An introduction to Allentown.

We did not really know anything about Allentown before living here except that downtown is scary. Here are few things we have learned/noticed to far:

1. There is a city called Reading. You probably just pronounced it "Reeding" in your head. Actually, it is pronounced "Redding." It was explained to us as "Reading [Redding] as in Reading [Redding] Railroad." I guess I am ignorant because I have been pronouncing it "Reeding" Railroad all my life.

2. The groceries are cheap! So much cheaper than in Ithaca. The only thing that is more expensive is milk, which I find very strange. Baby food is so cheap, I wanted to buy it for myself!

3. The roads are weird. There is no left turn at almost every single intersection. Instead, there are signs that say, "All Turns From Right Lane." So you turn right and then loop around and go straight through the light to where you wanted to go. I guess it helps the flow of traffic but I have found myself in the wrong lane more than once.

4. The library is very small. At first I was turned off by the nursing home smell but as Alex and I looked around for books, I started to like it. There are more than enough books for us to enjoy this summer and it had quite a lot of personality. I think we will like it there.

5. The gas is cheaper. Twenty to 30 cents cheaper. Hallelujah!

6. The water is burning hot in the kitchen sink. After one second, you can't keep your hands under it. It is dangerous. I am going to have to be careful while using yeast.

7. We are starting to have quite a large collection of cutting boards. Each time we move, the Welcome package has a cutting board included. You would think I wouldn't need them all and yet sometimes I can't find a clean cutting board!

8. Things aren't very close to each other here. It takes much longer to get somewhere than the GPS says. There are tons of lights and a lot of people on the road. Our temple is the Washington DC temple which is four hours away!

9. Downtown Allentown is SCARY! They are trying to fix it up though so they have built a brand new mall which is about .5 miles from our apartment and it is awesome. It has a ton of fancy-pants stores (Coach, Apple, Sephora, J. Crew) which I don't shop at but if I had a lot of money and any sense of style, I probably would.

10. This isn't exclusive to the city of Allentown, but it is humid and hot here! I was expecting weather similar to what we had been having it Ithaca but it is very different! Alex and I are able to sit on a blanket under the tree and I don't have to worry about having a jacket or bundling him. Also, the weather seems pretty predictable instead of jumping 40 degrees and way off the forecast, like Ithaca always seemed to do. We are looking forward to the pool opening on Memorial Day. I love the summer!

I am already feeling a little panicked that we don't have enough time to fully enjoy and learn all about Allentown. I feel so privileged to even have the opportunity to live here at all. We are trying to utilize all of our time from the start so we don't have to pack too much in right at the end. If Sam is offered and accepts a full-time position with AP then we will have more time to get to know Allentown, but we want to appreciate our time here just in case we never come back.



I started blogging about this in November 2008. But something so important apparently requires a lot of thought to be written about.

I am not a shoe girl. I like shoes, but I do not collect them. I usually get really attached to one pair and wear it every day until it falls apart; this was that pair. I wore them to school, I wore them to church, I wore them in the snow (dangerous in the later days when the tread was almost completely gone), I wore them on my first date with Sam. I bought these shoes my sophomore year in high school. They were really stylish then and every girl had them; some girls had them in multiple colors! Sam hates how they would make my feet stink. I searched for replacement shoes and could never find them. They were so comfortable and I couldn't part with them. So I snuck them on and wore them any chance I could.

Sam wore these shoes almost every day. When we first met, they were in pretty good condition. He wore them while training for all of his races and the hundreds of miles started to wear down the poor shoes. It is very obvious to see that he runs on the outside of his feet and his dad repeatedly told him that worn-down shoes were not good and he needed to change shoes so he wouldn't hurt his feet, ankles, and knees. He still insisted that they were the most comfortable for walking and running. One day, I noticed I could see his socks through them. We went and bought him the exact same style of shoes but in a different color. He rarely wore his new shoes and instead I would catching him wearing these foul things.

We decided it was time to compromise. I would throw away my stinky shoes if he would throw away his "immodest" shoes (get it? they are see through). It was a sacrifice for both of us. I almost cried. Goodbye, my most favorite, loved, comfortable, slightly-stinky, beautiful, trustworthy shoes! Peace out, Sam's gross, crooked, holey, sloppy shoes.



