So Thankful

Happy, happy, happy Thanksgiving! 

Today marks the second of my three favorite holidays. The food, the family, the complete concentration on appreciating what you have. I love it. 

Hopefully you are off enjoying a great meal with your family, but if you are stopping here to relax with a full belly, here's something sweet for dessert... a countdown list I did on facebook with something I was grateful for everyday in November. I'd love to hear what you are grateful for today!

Day 1: I'm thankful for fun work travel!

Day 2: Today I'm grateful for sweet, fun, hardworking coworkers! Makes weekend work a lot more fun.

Day 3: This might seem silly, but bear with me. Today I am thankful for Facebook, Tickld, blogs, and the internet as a whole as a means of connecting and communication. There is plenty of junk out there, but I am also touched daily by the inspirational, sweet, and stirring things that people post. If I need a lift or a "call to arms" I know I can find it here. Plus creating and keeping friends from around the world in a way that wouldn't be possible otherwise. It is pretty amazing, and I am grateful for it today.

Day 4: I'm grateful for my coworker Harry, who we lost on Sunday. He was a wonderful person, kind and generous with all those he cared about. He was smart and kept our organization running like a well oiled machine. He will be missed, but I'm so grateful to have known him these past 9.5 years.

 Day 5: It is beautiful day today, so here's a positive. I'm grateful for being able to exercise my right to vote today. My race, creed, age, gender, sexual orientation don't change my vote which counts as much as anyone else's. That's pretty amazing. Go cast your vote!

Day 6: today I am go grateful for my sweet, snugly, silly love of a gorgeous pup, Daisy. She is such a damn good dog and I am thankful she is part of our family. Especially today on her 5th birthday!! Happy Birthday Daisy!

Day 7: I'm grateful for the fact that my family is financially sound. Its easy to forgot what that means when everyday our culture's focus on stuff is telling you to buy more, buy bigger, why can't you get the best/most expensive. Its easy to forget what is truly important. The fact that we not only have enough for what we NEED, but also are lucky enough to have extra to save for a rainy day and carefully splurge on things we WANT, that is something to be hugely grateful for. My daughter doesn't know true hunger, she knows that there will always be clean clothes and a warm house. These are immeasurable blessings.

Day 8: Today I'm thankful for much needed Fridays! Can't wait to relax a little this weekend.

Day 9: So grateful for moments that remind me how fast Gwen is growing. Last time we were here [a play gym], she required a constant escort and now she's running around like crazy. My girl is so big!

Day 10: I'm grateful for extra sleep, and a husband who let's me sleep in on the weekends. As someone who is constantly in need of more sleep, this is a godsend.

Day 11: Today I'm grateful for all the brave individuals who have felt the call to serve. Freedom is not free, and I'm so thankful for those who defend my right to say and believe what I want. Happy Veterans Day, thank you.

Day 12: Today I'm grateful for cozy sweaters, warm mittens, hot chocolate, and heated trains. And the fact that my dog doubles as a pretty good heating blanket. All things to help get me through Philly's first snow!

 Day 13: I'm grateful for my amazing extended family. I have such a fun, diverse set of talented cousins, Aunts, and Uncles. They are inspiring, and I'm so glad I can call them my family.

 Day 14: Today I'm grateful for my brother, Ethan. Barring a brief period of time when I was a teenager and everyone was annoying I have always considered him one of my favorite people. He is everything I could hope for in a brother and I know he would be there anytime I needed him. For anything. He's smart, funny, occasionally annoying, always eye roll worthy, and I am blessed beyond measure to have him in my life. Love you Epee.

Day 15: Today I'm thankful for my in-laws, and future sister-in-law (Elise). You know those people who win the lottery more then once, well I did that with additions to my extended family. First when I married Travis, and gained an amazing Mother-in-Law (Barbara) and Father-in-law (John); plus two new brothers and their families. Not to mention about a million new cousins!! They are fun and sweet, and I'm so glad they are part of my life. Second, was when my brother brought home his then gf, now fiancee. She is cute and quiet and balances my brother in most perfect ways. She also has one of the best laughs on the face of this planet, and I'm always secretly a little thrilled when I pull one from her. Thank you all for being a part of my life, I am grateful for you!

