Sunday, February 28, 2010

39 - Philly to Seattle

Some of my views from yesterday:



Yesterday I was up at 3:45am EST in Philly (that's 12:45am PST in Seattle), and by 6am I was on a plane from Philly to Chicago. After some delays on the runway, and a crazy mad dash running through O'Hare, I then boarded another plane headed for Seattle. By 10am PST (1pm EST), I had landed in Seattle. By noon, I'd met up with my family and accomplished my goal -- surprising my dad with my visit. 

I didn't actually take any pictures the rest of the day. I was thoroughly exhausted (since I'd been up since 12:45am Seattle time), but mostly just enjoyed spending time with my family. I'll be here for a week, as my dad is having heart surgery on Tuesday. Even though I had to leave Josh in Philly, I'm really glad I was able to come, and I'm really looking forward to this time with my family. Please keep us and my dad in your prayers this week.

Friday, February 26, 2010

38 - Happy Mugs

I like color. A lot. I also really like World Market. Sadly, the closest we come to a World Market in Philly is 2 1/2 hours. However, there are three stores within 20 minutes of my parents' house in Washington (that I can think of - there may be more). Whenever I'm home, I look to see what treasures I can find (and fit in my suitcase) to take back with me. These were one of my Christmas finds - combining my love of World Market with my great love of color:

These mugs are fabulous. I have no idea how much they actually hold, but it's a lot. We treat them much more like bowls. Cereal, soups, pasta... they've all been in these bright beauties. They sit on our counter are used just about everyday. I love how brilliantly colorful they are, and I will readily admit that there is such a joy in getting to choose which one I want to use (and that that choice can change each time).

I love these mugs, and I highly recommend stocking some in your kitchen. They're great quality, great fun, and a great price. I can't find the exact link on World Market's site, but here are some of the jumbo mugs (the same size we have), and here are some multi-color mugs (smaller, but with the same colors as ours). Hopefully they'll bring a little happiness to your winter day. 

Thursday, February 25, 2010

37 - The Cabinet Cat

I've got another kitten photo for you today, since I didn't leave the house at all (Snow Day #5 in Philly today). Once again, Jack decided to display some of his genius survival ability.

I know I shouldn't admit this, but we are still unpacking a few things, and as such, have a few "empty spaces" in our house, like the bottom shelf of this cabinet. I was putting something away on the top shelf, Jack jumped in the cabinet, and when I started to shut the doors, he didn't get the message and just stayed inside. Brilliant, huh?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

36 - Lava Kitties

I've been almost getting behind in my pictures -- the past week has been pretty crazy. Today I realized I hadn't taken any photos, then looked up to see these two giving their full attention to the lava lamp.

I got this lava lamp back when I was a teenager, and I have to admit, while it may not be the in, hip thing now... it is still pretty cool. Yup, I readily admit my nerdiness -- I find lava lamps fascinating. Granted, I only turn it on a few times a year (and Josh actually plugged it in this time), but apparently my cats have inherited my fascination, too. I think I'm ok with that.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

35 - Ava's Spark

Confession: I did take a photo today, but not this one. However, the person who did take the photo was acting as my photography student of sorts. Sometimes after school some of the kids come into our office to hang out, say hi, wait for parents, and so on, and one of our visitors likes art a whole lot. Her name is Ava, and she took this photo:

Ava always loves to help me out with projects -- especially when they're the artsy kind. So, I decided to teach her some photography skills. She'd never used a "real" camera before (as she put it), but she had so much fun. We talked a lot about focus, lighting, and zoom (amongst other things), and she spent time taking photos with all different sorts of themes. Above is one of her "hidden items" photos. She was practicing looking for items that you might not normally notice. She really had some great shots, and this is one that caught my eye specifically because she really took into account the three things mentioned above (focus, light, zoom). Pretty good for a preteen, huh?

Monday, February 22, 2010

34 - Phil Ryken

So, there's been a far amount of buzz the past few days over the selection of Wheaton College's new president. The new president is going to be Dr. Phil Ryken, who is currently the senior minister at Tenth Presbyterian Church here in Philly.

There are a number of connections with Phil and my job, friends, churches, and such that make it seem almost weird that he'll be the next president of my alma mater. (I've been thinking for about 5 years that they were grooming him to be a president -- I just thought it was going to be in another term, not this one.) Given that he'll be gone in a few months, I figured I better document his name on the Tenth board while it's still there.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

33 - Anthropologie Cart

As you may have noticed, the past few posts have been some streets scenes from around Philly. It's been so nice lately that everybody's been out and about. (And by "so nice", I mean 40 degrees.)