Sam got free tickets to a Lehigh Valley IronPigs game. They are the AAA farm team for the Phillies. I had never been to a minor league game before and it was awesome! They were constantly doing activities for the kids (chants, races, spaghetti eating contests, playing bingo). It was fun to meet some other interns that Sam will be working with. It was really hot and the game went way past Alex's bedtime, but we loved it and hope to go again soon. The suite was nice as well. :)


Red Sox vs. Phillies

Before moving to Pennsylvania, many people asked me why Philly is our favorite city. I could never put it into words. I don't want to be sacrilegious, but I thought of it like a testimony. I knew it was true but sometimes it was tricky to explain. Well, friends, I have figured it out. Philly has an awesome culture and spirit. Everyone is always outside roaming the streets and talking to complete strangers. It is an older city and has the historic sites (Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, etc.). It has old buildings (City Hall, Masonic Temple, etc.). It was the first capitol of the United States. It has the food culture (Pat's vs. Geno's Philly Cheese Steaks, water ice, hoagies, soft pretzels). Tons of movies have been filmed here and posters of them line the halls of the Philadelphia airport (The Sixth Sense, Rocky, The Age of Innocence). Tons of famous people are from Philadelphia (Bill Cosby, Bob Saget, Richard Gere, Kevin Bacon, Will Smith, Tara Lipinski). Kobe Bryant was also born here which would make us like it a little less except Kobe trash-talked Philly so everyone hates him. The Philadelphia Zoo was America's first zoo. University of Pennsylvania is in Philly and we love our Ivy League rivals. We have both been singing about Philly since we were wee ones ("In west Philadelphia born and raised, on the playground where I spent most of my days..."). See? How could you not love Philadelphia?

We went to a Red Sox-Phillies game the day after we moved to Allentown. We had great seats, too! We were seventh row right on the first base line. Sam got a lot of grief for his Red Sox shirt and hat. Luckily Alex was super cute in his Red Sox onesie and the hecklers let us go most of the time.

Unfortunately, the Red Sox lost that night (1-5). They won the next two games of the weekend series though. While walking to our car, a Phillies fan patted Sam on the back and said, "Better luck next time." Sam responded, "Yeah, tomorrow." Then the guy said, "That's... that's not what I meant." I bet he was thinking about Sam when the Red Sox killed the Phillies the next night (5-0), and the next night (8-3). Sam likes to think of both teams as his now. He claims the Red Sox as his American League team and the Phillies as his National League team.


"Well we're living here in Allentown..."

Unless you are a Billy Joel fan or are super old, you've probably never heard of the song called "Allentown." But it is true, we are living here in Allentown. So far, we love it! Even more than we expected (and we expected to love it a lot). We have looked forward to this summer for nine months. I kept putting off projects and saying I would do them in the summer. The summer has arrived and I am doing great! Hopefully I will stick to it so I can get a lot of things done.

The move was one of the more atrocious moves we have had. Surprising because it was the shortest distance of the five moves we've had since being married. I was cleaning the oven the night before we left Ithaca and the cleaner was extremely strong; I didn't wear a mask. I felt very sick when I went to bed that night. Alex did not sleep well so we got a grand total of four hours of sleep. Thursday morning, I felt even worse than I had the night before. Every time I moved or lifted anything, I felt like I was going to throw up. That was a problem because we still had a few things to load (including our mattress and Alex's crib). We called a guy in the ward to come over and help Sam load. Then I threw up. I could feel the cleaner coming back up because it was burning my throat just like it had on the way down. I am so glad Alex was already in bed when I cleaned the oven because it would have been so much harder on his little body.

We were supposed to leave Ithaca by 10am but we didn't end up checking out until noon. The apartment manager came over to walk through our apartment. He walked straight to the back bedroom then said, "Everything looks good. I'll mail you your deposit this week." He didn't even set foot in the kitchen! Checking the oven was the last thing he was thinking of doing. I was angry that I spent so much time cleaning.

It took us almost an hour to figure out how to get Sam's car on the trailer (which ended up ripping off his bumper). The actual trailer did not match the images in the instruction manual. It was pretty frustrating. We were in a hurry to get to Allentown before 4pm so we could read the lease, sign it, and then get our keys. I was falling asleep while driving and I was so tempted to pull over and sleep but we didn't have time. We got to our new complex at 4:40pm.

After throwing up, all I had eaten was a 6" sub sandwich (known in these parts as a hoagie) and a glass of water. Alex was not happy about that and I was worried I wouldn't be able to nurse anymore.

I was still feeling incredibly sick and I fell asleep bundled on the floor of our living room. The moving truck was due the next morning though and it had to be unloaded. Sam was trying to carry everything in himself and told me to just stay where I was until I felt better. After I watched him carry our mattress up a flight of stairs and through two doors, I knew he wouldn't be able to do it all alone that night. So I called the bishop of the ward here. I had never met or talked to him; I found his number online. I left a message and a few minutes later he called back. He was going into a meeting but 45 minutes later, he and four other men showed up and unloaded the truck in 30 minutes while I sat on the ground holding my head and being completely useless.

