Wednesday, May 24, 2017

anniversary trip | Philadelphia

"all in all, I'd rather be in Philadelphia"

we celebrated our fourth anniversary last week with a long weekend trip to Philadelphia! Thomas has never been and wanted to see Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, and the historic city. it rained the first 2 days of our trip, but we finally got some sunshine on our last full day in the city and spent the entire day outside! we both love exploring around big cities, so it was really fun! i'm including my favorite pictures of the different parts of the city we explored below! 

Downtown Philly
we got to meet up with Julie @ A Hopeful Hood for lunch while we were in Philly which was so much fun! we met her at Reading Market Terminal where there are tons of food vendors and you can basically get anything and everything you want! we walked around city hall & i finally got my photo with the big sorry piece in the board game park i have been dreaming about since high school! i was pretty bummed that LOVE Park was closed for renovations while we were there, but i guess that means we will just have to go back! ;)

Schuykill River Trail
the first photo in this post is my favorite shot from the river trail. i actually saw Julie post an instagram with this part of the skyline and asked her where it was so we could go there during our visit because i loved the shot! it's actually part of the Schuykill River Trail that goes downtown so we had fun exploring the trail for a little while & getting our own shots of this part of the city!

Eastern State Penitentiary
this prison is in downtown Philly and looks like a castle! the grounds are huge though, so it is amazing to me that it's just sitting in the middle of the city. we did this tour on the day that it was raining because most of it is inside. you can read all about the prison here, but it was opened in 1829 and encouraged separate confinement as a way of reform and rehab. the tour we took told a lot about the history and reasons behind what they did, so it was really interesting to learn about!

Historic Philly
this part of town is where all of the historical buildings are as well as Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. we did the tour of Independence Hall and Congress Hall, and it was neat to learn so many facts about history that you don't learn in school! we also asked a security officer where to get a good Philly cheesesteak around town and he sent us to Sonny's. they had tons of different cheesesteaks & it was delicious! i got a pizza cheesesteak and Thomas got more of a traditional one. :)

Museum of Art
these are the steps that Rocky Balboa runs up in the movie Rocky, so there is a statue of him at the base of the steps. i've never actually seen the movie, but it seems like whenever there are a large number of steps, you see people re-enacting that part of the movie. we didn't have much time at the museum so we actually didn't go in, we just explored around the grounds.

what's your favorite part of exploring a city?

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

year four.


can you believe that we just lived our FOURTH year of married life? i know i say this every year but at times i feel as if i've never known another way of life than being with you, and at times i still marvel at the fact that it feels like we just embarked on this journey.

this year was my favorite because even though grad school took a lot of our free time away, i feel like the time we did get to spend together meant that much more. we spent more time exploring because we didn't know when our next chance at free time would come.

this year was full of hiking, eno adventures, and day trips to the coast. traveling for Christmas and accidentally spending $27 on gummy bears and gummy penguins. accidentally loading $81 on our dunkin donuts card. you finding "a WHOLE sand dollar" on the beach. discovering a coffee shop that "has no theme". tons of trips to the zoo because season passes rock. tons of adventures that almost compare to the time you almost got arrested at the national zoo. ;)

and now here we are, entering into our #fifthyearofmarriage and you, entering into your thirty second year of life. a little older, a little wiser, with more adventures under our belt. 

the day we met was the beginning of a lifetime of adventures. & i've heard that's the best gift you can get! ;) so here's to us. here's to making new adventures in year five. here's to reliving old adventures as we look back on memories. here's to whatever we may face, as long as we face it together. 

here's to being us, authentically.

love, Robyn

"i love [him], and that's the beginning and end of everything."

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

a mini photoshoot

i've been dabbling in photography for the past year. i got a DSLR and forced myself to only shoot in manual from that first click of the shutter. i'm so glad that i did that instead of relying on auto because now i love only shooting in manual and having so much control over the photo! i've mainly been taking photos of animals and artistic shots, but have been wanting to practice on people. our friends came to visit a few weekends ago and they graciously let me do a mini photoshoot with them! it was so much fun to get to practice with people that i knew and not be under pressure to get things super perfect. we basically just hung out at a few different places and i took photos. we did a few posed shots, but i prefer the candid life shots!

what are your favorite types of photographs?

Monday, May 08, 2017

grad school by the numbers | volume 2

compiling a list of numbers makes me feel accomplished. plus i love having these numbers from each semester so i can compare semesters, as well as total them all at the end of the program! a few of the numbers are guestimates because i am not about to count the number of pages read... but based on the number of chapters/articles i can guess! i also do not count my cups of coffee or walks around campus... but these numbers are pretty close based on my memory! all of the other numbers are accurate which is both amazing & overwhelming all at the same time!

grad school by the numbers | volume 2

semesters completed: 2 of 5

articles read: 46

chapters read: 96

video lectures watched: 41

total pages read: 4,500+

episodes of the good wife watched: 156

papers written: 20

total pages written: 124

presentations: 4

live demonstrations: 1

cups of coffee consumed: 187 (round about)

lunch dates with friends: 25

trips to the zoo: 4

free shirts obtained: 4

classes taken: 5

internship interviews: 1

length of classes in hours: 3

hours of internship: 272

walks around campus: 56

starbucks giftcards won: 1

days where i did nothing school related: 6

semesters remaining: 3 (I am doing a summer semester to make my last spring semester lighter!)