Day 16: I'm so grateful for the practice of yoga. It has connected me with my body, mind, and helps me to push myself constantly. Today (inversions workshop) was way outside my comfort zone, but I did it and I feel so proud! It keeps me strong and healthy, and I wish I'd found it sooner!

Day 17: today I'm grateful for unseasonable warm weather. Probably the final hurrah, but I'll take it!!

Day 18: Today, on the day of my biggest work event of the year, when I won't be home until he is ready for bed already, I am so grateful for Trav. With the loss of my coworker and this event, I can count on one hand the number of times I've been home on time in the past two weeks. He's taken it all in stride, still happily allowing me to run off to yoga. He's an amazing partner, and a loving father. I might get frustrated with him sometimes, but I am eternally thankful for him and all he does for our family.

Day 19: Today I'm grateful for kind people. Be it the awesome cab driver from last night who waited for me to get in my car and drive before leaving, or just a stranger who holds a door, there is so much anger and hate in this world, so I am grateful for every smidgen of love and kindness that gets put out into the universe.

Day 20: Today I am grateful for all of my amazing friends. I've met you all in different times, places, and circumstances, but you've all played a role in my life. If you are reading this, I am thankful for you. Thank you for your love and support always.

Day 21: Today I am so grateful for my Babwa (Heather). My confidant, sister-from-another- mister, fellow hell raiser for the past 27 years! She was my barbie and video game supplier when we were kids, kept me sane during my teenage years, was my rock and connection to home when I went off to college, stood by my side when I got married, and loves my daughter like her own. She always makes me laugh and I know I can count on her for anything. I don't know where I would be today without her.

Day 22: Today I'm thankful for my strong, healthy, active body. It lets me push it to try new things. It grew, fed, and nourished a baby and carries her still. No one knows what the future holds, but for today, I am so grateful for my health and the strong body I was gifted with.

Day 23: Today I'm grateful for my awesome university. Proud to be a Lehigh alum. (Now step it up Lehigh!!) And thankful for awesome friends to watch the game with. Love you Rochelle and Pat!

Day 24: On this cold, blustery day, I'm grateful for our house. It may not be my dream home, but it is warm, safe, and all ours. It is comfortable and I'm grateful for it. On that note, the colder it gets the harder it is for those without places to call home. So once again, if anyone has warm clothes that they no longer need or want, please consider donating them to local homeless shelters or charities. And if you don't know where to donate them, please feel free to send your sweaters to me, and I will hand them out to the homeless in Philadelphia.

Day 25: Today I'm so grateful for my awesome parents. Since my very first memory, through every single interaction with them since, I have known that I was loved, cared for, and appreciated. They are my confidants and listening ears, they are my most trusted babysitters, my parenting questions go-tos, my hippie inspiration. Its easier to strike out in life knowing that should I fall, I would have people always there to catch me. I hope that when Gwen is a teenager, she can feel as secure in my love for her, and as comfortable coming to me as a friend as I did with my mom. And I can only hope that when Gwen is grown and has a family of her own, that she and I could have the relationship that I have with both of my parents now. I'm so glad that she has them as grandparents. I love you both so much, and am so thankful for you.

Day 26: Today I'm grateful for the blessing that is my daughter, Gwen. Words alone cannot express how I feel about her, but I'll try. Almost 4 years into this parenting thing and it still blows my mind that this amazing little girl is MY daughter. She is sweet, funny, silly, frustrating, feisty, loving, exhausting and exhilarating. She is beautiful inside and out, and every single day I am thankful to have her in my life. She has taught me more about myself and more about love then any other single person on this earth. A hug from her heals my hurts in immeasurable ways. I cannot wait to see who she grows up to be.