Above is a shot of one of Philly's street vendor carts. Sure, there are street vendors in lots of cities. This one always makes me laugh though, because it's right outside the entrance to the original Anthropologie store in Rittenhouse Square, and it sells some similar items, just at a much cheaper price. So, next time you head to Anthropologie, be sure to check out this shop first. =)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

32 - Trolley Stop

Yes, we still have trolleys in Philadelphia. Many of them. And they are used each and every day. Anyone up for a ride?

Friday, February 19, 2010

31 - On the Streets of Philadelphia

Today was one of the sunniest, warmest days we've had in Philly in a few weeks. I believe the high was 40. As a result, lots of people were out and it definitely felt like spring. Too bad it's not even March yet...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

30 - Icicle

As I've mentioned before, this is the snowiest winter in Philly's recorded history. We had two pretty big storms back-to-back last week, but since last Thursday, it's been pretty mild. (We did have another storm a couple days ago that dropped about 2" of snow... but that doesn't really even seem worth mentioning after storms with 18-28", right?)

Even though a week's gone by since our last big excitment, there's still snow an dice EVERYWHERE because it's been so cold and nothing's had time to melt. Today we actually hit 38 degrees, and I'm not kidding - it feels like spring! Today things started thawing a bit, but given scenes like the one below, I'm pretty sure we'll have huge piles of snow and ruts of ice for quite a while to come.

And just in case you're wondering, this is an icicle on a drain pipe that's on a 5-story building. So, for perspective, the ice you see is about 4 stories high, and the big blub at the bottom is over a foot in width...

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

29 - Hugmug

Today I discovered the chocolate (and hugmug) of Max Brenner. I liked it. If you like chocolate, I'm pretty sure you will, too. Above is the "Thick Italian Hot Chocolate". Check it out if you've got a location near you...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

28 - The Littlest Roommate

Meet Sofia:

Sofia was (and probably always will be) my youngest non-family roommate. She and her mom were two of my roommates the year right before Josh and I got married. Even though she's just newly 5-years-old, she really enjoys life. She's always having fun, playing, and seeking out the newest adventures... but you can also catch glimpses of a child who listens and observes what's going on around her, too. Above is a shot of her taking pause from playing the drums (which were about as big as she), and I love the quiet, thoughtful, and even tender moment captured.

27 - Cinnamon Rolls

Ooops! It officially happened -- I missed my first day. But, I did get in 26 days before it happened! That's pretty good. A 96% success rate, even. Totally a passing grade. Hum, I think I just gave away the fact that I've been a teacher and probably am still a teacher at heart. Oh well. =)

So, I didn't get a chance to post yesterday because it was our belated Valentine's Day/1.5-year anniversary celebration. I actually intentionally left my camera at home, because I wanted to be sure I was focusing on just being with Josh, instead of documenting our being together. Fair enough, right? Don't worry, I'm sure he'll continue to be in many of my photos (he doesn't really have a choice).

Today's picture is a shot of how our day of celebration started: cinnamon rolls! Now, I eat cinnamon rolls maybe... once a year? once every two years? So they're sort of a special item just to begin with. However, what makes these particular rolls even more special is the fact that I made these... COMPLETELY FROM SCRATCH. Yes, folks, it's true. I wanted to make something nice, and even though I'm semi-afraid of making breads from scratch (totally intimidating), I had everything on hand that I needed for these rolls, which is saying something, given our snowed-in condition last week. So, this is my first-ever attempt at cinnamon rolls, without even having helped someone make them, and I must admit, I think they turned out pretty darn well. They're also quite delicious, mhmm!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

26 - Little Drummer Boy

My friend Isaac
is back for another round. This little kid has been around music for, well, his entire life. His mom and dad are both great musicians and on our worship team, and at 2 1/2 years, Isaac is getting ready to join in as the newest drummer.

He started out playing with Dad this morning, then went back for his own jam session. And in all honesty -- I think he's probably better than I would be. I'm not joking. The kid is good. And pretty darn cute, too.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

25 - Board Games

Josh and I love board games. This is nothing new. We also love converting our friends into board game lovers. It's a pretty fun endeavor. Above are some of the games that we've played within the past week. Yes, you read that correctly - the past week. And we played some of them twice (Small World is pretty hot amongst our friends right now). They're all pretty great. 

