Several months ago, Taryn asked us why only Tyson and I got to go inside the temple.
She wanted so badly to go with us :)
So we explained that she would have to be older to go inside the temple but there was a new temple being built nearby in Philadelphia and when a new temple is built, anyone can go inside it take a tour for a few weeks time before the temple is dedicated.
Right then we told Taryn that we would take her to the Philadelphia temple so she could see what it was like inside a temple. We reserved our tickets months in advance to be sure we could go!
This was the first overnight vacation for just our little family that we planned so we wanted to do it right! We learned that our relationship is very complementary when planning a vacation. I am the researcher/ scheduler, booking al the tickets, making sure we hit check in/out, plotting out food spots etc.. and Tyson is the navigator. I give him our list of things we want to do during that day and he makes it happen. He is the best with maps and our family time table- i.e. food keeps us happy and moving along, we girls need lots of bathroom breaks, and the kids need to run around in-between museums :)
We left at 7:15am on a Friday and made great time, just under 3 hours. Tyson and I had researched what we wanted to do and had everything planned out for our 34 hour stay in Philly. We are very very big planners!! We get it from our Dads.
First stop, Independence Hall.
A beautiful building where history was made! Standing in the Assembly room where the Declaration of Independence was adopted was inspiring.
George Washington's chair had a sun stone on it, which Tyson and I found very interesting. It's said that Benjamin Franklin would often gaze at the sunstone on his chair and wonder if the sun was setting or rising. It wasn't until the signing of the Declaration that Benjamin realized it represented the setting of an era and the rising of a new Nation.
I will always love this gorgeous colonial style
Franklin Court sites, where Benjamin Franklin lived and where is Printing office was located.
We visited the Benjamin Franklin Museum and learned about his life. Taryn was so interested in Benjamin's study of lightening and electricity. I loved watching how much Taryn soaked up the information we were exposed to on this trip.
Just outside the museum
The cutest Confectionary - Shane's Confectionary.
After lunch we went to the Franklin Fountain, an old fashioned ice cream store. Everything was so cute down to the uniforms the employees were wearing. I was really surprised that a single scoop was about the size of 3 normal scoops! We had a lot of ice cream but I couldn't pass up a chocolate bon bon Liberty Bell mold. I had read about them and the cute Confectionary store they came from. It just so happens that the ice cream store was right next door! So we all took a bite of this chocolate Liberty bell that was filled with ganache. Taryn, Tyson and I loved it. Haddie wanted to spit it out. I don't think she likes dark chocolate.
I think it's my time working as a Confectioner and in Pastries that draws me to these cute little shops with unique sweets. I was a kid in a candy shop ;)
Shortly after lunch, Haddie fell asleep in the stroller and we had Taryn as our little talking travel buddy. She had so many questions and always asked how old everything was. Most of what we saw was over 240 years old, which, compared to the rest of the world, is still pretty young but for our country it's old!
She and Hadleigh had been switching off using the stroller but when Haddie fell asleep, Taryn was left to walking. She started out complaining about walking but as we really got going, she was filled with so many questions and thoughts that she had stopped complaining and really took everything in. And we did A LOT of walking on this trip. She was a real trooper.
The oldest residential street in our Nation, with homes built from 1728 to 1836.
They were small, cute and unique.
I love this picture of us.
Taryn really wanted to take a picture of her little puppy. I love seeing our adventures through her eyes. I wonder what kind of pictures we would get if I gave her a disposable camera for our next trip! I should try that.
In the courtyard of Betsy Ross' small home.
In this picture I can see how tired Taryn is but that she isn't giving up. We took a break in the shade right next to where Betsy Ross was buried, in her own home courtyard.
Another tired looking taryn but she has a smile on and was still requesting us to take her pictures!
We headed back to the center of the Historic district, past Independence Hall and to The Liberty Bell. Because if was the 100 year birthday celebration for the National Parks, the park rangers were handing out little "playing cards" that had people like Dolley Madison, John Quincy Adams, George Washington and more on them. Taryn spent the whole trip watching out for Park Rangers so she could collect more cards. She was fascinated by each one. I love the small details put into the National Parks that make learning fun and exciting for kids. We saw it all last summer while in the Badlands and Mt. Rushmore.