Day 27: Today I am grateful for this whole crazy life of mine. It may not be exactly what I pictured, it may be full of twists and turns, it is definitely a little overwhelming at times, and more then a little crazy, but it is mine. And it is wonderful. I could not have imagined all the great things that life had in store. I can't wait to see what's next.

Day 28: Today I am grateful for this holiday, and this countdown to Thanksgiving, which reminds me to be thankful for all that I have. I am truly blessed. 


beautiful things with Minted

Two years ago for Thanksgiving, I had the idea to do Thankful cards to use on Thanksgiving day. It was a larger gathering as it was my Grandma's last, and we all wanted to be together for it. I though with the larger group it might be fun to do something different then just going around and saying what we are thankful for, hence the cards. We all wrote our thankfuls down on the cards, tossed them into a bowl, then took turns picking. We read off each others notes of gratefulness, and tried to guess to whom each one belonged. It was a different take on a traditional idea, and a lot of fun.

The idea was a sound one, my cards however could have used some upgrading! They were fine, but nothing fancy. Nothing like these gorgeous things:


I've loved the stuff on Minted since I first saw their Christmas cards, so I was pretty excited to find out about their new blog, Julep. It's full of gorgeous free printables (like the thankful cards above!), DIY ideas, and basically everything that is the home decor touches version of their beautiful cards! They have new ideas for every season and I am loving all of the Thanksgiving ideas.

They seem to have something for every taste too, from rustic to glittery, and tons in between. You know I lean (way way over) towards the rustic side, but I'm considering making those gold leaf pumpkins for one my girlfriends! And I've already started designing a 2014 calendar for a Christmas present.

If you enjoy beautiful things, of any variety, then you will find something you like on Minted (and Julep).

Have you checked out Minted when looking for holiday cards? Have you purchased anything else there?

Disclosure: I was contacted by minted with the chance to write a post about their blog Julep for which I was compensated, however all words and opinions expressed here are my own. As always, I only work with companies who's products I truly like and would buy for myself.



In the dark of night when everyone is asleep, or in the still of an empty house, I whisper my secrets out to try to give them flight. I shout them in the quietest voice I have to release them from me, begging them gone. They swirl in the air, and I wonder if anyone else can feel them just hanging there.

I wonder what secrets others call in the night. Do we really actually want someone to hear them? To name them and take them from us?

They find their way back though, they always do. Crawling into my chest, latching onto my heart. "Don't worry we don't take up much room." ... "But you are so heavy." Nibbling here and there at what's inside of me.

Until the night comes again, and release them for a moment or two.

just write


the post "too much" malaise

Do you ever find that after doing too much for a few weeks, that your drive just bottoms out? That the relief of having just a normal amount to do fells you into a pit of lazy? No, just me? Ahhh well. That's where I am right now... in the pit of "I'm not doing anything unless its life or death." Pardon me while I work my way back out. I swear soon my posts won't all start with apologies for how there haven't been enough posts.

Anyway, what did I have to tell you?! Right... puppy news!

Remember Mongo? That adorable, tiny, little ball of loving and energy and energy and omg stop jumping on Daisy already energy?

Well the little dude isn't so little anymore!

And clearly has adjusted just fine to his new home and his "big sister" (who is Daisy sized, to give you a little scale).

I love happy endings, and I consider this to be one.

That's about all I have to share right now. Work is just a whole lot of trying to catch up on all the things we threw aside trying to get ready for the Big Event. Life is life, with all its normal day to day things. I'll have more to share next week, promise!

Have a great weekend all.


Quelling the Why: Explaining Decisions to Children {guest post}

In the interest of cutting myself a little slack, I was thrilled when Rachel approached me about doing a guest post. I've seen her posts on other blogs before and they were right up my alley. This is no exception. While Gwen is coming out of the "why" stage now, it is not far behind us. I never wanted to say "just because" as an answer, I always wanted her to ask if she was curious about something, but when you are dealing with many "whys" in a row, its hard not to get frustrated. Here are a few simple steps from Rachel for dealing with those why questions. 