In case you're wondering, from bottom to top the games are:
  • Tales of the Arabian Nights: a storytelling game of adventure, encounters, quests, and destiny
  • Pandemic: a cooperative game where you try to save all humanity from deadly diseases (my review)
  • Small World: a game of building up races -- and letting them fall, as you seek to maintain the most power in a small and crowded world
  • Dominion: a deck-building, card-based game where you try to establish the best and most powerful dominion (my review)
  • Super Munchkin: a crazy (funny) card game of monsters, treasure, and attempting to win -- at all costs
  • Start Player: a game to determine who goes first in a game... yes, you read that right... and it's great

For some more of our favorite games, check out our board game gift suggestions from Christmas.

Friday, February 12, 2010

24 - Puff Oven Pancake

So, we've still got quite a bit of snow here in Philly... but I'm breaking the mold and going with something indoorsy. And foodsy. Sounds fun, right?

This week marks the 1-year anniversary of my friend Robin's project, The Weekly Make. For an entire year she's made something each week... ranging from Harry Potter scarves and wands, to really cute aprons and headbands, to delicious jams and other edible goodness. Her most recent make was a puff oven pancake, and in celebration of her completion of one year of making things (seriously, that's pretty cool), I am posting a couple photos of my make of the "Weekly Make" puff oven pancake. Congratulations, Robin! I'm very proud of you.  =)

P.S. To celebrate one year of craftiness, Robin's doing a giveaway! Check it out for a chance to win!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

23 - Shovel Duty

We've gotten a lot of snow in Philly this year. And by a lot, I mean it's now officially the snowiest winter in recorded history. The old record was from 1996 with a total winter snowfall of 65.5". We broke that record yesterday. We're now up to 71.6" and it's only mid-February. Oh, and did I mention we're expecting another storm on Monday? Even though, everyone's out today, trying to dig out. Above and below are a few shots of Josh and one of our neighbors/pastors, Andres, clearing out the path in front of our house this morning. Maybe it'll stay clear this time... though I can't deny, I would never say no to another snow day.  =)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

22 - Chair Reservations

Chairs in the snow are kinda cool, right?

Well, sure. Except when they contribute to one of Philly's habits that irks me most...


Chair reservations.  
That are legally - and should rightfully be - open to everyone.

I won't go into a full rant now, but trust me - it makes me really upset! People will do this for days, and they'll do it even when it's not snowing. Granted, this person had to dig themselves out this morning, so they want to have their spot back. Apparently there's an unwritten understanding that you get to keep your spot one day for every 12" of snow. So, they'd get to keep it today. Maybe tomorrow, too.

But I still dislike it and disagree with it a whole bunch. And I really got irritated last night as Josh and I tried to park, because there were FIVE spots on our block reserved with chairs, trash cans, etc.... BEFORE IT EVEN STARTED SNOWING. And if I wasn't afraid/fairly certain I'd find my car damaged the next day if I ever tried to move someone's "reservation", I'd do it in a heartbeat.

Goodness, I just love Philly sometimes. (And yes, we're still having a blizzard! These were taken around 5:30pm... a lot was washed away by some freezing rain this morning, but it turned to snow a few hours ago and it's still coming down...)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

21 - Locked Out

As it happens, I did actually go outside once yesterday. We hadn't touched our car since Friday, since we didn't really need to use it to get anywhere we were going, but yesterday Josh had a board meeting for the school he used to teach at, and while it's not that far (about a 3-minute drive), it was too far to walk. So, we went to dig out our car.

Friends, for the first time ever, Josh locked himself - and myself - out of the car. After turning it on to warm it up, he pushed the button he thought unlocked the doors... except it locked them... so as I was going to open the back door, he closed the front door, and our adventure began. I will give it to him that in his old car, it's the opposite, and it hasn't been too long for him without that car (we've been a one-car family for about a month now, after giving his to his sister). But even so, we were still locked out of the car. With the car on. And the house keys on the same ring inside the car. I didn't even have my cell phone! Thankfully, Josh did (although he didn't have his wallet), and he was able to call Geico's emergency roadside assistance. About 50 minutes later they got the car unlocked (it was scary how easy it was for the guy to get into our locked car!), and we got our keys and normal life resumed.

Needless to say, we'll be making some key copies and distributing them to friends soon. In the meantime, Josh got to catch up with a friend (see above), and we got to huddle in cold companionship on the hood of my car for almost an hour. Isn't that how you'd want to spend your afternoon?

Monday, February 8, 2010

20 - Kitten Love

I haven't been feeling so great today, so I spent most of it inside. However, I still managed to find a couple friends... especially of the lapwarming kind. Besides acting as a mini heater, our kittens put themselves in the most unusual positions. Below, Jack is exhibiting one such example.

In the below picture, note that the foot sticking out by Jack's ear is actually one of his back legs. He's literally twisted up and around himself.

