Thursday, August 13, 2015


I mentioned in my last post that our last night in D.C., we were sleeping all four of us in one bedroom. We tried to avoid that for our trip where possible, and were successful for all but this one night. But I figured, hey. We can make it work. My biggest concern was E.J. waking Ellie, because he still gets up once or twice a night. Ellie didn't worry me, because she's a great sleeper. She sleeps through the night easy, and I thought that even if he did wake her, she can usually get herself back to sleep quickly and with no trouble.

That's what I thought.

For whatever reason, that night was a weird fluke Ellie sleep night. E.J. woke up at 3:45 a.m. or so, and I got him back down quickly. As soon as I got settled back in bed, I heard Ellie fidgeting all around. And fidgeting. And fidgeting. She was awake and could not get back to sleep. For hours we tried to help her get back to sleep, to get her to stay still and close her eyes, to stay quiet. We tried ignoring her and we tried helping her and it just wasn't going to happen. Finally, around 5:30 or 5:45, I told Eric to go sleep on the living room couch, because I knew he was going to be driving us from D.C. to Philadelphia that day and wanted him to rest. With him gone, I tried to stay close to Ellie hoping my presence would make her stay still and then fall asleep.

Then, all of a sudden at 6:00 she started SCREAMING. Just crying and yelling and screaming, completely out of nowhere. No wind-up, whimpering or whining beforehand, just instant full-volume. I scooped her up and sprinted out of the room with her, but the damage had been done. E.J. was up and I couldn't get him settled back down, either.

So, we decided to just pack up our stuff and get out of there. We didn't even eat breakfast; we opted to stop after driving a while. It is only a 2.5-hour drive from D.C. to Philadelphia, so we figured that since everyone was up, we should just go, do some sightseeing, then check in to our AirBNB for lunch and afternoon naps. And so we departed D.C. and began our journey to our next stop.

Left: E.J. hamming it up for old ladies at Cracker Barrel
Right: State welcome signs we passed on our way. Delaware quite possibly has the most boring sign in the country. They are so unenthused.

Of course, as soon as we were in the car, the kids did this:

Must be nice!

To be fair, this was our biggest kid-related snafu on the whole trip, so really we had it pretty good. But we were some tired people that day!

When we arrived in Philadelphia, we dove right into the little bit of sightseeing we had planned. You may recall that Eric and I visited Philly and did some more in-depth sightseeing four years ago (I was about four weeks pregnant with Ellie at the time!). So, we didn't do a whole lot this time; just enough to sort of get a taste of it and get some pictures of our kids in such a cool place.

First, we saw Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence was signed.

In front of Independence Hall

Pretty fancy!

George Washington statue in front of the building. Also, those sunflowers were fabulous.

Then we stopped in to see the Liberty Bell.

The Liberty Bell

Pass and Stow

Pretty Ellie with the Liberty Bell

Silly E.J.!

Then we walked over to Christ Church Burial Ground, where Benjamin Franklin is buried (along with many other signers of the Declaration of Independence).

Christ Church Burial Ground

I liked this - the church organist!

I thought it was beautiful that someone placed a flag by all that is left of this headstone.

The grave of Benjamin Rush, father of modern psychiatry

Benjamin Franklin's grave

I really liked this inscription

By that time we were ready for a break, so we went back to our car and found our AirBNB. Unfortunately, the path Google Maps had us take to the rented apartment took us through a pretty rough neighborhood, and by the time we found our lodging, Eric and I were a bit on edge—so much so that we fed the kids lunch there then packed everything back up and left for the rest of our Philly sightseeing with the intention of going elsewhere for the two nights we had planned to spend there. Ultimately, we ended up staying—the apartment itself was nice, and when you came in from the other direction, the neighborhood was fine. It just bordered a somewhat questionable part of town, and that wasn't mentioned at all in the description or reviews. We should have been more thorough in researching the area when we booked, but this was actually the second Philly AirBNB we reserved. Our first was cancelled on us two days prior when Eric texted the owner about check-in time. So, we were scrambling to find a replacement when we booked this one and were not as diligent as we should have been. It ended up being fine, but we had a pretty stressed out afternoon as we searched for other options (there were none that would not have doubled or tripled our total cost for the two nights). Lesson learned!

Anyway, we left the AirBNB place after lunch and went out to the Philadelphia Museum of Art to see the famous "Rocky steps." E.J. fell asleep in the car so Eric stayed with him for a bit while Ellie and I walked around. We cooled our feet in the fountains in front of the museum and looked at the very cool summer beer garden setup they had in the park across the street.

Fountains in front of the Art Museum

Doesn't this look like a delightful place to spend an evening?

Toes in the fountain!

Art Museum selfie with my best girl

When E.J. woke up, we went up to the actual Art Museum for some Rocky fun. Both kids made their way up the steps and stood victorious at the top!


Rocky feet at the top of the steps

Go, Ellie, go!

Way to go, little Rocky!

E.J.'s turn! Eye of the tiger!

He may not yet know how to walk, but that won't stop him! He's ready to take on Apollo Creed!

On the way down, Ellie even sang the theme song to a blockbuster just wasn't exactly the right one.

VIDEO: Ellie channeling her inner Elsa on the Rocky Steps

We were ready for dinner by then, so we swung by a Whole Foods for some essentials and then went back to the AirBNB. We ate some dinner, got the kids to bed, relaxed with some TV and then went to bed ourselves. We had lots more fun in store for us the next day!

To see more pictures from Philadelphia, click here.

Coming up next: Sunny day, sweeping the clouds away...we're off to Sesame Place!

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