Exploring Philadelphia

This is the third in a series of posts about our 5th anniversary vacation. View the first post on Maryland here, and the second post on Washington DC here.

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Our day trip to Philadelphia was honestly the highlight of my trip. The original plan was to go to New York City for the day but after our exhausting afternoon in DC and the prospect of 6 hours of travel time round trip, Chris wasn’t too crazy on the idea. I was super disappointed at first, but looking back on how great our day was I don’t even mind that it was spent in Philadelphia instead of NYC.

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I did a little research the night before and had a long list of places I wanted to try and see while we were in town. Philadelphia is obviously a really historic city but not being a big history buff myself, I really wanted to do some other ‘fun’ things besides just taking a history class. But Chris took a look at my list with a loud groan. He is the history buff kind of guy and wanted to take advantage of being in such a historic city.

Free Activities

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Much like DC, there was a lot of free stuff to do. We took a quick walk through the Liberty Bell museum, got a pic of the bell and moved along to Independence Hall. I still don’t really get the big significance of the Liberty Bell.

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You have to get tickets for the tour at Independence Hall but they’re free. You just pick them up at the information center across from the Liberty Bell. The tour was actually pretty cool. I liked our tour guide and surprisingly I wasn’t bored even though my attention span and interest level is similar to that of a 15 year old girl.

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^^This is where the magic happened. Washington sat in that chair at the front

The US Mint (where they make money) is right across the street and also free, but we decided to skip out on that one.

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5th Wedding Anniversary in Maryland

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Christopher and I celebrated our 5 year anniversary a couple weeks ago. It was fabulous. Not only because we’ve had 5 lovely years of marriage but also because I convinced him that 5 years was so significant that we needed to go on a trip to celebrate. My  compelling argument included the fact that soon we’ll have a newborn and two children which will make traveling a tad difficult. I may have also convinced him of this while he was only half listening (and also playing a computer game).

Naturally on the list of my top dream vacation spots, Maryland doesn’t actually make the cut but we decided to go there for four main reasons.

  1. We could stay with my aunt so we’d save money on hotel and eating out expenses.
  2. She and her two daughters would be fabulous babysitters in the event that Chris and I want a day to ourselves.
  3. She lives relatively close to DC and New York City so we could still do some fun touristy things without having to pay to stay in the city.
  4. Also I really like my family a lot and was excited for an excuse to visit them.

I have to admit, this vacation turned out to be so much more wonderful than I ever expected. It was such a glorious mix of relaxing/doing nothing and sight seeing. I got to chill and there were always people around who wanted to play with Evelyn so I got a little mom break. Plus Chris took off work for an entire week. So even if no on else was around to watch her, he was. And that was fabulous.

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I may have even left him home a few times with her so that I could have some girl time and I didn’t feel bad about it at all.

One of the highlights of my trip was getting my hair done. I’ve been wanting something fresh and new for a while now and I am thrilled with the outcome!

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Chris was not okay with the pink, so I compromised and just got them as extensions. That way I don’t have to worry about them fading either. Win-win.

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^^My aunt tried to get Evelyn to call Uncle Darryl ‘Duncle’

but it didn’t catch on…he was just Uncle.

Evelyn loved getting to know her great aunt and uncle and her (second?) cousins too! She especially loved Jack who taught her how to fist bump. Should I be worried that she is so keen on boys? I was honestly surprised at how quickly she took to my Uncle. She just did what he said from the get go. And danced and played ball.

The weather was pretty crappy the whole time we were there but on one of the nice days we went to the park (where Chris kicked a soccer ball into my face..) and then walked on this adorable promenade down to a lighthouse.

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^^It was a hoodie and yoga pants kind of day

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Easter

I think I often overlook the significance of Easter. I usually think of egg hunts, deviled eggs and lots and lots of candy. This year we had the chance to spend Easter weekend listening to council from the leaders of our church and it was a good reminder of why we actually celebrate Easter.

If you need the reminder, watch this short but powerful video put out by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (aka LDS or Mormons).

On Friday afternoon, Evelyn and I made some Easter crafts. And by that I mean, I was trying to make cute Easter crafts and she just wanted to play with the mini pom-poms. Maybe still a tad young. She liked her bunny hat though and kept asking, “bunny, hat, wear?”

