It was great to look at neighbourhoods and get a sense of where we might be living, and it was fun to picture ourselves there, living our new lives in Philadelphia. One thing I wasn't expecting was just how verdant these areas--which I guess are technically suburbs, but are relatively close to the city, about a 15-20 min drive out--are, and it was also surprising to realize just how old the city and some of the buildings are. After a long afternoon of driving around parts of the city (while both girls napped in the van = amazing luck!), we stopped at a playground and let the girlies stretch their legs and play.
After our grownup day of driving around, we decided to have a kids day of hanging out at the Please Touch Museum. This is an incredible children's museum, which is in this huge, amazingly beautiful building located in Fairmount Park. Everything is interactive, colourful, and laid out to capture the imaginations of all ages. We overheard one mother refer to it as the "Test Your Immunity Museum," but we just Purelled liberally, and had a wonderful time.
One of Honey Bee's favourite parts of the day was this stunning carousel, located inside one of the wings of the museum.
Building a robot.
Another highlight was the section dedicated to Alice in Wonderland. Here we are, celebrating our unbirthdays with a tea party with the Mad Hatter and March Hare. Honey Bee is even dressed up as Alice!
Painting the roses red.
We easily spent 45 minutes in this section of the museum while Honey Bee shot little rockets in the air using this "space station."
We were at the museum ALL DAY, and by the time we left, both girls were completely knackered. Five minutes into the car ride back they both fell asleep (the car nap gods were with us on this trip, for sure!), so we decided to plug "Trader Joe's" into the GPS and go and visit this magical place we had heard so much about. I have to say, we were a little disappointed. Perhaps this particular Trader Joe's was a smaller one than those our friends have visited and boasted about, but it was pretty tiny and not a whole lot of stuff there. And I was dismayed not only to find that there was no cheap--but delicious--wine to purchase, but also to learn that in the state of Pennsylvania, you can't buy wine and beer in the same place. Being able to buy wine/beer at the grocery store was a big selling point for me.
The only part of the trip that was not amazing was staying in a hotel with a baby and a toddler. Holy hell. Our girls are usually pretty good sleepers, but it was such a gong show getting one or the other to sleep each night! And I had to try very hard to NOT imagine what manner of things happened on the carpets, under the beds (!), with those decorative pillows, etc, etc, while both girls crawled and wiggled around and touched every single crevice in that room, put things in their mouths, and ate directly off the furniture.
This is a terrible picture, but a funny one. This is our first night in the hotel. Honey Bee didn't sleep a wink on the entire trip down until about five minutes before we reached the hotel. So upon arrival, she woke up in a state of rage- and fatigue-induced delirium. Luckily, this meant that the minute we put her in the bed, she fell back asleep (that is her little brown head on the right). Mouse, on the other hand, slept for a good portion of the drive down, so while we all climbed into our beds exhausted, she crawled and babbled and jumped around her playpen, wide awake (you can see her standing up in the playpen a little bit) for quite awhile.
Hotel room fine dining. We definitely left a tip for the housekeeper.
Having had such a wonderful time on our little minibreak to Philly, it is a little bit harder to sit tight and be patient while we wait for our visas to come through. But it is also reassuring to know that when that time finally comes, we have a beautiful new city awaiting us.