planning a trip, philadelphia style.

We’ll be spending Memorial Day weekend 2012 in Philadelphia!

Can’t you just hear the Rocky theme? Adrian!

On top of the cheesesteaks we’ll be chowing and the patriotic sites we’ll be perusing (‘MERICA!), I’m most excited to see some of our besties who moved to Pennsylvania last year.

Yay for friends!

You may be thinking, you guys aren’t ballers, how will you pay for said trip?

You may also remember that in 2011, we traveled to Nigeria twice…and we now have enough miles to visit our friends for free! Woohoo! Budget-friendly fun is totes how we roll.

Since I’m slightly neurotic, I’ve started a Google doc with must-stop visits (Liberty Bell, Geno’s Steaks, museum steps a-la Rocky, etc). I’ve also checked out the design*sponge Philadelphia guide, (picture above is from the guide!) but it’s slightly dated and while super hipster, probably not super toddler-friendly.

Here’s my question: As Philly newbies, where should we visit? Any need-to-try eateries? Stores we must stop by? (I do know that the Anthropologie flagship store is in Philly bursting with three stories of goodness. Holla!)

We’ll have 2 days in the city and two days a little further west in Pennsylvania. We’re throwing around the idea visiting Hershey Park (COASTER CITY!), but that could be tough to navigate with the under-2 set. (And between us + our buddies, we’ll have two under two.) We’ve thought about Sesame Place, but I’m not sure Joseph is really old enough to get it, and it could be enough to make us want to ban Elmo for good.

We’re thinking about staying in a boutique hotel near Christ Church in the Philadelphia’s Old City neighborhood. It seems like a good mix of location, charm, and affordability.

Have you been to Philadelphia?

Help me plan our party in PA!

adventures in story time.

Joseph and I just got home from “Fun with One” story time at the library. It would rank high on the list of Stuff White People Like.

I felt like I was back in middle school, the new girl awkwardly trying to find the right room and blend in with the right people, all while everyone else already has friends because they all went to elementary school together.

We arrived at the library precisely at 10 a.m. (Those familiar with our usual morning routine should be super impressed, as we’re usually not showered until early afternoon.) We milled about the kids’ area to kill time, and at 10:12, we headed to the main atrium/reading room in the kids’ area.

No one was there.

Did I read the wrong time? Was reading hour canceled this week? 10:15 came and went. Still no other kids. No parents. No teacher.

I scooped up Joseph and sheepishly asked the overseers of the kids’ area, “Ummm, is there a story time today?” They both looked at me, half with sympathy and half with condescending librarian eyes, and said it was held on the other side of the library in the main conference room, obviously. The female librarian glanced at the clock and surmised that we could still make it, if we hustled, of course.

It was like being late for homeroom all over again.

After navigating the library with my curious 1.5-year-old in tow, we stood in front of the french doors to Conference Room 1. I took a deep breath and opened the door. Wrong one. Locked. Now everyone knew there was someone late, someone who was loudly attempting to break in. I clumsily tried the other door. Success. Whew.

My eyes fell on a giant circle of 30-something moms (and a few progressive dads, including a red-headed guy donning a shirt that boasted, RELIGIOUS LEFT), sitting cross-legged with babes perched on their laps. They were singing about washing faces in the morning or something. At least 50 people, each with their mini-me babies, singed and swayed.

I spotted an open space in the ring and joined with Joseph on my lap, cheeks warm with that all-eyes-on-you feeling. Was it because we were late, or because Joseph was the only dark-skinned kid? Was I just being paranoid? I bumbled through the ultra-cheesy verses about basic hygiene and Joseph kept looking at everyone and then glancing back at me. Really mom? Really?

My neighbor to the right sensed my trepidation (intimidation?).

"Hello. Your first time here?" An English accent whispered. Oooh, cool. I thought. She’s so Masterpiece Theater! I came back with a really talkative answer. “Yep.”

She asked me what my son’s name was, to which I replied with another lengthy answer: “Joseph.” What was wrong with me? Why was I being so awkward?!

"This is Elizabeth, and I’m Sarah.” Oooh, fail. She wanted to know my name. That was the moment I realized “Fun with One” might really be geared toward mommies interested in finding a friend. I went along with it and told her it was nice to meet her.

