Saturday, August 1, 2015

West Virginia / Pittsburgh Part IV: In Which We Do Pittsburgh Stuff and Rehearse a Wedding

Thursday morning we got up, got packed, got the condo cleaned up, and headed out. We made it to Pittsburgh by lunch time and grabbed a bite to eat before heading to Brandon and Jo’s house.

A couple of years ago, my brother bought a building in Pittsburgh—it’s a commercial building with retail/office space on the first floor (currently empty and serving as storage for random things, including a mattress where a couple of groomsmen crashed one night), and apartments on the second and third floor. The third floor apartment was most livable at the time he bought the building, so he stayed there while he had a contractor remodel the second floor into a very large and really nice 3-bedroom apartment. Now he and Jo live on the second floor and starting August 1, they are renting out the third floor. This meant that there was an empty apartment above them, with an extra queen bed and a futon where we were able to stay, so it worked out perfectly! Jo had two good friends staying in their guest room and office, so the place was busy, but it was really nice to be able to use their house and not have to camp out in a hotel with the girls.

A bunch of our family flew into Pittsburgh or took the train in from Missouri and Tennessee and Arizona, so we all met up Thursday evening, along with the wedding party and JoAnna’s family to eat a Primanti Bros. and then go to the Pirates game. I had a cheese sandwich at Primanti Bros. and totally appreciated the fries and slaw on top. I knew it was a Pittsburgh tradition, but it’s actually a really good one!

Coco is saying "More fries!"
From there we all walked over to the Pirates game, where they had something like 40 seats reserved for us. We admired the view of the city (so many bridges!) and watched the Pirates beat the Nationals (while Zuzu cheered, “Go Cardinals!”) and then saw a great fireworks show.

with the SIL

Matching t-shirts

Thanks for opting out of the family photo, Coco

With cousin Mesa. Zuzu is yelling "Go Cardinals!"
Sweet little Coco fell asleep on my mom’s lap and stayed asleep for the whole ninth inning and all the fireworks.

Sweaty Lettie snoozing on Bop
We were impressed by the stadium, but I didn’t think it was quite as nice as the new Busch stadium. I know I’m biased, but the walkways at PNC Park were pretty narrow. (Although Busch stadium seriously needs a nursing moms’ room.) (Also, I saw SO MANY teenage girls with their butt cheeks literally hanging out of their shorts. Yikes.)

On Friday, David and Zuzu and I met up with some of the family and took a riverboat cruise tour of the city. We didn’t all get seats on the top deck, which seemed like a bummer except it was actually really hot in the sun, so most people were more comfortable in the air conditioned middle level anyway, plus we could go out at the front of the boat. Honestly, I was kind of wishing we’d left Zuzu with my parents. I think she was tired from the game the night before, and she was a real pill.

Mesa, my cousin Brandi, Zuzu, and me on the riverboat
I missed a lot of the tour guide’s commentary because I finally took her down to the bottom level to let her dance on the dance floor with two other little girls. We went up to the top deck for a little bit and sat until the sun got to be too much and then we headed back down. She was glad to hang out with cousin Mesa, but both girls were kind of tired and cranky.

Not as happy as they appear
We split up for lunch and David and I grabbed a bite to eat at a great little cafĂ© called Keystone. The owner was so nice and we indulged Zuzu in her request for “just bread” (she’d already had half a banana).

carb loading
We talked about going to the Warhol museum after lunch, but decided not to push our luck and ended up heading back to Brandon’s to see my mom’s sister and then get ready for the wedding rehearsal.

The rehearsal (like the wedding) was held at JoAnna’s parents’ home, which is a really lovely place on quite a bit of land. They have a nice pavilion out back, and they rented a big white tent with tables and chairs, and had the ceremony close by, facing some trees at the back of the property.

The cute couple
Honestly, the rehearsal made me a little nervous. Jo seemed a bit stressed out. Not everyone was ready on time (she said that her family is notorious about running late). At the scheduled start time, her mom was just getting in the shower. The wedding officiant couldn’t be there, so Jo was trying to get everyone organized, and trying to get the ten (yes! 10!) bridesmaids in line was a lot like herding cats.

the ladies
Actually, there were six bridesmaids and four junior bridesmaids—this is what weddings look like when you have SEVEN sisters.

the gents
I also wasn’t sure that the flower children were going to cooperate. Zuzu was definitely NOT being cooperative, though I promised her fruit snacks at the wedding if she did her job. Jo’s two-year-old niece, Gracie, was equally unpredictable. Her nephew Jacob is almost five and was supposed to be the good example, but I didn’t even see him at the rehearsal (I think he was napping).

She called herself "Minnie-rella" with this bow
Headed inside for some mama-milk and toe-chewing
Once we had “rehearsed,” or at least looked at where the wedding was going to take place and kind of gone through the motions, it was time to head to the dinner. The rehearsal dinner was at a little Italian place called Damiano’s that was super cute. The salads came with meat in them, but they remedied that for me and two other vegetarians who were in attendance (luckily, we all happened to be sitting by one another). Zuzu ate very little (not surprising—Coco eats at least twice as much as Zuzu at every meal these days) and then camped out under the table with the iPad.

Because we win at parenting.

My brother gave a little toast, which was cute. It was so funny to see him as the groom that I thought everything he did was cute. 

Being cute, even with his eyes closed
Coco scarfed down another meal of olio aglio pasta (seriously she probably ate ¼ of David’s enormous portion) and I had delicious stuffed shells.

my parents with Jo & Buck

David & me with Jo & Buck (the lump on my head is actually paint on the window behind me--the photographer did not tell me that it looked like a growth. Thanks, MOM.)

The drive back into Pittsburgh that night took FOREVER because of road construction so both girls fell asleep but they didn’t transfer well (because of course) so bedtime was… unpleasant. Coco did sleep most of the night in the pack & play, so that was a bonus.

Tune in tomorrow for Wedding Time!!!!


  1. Can't wait to hear about the wedding! Looks like it will be beautiful! And holy cow that's a lot of bridesmaids!

  2. I love Primanti's and get it every time we're in Pittsburgh for Thanksgiving (which we're skipping this in year in favor of a family get-together for the marathon in Savannah in which my SIL and Caroline both happen to be running).

    I'm just sad I didn't tell you about Prantl's Bakery. When your return, go there.

    I love the story of your brother's property. It must be right downtown! I also equally love that they went on a Pierogi run. And have matching shirts to tell about it, Or did they?