Blog Background

Monday, October 13, 2008

Boston-A great visit with Jamie and Michael Smith

As mentioned in an earlier post, our friends Jamie and Michael Smith moved to Boston around the same time that we moved to Philadelphia. By train, we were about 6 hours away from each other. It was so great to have some friends in the northeast the same time as us. Jamie and Michael thoughtfully invited us to visit them on Labor Day of 2007. The first Auburn game of the season was that weekend, so it was especially nice to be with some other Auburn tigers for our first game away from the plains. We were able to see so much of Boston while we were there. Like Philadelphia, Boston was the site of much of our nation's early history. It was so amazing to see it all first hand. We walked the freedom trail which led us to many historical sites. We saw the State House, Boston Harbor,the exact spot where the Boston Massacre took place, boarded the USS Constitution (Old Iron Sides), visited Paul Revere and Sam Adam's graves, toured Paul Revere's home, and much more. Michael, a current Harvard medical student, gave us a great tour of the campus. It was so beautiful and exactly what I had always pictured. To top off the trip we had some amazing clam chowder and a lovely meal in Boston's North End (Little Italy). Oh, how could I forget, we also made quick after dinner stop to Mike's pastry for some delicious cannoli. We loved Boston!!!!!!!!!!!!
State House and its gold dome

Row Houses in Boston

Abby and Judd at Boston Harbor

Harvard University

Sailing Old Iron Sides

Jamie and Abby in the North End

Friday, October 10, 2008

Philadelphia-Special Visitors-Abby's Mom and Dad

My parents came in March to visit us in Philly. It was my mom's spring break at her school. It also happened to be Easter weekend. We had some really rainy weather, but made the best of it. We were able to see lots of sites while Mom and Dad were with us. We toured the usual Philly historic sites. We had several Irish meals at some of the great pubs in the area and also ate at the oldest tavern in the country--City Tavern. This is where most of the Declaration of Independence was planned and hashed out. At the time the building that we know as Independence Hall was still the Pennsylvania State House and was property of King George. It was sometimes too dangerous to discuss all that needed to be said about the Declaration there, so often our country's founding fathers would debate over a pint at City Tavern.

City Tavern-Philadelphia

We also took Mom and Dad to New York City for a few days. We ate lunch in Times Square, walked to the Empire State Building, strolled through Central Park and also took a carriage ride there, played at FAO Schwartz, hunted for fake purses in China Town, got on the Today Show at Rockefeller Center, went to the annual flower show at Macy's, and had frozen hot chocolate at Serendipity.

Outside of the Today Show-We made it on camera!

Carriage ride through Central Park

Abby in Times Square

Abby and Judd at Rockefeller Center

Mom and Abby playing the giant piano at FAO Schwartz

Dad and a Lego Chewy at FAO Schwartz

FAO Schwartz Toy Soldier Guard

Dinner in NYC with my Fab friends Amy and Terri

Abby on street in NYC (Judd being sneaky with the camera)

After our days in New York, we drove out to Amish country in Pennsylvania. We took a horse drawn carriage ride through an Amish village, ate in Strasburg at a lovely Inn, and toured the Pennsylvania Railroad Museum. It was so beautiful there. The Amish live such an amazing lifestyle considering that the rest of modern culture is all around them. It was so neat to see their buggies taking them on their errands, and their scooters gliding down the road. They are not allowed to have bicycles, so many have scooters. We actually saw a policeman pulling over an Amish man on a scooter. I'm sure he wasn't speeding or drinking and driving. Maybe his tag was expired. Hahaha. :)

Dad at the Pennsylvania Railroad Museum

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Philadelphia--Special Visitors--Jamie and Michael Smith

Jamie and Michael Smith are my friends from high school who also went to Auburn with us. They moved to Boston, MA about the same time that we moved to Philadelphia. It was so great to have some friends from home living in the northeast too. We were able to visit them in September of 2007 in Boston and they visited us in January of 2008. The weekend that they came down was the coldest weekend we had in Philly. Thank heavens Jamie and Michael's time in Boston had prepared them for the freezing weather. I don't think anyone coming straight from Alabama should ever visit Philadelphia in January. Bad idea. :) While Jamie and Michael stayed with us we took them to as many of the "must see" historic sites as possible. The entire weekend started off beautifully by them arriving at the gorgeous 30th Street Train Station. We then visited historic philly, had a crazy cab ride over to get some cheese steaks, went to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, got hot chocolate at the Naked Chocolate Cafe, and had a wonderful dinner in South Philly (little Italy). It was such a great visit! Thanks for coming Jamie and Michael!
Abby, Jamie, and Judd in front of Independence Hall

Giant board game pieces in front of the court house

Pennsylvania Masonic Temple
Benjamin Franklin's Grave

Geno's Steaks

Naked Chocolate Cafe

Abby and Judd with Philadelphia sky line

Jamie and Michael at Marra's in South Philly

Philadelphia-Special Visitors--Brenna and Colby

While we were living in Philly we had some very special visitors. Most notably my parents, our friends Jamie and Michael Smith, and Judd's brother, Colby. Colby brought his girlfriend Brenna. We love her and were so happy that they both could come to see us. Brenna and Colby came to Philly in December 2007. It was such a great time for them to see the city. There was a little bit of snow on the ground when they arrived. It really made for some beautiful pictures. We took them to almost all of the historic sites mentioned in my other post.

