In West Philadelphia…

Sorry I’ve been a little MIA.  I find it’s not so easy to get on the computer and type up a blog post when you have a 14 month old.  I can’t leave him unsupervised too long as he has now tried to eat soap, took a bite out of deodorant and pulls open the oven (either on or off, baby don’t care).  And if he’s not busy finding reasons for me to call poison control, he’s at the baby gate (which blocks him from the computer/kitty liter box room begging to come in and destroy everything…and maybe taste some cat liter).  Anyway – the beastie is slumbering so I thought I’d take the chance to catch up a little on the blog.

Last week, Stormy and I were able to travel up to Philadelphia Pennsylvania with the young women at church for the temple open house up there.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with the words I just typed – in our church we have meeting houses where we get together on Sundays and during the week for activities and then we have temples.  There are far less temples than meeting houses and the temple is far more sacred.  Near us, we have the D.C. Temple (where Chewy and I were married) and the Raleigh Temple and now the Philadelphia Temple.  So you can see there aren’t as many.  When a temple is first built they have an open house where anyone (member of our church or not) can go and get a tour.  Then they dedicate the temple and once the temple is dedicated it’s closed to the public.  Only members of our church who have a recommend can enter.

The PA temple will be dedicated sometime in September so until then, the public is welcome to go and tour.

Ok – with that out of the way, here’s our trip.  The ride up went extremely well.  We got there in four-five hours (we stopped for lunch).  Stormy did really well.  I had two of the young women with me and one sitting in the back keeping him entertained.  We easily found the parking deck we wanted (I get anxious about city driving – mostly because of the parking situation in every city known to man).  We met up with another young woman who recently moved from our ward to PA.  It was great to see her and her mom again.  Then we went exploring.

The heat index was at about 1,000 degrees that day and I had a backpack and a baby.  Sweat literally dripped from me from the moment we we walked ten feet until ten minutes after we found air condition.  How did people survive in the days before air conditioning?



We first went to the Liberty Bell.  I have to say, I expected some elevation, a flight of stairs or an elevator ride…I don’t know why I thought this.  It’s ground floor at the end of a hallway.  There were lots of people but it wasn’t too crowded.  We didn’t spend long there, probably because we didn’t want to lose any of the girls.  So we took a picture and headed to Independence Hall.

 


For whatever reason we didn’t actually go to Independence Hall – we just took a picture.  It started to remind me of my D.C. trip with my sisters a few years back where I was stuck driving and we drove by things taking pictures…and I hated it.  Except I didn’t hate this, I just wanted to get inside.  I was giving Stormy water like crazy because I was so worried he would dry out.

We made our way to a visitor center with a gift shop and information but most importantly, a water fountain and air conditioning.

They had a moving dinosaur 


We remained there until it was time to go to dinner.

The walk through the city wasn’t so bad, except that we had a hoard of teenage girls from Mechanicsville, VA-many of which had probably never been in a city before.  They were distracted by shiny things, boys, homeless people mumbling.  It was a challenge to keep them all moving along and not leaving any behind when they saw a window of shiny jewelry or a small bird in the middle of the road (no joke – had to tell her to stay on the sidewalk).

We did dinner at Chipotle where I ordered a cheese quasadilla and bowl with rice, chicken, cheese, beans, etc.  The funny thing is – the employees probably though the qausadilla was for Stormy and the adult sized bowl was for me…not so.  Stormy ate most of it, he really seemed to enjoy the mixture of the food.  I’m so glad he eats more adult like than I do.

read that closely…

Then we made our way to the Temple for our scheduled tour.  We just barely made it in time to sit down and wait…I guess the group waiting was too big so they split us.  It was nice to be sitting in a comfy seat with AC, however Stormy was tired, it was his bedtime and he didn’t want to sit still.  The open house was pretty awesome.  I’ve been to one before in Utah (because they have a new temple about every six months – sarcasm…but I’m sure it’s close to that), but the young women hadn’t been to one before and the chances of being able to go to another on the east coast are pretty slim.  That’s why we decided to do this, that and we had a place for all the girls to spend the night for free (see above – YW and her family moved recently).  We first were taken to a room and shown a video which explains what happens in a temple, the different things done there such as baptisms, marriages, etc.  One thing I thought interesting was the emphasis on the marriages being between a man and a woman – which makes sense since the civil definition of marriage has been expanded.  It also stood out because there was totally a gay couple going through the tour with us – I get self conscious about that stuff because I don’t want to offend, but at the same time, it doesn’t change God’s law.  I think I may have written before (or it’s in a draft somewhere) about how hard it can be to stand up for what I know is true when it’s telling someone they shouldn’t be with the person they love.  But I know God’s stand on it and must defend it.  Neither here nor there, just saying it stood out to me because of them.  One of the men had really good questions (about temples in general) and I was curious to hear what he would ask next.  He wasn’t confrontational or anything, and I really liked that about him because it was obvious he didn’t agree with some of the things said, but he didn’t bring those things up, like he understood there wasn’t a point in debating those things.