Children are sponges absorbing every bit of information they can. He or she may not be able to comprehend specific aspects of life, but that won't stop them from asking; "why?" Many parents rely on the age old expression, "because I said so." Unfortunately, that has very little chance of putting an end to the topic in the future. Why should it be important to explain decisions to your children?

1. Logistics - Contrary to the belief of many, children can be extremely logical in their processing of information. If a child asks why they can't have the second helping of dessert, why not tell them the truth? "Because I am afraid you'll get a stomach ache from it" is an alternative that allows them to process the information provided. Now, they don't need to ask "why" regarding the dessert. They may ask why concerning the stomach ache. Follow each question with a logical explanation explained as clearly as possible. If you eventually come to a question you can't answer, "I don't know, sweetheart" puts an end to the interrogation.

2. Secrecy - When you don't answer a question with intent to provide information, you could make the child think that the answer is some kind of adult secret. This can create a curiosity in your child worse than it had been previously. In extreme cases, it could make a child feel like they are unworthy of an answer. This frame of mind doesn't happen often, but it has led to problematic developments in younger children. It's the match that lights a flame of discontent as they could read too much into the answer.

3. Understanding - Children are more understanding than what many parents give them credit for. While specifics may be over their heads, concise explanations can be mulled over in his or her mind. You may think that they will never understand the true answer, but you'll never know unless you provide them with one. You may be stunned when they seem to know more about a topic than you ever realized. At which point, the doors to communication become wide open and you can share with your child.

4. Promoting Development - By answering questions honestly and truthfully, you are being a role model that demonstrates these qualities as an important aspect of life. You are also providing information they may use at a later date, which can further promoting the child's growth. Children can retain a great deal of information provided you give it to them to reflect on. My six-year old daughter can explain to anyone the several theories revolving around why the dinosaurs are extinct. It was a question she asked as books and teachers provided several plausible theories.

5. Discovering the Answer - For those questions you can't seem to answer because you don't know, why not spend the time discovering the truth with your child? Google is a great resource to find answers to just about any question you can think of. Take an hour of your day with your child and spend time looking up facts.

While you don't have to explain every decision you make, those that concern the children are easier to answer than what you may realize. You shouldn't rely on "because" to be your retort to "why." Provide them with the answer and allow them to do what they will with the information.

Rachel is an ex-babysitting pro as well as a professional writer and blogger. She is a graduate from Iowa State University and currently writes for www.babysitting.net. She welcomes questions/comments which can be sent to rachelthomas.author @ gmail.com.


it is OVER! and pictures...

So, the big work event: OVER!
And even better... a Success!

To say I'm happy would be an understatement.

I cleaned up okay too... 

Back later!!


last hurrah?

What a rejuvenating weekend. After sleeping in until 9:15 on Saturday and 10:15 on Sunday, I finally feel mostly caught up on sleep. Late night Monday night, but I get to sleep in a little Tuesday and Wednesday. Finally!

We only had one scheduled event this weekend and that was a yoga workshop for me. All on inversions. Exhausting, humbling, but also empowering and exhilarating! 2.5 hours of praying I didn't land on a mat neighbor (I didn't!), but I did manage to do things I'd never done before.

Otherwise, we played games, read books, watched movies, and hung out. Sunday the weather was so gorgeous that we went to the park in long sleeved t-shirts and light hoodies, before running a few other errands. It was unseasonably warm, and felt even more amazing thanks to the unseasonable cold that had come right before. Probably Autumn's last hurrah, but I'll take it!

While work will be busy for a while until we hire someone new, it promises to be a bit more settled after Monday. Hallelujah. In the meantime, I'm so glad to feel a bit more rested, grounded, and relaxed.

Hope your weekends were as relaxing as mine!!


remember me?

Oh Hi... remember me? I've been a little absent. And frantic. And running around in a "chicken with its head cut off" fashion. I'm so very glad it is Friday, and that we have a low-key weekend ahead. Biggest work event Monday, so I am looking forward to that. I was talking with some coworkers today, including my big boss, and while I/we expressed our worries for Monday, I also noted that while we are certainly facing obstacles we don't normally have (with the loss of my coworker) and I do have worries, at the same time I also have confidence. "At [work place] we get $h!t done!" And we do. Somehow we manage to pull it out. I'm sure Monday will be no different.

I'm ready for it to be here and gone though. Considering I can count on one hand the number of times I left work on time these past 2 weeks, and have more then once had to call Trav to say, "Hey, yeah, I missed the late train too... so now I'll be on the late, late train." This morning Gwen asked if we had to go to work/school today, and I told her we did. Her reply was to point one adorable finger in my face and proclaim, "Do NOT miss your train Mommy!" Oh babes, I know.

In any case, that gets checked off the list Monday; and I already have a Mental Health Day scheduled for Wednesday. I plan to do... nothing. So very much nothing. Maybe meet a friend for lunch, but then after that, more nothing. And then yoga. Its going to be amazing. I'm ready for it as my level of exhaustion at this point is beyond physical, but also mental and emotional.

Something else kind of fun and exciting*. You might have noticed something new on the sidebar. That little button to the right is letting you know that I've joined the Natural Parent's Network team! You'll find me on their facebook page posting questions and responding to messages, and hopefully some posts of mine will appear their soon as well. I'm very excited. Check them out!

Okay, off to relax and snuggle my puppy.

* fun, exciting, and yes, also a little ironic considering I was just talking about how exhausted I am, and the fact that I've been too busy to even get here and post a blog. BUT this was too fun an opportunity to miss, and once things had slowed, I would have been sorry if I had not taken it. so here we are!


ball pits and fall leaves

One week to go until our biggest event of the year. One week to go until things maybe settle down a little. So probably at least one week to go until posting gets more regular.

But I'm here with a super quick weekend update. It was a good one.

Saturday ended up being so much busier then I realized it was going to be. First we hit up a friend's birthday party at a local play gym. It was the same one we used for Gwen's 3rd birthday, and while she required a constant companion that time, this time as soon as we got into the gym part, she was off and running.

Trav headed out a little early to head to an Intro to Brewing Class with Pat (my anny gift to him). He was gone until after dinner, and when he returned it was my turn to head out with Ro to go into the city to see the musical Once.

We had amazing seats and it was a fabulous show! I would see it again and again.

I didn't end up getting home until almost midnight, so it was a long day.

Thankfully Sunday was much lazier. Trav let me sleep a bit, but ended up waking me at 9:30 since he had a headache. He was back up for a bit at 11:30, but unfortunately the head returned as a migraine by 3, so he was in bed from then until our alarm at 5:30 this morning!!

So Gwen and I hit up the park, did some dishes, ran to the store, and cooked dinner together.
It was a gorgeous day at the park, so we got some great pictures. 

She wanted to take one of me...

I've been craving risotto, so I whipped some up with dinner.

And one more, just because it cracks me up:

My daughter housing some pasta. So like her Mama.  ;-)

Now its back to the grind. Hope your weekend was relaxing!


CM: we are our own worst critic

Newest piece from Connected Mom. How it gives you a little boast, like it did me. 


So often, we as parents see only the ways that we fall short. Its is so true what they say, that we are our own worst critics. So a sweet little video, that I couldn't resist sharing, to show you that maybe what you see, and what our kids see is very different:

A New Perspective For Moms from Elevation Church on Vimeo.

Keep on keeping on, Mamas.


semi-wordless wednesday {pittsburgh}

Autumn views on the way out.

Silly girl selfies.

Uh, that is a big pig...

A REALLY big pig.


With Uncle Andy and Cousin Wyatt.

Loving the smiley faces at Eatin Park.


what I love about my city {a collaborative post}

The holidays are fast approaching, and for a lot of people that means travel. Travel to see family or vacation travel.

At a Cubs game!
I teamed up with Kendra (@KendraThornton), former Orbitz Director, current SAHM extraordinaire, all around lover of travel, to tell you a bit about what we love about our cities. Maybe we'll get Chicago or Philadelphia on your travel radar!

