Monday, October 5, 2015

The Places We Go: Pittsburgh Water Steps

A few weeks ago, we discovered a beautiful place to visit! 

Nestled behind PNC Park in Pittsburgh, in North Shore Riverfront Park, is a hidden gem:  The Water Steps! Surprisingly, we had never gone there before.  We had planned to go on several occasions, but it never happened.  Let me just say, we were missing out on a great (FREE!) spot to play!

The walk to the Water Steps is a beautiful one. The path winds along the river, and offers amazing views of Point State Park, PNC Park, and downtown Pittsburgh. 

River Walk Pittsburgh

Liam fell asleep in his stroller during our walk, but the girls were amazed when they spotted the Water Steps!  They immediately climbed in and made their way to the middle of the steps.


We hadn't planned on going to the Water Steps that day, and we didn't bring swimsuits.  It was a beautiful, hot summer day, though, so I told them to get soaked.  They wasted no time!

Lexie Lily and Aubrey on Pittsburgh Water Steps

I didn't want Liam to miss out on all the fun. I woke him up, stripped him down to his diaper, and stuck him in the water!

Liam on Pittsburgh Water Steps

At first, I was nervous about one of the kids slipping and getting hurt, but they maneuvered around safely. I waded in the water with Liam, and took in the gorgeous view of the city directly across from the Water Steps.


We spent over an hour at the Water Steps, but we truly could have spent the entire afternoon playing there.  The kids had SO much fun!

Fun at the Pittsburgh Water Steps
Liam and Lexie on Water Steps in Pittsburgh
Fun at the Water Steps in Pittsburgh
Kids on Water Steps in Pittsburgh
Liam on Water Steps in Pittsburgh
Liam Water Steps in Pittsburgh
 Lily on Pittsburgh Water Steps
Lily and Liam on Water Steps in Pittsburgh
Water Steps Pittsburgh with Amber
Water Steps in Pittsburgh

Convincing the girls it was time to leave was a difficult task, but I promised them we would return as soon as we possibly could! 


We had such a wonderful afternoon and can't wait to go back next summer!

Where are your favorite places to go with your family? 


Sunday, October 4, 2015

Family Night at the Pittsburgh Zoo with Chick-fil-A

We love the Pittsburgh Zoo and we love Chick-fil-A.  So when you put the two together, a whole lot of fun occurs! 

I recently shared the news that I was a member of the Chick-fil-A of Pittsburgh Mom Ambassador Panel. One of the perks of being a Chick-fil-A blogger is being able to attend all the fun events! 

On Thursday,  the kids and I spent a wonderful evening at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium for Family Night at the Zoo with Chick-fil-A!

The fun began the moment we arrived!


We filled out our name tags, grabbed some hats, and headed out on our adventure!


After seeing the tigers, we were treated to some delicious Chick-fil-A food.  My kids were starving after school, so they were so excited to find out they would be eating a Chick-fil-A dinner! They promptly sat down on the path and devoured their Grilled Chicken Subs and macaroni and cheese! I have no photo evidence of this, thanks to trying to feed myself and 4 kids.  I swear, the kids were done eating before I even had the chance to take a bite!

After we ate, we moved on to see some more animals.  The kids got to pet a chinchilla and a guinea pig, and they saw an owl up close.  Lexie LOVES owls, so she was thrilled!

CFA Family Night at the Pittsburgh Zoo

Lily was most excited about seeing the flamingos.  Upon hearing that the flamingos were Lily's favorite animal, a very sweet zookeeper, who was herding up the flamingos, brought a flamingo feather over to Lily.  Lily couldn't believe she was able to take it home.  It definitely made her night!

It was neat to see all the animals around dinner time.  They were all so much more active than they are during the typical zoo hours! We got to see quite a few up close!

CFA Family Night at the Pittsburgh Zoo Giraffe

After seeing the animals, we stopped for another food break.  This time, it was for chips and watermelon!  (Just for the record, the Chick-fil-A waffle potato chips are REALLY good!)

We go to the zoo often, but Family Night at the Zoo was different. Chick-fil-A did such a great job at making it special evening for everyone!  It wasn't crowded, it felt safe, it was very family-friendly, and the kids had a great time!

CFA Family Night at the Pittsburgh Zoo 2

It got dark and chilly, but the fun didn't end there.  We headed up to the pavilion for ice cream and face painting!

CFA Family Night at the Pittsburgh Zoo Face Painting

The evening ended with a really fun dance party! The DJ played some great songs, and the kids were going crazy.  Let's just say that Liam did not want to leave the dance floor!

CFA Family Night at the Pittsburgh Zoo Dance Party

My family had so much fun at the Pittsburgh Zoo with Chick-fil-A!

ChickfilA Family Night at the Pittsburgh Zoo

Before we knew it the night came to an end. We exchanged hugs with some new friends, then headed home with full bellies, smiles on our faces, and happy memories!


Thanks for the wonderful night, Chick-fil-A and Pittsburgh Zoo

Have you attended any fun Chick-fil-A events?


*I was compensated for writing this post, but all opinions are my own. Thank you, Chick-fil-A, for sponsoring this post.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Sorry? We're Not Sorry!

Sometimes a person comes into your life, and their impact on you is so profound that you're forever changed. 


Happy October AND Happy Down Syndrome Awareness Month!  This is our third year celebrating and spreading awareness.  I never expected to be on this journey in life, but I'm so glad I am.

As parents of a child who has Down syndrome, we don't want to hear him called a "Downs" child and we certainly don't want to hear "I'm sorry" in regards to his diagnosis.  I promise you that we are not sorry.


Prior to having Liam, I thought I knew exactly what Down syndrome was. The reality?  I KNEW NOTHING. I judged based on appearance.  Liam opened my eyes and showed me EVERYTHING I was missing.

And there's an awful lot to miss.


The number one thing I want people to realize about Liam is this: Down syndrome is only a FRACTION of who he is.  He is so much more than a diagnosis. 


Liam is a happy, healthy, smart little boy who loves to smile, laugh, play, and get messy. Just like any other boy.

He is clever, strong, and determined.

He is capable. 


He loves to read, play outside, and leave a path of destruction behind him at all times.

He immediately starts dancing as soon as he hears music and he talks constantly.


He is fully aware of everything going on around him. 

He loves with all his might, and captivates people with his amazing smile.

He is a blessing.


Liam is an individual, just like everyone else. He may have Down syndrome, but he doesn't have every single characteristic of Down syndrome. He has his own features, likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses, and traits that make him unique.

When people meet Liam, I hope they notice everything that makes him so special before they judge him based on his diagnosis.


This month, we encourage everyone to look past Down syndrome and discover the individual. 

Look for beauty in that face.  I guarantee you'll find it. Dig deeper and find out exactly who that person really is. If you just take the time to look, you will discover that person with Down syndrome is a person just like any other.

Having a child who has Down syndrome forever changed us.  We're not sorry and we're not suffering.  He is Liam and he is loved!