Family vacation | Pittsburgh and Cleveland

We’ve been a bit quiet on the blog the past week as we took our week-long vacation in the actual Midwest and East. This trip kind of snuck up on us. When we first received the invitation to his cousin’s wedding in Pittsburgh, Mr D and I went back and forth quite a bit. We wondered whether Caleb would be old enough and whether we’d all be up for such our first big trip as a family of four. Then plans were made to visit Mr D’s great-uncle in Cleveland, who will be turning 96 this year, and we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to have the kids meet him. All in all, the D California contingent heading east would number eleven!

We all woke up at the ungodly hour of three a.m., after doing a lot of last-minute packing at midnight. Thankfully this meant that the kids were asleep for most of the trip. Sofia’s backpack was chock-full of activity books, magnetic blocks, and an iPad with a couple of her favorite movies for good measure. The little boy was a dream, barely fussing as long as he was fed and changed.


On our first day, we met up with the bride’s parents and brother for lunch at the famous Primanti Brothers. We had been prepping Sofia for days prior to the trip that we would be going to some museums. Our first one would be the Carnegie Science Center, and she couldn’t wait for lunch to be over so we could go. She enjoyed the interactive exhibits, but was especially thrilled about going into a submarine.


The U.S.S. Requin is docked right outside the Science Center, and we walked through nine different spaces from the torpedo room to the captain’s quarters. She couldn’t stop talking about it to her cousins.


Saturday was the wedding, which was held at St. Mary of the Mount, atop Mount Washington. The views from the church were breathtaking. The ceremony was small and intimate, and the reception afterwards filled with much love and laughter. They counted 13 different nationalities represented, which was amazing. Congratulations Bhaskar and Nikki!


After a farewell brunch with extended family, we decided to go up one of the famous inclines, which used to carry miners to and from work.


While heights make me nervous, Ms. Sofia never flinched and insisted on a window seat. She even ran around the vista point lookouts, which made the backs of my knees tingle.


Fifteen members of the D family made the two-hour drive to Cleveland the next day to visit Lolo (grandpa) Tom, who is now the patriarch of the clan. Nothing says “full house” for Asian families like an entryway full of shoes.


There were six Mr Ds in attendance that day, their ages ranging from 95 to almost 5 months. Four generations of D men are posed in this epic photo.


Tuesday was tour day. We all climbed aboard one of those red double decker tourist buses to get a full view of Pittsburgh’s famous sites. Mr D and I don’t usually go for guided city tours, but with so many people in our party (including two infants), being driven around was the better idea.


If you’re visiting a city that has three rivers and more bridges than Venice, Italy, you’d be crazy not to take a boat cruise. We opted to take the evening cruise, which gave us beautiful sunset photos and a cool respite from the humidity.


Sofia said she was proud of her parents for taking her to do her two favorite things: a bus ride and a boat ride.


As you can see, this guy had a grand old time. He stayed awake throughout the whole boat ride, though it was way past his bedtime.


It was late by the time we disembarked, and finding a good place to eat at that hour was challenging. Thankfully, The Porch at Schenley was open until 11. We might have over-ordered (what’s not in the picture is the massive burger and bowl of mussels we also got), but we managed to demolish most of the food.


One of my goals in Pittsburgh was to see the Ai Weiwei exhibit at the Andy Warhol Museum. The museum did an outstanding job of juxtaposing both artists’ works in a very cohesive way, so you could see the parallels between them. The portraits above were made with lego blocks.


This room allowed visitors to create their own Warhol-esque “screen test”, which would then get emailed to them. Gotta love how Mr D was willing to tote the little dude everywhere during our trip.


Love these guys.


The Mattress Factory Museum for Contemporary Art was another must-see on my list. Alas, Sofia was a little freaked out by the darkness of the James Turrell pieces and refused to go any further. I have to admit that walking around the place practically alone kind of creeped me out as well.



There was another room beyond those mirrored doors but I was a little too chicken to look at it. The dots and mirrors were slightly unnerving.


More art on your way to the restrooms.


After The Mattress Factory, Sofia couldn’t wait to go to the “dinosaur museum”, also known as the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. A true Silicon Valley kid, she went right for the touch screens to see what they would show her.


Sofia was awed by what looked like a ballroom in a princess’s palace.


This funny guy was sitting on the gallery level with replicas of Greco-Roman sculpture. Guess everyone’s on their phone these days.


After a very busy week with hot and humid weather, nothing caps off a busy week like ice cream!


The kids were such troopers the entire trip, even when our flights back to California kept getting delayed (all in all, a 7-hour delay). While we were all very relieved to be home, Sofia still talks nonstop about everything she saw and did in Pittsburgh. I’ll chalk this one up as a win.


You may also like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *