In January of 2013, Emily, Jillian and I gathered at Jillian's home in DC for a little reunion/to meet her daughter, Graceanna (recap here). We decided that this sort of reunion was a great thing and decided to make it an annual thing. Since then, Jillian has moved down to Savannah, and Emily is living in Beaufort, so the two of them decided to make the 11+ hour drive up to Cleveland.
The week before they came was beautiful and warm, but the day that they arrived, it was snowing. They left the south in shorts and arrived in the Midwest to a couple inches of white stuff. And they couldn't get over how weird it was to see snow in April. I felt a little justified for all the complaining I've done to them. It only snowed the one day, and got warmer as the week wore on. We enjoyed sunny skies, if we couldn't have super warm days.
They arrived on a Tuesday evening, and we had dinner and talked for a little bit, but they were understandably exhausted from the drive and I had to work early on Wednesday morning, so we went to bed early!
On Wednesday after work, we headed over to the West Side Market. I knew they'd like to explore the booths, and I wanted to have some produce on hand for their visit. Carson handled the fruit and veggie purchasing while the girls and I went inside to explore. We bought crepes that were completely worth it. Jillian had a Nutella and strawberry crepe, and I had a savory one which was my lunch. Emily isn't supposed to have wheat, so she mostly took pictures, but we shared a little anyway.
This is the little viewing balcony where we sat and ate and people-watched.
Carson joined up with us in time to run back down and get a gyro, which I recommended and which he LOVED.
We dropped Carson off, and then headed out for a few errands. We went to Trader Joes, which was Emily's first experience in the store. I'd say it was positive.
After that, we went to the Target with the escalators. When we first moved here, I texted her a picture of the cart escalator and since then, she's talked about wanting to see it. So we documented. And got a cart just for the experience.
We had burrito bowls for dinner that night.
On Thursday, I worked the only two hours I couldn't get covered at work, and then we set out on an adventure downtown. Jillian photographed and navigated.
We went to Edgewater Park, which looked VASTLY different last time I was there two months earlier (click here to see). I'd only been to this particular beach/park when it was frozen over, so I hadn't realized that we only walked on frozen lake last time and that the beach part was in a totally different area than I'd thought. When it was frozen, we walked all the way out to those rocks in the middle behind Jillian.
I had to ignore Emily and Jillian to give Carson a diagnostic update on the car. It started shaking and the engine light was blinking and the car got very smelly, which was a bit of a worry. I was explaining what was going on to him here. So Carson walked home from school, took Emily's keys, met us downtown, and fixed the car. Also: that's the beach part behind me in the picture. Underwhelming.
Emily kept her husband Josiah updated on what she was doing in Cleveland.
And I tried to communicate through text when my phone tried switching to FaceTime in the middle of a call.
But eventually we became unglued to our phones and documented the time together. It was windy the whole weekend, and especially by the water.
We ventured downtown, and located this stamp sculpture.
And parked near the public library, where these little turtle (?) guys were.
We walked through the old Arcade
And walked down East 4th street on the other side.
Winding up in Public Square
We met Carson and then drove back at the apparent wrong time to be on the road. We hit every single light. But we did pass the theater district.
And we did see these guys dressed identically. They seemed somehow unaware that they were dressed alike, but we took a picture because it was funny to us.
And we ended up in Sweetie Fry, an ice cream and french fry place. We just had ice cream, and the experience left Emily especially talking about going back (which we eventually did)
In the car exchange, Carson forgot his keys, so he took mine, but locked them in the car, so we went to rescue him but I didn't have a house key to go inside to get his car keys because it was with my car keys, so he walked home (his house and car keys are separate) and then we drove him back to the car, but forgot to take my keys back, so we were locked out for 45 minutes. It was windy and starting to get chilly but Emily and Jillian relaxed on Emily's car.
On Friday, we took our time getting up and ready and then headed to Chagrin Falls. I feel like we've taken most visitors here but that's because it's pretty and the stores are fun and who doesn't like a waterfall? As expected, these visitors were fans of this quaint village as well, and we spent time at the waterfall before spending over an hour in the bookstore, did a little browsing in other stores and nearly died of hunger before finally settling on a burger place for lunch.
That evening, a few friends from our community group came over for a girl's night. We sat around and talked and ate junk food for awhile before most people left and we settled in to watch Letters to Juliet.
After that late night (people left at midnight), we slept in on Saturday. After getting ready, we went to stores nearby just to browse. Jillian quickly found a chocolate shop :)
Once the shopping was complete, we went home, where Carson prepared dinner for us. He took this picture of us in our coordinating outfits first.
And a ring picture, because that's what we do. From right to left in order of when we were married.
Carson grilled chicken, asparagus and onions for us. Yum!
We saved room, because we had plans to go to Sweetie Fry again for dessert. We were too full for fries, but never for ice cream!
Jillian got a sundae and Emily had goat cheese ice cream with turkish coffee and a tiny scoop of mint chocolate chip.
Carson had key lime and strawberry sour cream, with a "sweetie scoop" (baby scoop on top) of turkish coffee. I had a more unconventional combination of strawberry sour cream with salted caramel, with brown butter walnut on top.
Carson and I finished ours
But Emily and Jillian each left two bites, until I cheered them on to be a part of the clean plate club.
After ice cream, Emily introduced us to the world of Arbonne, which she sells. We did facials and foot soaks and heard all about the products.
World's most unflattering/horrible picture? Annnnd go!
We watched Project Runway and talked until too late.
The next day was Easter Sunday, which I'll recap in another post, since some of my pictures are from after Emily and Jillian left.
It was great to see them and to show Jillian and Emily around Cleveland. It's fun to reconnect with friends I grew up with, to see where life has taken them and to be able to share in life with these two, in good times and in bad. I'm looking forward to being much closer to them in a couple of months when we're in Tallahassee and already looking forward to the third annual reunion.