Our weekend in Philly and A’s sit-down with Santa.

You know how you go out of town for a trip and you return and it’s just so difficult to get back into the swing of your normal routine? That’s totally where I’m at! And I’m willing to bet it has a lot to do with the fact that we had a really, really nice weekend visiting our cousins in Philadelphia. How do you jump back into the grind of work and daycare after a few days that were all about having fun (though a bit exhausting with a toddler in tow!)?

For a really long time I’ve been dying to visit my cousin Andrea and her husband Nate. Andrea is A’s Godmother and since we were babies, we’ve always had a great time when we get to be around each other (and it only got more fun when our amazing husbands came into the picture!). Prior to this past weekend, I had never been beyond the train station in Philly.

So when J sent me a text one day at work and said that he had the opportunity to go to the Bills/Eagles game for free with some friends, I immediately reached out to Andrea to see if they would be around because I couldn’t imagine going down and not getting to see them. Luckily for us, they were not only going to be around, but they were gracious enough to open their (beautiful!!) home to us and welcome us to stay for the weekend.

Our weekend in Philly | The Life Jolie

A was clearly happy to be in Philly!

Anyone on the East Coast knows that this weekend brought some unseasonably warm weather. Andrea went above and beyond making the most delicious Lasagna, Roast Beef and Veggies and Sauteed Kale that made me fall in love with Kale all over again (in addition to tons of delicious lunch and breakfast options!). But more important than being spoiled by delicious food, we got to enjoy some quality time which was so special to us, especially to see A get to know Andrea and Nate a bit better!

This was not a trip about being tourist. I hope to be able to explore Philly more in the future, as I’ve heard such wonderful things. Being pregnant and exhausted, I couldn’t have been happier with our slower-paced and relaxing time. My only regret is that I brought my DSLR and failed to take any photos with it (and very few on my phone). We were just so busy relaxing and enjoying each other’s company that I didn’t really think to get a ton of photos. Sorry!

We drove in on Friday during the day, arriving around 6pm. I was originally planning to work for a good portion of the day, but both J and I were pretty congested (I think the weather change made my sinuses go crazy) and since I was feeling kind of crappy, I figured it was best for me to call out and relax in the morning in hopes that I wouldn’t get sicker. This proved to be a very good decision, as I was beyond exhausted by the time we did pull in and I can’t imagine how I’d have felt if I had spent much of the day working.

Our ride down was pretty smooth. I gave A lunch at the beginning and she took a pretty good nap after. Besides a bit of soreness on my part (this was definitely my last long trip before Bubbles arrives) and a couple rough moments toward the final stretch of our trip from A, it really was a pretty east trip. Considering the fact that we had to stop twice for the pregnant lady and toddler to stretch their legs (and for J to take a work call) we made pretty good time.

We spend the first half of Saturday relaxing and hanging out around the house. After A’s nap and lunch, we headed over to check out the King of Prussia Mall. This mall was no joke! I couldn’t believe how large it was (that’s what she said!)! We enjoyed the opportunity to walk around and do a bit of Christmas shopping and we even took A to see Santa.

Our weekend in Philly | The Life Jolie

Spoiler alert: A + Santa = Not Good! But at least we got this gem of a photo!

This was A’s second time seeing Santa. Last year she did so very well. This time, not so much. I don’t know if she just had ants in her pants (in addition to a poopy diaper! Sorry Santa!) or chose that moment to suddenly get stranger danger, but A was not having it. There were tears. There were screams. A was in full-on fight-or-flight mode. It worked out, because at $30 for the cheapest package, their photos weren’t exactly in our tight budget to begin with. We still got some fun photos of A hating her life at that moment and some rough ones where we joined her (sorry, not even sharing those, because Woof!). Bottom line: we may or may not have given our gal a complex. There could be therapy in her future, though I suppose it’s inevitable with me as her Mommy, haha!

After a little shopping, we ended up at Shake Shack for an early dinner, which is always a good idea. I know, I know, I’m supposed to try out local delicacies when I’m traveling. And I really meant to. But Shake Shack was right there, and really who can resist? Not us, apparently! As always it was amazing.

Our weekend in Philly | The Life Jolie

Hello Lover!

Sunday A and I relaxed and played all morning while Andrea and Nate went to church (J spent the night at one of our friend’s apartment and they headed to the game on Sunday). After A had a good nap and we all had a good lunch, Andrea and I headed to the Motherland, ie. Ikea! We all know that I love a good Ikea trip as much as the next gal. Being that we are about to start putting together Baby Bubble’s nursery, J and I agreed that an Ikea trip was definitely in order. So Andrea and I headed over there to peruse the smaller items and so that I could get some ideas for larger furniture and then J and I would return on Monday before leaving to pick up the larger items.

We were definitely planning on picking up another Gulliver Crib, since we love the one A currently sleeps in. Additionally, we planned to pick up a Poang Chair because Bubbles’ room is too small to accommodate our amazing glider. 🙁 Besides that, I wanted to look around the show room and get some ideas. So armed with my phone camera, a tape measure and the room measurements, Andrea, A and I began our journey.

This was probably the most stressful Ikea trip ever. A did pretty well for a while but when she was over it, she was over it! A full-scale meltdown ensued. A had the second and longest public tantrum of her life. Thank God that Andrea was there. I’m pretty sure she saved my life about 30 times in that one Ikea trip! I felt like the very worst mother, because I was physically too exhausted to carry her all around and the cart was not cutting it. At one point she was doing downward facing dog in the check out area and all I could do was laugh joke with the people around me that she needed a Yoga break.

It was rough but we all made it out alive, and we even had a break for A try her first taste of Chocolate Milk. Needless to say, she was a fan. I had to make sure that A wasn’t scarred for life against Ikea, because that would be terrible! Priorities; I have them.

Our weekend in Philly | The Life Jolie

Our curious gal!

By the time we got home, it was dark. A fell asleep on the short ride back but she must have heard Justin coming out to greet us because all of the sudden her head popped up and she gasped with joy. At that point, all wariness form the Ikea-trip-from-hell melted away. We enjoyed a great dinner and a relaxing evening before heading to bed.

The next day, we spent a good part of the morning packing up and getting A nice and tired. We headed back to Ikea once it was open to pick up the furniture we decided on (more on that in a future nursery update). It was a much smoother and much quicker trip. After that, we hit the road home, stopping only once to stretch our legs. A did pretty well on this trip as well, though by the end she was totally over it.

While I always love returning to our home after trips (I missed my Maciebear!) it was such a bummer to leave. We had the best time and couldn’t be more grateful for the open-armed welcome we received and the quality time we were able to enjoy!

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