Category Archives: Celebrations

So many things in life to celebrate!

Teaser Tuesday: April 21st

Happy Tuesday!! (Yes I had the wrong date at first!) First I have to put a little shout out to my husband today on our 8th Anniversary!  We celebrated last weekend at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony – amazing night!

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Just finished super sad, yet extremely powerful, Trail of Broken Wings by Sejal Badani (my April Kindle First choice.)

Moving on to a NetGalley read, When We Were Animals by Joshua Gaylord which releases TODAY.  Not quite sure what to think about this one, a bit odd so far, very curious to see where it goes!

“The truth is, I liked my strange country.  But I didn’t want anyone feeling sorry for me, as though I were in quarantine.  Couldn’t they see my aloneness was a freedom rather than a prison?”
(24% into book*)

What do you think?  Thanks for coming by – please leave your teaser in the comments!

Book Description:

A small, quiet Midwestern town, which is unremarkable save for one fact: when the teenagers reach a certain age, they run wild.

When Lumen Fowler looks back on her childhood, she wouldn’t have guessed she would become a kind suburban wife, a devoted mother. In fact she never thought she would escape her small and peculiar hometown. When We Were Animals is Lumen’s confessional: as a teenager she fell beneath the sway of her community’s darkest, strangest secret. For one year, beginning at puberty, every resident “breaches” during the full moon. On these nights, adolescents run wild, destroying everything in their path.

Lumen resists. Promising her father she will never breach, she investigates the mystery of her community’s traditions and the stories erased from the town record. But the more we learn about the town’s past, the more we realize that Lumen’s memories are harboring secrets of their own.

A gothic coming-of-age tale for modern times, When We Were Animals is a dark, provocative journey into the American heartland.

*Disclaimer: This quote was pulled from the ARC received through NetGalley and may not match up to the final book.

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB/Jenn of A Daily Rhythm. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

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Green Day: The Soundtrack of My Life

Nowadays you may not peg me as your typical Green Day fan; conservative, Christian, stay-at-home mom, but I like to think I was one of the originals.  They have been with me over the last 20+ years and as I titled this post, really can provide the soundtrack of my life.

It started when I was 12.  The release of Dookie was life changing (as many things are to a 12-year old.)  It was one of the first CDs I purchased and immediately fell in love.  Found a place of my own, someone who understood me.  I had my dad, a huge music fan, drive me around to a bunch of Circuit City stores in the Philadelphia area (his preferred choice of venue for CD purchasing) until I found their first 2 albums.  I was hooked and had to have everything I could.

 

Next big memory of Green Day was Woodstock 1994.  My dad purchased the whole weekend via Pay-per-view, and I remember sitting in his basement with some friends at 13 years old watching the now infamous mud fight, just yearning to see them in concert.  I would profess my love to Billie Joe in poems (something to the extent of you’re only 9 years older than me, I know this can work someday.  And “Only of You” was written for me, right?!)  Again, I was young, searching for my meaning in life.  Seems silly now, but still a part of the bigger picture!  I even found these poems but am still way to embarrassed to share!

I finally got my chance in 1998 to see them live, then living in Washington, DC area, when some friends and I attended HFStival.  First time crowd-surfing, I made my way to the front to profess my love for front man Billie Joe Armstrong.  We had a connection, I just knew it!  Here is a pic from one of the many music festivals attended while in High School – complete with our mascot – Beagan (long story!)

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Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) was my high school graduation song, Class of 1999.  An emotional time in anyone’s life.  A song also chosen, 8 years later, to play at the final song at our wedding reception.

In 2005, I meet Steven.  Also a fellow music lover.  We soon came to realize that while I was 13 years old playing Green Day in my room in the Philly suburbs, he was attending college in Philly attending lots of concerts.  Many of which my father, in looking back at ticket stubs, was also in attendance.  Such a small world – would have been weird if we had met back then – but higher powers brought us back together in Atlanta in 2005.  After dating just a few short months, he surprised me to tickets to see Green Day live at Phillips Arena in Atlanta for the American Idiot tour.  This event marked two big milestones for us, our first picture together (see below) and the first time we professed our love for each other (awww!)

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9 years later, we find out we are moving to Cleveland, OH aka home of Rock n Roll, coincidence?  I’m beginning to think not.  Steven had already moved, and I came up kid-free to house-hunt one weekend, and was surprised with tickets to see American Idiot at Playhouse Square to celebrate our 7th anniversary.  On Facebook I proclaimed it the “Best Anniversary Present Ever.”

