On the road: Pittsburgh to Dallas

We took our time on the drive from Pittsburgh to Dallas, keeping the driving time under ~6 hours each day and trying to mix in some fun activities and visits with friends.  The trip started with a trip to the doctor, so by the time we were officially on the road, we had two very tired boys. 20161229_142509 20161229_142516

Speaking of tired boys, I found this sleepy Malcolm picture from sometime in December, I think.  Anyway, it was too cute not to post.

The first day, we drove to Indianapolis.  We stayed in a hotel with a pool – did not get many pictures there though – and went to the Children’s Museum the next morning.

This was driving through Columbus en route from Pittsburgh to Indianapolis.

Driving into Indianapolis after dark.  I couldn’t get a good picture.20161229_201245

At the pool – Malcolm was still not feeling 100% and was tired.  20161230_101149

This was a great Children’s Museum.  Kieran loved the dinosaurs climbing into the museum.20161230_113025 20161230_114601 20161230_141808

And his other favorite part was the big climbing, obstacle course made up of leaves, nets, and boats.  Kieran climbed all the way to the top.  See him in that boat up there?20161230_122420 20161230_124630 20161230_122005 20161230_122433

They had lots of water tables and other cool hands-on exhibits.20161230_121729

There were some nice areas for toddlers too.20161230_124707 20161231_124436 20161230_124257

This was the view looking down onto the lobby.  They had a huge Yule Slide that was a full story tall.  The line was REALLY long, and Malcolm was too little to ride, so we did not ride.20161230_130435

Making music.20161230_125338

Malcolm was climbing and running all over – he loved it!20161230_122124 20161230_123151

After a few hours at the museum, we got back on the road for St. Louis.  Malcolm decided he would take a turn driving.20161230_154347

We stayed in St. Louis a few nights with the Hermes family.  The first full day we were there, we went to the City Museum.  We could have spent a couple of days here, but after several hours, we had some tired and HUNGRY boys.
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Kieran and Penny climbing.20161231_114935 20161231_115125

You cannot tell, but we are about 4-5 stories up.20161231_120400

Kieran and Penny in the outdoor ball pit.20161231_124802 20161231_125010

Roasting a marshmallow.20161231_125515

Riding the little train.  Kieran insisted on going multiple times!20161231_131327 20161231_131356

All that museum fun works up an appetite!20161231_144714

Malcolm liked Penny’s toys.

We were in St. Louis for Kieran’s birthday.  We went to a placed called Monkey Joe’s to celebrate.  It was full of inflatable bounce houses and slides.  Kieran loved it so much.  He still had a really bad cough, so I kept making him take water breaks to give him time to catch his breath.  Malcolm also really loved it.  I have some HILARIOUS videos from this adventure, but those will have to wait for later.
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St. Louis does not have an Eat N Park, but we found a place with a  salad bar and delicious dessert.  Happy birthday to you, Kieran!

The next day, we were back on the road, this time to Tulsa.  This was one of our longest days.  Fortunately, we once again had friends to stay with – this time, Kieran and Malcolm got to make some new friends: William and Sam!

On the road.
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It was cold, so the boys were all bundled up to play outside.20170103_105018

They decided to have a snack in the soccer goal.FB_IMG_1483464933470

Coloring with Sam.20170103_092712

Mr. Malcolm being silly with a towel.

The dog bone as big as Malcolm.  :)FB_IMG_1483479835601

We stayed in Tulsa just under 24 hours, but we crammed in a lot of fun.  But, it was time to get on the road for the last leg of our journey to Dallas.  We arrived after 8pm and stayed in a hotel with a fantastic view.  And, we woke up to our first morning in Dallas.

In the glass elevator.
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Oh yes, they call me the streak!

Dallas views.20170103_200944 20170104_075616

The next morning, the movers arrived with our things, and we signed a lease on our house to get us through the few days until we could close.  The new roof – which is what was necessary before we could close – was put on the same day we moved in.  It was a crazy day.  We had Jack in the Box for lunch in our new kitchen, went to the playground in our neighborhood to play, and got all our beds set up to spend the first night in our new house.
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Playing iGuy while the movers unloaded the truck.20170104_120639

Lunch at the island (Kieran calls is the “deck” sometimes).  :)

Playing at Kidd Springs playground.20170104_151153 20170104_151204 20170104_144657

Malcolm likes his new bathroom.
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Kieran Vader in his new room.

We brought the snow with us.20170106_143258

Kieran’s bedroom – so much unpacking to do.20170106_134612

A few days later, we officially closed on our house.  Afterwards, we went to dinner at a place called the Flying Fish.  Kieran loved his kid meal in a boat!

Finally, our first takeout from the local diner – Norma’s.  I got steak fingers.  Yes, steak fingers.  Welcome to Texas!

December – Saying Goodbye to Pittsburgh

December was a huge month for us.  We sold our house and bought a house in Dallas, we had a birthday party for both boys, we traveled to Washington D.C. for a weekend, we battled illness, and we said  lot of really hard goodbyes to people and places in Pittsburgh.  Malcolm turned 1 two days before we packed up the car and left Pittsburgh.

