Thursday, February 13, 2014

A Very Deer Reunion

My cousin Morgan is one of my closest friends. I'm only ten months older than she is, and growing up we spent a lot of time together playing and creating ridiculous adventures. When we were still in elementary school, her family moved from Beaufort to Florida, but we kept in touch by writing letters. Years later, we are still pen pals. Our letters have always been sporadic, never completely regular (although in 2011-2012 we were very faithful to write). She was a bridesmaid in my wedding in 2010, and in 2012, I was in hers. It's so fun having her as not only a cousin but as a friend. We can reminisce about growing up, because we had basically the same childhood, and we can talk for hours about all kinds of things, as we discovered very recently. 

As one of her Christmas presents, Morgan's husband Caleb decided to send her to Cleveland for a few days. He told me about it just after Thanksgiving and I almost burst from the news. She finally found out and we've been texting excitedly about it ever since.  
Sadly, she didn't bring warm weather (it was 15 degrees when she arrived and it got 20 degrees lower and only about five degrees higher the whole time) but there was sunshine a few times, and there was a TON of snow for her enjoyment. 

She wore flip flops to travel, got strange looks on the plane (we had 10 inches of snow the night before she arrived), and changed into boots upon arrival.

Carson had dinner ready when we got home, and then we settled in for a long night of hanging out on the couch, catching up and realizing that we hadn't spent undivided time together in probably over ten years (wedding weekends definitely don't count).

Before we woke up on Friday morning, Carson was off, traveling to a conference near Chicago. Morgan and I slept in (talking late in to the night will do that to you) and then venturing out to pick up some supplies for our time together. We went to the mall, to Hobby Lobby for some projects, and to the store for junk food. And Morgan bought a PowerBall ticket because who doesn't want to be $247,000,000 richer? (she said she'd give me a couple million) Spoiler alert: she's now $2 poorer.

Morgan wanted to see John Carroll, so we parked quickly and ran out to take these pictures. The sunshine is deceptive when it's cold - the "real feel" that day was right around 2 degrees. Prior to this stop, we'd only walked in and out of stores, so Morgan declared that she could definitely live in the snow. After this stop, her tune changed. Florida life is a good life indeed.

We tried out arm-knitting after a healthy meal of leftover pasta (over which we discovered that we both really hate leftovers. Oh well.) It's supposed to be a 30 minute project, but since neither of us had done it before and one had to teach the other, it took over an hour. We feel like we'll be experts next time though. (post about it coming soon)

We stayed up late again, talking and eating and watching movies. The next morning, we woke up late and hung out under the electric blanket with the space heater on high. Our poor house is not well-insulated, so we were freezing (it was 55 inside) but cozy under the blanket.

Over lunch, we watched figure skating on the Olympics. Morgan found a free 30 minute trial, so while we watched some, we didn't get to see Team USA skate.

We picked up Lana around 1 that afternoon and headed for Ohio City. We had trouble finding parking, but had fun browsing the vendors at the West Side Market.

And the poor Civic got stuck in the snow, so Morgan got the fun experience of pushing a car out of snow. It was tough going until a kind gentleman walked over to help push.

We headed over to Lake Erie, which looks VERY different in the summer.

Morgan with the skyline in the background. Such a beautiful (frozen) day!

And yes, with no concern for our safety, we walked on the lake. It was frozen solid (as far as we know) and had several inches of snow on top. What a strange thing!

You could see the water in this darker part which we were careful not to walk on in case it was less solid.

I braved the rocks.

And almost died coming down.

These people were braver than we were and walked out really far. It's crazy to think that in the summer, people swim right there!

We got to explore downtown a little bit too. A lot of the city seems to be just office buildings, because it's pretty dead on the weekends; coffee shops aren't even open. But we went to the Cleveland Clothing Company for Morgan to grab a souvenir. Cute things, and I'll be making purchases there myself I think :) 
Because it was warm and very PINK, we stopped in at this cupcake place on the way back to the car. Lana got a deep fried cupcake which she shared - it was good and didn't taste super fried. 

We enjoyed some of our market purchases for dinner that night... fresh pasta - YUM!
We ended Saturday evening by creating deer sweatshirts. We've called each other "Deer" as an inside joke we don't even remember since we were around 10 years old. Morgan took a cat-nap at about 9pm and then we stayed up until 2:30pm. I think we just talked for a really long time - I can't even remember.

It snowed that evening, and Morgan kept checking out the windows and the front door to make sure it was still coming down. I laughed at her (while remembering that I did the same thing the first time I lived in a real winter climate).

We were supposed to get one inch of snow overnight, but several inches of fluffy snow had to be scraped off the car before we could leave the next morning. We trudged through the snow on the way to church (it was rough, a mini hike). The snow continued all day, and I let Morgan do the honors when we left church for a more authentic Ohio experience, grateful for the chance to sit and watch (and document).

We went to Melt for lunch, where Morgan had the Chicken Parmesan grilled cheese. I had accidentally left my phone under my chair at church so I was distracted from looking at the menu and ordered the 1/2 and 1/2 combo, which turned out to be a cup of soup, half a sandwich AND a salad. My salad and Morgan's pickle were the first green things we ate.

We went home and took pictures in the snow, taking off our coats because it's annoying wearing clothes and only ever being about to see your coat. This area we're standing in is the "low" area for the snow in the backyard and we stamped around to push it down.  

Modeling our scarves!

We spent the afternoon napping on the couch, watching YouTube videos and debating whether we wanted to go to the store to replace the bag of popcorn we'd already devoured (outcome: we were too lazy to do even that). We ultimately decided to get outside and build a snowman, which can be a lot more difficult than you'd think; it depends on the KIND of snow. This was not good snowman snow, very powdery and sticky, so we made what we called a "Snow Ghost"

Our Christmas lights are still up because it's been so cold.

As we were working on our snowman, Carson returned from Illinois to laugh at our poor creation. 
 I think we gave him a name but I can't recall what it was. Also, note the matching headbands; both Christmas gifts from our moms!

Morgan wanted to make a snowman, but the only good place was the driveway because it had the least amount of snow.

And we got ready to go to see the movie Frozen at the 9:50 showing. We made these shirts! 

There were five people in the theater, including the three of us, and all five of us laughed and enjoyed the movie - it was a great movie!

As we got ready to leave the next day, I took a picture of the Diet Coke graveyard...

This is our driveway when Morgan saw it for the last time. I'm sure she kissed the green grass when she arrived in warm, sunny Florida!

The fresh snow called for plowing the streets, which pushes the snow up on the end of our driveway like a speed bump. Needless to say, we got stuck, so I took over driving and Carson directed/dug us out. This was, you'll notice, the second time that we got stuck while Morgan was here. Even Carson has had enough of the snow (for real! He said so!)

We dropped him off at school and then did a little window shopping in Woodmere. Morgan and I had a bit of an adventure finding food on the way to the airport, but finally found a Steak and Shake that was delicious. We both had burgers and milkshakes and mine was cookie dough. The chunks of cookie made a hole in my straw so that was my afternoon crisis (haha).

We said our goodbyes at the airport after wolfing down our food, then she was off! Her flight had a bit of a delay, but by the time I'd found out about that, I was already home so we didn't get more time together, sadly.

And it was back to real life for me on a looks-warm-but-isn't Monday afternoon. Meanwhile, Florida temperatures read 70. Jealous.

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