Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Short Trip to Pittsburgh

A couple months ago, Todd mentioned planning a short trip to go see Fallingwater in Pennsylvania and having the girls stay with his parents.  Of course, he didn't anticipate how popular Fallingwater is (or maybe it's just really popular in the fall) so when he went to buy the tickets a couple weeks ago, all the tours were already sold out.  He readjusted our plans and planned a trip to Pittsburgh instead. We hadn't had a night away from both girls so we were extremely grateful that MaMa & PaPa were willing to watch the girls so we could get away for about 24 hours.  It's been a really challenging year for me both mentally & emotionally so I know having this time away with Todd was much needed.

Todd was only working a half day on Friday because we had wellness checks for both girls (which included 7 shots between the two of them) and then an eye doctor appointment for Lucy to follow up after her surgery from a couple weeks.  We hit the road to head north for my in-laws around 4:30 PM and made a quick stop for dinner about halfway up.  We got there around 8:00 PM and the girls went to bed shortly after.  On Saturday morning, Todd & I got the girls up, ready, and fed and then made the hour or so drive over to Pittsburgh. 

Our itinerary for the day (which Todd planned!):

At the bottom of the incline

About to get on board; didn't realize how steep it was until we got in

View of downtown Pittsburgh from the top (and Point State Park is on the waterfront where that fountain is)

Yes, we totally packed a tripod and our good camera to snap a few pictures so we didn't have to just take selfies (or trust strangers to actually take decent pictures)

After the incline, we drove over the bridge and walked around Point State Park (Heinz Field is directly behind the fountain across the river)
 
We did take a few selfies of course

Fountain with downtown in the back

Todd planned most of the trip but I was in charge of finding a hotel (I seem to have a knack for finding great hotels and B&Bs) and Hotel Monaco in downtown Pittsburgh was perfect!  It was within walking distance of a lot, they had a happy hour with a free drink, we got a $10 drink credit for a drink at the Biergarten, and Todd had told them this trip was for our anniversary (which technically it wasn't our anniversary but we had wanted to get away back in August and never could) so we were surprised with a free bottle of champagne & chocolate covered strawberries in our room that evening

View of the lobby from the sitting area/happy hour area

Our room

View from our room

Todd knows my love of dessert and had got a recommendation from our friend's who lived in Pittsburgh a few years back to check out Prantl's Bakery

They're known for their Burnt Almond Torte so we got a slice to split (and a mini chocolate peanut butter cupcake) and the cake was like nothing I'd ever eaten--so good!

Outside of Penn Brewery

The weather was gorgeous and absolutely perfect on Saturday so we sat outside

Todd got a taster tray and he gave me the Pumpkin Roll Ale which was fantastic

We split a Yinz Salad (it's topped with french fries which is a Pittsburgh special) and some pretzel sticks

Senator John Heinz History Center

Checking out the sports memorabilia section

Todd playing along with my love of cut outs

Obviously, there was a whole section dedicated to Heinz

and there was a section with a few things from Mr. Roger's Neighborhood

Entry to his house

After resting our feet (and Todd taking a short nap), we got changed, went to the happy hour at the hotel, and then walked to dinner 

Dinner at Meat & Potatoes

Another selfie 

Bar area was really cool; loved the marble bar and lighting

Todd & I both agreed these fries were some of the best we'd ever had and the truffle mayo was AMAZING

On our walk back to hotel, I spotted Sinful Sweets and had to stop in...

and ended up buying a jar of edible cookie dough to take home

We stopped by our room on the way up to the rooftop biergarten and found our anniversary surprise from the hotel

Seriously, we got lucky with the great weather and were able to hang out outside 

After drinks at the Biergarten, we made one more stop out at The Milkshake Factory for a treat to enjoy while we relaxed back at the hotel the rest of the night

We had to get up and check out relatively early on Sunday to drive back to pick up the girls before my in-laws went to church.  It was a fun little getaway and Pittsburgh was a great city!  We even talked about going again in the spring or summer and taking the girls to a baseball game and going on a riverboat tour.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The Rest of Our Weekend

On Friday after Cecelia & I picked Lucy up from preschool, we went to Funky Scissors to get her haircut.  Lucy had been asking for weeks to get her haircut (but who can blame her when it includes getting your nails painted, a balloon, toy, and a sucker) so we did that and then since it was raining off and on all morning, we headed indoors for some fun.  We drove to the Shops at Worthington Place for lunch at Panera and went to Party Like it's Your Birthday, a new art party boutique and art class studio.  They were having their Grand Opening celebration and it was such a cute, fun studio!  Lucy painted a "purse" and got to meet Ariel.  

She picked out the pink jeep to sit in during her haircut

Nails done

Party Like It's Your Birthday

Lucy painting

Still painting

Meeting Ariel

Posing

Ariel even painted a butterfly on her cheek

After Lucy's Fancy Nancy Tea Party on Saturday, we had some errands to run which included a stop at Ill Mannered Brewing Co. to get a gift card for my dad's birthday (and a beer for Todd) and then dinner at Pies & Pints so Todd could watch part of the OSU football game.

Cheers!  (By the way, never though we'd be sitting outside on a patio in short sleeves and shorts in mid-October)

Lucy enjoying her cup of water 

Cece & I (this was our best picture after about 5 attempts)

Again, crazy that we had dinner outside too!

Since it's Fire Prevention Week, a lot of the local fire departments were having open houses this last weekend.  After lunch on Sunday, I took Lucy & Cece to the Liberty Township open house which is just right down the street from us.  Lucy got to meet Sparky the fire dog, use a fire hose, and take the kid's firefighter challenge.  She was so excited too that when she was in the Fire Safety House (the trailer that simulates a fire when it fills with smoke), she was the first person to answer 9-1-1 when they asked the kids who to call in case of an emergency.  She was really proud of herself and it was pretty cute.

Lucy & Sparky

Hanging out in the back of the medic

Using a fire hose to put out the fire on the house

At the start of the kid's firefighter challenge, they pushed them in a "fire truck" to the first set of cones

Lucy had to then get out, crawl through a tunnel, carry a "hose pack", work the mini Keiser sled with a mallet (which is what she's doing below)....

drag a dummy (below), and then finish by running with a hose and putting out a "fire"

I have to add in that I loved this kid's firefighter challenge because it mimicked the actual Firefighter Combat Challenge that several of the firefighters I work with have done and a lot of these tasks I simulate through functional workouts for them. 

One last picture with the inflatables

We ended our weekend by celebrating my dad's birthday with dinner, cake, and presents at our house.  I made Pretzel Ring Beer Cheese dip, ham & cheese sliders, and a salad as well as a yellow cake with chocolate icing (his favorite).  

Pretzel Ring Beer Cheese Dip

Grandpa and his girls

Blowing out his candles...

and opening presents

Our next few weekends look to be busy and then things should slow down for a bit once November hits.