"How old is he?" She asked as Joseph clung to my lap, giving me confused looks as the tots were told to practice opening their mouths. (What?) "Oh, he’s about 19 months," I answered. "Wow! I thought he was 2 and a half!" She retorted. Yes, lady, I know my kid is big. Thank you for pointing out yet another reason we don’t fit in here, I thought to myself. Wait…story time was for kids 18-24 months…was she alluding that my kid was too big to be here? Oh no you didn’t! I smiled and nodded, trying to master the weird actions to go along with the song the chubby, over-enthusiastic librarian was now leading.

Activities changed approximately every 2.5 seconds (How amazing that we diagnose so many kids with ADHD!) and Joseph was skeptical about them all. He even made attempted a quick escape to the door, and I was tempted to run right out with him, picking up my purse after story hour was over.

We settled back into our spot and I feigned interest in the adventures of Maisy. We chased bubbles. We did a strange dance with scarves. We played with a felt board. (And read only one book?)

Joseph had brief moments of joy, but when story time came to a close and we began “structured free play” Joseph quickly grabbed his jacket, announced “Coooat!” and proceeded to attempt to put it on. As I helped him, I chatted a bit more with my English frenemy, and Joseph bolted for the door.

"See you next week?" She asked politely.

I think we both knew the answer.

I updated ye old blog. I should have been working, but I think I just needed wanted some quiet free time to just relax + zone out. Ever had one of those weeks? ;) (I’ll get up extra early tomorrow to get that work done. There. I typed it so now it has to happen.) Anyway, I played around on the Internetz and created some art to go with my newly-designed blog. Can’t wait to share them all! [See above.]
I’ve been feeling a little icky all week. My awesome hubby got the flu last weekend, and Joseph has had a cold and has been teething (fun!) and I have lingering body aches that are zapping my energy. (Maybe Joseph is just getting heavier and I’m a weakling?) Whatever it is, I’m kind of over it. Be gone, weird aches! Be gone!
Our friends Chris + Es are moving to SoCal in a week. They’ve been awesome to have around and we learned a lot about generosity, community + authenticity from them. They’ll be missed, but I’m confident our paths will cross again! (Cue flashback slideshow.)
God has given me so much. So much. I never want to forget all of the prayers he’s answered in my short 24 years, including the hopes + dreams I didn’t know I had. He orchestrates things far greater than I can imagine or deserve. I can’t wrap my head around it.
I’m stinky. A new tanning (I know. I know. Shh.) place opened up and did a special for 5 tans for $10. The deal was, you got to try all of their beds once. I tried the spray tan session (normally like $30!) last night and it was so awkward. I donned my hairnet and stumbled haphazardly into the positions while cold spray came at me from all directions . All of that for a little (hopefully not Snooki-esque) color? That’s what a no-sun summer in rainy season Nigeria will do to you, folks! So pale you’ll stand in a crazy telephone-like booth getting painted with automatic tanning sprinklers. I was instructed not to shower until this afternoon, and the artificial tanning aroma is not pleasant. At all. So yeah. I’m stinky. Hopefully not orange and stinky.
Change is on the horizon. The can’t-sleep-at-night type of change. (In a good way!) I’m excited. More to come. :)
We’re visiting our parents this weekend, and staying at a hotel one for a night. (I won a free hotel room! Swank!) I’m kind of excited. Not only do we get to see Derek + Kristen, but it’ll be Joseph’s first time in a pool. Expect lots of pictures.
Speaking of Derek + Kristen, they are getting so close to getting their adoption court date for their two girls in Uganda! Please join me in praying for them, as well as Faith + Stecia.
We watched The Ides of March this week. Good, but so realistic it’s depressing. Political system = fail.
I love being Joseph’s mom. A lot of people ask me what motherhood is like, and I don’t know quite how to answer. It’s amazing + exhausting + fun + frustrating + and pretty much incredibly indescribable. I marvel at the fact that I get to be a mom to not just any kid, but to Joseph. Though he’s a toddler learning to climb window panes + dump out full cans of Dr. Pepper, there is never a moment when I don’t feel honored to be his mama.
High-res
  1. I updated ye old blog. I should have been working, but I think I just needed wanted some quiet free time to just relax + zone out. Ever had one of those weeks? ;) (I’ll get up extra early tomorrow to get that work done. There. I typed it so now it has to happen.) Anyway, I played around on the Internetz and created some art to go with my newly-designed blog. Can’t wait to share them all! [See above.]
  2. I’ve been feeling a little icky all week. My awesome hubby got the flu last weekend, and Joseph has had a cold and has been teething (fun!) and I have lingering body aches that are zapping my energy. (Maybe Joseph is just getting heavier and I’m a weakling?) Whatever it is, I’m kind of over it. Be gone, weird aches! Be gone!
  3. Our friends Chris + Es are moving to SoCal in a week. They’ve been awesome to have around and we learned a lot about generosity, community + authenticity from them. They’ll be missed, but I’m confident our paths will cross again! (Cue flashback slideshow.)
  4. God has given me so much. So much. I never want to forget all of the prayers he’s answered in my short 24 years, including the hopes + dreams I didn’t know I had. He orchestrates things far greater than I can imagine or deserve. I can’t wrap my head around it.
  5. I’m stinky. A new tanning (I know. I know. Shh.) place opened up and did a special for 5 tans for $10. The deal was, you got to try all of their beds once. I tried the spray tan session (normally like $30!) last night and it was so awkward. I donned my hairnet and stumbled haphazardly into the positions while cold spray came at me from all directions . All of that for a little (hopefully not Snooki-esque) color? That’s what a no-sun summer in rainy season Nigeria will do to you, folks! So pale you’ll stand in a crazy telephone-like booth getting painted with automatic tanning sprinklers. I was instructed not to shower until this afternoon, and the artificial tanning aroma is not pleasant. At all. So yeah. I’m stinky. Hopefully not orange and stinky.
  6. Change is on the horizon. The can’t-sleep-at-night type of change. (In a good way!) I’m excited. More to come. :)
  7. We’re visiting our parents this weekend, and staying at a hotel one for a night. (I won a free hotel room! Swank!) I’m kind of excited. Not only do we get to see Derek + Kristen, but it’ll be Joseph’s first time in a pool. Expect lots of pictures.
  8. Speaking of Derek + Kristen, they are getting so close to getting their adoption court date for their two girls in Uganda! Please join me in praying for them, as well as Faith + Stecia.
  9. We watched The Ides of March this week. Good, but so realistic it’s depressing. Political system = fail.
  10. I love being Joseph’s mom. A lot of people ask me what motherhood is like, and I don’t know quite how to answer. It’s amazing + exhausting + fun + frustrating + and pretty much incredibly indescribable. I marvel at the fact that I get to be a mom to not just any kid, but to Joseph. Though he’s a toddler learning to climb window panes + dump out full cans of Dr. Pepper, there is never a moment when I don’t feel honored to be his mama.

