Monday, October 8, 2012

Weekly Wrap-Up - October 8

 So, we left off last week with visiting Grandpa Hess. The next day we headed back to Grandpa's house in the morning, then visited Rodney's cousin in the afternoon, and finally the "adopted grandpa" who lived across the street from Rodney & his family when Rodney was little. It was a long day, but great to see everyone!! The kids all did amazingly well with it too.

Rodney's cousin has dogs that kept Little Bit well entertained, and girls close to the twins' age to keep them entertained, so that was probably the most "fun" visit for the kids, but they did well all around.

We got to the hotel that night and CRASHED!!

The next day we headed to Abraham Lincoln's childhood home. We'd been so looking forward to this but (a) I never checked the actual distances, it was a LOT farther away than I thought it was, sigh . . . if I'd realized how far out of the way it was, we would have done something different. The other problem was, it was rainy, BUT since we'd already driven so far, figured we might as well at least see what we could in the rain. The girls did their junior ranger, it was an easy enough one, the ranger acted like we were "bothering" him every time we needed anything . . . like for him to TURN ON the video that he let us in the room to see, so that detracted from things, even with the rain, if we'd had an awesome ranger the girls would have had a blast, but such is life . . . Since hiking to the actual cabin site and such didn't seem real appealing in the rain, we weren't there all day, so Rodney suggested that since we weren't THAT far from Louisville, KY, we could go to the science museum there and then go to The Old Spaghetti Factory for supper, yum!!! Normally we go to the one in Indianapolis when we're out there, but with everything else going on, that hadn't worked out, so we were thrilled to find a way to fit it in!

We didn't have hours at the science museum, but since it was free with our COSI membership, that was ok, the girls all had fun while we were there. There was plenty to do. The air tube thingies were really cool Those clear tubes had air blowing really hard through them, you pushed big pom poms or scarves into the beginning and it blew them through all the tubes & out the end. There were some "levers" you could move to change which opening it came out too. MiniMe spent FOREVER playing with these.

Another fun thing for the big girls was a building thing. Little Bit spent most of her time in a really nice "little kid area" with Rodney, so I didn't get any pictures of that, but he said she had lots of fun!

Then we had a delicious supper at The Old Spaghetti Factory. All the girls thought spomoni (however it's spelled) ice cream was really good LOL. I also was re-reminded of how much I love their pesto ranch, must re-find the copycat recipe of it and start making it again, yum!

The next day we headed to Pittsburgh. It was another long day of driving, but uneventful, and Little Bit handled it like a champ. By this point in the trip she was saying "we are just driving all OVER the place!" but she seemed to be happy about that LOL. Here's hoping she'll still be as ok with "driving all over the place" after we drive all the way to FL and back in a few weeks.

We have "our hotel" that we almost always stay in when we're in Pittsburgh. It's affordable and family owned and the owners, and other employees "know" us and seem happy to see us. The rooms are small, but we have decided that it's worth it to be abit more cramped to have a hotel where we know the staff (one time the girls & I came out separate from Rodney and got to the hotel when he was with a client and the owner recognized us, looked up what room Rodney had, and gave me an extra key card, THAT is priceless! And well worth a smaller room. BUT this time, since Little Bit now sleeps with her sisters, Rodney was looking for a different bed configuration than when she slept with us/me, and he discovered that for $20 extra this hotel has suites!! And not just semi-suites, an honest to goodness 2 room suite, with a FULL kitchen!!! Since we didn't know that until the day before, we still did mostly microwave cooking since that's what I'd planned on, but I can't begin to tell you how much nicer it is to fix a meal on a counter and throw the dishes in a DISHWASHER afterwards rather than trying to balance everything on top of the microwave that's sitting on top of the mini-fridge and then hand wash everything in the bathroom sink, which also has NO counter around it! I was in heaven!!! Definitely well worth teh extra $20 per night AND now "our hotel" is even better, woo-hoo!

Our first day in Pittsburgh Rodney was going to need the car, so, after a quick trip to IKEA (since it's just down the road from our hotel) we sent him off and spent a nice afternoon swimming, doing school, and hanging out.

The second day, we headed to Carnegie Science Center! LOVE that place!!! We got there right after it opened and there were like 10 cars in the entire parking lot!!! Woo-hoo!! The big girls love the sports part but it's often SO crowded, so as soon as we got our wristbands that's where we headed. There was ONE other family in the whole place! They walked right up to the trampoline and got on immediately! (no pictures of that, it's in a corner with huge windows behind it, IMPOSSIBLE to get pictures that don't look like shadows! Then they headed to the rock wall! This time they both made it all the way to the top of the two "easy" climbs, then MiniMe moved on to try a medium climb, and did that one. Later in the day she also did a "hard" climb. And Sassy did at least a medium, I'm not sure if she did a hard too or not.

While Little actually COULD do the trampoline and rock climbing, she isn't ready for those yet, but she discovered, and LOVED the sprinting. Sassy "raced" her a few times to make it even more fun.

Another favorite in the sports area was a roller coaster simulator, just watching it from the outside made me abit queasy, but before the day was over Sassy and MiniMe had ridden all EIGHT of the roller coasters offered, they loved it!

Meanwhile Little Bit and I left Daddy to keep an eye on the big girls and we headed to the "little kid" area. Surprisingly enough IT was deserted too! I figured it might be crowded since it's for the pre-school-age crowd, but nope, she had the water table to herself, she LOVES it!

She also discovered, the magnetic skeleton puzzle, and really enjoyed it. She did the whole skeleton, the whole heart & blood vessels one, and the nervous system one. But she liked to use the skeleton head for all of them since it had a face LOL.

After a fun day, we headed back to the hotel and Daddy headed out to an evening meeting with a client while we did more swimming and then packed.

The next morning we got up, finished packing, and headed home. The trip home went really smoothly, and we were home by mid-afternoon, which was nice.

We wrapped up our week with a busy Sabbath. Little Bit had been fighting . . something, and I decided to keep her home Sabbath, so sent the big girls to do "my job" in Sabbath School. I hear MiniMe did a good job leading out in the 0-4 class since I was gone. Then they helped set up for communion/foot washing and then helped get thing ready for the Friendship meal after church. They came home chattering a mile a minute about how much fun it all was silly kid.

So that was our week. One other piece of the week, since it was Sukkot (or the Feast of Tabernacles), our Jewish Feasts Fairies joined us on the trip, much to the girls' delight. One of the first nights, the fairies brought them a pack of craft sticks and some fake greenery and asked for help making them a sukkah. The girls were up to the challenge, and did quite well if you ask me! They had a blast doing it too!

Other nights the fairies left the girls coloring pages, and a couple times some "fruit" to celebrate the harvest with . . . of course the only fairy-size fruit to be found is runts candy, the girls were quite ok with that LOL. So, despite our travelling during Sukkot (seems like we were last year too), we were able to have fun with it and I pointed out that the whole idea is to stay in a "temporary dwelling" so a hotel should qualify, so we were in our Sukkah too! Some year we're going to stay home and at least the kids will be able to sleep in a tent or build a sukkah in the yard, but for this year, staying in a hotel, and building a fairy sukkah worked.

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