Last summer, the week before school was to start, I realized that I hadn’t spent much quality time with Evan at all. He spent his time playing outside or with me at the pool. But the days just blended into one another.
Don’t get me wrong. That’s one of the joys of summertime. You don’t have to do anything. But at his age (last summer, 6; this summer, 7), I know I’m limited in the days that he wants to spend with me. And while I have the time and flexibility to do so, I’d be kicking myself for years to come if I didn’t take advantage of it.
So I’ve declared this the summer of Field Trip Fridays. At least once a week, I plan to take Evan on an adventure. It might be local. It might be a day trip. It might not even be on a Friday. But it’s definitely meant to be a memory maker.
On my calendar for quite some time has been the Disney Social Media Moms On the Road event in Philadelphia. This event was NOT meant to be a field trip for Evan. It was meant to be a day spent with my favorite bloggers, a nice evening out, and some good old-fashioned Disney fun and learning.
Then, my roommate couldn’t make the trip and I was sacked with an overpriced room just outside of Philly (King of Prussia, to be exact). My husband told me not to worry and think of it as treating myself to a night away, all by myself. I liked the sound of that.
A week before the event, my husband had a last minute surgery scheduled to remove a disk in his neck. Surprisingly, it’s outpatient surgery but the recovery has been messy. I knew he’d be able to take care of himself while I was gone but was worried that a bored 7 year old might put him over the edge. So I got permission to bring Evan with me. And our first adventure began.
Our hotel was right next to the King of Prussia Mall and rumor had it that there was a LEGO store inside. And as luck would have it, they were having a speed building contest.
After our brief trip to the mall (where I walked into Teavana and walked out $100 lighter and couldn’t figure out how I had spent it), we met my friend Ellen for dinner. Ellen, not one for being deterred on having a good time despite a 7 year old now being part of the plan, suggested we dine at Shake Shack. According to her, this Northeast chain started as a food truck in NYC and has now become an upscale burger chain.
After dinner, Evan and I settled into our room and against my better judgment, I let Evan “start” his LEGO set. Because LEGO sets can’t really be started and not finished unless you are at home and have a secure place for all the little pieces. In a hotel room, once you start you better finish.
Let me rephrase that.
Once you start, you better realize what time it is and finish the last bag of LEGO for your son so you can get him to bed before 11pm knowing that you have to be at the conference at 7:30am.
Without too much protesting, we woke up early and headed for the conference in the hotel.
Even though he brought his laptop and played his fair share of Roblox, he did actually play with his LEGO set and actually did spend a good bit of time paying attention at the conference. He actually said he really liked the conference. It might have helped that Mike and Sully joined him as a souvenir of the day.
(P.S. That’s me with the wonder twins, Pam and Terri of The Housewives of Frederick County up there.)
After the conference, I wanted to make it more of a kids trip so we decided to head into downtown Philly. It had started to drizzle but I figured we could grab a cheesesteak, see the Liberty Bell, and get home in time for dinner.
And then something really bad happened.
I remember that my favorite cheesesteak place, Pat’s, was a cash-only operation and, as usual, I had zero cash in my pocket. After navigating the streets of Philly, I found an ATM but needed to park. So I headed into an underground parking deck.
I had backed into a space and decided I was too close to the concrete pillar. So I pulled out and turned to find another space. But I didn’t pull out far enough and cut the turn too tight and, well…
If that picture pains you as much as it pains me, just know that this is my brand new 2015 Toyota Avalon Hybrid. With just over 1000 miles on it.
Are you feeling my pain? That 100 bucks I spent at Teavana doesn’t seem so outrageous after a $2000 whoopsie in a parking garage in Philly.
So after breaking the news to my husband and shedding many tears, I did what any self-respecting mom and visitor to Philly would do. I took my son to Pat’s for a cheesesteak.
All’s well that ends well. It won’t deter us from heading out on more adventures. In fact, we’d even like to go back to Philly with my husband in tow. We still want to see the Liberty Bell and apparently there’s a really cool aquarium just across the river in Camden, NJ. But next time we go, I think I’ll let my husband drive.
If you want to read more or debate on who has the best cheesesetak, you may want to check out my post from when I went to Philly a few years ago. Yes, I wrote an entire post devoted to cheesesteaks.