philadelphia for the day!

 mike turned 34 last friday (34!!), and since he had to work, i planned a saturday day-trip to philly for the lds temple open house, and to re-visit the great splash pad at dilworth park! i also hoped to redeem our last crappy cheesesteak experience. (i shouldn't have gotten my hopes up on that last expectation.)

we visited last memorial day weekend (here & here)- side note: the kids have grown so much since last year- it's so crazy to compare!!! this trip we opted to go cheap & fast, so we hopped on the bus early, and returned back to nyc that same night. i planned to rent this super cool jeep and spend the night to really celebrate mike's birthday, but as usually happens, we cancelled and opted for the more conservative route. *whomp whomp*
 we found the biggest preying mantis (gag) as we walked to the temple...
our tickets were for later in the day, but we decided to try to go early. we managed to enter the grounds from a side door, and somehow got right in- starting where you put on the little booties. that was lucky and awesome;)

the last time we had the opportunity to attend an open house was while i was pregnant with jude. elle was at a tough age, and the whole experience was chaotic (if i remember right). this time was peaceful and lovely. the temple was incredible. it fit right into the city. the paintings and finishings were historic and unique. the flooring was perfection. it was a perfect modern take on colonial beauty. 
 the suuuuuunnnnnnnn was soooo hooooottttt. so the kids hid inside a sign.
 last time we were in town we found these amazing smoothies. we went back and thankfully the place was still there, and they still had the smoothies! they were so sweet i'm pretty sure they had no nutritional value, but they cooled us off;) 

speaking of cooling........

i skipped the parts where we had the most awful food- we tried a super highly-rated place (yelp fail), and it was so awful, i spit it back out into my napkin. nothing was edible- the cheesesteak, fries, or hamburger. even the soda mike got sucked. we also found tie dye bagels, but they were dry and tasteless. i also dropped by phone, twice, and it cracked, twice. we tried to go into a store or two and our stroller wouldn't fit through the doorway- which has literally never happened. it kind of was a frustrating day. i missed new york city and the ease at which we've adapted to city life (there's no city like it), and i got so frustrated at how challenging things can be- especially when you work so hard to plan smooth sailing. i'm really grateful we at least started the morning on such a good note at the temple.

also, we saw jesus listening to music on an ipod. (last time it was benjamin frankin.)

until next time, philly. whenever that might be;)



this has been the best summer ever. work and family and fun have all meshed together in a pretty balance that's been so fulfilling. as a contributing element to that award-winning title, i present:
thank the heavens for friends who are on the ball- we would've totally missed getting tickets otherwise. and they're sold out now, as in, way-over-sold-out-&-being-scalped-for-copious-amounts-of-moolah (see!?)! 
here's a really intense play-by-play of the action: 

1) while we waited in line, the nicest employees ever passed out dove chocolates from a giant bucket.  appetizer!

2) we made it inside in small groups where we got to pick from 3 ice cream choices (all the treats were included in our admission). the kids & i chose magnum bars because they're incredible. obvs.
3) we went to check out the edible helium-filled balloons, but the machine was broken. tears. so we just played with ice cream cones on the walls. 

4) next, the kids scooped "ice cream" from a freezer into a giant sundae (it wasn't real ice cream, although jude was confused and ate some, at which point someone yelled at him and he got so embarrassed he burst into tears! pour little man- his spirit was crushed! thankfully he moved on because- well, he looked around and was distracted by more sugar). i think the mystery ice cream was actually sugar and crisco, laced with a lot of hand and foot germ-age from those who have touched it this past month.
5) chocolate fetish room (totally not called that, but that's what i'm going with): you enter through a little tunnel with a silk curtain. it's dark, smells like i imagine willy wonka's place smelled, there's chocolate running down the walls, a big mattressey-bean-bag contraption, and there is some "moody" (wink wink) music playing. kids thought it was amazing. ;) i wondered what sort of fantasies happened in there....... then it was our turn to switch rooms! thank heavens. it was getting a little weird.
6) DUN DUN DUN!!! SPRINKLE POOOOOOOOLLLLL! shoes off, jump in. chaos. people. cameras. madness. it could be that we had 4 adults and 5 kids going insane (among others who were in our group). i was sweating like a crazy person. i felt super rushed, but it was so fun. there are SEVEN TRILLION SPRINKLES in that pool (they're really just plastic pieces). then when you leave you get to take handfuls of candy from jars- sweedish fish, sour patch kids, gummy worms... in case you're hungry;)
7) as you shove gummies in your mouth upon exit, your meet magic arms which came out of a wall and deposited- wait for it- BLACK TAP SHAKES! these shakes are legit. no joke. we've been wanting to go to black tap, but haven't braved the crowds yet. i had no idea we'd get one of these, too!! i was basically in a sugar coma by now. the kids were going bananas. can you imagine? literally sugar not only on the walls, but actually coming out of the walls!? (i decided at this point, it was completely worth the $35 admission. except calorically. ouch- tough blow.)
8) while we reeled from our shakes n' sugar, we made our way to the final room, complete with an ice cream sandwich swing and ice cream scoop teeter-totter!

outside we sat and the kids continued to blow off their insane sugar rush. i also noticed at some point that my pant cuffs (which were rolled up) had managed to catch at least 4 pounds/2,000 sprinkles. so we shook those out and the kids played on the ground with sprinkles for 20 minutes or so.
(thanks to naomi for snapping a few of these shots! 2 cameras is always better than 1.)

the kids blew off extra energy at the park, and naomi & i even snuck away for a little lunch at the butcher's daughter sans-kids (thanks, josh!). such a great summer day!!!!
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