View from their plane

View from our building's terrace of City Hall

View from our terrace of Love Park

Once we brought them down from the roof we took them into our apartment. Our first big Christmas tree was waiting there to greet them.

Brenna and Colby with Ben Franklin at the Constitution Center

Gates at the Pennsylvania Masonic Temple

The interior of Independence Hall. This is the room where the Declaration of Independence was created.

Us at Geno's Steaks. We couldn't let Brenna and Colby miss out on a real Philly Cheese Steak. Yummy!

Brenna and Colby at Love Park

Another Philly must see: The statue of Rocky Balboa in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art

We also took them with us to New York City for the weekend to stay with my wonderful friend Terri Wolfe. It really turned out to be a great weekend because our friends Jamie and Michael Smith were able to come down from Boston and our friend Lauren Steed happened to be in New York for the Heisman trophy award ceremony. We all really had a blast.

Abby and Judd with Lady Liberty in the background

Delicious frozen hot chocolate at Serendipity!!!!

On our way to Serendipity we passed this red door. We laughed and said "oh, we're famous!" Turns out we were not the famous Langhams, but we were close. This is Judd's cousin Richard Keith Langham's interior design studio.

Lauren's timing to join us couldn't have been better! She had just gotten engaged! We were so excited to share in her joy in NYC.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Black Dog-Our little (I mean big) baby

During our courtship, Judd and I had always talked of getting a dog one day. We both love animals and couldn't wait to have a puppy to call our own. Judd had been saving his spare change for years while in college. When he finally filled the container to the top with coins, we decided to take it to coin star at the Winn Dixie in Auburn to see how much he had collected. It turned out to be over $300. After turning our coins into cash, Judd saw a flier on campus for black lab puppies. He secretly went to meet the family selling the 9 black pups. Judd played with the doggies for an hour or two. While he was there he noticed this one puppy in particular that seemed to be drawn towards him. This puppy was the biggest of the litter and also the most attentive. Judd knew right then that this dog would be the one we would make a part of our family. He had the owners put a collar on this pup so he would know for sure it was the right one when he brought me back. In the meantime, I had been in class and had no idea about the puppy. Judd picked me up and told me that he had to run to a clients house because he was planning to do some landscape work for them. When we got there the man of the house was not home, but his wife and little daughter were. I still thought they were prospective clients and talked Judd and his work up for about 30 minutes before the husband came home. When he did, we went outside to meet him. When the husband opened the back of his SUV I saw 9 beautiful black Labrador puppies. I still thought he was a client and didn't think much about the dogs, except that they were adorable. It turns out the puppies were right at their 6 week mark and had one last veterinarian appointment before they could be sold. That is where the husband had been the entire time. He handed me the dog with the little collar. Judd then proceeded to tell me that the whole client thing was to buy time until the man came home with the dogs. He also told me that the puppy I was holding was ours. I was so overjoyed. I have loved our Cole since the day he was first put in my arms. He is our special baby. Thanks Judd!!!

Philadelphia-Historic Sites

While we lived in Philly we were able to visit numerous historic sites. As an undergraduate history major, I couldn't get enough of it. The very first day we spent in Philadelphia was when Judd came up for his interview. While he was meeting with the folks at Olin, I decided to brave Philadelphia on my own to visit as many national landmarks as I could. Philadelphia is the birth place of our beloved United States and it was so cool to be a little part of it. In that one day, I was able to visit Independence Hall, the National Mall, the Liberty Bell, the National Constitution Center, Christ Church, Christ Church Cemetery (where Benjamin Franklin is buried), a Quaker Meeting House, the Second Bank of the United States, etc. Over the course of our year in Philly we ventured to some other really cool places--Betsy Ross' house, Carpenter's Hall, City Hall, Reading Terminal Market, Rittenhouse Square, Washington Square, Tomb of the Revolutionary War Unknown Soldier, Fairmont Park, Boat House Row, Penn's Landing, China Town, City Tavern, Masonic Temple, Todd House, Logan Circle, the Free Library, The Fireman's Museum, Elfreth's Alley, etc. Below are some of the historic places we frequented.
The Liberty Bell

Christ Church-Interior

Betsy Ross' House
City Hall
Independence HallReading Terminal Market

National Constitution Center

City Tavern