Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Trip to Pittsburgh

Last year, we went to Pittsburgh for an overnight...for the second time since we've lived here. After that trip, we decided that Pittsburgh was a long day trip. No sense spending the extra money for a hotel room, right? It's really only a little over two hours away.

This past weekend, we made our third trip to Pittsburgh....and stayed overnight not one, but two nights. Why, you ask? Why would we do this? Well, Pittsburgh has IKEA, which we don't get to go to often and we're mulling over some future purchases. And also, there's some cool museums and neat things for kids - and since we hardly ever go places exclusively for the kiddos, we decided wouldn't it be nice to take a day and do something just for them.

So Friday afternoon found us all packed up - kids, dog and us, on our way to the Steel City. No matter it was only 2 degrees. No matter the Pittsburgh-Ravens game was on Sunday, and I fully intended to wear my Ray Lewis jersey, even though I was anticipating being killed by Steelers fans. No matter we had to pay an extra $100 to let the dog stay at the hotel when she only weighs 13 pounds and doesn't shed and is hypoallergenic. If I were the hotel management, I would charge a "toddler-cleaning fee" rather than a "pet-cleaning fee" because certainly, those two little guys of mine were going to make more of a mess in the room than Bella would. But I'll try to keep my thoughts about hotel management and non-refundable pet-deposits to myself -- at least for THIS blog entry.

At any rate - it was a good weekend. The hotel was nice and quiet and had a fab breakfast both mornings (thanks, Marriott!). We did get to IKEA and got some ideas and some little things we picked up along the way - and probably would've gotten a lot more had the boys not been in total meltdown mode. And the museum? Awesome. The kids were in hog heaven. It was the Carnegie Science Museum and truly, it is mostly geared toward kids. They have all this cool stuff you can do - like sit in a what looks like a restaurant booth and press buttons and all these different types and magnitudes of earthquakes are simulated. Scary. But fun! And the shadow wall - you press a button, then pose in front of this wall and it flashes a light, and when you step away, your shadow is left on the wall. My, we had fun with this one! But one of the best displays was the train village - wow. It was huge and it was spectacular - I think Matthew would've stayed there all day just watching all there was to see. It was definitely the best train exhibit I've ever seen. And yes, we managed to spend a few hours in the 3-6 year old area - where literally, a kid could just be a kid. They had it all - huge water table with waterfalls and channels and ping pong balls and sieves. And the ball factory - geesh, we couldn't get Jonathan to leave!

It was great to just be able to watch the kids do their thing, not have any kind of time limit - we really, really need to do more of that kind of stuff! After all, we're always dragging them around to our stuff, which mostly consists of grocery shopping and trips to Lowe's to get something else to fix something wrong in the house....

Speaking of which!! As if it wasn't bad enough that on one night we were there, Pittsburgh got down to some ridiculous temperature, something below zero, and they reported on the news it was the coldest night Pittsburgh had seen in 15 years. Then our drive home took twice as long as it should have thanks to a few wrong turns and snow where it shouldn't have been. But we came home to a house that was 47 degrees!!! We're still unsure what happened - either it was so cold the oil got sluggish in the lines, or the programmable thermostat really malfunctioned, but that was not pleasant. And to top it off, my beloved Ravens lost to Pittsburgh - but hey, at least it was a good game. And I did wear my Ray Lewis jersey and lived to tell about it!

So there was our weekend - been playing catch-up since we got home - not sure where time goes these days!

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