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NaBloPoMo Day 16: Birthday trip to @Nemacolin

NaBloPoMo Day 16: Birthday trip to @Nemacolin

So this is really yesterday’s post, but I was laying in bed last night and realized I forgot to post, and just was not going to get out of bed for the sake of blogging. So 2 posts tonight and I say we’re on track.  My birthday is tomorrow, and to celebrate my birthday we went on a family trip up to Nemacolin Woodlands Resort.  I’ve never been there before and I always love spa treatments and excellent food.

We started our visit with brunch at Lautrec.  It’s a lovely buffet with all kinds of pastries, fish, pancakes & waffles, desserts and even prime rib.  Baby Beez’s behavior has generally been getting better as she has gotten older, but I wanted to make sure she was on her best behavior.  To encourage fancy manners, we wore fancy clothes. She loves fancy clothes so this was a thrill in and of itself.  She also likes getting to choose her own foods out of a buffet.  She was able to show her best manners for the meal and we had a very nice brunch.

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Mr. Beez and I went to the spa while Baby Beez spent the day at the Kidz Klub. She was literally the only kid there, but that didn’t bother her any. In typical only child fashion, she made up stories with her imaginary Harry Potter friends, went swimming, watched movies and played with toys. It did not bother her any that there were no other kids there. Although I venture to guess she was a little bit lonely, because by the time we left the resort, she was saying that she missed her friends.

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After having an amaaaaazing time at the spa, Mr. Beez and I spent a good part of the afternoon sitting around, drinking wine and reading the whole internet. It’s kind of a silly thing to do, but we don’t get to just sit and relax very often so it was very nice.


Autumn

We had dinner at Autumn, which included scallops with bacon jam. Yes, Please.  The meal was lovely.  We do get to go out to eat quite a lot, but it was nice to be able to just wander down and pick up our kid afterward, and then wander back to our room. Because we are total party animals, we were all in bed and asleep by 9:30. But that’s a perfect birthday treat for me. I like sleep.

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October Things

Wait, didn’t January just end? Where did my summer go? And I don’t care what you say, those were NOT snowflakes on my windshield today.

My mom got Baby Beez a subscription to the Children’s Theater this year and the first performance–Alexander Who’s Not Not Not Not Not Going to Move– was today. The difference between Baby Beez at 3 and and now at 5 is amazing. When she was littler, we would go to things and there was a 50/50 chance she’d completely lose it and scream her face off and make it a miserable time for everyone. Now that she’s bigger, she’s really starting to like things. As long as she isn’t starving or completely exhausted, she enjoys all kinds of different things. We’ve turned a corner to where we really are having fun together, and it’s lovely.

I ran the Wineglass Half Marathon at the beginning of the month and haven’t had much time to run since.  Today, though, I got in a 5 mile run when Baby Beez was in Sunday school. I have just started listening to Amy Poehler’s Yes, Please audiobook.  That hour zipped by while listening to this brilliant book.

Yes-Please

And I think it is the best thing that has happened to me in a while. It is of course hilarious, but also so poignant.  I was barely choking back sobs while listening to her chapter on apologies. Sobbing and running do not go well together. This book is amazing.

Speaking of running, when I was running the Great Race in September, I saw this woman walking by wearing the most amazing silver Oxford shoes.  I considered running over and complimenting her on her shoes, but stopped myself, because that would just be weird.  I have never worn menswear style shoes, because I feel like they look strange on my large feet, and I don’t really know how to style them. But seeing her shoes, now I desperately want some gorgeous shiny silver oxfords or loafers. How I will wear them, I have no idea. But I want them.

Want.

Want.


Want.

Want.


When the news broke about the sequel to Wet Hot American Summer, followed by the collective euphoria of anyone who has ever gone to summer camp, I realized that I am probably the only person on earth who has not yet seen this movie. So I’m spending this evening watching it. Hilar.

Wet Hot American Summer

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Yakkin with @YaJagoff about Pgh Summer Favorites!!

Yakkin with @YaJagoff about Pgh Summer Favorites!!

Welcome to John of Ya Jagoff!! as he shares his Pittsburgh Summer Favorites!

Some people mark the start of summer with the opening of local pools, Kennywood Park, the rain on the 3 Rivers Arts Festival or when they start to become overwhelmed with high school graduation invitations. I mark the season opening by when Gus pulls the Gus and Yiayia’s cart out over there on the North Side in the West Park area. The cart has been there for almost 80 years. “Since your dad was a lad,” as it says on the cart.

If ya haven’t been there. The treats are only half of the experience. The cart seems to have a “bubble of happiness” around it. People playing tennis in the park, squirrels running around looking for errant peanuts, bicycles, runners, walkers, kids, adults all catching the bug from Gus’ infectious calm demeanor and gentle smile. Nobody cuts the line. People say “excuse me” and car horns only beep when they’re giving a shout-out to Gus who doesn’t even look up.. he just raises his hand in between ice-shaving strokes to acknowledge.

