Tuesday, April 7, 2009

March Break trip to Pittsburgh

Let me first begin by saying that I still have a lot to learn about posting. I can't make my pics go where I want them to go, etc. Please be patient with me.
One evening in January, Brian's says "I've got a great idea!" My reply was, "Oh yeah, what's that?" I had a sneaking suspicion that it had something to do with hockey, as he had just come out of the room where he was watching a Penguins game. "We should go to Pittsburgh for March Break!" He then went on to explain that they had 3 home games in 4 days, and that there were tickets still available. I said I'd think about it. The more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea. Not for the hockey aspect, but for the fact that I'd get to shop in the states. Not that I don't like hockey, it has grown on me, but I love shopping in the states. I really started watching when Sidney Crosby got drafted. Just 'cause he's a Nova Scotian and he's actually really good. I was a little hesitant, however, and suggested we take some help with us. If he was going to go to hockey games with Ave and Jake, that would leave me with the younger two, who aren't really big fans of shopping yet. So I suggested my youngest sister, Tangye (pronounced Tan-gee) and perhaps her boyfriend, Ryan.

Here they are in the matching shirts they bought for the game.

They were game, but the clincher for me was that the Yarmouth airport was going to become operational again, starting in February. There was a small airline coming in to do 2 daily flights to and from Halifax and 2 daily flights to and from Portland, Maine. YAY!! I'd been waiting for this. So the plan was to fly from Yarmouth to Portland, Me. on the morning of Friday March 13th, (scary, I know) spending the day shopping in Freeport (LOVE LL Bean) and Portland, spending the night (we stayed at a LaQuinta for $49 USD/per room-can't beat that!) and then caught an early (6am) flight to Pittsburgh (via Newark) on Saturday morning.

Here are Ave and Jake in front of the big boot in Freeport. How cool is that?

Pittsburgh is a beautiful city. Very clean, and it has a lot of history. I was very impressed, and would definitely go back. Here's a couple shots of the city.

The first Penguins game was at 3pm on Saturday. Ryan, Brian, Avery and Jacob went to that one, while Tangye, Izzy, Logan and I went to Burlington Coat Factory, which, by the way, was a disaster. The kids were both tired and cranky and just wouldn't go to sleep in their nice double stroller they were being pushed around in. I'd gladly go to sleep if someone was pushing me around in a stroller. They don't know how good they have it. So we tossed in the towel and got in our rental van and headed to IKEA!!! I had made a list of all the stores I wanted to go to, as well as a list of specific items I hoped to purchase, to keep my spending in check and to use my time wisely. I printed off directions to these places, so I was all set, right? Sure, if you know which way is north, in a city you've never been to before, driving a rental van you've never driven before, and are scared to death you 'll put even the slightest scratch on it. So when the directions said to start out going North on ......, I was like, what the heck? So with cars beeping behind me for me to move, I picked the way I thought, and went for it. Unfortuntely, it was the wrong way. Somehow we got in the lane that is reserved for vehicles with two or more people in it, which was between the right and left lanes. Tangye was freaking right out. After going about 11 miles the wrong way,we were able to find a way off the crazy lane, and got off t an exit, turned around and get going back the right way. It was a little stressful, and it cut into my shopping time at Ikea. Something that's very precious to me. (Anytime we go away on vacation, one of the first things I do is check to see if there's an Ikea nearby. Brian can't stand Ikea, and on past trips has given me 30 minute time limits in the store. He usually stays in the car. As anyone who's been to Ikea knows, 30 minutes just doesn't cut it. It's a tease. You might as well not even bother.) Well, the kids both fell asleep, so it was a pretty good trip to Ikea. Thanks goodness for my list to keep me in check. I also spotted a JoAnn Fabric store, so I nipped in there for a few minutes, to feed my new obsession of bowmaking. Izzy was not a happy camper, so it was shortlived. In hindsight, that was probably a good thing. The next day was Sunday. We had looked up the nearest church, which started at 9am, so we go up got breakfast (which was included with the room rate) and left. Just before we left our room, I said, "I think Logan pooped." Brian said, "You'll have to change him when we get there. We're going to be late as it is." So off we went, and we were only 5 min late. So after the opening song and prayer, I took him out to change him. What I beheld then, I hope to never ever see again. I took off his overalls and there were "chunks." Oh, and for the record, they were nice overalls. Churchworthy overalls, not denim, in case anyone was wondering. There was poop on his shirt, so I whipped that off. Unbuttoned his onesie, and all the way up to his freakin shoulderblades, there was a mess. That kid had the biggest poop of his entire life. Why he had to do it while we were on vacation, and at church (where I didn't have an extra change of clothes) is beyond me. So I folded up the soiled clothes, and brought poor Logan back into church in only a diaper and his socks and sat down. Fortunately, we were seated in the second to last row, so I didn't have to make a big production coming back in. I tucked the poopy clothes into the front pocket of my bag, (which thankfully had a zipper), which I hope diffused the smell somewhat. I felt bad for the poor missionaries sitting right in front of us. So Brian whispered, "where are his clothes?" and I whispered back, "They're full of poop" to which he made a funny, wrinkled up face. I put Logan's coat on, so he could be a little bit more decent. The rest of the meeting went well. There were some great talks. We just stayed for Sacrament meeting and then went back to the hotel.

