after a fun day on the coast, marty got in as much bonding w/ grandpa don as he could get his muggy little hands on. they both loved it.
then, what seemed like only hours later (because it literally was only hours later), richard drove my dad to the boston airport. the fact that we suck at using a gps, combined with the fact (and i would argue that it is a proven fact) that the worst/rudest drivers in the world are in boston, successfully worked together to make my dad the last person on his flight. i mean, i'm glad he made it, but i kinda wish he'd been with us for our next adventure in philly.
we kind of took our time getting going that morning, which made it possible for this adorable morning nap to take place. normally on vacations i'm up with the sun, pushing richard out the door so that we can make the most of every second on our adventure, but traveling with a baby changed things a little bit. i absolutely think that these little moments, while "taking our time," were memories that are just as precious to me as any of the ones we made out pounding pavement and seeing the sights. maybe even more.
we finally did hit the road, and the drive took much longer than i'd thought that it would. east coast traffic is so different than what i'm used to. even the crap in utah county. we needed a little break to feed the boy and stretch our legs, so we made a pit stop in a little town called greenwich. it was very cute, but so not a "small town" in that way. there only seemed to be super expensive stores/restaurants, so we snacked on what we had in the car and kept driving until we could find something more in our price range. like a dollar menu.
we finally entered philadelphia, and i was excited to find our rented apartment that i'd found on our old go-to website that we've used a lot in nyc. i'd showed it to richard before i booked it, and there were over 100 reviews that were at least 4/5 stars. i felt completely confident and comfortable. plus i was stoked that we were getting a steal of a deal.
my hopes were dashed to hell when we drove through the scariest neighborhood i've ever seen in my life. like, will smith definitely lived here before he moved to bel air. we locked the car doors and drove right past the place. didn't even stop. i was in tears. tears of disappointment and embarrassment. there was no way we were getting our money back, and now we had to find another place to stay. we drove all over creation looking for wi-fi so that we could use the "hotel tonight" app on richard's ipod, but finally things got sorted out. i've never felt like a bigger idiot in my life.
but these goofballs really helped to pull me out of my funk. dale treated us to dinner and things started to turn around.
slowly, but surely.
our hotel was great. super nice and right downtown. it was also hooked to a tgi fridays restaurant that provided free breakfast in the morning, so we wolfed down the most important meal of the day and hit the streets.
our first big stop was love park on jfk plaza right downtown. we loved it.
there were a lot of very cool statues and sculptures in the city. some were super weird. not this one.
here i am, just loving motherhood, and giving it props.
while i was feeding marty in a corner of this mall, richard and dale made a new friend. he was handing out coupons for the dunkin donuts behind him, but he was also a musician. he rapped for richard and dale, and of course richard ate it right up and they became fast friends.
after the boy had been fed, we headed to see the historical sights. we began with the liberty bell. that's independence hall in the background, and that's exactly where we found ourselves next.
we didn't get tickets in enough advance to have the full tour, but we did get to see some fun things. including dale getting to pretend like he was nicolas cage in national treasure.
we saw where the very first senate and congress met, and i was really wishing my dad was with us. he would have been our personal tour guide and made these places really come alive. we still loved it, though.
it was raining pretty much all day. but who cares what you look like when you get to snuggle with this little lovebug all day long? not me. i mean, i care more now that i look at these pictures and see how ridiculous i looked. but in that moment, i didn't care even a little bit.
we couldn't go to philly and not try a philly cheesesteak. this was the first one we tested. it was huge and it was delicious. it was also the beginning of my love for those sandwiches.
i'd been pretty excited to visit the amish sweet shop, but, to my dismay, it was closed.
we drowned our sorrows in ice cream. lots of ice cream.
and then we started the long walk back. but not without stopping for some sensory experiences along the way. funny how things you'd never even think about before kids seem so incredible after them.
a giant "fly" decided to hitch a ride, and richard did nothing but laugh, take pictures, and freak me the freak out. i stayed mad at him for it until the rocky steps were in sight.
which was right about here.
although rocky balboa is a fictional character in a movie, and it might be silly to say this, i think that he plays a big part in our nation's history, too. his story is inspiring. especially if you overlook the third movie, which i hated and just pretend like doesn't exist. rocky balboa is a national treasure in his own right, and we were clearly stoked to follow in a few of his footsteps.
i know without a shadow of a doubt that he was hearing the music in his head at this very moment.
yes, they ran up every step. marty made it to the top with me. i walked around the side, thinking that there was a ramp to roll him up. there wasn't. i ended up carrying the dang stroller up just as many steps as they went up. conclusion: i'm stronger than they are. a.k.a. i'm more rocky than they are.
and he agrees.
dale found this great place behind the library (where the steps are), and we took a little rest while we enjoyed the view.
and then, i cashed in my "baby card" and let the boys go get the car while marty and i rested a little more.
dale's dogs were barking, which is why he was happy to let us drop him off at the airport HOURS before his flight left so that he could rest up, too. we're so glad he came on this trip. as crazy as it sounds, i think it made a big impact in his relationship with marty. i know he was only 7 months old. but even though we hadn't seen dale since our trip, marty took to him almost immediately when we saw him at heidi and peter's wedding at the end of august. i was totally outnumbered by all of these boys, but i'm so happy i got to have these special experiences with them, and watch some magic between a little boy and his grandpas happen.
we left the airport and headed straight for maryland, where we stayed with richard's aunt mary and uncle mark. and thus began the last leg of our trip, as just our little family.