“If I have a monument in this world it is my son.”

Maya Angelou

We last left off with my approval of the fetal surgery and a date set. So that was both awesome but scary. We had checked out of our hotel already, and weren’t really sure what the next week and a half would entail. My parents had been staying with a long time family friend Jim, and his wife Chris, in a suburban area called Royersford. They had offered us a place to stay, but I couldn’t help but feel that we would be a huge imposition, and I didn’t want to burden other people. I already felt like I was taking up so much of other people’s space and energy, but at the same time, could not afford to pay hotel costs for the next ten days, if I wanted to keep my house and pay my mortgage.

So we agreed, very graciously, and were on our way to the suburbs. Jim and Chris (last names excluded for privacy) are amazing people. They are funny, well educated and kind people who have been like family to my parents over the past several decades. There is no way for me to thank them properly after letting us stay in their home for the week and a half we were there. They have a lovely house, which had enough bed space for both myself, Jesse, and all three parents. My mom and dad had been staying in their proper guest room, and even insisted that they let me stay in there, and switch to an air mattress, as everyone wanted to make sure I was as comfortable as possible. This only made me feel slightly guilty as I was feeling bigger and bigger by the day.

Now for a little bit of background, my parents (and the majority of my family) are actually from Philadelphia. So it was kind of kismet that the doctors and facilities we needed for the baby ended up being a stone’s throw from their childhood homes. Most of my aunts, uncles and cousins love Philly, and are huge fans of the local sports teams. My Parents? Not so much. My mom lovingly refers to Philly as a shithole, and was less than thrilled to be coming to Pennsylvania for an extended period of time. She hates the grey and yucky quality of a lot of the neighborhoods, the weather in general, and the Schuylkill expressway makes her hair turn grey from stress. My dad’s driving had reverted to terribly aggressive Yankee habits, and it was driving her nuts.

I didn’t mind the city. I had visited several times before to visit family, and had done most of the touristy attractions over the years, such as Liberty Square, the historic district etc. I was used to urban spaces as Jesse and I had lived in Chicago for several years. There are some amazing museums and libraries all over the place, and some very good theater if you are interested in the same.

We spent the next week and a half exploring various parts of Pennsylvania, and for the most part pending some of my emotional breakdowns, had a really nice time. One of our first field trips was to a Wegmans. Wegmans is basically the… Disney World of grocery stores. I know locals will read this and laugh, but I am telling you that down south we don’t have ANYTHING that compares. Its a magical fairy world and my husband would have spent days in there if we hadn’t dragged him out. It was nice to be in a more homey environment, and have some wide open spaces to explore.

There were a lot of cool “specific to Pennsylvania adventures” we had in the coming days ahead. We visited the Amish Farmers market, which was one of my favorite days. I say Amish, but in reality it was a mix of Amish, Mennonite, and general Pennsylvania Dutch baked goods, groceries, meat, dairy etc. They even had a huge greenhouse with beautiful seasonal flowers. We all bought various goodies, and had some of the best desserts and baked goods I have ever had. Me being the token pregnant lady really enjoyed the donuts. We explored some of the local smaller towns, including making a stop in Skippack, which was where my parents lived as newlyweds. We drove by their first house, and my dad’s old medical practice that he opened fresh off his residency, as well as the local places they used to visit when in their 20’s. It was really cute, and I think it helped my mom realize the parts of Pennsylvania that she had forgotten she actually loved. My mom used to work for the Department of Agriculture, so she would habitually geek out over the various farms we would pass, as well as the animals, and tell us stories about her time working for the government and visiting the different rural regions of PA. It was like looking into a scrapbook in real time. I think as children we all assume our parents didn’t have full fledged lives before we were born, so it was nice to see this early chapter of their marriage and experience those memories secondhand.

One day, my mother, Kim and myself made the trip out to Valley Forge. For those of you who, like myself had no idea what that is, Valley Forge is the site of a winter encampment used by the American army during the Revolutionary War. You can tour the camp, and see the shelters and dorms used by the soldiers during the war, and the entire surrounding area is a historical park. There are picnic areas, monuments, bike trails, and overall its just a beautiful place to visit. You could spend multiple days there and still not see everything, we just did a short day trip. I WILL say that the cell phone tour is terrible, and not worth it, either just grab the map and make your way around on your own, or wait until the actual guided tour groups. I have included some pictures below.

Its been interesting to spend so much time in a place that is so different from ours geographically and as far as horticulture. I have loved the beautiful hills, and different colored trees (Why cant I have purple trees in FL? its not fair!) And a plus side to being in a place that doesn’t constantly have 90 percent humidity, my hair is looking AMAZING. Minus hospital days I have not had a single bad hair day since we have been here. I feel like a Pantene commercial. 🙂

We went to mass on Easter Sunday with my mother in law Kim, had a nice family dinner with the entire household. I got to wear the one nice outfit I had brought with me, and felt pretty and feminine for the first time in weeks. It was a nice change of pace.

The next few days were spent running errands and just reveling in domestic normalcy. We bought myself and the baby some new clothes at the King of Prussia Mall, did a few Target trips. I enjoyed just being in a suburban environment, where I could close my eyes and pretend I was home. I ended up chopping about six inches of my hair off, since I wasn’t sure at that point how long Id be bed ridden, and didn’t want to have to deal with it for a while. Unfortunately, when you’re constantly taking prenatal vitamins, your hair grows insanely fast, and mine is already back to the length it was and looking scragglier by the day. Oh! And for those following along at home, Jesse and I tracked down a piercer who was able to safely and quickly take out my nose ring. She was very sweet and confirmed that the style I was wearing was difficult to get out. It took her two seconds, and when I related to her that I had to take it out for a surgery she didn’t even charge us. Sadly my nose has since closed up, and Ill need to get it re done after the baby is here, so it was a long side quest that didn’t really result in anything, and was disappointing. I had looked.. SO CUTE. What a bummer.

It was nice to have a relatively low key and normal week. I had no idea what the recovery or procedure was going to feel like physically or emotionally, so this little reset was… very welcome ❤

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