Philadelphia Zoo and the New Gorilla Tree House

When you think about the zoo of course animals come to mind. There is no zoo without them. Providing the animals a place that is safe, clean, and gives them a better space to thrive is important to their well being. The Philadelphia Zoo is doing all they can to ensure the needs of the animals are their top priority. With that being said, the new Gorilla Tree House aids in the Gorillas having enough space to roam and play.

This 20 foot structure is everything that the gorillas need to play, eat, and have the time of their lives! I was there as I watched the gorillas interact with each other. They jumped from the new treehouse as well as played! It was amazing to see. I even spoke to one of the gorillas handlers about how contrary to popular belief they eat vegetables and not fruit. They enjoy eating mostly in the morning hours and they spend about 1/3 of their day resting. I also learned that in the gorilla groupings it’s usually in the case of the Philadelphia Zoo one male to two females and their babies.

Pictured are my three kids, Marques, Naila, and Noelle along with one of the gorilla handlers; Kelsey Wise. Not pictured is Kristen Farley-Rambo another gorilla handler

To start the festivities of the opening of the Gorilla Tree House was Michael Stern. Michael is the Curator of Primates. You can tell he loves what he does. It has to be interesting to be designated as the one to ensure that the Primates have all that they need! He was so energetic and funny. You can catch his speech on my Instagram! I enjoyed the fact that he was so knowledgeable about the primates and has a heart for them.

Pictured are my children again and Michael Stern as he shows the kids how to beat their chest like gorillas do

The Gorillas that are at the Philadelphia Zoo are grouped into a family: Motuba, Honi, Kira, Amani, and Ajabu. There are also 2 bachelor males; Louis and Kuchimba!

Pictured is Louis

Pictured is Ajabu hanging out

Between the fun of watching these animals swing, play, run, and jump in their habitats it appears that they will he loving this new structure for quite some time. The Philadelphia Zoo is committed to the change and as the habitats around us changes so will the Philadelphia Zoo in keeping align with change.

So in addition to the Gorilla Tree House you can see and learn a lot about the Philadelphia Zoo and the rest of the animals. Remember they also have amazing new food trucks at the Urban Green that offer top of the line food options to help keep you stay healthy and full! The Zoo Key is back and that is vital in helping you not just take pictures of animals but an interactive way to learn. If you want to be interactive yourself don’t forget to stop at the KidZoo U, Wildworks Rope Course, the Swan Boats, and it’s the home of the Zoo 360 Animal Trails. There is something for everyone. Your patronage at the Zoo helps the animals and a way to keep the Western Lowland Gorillas who are considered dangerously critically endangered a place to thrive!

Thank you to the Philadelphia Zoo and Aversa PR for the invite. Thank you to the generous donors; the Korman Family, Tom Hartman, and AnnMarie Byrnes, Lisa Gemmill and the Ruth Solomon Foundation!

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Week 7: Storr Summer Adventure

So it’s week 7 already? Summer isn’t playing with none of us. Between the kids fun during the week, blogging events, and weekend fun no one in my house can be bored! This week’s total was $74.37!

Monday

Park time. I knew it would be hot so instead of going out later I decided we would go to the park first thing. I was able to get my 3 miles in and they were able to run and play. It felt good to switch up our day and I was able to switch up my work day as well! They enjoyed it and then went home had lunch and read their books and played together!

Tuesday

Today we took it to the bowling alley. Two games for free, shoe rental, and dino bowling helper for $22! They brought a friend of Noelle so it cost us $14 so for the day $36 total and hours of fun! 40 min drive due to traffic both ways armed with packed snacks and water made for an afternoon outing full of fun! Watching them be competitive was hilarious! The way they kept trying to beat each other had me in tears!

Wednesday

Let’s get to reading. They have been reading about 4 books a week and the younger two have their Summer book reports complete! We made a stop to the library to return books and get new ones! The librarian definitely knows us at this point! I’m glad that I finally stopped in instead of going to other libraries near us. Also through the library’s Summer reading program another free book to add to their collection. At least we were able to get done before the storm came! We also stopped to have lunch at Burger King well they did anyway! Total was $14.26. I had Salad Works for $12.12! Combined total is 26.38!

Thursday

We decided to switch it up. They had balances on their Five Below card so I decided to let them spend it. They each got one toy, a snack and I brought drinks with us. This was after they spent the morning reading and doing their math while I worked! They spent 30 min inside that store because they were making sure they got the “right toy.” I added about 11.99 for whatever wasn’t covered with the gift cards!

Barnes and Nobles is doing a Summer reading challenge. For reading 8 books of any kind, you get to choose one book from a list of books for free! I love this. Between the library’s challenge, Barnes and Nobles and me just making reading a priority they have been doing amazing! Taking them to one of my absolute favorite stores always makes me happy!

Friday

It was a chill day. It was also my anniversary so I wanted to rest and relax. No working for me just spent the day watching them create forts in the living room, reading, we ate in the living room I rarely never let them do and just laughed and had a great time!

We did pretty good and as the Summer gets closer to a close I will be switching more family related activities and focusing on the weekend events! However I’m determined to still get them out and about and I found some new free events to do so!!