Let's start with Kendra:

My home has always been Chicago, and over the years I find myself loving it even more every day. Chicago is a city that is full of cultural diversity, good food and memorable landmarks. As much as I love to travel, I really can’t picture living anywhere else in the world. In fact, saying that I adore Chicago is simply an understatement. After years of living in the city, I’ve uncovered the best landmarks, restaurants and things to do. Here are a few examples of my favorite places.


Despite what people think, New York isn’t the best city for shopping. In my humble opinion, I think that Chicago takes the cake! On North Michigan Avenue, there is a very awesome stretch of the city called the Magnificent Mile, which has some of the best shopping in the world. It is full of stores where you can indulge in some ‘retail therapy’. Every store you can possibly dream up is here, from Bloomingdale's to Burberry.


There is never a time when I’m in Chicago and at a loss for places to eat. If I’m tired of cooking and need the night off, the options are endless to choose from. Chicago is famous for its food; everyone knows this. From the tastiest hot dog to some of the freshest seafood, Chicago is your place to go for some grub. One thing you have to try when visiting Chicago is a deep dish pizza.  One of my favorite restaurants in Chicago is definitely Lou Malnati’s. At this restaurant, your taste buds will get a truly out-of-this-world experience when your extra thick pie shows up! I use the site gogobot, which has huge sections of reviews and more on restaurants and hotels throughout the city of Chicago, to find new places to eat all the time. The pizza here is unlike anywhere else; it really reinvents why they call it a pizza “pie,” as the slices are so large! On top of that, the staff here always treats you well.

Outdoor Fun

I know what you’re thinking: big cities are just buildings and bricks. This actually is not true, as there are wonderful outdoor, grassy parks all over the city! If you want to see one of Chicago’s landmarks, one of the best is Millennium Park. I usually visit this wonderful national park when I want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. With live music and an outdoor theater, there is so much more to do here than just picnic, too.


I love enjoying the Chicago art scene. With so many talented artists, there are numerous places throughout the city that I can enjoy. The Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) is a splendid place to visit. One of the biggest museums dedicated to the art of today, it brings contemporary art to viewers in the form of painting, sculpture, photography, video and film, and performance. This is a very unique place, and one I truly enjoy.

Chicago sounds amazing! Now it's my turn:

I moved to the Philadelphia area 9.5 years ago, fresh out of college! As a country girl, I've always been a big fan of wide open spaces. I'd always enjoyed visiting NYC, but had never spent a night in a city before. Philadelphia showed me that while my heart will always be in the country, a big city can be an amazing place to live. 


While Philadelphia isn't known for its shopping, it certainly isn't lacking in clothes stores! Liberty Place and the Galleries are full of stores, but we do have a secret weapon, just 30 minutes away is the mack daddy of malls: the King of Prussia Mall. It has ever store you could imagine or need, and more than your feet will be able tromping through. Don't worry though, when your feet get tired, just hit up one of its nail salons for a pedicure! 

Putting aside the big stuff, Philadelphia is full of tons of great little shops with all sorts of eclectic wears. South Street especially is well known for its array of hippie shops, off-beat clothes stores, as well as a few more adult choices.


Oh food... one of my favorite things about this city. Growing up where you had to drive 15 minutes to get to a McDonald or a little diner, it is amazing to me to have any type of food available to me within minutes. With amazing (and world renown) restaurants like Le Bec Fin, Morimoto's, Buddakan, and a litany of other Stephen Starr restaurants, you have gourmet food at your fingertips. If you are looking for a more casual meal though, let's not forget what Philadelphia is probably best known for (and one of my favorites): the cheesesteak! Now we have Pat's and we have Geno's, and I won't chose sides in that debate, but I've gotten some of my favorite cheesesteaks from some of Philly's great pubs. From Thai to Irish, sushi to salads, if you want it, there is an amazing restaurant for it here. 

If you can't decide what you want, head to the Reading Terminal Market, which is crammed full of stalls full of every kind of food. Then you can buy some great meats, cheese, and honeys driven in from Lancaster daily. 