Mellon Arena from our hotel.

The second Penguins game was at 3pm that day, and we were all going to it. We couldn't have picked a better game to all go to. It happened to be their 100th consecutive sellout, so we all got a special program and the kids all got a stuffed penguin to commemorate the occasion. When we actually had a good look at them, we saw that they were actually Webkinz. Pretty cool. Avery named his "Piplup" after some penguin Pokemon character, Jacob named his "Malkin" because his favorite player is Evgeni Malkin, Izzy named hers "Iceburgh" after the Penguins mascot and Avery named Logan's "Crosby" for obvious reasons. Wow, this is turning into a really long post. I hope I'm not boring anyone.

Monday, there were no games, so we headed up to Grove City, which has Prime Outlets. It was about an hour drive, but if there's anything I love more than shopping, it's outlet shopping. Everyone got some good buys. Can I just say how much better Payless Shoes is in the states. Love it! And I was reminded of how much I love J.Crew and Bath and Bodyworks. Thanks to my sis Keah for turning me on to B and BW.

Tuesday's game wasn't until 7:30pm. Brian and the two older boys were supposed to go, but Jacob insisted that "Three hockey games is too much!", so Tangye and Ryan offered to stay at the hotel with Jacob and Izzy while I went to the game, but I had to bring Logan.
Our seats were wicked!!! Four rows from the ice, right next to the middle section. Awesome!! And they won too!! It was a great game. Oh, I forgot to mention the scores of the other games. The first game the penguins lost in a shootout, 4-3 I think. I say it was because I wasn't there at the game, as they won the next two, 6-2 and 6-4. So during the day on Tuesday, we decided to check out the Heinz museum. Yup, that's right. Heinz ketchup's birthplace was in Pittsburgh. The exhibits weren't as good as I thought they would be. We got a late lunch, or early supper (depends which way you look at it) at "Olive Garden". Holy cow, how I love "Olive Garden" I want to open one in Canada. More specifically in Yarmouth, so I can go whenever I want to. We had some real good eats.

We headed for home early Wednesday morning. And I mean early. Our flight left at 6:18am. I checked the website to see what the recommended time was to be at the airport, and it said between 1 and 2 hours. We checked in online the night before, so we had our boarding passes, we just needed to check our bags. We had alarm clocks set for 4:30am and wake up calls too, just in case. But we didn't end up leaving til 5:15am. I forgot to account for the time it would take to get everyone awake and dressed. I was freaking out when I looked at the clock in the van as we left the parking garage. It was about a half hour drive to the airport and we had to return the van too. I was praying the whole way there, and Brian drove as fast as he safely could without drawing unwanted attention to us. Boy it was close, so without going through all the stressful details, they were doing a final boarding call for our flight just as we got to the gate. But at least we made it. We arrived in Portland at 10:35am but out flight back to Yarmouth wasn't until 7pm. So we hopped on the city transit and took the roundabout way to the Maine Mall, then walked to Target. Another one of my reasons why I love to shop in the states. I can't even begin to tell you how much I love Target. It was a bit of a hike, but soooo worth it. Unfortunately for me, it was raining when we came out. I had wanted to go to Burlington Coat Factory again, since my first visit didn't go so well, and I wanted to go the Maine Mall to go to this store called Forever 21. Nobody else wanted to humor me. They all wanted to take a cab back to the airport(which was only 3 miles away) and just wait til our flight and get something to eat. I finally caved, (after actually considering walking the 3 miles back to the airport, pushing a double stroller in the rain by myself) and took one for the team. We went to the airport and ate supper, paid way too much for it, and went to the building where our flight was to leave from. Since it's a small outfit, and the airline departs out of the same place where private plans leave. We didn't have to go through security or anything. It was great. And the airline service was superb! We will definitely fly with Skylink Aviation in the future. Well, that's it. It was fun, overall, but we won't be taking any family vacations again anytime soon. It's a lot of work and very stressful at times. Maybe next year.



  1. Man Tamara, I had a great laugh at this. So sorry, but the poop part was my best laugh. We are headed down there this summer, so I will check out the outlet place for sure. Glad you had a good trip though -and no, your post wasnt' too long!

  2. Liz, f.y.i., I just did some editing of this post (Grammar and such. I too love proofreading) and added a couple of details.

  3. Glad to see that you have a blog now! What a great trip!

  4. Ha ha! I'm w/ Liz on this one the poop part was a hilarious addition to your vacation. Only something moms would laugh at I think. Sounds like u go to do some good shopping. I'm glad for u! I love to shop too.