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So, it is a snow cone, is it an ice ball, is it shaved ice? It’s a topic of family picnic debates. I have no idea but it IS delicious. HINT: it says ice balls on the cart.

My favorite flavor? It’s a tie between banana and root beer. But, without empirical evidence (because empirical evidence is only necessary in Pittsburgh for discussions of Penguins, Pirates, Pitt or Steelers stats) I am pretty sure that the overwhelming #1 seller is the rainbow or multi-flavored ice. I can’t do the mixed flavors.. I don’t even like when my food mixes on my plate.

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The peanuts and popcorn? For all I know, Gus might purchase the peanuts and the popcorn at Costco in 6-ton bags but, when he scoops them into the little bags that feel nice and warm in your hand, ya get this vision that Yiayia just handed them out of her kitchen window to you, the kid next door.

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OK…I’ve just made myself hungry so, gotta head over to the North Side now. If you know about Gus and Yiayia’s, comment below about your favorite ice flavor.

If you haven’t been to Gus and Yiayia’ cart yet, go take a selfie of yourself in the bathroom mirror with a sad face… (Make sure you’re dressed appropriately. Don’t be a #SelfieFail) After that, head directly to Gus and Yiayias and come back here and tell me about it. Then you can delete your sad face selfie.

How to find the Gus and Yiayia’s cart:

If you’re a GPS user, the cart is located right around these coordinates:

40.452003 by -80.008682

If you need directions from a traditional Pittsburgh-direction-giver, you can get to the Gus and Yiayia by goin’ up ‘air between CCAC, where my cousin used to go to school before he got a job with the steam fitters union, and where the old plumbing place used to be at the corner of Brighton and North over dair by AGH and the aviary an’nat.

Thanks much to Liz for allowing me to post here!

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What a sucker.

What a sucker.

Before Baby Beez was born, I would joke that my kid was not gonna be one of those spoiled kids. My kid was gonna have 2 toys: a stick and a rock. And maybe, if she was extra good, she’d get a rusty tin can to kick around.

But once she arrived, she was the first grandchild on both sides of the family. So yes, she was spoiled. Also, I am a total sucker for making her happy, so I basically trip over my own feet in a rush to buy whatever it is she likes. Just to see her smile.

This week, especially after seeing my credit card statement from our Disneyworld vacation, it really struck home what a sucker I am. Sure, she enjoyed Disney and toys and what have you. But there’s a LOT of stuff that this kid loves just as much that is free or virtually free. Prime example: The playground. Going to the playground is probably her favorite activity in the universe. And that costs $0. (Or, more accurately, it costs the tax money I’m already paying anyway.)

Other free/nearly free entertainment that this kid LOVES:

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Playing with sticks.


My crack about the stick and rock was prescient, because DUDE THIS KID LOVES STICKS AND ROCKS. She doesn’t swing them around too wildly, mostly she pretends they are wands, and picks them up and keeps exchanging them up for bigger and better sticks.

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Going to the library.


We are incredibly lucky to have a magnificent library system in Pittsburgh. There are constantly activities and programs for all ages (yesterday, we went to a Japanese cultural program for little kids), and they have a massive collection of books, cds, dvds, etc. Basically, anything you could want, they have it. The kid’s room is not a typical quiet reading area. There’s a train set, toys, computers, etc. Even before I had a kid, the Main Branch of the Carnegie Library was one of my favorite places in the city. With all it offers for little monsters, I love it even more.

Running around Statutes

Running around Statutes

Baby Beez loves Dippy the Dinosaur, but she pretty much loves running in circles around any statute. Yesterday she ran around Dippy’s legs, and yelled to anyone who came close by that you should stay away from Dippy’s butt or he’ll pee on you. Because yeah, she’s 4. That’s what 4 y.o.’s do. Anyway, it was a good way to [try to] get her to burn off energy. And it cost zero dollars.

Chasing Squirrels

Chasing Squirrels

You probably can’t see it, but there’s a squirrel in the tree. Whenever this kid sees squirrels or birds, she’s like “MOM IT’S MY BEST FRIEND, I’M GONNA CATCH IT!” I guess that’s what happens when you’re an only child, you feel like you have to chase down and physically restrain all your friends. I’m perfectly fine with letting her run after small city-dwelling animals, but Baby Beez is in a phase where she flat out ignores me when I yell at her to stop running, which leads to the panic that she’s gonna keep running and bolt out into the street. She’s small and fast and argues with me when I try to explain the threat of moving vehicles. So yeah. There’s potential in this activity, but it needs some work.

