The mama: Bella Vistan Sarah Merrick is mom to 19-month-old twins Lucy and Harrison (“which I consider my full-time — and favorite — job”), as well as an avid runner who runs the blog Multiples and Miles (and @multiplesmiles on Insta) documenting her postpartum fitness journey and mom adventures. (Speaking of running: You east-siders out there have more than likely seem her out there pushing the twins in her jogging stroller — she’s always training for her next full or half marathon.) Sarah is also a marketing consultant for a soon-to-be start-up snack company in Philly (“more details on that soon!”), and she owns and operates a seasonal gift basket business called Red Fox Gourmet. Also (phew!!), Sarah’s the president of the MOMS Club of Philaldelphia (which we’ve written about before!). MOMS Club is a social group dedicated to bringing moms together for support and camaraderie. The MOMS Club offers members a full schedule of outings, usually about 2 a week, that allow for getting out of the house, meeting other moms, socializing with other children, and exploring our great city! “I’ve met so many amazing moms since joining,” Sarah says, “and I’ve also done tons of activities with Lucy and Harrison that I never would have found on my own.”
Background: My husband and I both grew up in Massachusetts (we met in high school!). We moved to Philly a little over 5 years ago for my husband’s job. We never expected we’d live here for this long – but we love it!
Favorite kids’ classes: Mama’s Movers Yoga at Mama’s Wellness Joint, Enchanted Music Together, and Sensory Play at Play Arts.
Best way to spend a Saturday afternoon as a family: We love to be outside, so we are always taking walks around Bella Vista as a family with our pup Roxy. We’re big fans of Seger Playground as well as Palumbo Park. We do enjoy getting out of the city from time to time for a family run along Forbidden Drive in Wissahickon Valley Park.
Parents’ class: Understandably not necessary for everyone, but we took a Twin Love Concierge class through Nesting House, and we left armed with valuable information that helped us survive the newborn stage with twins. We also took a great Newborn Basics class at Pennsylvania Hospital! I will never forget my husband and I talking ourselves through the twins’ first bathtime – repeating all the steps we learned from the class out loud. We were so nervous!
Date night: One of our favorite spots is Amis – their bucatini with jalapeno and almond pesto is so dreamy. We are also big fans of their swordfish meatballs.
Hidden gem: Cianfrani Park in Bella Vista is a fun, hidden gem. We call it the ‘Plastic Toy Park’ because it has a whole pen full of donated, well-loved plastic toys. Thinking about buying a plastic ride on/push car for your tot? No need! Just go to Cianfrani and play with one there. Sure you have to leave it behind when you leave, but that’s okay – who has room in their living room for one anyway?!
Rainy day go-to: Philly InMovement’s Open Gym is tons of fun, plus the facilities are well-maintained and clean. I love that they always change it up so it’s never the same experience twice. And bonus points – there’s plenty of indoor stroller parking so you don’t have to worry about your stroller getting soaked outside. Lucy and Harrison love it and always leave exhausted.
Holiday tradition: We never miss taking a stroll through the light display “Miracle on 13th Street” in South Philly. It never fails to put me in the holiday spirit!
Outing or event you avoid: Night Market. I love supporting local food vendors – but Night Market just gets WAY too crowded which makes it not enjoyable.
Favorite app for parents, or favorite app for kids: MeetUp helps me stay in the know of all the latest MOMS Club of Philadelphia events – and allows me to RSVP, message other attendees, etc. right from the app! I’m also a fan of Winnie.
Favorite fast massage or spa treatment or some treat for mom: I’m on my feet a lot between momming and running and working. So I take time to treat my feet well with pedicures. Boutique Nails on South Street (901 South St) has been my go-to since I moved here 5 year ago. Ann, the owner, is the kindest and most hardworking woman ever. She runs a great shop and has a wonderful staff. I don’t go anywhere else for my pedicures!
Family-friendly restaurant: Hawthorne’s in Bella Vista is my go-to when I’m dining out with the twins – even when they were itty-bitty. They always accommodate strollers and have plenty of highchairs. Marathon Grill is also a great pick when eating out with kiddos and is bustling enough that squeals (and the occasional scream!) aren’t disturbing to other diners.
Gear you can’t live without: I can’t live without our strollers – we have an UppaBaby Vista (fashioned as a double) and a BOB Revolution Pro Duallie. Living in the city means I drive maybe once a month, so we are always out and about on wheels! I use the Uppa as our “everyday” stroller, and I run with the twins in our BOB. I trained for the Philly Marathon over the summer pushing L&H along the way! I would not have been able to train without the running stroller – and it made me much stronger/faster. Pushing 50+lbs of baby and a stroller is no joke!
Indulgence you can’t live without: Justin’s Mini Peanut Butter Cups. I have one or two almost everyday after dinner – and I love them. SO delicious. And just the right treat for me.
Favorite children’s book right now: Penguin and Pinecone by Salina Yoon
Favorite outdoorsy thing to do with kids: We love to take family outings to Forbidden Drive in Wissahickon Valley Park. It’s shaded, so even on the hottest days of summer it feels much cooler than the city. Plus there are fun spots along the path to stop and let little ones dip their toes in the river.
Best piece of advice you’ve gotten about parenting: A wise friend advised me to always buy white socks for your little one(s) – so that you’re never stuck trying to match a hundred different colors/patterns. At the time I thought this was a little silly, but now I think it’s genius and should be shouted from the rooftops. White socks are all I buy now!
Any moms’ groups you love? MOMS Club of Philadelphia! I’ve made so many mom friends since joining MOMS Club. It’s a wonderful way to meet people, and also to discover things to do with your little ones all over Philadelphia.
Favorite toy or kid entertainment in your house right now: Lucy and Harrison just got a Little People’s Dollhouse, and they love it! Lucy likes moving the people from room to room while Harrison is obsessed with the sounds all the kitchen appliances make when you open and shut the doors. It’s really a great toy that I hope will grow with them.
Hardest part of raising kids here: So many stores/venues with stairs! We are usually out and about on wheels since Lucy and Harrison aren’t ready to walk everywhere yet (it would take forever….). But I’m always shocked at the number of stores, venues, restaurants, etc that have stairs and no ramps!
Best part of raising kids here: There is so much to do. There is no shortage of fun activities to do with little ones here – from tiny babies all the way up to school-aged kids and beyond. Whether it’s a stroller tour at the Art Museum or Barnes Foundation, Open Gym at inMovement, or Spanish Storytime at the Free Library, I love knowing that everyday there is some activity out there for us to get out and do!