And that's just the main course. If you are in Center City, you will absolutely want to hit up Federal Donuts or Insomnia Cookies; if you are in Olde City check out the Franklin Fountain for old school amazing ice cream creations or sodas pulled by a real soda jerk.

Outdoor Fun

There is something to do outside in every season in Philly. With its gorgeous parks and walking trails, it is easy to get outside in Philly. The city has more outdoor sculptures and murals than any other American city, and Philadelphia's Fairmount Park is the largest landscaped urban park in the world. The summer is full of outdoor concerts, many free to the public. In the spring, check out some of the awesome festivals that take place all over the city or take in a baseball game. In the autumn, head to a local pumpkin patch, hit up a park to watch the foliage change, or take in a football game. In the winter, bundle up then head down to Boat House Row and watch a regatta!

Art and Culture

There is plenty of culture to be found in Philadelphia. Our biggest museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, is one of the largest art museums in the country. Even if you've never been, you probably know what the front of it looks like. The flight of steps to the main entrance are "the steps" featured in Rocky! There are numerous other smaller museums and galleries. 

If museums aren't your thing, then head to the Avenue of the Arts in Center City, where you will find the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts (home of the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Academy of Music - the nation's oldest continually operating opera house, home to the Opera Company of Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania Ballet). There is also the Wilma Theatre and Philadelphia Theatre Company. Nearby you will also find the Walnut Street Theatre (America’s oldest theatre). 

If science is more your thing, then definitely check out the Franklin Institute, the Academy of Natural Sciences, the super fun and creepy Mütter Museum, and the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. If you have kids, don't forget one of Gwen's favorites: the Please Touch Museum!


Philadelphia is known as the birthplace of Democracy. Head to Olde City to see the Liberty Bell, tour Independence Hall (where the Declaration was signed!), or visit the the Gloria Dei church; visit the homes of Edgar Allen Poe or Betsy Ross. For scary fun in the autumn months, head to Eastern State Penitentiary for their haunted house, Terror Behind the Walls. Or check them out for a historic tour during the day (still a little creepy!). ESP was the first penitentiary, and really changed the shape of the prison system in America. It even housed Al Capone!

Have you ever been to Chicago or Philadelphia? Are you a fan? What's your favorite city? What your favorite thing about where you live?


on gratefulness and grief

You'll have to pardon this post, it might be a bit jumbled, as I am right now.
I owe some posting I think. We left Friday for Pittsburgh, I was there for work over the weekend, with Trav and Gwen tagging along for fun. So, I didn't get to write about Halloween, but lets just say that this cutie made it a joy:


I am so grateful for her. I'm grateful for how easy a drive out it was because of no traffic and a cooperative 3-year old, dinner with Trav's oldest brother Friday night, and that Gwen and Wyatt got to spend time together Saturday.

I'm grateful that she got to do this:

Which she found to be amazing, my daredevil daughter!

The whole weekend went well, and was as fun as a weekend long work conference can be.

Then on the way home I found out my coworker had died.

To say that I'm sad and in shock would be an understatement.
Losing a coworker, who you are close to, is a weird road. This man was a wonderful person, always generous and thoughtful with me. I appreciated him, but I don't think I realized how much until now. My grief, very real, is such a counterpoint to my gratefulness from earlier that same day. However there is added dimension of having to address that grief while also figuring out how to divide up his work load and keep the show going. Business doesn't stop. We are a small organization and his loss will be a bit one. We have to think about the work side of it when all we want to do is grieve a friend. Its hard to have such divergent trains of thought going in your mind at one time, and its making my head hurt. I don't like compartmentalizing heavy emotions.

I pre-scheduled some posts for this week, so there will be things. I'm thankful for that since I'm guessing that posting will not be high on my agenda this week. I apologize if things are spotty. I appreciate any good thoughts you can send into the universe for my coworker's family, my whole work "family", and for myself.


winner winner

Congratulations to Rusti M. Winner of the hand stamped bracelets!

For another chance to win, head over Talk2theTrees! Her giveaway ends 11/5!