One cold afternoon, we went up to the Pittsburgh Mills mall to walk around and burn off some energy.  It was the midst of this mall trip that we ended up settling on the deal for our house too!  Kieran did the little kids ropes course – he was a little scared at first, but quickly got more confident and had a blast.  We also went to an inflatable play place, where Malcolm discovered a ball that was bigger than him.
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We had one more dinner and fun evening with Kieran’s friends Memphis and his parents, Chris and Alison (I got no pictures of the adults, at any of these goodbyes!).20161204_192551 20161204_192608

We all went to Washington D.C. because I had my semi-annual work meeting.  Jon and the boys visited their cousins.  Kieran had a blast on their trampoline.  Both Malcolm and Kieran had a lot of fun hanging out with the kids, and we all had a good holiday dinner at Ikea!  Obviously, the boys were pretty worn out.20161208_105607 20161209_19261220161208_134431   20161209_171028 20161210_080654

Malcolm liked to accompany Jude on the piano.20161208_19183220161209_122007

Yum, cookies!

Back in Pittsburgh…someone is rocking shades with his jammies.20161213_072632

First battle with illness – both kids ended up with ear infections and bad coughs.  Malcolm’s lingered longer and was harder to shake (we actually were at the doctor the morning we left town).
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It could be a long time before we see this again:

Jon’s work had going-away cake for him.  He brought the whole chocolate cake home, and we used it for the boys’ birthday party.  One more shot of the city from Jon’s office.

Silly selfie.

The boys had a lot of friends over for their 4th and 1st birthday party.  Kieran insisted on a blue cake and a black cake.  The blue cake had some issues, so I turned it into a pyramid (sort of).  I think the black frosting looked gross, but Kieran loved it.  :) 20161218_125029 20161218_124705 20161218_124817 20161218_124805 20161218_124749 20161218_123007 20161218_124741

This is my version of a Paw Patrol cake for Kieran.  :)  This was the extra cake from Jon’s goodbye party at work.  Trust me when I say that this is so much better than if I tried to actually decorate the cake!  20161218_114108

I got plain white t-shirts and fabric markers, so everyone could decorate shirts for the boys.  Arianna makes the best pictures, of course!  20161218_115810

Full of cake.20161218_125817 20161218_130532

Silly brothers.
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Just taking a call here.

This little seahorse would respond to vibrations on the side of his tank, so you could tap it and he would go for a minute or so.20161218_170625

Partying with my little buddy.
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Baseball and bat!  This is still a favorite toy around here.20161218_113505

So despite all the work we had done on our house, the inspection still turned up a huge project – the sewer pipe from our house to the street was broken.  And, of course, it was not a routine job.  Turns out, the pipes were not all the same diameter, and one was a “Pittsburgh special” only used in Pittsburgh.  As it turns out, we could not line the pipe, BUT they saved us from digging up our concrete steps and sidewalk to replace the whole pipe by threading a smaller PVC pipe through the original pipe.  Still a HUGE project, but saved us potentially $15-$20K!  They had to dig a 10 foot hole next to our sidewalk to access the pipe outside, so we had a little digger in our yard.  Kieran thought it was the coolest thing.20161223_14510320161223_14504820161223_14504220161223_144929

It took them 3 full days to finish the work, and they literally wrapped up the day before we left the city.  20161226_123008 20161226_143643

These were the boys’ Fall school pictures.  I totally forgot it was picture day, so Kieran was just wearing an orange shirt with construction vehicles on it.  We had him wear his vest for the pictures, and it worked out pretty well!  Fortunately, Malcolm was wearing a cute outfit that day!20161224_131625 20161224_131738

Christmas in our house is a pretty small affair.  We had our tiny tree and a present for everyone (two for each of the boys).  Kieran got his Paw Patroller, which he had wanted for a long time!  20161225_072941 20161225_082957 20161225_093828

Later that afternoon, we went to the Coco-Strange’s house for our annual Christmas Meatballs (the previous year, this was the last meal I had before going into labor with Malcolm!).  This was also the last chance the kids got to play with Mila and Charlie.  :(  Charlie was definitely Kieran’s best buddy (they were also in the same Pre-K class).  Kieran told us that Charlie was going to buy a house next door to us in Dallas.  20161225_170818 20161225_171110

The day after Christmas was Malcolm’s birthday, and we spent the day with the Lopez family.  They even made Malcolm a cake.  :)  Kieran and Olivia always have so much fun, and this year Mateo and Malcolm got into the fun too.  It was hard getting them to stay still long enough to get a picture!
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We made sure that the boys got to say goodbye to all their friends.  Poor Effie was SO tired the day she stopped by to say goodbye to Kieran.

We stopped by the Moore’s house to see them one more time.  Malcolm loved Kylan’s little car.20161226_152121

We went to Arianna’s and got to see Elvie there one more time.  The first picture is from a different day at Arianna’s when the kids painted their little banks.  Kieran’s is an elephant.  Elvie painted a pig (Malcolm also has a pig).502298840

One last hurrah on the plasma cars.  20161227_102153

Snacks together one more time.20161227_103110 20161227_105723 20161227_102029 20161227_101746

Malcolm saying goodbye to the kitties.IMG_5297

Watching Kieran say goodbye to Luke was really sad.  Luke cried when we left.  :(  20161228_190554

Last days in our house.
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The day before we left town, I finally got a haircut!  (I always look so crazy in selfies)

Last dinner at Eat N Park – we will miss you (Kieran will miss you especially).

Last stop at the doctor’s office on the way out of town.
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Goodbye, house on Duffield St.  You gave us so many memories!