back in the saddle

Sorry for the unannounced blog break. For as guilty as I felt for not getting on here to get our life on (vitutal) paper, its been a really wonderful break - a break from not only blogging, but from reading blogs (gasp!), but now I'm spending a lot of time catching up. So to start things off, here's what happened in the month of November. And to keep up the laziness, I'm TOTALLY copying this post from my sister-in-law, Carly. I've added some of my own pictures, but it's mostly her work. She came out for Thanksgiving and she summed everything up perfectly.

So here, in the words of Carly, is how our Thanksgiving went.

I went to the Ohio to visit Cam and Steph and their chitlins. The flight was short and non-eventful, just like we like 'em to be. I was greeted at the airport by Steph and the two little girls, Riley and Maren. Maren was a little stand-offish at first, but pretty soon all the kids were my best buddies, wanting me to play lightsabers and gun fights and dress ups with them. The next day, as I was getting ready, I was greeted by two little girls wanting some make-up. I didn't know if they were ready for mascara and lipstick, but I didn't want to disappoint so I gave them just a little something.

Maren's tat was mostly rubbed off within 30 minutes, but Riley's heart stayed on for a couple of days. After that, Riley asked for make up every time I was near the bathroom.

We didn't have a whole lot planned, just mostly hanging out, and it was really nice. I had talked to Stephanie a week before and said I wanted to help make a big Thanksgiving dinner, complete with pies. The day before, Steph and I made a chocolate custard pie from the Lion House recipe book. It was very elaborate and involved and made me feel like I was a real cook. Thanksgiving day, we made the rest of the meal, complete with a huge 47 lb turkey (well, it might not have been that big, but it seemed pretty large). It took Cameron and I hours to carve it and when I left on Monday, we hadn't even eaten half of the turkey meat. It was a really fun Thanksgiving.

The next day we went to shining, shimmering, splendid, neat and clean downtown Cleveland to a mall. After parking 83 levels below the mall, the Durango barely making it into the 6'0" tall parking garage, and braving a 251-year-old elevator to wind our way back to civilization, we made it to the mall. We headed over to this Santa's workshop discovery museum gateway laboratory school factory type event-like place that wafted sweet, rotten cauliflower and dirty playdough aromas and boasted an array of elf-type creatures. The bigger kids were given lab coats to don during their adventure-type-discovery-lesson.

Ah, look at those minds at work. The girls were enjoying the noise making section of the discovery-like-mystery-tour.

After our our creating-ish-cog-turning-escapade in Santa's...whatever, we opted to skip seeing the big guy and head to the candy store. I bought three small bags of candy for only $52 and my left kidney.

Lastly, we headed to a train ride around the mall, complete with angry parents scolding the train driver for having too long of a line.

All tuckered out, we headed home. Such is the elaborate, glamorous life in Cleveland, the jewel of America (under my rough exterior of sarcasm and cynicism is a heart of gold that enjoyed every minute of being with my family).

That night, the durn TV busted for the second or third time, so Cameron was left with no choice but to head to the store buy a new one. I watched the kids while Cam and Steph went shopping. After the kids were all asleep, they walked in the door with a very LARGE piece of electronic wall art. Cameron wanted to install it immediately. Steph and I watched with amusement as he labored over getting it just right.

Saturday, we headed to Pittsburgh for another day full of adventure-type-discover-ish-ness. After having a nice impromptu driving tour of Pittsburgh's red light district, we made our way to the other side of town to the Science Center. It was four floors of pure genius. We stayed there for hours and hours. It was a blast. I don't know who had more fun, the kids, Cameron, or me and Steph watching the kids.

Maren has some serious skills in her stroller. She has learned how to be dexterous and nimble in obtaining what she is after, all while fully or partially strapped in. She's just as capable as well of bringing it home and putting it on the DL, reclining and putting her feet up on the safety bar. She's learning to get the stroller to work for her, sorting laundry and filing tax returns...like I said, serious skills.

Riley has this thing with smelling and/or licking things as a way of learning more about them. She smelled, and sometimes licked, all the lids and discs and categorized them in her own way. It's very cute; luckily she hasn't turned that fetish toward people (let's hope that stays in the bag until she's at least 16).

Riley and Coleman loved this water feature place.

Riley especially loved it, and stayed there without making a peep, barely looking up to acknowledge other humans for at least 30 minutes.

Zack and Coleman also liked this ball place; sort of like McDonald's play place on steroids.

Maren playing with tins sticking to a magnetic wall.

After barrels of fun at the science center, we headed to the Duquesne Incline. No, it's not a ski slope, my friend, it's a trolley thingy built around the turn of the century. Basically, Pittsburgh has several steep hills, and during the time period, in order to get up the hill quickly and efficiently, they rode an incline. It's like a trolley sitting on top of a triangle that rides level up the hill. Look it up, it's pretty cool.

We had to cross a super old pedestrian bridge to get to the incline from the parking lot (Zack is on the left, Cameron in the middle).

At the top of the incline, they had a little museum and overlook of the city.

The building with the funnel-satellite dish-looking thing on the top and the big red letters is the science center. The stadium is where the Steelers play.

Zack at the top. Smile big, dear.

After downtown Pittsburgh, we headed to IKEA. I'll tell you what, that was like an amusement park. What a site. I thoroughly enjoyed it (what, no sarcasm? Did someone else start typing on Carly's blog?).

The next day was church. We were late, thanks to me (come on, are you surprised? Really?). It was a nice small ward which I really enjoy. After church we took a 3 minute drive to the Kirtland Temple and took a tour of that. I got to see the attic which I didn't get to see the first time I went through it and was slightly miffed, so that was exciting. Did you know that the Kirtland temple was originally a grayish-blue with a red roof at it's dedication? All my years as a Mormon, and I never knew that.

The next day we played dress ups and watched the barbie diamond castle, picked the boys up from school and headed to the airport for a sad good bye, all the while singing that old Christmas favorite, "Old McDonald had some pants, boy-ee, boy-ee, boy-ee." At the airport, I asked Steph if I could take a picture with the kids. They all had to climb out of the warm car onto the cold, cruel sidewalk to stand next to me. Don't they look sad to see me go?

Huh, ...let's try taking one more.


I'm so glad I got to go see them while I had time and money to do it. Every time I see them I'm more sad they live so far away. Hopefully after just a few more years, they'll make like a pioneer and head west.

Thanks for coming Carly. Thanks for also writing this all out for me!


Lindsay said...

Total cop out, Steph. I love it.

..toni.. said...

I was starting to worry about you a little bit...almost 2 months and no post? Looks like a fun trip and I'm glad Carly has recovered from the accident. Your kids are huge! Love Zack's toothless smile. I know I've said it a million times, but someday we would love to get out to the beautiful city of Cleveland and see you guys! Way to score a great new TV!

Carrie Anne said...

is this the sister in law who broke her neck? wow! what a recovery if it is! what a super fun trip!