offers is an opportunity for a photo with one of the elephants. We’ve taken the chance twice now, and will probably continue to share a “progression” as the kids get older.

Here we are in 2010, the summer I was pregnant with ‘lil Man:

And here we are last Friday:

Smart Beyond Her Years (a Saturday Bonus Post)

It was Members’ Night at the Zoo. Normally, we would head to the zoo with cousins and spend our time in Kids Kingdom before it got too busy; however, this time, A had her opinion. When asked if she wanted to go, she said, “Mama, I really need to see my Ellies and Monkeys, they’re my favorite!”. There was no denying the kid of her happiness (and besides, I think that she’s too big for the “toddler” play area and too small for the antics of the line cutting older kids–but that’s a whole different post that I am sure Mr. Burgher would LOVE to share with you), so we embarked on our trek through the animal exhibits.

When we got to the Elephants, she of course had no qualms about “going to the stinky”–walking through the elephant house. For several moments, she stood amazed at the Mother Elephant eating her dinner. Finally, she looked up at me, blue eyes a’glow and said, “Mama, that’s you if you were an Ellie. It’s the Mama Ellie, she’s eatin’ her dinner!”. I was touched that she knew the parallel between mothers, so I asked her if she was an Elephant, what would she be. Of course, because she’s smart beyond her years, she laughed and said, “Mama! I’d be your BABY ELLIE, silly!”. And without batting an eye, she bid farewell to the Mother and headed out the door.