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I spoke too soon.  This year, our new hometown of Cleveland, OH is hosting the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Rock Week.   And guess who is to be inducted?  Pretty obvious, huh?  On their first year of eligibility, Green Day was nominated and chosen to be inducted!!  And my amazing husband managed to score us tickets to this exclusive event!!

We kicked off Rock Week with Celebration Day.  The Rock Hall (I’m a local and can now call it this!) opened it doors to the public and hosted an array of activities and events.  We had a blast!  This week also contained lots of local music events.  Unfortunately we didn’t get to attend any of those, the only one really of interest to me was the exclusive show that Green Day put on at the House of Blues.  But thanks to social media, I was able to see lots of pics and even catch some of it streaming live.  Would have been awesome to be there (and believe me I tried!), but I have Saturday to look forward to and that is going to be amazing!!

So thanks for reading – follow-up post to come from this Saturday’s events!  Congrats to Green Day – well deserved!  And Happy 8th Anniversary to my husband.  You Rock!

 

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Happy 2 years; Looking forward to 2015 and back at 2014!

Hello!!  I thought I would stray from my book posts and do a quick post to wish myself a happy 2 years of blogging (coinciding with Happy New Year – 2015!) We’ve had some ups and downs, some good times and bad, lots of posts at times and few (or none) at others, but I really enjoy have MDP as an outlet.  And as I tell people when I do discuss my blog, I blog for free books (mostly).  I started with much more of a vision (you can see my very first post here) and at times go back to that, but lately I’ve been mostly focused on books.  Not saying this will be true for the future either, there will probably always be books as I can never see a time in my life that doesn’t include reading, but as life goes, I’m more motivated at certain times to review activities, or a song/bible verse that moves me.  But you’ll just have to stay tuned and keep reading to see!  (But really I have no idea!)

Last year I did a post for my 1 year blogiversary.  As I re-read this today – I think my update on finding my purpose (or actually lack-there-of) still holds 100% true for me today.   Each day I try to be the best me I can be; for my kids, my husband, my dog, and most of all my Creator.  I try not to beat myself up over the bad moments and turn to Him for guidance on how to get by.  I’m FAR from perfect on this, but find comfort in knowing that I’m not expected to be and as long as I ask, I am forgiven and can mess up again and again!  And also I need to be content where I am and keep my ears/eyes/heart open for further direction!

Last year I wanted to be more INTENTIONAL.  This year took us in a direction I never would have imagined when I wrote my post last year (to Cleveland, Ohio!!??) but I felt somewhat at peace in our transition and was very intentional in putting myself out there, out of my comfort zone at times, but to listen and think through what we were/are doing.  So this year to piggyback on continuing to be intentional, the word I have chosen is FOLLOW-UP.

1fol·low–up noun \ˈfä-lō-ˌəp\

: something that continues or completes a process or activity

Maybe you can relate, but I feel myself leaving a lot of things open.  Now don’t get me wrong, if I say I am going to do something concrete, I will do it, but I’m talking more about the “We should do ____sometime” or “Let’s have dinner/a playdate sometime” or “We need to ____” or “I really should get to know ____ better!” Taking those statements and turning them into actions.  So if you’re reading this and I’ve said something like that to you – let’s do it!

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And just a quick recap of the last year:

  • I read 50 books!  (Up  from 47 the previous year – find me on Goodreads)
  • We moved to Cleveland, OH (from Atlanta, GA)
  • Our big family vacation was to Disney World in November (post and pictures still pending…)
  • LM turned 3 (Dec 2014)!!AK_RPWCOURTYARD1CHARACTER_7092687558
  • LL turned 5 (Jan 2015)!!IMG_4153
  • Our dogs are really loving living in OH.  The snow (in small batches), swimming in Lake Erie, tons of parks, and 100% sidewalks!photo (20)

So things are good.  I’ve started off the year with 2 great book reviews.  Here and Here.  Stay tuned for more and I can’t wait to see what lies ahead in 2015!  Thank you for reading, being a follower, or just being a friend!  God bless!

Love, Kaitlin

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I Will Rise

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Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak, knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.
2 Corinthians 4:13-15
Good morning!  This week my heart has been quite heavy and my prayers filled with more pleads than usual.  Not an easy topic to address for some, but one if addressed through the WORD, provides so much hope and promise.

 

This week a family member is nearing the end of their time on earth.  And thoughts of death and heaven have filled my prayers and conversations.  This person has not outwardly declared Jesus as their LORD and Savior, but our prayers have been that they have an inward knowledge of their maker and can find peace and comfort as they prepare to leave their earthly body.

