Monday, August 26, 2013

just one more.

this is the last playground picture.
i promise.

if you're in philly - this one was pretty cool and 18th and wallace in the fairmount section of the city. it's a newly redone park - with a really cool playground, splash-pad and sports courts. super clean and creative.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

more vacation.

in case you're unfamiliar - we're missing a ton of really great public services in the DR. my favorite is the public library. we were so busy that we only got to go to one story time, but it was great! then the kids played on this train track and picked out books to take home.

we headed to the river for a quick visit with some old friends - and let me tell you, there is nothing like visiting with people who have known you forever. thanks, becky! for the invite. sorry it was so short. and wayne, thanks for being my friend even after all the crappy things i did to you growing up.

the philadelphia art museum is pay what you wish the first sunday of every month. this, of course, means that it is super crowded, but it also means you don't need to pay the exorbitant prices to see some awesome art. my kids are really a little too young for this museum, but since museums are (also) few and far between (and crappy) here on the island, i overload them when i can.
 these lovelies. family not-by-blood. i babysat both of these people when they were younger. and never, ever imagined caring about them so much. their dad meant the world to me, and now these two, plus their mom, mean just as much!
 we went to the academy of natural sciences on some free passes my mom scored from her recycling bin. (i don't know how that works, but we also went to the please touch museum that way as well). this one the kids loved! we saw the old dinosaur bones.
 and dressed up like lightning bugs (and jelly fish) in an interactive exhibit on animals that glow.
 amely, who is afraid of bugs, touched a madagascar hissing cockroach, and they both played in the kids section of the museum. they were complete nerds, wanting to use the microscopes to see the different slides of insect parts.
 and just in case you thought i was exaggerating the playground-playing. we played in this mall playplace, and the chik-fila playplace as well. aunt nikki came with baby lucas to hang out, took us to lunch and then we went shopping. 
 aunt stephy treated these kids to games and lunch at dave and busters. they were so excited! and they even got to pick out a little prize with "their" tickets in the D&B prize shop.
 my aunt debbie took us mini-golfing at freddy hill. let me tell you, i haven't been to freddy hill since i was in high school. it hasn't changed a bit - and that's not a bad thing. these pictures pretty much show how the outing went. 
 samil was obsessed with hitting all of the balls, and actually playing mini-golf. amely,on the other hand, used her club to beat things up.
 aunt ashley took us to a drive-in. we got a little lost on the way. and didn't have directions back since both of our phones were dead... but we made it. alive. and didn't need to do anything shifty... we did stop and get rootbeer floats and didn't share with the kids, though. 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

dear blogher.

Dear blogher,

I've had your lovely ads on my blog for a long time. I was never really a serious blogger - nor was I looking for the financial recompense of ad-placing. I originally applied for blogher ads to increase my views and widen my audience. Within a year, my new blog earned me 25 dollars. Wow! I was excited. See, I didn't need that money, but it was a nice little bonus for doing what I like to do. It's not been about 3 years since I've received anything from blogher, yet I continue to advertise for you. A few months ago, I wrote and inquired as to why I haven't seen any money - and was told that I don't get as many hits on my blog as blogger tells me - pictures and other non-front-page hits don't count toward blogher hits. Yet, when I sat down to think about it - and compare, in numbers, the very same blogger hits from the beginning of our relationship, to the numbers I'm receiving now, it doesn't add up. See, when I got that first little check for $25, blogger tells me i had less that 1,000 hits a month. It's been three (or more) years since that check, and now - even when I don't write, I get upwards or 2,500 hits. On a good month, I reach 4,000. Somehow, blogher doesn't count any of these - and my numbers from blogher remain stable at around 800 hits a month.

I'm not sold.

And I'm not selling anymore.
Your ads are removed from my blog. I'd rather have no advertising than free-advertise for you any longer.

Please sell my space to someone who doesn't mind advertising for free.