We felt like Taryn was leading our tour through The Liberty Bell Museum. She had us watching the whole video of the history of the bell and was so interested in the crack that was in the Bell. Haddie slept through it all but every minute was worth it as Taryn kept asking more about our experiences, the Liberty Bell, and her curiosity of who/what was on the cards the Ranger's passed out.
Tyson found this in a souvenir and thought it was pretty great.
After so much sight seeing, walking, and soaking in information, we made it to Franklin Court park and let the kids play. I love cities that take the time to really build up their parks and keep them up to date. It makes city living easier for everyone when kids can have a safe place to play.
Just look at those smiles!
That night our plans for dinner fell through so we walked into town and had dinner at Cosi, which is a sandwich chain we really enjoy. We were so impressed with the service we received. We were among only a handful of people there and felt like we had royal treatment down to an employee making Taryn homemade chocolate milk, giving Haddie chilled apple juice when it was originally just warm from storage, to bringing our food out to us as we helped the girls eat theirs.
Tyson continued to comment on how loving and kind the people were in Philly. Seriously- we met some of the greatest people on this trip.
We got to our hotel and went swimming until about 9pm- living up the moments of having access to a pool! Taryn and Haddie didn't like the hotel at first when they found out they wouldn't be sleeping in their own beds but they warmed up quickly once they realized how fun it is. They totally hit each others heads while jumping on the beds - whoops. (Imagine: Just like the scene from the most recent "Rat Race" movie)
When we woke up on Saturday morning, we got dressed in our Sunday best so we could go to the Philadelphia Open House. We made a stop at The Reading Terminal Market for their famous Amish Beiler's Donuts. They were SO yummy!!!
Taryn loves the cake donuts, I love I helped create.
They are my favorite too and anytime we got donuts, Taryn couldn't resist asking for bites of my cake donut. Now she is sold that it's the best donut ever, and orders her own.
Haddie and her sprinkle love. That's her own pose too ;) She's a crack up! I also love how much the girls animals make it into every photo. Those animals were the souvenirs they chose. They are quite possibly the best souvenirs ever because it made walking, going into new places, and getting through tough parts of the trip doable. If kitty or doggie do it, then it's ok for them to do it :)
S'mores donut for me. Delicious! We were certain that it had a peanut butter filling inside. Tyson had a salted caramel and we split a Keylime- the best I have ever had!
The Temple!!! The whole purpose of this fun trip.
The temple is about 10 minutes outside of the Historic District, right by a major freeway (similar to the San Diego Temple)
We thought it looked similar to the Nauvoo Temple.
We scheduled out tour at 10am and got there early. It was the perfect time for our little family. We went through the new stake center across the street from the temple to watch a video about the temple. Then we headed over for our tour. Haddie refused to wear (and cried about) the booties that protect the carpet while thousands tour during The Open House. It was frustrating to have to hold her the whole time.
I think all the walking and the humidity/heat were really getting to the kids at this point. I just wanted to make it through the temple! Taryn kept asking if she could sit down in all the chairs she saw but our tour was moving so quickly (and I wasn't are if she could sit for second) so we kept moving. I kept telling Tyson not to let Haddie's strong willed personality effect his experience in the temple but it did, in a funny way. Tyson was frustrated at Haddie and having to carry her the whole time. He said later that everytime he entered a new room during the tour, there was a picture of Jesus, usually holding a child. Tyson said he felt like Jesus was staring at him and saying, "Look, I'm holding a child too." As if to say, "it's no big deal." Hahaha if anyone can judge us, it's Jesus :)
I laughed so hard when he told me that.
You may not be able to see all of the temple, but this has got to be one of my favorite family photos.
we somehow managed smiles from these faces though the girls were melting down at this point on the rooftop gardens.
We went back to the hotel, changed, had the girls eat lunch, and checked out of our hotel. Neither Tyson or I were very hungry yet so we decided that because the girls had eaten, we could finish off our adventure list in downtown Philly.
