Memorial Day Zoo trip: Elephant pictures

I mentioned last week that we’ve been going to the Zoo on Memorial Day for nearly all my life. My kids are now older than I was when we started. Amazing! Every year we take a picture in front of the elephant statue near the entrance. Here’s how our group (and the elephants) looked this year:





Visit to Franklin Square

On Sunday we had brunch with our college friend Martha and her husband Josh; they have lived in the city for a few years now and we’ve only recently re-established contact thanks to Facebook. We met for brunch at Jones, one of our favorite restaurants in town, and then walked over to Franklin Square:


If you’re living in or near Philadelphia, you’ve probably seen Franklin Square – it’s the pleasant-looking spot that seems to be completely encircled by ramps feeding into the Ben Franklin Bridge. Turns out you can walk there pretty easily from the south; we got there from Jones in less than ten minutes and didn’t even have to walk across any highways.

Franklin Square has been the focus of some restoration and revitalization work in recent years, and it’s now a charming spot with a carousel and a phenomenal mini golf course. There’s also a pretty fountain in the middle; alas, unlike the Logan Circle fountain, this one is fenced off to prevent swimming:



There is a huge sand sculpture on display in the park right now commemmorating the Phillies’ World Series victory:



Soon enough we got down to business on the mini golf course. About half of the holes are built around Philadelphia landmarks, and some of them are really spectacular. Here is Maria at Elfreth’s Alley:


Chelsea, Martha, and Josh sorting out how to play the Ben Franklin Bridge:


Anna and Maria with a replica of the LOVE statue:


And my favorite, the Art Museum:


No Philly-themed mini golf course would be complete without Independence Hall:


Next the girls got their faces painted, which was available for free all weekend because of the holiday:


Of course, we also had to hit the carousel:


And the girls rounded out our visit with some play time:



We had a great time! Many thanks to Martha and Josh for meeting up with us – we’re hoping to get them out to the ‘burbs for a visit sometime. We will certainly be visiting Franklin Square again, maybe when our friends Catie and McKinley come to town over the summer.

Okay, now it’s summertime

We had an action-packed Memorial Day weekend, and I’ll be posting pictures over the balance of the week. Meantime, we notched the single most important piece of business for the entire summer: We went to the pool. Our swim club opened for the season! Water was pretty cold, so there were plenty of folks there, and very few of them in the water:




Nick was away with my dad camping for the weekend; we have no pictures of that expedition. We’re told it was great fun and that everyone came home alive and healthy.

Wayback machine: Memorial Day 2008

Every year on Memorial Day, the Spergers visit the Philadelphia Zoo. We started doing this when I was just a pup, and it’s one of my favorite days of the year.

Each year, we take a picture in front of an elephant statue situated near the entrance. The pictures started out with just me, short enough to stand underneath the big elephant’s belly. Now it’s my kids and my cousins, and the statue is behind a fence, but the beat goes on all the same:


Looks like we’ll get some fine weather this year. We’re looking forward to it! Have a wonderful holiday weekend.

He ain’t hungry, he’s my brother

Monday night I had Nick and Anna while Chels and Maria were at Maria’s ballet classes. Anna had softball practice, and afterward we went to Panera Bread for dinner. Nick, out of the blue, said he was craving a peanut butter and jelly sandwich from there. (We can tell we’re getting closer to the teenage years – this might be the first time he’s ever told us he was craving something.)

I’ve gone on and on recently about how good a brother Nick can be. At dinner, he proved it once again by tolerating Anna’s random attacks on him. He even shared half of his second sandwich(!) with her. This was the scene during a typical attack:


As we were finishing up, our friends Mary and Delia came in, so we stayed a bit longer and sat with them while they ate dinner. Delia is Nick’s age, and they have known each other probably since they were about three or four years old. This social occasion, too, was another sign of the approaching teenage years – both of them have cell phones now, and you can carry on a conversation with them that reasonably approximates an adult conversation. Time flies.

Spring soccer in full swing

I’ve probably mentioned before that soccer has become a year-round activity for Nick. He plays his main season in the fall, indoor soccer in the winter, spring soccer right now, and then will do conditioning and soccer camps in the summer. Young man has a passion for the game.

Spring soccer is pretty easy on us as the shuttle drivers: He plays Sunday afternoons and has no practices during the week. Nick will need to step up his fitness regimen for the next couple weeks to prepare for fall travel team tryouts, and we can accomplish that simply by sending him out to run around the neighborhood after school.

Anyway, here are Nick and the boys after their match this past Sunday afternoon, which they lost 2-1 after squandering a ton of chances in the first half:


You can’t really see it in this picture, but because the spring team is a mish-mash of a couple of squads from different age and skill levels, we have at least three players wearing a #6 jersey. It’s pretty funny to see when they line up to shake hands after matches.

Anna’s end of year picnic

Anna’s school hosted an end of the year picnic on Sunday. Our girl got to enjoy some beautiful face painting, and we got to see all of the artwork that she has produced during the year:



Apropos of nothing: I’ve realized from this blog adventure that Chelsea and I turn the camera in opposite directions for vertical shots. I turn counter-clockwise, meaning pictures have to be rotated clockwise in Flickr to show up properly. Chelsea rotates the camera clockwise, requiring a counter-clockwise turn for the Web. Thus I can always tell which of us took a vertical picture.

That and a quarter will get you a cup of coffee.

Nick is a good brother

We mention that from time to time, because we constantly get new reminders of it. The kids have been sick off and on for the past couple weeks with throat ailments – strep throat sometimes, a virus sometimes. Nick was home sick Thursday and Friday with the virus. Over the weekend, though, he found time to invite Anna up into his loft bed to play cards:



Nick taught Anna how to play Crazy Eights, so they’ve been playing together at every opportunity. Very sweet!

Into the woods, part 4

Our last day of camping we broke camp and stopped by Bushkill Falls in northeastern Pennsylvania on our way home. I’d been to Bushkill once before as a kid; it was new to everybody else. We found a place full of waterfalls and hiking, which made it just about perfect for us.

We started out the morning with Mother’s Day festivities, including a feast of French toast and breakfast potatoes. The kids obliged us for such a beautiful picture that I’m only going to present this one… the others would all pale in comparison:


Beauty was the order of the day at the Falls, too, which were both awe-inspiring and contemplative:







That’s all for our camping weekend! This week we’ve been back to our usual routine for this time of year – sports, school events, and the occasional kid illness. Ah, springtime.

ice cream

Since I have been sick for the last couple days, I haven’t been to school since wednesday, and so today i wanted some ice cream, but because we didn’t have any, i pulled out the ice cream maker maria a while ago and my mom and i made ice cream. It tasted okay, but I don’t think it worked all the way it was supposed to, or we just froze the ice cream too much and couldn’t get it into the bowls great. We made chocolate ice cream, then I washed everything and set them aside so Maria and Anna can make some once they get home from school ’cause if they don’t get to make any and see that I made some, they will get mad and start fussing.