Thank you.

too short. way too short.

i need a vacation from my vacation.
unfortunately, i'm already back to the grind - albeit grinding it out at home, work is still work.
school started for the kids this past monday, but they'll start on monday morning. i think they're excited, but a little sad vacation is over as well. 

the next few blog posts will probably all about our adventures stateside, so be warned. i've got so much work to do, that i'll procrastinate by blogging, i'm sure. that's just how i roll.

 my goal was a lot of free or low-cost activities for the kids due to the school district of philadelphia's dooms-day budget and lay-offs. we went to see the horses and feed them cut up pears at the farm school. samil and amely l.o.v.e.d. it - every time we drove by they wanted to stop. 

we also spent a few hours at valley green feeding the ducks. 
i don't know why i left this for the end of our trip - it was a nice respite from the heat, but it was a saturday morning and there were just way too many people back there. plus the ppa was ticketing people who weren't parked in the parking lot (that only holds like 20 cars) and i had to wait awhile to get a spot. boo. 

we went to knoebels park for a day - the kids were in heaven! samil even went on the phoenix roller coaster. he is so proud of himself, though i don't know if he'd be as excited to go on another. he tells everyone that the coaster "didn't even have a seat belt and my butt went up and down the whole time!" he bit his lip, too.
amely, of course, cried because she wasn't big enough to go on the roller coaster. so she went on the old-time cars with grandpop, instead. 
if you've never been there and you live in PA, it's definitely worth it - admission is free, and rides are paid individually with tickets. this is perfect for our family, since my mom doesn't go on rides - so paying for her to go into an amusement park is a waste of money. i also don't do a ton of rides. we go the kids wristbands and some tickets for the grown-ups. the kids could ride whatever, and if we saw something we wanted to ride, we went. perfect. 
also! we took a picnic lunch - filled up some coolers and set up shop in the picnic area. and then! we LEFT our stuff on the table all day. all day. and nothing was missing. amazing.
we also went to hershey, pa to check out the chocolate factory. hershey park is insanely expensive, but the chocolate tour is free. plus there are a lot of other fun things to do in the area. the chocolate world tour has not changed since i was a kid - but they've really built up that part of the complex with a 4-D video, a tasting tour and a make your own chocolate thing. we just did the tour and bought some chocolate. the prices weren't terrible, but the lines were INSANE.
then we drove to find this cool bologna making tour (never found it) and headed to an old friend's house to visit with her and her amazing kids. well worth the drive.
of course, no trip to philly is complete without a visit to geno's. (or pat's if you're not smart).
the kids didn't like cheesesteaks. i'm not a diehard either, but i do like a good steak when i'm home. they did, however, love water ice.

we spent a good deal of time in playgrounds. playgrounds in the DR are few and far between - and even then, they're not great. we have some playground equipment at school, but it's not awesome! like parks in philly. we went to the castle park - some township park in north wales (where we met up with some friends and awesome futuro lleno de esperanza supporters), morris park in plymouth, gorgas park in roxborough.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

we made it!

i absolutely have to tell you all about the amazing race to get samil's passport, but today we'll just say:
here is samil pulling his little suitcase at JFK airport in new york.
the passport is temporary, but we're here. 
 as soon as we landed at JFK, my brother and i took the kids to the crazy-capital of the world - times square. dominicans refer to all of the united states as "nueva york" and our little minds have been pretty confused about what new york is since mami is always correcting them that, no, they are not from "nueva york" and no, neither is she. so, we showed them a little slice of the big apple before heading to philadelphia.
 we got roped into ghetto character photos in the street before hitting toys r us.

 then we walked up to the m&ms store (my favorite!)
we didn't do a lot. i've spent a significant amount of time in manhattan and it's not my favorite part of the world. i do love uptown, harlem, spanish harlem (and yes, even the heights) but downtown and all of the tourist trappings just aren't my bag.

the kids have been kept busy since we got here. we've been to the library and to playgrounds - and before you think, wow this girl is cheap. you seriously do not appreciate what you have until it doesn't exist. good playgrounds are few and far between in santiago - and library? what's a library? we also did the art museum and will museum it up this week, too.

thank you all for your good thoughts, karma, prayers, for samil's passport issue - it was pure grace and goodness that got us here (wait until you hear the story).