Thank you all for your love, support, and kindness when reading my post returning to the blog. You have no idea how much it means to have support from so many different folks and for the warm response when sharing my heart. I feel so blessed by our story and your following along! Now that I am back one of the items I have been so looking forward to sharing is our summer 2017 road trip: kicking it off today with Pittsburg!
Our first few days of this epic road trip was in Pittsburg with our friends Amanda and Cliff. Amanda and I are childhood friends – her childhood house was the first phone number I ever memorized and it was a relationship that traveled through the years from playing make believe with our elaborate classrooms, to the maturity of high school and college. After 8th grade we were never at the same school, but this friendship has always stuck with us both. As life has taken course, we have really connected again over adulthood, the bond of sharing life with a close knit family, professional endeavors, and funny enough sharing life with hockey coaches! That’s right – both Cliff and Danny are passionate hockey coaches and it is funny how similar our lives can be, even from different states!
So they are most certainly those easy kind of friends – the conversation and laughter is always flowing and they have been incredible supporters of ours while navigating this last year. They have been trying to open their home to us for quite sometime and sadly the trips just continued to not work out. That meant it was only fitting that our first stop on a trip that was about celebrating our new life we had to hit Pittsburg!
Neither Danny nor I had ever been to this city, and we thought this part of the trip would be completely focused on how much fun we would have just hanging around with them! Cliff and Amanda are laid back people who enjoy laughing with us, so we knew it would be great way to ease into vacation mode! Their home is absolutely beautiful. Our guest room provided such a cozy setting I accidentally overslept for hours our first night there and woke up feeling more rested than I had in weeks, plus their four legged babies helped to ease the pain of no Q…… but we were completely wrong about the just hanging around part. Amanda and Cliff took us everywhere and it was a blast!
First stop was to meet their one pet that doesn’t live at the house…. a horse named Rocky! He is beautiful and both his barn and the surrounding farm land was like a post card. Amanda grew up riding and the few times I went with her to the barn I was a nervous wreck! Horses are big ya’ll and how folks just climb up and ride them I will never know….. but lucky for me Rocky was patient with my squeaky voice and timidness…. and the rest of the crowd only laughed a little. Danny, who loves to ride, just a few hours into our visit was pretty convinced that afternoon may have already been the highlight of our trip. The sun, fresh air, gorgeous animals, and hilarious stories of Cliff manning the barn needs when Amanda is away was a blast. Plus Rocky didn’t care that I was in yoga pants and Rainbow flip flops, so it was clear: he and I are friends!
But that stop was truly only the beginning. A friend of Cliff and Amanda’s generously gave us tickets to a Pirates game with incredible seats that was followed by an amazing fireworks show from the river. Over our two days we visited the fish market, drove all over downtown under the watchful eyes of both the bright sun and glorious summer moon, and appreciated all the sports history that calls Pittsburg home! Plus these people are beverage people aka, my kind of people. They believe in frequent stops for a cup of coffee or chilled ice tea. I swear the moment it crossed my mind for a beverage to find its way to my hand we were pulling into a Starbucks. Then ending days on their deck with a view of big beautiful trees and a pups’ heads in our lap was our idea of a perfect night. Both Amanda and Cliff have so much love for their hometown they want to be sure you see all the best views – so we stopped at known overlooks and unknown parking decks for a chance at the perfect picture. It felt like we were tourists who had bypassed all the gimmicks and dived right into the heart of the city. Its true – Pittsburg has two new fans (except the whole we still cheer for the Washington Capitals & Redskins part….)!
As we pulled away from their house early Sunday morning, we both wondered if the best part of the trip had already happened! We just could not stop saying how much fun we had, how coming back was non-negotioable (we already have invited ourselves over tentatively in March), and how sad we were to have taken this long to make the trip. But the truth is, Danny would never have had the energy to keep up with this visit if we had come pre-transplant. This first road trip stop left my heart so incredibly full for the friendships God has placed in our lives and to know that the months before when we walked the halls of Hopkins staring out at the snow wondering if winter would ever end, that He would have a simple weekend trip make us feel so alive. There was a moment on the bridge after the baseball game that I wasn’t able to keep up with Danny – first because of his speed – and then out of awe, its been a long time that my view is facing forward and not watching behind me to see how long till he caught up. And I think it was amazing that I shared that realization with a special friend who has personally seen me through a lot of moments of growing up. Amanda, I think you were there for another one!
Pittsburg was a blast…. but I have to say it was all thanks to our hosts! Not sure if they are taking reservations yet – but steer clear of March, cause we already booked!
Thank you so much for reading and remember to make it a great day!