Sunday, October 26, 2008

Kansas City

Kansas City Trip
October 8-15
The Departure
Our flight to KC went WAY better than I could have dreamed. Carter was so well behaved and was quite content to just do his thing. We bought a portable DVD player and the only thing I regret about that is not doing it sooner. In the two pictures below Carter looked like such a teenager to me.

So as we were flying in to KC I thought about all the many things that went our way and what a positive trip we had and thought I couldn't remember when that had happened...well, just minutes if not seconds after thinking that Carter started coughing hard from his gut and then decided to toss his cookies. Luckily I grabbed him fast enough that all the throw up ended up all over me and himself. So needless to say, we didn't have the magical reunion of running into Grandma and Grandpa's arms that I had dreamed of.

Grandpa Craig in KC!!

Carter and I had the luck to see my Dad in KC (I am originally from Salt Lake City). He was in KC for a work conference and was flying out later on in the same day that Carter and I flew in so he came over to my in-laws for some lunch and playtime with Carter. Since Matt's parents and my parents are from two different places in the country it is very rare to be with both families at once. It was the coolest feeling to have two people representing two families that I love so much together with me and my child all under one roof. My Dad was so cute with Carter as they shot Nerf guns off a good portion of the afternoon.

We love you Dad, it was so good to see you!!

Riding, Cleaning, and Swimming

Grandma Bonnie has been waiting a long time to be a grandma and now that she is, she is determined to be the funnest, cutest grandma ever and she is achieving her goal!! Carter had a blast playing with all the toys she's collected from back when her kids were small and from garage sales all over Kansas City. She has found some AWESOME stuff!! This bike is one of those finds.

Then of course after you are done riding you have to clean the bike up. Actually, Grandma keeps a pretty clean house so after riding the bike outside Grandma wiped the wheels off and left the towel at Carter's level. Grandma and I walked away and next thing we knew Carter was cleaning away and was saying the word "cleaning" as well. It seemed like overnight that Carter hit that "helping" stage. Just about every morning Carter helped Grandma sort the clean utensils back into the drawer.

We also went swimming a couple days to a warm water therapy pool at the community center. The pool is very shallow so it worked great for Carter. We were always the only ones there so we had a ball every time. Carter got to be very brave and walked into the water till it was up to his chin all by himself.
Uncle Cory even came down from Minneapolis for the weekend. His birthday was coming up so we also got to help celebrate it with him.
Zoo Time

We spent a day at the zoo with Cory and Grandma. Carter got to feed the deer and he LOVED it!!!

Friday Night Football

For just about as long as I have been a part of the Nielsen family, Friday night has been spent watching the Liberty Blue Jays play football and listening and watching the marching band during their halftime show. Matt's lil sis Whitney played flute in the band. So why not keep up the tradition when we go out there? Carter totally enjoyed himself. He cheered when people cheered. Watched bits and pieces of the game. But most importantly was the center of the show in our little section. There were several older people sitting around us and they thought Carter was pretty funny. Carter also found some bigger boys to pal around with.

Random Pictures

Carter like any little boy (or big boy for that matter) loves to flex his muscles for you:

Carter has a good buddy who just doesn't return the love, but puts up with him anyway. Carter LOVES Kitty with all his heart, but Kitty is getting up there in age and finds Carter somewhat annoying. She was so good at putting up with him all week, so thanks a lot Kitty the Dog.

The other night Carter said dinner prayer and Matt who was helping said, "Say please bless our Grandmas and Grandpas" which Carter then said "Bless Pampas and Kitty." So you can see Carter's priorities.
Another one of Carter's favorite things that week was feeding Kitty every morning and night.

Always lots of fun toys to make messes with.

Grandma is an excellent pianist and Carter enjoys sitting on her lap and hearing her play. This particular time she was playing primary songs and they were singing them together.
I will post a few videos of some of Carter's songs he likes to sing:

"I Am a Child of God"

"Wheels on the Bus" A MUST see!

"Do As I'm Doing"

"Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes"

While in KC we also went to a pumpkin patch but I will save that for the next post because it deserves a post all it's own.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Happy Birthday Pittsburgh, the BIG 2-5-0!!

Our Buddies and us have been looking forward for some time to help Pittsburgh celebrate it's 250th Birthday yesterday. We started out the chilly morning on the banks of the Allegheny River watching a Floatilla (a boat parade). The boats, and there were ALL kinds, floated up and down all three rivers where they join at The Point. We saw canoes, kayaks, recreational boats, houseboats, clipper boats, very big barges, crane boats, and even floating laboratory boats.

This is The Point State Park. In honor of the big Birthday Bash they dyed the water. I think they were going for Red to be patriotic, but instead it looked like hot pink.

Behind us is a parade of Eagle Scouts throughout the Pittsburgh area. They are carrying a humongous American Flag for the flag ceremony.

Here we are with our buddies: There's us; Richy, Marie and Linus; Heather, Jake and Oliver. We really missed our other Pittsburgh buddies who have since moved away.

The boys thought the pink water was HILARIOUS!!

This is a picture of the Duquense Incline. Back in the day when Pittsburgh was all about the steel industry the hills were lined with these inclines and that is how the steel workers would commute to work every day. Now there are just a couple left.

One shot of beautiful Pittsburgh. To the left is the West End Bridge and then the Science Center where Carter and I frequent and next to that is Heinz Field home to the biggest religion in Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Now for all the grumping and bashing that I do on Pittsburgh, which I do quite a bit, I need to also say there is quite a bit of AWESOME things here as well. Never have I lived nor will I probably live again in a place with such history. 250 years for the United States is pretty old. Not that there aren't places that are older, but this just isn't when the area was first founded but when the city was first established as the city of Pittsburgh. With that said, that is also one of my biggest complaints about the city is that everything is SOO OLD and falling apart. But back to the positive: Downtown Pittsburgh is GORGEOUS!! The skyline is remarkable. Pittsburgh is loaded with beautiful wooded parks that make you feel like you have left the city and are hiking in the woods. The city also has great kid events and attractions. We love the Science Center, the Children's Museum, the Zoo, etc. We have met friends here that we will cherish forever. And the very reason for this post is that Pittsburgh is fond of their festivals! Almost any weekend through the summer or fall you can find at least one festival in and around the Pittsburgh area. Just about every weekend night through the summer we hear fireworks going off from somewhere. Pittsburgh LOVES their fireworks. The Fourth of July show was one of the best I have ever seen, I was super duper impressed. BUT THEN the fireworks last night "blew" those ones out of the water:

This picture came from the Pittsburgh Post Gazette and is just a small sample of the fireworks we saw last night. The show last night was the BIGGEST firework show ever done in the whole United States and is going in the Guinness Book of World Records. It was jaw dropping!! They had seventeen different launch points up and down the three rivers, off the skyscrapers, PNC Park, The Point, and the bridges. Everywhere you looked you saw fireworks. And as you can kind of see too the fireworks reflect off of the buildings in the background that just made it all that much cooler. It was pretty cool to be apart of History last night and made me proud to be a Pittsburgher (at least for a day, wink wink).