The beautiful Old City Hall. So large and ornate. The only success of our post Temple downtown Philly tour
Here comes the Fails:
1.We tried to pose with the "LOVE" statue. Fail- it was moved for renovations
2.We tried to get a rainbow bagel with funfetti cream cheese (my request.) Fail.
They were all out of rainbow bagels and the cream cheese was disgusting
(despite rave reviews online)
3. It was now past 12pm and the sun was beating down on all of us, we were hot, it was humid, and we were walking walking walking walking.... so everyone had had it.
4. We had to stop and have a stern family talk about attitudes. All of us had to change. We would get to our car and drive to our lunch destination and everything would be fine. We just needed to walk for 10 . more. minutes.
1. Everyone changed their attitudes (it was a miracle!)
2. Taryn, Tyson and I talked about how we wished we had jet packs so we wouldn't have to walk anymore...and what color they would be ;)
3. Haddie rode in peace in the stroller
4. We made it to the car and the girls promptly fell asleep
5. The girls had already eaten lunch (pizza leftovers from Friday) so Tyson and I stopped at the famous Pat's Steaks for our first true Philly Cheesesteaks
"One whiz with"
"One provolone without"
We had heard that ordering is crazy and you get yelled at so we watched a YouTube video about how to order properly. We memorized our orders days before we even went. It really helped so Tyson wasn't stressed about what to do because we ended up parking, me staying in the car with the sleeping girls in the cold A/C and Tyson off to order our food. Did I tell you how the skies opened and heaven shined down on us so we could get THE BEST PARKING SPOT EVER!!!! This place was packed with people, so we were SOOOOOO LUCKY!!!!! Like, step out of your car and just sit on the picnic benches in front of the hole in the wall restaurant, awesome spot.
We agreed that my "with" onions added the best flavor. We couldn't really taste the cheese whiz so you can save on the calories and not order the "whiz"
But we love the fries and the experience. The sandwiches hit the spot.
The Alice in WonderLand Exhibit at the Please Touch Museum
The Please Touch Museum
This place was amazing and the perfect refuge from the heat.
We're grateful our friends told us about the Groupon for this.
This place was made for kids and their curiosity. It was the best!
The girls really love carousels and Haddie really wanted to ride a "white horsey." They had the best time ! It's really interesting to me to learn about each carousal and it's "life." From being built, refurbished, sold and moved everywhere across the nation, this 1900's Dentzel carousel was fascinating.
That blur is Haddie on Curious George's rocket slide.
Haddie and Taryn loved making these foam rockets and laughing them after building up the air pressure in the pipes. Haddie stayed in this room for ten minutes just making and launching her rockets. Future scientist ??!!
And it's not complete with Daddy having fun too.
The water tables were a huge huge hit with the girls. They loved everything about the little ducks and foam boats. Taryn gathered as many ducks as she could and released them down the water lock system. Haddie made sure she had at least 4 ducks and role played with them non stop. She cried when we had to leave the ducks behind.
It was such a great Museum experience for us all.
We drove by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and saw the "Rocky steps" and statue but knew there was no way we could get the kids out in the heat again so we will have to run up the stairs next time :)
Philly water ice for the win! This little hole in the wall place was fantastic! About 15 minutes outside of downtown Philly and totally worth the stop. We found it by accident while looking for a gas station. Best accident ever :)
The girls were the best and shared a water ice. Actually, Haddie wanted a sprinkle dipped cone but ended up not liking it. Taryn was so kind and shared half of her Cotton Candy Water ice with Haddie. These cool treats were just what we needed after a long weekend!
Philly was great and I felt a small connection to it because my Dad had lived there for 5.5 years (from 8 to 13 yrs old.) I made sure to call my Dad before the trip to see what we should see. Luckily, we had everything planned that he had suggested. We will have to stop by his old home next time! Yes- he still remembered the address and yes, the home (though remodeled) is still there!
We learned so much during this family trip. Historical facts and how even though there might be "fails" we can still make a great family vacation where ever we are.