five happy things.

So, question: Have you ever gone through some rough stuff? Like punches in the stomach type of stuff that make you crawl under the covers, leaving your pillow streaked with mascara? Yeah, me neither…

Regardless of circumstances, today I woke up determined to find at least one happy thing. And I thought of five. Victory!

So, here’s a list of five happy things.

1. This bag.

It’s the Fossil Key-Per Retro Utility. It’s huge and pretty and has approximately one billion pockets, including a place for the almighty laptop. I got the bag in the mail last week and I love it. (Annnnd it’s going to turn into the perfet diaper bag someday! Which is why I actually bought it.)

2. This guy.

I am so beyond lucky and blessed to be married to this crazy fool. He is just the tops in every way. I’m so thankful we have that kind of sparkling love that poems, movies and songs can only dream about.

3. This movie.

It’s a little raunchy. It’s a lot ridiculous. It’s Kristen Wiig at her best. I saw Bridesmaids this weekend with some awesome friends after having a really fun dinner. And even though we were late and we had to sit in the front row, we LOLed a lot. It was worth the neck cramp. I also realized that I have more weird + quirky Kristen Wiig mannerisms than I thought. I’m going to take that as a good thing.

4. These shoes.

Yes. Just yes. Say what you will, but sometimes a new pair of shoes is just…needed. I had been dreaming about these beauties for a while, and when a Target sale happens, well, it’s meant. to. be.

5. This art.

Some really awesome friends who are really more like family surprised us with this awesome art, which is now hanging above the couch. They took the tree from our ‘Rooted in Love’ fundraiser shirts and comissioned an artist, who designed it in vinyl between two panes of glass. The artist is also a woodworker, and he made the custom frame. It’s just so awesome and thoughtful. (His other stuff is amazing, too. Go check out his work.)