Josh decided to say hello to our little, oddly positioned trouble-maker. Cute, huh? I think I'll keep them both.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

19 - Snow Church

So, above is what our street looked like OUTSIDE this morning right after a snow plow went through. Below are a few shots of what it looked like INSIDE...

We still have something like 2' of snow outside (not counting snow drifts), and since we're not quite used to this amount of snow, pretty much everything in Philly has shut down... including our church! However, while some people couldn't make it out to the physical building, we know a church isn't really a place - it's the people. So, a bunch of the people got together and we had a house-church service of sorts at our place this morning. Above you can see Yuan and Katharine, Chris and Chino, and Andres visiting with our cat, Mizu. Hooray for snow-house-church!

Oh, and did I mention that we have really cold temperatures right now (in the teens), so everything's freezing... and that we're getting another big storm Tuesday?! Oh yes, this is getting pretty fun... at any rate, there might be some more snow pictures around the next few days!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

18 - Blizzard

Welcome to Blizzard 2010!  We've gotten about 18", and it's still falling. We're mostly just hibernating today, and it's wonderful. We did trek over to our friends' house a block over for a blizzard brunch, and may head over to church later to help shovel snow... perhaps I'll post a couple more shots. But above is a view from our porch, and below is part of our snowy (though previously shoveled/salted) path...


Friday, February 5, 2010

17 - Wheaton Promise

Whew! Made it before midnight! 

Here are a couple quick photos from the Wheaton Promise event we went to tonight. Of course, my battery died 5 pictures in. I didn't get a chance to charge it before we left as our schedule was pretty tight, and while I knew it was running a little low, I didn't realize it was quite that low! However, seeing as how I was a guest, I guess it's ok not to have documented the whole thing, right?  =)  

Maybe's it's nerdy, but I actually really enjoy the Wheaton alumni events, and there was a pretty nice turnout despite the incoming snow - we're supposed to get 12"-18" tonight! Perhaps I'll have some "blizzard" pictures for you tomorrow!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

16 - Franklin Gadgets

Today I got to be a chaperon for a field trip to The Franklin Institute. Named after Benjamin Franklin (like half the things in this city - Philly really loves old Benny), The Franklin Institute is one of the best hands-on science museums there is. Josh and I love to go to the special exhibits that come through (ranging from Star Wars, Star Trek, and Narnia to Real Pirates, Body Works, and Cleopatra), but we don't always go through the main part of the museum because:  a) it costs more, and  b) it's usually closed when we go, since we go to the special exhibits after 5pm for the discount. =)

That said, I really enjoyed getting a chance to follow a bunch of kids through the museum, watching them discover, explore, and get excited about science and technology. Here are a few shots from the "Machines" section, which just may have been my favorite. Oh, and by the way, the first contraption is a writing and drawing machine built in 1800... pretty sweet, huh?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

15 - Yin & Yang

Our kittens, Jack and Mizu, are no ordinary cats. If you've ever visited our house, you know what I mean. They are beyond friendly, follow us everywhere, play fetch, and just constantly want to love on you. But I think one thing I love most about them is that they are absolutely best friends. Most cats are all about establishing territory and maintaining independence.

Ours? If they're not in the same room for more than the time it takes to use the litter box, we either think something's wrong, or, now, since it's winter, assume one is asleep on the radiator in the next room. They are absolutely bonded and totally love each other (don't worry, in a platonic way - they're both fixed).

This is a shot of the two of them asleep on the couch... not an uncommon occurance by any means, but the shape of their bodies reminded me a little of yin and yang. I think it describes them perfectly.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

14 - Pixie

So, I know I'm pretty late posting today... but, I've got a fun one for you. If this isn't a mischievous pixie face, then I really don't know what is!

Monday, February 1, 2010

13 - Red Scarf

This is my 4th winter in Philly. You would think I'd be used to the fact that we get cold winters, right? Yet every year, when we get a 1-2 week "warm" spell in January, I get this hope that maybe, just maybe, we'll have a whole winter with temperatures in the mid-high 30s. Yeah, I know it's crazy, but hey, I'm from Seattle. The hope of mild winters will probably never leave me.

But alas, no matter how much I hope, I always get slammed with the cruel, brutal reality of brittle cold winters. We just had one of those "warm" spells, where we had highs in the high 30s and even a few days in the low 40s... and then got a harsh, harsh reminder that it is actually winter when we dropped down into the teens. Yesterday, according to, it "felt like" 5 degrees outside.... 5 degrees.

My friend Isaac, however, is ready to take on this crazy winter cold. And, he's pretty stinking adorable doing so, wouldn't you say?