Thursday, June 9, 2016

Memorial Day Weekend in Philly


To say that my blogging slowed down after Peter was born would be quite the understatement. Believe it or not, our little Peter baby turned one year old last week!!! I have plenty to say and lots of photos on that topic, but because I'm a tad bit obsessive about documenting things in chronological order (I am my own worst blogging enemy, I know) I feel the need to first back up a bit to Memorial Day....

Before I dish about our long weekend, I should go ahead and give a little disclaimer that yes, I do know what Memorial Day is all about and there's no doubt I'm grateful for the men and women that sacrificed their lives during their military service. We managed to honor and pray for those men and women in our family prayers and take a little vacation over the holiday weekend (why is it that I feel the need to point out the obvious - that you can do both - so that no one on the internet accuses me of not having a patriotic heart? Le sigh).

He had SO much fun identifying ALL the American flags on our road trip


We have already been living near Boston for a year and a half (the longest we have lived somewhere in our married lives!), but I'm happy to say that we've been able to maintain solid friendships with much of the incredible community we had during our nearly-a-year stint in Pennsylvania.

We were blessed to see a good number of our Philadelphia friends when we journeyed to participate in the World Meeting of Families (remember that time we saw Pope Francis and attended a papal Mass? So does our 2-year-old!! No regrets) and a couple of them have even visited us in Boston, but we decided a long time ago that we should make a trip in the spring and Memorial Day weekend worked quite nicely.

Since we used to live outside of Philly, we didn't feel the need to go about all the "touristy" things; rather, our main goal was to see as many friends as time and circumstances would allow. When we weren't busy whiling away the hours chatting and laughing with friends in our Airbnb (which was SO much better for our family than a hotel, by the way) we allowed ourselves to get nostalgic by driving around our old stomping grounds.

Random family photo from a bit of unexpected down time when NEITHER
of the boys napped when they should have. Still (mostly) smiling!

On Sunday morning we went to our old parish for Mass which brought back so many fond memories! Naturally, we took photos and made sure to visit the Holy Family and Padre Pio statues we used to stop by after every single Mass.

In the other chapel they had a gorgeous display of Our Lady, Undoer of Knots and I wrote down my own message and added it to everyone else's on the knotted display.

Then, Divine Providence blessed us in a completely unforeseeable way when we had a last-minute idea to check the wait time for the BEST restaurant we were (still are) in love with; we rarely ate there because the restaurant is typically packed with a ridiculous wait time that is beyond unreasonable with small children. Lo and behold...there was zero line and we got seated immediately!

Waiting for the most heavenly food to soon appear at our table

Just trust me when I say that everything about our lunch scenario was undoubtedly a small miracle. And delicious. So, so delicious.

After lunch stroll through the old borough

By Monday morning we had seen everyone we could for the weekend, so we took a crazy chance at getting caught in horrific return traffic by spending the morning at Philadelphia's Please Touch Museum and leaving in the early afternoon. The museum was awesome, the kids had a blast getting all their wiggles out before a day in the car, and the drive home was 2 hours shorter than it had been on Friday! Win, win, win.

Probably his favorite activity of the day (that he did multiple times) because hello, it's an excavator
Part of a traveling Curious George exhibit

Picking out his groceries (and yes, he got to scan them, too!)

Truly, if you have young children and find yourself in Philadelphia you should make time for this hands-on museum. They had multiple infant/toddler playgrounds that were great for both the boys (especially baby Peter), the staff was incredible, and Gabriel got to touch, climb, and simply play to his heart's content (at least until lunch, after which we had to hit the road).

The Please Touch Museum was certainly a highlight of our trip, but hands down the best part was catching up with some incredible people we are blessed to call our friends (including Gabriel's very first playmate other than his cousins - who he is old enough to have real conversations with now!).

The long weekend shared with such kind, supportive friends in a place we adore truly invigorated our hearts in all the best ways which I cannot find sufficient words to describe.

I hope your Memorial Day was equally blessed! And may the Lord grant eternal rest to all those we remember on that day and forever.

"You won't understand the unabashed power of a community until you're a part of one."