I love the gospel, but the community of the church is an incredible thing and I am not sure what we would have done without it. Five complete strangers came over to help people whom they knew nothing about. They probably thought I was worthless just sitting there as they carried things in. They even stayed a little extra to help us set up our bed. I am so grateful to be a member of the church, not just because of the gospel, but because of the community within the church.

In my own defense, I did help load the truck and was not intentionally flaking out on unloading. Here are my wounds to prove I did something.



Lucky duck.

On our way home from Allentown (after we were there looking for housing), we got pulled over. Sam has really bad luck and gets a ticket almost every single time he gets pulled over. A few years ago, they even made him do a field sobriety test! However, this time the officer was very generous and he didn't give Sam a ticket! Yippee! I count this as a bargain! For more Saturday Steals, click here.

Alex slept through the entire thing.


Ithaca Farmers' Market

This was our first time to the Ithaca Farmers' Market and it was very fun! I think I enjoyed the people more than the products though. There were some interesting Ithacans there. We went with our good friends (the Sheranians), however, the only picture I have of them is where they are in the background!

That afternoon, we went to see Babies and loved it! I highly recommend it (although I feel the American baby was represented very strangely and I wonder if the babies from the other countries were not the norm as well).


Those were the days...

I signed this a few years ago and put it on YouTube. It was removed due to copyright stuff and just recently returned (I don't really know why). I remember when I used to be better at ASL. Those were the days. Enjoy!

Disclaimer: The lack of facial expressions is because I was signing this for my brother. He wanted to see the timing/rhythm. At the time, I was unfamiliar with the song and had to read the words as I was signing.


Trip to Allentown.

 We went to Allentown last Friday to find housing for the summer. We left in the morning and came back that night. It was a very quick trip. It was trickier than I expected to find housing because many apartment complexes do not issue short term leases or else they charge a high premium each month. We finally found a place and we love it! I hope we continue loving it throughout the summer!

We also received a tour of the campus and went out to dinner with his supervisor and his wife. I think it is going to be a great summer!


Sam got an internship!

Sam just accepted an internship offer for this summer! We will be moving to Allentown, Pennsylvania which is about three hours from Ithaca. We are thrilled and we think it will be a great opportunity for Sam. Also, we've never lived in Pennsylvania! We will move there on May 20th. I am excited to take Alex swimming and it is also nice that the internship is so close to Ithaca; we will be able to come back to New York for the Hill Cumorah Pageant! Not to mention, Allentown is only an hour from Philly which happens to be our most favorite city. 


Anniversary celebrations

We celebrated our anniversary a day early so that we could go out (since our anniversary was on a Sunday). We got to spend two whole days together! It was amazing! On Saturday, we drove to a couple of state parks during the day and then went shopping. That night, our friends babysat Alex while we went out for an incredible four course dinner.


Mommy, Mom, Grandma

There are a lot of moms in my life but today I just want to say thank you to a few people.

First, my own mother. I thought I was grateful for my mom last year. I now respect my mother so much more. She has done so much for me and is a great example. I couldn't have a better mother if I designed her myself.

Second, my mother-in-law. She loves me like her own. That's all I could ever hope or ask for.

Third, my studly son, Alex. For making me a mommy. The amount I love this boy is incomprehensible.The look on his face when he sees me makes my heart melt and know that I must be doing something right. He made my mothers into grandmothers.


Some people's kids.

On Wednesday, Alex and I were on our way to the park across the street. I decided to cut through our complex instead of taking the stroller. That was my best decision of the day. I am so glad I didn't miss this:

The guy's pet bird flew up in the tree and had stayed there for several hours. He found a ladder, put it up to the tree, climbed the ladder, then shimmied up about 15 more feet. Once he got the bird, he was too scared to come back down and definitely couldn't do it while holding the bird. After being stuck in the tree for 30 minutes, his friends called 911.

My favorite part was when they said, "We have secured the bird." It took 55 minutes to get him out of the tree. He was up there for almost an hour and a half! I would have been so embarrassed.


A Busy Friday.

Last Friday was a fun-filled day. First, we went to the Cornell vs. Princeton baseball game and Cornell won! That night, we babysat Canon so his parents could go on a date to the opera. It was so fun to watch Alex and Canon play together. Alex was giving Canon kisses on the forehead!

Everybody is talking! This is kind of loud...


My Top (or bottom?) Five

I sometimes feel like I am a bad mom. I have thought back over the past nine months and I have compiled my Top Five Bad Mom Moments.

1. When Alex was three weeks old, my brother got married. It was a pretty warm day in Sacramento and after we came out of the temple, we put him right in his carseat -- which had been facing the sun. He was screaming.