I hope you enjoyed this week and I can’t wait to recap the entire Summer!! You can have fun by doing something that you love and a little research!!

Amp up your Self Care

This weekend I found myself caught between love and self care. I celebrated my 7th wedding anniversary so all the lovey and dovey feelings came flooding in. But I also needed to reorganize and bolster my self care.

I needed to increase it and with all that is going on in the world it’s super necessary to feed our souls often. I find that it’s imaginable to think that we can exist only merely being an extension to others. We have to show ourselves more grace, understanding and love that others pull from us. It’s like being on a plane and making sure that everyone else on the plane has oxygen but depleting our own. This is self sabotage. You can be booked and busy but still need rest and recharging! It’s not selfish to bolster self care back into your soul.

Defeated

Sometimes we feel defeated because we have forgotten we need to renew our reasons why! Why do you want to pursue your goal? What does it mean to you? How much work are you prepated to do? How hard is your drive? These are the things that must be thought about and re-evaluated daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly!

Re-alignment

What can you do to take some pressure off of yourself? Can you collaborate with someone else? Ask for help? Prioritize? Take a break? Make a to do list? Whatever you need to do; do it today! You have to be one with yourself to get things done. An organized mindset and working environment can help!

Burnout

Burnout is real! You can blow a fuse without the right amount of energy flowing in your life. Moderation in all things will help create balance! Learning to drink and eat and have a spiritual connection will be key to creating balance! We all need balance! We need structure! If you go hard for a few weeks solid schedule some mental time off. It may not mean take a day off but it could mean schedule some rest stops! You could schedule a nap, an hour of quiet, reading a good book, a massage, an appointment in your favorite spot, or time to just watch something you enjoy! Whatever is is you need it!

You will burnout trying to take on the world especially if you don’t fill your cup up of those things that make you smile. Even if you have someone in your life having things that you like that that doesn’t require your significant other’s participating is better!

Sunday Message: In the Middle of Tears

Crying is a release. It cleanses us from the inside out. It doesn’t mean that after the tears are shed that it changes our circumstances! It does mean we have a temporary relief. Some of my best moves have come from tears.

Life is hard! It comes with ups and downs. I used to view crying as a sign of weakness. That’s not the case! Tears for me personally means I’m hurting and I’m overwhelmed. Feeling overwhelmed for many especially if no sign of comfort is nearby is what makes people stay in the feeling of hopelessness! It’s a terrible feeling. I’ve felt that sense of not having hope. It’s scary and often times it feels lonely. I would be lying if I acted as if the tears were inspirational all the time. They don’t feel like it!

I’m grateful for the times I’ve been able to cry and let it out and in addition to that dried my face and faced my shortcomings, failures, or humiliation! That isn’t weak at all that takes strength! It takes strength to say I’ve messed up and I’m not measuring up! You don’t know what and how others will view you! That is scary! But I am a witness you can look at the bottom and see the top even in darkness. In darkness if have had to ask God to turn on my night vision! That’s why when you are riding in life in light to build yourself up for those dark days! They are coming!! We also experience it!

So if you’re in a dark time right now-I understand! It’s not a great place but remember the time before this? Guess what? You come out! I know you see no way out but it’s coming! A way out is always near even if it seems out of reach! I pray night vision in your darkest time! Grace is there to carry you! This is why the whole cancel culture doesn’t make sense! Be mad at what a person has done but the same grace that covers me in my mess is the same grace that covers others! You can lose everything and be at the bottom but with work, forgiveness, and love you can shine. You might shine with humility or different support but you can still shine!

Happy Sunday! Make it your best!!

Giving you The Best That I Got…Year 7!

It’s year 7 and I must say as much as I would love to downplay it, I’m not! I wish I could take a behind the scenes of the early years. I do all I can to not let that old couple pop up. Between not communicating and just yelling and being a team player on paper but not in thought or deed…whew I’m grateful for days like today.

I immediately listened to one of my artist, Anita Baker. When I was younger anytime she and most other R&B artist was played I knew it meant it was time to clean. When I was a kid I told myself I knew who I would married by whether or not I wanted to sing that song to him….thus music became an association I made in a lot of situations. I still do! Anyway the growth as a woman and a person that I’ve made makes me so incredibly happy. I know the trials I’ve made over the years. I can now sing those sounds in confidence since back then my momma reminded me I ain’t know what I was talking about. Now I’m working towards more knowledge AND practice daily!

Now that I am putting into the work I can honestly say I’m giving my husband the best that I got daily. It may not be perfect but the energy to be better daily is what makes the huge difference. I wasn’t doing that as often before. It was a rush to point to him as the reason or if he wasn’t the reason in my mind he needed to fix it. How in the world he was supposed to fix me is beyond me but these type of unstable requests and wars was going on.

Year 7 means a sense of completion. Although we have waves to go through a small sense of accomplishment exists. I am giving the best that I got to myself daily. It’s not selfish to practice self care so we all can live in peace. He benefits from making sure I check my energy and attitude as he does the same. It helps two VERY different people to be able to coexist. We are friends! We have our own language. We have our own code words. We laugh at things that we alone might only find funny! We want the best for one another. As long as we keep that going we can continue this partnership.