 

Death is scary and sad and emotional, and I could only imagine if I didn’t have the knowledge of what was next and thought that this life was it, it would be even more so.  But as followers of Jesus – isn’t death what we live for?  It sounds morbid writing it out, but Jesus promises eternal life.  I know when this life gets tough, the hope of that perfect Eden is quite encouraging.

 

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not ready to leave things here, but I can only pray that when God calls my name , I will run open-armed into His arms knowing He will take care of me and we will all be together once again in heaven very soon.

 

Heaven has been a topic that my LL has been asking a lot about lately.  Who she knows in heaven, what they are doing, what it will be like?  I can only go off of what the Bible promises, but we talk about it as a place filled with love, and singing, and dancing.  A place where all doggies and kitties have homes.  A place where everyone can be a princess or a superhero.  A place where no one cries, no one is mean, no one is ever hurting.  What is in your heaven?  How do you talk to your kids about it?

 

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.
Revelation 21:4

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but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
Isaiah 40:31

And if you know me, ofcourse a song inspired this post.  I thought about I Can Only Imagine which depicts what it would be like to meet Jesus and be with him in heaven.  But thought Chris Tomlin’s I Will Rise (video and lyrics below) was more appropriate.  I pray that I will rise when my name is called, knowing that what is ahead is beyond anything I could have imagined through the words of the Bible and through amazing songs like this one.

 

For the person I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I will continue to pray and ask for your prayers as well.  For peace and to know this excitement that God promises us for eternity, that this life is not it.  And for those still here with us, for peace as well, that this person is no longer suffering, and the only pain and sorrow will be in our mourning.  As always God will come through on His promises and His love will prevail.

 

Thank you for reading and stopping by today.  Have a blessed day.  Amen.

 

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self[is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18
I Will Rise
Chris Tomlin
There’s a peace I’ve come to know
Though my heart and flesh may fail
There’s an anchor for my soul
I can say “It is well” Jesus has overcome
And the grave is overwhelmed
The victory is won
He is risen from the dead And I will rise when He calls my name
No more sorrow, no more pain
I will rise on eagles’ wings
Before my God fall on my knees
And rise
I will rise There’s a day that’s drawing near
When this darkness breaks to light
And the shadows disappear
And my faith shall be my eyes Jesus has overcome
And the grave is overwhelmed
The victory is won
He is risen from the dead And I will rise when He calls my name
No more sorrow, no more pain
I will rise on eagles’ wings
Before my God fall on my knees
And rise
I will rise And I hear the voice of many angels sing,
“Worthy is the Lamb”
And I hear the cry of every longing heart,
“Worthy is the Lamb” And I will rise when He calls my name
No more sorrow, no more pain
I will rise on eagles’ wings
Before my God fall on my knees
And rise
I will rise

 

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My Lighthouse

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12

Happy Monday.  Back to school here in OH (finally!  I know all our GA started weeks ago!)  Looking forward to getting back into a routine and figuring out our new normal.  With that, I am hoping (but don’t hold me too it) to get back into regular blogging.  Right now this is my little outlet when the kids have quiet time to reflect on books I read, prayers I have, or really just whatever I want.  If I can reach even just one person, it is worth it, even if that person is myself!

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One of our anthems of the summer, on repeat in the car, was “My Lighthouse” by Rend Collective.  A catchy song that you will often hear me and the kids blurting out (loudly) while driving down Lake Road with the windows down.  But one, the more I reflect on (or hear), that really has a lot of meaning and significance, now and always.  The obvious, we live at the lake now, so we do get to see lighthouses often.   But also God/Jesus as a lighthouse is a wonderful metaphor.  And then we all have opportunities to be a lighthouse to those around us.  And lastly we probably have lighthouses in our lives (other people or places that reflect the light of God on earth.)

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Living along Lake Erie, daily being able to catch a glimpse of the water, is an amazing thing.  But also has made me realize how many verses are centered around nautical things.  Seas, waves, fish, anchors, floods…visual reminders I see each and every day.  Trying to make a better effort to reflect on them as a message from God, who is our lighthouse, who will lead us safe to shore each and every day or with each trip through the troubled sea. (The lighthouse above is in Cleveland, the one below is in Hilton Head, SC.)

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And then today as I was thinking about this post, I read the news of Truett Cathy passing away.  Founder of Chick-fil-A, a company that I was blessed to call my work home for 5 years, and a company like none other.  Truett was a man of great faith, lead by example, humble, had a huge heart, treated his employees like friends, wanted his customers treated the same, and left this world a better place.  To me because of his values (and HIS values), Chick-fil-A, will always be a lighthouse in my life.  Especially since moving away from GA, CFA is a place that reminds me of home.  The taste, the service, the playground, even my kids are more comfortable in a Chick-fil-A restaurant than most other places.   Truett truly practiced what he/CFA stood for and left the world a better place.  Saying many extra prayers today for his family, both blood, and employees alike.  Our hearts are all much heavier today thinking of him, but have peace knowing he is rejoicing in heaven.  (The picture below was at the 2010 Christmas party in his office/treehouse.)

