Friday, July 29, 2011

Back in the Burgh

Wednesday night, Brady, my mom, and I drove up from South Carolina up to Pittsburgh, the land of hockey and football. Although we moved almost exactly a year ago (seems like forever), this is the longest I've ever been away from Pittsburgh. It's been three months. I think the longest I was ever away before was a month.

Pittsburgh has always been a big part of our
lives. Andy grew up in the county about 30 miles south of Pittsburgh, known as Washington. I grew up 15 miles west of the city in Moon Twp., right by the international airport. Although both of us are the grandchildren of immigrants on at least one side, the roots we have in Pittsburgh run deep. Andy's paternal side of the family owns their own tailoring and uniform business and his maternal side runs an oil company. My maternal great-grandfather built churches in Pittsburgh. The only one I have been to is Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Bloomfield. Andy's whole extended family lives in Washington, and my mom's family all lives in the North Hills. Our generation is the first to leave the area (other than my dad coming here from NYC).

Although, I grew up in the suburbs, in my heart has always belonged to Oakland. This is the part of the city that houses the University of Pittsburgh aka Pitt. I was born at Magee Women's hospital which is right before campus and was the third generation in my family to be born there. I was also the fourth generation to attend Pitt. I spent three years there in the dorms and then moved into my own apartm
ent senior year when I met Andy. When we both started graduate school at Pitt, we moved into a new, nicer apartment together and that's where we became a family. We were married on campus at Heinz Chapel, just around the corner from where we lived, and Brady became the fourth generation to be born at Magee.

There are so many things that I miss about Oakland. I could walk to everything! I could throw Brady in the stroller and walk two blocks
to Starbucks. Our favorite place to eat was Fuel and Fuddle and I am always making trips there when I'm in town to eat there. The thing I miss the most is coming home after a Pitt football victory and seeing the victory lights at the top of the Cathedral of Learning. They are gold lights they shine and I had a clear shot of them from outside our apartment. This is the first year we haven't had our season tickets and I'm only going to make it to one game. Hopefully, when we get back from Germany, we will be close enough to get our tickets back and make it to a majority of games.

Pittsburgh has become a popular location for movies. Some of the most recent movies filmed here include Unstoppable, I am Number Four, The Next Three Days, and Love and Other Drugs. Currently, they are filming The Dark Knight Rises, the next in the Batman series. We are certain they will use the Cathedral as a part of Gotham City because it's very gothic on the outside and has been likened to
Hogwarts on the inside. We took wedding pictures inside.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Winnie the Pooh

Winnie the Pooh has always been my favorite cartoon character. I always had the stuffed animals in my room and each Christmas, I collect the winter stuffed Pooh characters that they put out in the Disney Store. I knew long before I ever had children, that when I did, they would have a Winnie the Pooh themed nursery and much more. I had picked out the matching car seat, stroller, swing, pack n play, bouncy seat, walker, and high chair. Luckily everything was unisex, so it wouldn't matter if I had a boy or a girl first.

Brady's nursery in Michigan. It's the same here in SC, except the walls are yellow.

Since having Brady, those ideas have become a r
eality. He has the Winnie the Pooh nursery, complete with Pooh bedding, lamp, night light, wall border, and even some Pooh cross stitch that I'd had framed. He has all the Winnie the Pooh matching gear. Anytime I find Pooh clothing, I buy it and he was even Winnie the Pooh for his first Halloween. He had a Pooh play mat and tummy time garden when he was very small. His first birthday was a Winnie the Pooh theme and he even got a Pooh Bear arm chair that he goes to when we ask him to go get his Pooh Bear.

In his Pooh swing at 1 month old

On his tummy time garden at 1 month old

In his Pooh bouncy chair (turned off because he hated it) at 1 month old

1 month old

Easter Pooh Bear 6 weeks old

2 months old

On his Pooh play mat
5 months old

6 months old

Halloween 7 months old

Pooh stacking rings 7
months old

8 months old

Christmas Pooh 9 months old

Pooh car for Christmas 10 months old

Pooh arm chair for his birthday 12 months

Pooh birthday cake 12 months old

When I heard that they were releasing a new Winnie the Pooh movie, I was so excited. I remember growing up in the area of all the great Disney animation hitting the big screen, so it was an opportunity for me to return to that time with my own son. This afternoon, my mom and I took Brady to see the movie since it's been out for over a week and there wouldn't be many people there. Turns out that we were the only ones in the theatre, so Brady could run around to his hearts content without bothering anyone. He did watch a good bit of it and it's great when you're old enough to appreciate the adult humor they put into cartoons. We had a great time and I'm really glad I got to take Brady to see Pooh on the big screen. When we make it back to Disney World in December, we plan on doing a character dinner with the cast of Winnie the Pooh and I can't wait!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Brady Goes Camping

Andy had a book fair at work today, so he got Brady a couple of books with Mickey Mouse and Winnie the Pooh. He also got him a pop-up tent. Brady loves the tunnels at Gymboree, so he figured it would be a big hit. At first he didn't want to go in because the flaps were down and he didn't like that there wasn't an escape hatch. We opened up both flaps and he was more than willing to go in and out, over and over again. After a while, he realized he could tip it over, so he started tipping it so that it was moving from room to room. This is the perfect toy for his energy levels. It's also lightweight and can be compacted so it's great for travel.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Scuba Steve

For those of you who aren't familiar with the Adam Sandler movie, Big Daddy, Scuba Steve was a little action figure doll that a little boy had to have with him all the time. A few years ago, I was swimming as part of my exercise, so there were a few sets of goggles in my beach bag. Now that it's summer and we're always at the pool, my beach bag is always out. One day, Brady got into the bag and pulled out one of the pairs of goggles. He was just holding them, but I decided to show him how to wear them and put them on his face. He actually liked it, which surprised me since he hates hats on his head and his sunglasses on his face. It has gotten to the point where these goggles are a part of his other toys and he likes to wear them. When he's done with them on his face, he pushes them down so they hang around his neck. We've even gone out to eat with him wearing them around his neck. So, we have started calling him Scuba Steve every time he wears them.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Cars 2