20 years of friendship, 7 years of marriage and 3 beautiful children and a lifetime to go!!

So as we celebrate year 7 enjoy my favorite artist-love you Mr. Storr!!

He Said…

I love that you try to find the joy in everything and bring a positive attitude to all that are around you.

The Joy of Running

I started running when I was at least in Junior High School. It was largely due to me having “them running legs” as everyone called them. I was tall and skinny and at least looked like I had the potential to be athletic. I joined a local team and they trained me. I fell in love! I found myself running for sport and I enjoyed it. Fast forward to now. I picked up running again in the last 2 years to help maintain my weight but running became much more!

In “The Joy of Running” arranged by Jackie Corley it breaks down a runner’s heartbeat. As an adult with a family my reason for running has changed. The “Joy” of running isn’t just for weight maintenance anymore. If that was the case I would have fallen off a long time ago. Joy in running is beyond the moment when the happiness falls. Happiness in running wains in about the first 3 miles. The pain of running kicks in you need Joy pushing behind you. During my 4 am wake up calls where I’m alone and no one to push; Joy kicks in.

I love when David Bedford says:

Running is a lot like life. Only 10 percent of it is exciting. 90 percent of it is slog and drudge.

He’s referring to life in this quote. “The Joy of Running” breaks down how running affects a person’s whole being. Unlike my junior high running has a more intimate meaning. I talk to God and go over my life when my feet hit the ground. I take on life’s stressors when I hit the ground. I take on all of my inconsistencies when I hit the ground!

Monte Davis says:

Running long and hard is an ideal antidepressant, since it’s hard to run and feel sorry for yourself at the same time. Also there are hours of clearheadedness that follow a long run.

I practice self-care and self preservation on the ground when I run every single time. There’s not one time when something has been on my heart or mind that running hasn’t allowed me to figure it out or give me peace that it can’t be worked out.

“The Joy of Running” is a runner’s reminder of remember your why. I dedicate to leaving this book by my bed. It’s usually where a runner’s biggest struggle comes from. If I wake up and get up even if my time is slow or my miles low; I showed up for myself and “The Joy of Running” pushed my spirit to hear herself!

I highly recommend this book and if you or someone you love stresses a desire to run-gift them this book! It’s a collection of love letters as I call tjem to a runner’s soul! A runner would understand and align themselves back to the “Joy” and their why!

To get your own copy you can get it here!

Week 6: Storr Summer Adventures

It seems as if Summer is definitely in full swing. We are about half way in so making the most of these next couple of weeks will matter! Week 6’s total was $75.06.

Monday

Since we were still coming down from the Hershey Park trip we decided to keep it easy and go to the park! We had a great time! The kids were able to play and I was able to get much needed down time!

Tuesday

It was AMC $5 movie so that meant we definitely went to see The Lion King! We enjoyed it overall! I am an avid member of the Beyhive but I’m glad Beyonce didn’t have a lot of speaking parts! She can sing but her acting..

Noelle immediately wasn’t here for the realness of the animals. We definitely saw the original quite a few times in preparation starting in the Winter. She immediately yells out: “something is definitely wrong with this movie!” The songs I wasn’t a full fan of-spoiler alert “Be Prepared” will have you upset!!! Overall we went to a different theatre and let’s say without airing the location I will NOT be back to see any movie there! Super glad that we saw an evening movie so my husband could join us! FYI we went to a 8pm movie and got out late and there were lines of families to see the 1030 and beyond shows! Definitely have to chalk that up to it being Summer-at least I hope! Total for 4 tickets 20-I didn’t include my husband since he’s not apart of the Summer fun on the regular! He took care of his own ticket!

Wednesday

We decided to use our FREE yes free passes for the Kids Bowling series! I sign up for this yearly! It gives kids 2 games a week and shoe rental is the only thing that you pay for! So 2 games and 3 shoe rentals was $12! However we did rent the dino bowling helper for Noelle so that was 22 full total! We had lunch before we left and brought waters and juice for the ride up. I did allow them an ice-cream treat at Sonic! Sonic total was $12.12!

Thursday

I was asked to speak at the TCP media literacy camp in Lancaster PA! Lancaster is my hometown! We got up extra early and packed the car with juices and snacks! I could have brought my kids to the camp if needbe but I figured it would be too young for them and they enjoyed the morning with my cousin Mark!

I really enjoyed talking to the children about my blog, how I started, my goals for the future as well as the pitfalls of social media!

We also spent the afternoon at my grandparents house! The kids rode their scooters for hours and my grandparents of course fed them and gave them snacks while the kids taught them new songs!

Friday

We spent Friday relaxing and watching movies! It was well deserved as we didn’t get back from Lancaster until 9pm!

This week we will go to Barnes and Nobles to obtain theie Summer book reward as well as the library! My youngest and middle child already finished their mandatory book reports for school! They are still reading 4-5 books a week! The oldest is just about done with her report and continues to read for leisure!