At the Car Wash

At the Car Wash

Some kids are terrified by the car wash. Not mine. She gets super excited and narrates the whole process. LOOK IT IS THE SOAP! NOW IT IS SPRAYING DOWN THE CAR! This activity technically cost money, but I did need to wash my car anyway, so it’s an added bonus that it’s also fun for the kid.

Other free activities this kid loves: The playground. The playground at the mall. Running around in open spaces. Did I mention playgrounds? Also sticks. And playgrounds.

What are your kid’s favorite free activities?

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Things I’m Doing When I’m Not Blogging with @2ndBreakfastPgh @EastEndBrewing @The_Steel_Trap @theCommonerPgh

Things I’m Doing When I’m Not Blogging with @2ndBreakfastPgh @EastEndBrewing @The_Steel_Trap @theCommonerPgh

The last two weeks have involved after-work meetings nearly every day of the week, the kid having to stay home from school for three days because she was sick, Mr. Beez going out of town for three days on a business trip, me falling and busting my face on the ice (nothing broken, just ugly bruises), and just lots and lots of stuff in general.

This means there’s been little-to-no time for running, blogging, watching tv, or maintaining sanity in general. I’m much more hopeful this week. I’ve got plenty to do, but my calendar is not nearly as cluttered, so I’m hopeful about having the time to actually get stuff DONE.

In lieu of timely updates on the wild and wonderful world of Pittsburgh in the last two weeks, I bring you this list of our first week + in March.

Winter

This is what our world looked like for most of last week. The temp was in the 40s and 50s this weekend, and the forecast CLAIMS it will continue to be mild, but I’ll believe it when I see it. As much as I whine about the weather, I can remain hopeful that we’ll get through to spring with a little patience. This past week totally broke me. WE’RE IN MARCH NOW FOR GOODNESS SAKES. There was a lot of despairing in glasses of beer because I just can’t take this weather anymore.

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Contributing to the despair was my nosedive into the icy driveway on Monday (I’m fine). But the only way to make myself feel better was to buy a cartful of icy things I like.

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Lately I’ve been stopping by the Pgh Public Market as often as possible after Baby Beez’ Saturday ballet class. It’s so quiet and lovely then, and the hash browns with eggs and bacon from Second Breakfast is the perfect size for Baby Beez and me to share.

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I also picked up a growler of Monkey Boy from East End Brewery, and that stuff is GOOD. It hasn’t displaced VooDoo Love Child as my favorite beer, but it’s a good one, and I really look forward to more Saturday morning growler fills at the Public Market.

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Mr. Beez and I joined The Steel Trap at the CLO Wine Tasting and Silent Auction on Friday. We had such a lovely time, and I may have drank all the cava in Western Pennsylvania. This was one of the nicest fundraiser events I’ve been to. I especially loved the variety of wines, and allllll the sparkling options. Kudos to the CLO for an extremely successful event!!

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After the wine tasting, Mr. Beez and I stopped over at The Commoner for a snack. I had the BBQ Oysters and they were amazing and all I’ve been thinking about for the rest of the weekend. It’s not a regular menu item, but next time you are there, see if they have them. Because they are amazing.

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This week was also Purim. I stopped by Allegro Hearth for some hamentaschen. I offered them to Baby Beez, but she is obnoxious and 4 and did not want any. So I had them all to myself. This was my first time trying a poppyseed hamentaschen, and it’s not really my style. Apricot or Raspberry, please.

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Our spoiled child got to go to Disney on Ice this weekend, too. I bought the tickets back in November when I was ALL EXCITED about our trip to Disney World. Then it came down to this event and I was totally burned out on Disney, but wasn’t going to disappoint Baby Beez. So we all went. She did enjoy the show, so that was really nice. And in general, the kids at the show were pretty well behaved. THE PARENTS THOUGH. This was some of the worst, pushiest, rudest parent behavior I’ve seen in recent memory. I talked to other folks who went to other showings and said that they dealt with the same thing. I don’t know what it is about Disney on Ice that brings out the worst behavior in grown ups, but I think we’ll pass the next time it comes to town.

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After Disney on Ice, we stopped by the new VooDoo Brewery shop in Homestead for more growlers. This place is my happy place. Hearts stars smiles xoxoxoxox. That is all.

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And finally, yesterday we went to a bowling fundraiser to raise money for Attorneys Against Hunger. Not many bar association events are family friendly, so it was fun to be able to get together with our families, do a little bowling, and eat a lot of nachos. I also won a sweeeet prize basket at the raffle auction, including a cute little Coach crossover purse. Win!

So that’s what’s been going on in my neck of the woods. Also, I’ve been really into peanut butter & jelly waffles for breakfast. And I really need to get the kid out of bed and get us to school/work. I’m trying to cut her a break because of daylight savings buuuuut I gotta bill some hours today!