2. When Alex was about a month old, a woman in our ward asked me his name and I could not remember it. About a week later, she asked me to remind her of his name and I forgot it again.

3. He has fallen off the bed five times now. We could ask, "When will he learn?" but I think the more appropriate question is, "When will we learn?"

4. We often give him paper to play with. It seemed like a good idea, until we could read the writing on the paper in his diaper.

5. There have been multiple occasions where I have not dressed him warmly enough. One example is when we went to Skaneateles in December where the temperature was in the low 30s.

 Luckily there are moments where I can see Alex growing, learning, and developing and they make me forgive myself a little for all of the bad decisions.


Twenty-One and a Half!

April 24th was my half birthday. As is fitting, we celebrate it with only half of the family! Sam had a golf event all day so Alex and I celebrated together. First we went to our ward fun run where I was supposed to be babysitting four kids and somehow managed to lose two of them. Don't worry, they only got a few doors down the hallway. Then we went shopping and I bought a new outfit. After that, we went to the Cornell vs. Brown lacrosse game where I brought my bad luck to Cornell again and they lost! It was my very first lacrosse game though and it was awesome! I really want to learn the rules. We even had cupcakes which are half of a cake, get it?


Alex is aging! (9 months)

Weight: 16 pounds, 8 ounces
Length: 27 inches

This month's stats:
-scratches on face: 2
-bruises on forehead today: Shockingly, 0 (but the day is not over)
-days this months spent with bruises on forehead: 20
-eye almost poked out: 1
-bruises on shins: 1
-face dives off of bed: 2
-attempted face dives off bed: countless
-leaves/weeds Alex has choked on: 3
-Cheerios Alex has choked on: 4 1/3
-rocks Alex has sucked on: 3
-rocks found in Alex's carseat days later: 1
-pieces of candy Sam has covertly let Alex suck on: 8
-cuts on Alex's knuckles from Baby Fight Club: 2

He helps us clean off our shelves (we had to do some rearranging).

Swing buddies.

His final time in the infant waiting room.

We took him to see a movie.

He loves the park.

Favorite part of the park.

No better toy than keys.

Sticking out his tongue under his pacifier.

Drugged gansta.

Pulling out the garbage bag. Delicious.

Granny feet, fresh from the tub.

Eating grapes.

Bulking up.

Playing Bocce Ball.

He follows us up and down the hallway.

He learned how to open drawers...

...and cabinets.

He tips over his toys.

He eats the nasal aspirator.

He plays with the cooler handle. All the time.


Happy to see us after a nap.
If Sam is home when Alex wakes up, we both race in there to be the first to pick him up.

Do you think he's hungry?

He helps us clean off our night stands.

He especially likes Daddy's night stand.

His toes are tasty.

He puts himself to sleep in weird positions.

He loves grown up toys the most.

He is too cute to handle.

He stands up with one hand holding on to something then looks at us and smiles like he is proud of himself.

Playing under the table.

He is getting so smart!

Action shot: Pulling the garbage can down on top of himself.

He wears Daddy's name tag.

Learned how to get out from under the kitchen table. Finally.

We taught him how to play baseball.

He laughs at his photo album.

He always closes the door to play with the door stop then he can't figure out how to get it open again.

He eats his toes.

He is getting better at eating Cheerios.

He had apple juice for the first time!

He went through a carwash for the first time!

He carries on a conversation with Sam.

He pulled himself up on this toy and walked!

He is very selective about which toys he will like.

He talks while falling asleep.

He has learned how to clap!

He climbed onto the bed.

He watched Baby Einstein for the first time.

He runs out of places to put his toys.

He has mood swings.

He doesn't like to perform for the camera.

The kitchen is his favorite room.

He loves playing outside.

We torture our son in the following ways:
Finger nail polish in/around his ear.

We let the pediatrician write on his foot.

We don't change his diaper often enough.

Here are a few more things Alex does for which I do not have a matching picture:
...crawls around with toys in his hands.
...has a perpetual bruise on his forehead.
...gives kisses.
...pushes the bathroom scale up to the tub and tries to climb in.
...pulls himself up to the toilet.
...gets very excited to nurse. When I start getting ready, he will climb up on my lap and try to nurse while sitting.
...makes the sounds ba, da, ga, guh, duh.
...crawls under the table and gets stuck.
...is nursing better than ever before.
...is very good at eating solids.
...tries to climb out of his high chair so we have to buckle him in now.
...crawls into his room and plays alone.
...has learned the pincer grasp.
...loves playing with the xylophone. He gets satisfaction out of producing noise.

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