With a kiss to the hubby and a pat on doggie’s head, I hopped a plane and headed east to visit my brother and his family in Pittsburgh. After 10 years in the U.S. Navy, Ryan, Maria and the cutest niece in the world – Paige – found their new home in the suburbs of the big city.
Living in Maria’s hometown, her entire family is diehard Steelers fans – my brother now included! And when winter moves in, the Penguins take the ice. Thanks to Maria’s cousins, we scored tickets to a Penguins game while I was there that were six rows off the ice! Now I’ll admit I’m not the biggest sports fanatic. I’ve watched games on TV, but haven’t really ever gotten into one particular sport. But when you put me in a hockey arena where I can hear the sticks hitting the ice, the puck clank off the goal post and bodies slam into the glass, I’m going to be cheering with the rest of them! This was my first NHL game, and one that will never be forgotten with the game coming down to a shoot out. Talk about edge of your seat! Penguins win!!
Pittsburgh is an amazing city with incredible views of the skyline from Mount Washington. The unique characteristic shape of Pittsburgh’s city center is a triangular tract carved by the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers, which meet to form the Ohio River. The city features 151 high-rise buildings, 446 bridges and two inclined railways, making it not only know as “the Steel City,” but also “the City of Bridges.” Pittsburgh is also home to Heinz ketchup and the famous Primanti Bros. Restaurant, where sandwiches come piled high on homemade bread with your choice of meat and cheese topped off with fresh cut fries and coleslaw. It truly is an entire meal in one bite!
I’m excited to return and explore more of this city. Soon there will be a new reason to visit, as Paige will be a big sister!
Christmas is my favorite time of the year. And even though I itch to get those decorations out as soon as I start to see jingle bells pop up in the stores, I patiently wait until the day after Thanksgiving to start the transformation. Early in the morning I lug the containers up from the basement (which have grown to quite a few throughout the years!) and carefully unpack the treasures that I neatly stowed the year before. With Christmas music filling the air, I can’t help but smile as I unwrap each item and reflect on its past.
Every item among my collection has a story to tell, from the ceramic figurines I made as a teenager to the Cowboy Santa that travelled with my husband from his home state of Texas. The Christmas treasures all have their own places in the house, with angels singing from the top of the piano to sledding snowmen on the coffee table.
With every decoration in its spot, the tree becomes my focus. Not only is it my most favorite Christmas treasure, but it offers a story in every ornament that hangs from its branches.
When I was only a year old, my mother started an annual tradition of getting us kids a new ornament each year to build a collection that would travel with us throughout our lives. Missing only one from the year I was born (and one that shattered a few year back), my collection offers 31 tiny treasures that twinkle from the lights around them. Some are round balls with colorful characters, while others are angels made from nuts and snowmen made of bells.
Throughout the years, I’ve added to my own collection with ornaments I’ve found or received as gifts. Even the hubby has added his own signature ornaments with skiing bears and, of course, ornaments with a little Texas style.
It’s a joy to reflect on all the items that bring us happiness this season. For me it’s the tiny treasures that make me think of family and friends who have graced my life. Merry Christmas!