He was totally tired – and maybe a little stuffy

I’m digressing.  The temple was beautiful…it had a LOT of stairs though, my legs were burning by the end (didn’t help that I was still carrying a backpack and baby).  By the end though I had to get going, Stormy was fading.  I had booked a hotel room for the two of us since I figured a house full of teenage girls wouldn’t offer much chance to sleep.  So we took some pics and headed our own way.

When we got to the hotel there was a woman in front of us checking in.  I had Stormy and he had his teddy bear and we were waiting to be assisted.  The woman turned and stared at us…like the kind of stare where you refuse to make eye contact but you can feel it and kind of see it our the corner of your eye and it’s almost as though she wanted to say something.  You know that kind of stare?  I hate those kind of stares.  Another employee came to the counter to help me check in.  The woman was staring again.  At one point she mentioned she had a cat with her – so she shall now be referred to as the creepy cat lady.

We got our room key and I went out to the car to grab our stuff, leaving creepy cat lady at the desk.  I walked past her and her traveling companion in the parking lot on the way back.  The hallway and elevator were not air conditioned – in case you were wondering.  So I was back to dripping with sweat.  We got into our room and I had brought a pack ‘n’ play but was considering leaving it in the car as we had a king sized bed.  Certainly you can share a bed that size with a toddler.  I put Stormy on the bed, got him in his pjs and had him ready for bed but he just whimpered on the bed, unsure what to do.  So I grabbed him and headed back down to the car to get the pack ‘n’ play.  When we got back to our room I saw Creepy Cat Lady a few doors down, going in to her room.  I smiled and then turned my attention to everything else in the hallway.  I saw her out the corner of my eye…staring…I got us in our room and deadbolted the door.  I locked every feasible lock there was.  Add to my list of fears – people who stare.

While I was struggling with the pack ‘n’ play someone tried to open our door!  My thought of course, was the Creepy Cat Lady.  Needless to say it took me a while to calm down.  I mean, my child is adorable, you know this.  As Chewy puts it, he’s a buttery concoction, so we have to be careful no one steals him.  I wouldn’t put it past the cat lady to try and take him to feed her cat.

I finally got his bed set up, but it was totally uncomfortable, so I put a spare blanket down..then I put to pillows underneath.  He lay down and drifted off.  I went to take a shower and then I heard him crying.  I ran into the room and found that the pillows didn’t cover the whole pack ‘n’ play and he had rolled into the gap they left.  So I grabbed two rolled up towels from the bathroom and put those in the gap.  He finally fell asleep – I finally got a shower.

The bed was the most comfortable bed I have ever laid down in…but I didn’t get a lot of sleep.  Stormy kept waking up in the night, probably terrified that teh Creepy Cat Lady had entered the room.  He finally fell asleep in the bed with me (meaning I didn’t sleep well because it turns out you can’t share any sized bed with a toddler).  I woke up early and sat in the bathroom watching Netflix on my phone until it was time to wake up.

We ate breakfast at the hotel (which is never as good as you hope it will be) and he got lots of strangers talking to him.  Then we rushed off to meet up with the girls and head home.  I had a different girl ride back with me.  The drive back was miserable, I won’t even regale you with the stories, needless to say, what should have been 4-5 hours turned into 9.  His dancing was the only gem of the day.

 

Our car selfie – the phone is for GPS


Other than that – Stormy was miserable and as soon as we dropped our girl off at her house, he threw up.  I worried it was heat stroke but then he was all snotty the next day, and the next, and then I had a sore throat and my other symptoms followed.  So the past week Stormy and I have been quarantined at home.

 

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