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General Conference was wonderfully uplifting as always. My sister, Maddie, and Christopher’s sister, Caitlin are both in school at BYU and came over both Saturday and Sunday to watch with us. I have to admit that it’s harder to pay attention when you’re hanging out with people you like and just want to chat with.

We let Evelyn open her basket on Saturday so we could munch on candy during conference. The first thing she saw was the little stuffed Elmo and she hasn’t put him down since. She especially  loves sharing her meals with his wide open mouth and frequently sings, “La la la la” from the intro to Elmo’s World.

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She really got into her Easter basket this year, playing with the toys and opening the eggs to find candy. It’s amazing how much she’s transformed since last year. I think we overwhelmed her with candy though, because she didn’t eat or sleep well the whole weekend.

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My Misplaced Love Story

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Christopher and I were married 5 years ago today. It has been a crazy, wild, wonderful, imperfect ride. I’ll share with you some wisdom I’ve gained along the way: No marriage is perfect. It’s hard and it’s messy and there are rough patches. But at the same time it can be wonderful and beautiful and your own personal fairy tale. You just have to work for it.

I hope my story will touch your heart and remind you what is worth working for and to never forget what matters most.

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My love story started on the back of a motorcycle with my arms wrapped tightly around the future I didn’t know was coming. I’d managed to find the dream that consumed my high school fantasies of the guy who could put a check mark in every box on my list. We stole kisses on campus in between classes and held hands on cold nights waiting for the meteor shower that never came. Our fingers intertwined with a country between us through letters stuffed full of promises of love. I fell hard and fast but he caught me with a diamond ring and a vow to explore the world together.

Our cheeks ached from the grins our faces couldn’t contain when we whispered, “Yes” and became a part of each other. We were giddy at a world of possibility; we were anxious to dip our toes into the adventures that awaited.

We moved and traveled and discovered ourselves and each other. We couldn’t sit still; perpetual wanderers. That is, until we had a daughter who wouldn’t stop moving. Then all we wanted was one moment of stillness. She made our entire lives more exciting and more complicated. She filled us with more love than we knew could ever exist. She gave us the reason and purpose we didn’t know we were looking for. She was the perfect addition to our perfect love story.

But then, somehow, without any warning at all, I misplaced it.

Like a book set idly on a shelf, hidden in plain view, it slowly covered with dust and waited alone, lost, forgotten.

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A Funeral: Until we meet again

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As my visit with my Aunt and cousins came to an end Chris got a phone call from his mom, a call that we had been dreading. My mother in law had been battling breast cancer for nearly three years. She was diagnosed shortly after Chris and I were married.

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The phone call was to let us know that it was time to come and say, “we love you and we’ll see you soon.” We left on Saturday afternoon and got to Chris’ family’s house on Saturday evening. His mom wasn’t able to talk to us by the time we got there but she could hear us. I know she knew we were there. The baby started kicking like crazy when we were talking with his mom. I think she was excited to be with her Grandma.

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^^Chris sitting with his mom shortly before she passed

In the wee hours on Sunday morning, she passed away. It was a sad day, but we were grateful that she wasn’t suffering anymore. We left to head back home on Monday afternoon. Chris spent the morning building lego castles with his little sisters.

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{That one time} I thought a blanket was a bookmark

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It all started with a bookmark. This bookmark actually. I got tired of my scraps of paper that I used as bookmarks being thrown away as presumed trash, so I labeled this one. Chris thought it was hilarious. That is until he found said bookmark sitting on that yellow blanket in the picture.

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“Jocelyn. Are you feeling ok?”

“Yes, I’m fine. Why?”

“This isn’t a bookmark, Jocelyn. This is a blanket.”

“Haha..very funny.”

“I guess you are getting pregnancy brain after all…”

I should have been prepared for the following course of action when he asked for tape. I mean really……why else would he need tape? The rest of the story can be told in the following pictures which I found around the house shortly afterward. They were supposedly to help me overcome my pregnancy brain which apparently thought that blankets were bookmarks.

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Home is where your husband is

Home is where your husband is

Christopher and I are a little bit homeless right now. Just a little.

We got things squared away pretty quickly when we got back to Utah. The first day we were back, we bought a car. The next day we did some apartment hunting and found our apartment (we just can’t move in until April 27). The third day Chris secured a job. Just like that. Bam, Bam, Bam.

