Sunday, November 20, 2011

We Love Road Trips, Even If This One Was the Pitts(burgh)

We’re putting the kids through the paces and getting them used to taking upcoming holiday trips. Part of their preparation has included countless hours of listening to Kids Place Live on Sirius XM Radio over the past month as Hallie tools them around town. Prior to this point, we would listen to the same CDs ad nauseum. Now we’ve been introduced to a whole new world of chipper tunes aimed at the wee set.

Random picture having nothing to do with what we wrote above. Just cute!
Mike had an educational leadership conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and we all went together. More on that later. Mike had meetings up at Wayne State early in the week, and Hallie took on the lion’s share of getting things organized not only for our Pittsburgh trip, but also for California and Nova Scotia, both of which will follow in short order now that Thanksgiving and Christmas are near.

Early in the week, we received some great news related to that Chrysler 300 commercial that was filmed on our block a while back. While the kids did not end up in the commercial, we did get asked if Landon’s picture could be included in some print advertising, so he’ll get paid a little something for that. Good thing, too, because we know just where to put it: Gymnastics. Landon has started doing forward flips without touching his head to the ground and doing headstands without support. His antics are fun to watch, but they’re a little scary too. It’s time to see what else he can do, given the right equipment!

Eliza now walks 10 or more steps at a time. She has this cute little Frankenstein walk she does to keep her balance, and she has some real muscle! She’ll pull herself up to a standing position or do pull ups (see photos below). She’s getting better at getting down from chairs she has climbed up onto, but we have to keep looking after her constantly to make sure one of her explorations doesn’t end with her face down on the floor.

Landon keeps Eliza in fits of laughter when they play together. She constantly has to know what he’s up to, so she will follow him from place to place and want to play with his toys. For the most part, Landon plays patiently with her. Sometimes he doesn’t know his own strength, so we let them do their own thing, but we keep an eye out from a distance.

Anyway, back to the week’s activities. We left Wednesday morning bright and early so Mike could make his first session in Pittsburgh by the early afternoon. While Mike attended the conference, Hallie and the kids tooled around the local area taking in the sights and window shopping. When Mike was available, they took in more sights, shopped some more, and played in the pool. Highlights included tooling around downtown and going to the Children’s Museum. Two historic buildings, the Allegheny Post Office and Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science were connected by a large glass structure and converted into the present museum. What a neat way to repurpose these beautiful buildings! 

As he was walking through part of the third floor, Mike noticed a wall inscription of more than passing interest to the Latter-day Saint community: 
1 Corinthians 15:41. This is the only view Mike could get from the museum. 
Here's a better view from before the planetarium was added to the post office part of the museum. (Photo courtesy  
The museum is rated as one of the ten best of its kind in the country, and with good reason. Landon and Eliza spent their entire time there moving and playing and discovering all sorts of new colors, textures, machines, and toys.
Budding artist painting a triangle and other shapes he knows. 

She could walk around like this for a good long time. 
Making paper out of pulp

You can see the dome of the old planetarium in this big play space. 

Building paper rockets
3, 2, 1, BLAST OFF!

We finally figured what will stop Eliza in her tracks: a ramp. She can go up, but she doesn't know how to get down yet!
Doing pull ups? No problem! 

The "sand" is actually bird seed. Genius!

The Children’s Museum also has several pieces of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood memorabilia, so Hallie and Mike took their own little walk down Memory Lane.
The Owl and the Pussycat's tree house
King Friday XIII's castle
Remembering the old days with Daniel Stripèd Tiger. Good times! 

After our excursion to the museum, we took in some of the local road food at Primanti Bros., "almost famous" for their corned beef (and other) sandwiches each topped with tomato, sweet cole slaw, and natural cut fried potatoes. A bit unusual, but quite tasty! Thanks to Rick and Lisa for the tip!
Too bad we were there on a Saturday. ;)

Mike’s final meeting was on Sunday morning, so after that, the clan hit the road back home. We don’t have much of a chance for a break in the action, because on Monday we’re off to California!

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