Thursday, May 04, 2017

i see their faces

i purposely haven't written much about my internship for this school year, due to privacy reasons. however, i wrote this to share a little bit about what i've experienced and seen. my perspectives have been challenged, i've grown so much in a short amount of time, and being "in the trenches" has really opened up the world to me. 

background info: i have been interning at a community services organization that serves the community i live in currently. the organization is a small non-profit that has a food bank, thrift shop, and grants that allow them to assist families in crisis with financial assistance. i worked in the "front lines" and interviewed/assessed clients as they came in requesting services. the financial interviews are in depth and that is what i did a lot of. i also did case management follow up with the 70+ families that were assisted through one of our grants. so i had a lot of client interaction over the course of this past school year & the 424 hours i spent interning.

these are people, not paperwork.
they're not just case files. they're not just statistics, they're people, faces, lives.
having a caseload of 75 files means being an active member in at least 75 lives.

it can be easy to see them as cases instead of people. but when i recognize it as 75 families... it shifts my perspective for the better. not only are these cases real people, but i play a part in each of these families through the follow up process. so everything i do, whether positive or negative, affects these families and lives, even if indirectly.

in this line of work you see a lot of faces. it's only been a year since the announcement of my career change. 9 months since i started grad school. this road has led to what feels like an entire new life. full of challenges, awareness, and growing.

i see their faces.
the face of poverty.
the face of homelessness.
the face of despair.
the face of not knowing where to turn.
the face of giving up.
the face of not wanting to be a burden.
the face of shame.
the face of humility.
the face of being overwhelmed.

the faces of the transient.
the faces that are weeping.
the faces who don't want to make eye contact.
the faces who can't wait to leave.
the faces that aren't used to asking for help.
the faces that are uncomfortable, downcast, ashamed.

the face of the young girl who just wants to take care of her baby and not have her taken away.
the face of the older lady who broke down crying because of the overwhelming situation she is in.
the face of a survivor who made hard but healthy choices.
the face of the lady who just wants for someone to listen and not dismiss her.
the face of the man who has found out he is dying.
the face of the mom who doesn't want her child to have to sleep in the car again tonight.
the face of the dad trying to keep electricity on so his kids can stay warm.
the face of the widow whose husband just died and she doesn't know where to turn.
the face of the woman who left the abusive relationship but now has nothing.

but also...
the faces of hope.
the faces of gratefulness.
the faces of strength.
the faces of resilience.

these faces and more are all that i have met throughout this past year. yet there is always more to the story and there is always strength hiding in the shadows. out of sight, but it's there. not all find it, but most do.

and that is really what being a social worker is at the core. meeting these individuals where they are, taking on their stories, and helping them find their strength to continue their journey. they don't need me to give them strength, and it's not mine to give. they just need to be able to find the strength that already exists inside of them and harness it. and after all, isn't that what we all need from time to time?

Monday, May 01, 2017

project 12 | April

i love having my years captured month by month and plan to keep up with project 12 this year as i can. it's fun to look back on the details of our year at the end of it, as well as seeing how we change through the photos each month. :)


i am so exhausted after this packed month! i still kinda can't believe i made it through all of those papers and presentations at the end of the semester! this month i had 9 papers & 2 presentations due, with 4 of those papers being due the week of Easter so we weren't able to drive home and visit our families. that is the bad thing about when holidays fall at the end of the semester when the workload is heaviest. i honestly forgot that people even get good friday off of work because i had class and Thomas doesn't get it off at work. but my parents had the day off & drove down to have dinner with us!

Thomas's work bought out a section on the first base line for the Columbia Fireflies on opening night, so we went to that & it was a lot of fun! Tim Tebow joined our team this year so opening night was packed. Thomas's work has tickets every so often to games also, which are suites and club seats in the upper deck. we loved the club seats one time we went because they are right behind home plate and you can see the entire field! we are trying to go to as many games as we can when Thomas is offered tickets - since we will only be down here for 3 more months.

we had a few people visit during the month, so it was nice to have an excuse to take a break from school work! i already mentioned that my parents came down the friday of Easter weekend. my friend Jenna came down on a saturday and we just hung out around campus. it's nice to have friends that you can hang out with and just have a slow day and be okay with that! the weekend that the semester was over we had friends come down and stay the whole weekend! they have a 2 year old so we figured going to the zoo would be fun for all!

the end of classes was also sad because i will not be in classes at the main campus next year since we are moving back home. so i had to say goodbye to a lot of people that i won't have classes with again and that was sad. i mean, i am excited about being able to move back home a year earlier & i am SO excited about the internship that i have for next year... but it is really sad to be leaving all of the people i have gotten to know this past school year in classes. and some of my favorite professors that i wish i could take this next year. i am also going to miss being on campus because it's been fun getting random free stuff at lunch & walking around the gorgeous campus!

April 1 - i made up some internship hours from being sick earlier in the semester
April 6 - opening night for Columbia Fireflies!
April 8 - bridal shower for a friend at school & my friend Jenna came to visit!
April 12 - Columbia Fireflies game
April 14 - my parents came down for dinner (since we couldn't go up for Easter)
April 18 - group presentation #1
April 19 - active shooter training for my internship
April 20 - volunteer celebration dinner for my internship
April 23 - study break trip to the zoo
April 24 - group presentation #2 & last day of classes for the semester!
April 25 - i completed 13 training modules for my upcoming internship clearance
April 27 - last day of my internship for the semester!
April 28 - our friends came to stay for the whole weekend!
April 29 - Riverbanks Zoo & Harry Potter Clue
April 30 - we took photos in the morning & we went to see The Circle

what have you been up to this month?