Now that Chris has been working, I’ve been…um sitting I guess. I’ve been doing a lot of research on baby stuff so that’s been keeping me busy but to be quite honest, I just miss my husband most of the time.

We are so lucky to have awesome friends who are letting us live with them until our apartment is available. How cool is that?! But it’s just a little frustrating to not be able to unpack or set up anything before school starts. We’ll be in our apartment for four days before I start classes. Hrmph.

The worst part about this whole arrangement is not that I just sit around all day, it’s not that I can’t set up my apartment yet. It’s not even that we’re pretty much broke. The worst part is that I miss my husband so gosh darn much!

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{That one time} I couldn’t remember my husband’s name

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Three years ago today, my husband and I went on our first date. This is our story. This story is the second part in a series. You can find the first part here.

Every Tuesday at 11:00 am on the dot, Brigham Young University holds a devotional. Usually it’s a church leader or professor or some other person of interest asked to speak to the student body. Because of this, there are no classes ever scheduled for 11:00 am on Tuesdays and all offices, food establishments, and anything else of interest are closed during that hour to encourage students to attend. During the fall and winter semesters devotional is held in the Marriott Center, on the furthest end of campus away from any classroom buildings. So for most students who have classes ending at 10:50 or starting at noon, it’s not easy to get there. For this reason, I was sitting in the JSB (Joseph Smith Building) auditorium where the devotional is broadcast. Alena had a class in there at 10 so she could save us seats. It was at approximately 10:56 am on Tuesday, September 22, 2009 as I was sitting next to Alena, waiting for devotional to start, that my phone began to ring.

“Alena! Alena, it’s him!” I exclaimed in a not so hushed whisper.

“Who?” She asked, not bothering to look up from her New York Times sudoku puzzle.

“It’s that motorcycle boy! He’s calling me right now!”

That caught her attention, “Well, answer it.”

“I can’t, devotional is going to start any minute.”

By that time the opening hymn had begun and motorcycle boy’s call had been forwarded to voicemail. Unfortunately for me, since he assumed I had saved his number in my phone when we met, he didn’t start the message with his name. Just a ‘Hello’ and simple request to call him back.

Which I did.

Roughly 4 hours later.

After much stomach-knot tying and such.

The phone didn’t ring nearly long enough to calm my nerves.

“Hello?”

“Hey it’s Jocelyn,” I introduced myself like every normal person should, “I got your message.”

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{That one time} I met a boy with a motorcycle

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It was the big BYU-FSU football game. Up until this point I never understood football, nor did I care to. But I was a freshman in college and in order to fit in and meet people, you had to have school spirit. That meant going to football games. My best friend, Alena, and I had an ongoing plan to go watch all the away football games together wherever they were being broadcast on campus. It was cheaper than buying tickets to the game, and we could still go and hang out with the people who would be at a game and pretend to like football.

This particular game was in Florida, and it was being broadcast in the student center ballroom. Wanting to be involved, I signed up to be a part of a BYUSA school spirit type event where I’d get a free t-shirt and help pass out free food or something to that effect. I got up early and put on make-up and made sure I looked in tip-top shape in case I met anyone cute and trudged my way across campus so I wouldn’t be late. To this day, I have no idea whether I got the date wrong or just got lost on campus since I was new, but either way I never found the BYUSA event.

Feeling defeated, I went back to my dorm room and fell back to sleep. I woke up several hours later to my phone vibrating on the pillow next to my head.

“Hello?” I said groggily, not bothering to open up my eyes.

“Hey, do you still want to go watch the game in the Wilk (short for the Wilkinson Student Center)?” Came Alena’s familiar voice.

“Uhh…well..blargedy grumbledy, blah de blah de blah,” was my response as I explained my frustrated morning walking around campus in the heat and never finding what I was looking for.

After some convincing on Alena’s part, I met her outside, in between our respective dorm buildings at Helaman Halls and we walked together to the Wilk. After my defeated morning and little nap, I wasn’t looking as great as I did this morning. But I was pretty positive that nothing exciting was going to happen watching the football game. Alena, like me, had no real desire to watch football or understand football. But we were both drawn to allure of being a part of something bigger.

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