Thursday, May 29, 2014
When it came to moving this summer, I just couldn't get my brain there. I mean, we WERE moving, but looking at houses, searching for jobs, even doing "lasts" here in Cleveland were the last thing on my mental checklist. Right after we decided on Florida, Emily and Jillian came to visit, then two weeks later I went to Florida, then a week later Carson's parents came and he graduated... and THEN I knew I would be able to focus on the task at hand.
But now that I'm mentally "there", this is a weird time.
I took the pictures off the walls the other afternoon and didn't cry, but felt like it, which honestly for me was a really big step. "It's now! We're moving now! This is it!" my brain said, making me sadder with each piece of yellow duct tape I tore.
Lots of people take the pictures down last because it feels like home right up to that moment, but I honestly wanted that. When we moved from Spokane, I didn't get emotional at all about it. I wouldn't let myself, so in a lot of ways transitioning to life in a new place was that much more difficult for me.
For years, it's been difficult to be vulnerable and open with my emotions. Even when alone, it's hard to sit there and cry without mentally reminding myself to "suck it up". One of many things I've learned in the past couple of years is that grief and pain and sadness are not bad. Dwelling on one's problems isn't a great way to cope with things, but neither is pretending that everything's great.
Our community group and church here has been such a blessing to me in this area. Having to be honest with my struggles has been a struggle in itself, but also a great point of growth in my life. I've learned that I haven't regretted letting people in when I was going through a hard time. It would have been really easy to talk about something that sounded good, instead of opening up and telling my friends what was really going on, but I'm thankful that I did. Before, I've put things I've thought about in writing only, as I'm not really a verbal processor, but my small group has seen me stumble through saying a lot of nothing to say what I mean. It's been good. The notebooks and random Word documents I used to confide in have nothing on real live people.
So honestly, as I sit here with dozens of piles of stuff to pack and dozens of taped boxes surrounding me, I'm going to admit that I'm sad to lose what I have here. I'm sad that the life I'm putting into boxes won't be the exact same life I live in Florida. Oh, I'll get over that. I'll meet people and hopefully have a great community there, but I'm sad to come to the end of this one. I'm sad that no matter how many times I visit, I won't be doing life with the same people I've been around. I'm sad that instead of people knowing me and sort of knowing what I'm NOT saying, I'll have to start all over with new people.
The truth is that we've done it before. When we unpacked our boxes in Cleveland, we thought that there was no way in the world we'd have anything close to what we had during four years in Spokane. In our almost-two years in Cleveland, it's true... we don't have what we had in Spokane. We had Cleveland. And I realize that sounds all kinds of cheesy. But it's a good reminder and something to look forward to.
We aren't going to have the same life we have here when we move. It might seem better, or it might seem worse, but it's got its own set of experiences. It's what makes life interesting, and it's a reason to be thankful for the seasons we've gone through and the chapters that have come before and are to come.
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
Our anniversary this year fell between Carson's graduation and moving; two things that have taken up most of our attention recently. It wasn't a day we entirely forgot about, but we really didn't have time to plan anything, so everything we did was last-minute. Last year, we had all the excitement of losing my passport, and we went to two places for our anniversary (the beach and Niagara Falls), so really we were fine not doing much.
We like to do the traditional theme gifts for anniversaries, and this year, the theme was fruit and flowers. It was nice, because the options were fairly inexpensive, but there wasn't a ton of room for creativity.
Carson got me flowers (he said he thought the lilies [which I kind of hate] were tulips [which I love]. Oops.) and arranged fruit on a plate for me. I didn't want to get him real flowers so I was trying to exercise all the creative thinking I could muster and got an Edible Arrangement. I've always wanted one, just for the pineapple flowers, so it worked out in my favor, plus since the fruit WAS flower shaped, I killed two birds with one stone. I ordered online the night before and it was ready to pick up the next day.
That night, we were going to go to dinner at the very fancy Pizza Hut (I know... we live large), but our friend Yann, a French exchange student from JCU, took us out to dinner at Melt. He stayed with us the few days before he went back to France and it was nice to spend one of his last evenings with him before he went home. (and by the way, as of that night we are OVER this restaurant. Too much cheese -- words I didn't think I'd ever say)
We worked as usual the next day, and then decided that it would be nice to feel like we were doing SOMETHING for our anniversary, so we stayed at a cheap little hotel that night. We got dressed up and went to dinner at The Cheesecake Factory and came back and watched House Hunters so... be a little jealous okay?
We shared a piece of cheesecake for dessert and couldn't finish it.
The next morning, Carson picked up Bob Evans breakfast. He's always wanted to try it, and now he has. And well... it wasn't great, but it was food.
We got ready for the day and headed west. We went to the book sale at the Cleveland Botanical Gardens, and found out there that admission to the gardens was free so we walked around a little.
The real reason for being in University Circle was to go to the opera! Going to see the Cleveland Orchestra has been on our bucket list for some time now (we hear it's one of the best orchestras out there!) and we know people who could get us tickets for cheap (one was free, one was $10) so we got tickets for The Cunning Little Vixen, which is a very unique opera. It had both live acting/singing and animation, with the orchestra on stage providing the music, and was a really neat first opera. The story line was a little strange and the words were all in Czech, but there was captioning so we were able to follow along.
Severance Hall was really really gorgeous and sitting in the balcony was waaaay up there but gave us a greater view of that gorgeous ceiling. We could hear and see just fine.
Carson mentioned Dairy Queen after the opera, and so we went, in the name of anniversaries, cherry dipped cones and sprinkles.
To continue the festivities, we came home and packed for seven hours. I am impressed with the fact that we actually did that, but it meant that we were up packing until 1am. On the positive side, we got the whole upstairs done and got rid of a decent amount of stuff too. Go us!
Monday, May 26, 2014
Given the success of the deer sweatshirts, Morgan and I tried our hand at a more Disney-themed freezer paper craft.
textile medium and white paint (you could use fabric paint instead)
foam dotters and brushes
glitter (which we didn't use)
We first figured out the right size and placement of our Minnie Mouses by using the iPad as a guide
Then we printed and traced the Minnies onto freezer paper.
We tried them on and figured out the right placement.
Ironed on our stencils and painted away. Mine wasn't fully cotton and because of the dark color it took a lot of coats. It bled a tiny bit around the edges too, but not badly.
Morgan's turned out perfectly.
Then we made bows with grosgrain ribbon. We hot glued the bows to pins, so we can take them off and put them on to wash and wear.
Voila! My shirt. I don't think my Minnie is lopsided... it's the way I'm standing.
And here we are, modeling them very late at night. I forget our height different until I see pictures like this... at least we have matching shirts so people know we're related :)
Friday, May 23, 2014
Carson's parents came into town for his graduation!
They arrived on Wednesday night, and there aren't pictures of that. It was late, and we spent a little time chatting before bed, but that's pretty much all we did.
On Thursday, Carson was rained out of work, which turned out to be a great thing! We decided to drive down to Akron, which is where they lived from 1997-1998. We drove by their old elementary school-turned community center, their old church, the place Mike worked, the burger place with sweet burgers, and the house they lived in. They were nervous to take a picture in front of it, but I insisted.
We drove through downtown on the way back and decided to stop in Lakeview Cemetery because it's on our bucket list and we're always being told that we MUST go. Gorgeous and sobering.
After dinner that night, we stopped by Sweetie Fry. I don't know if Emily and Jillian will see this, but we took this picture for them!
We watched The Bourne Supremacy that night and went to bed.
The next morning, Carson's work was rained out again. He went to a luncheon for the graduate assistants in the early afternoon and then joined us and we decided to venture out east to Chagrin Falls. We walked around the little village and stopped for a bit at the playground.
We considered seeing a movie, but nothing good was showing at the time we wanted, so we went to dinner instead. Carson and I saw this restaurant on our first day in Ohio and thought that the tagline was HYSTERICAL... "A really good Italian restaurant"... and since then we've said that we'd go there before we left Cleveland. Unfortunately though, we'd forgotten exactly where it was, and neither of us knew the actual name, just a paraphrase of the tagline so Google was no help. The weekend before their visit, we actually drove out east looking for this place just to see if we could find it. And we did! So since we knew where it was, we decided to go.
We went to East Coast Custard that night (so good) and ended the evening with The Bourne Ultimatum.
On Saturday morning, we woke up to yet another drizzly sky. We decided to go for it though and explored the west side of Cleveland.
Our first stop was at Edgewater Reservation. This is the place where Morgan and I walked on the lake, and where I took Jillian and Emily in April. It has a great view of the city, isn't too far, and there are place to walk around.
Since it was nearby, we walked around the West Side Market as well, which was the hit we fully expected it to be. Right outside the market is a chalkboard wall owned by one of the breweries, with a prompt to write why you love Cleveland, or something like that. We found the tiniest piece of chalk to write "Carson's Graduation!" but it was too small so we got his nickname.
Once we described Happy Dog, it became a must-do place. We love the way it's set up, and it was a fun lunch that we all enjoyed.
Danita added a little crazy with the fruit loops.
We parked next to the public library, which was one of Carson's additions to our bucket list, so we went inside looking for the special collections. It was a beautiful room full of really neat things, including many unique chess boards from all over the world/history.
The smallest book in the world:
Entrance to the special collections suite.
This was altogether a gorgeous building and I'm so glad Carson insisted that we go (and that we didn't take the elevator on the way down!)
We walked through Public Square and discovered that the Soldiers and Sailors monument in the middle has a little one-room museum inside it. The men working inside were incredibly knowledgeable about the history of the monument and the contents inside. You could tell that they loved sharing their knowledge with the public.
See the bird on the tip of the gun?
The marathon was the next day, so we watched some of the setup right by the Browns Stadium and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
The next day was Carson's graduation, which you can read about by clicking right here.
On Monday, it was sunny again and Carson had to return to work. His parents walked to Starbucks where one of my coworkers wrote this on Danita's cup :)
And here's a picture of our list. A few things aren't on there, but we did SO MUCH! I did have to superimpose a couple of the check marks here on things we did, but didn't get checked off before I took the picture.
Before their flight, the three of us set off for North Chagrin Reservation, where Squires Castle is. It's an old mansion that's completely empty inside and open for the public.
This little redhead happened to be standing there as Danita went to take my picture in the window.
Behind the castle are trails that go all over the reservation. We chose one and walked down it for a little bit.
Our adventure was concluded with a trip to Mitchell's Ice Cream (which I think means we had ice cream every day, but I'm not sure)
We went back to the house, where they packed up and drove off to the airport. It was a really fun visit and I'm glad that we were able to do so much in our time together! We hadn't seen Carson's parents since the day before we moved to Ohio (they came over to say goodbye and help us clean our apartment) so it was great to spend several days enjoying and exploring with them. Next time they get to visit Florida!