I was going to wait until the end of the week to put all these pictures on here, but I have so many so far that I thought maybe I should do it now.
My kids are currently half-sleeping. But the napped from about 3:30 until 7 tonight, so I shouldn’t expect them to be terribly tired by 10:30. But they’re half-sleeping together, adorably, so I’m not fighting it.
First, some narration.
The drive here was a bit more stressful than I expected. I don’t know why, but Rosie VERY much disagreed with being in the car seat. I had to stroke her head pretty much the whole drive, which required some interesting newly-invented yoga positions. She slept off and on (if I removed my hand, she woke up; if I rubbed her head, she slept) the whole way. But she kept her neck craned up toward the top of the car seat almost the whole time, so it couldn’t have been comfortable.
Mitchell spent the drive learning to make faces. That’s right, we’re headed to Philadelphia, which is steeped in history and culture, and my son won’t stop crossing his eyes and then laughing his little butt off about it. Ok, yes, it was hilarious. But still.
We stopped in West Virginia along our route so we could say we ate in West Virginia. We stopped at Dairy Queen because Justin was still in his “it’s your choice, it’s still kinda your birthday” mode, and we sat in a booth next to an old woman who had the loudest, witchiest cackle I’ve ever heard. It was terrifying. Every time Rosie or Mitchell smiled, she would
laugh cackle and point and both kids would burrow into me. I didn’t get to eat as much of my meal as I would have liked, but don’t worry, I still made it through that blizzard. Priorities, yo. Deal with your problems, kids, Mommy needs ice cream.
Justin knew right when we hit the Adirondacks, but I couldn’t tell. They definitely aren’t Colorado mountains. But I knew we’d hit them when we started going through tunnels through the mountains. The first tunnel shocked Mitchell and he didn’t crack a smile until the end. The second tunnel I was turned around laughing at him the whole time because he couldn’t stop giggling with excitement. As we neared the third tunnel, Justin pointed out how many tons of rocks and dirt were on top of us, all while we went through this little tunnel, oh and remember that show we watched about America’s failing infrastructure, so I spent the third tunnel curled into the fetal position doing my deep breathing.
Of course, as we neared Philadelphia, we got the dreaded phone call that Kingsley was headed to the emergency vet. So that put a heck of a damper on things. I still took a touristy amount of pictures of all the beautiful buildings we were passing. I just can’t get over the intricate details and carvings in almost everything here! I can’t imagine living with this beautiful architecture right in my back yard. Sunday night we ordered some pizza delivery because we were so exhausted from the trip.
Justin has to attend meetings and lectures and whatever else brainiacs do at conferences from about 8-5 every day, so it’s just the kids and me during the day. I tried to do the historic stuff on Monday morning, since they’d be the least bored at that point, but really we just got to the Liberty Bell, Benjamin Franklin’s house site, and the Benjamin Franklin museum. We walked all over the district, though, so we walked past Independence Hall, The Second Bank of the United States, lots of Quaker meeting places, and so many founders’ sites that I completely lost track of them (here’s where so-and-so drafted such-and-such, here’s where Thomas Jefferson drafted the Constitution, here’s where Hamilton told a man to eff off, here’s where Benjamin Franklin’s sewer line was…you get the idea). The kids and I ate lunch at a ridiculously yummy little sandwich shop. You know it’s awesome if I admit I liked a sandwich place. Once Justin got done with his smart stuff, we tried to take him to the Liberty Bell but it was closed. So we took him to the Benjamin Franklin site instead.
Tuesday I tried to make it the kids’ day with a trip to the zoo. We took the bus, which was great for two reasons: 1) Mitchell LOVED the bus, even if he wouldn’t sit with me; and 2) judging by the traffic/driver attitudes I’ve witnessed thus far, I would get into a wreck almost instantly here. The Philadelphia Zoo is the oldest in the nation, and, according to the brochure, amazing. But we went on a very drizzly, foggy, nasty day, so it wasn’t much fun. Our trip began with the children’s zoo area, which was basically goats. Grumpy goats. Mitchell tried to give a goat a hug and it turned around and headbutted him. In the face. I was an unhappy mama. The same goat then turned and headbutted another goat, which started running in the other direction, and knocked Rosie butt-first into a mud puddle. So within a few minutes of getting to the zoo, my kids were soaking wet, muddy, and injured. Awesome. Things didn’t get much better from there. But once we got on the bus to come home, they were magically turned back into little angels. We had lunch at this AWESOME market that was…I just can’t describe it. HUGE. Hundreds of stalls, kinda like a farmer’s market, but with food and gifts and dessert. Oh, the dessert. I consumed an entire week’s worth of calories in one sitting. And I didn’t regret it at all. Tuesday night was dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe, where Mitchell picked out his first souvenir:
a lanyard badges, just like Daddy. Rosie picked out a stuffed teddy bear until she saw Mitchell’s lanyard, then she had to have one of those instead. Luckily they were understanding and exchanged it.
Wednesday was a group tour. First, we went to the Aquarium, which was fantastic. We saw penguins and hippos being fed, Mitchell walked across the Shark Bridge, we went through the shark tunnel, and we saw so many fish we couldn’t remember them all if we tried. It was great. Then we went to lunch on the USS New Jersey. Oh, did I mention we were in Camden, NJ? The city with the highest crime rate in America? Because yeah, that’s where we were. Anyway, the info on the tour just said we were having lunch on the ship. Which Mitchell enjoyed. But then we ended up going on a tour, as well. A THREE HOUR TOUR. WITH NO STROLLER. THREE HOURS OF CARRYING ROSIE, GOING UP AND DOWN LADDERS, AND TRYING TO KEEP MITCHELL CORRALLED. Seriously, by the end of it, Rosie was throwing herself all around trying to get out of my arms (even on ladders) and Mitchell was just trying to take off the moment he got to the tops of ladders. The tour guide was even chasing him down and pulling him off of ladders that weren’t meant to be climbed. It was not my proudest moment as a mother. But we came back and both kids took 3.5 hour naps. It was lovely. And then Justin went to a banquet, the kids and I had some awesome burgers, and I FINALLY found a store that sold beer. Hard root beer makes everything better!
And now, hopefully somewhat in sequence, pictures!