Two weeks ago, I took Brady to see Cars 2 in the movie theatre. This is not Brady's first time at the movies. When he was 4 months old, I took him to see Toy Story 3 one day after Gymboree because Andy was getting us moved out of our old apartment and I wanted to see it. He was really good and slept half of the time. We went to see Tangled when we visited Detroit in March and he didn't last very long. Andy was with us, and he took Brady into the hallway and let him walk up and down until the movie was over. He's much better when watching TV now, so I waited until the movie had been out for a few weeks to minimize the number of people in the theatre. There were only 4 other people there and Brady sat in my lap so nicely during all the previews (and trust me, there were WAY too many previews), and even during the Toy Story Short about a Hawaiian Vacation, which was special for me because Hawaii holds a very special place in our hearts because that's where Brady was made. The second the movie started, he wanted to be moving. I moved down to the handicap seats so he would have more area to move and he ran all around, up and down the stairs, over and over.

I really liked the movie and it was cool because it was very James Bond and the main theme is a World Grand Prix. It was cool because they were in a lot of the places we will be visiting like Paris and London. When we found out this and the toys were released in stores, we made the decision that Brady's 2nd birthday (which will occur in Germany) will be a Cars birthday. We are getting him the Grand Prix race set, with the add-ons of the Eiffel Tower and Big Ben, plus both movies. By the time we get back, he will understand the movies more and will always be able to say he was in those places, which I think is really cool.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Virginia Beach - Margie and Ray's & Motor World

Thursday night at the beach is usually reserved for our second meal out. For the past 10 years or more, we have been going to a local one-of-a-kind seafood restaurant that's named Margie and Ray's. My parents usually get what is called a Hurricane Margie, which is a two-person platter that contains fried fish, fried scallops, fried oysters, fried clams, fried shrimp, hush puppies, and fries. Alex and Lauren also got the same dish to share. Andy and I aren't into eating a lot of those things, so we got to pick and choose to create our own platters for us as individuals. I got a crab cake, fried clams, and fried shrimp, while Andy got a crab cake, grilled shrimp, and grilled scallops. Brady of course ate everything that anyone would give to him.

As per our Thursday night tradition, after dinner, we head to Motor World where they have mini-golf and go-karts. Usually we only do one round of mini-golf (they have two courses) and then move on to the go-karts. We go
t two rounds of golf and with all the stairs, my mom only made it 7 holes (she just had knee replacement surgery) and by hole 11, Brady was screaming to be let out of his stroller. We finished the first round (Andy won) and decided to come back another day to finish the other round. We moved on to go-karts, where Alex and Lauren got tickets for go-karts. We tried to get Brady to do the walking on water thing where they get inside a big plastic bubble, then go out into the water, but he wouldn't have it. They inflate the bubble while you're in it, so he was reluctant to get into the plastic bag (which I suppose is a good thing at this age). We instead let him do the game where they pick a duck and win a prize. Everyone gets a prize and he got a blue ball. He liked to sit in the model Ferrari race car and didn't like to share with other kids when they wanted a turn. I got to race once with Alex, but he started behind me and almost lapped me twice because he got a super fast car. Alex, Lauren, Andy, and I went back on Friday night to do the second round of golf and Alex ended up winning. Andy wasn't too happy about that since he was leading until about hole 11 when he started falling apart.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Family Beach Pictures

It's a yearly tradition for us to take pictures on the beach. It's something that started when I was a kid and that's what my mom usually used on her Christmas cards. Andy and I first went to the beach together one year after we started dating, and were engaged, so it was an informal engagement picture that we used for our beach-themed wedding.

The next year, we were at the beach in Hawaii on our honeymoon. We also lived in Ocean City, NJ for the first three months of our marriage while Andy completed his internship at the Press of Atlantic City.

Last year was our first year that we had Brady with

This year, Brady was not too cooperative in taking pictures. We had already been down at the beach that day, had come back to the house to shower, and came back down for pictures. Brady wanted to be put down so he could run
into the water. We managed to get one good one when my mom started playing peek-a-boo behind my dad.

Virginia Beach - Playing in the Sand

Brady loves playing in the sand when he's not busy playing in the water. We had a bucket of toys that we brought with us and picked up an abandoned shovel a day after Alex accidentally broke our big shovel.

He also loved it anytime Andy would go down to the wet sand and dig a small hole. He just wanted to be in that hole that immediately filled with water, no matter how small it was.

My version of playing in the sand is to have my chair recli
ned, and having the ocean visible at all times ;)

Friday, July 15, 2011

Virginia Beach - Rough Sea Day

Yesterday, the surf was especially rough after a storm the night before. My dad went down earlier and said that it wouldn't be a good idea to take Brady very far out because he was getting knocked down and carried a good half mile down the beach. When we got down there, the wind was blowing so hard that we couldn't put up our umbrella, but fortunately, it was 10 degrees cooler than the other days so the sun didn't make us too hot.

We let Brady play in the surf and it was very easy fo
r him to get knocked over, even in water that only came up to his knees. Since the wind was blowing and it wasn't as hot, within half an hour, Brady was shivering with blue lips and he had to go back to the house. I went out in the water twice with my dad and even holding hands, we got knocked under and carried down the beach.

Sitting in the surf

Beach Family

Brady and Nana

Alex and Lauren

Alex didn't want to take anymore pictures and this was his girlfriend's way of making him look at the camera.