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Take a listen to the song below (I’m including the lyrics too and a bonus video if you scroll all the way down.) And reflect on this simple message of truth; God will always be there to guide you, to keep you safe, be your peace, and be the brightest light in your life, if you invite Him to do so.  Look for Him in the darkness, and He will deliver, He always does.  Amen.

My Lighthouse
Rend Collective

In my wrestling and in my doubts
In my failures You won’t walk out
You’re great love will lead me through
You are the peace in my troubled sea
You are the peace in my troubled sea

In the silence You won’t let go
In the questions Your truth will hold
Your great love will lead me through
You are the peace in my troubled sea
You are the peace in my troubled sea

My lighthouse
My lighthouse
Shining in the darkness I will follow You

My lighthouse
My lighthouse
I will trust the promise
You will carry me safe to shore
Safe to shore

I won’t fear what tomorrow brings
With each morning I’ll rise and sing
My God’s love will lead me through
You are the peace in my troubled sea
You are the peace in my troubled sea

Fire before us You’re the brightest
You will lead us through the storms

*Lighthouse print at very top is available on Etsy – click on picture.

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11 years and counting!

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This post is for the member of my family who I have known the longest.  My first love, my constant, loyal companion, my Devon on her 11th birthday.  Named after Devon, PA a town near and dear to my heart, Devon came into my life a scared, skinny, probably abused, fearful of men, 1 year old puppy in 2004.  She was there, and given half credit to, when I met Steven, and she fell in love with her life partner, Zevon .  She’s been there through 3 houses, 2 kids, another dog, and now 2 states.

“All because two hearts fell in love.” is displayed on a sign in our house.  And we had to find the one that said hearts not people as many have in their homes, because the two hearts we really give credit to are Devon & Zevons.  They brought Steven and I together and without them (me without Devon) we would not have a house full of love and laughter, little lady, little man, and even Baxter!

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As the kids and I took her to a new vet (which was hard because we had been at Animal Medical Clinic in Peachtree City her whole life), I read the chart and she now falls into the geriatric category.  That hurts my heart to read.  But I was encouraged by the new vet, a wonderful woman who specializes in canine physical therapy (of which there is a center conveniently right next door.)  After some x-rays of her hips and back legs, we confirmed arthritis and some fluid build-up in her back legs, knees, and feet, and discussed many options.  Nothing was pushed on us – just outlined.  Who knew that between drugs, lasers, water therapy, and much more, we have so many options.  Nothing is guaranteed, but it could improve the quality of her life.

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And I should preface, other than not using one of her back legs and not being as agile as she once was, she is still doing great.  And even more so, she wants to do everything we and the other dogs do, so we can only hope and pray for many more years to come!

While our move was stressful, OH has actually been good for her, as GA summers were not her favorite.  We are able to walk often and even get to the beach, so we’ll keep our fingers crossed for how the winter will go, but I think we’ve picked a good retirement home for Devy.  Here are some pictures of her around town:

And I found these fun pictures.  First is our first family picture in 2005 and second is right before we moved this summer (not the best but I dare you to try posing 2 kids and 3 dogs!)

Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.

To the world you may be just one person, but to one person dog, you may be the world.

Saving one dog will not change the world, but surely for that one dog, the world will change forever.

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I’ll stop now before I lose it completely.  I just wanted to honor my oldest best friend.  Devon, we love you and look forward to many more birthdays, Happy 11th Birthday old girl!!  I’ll leave you with even more pictures (most are either from 2005 or after 2010 – things were much more interesting after kids!)

 

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CLE is the place to be!

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For once I’d like to say we were ahead of the curve!  With the RNC picking Cleveland to host the 2016 convention and today’s announcement of LeBron coming home to the Cavaliers, there is an awful lot of pride going on here in little old Cleveland.  Much of the charm of Cleveland that we’ve experienced is from the outside simply not knowing how great this city is, so hopefully this is a good thing (at least maybe some of you will be more excited to come visit!!)  Seriously, today I had to pick from going to the beach, the pool, or one of the many parks/playgrounds that are all within a few miles of us, many of them along beautiful Lake Erie.  (I’m very blessed by my hardworking husband who allows us to have this lifestyle – and with a 2 & 4-year-old in tow, the word relaxing you will not hear!)

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I figured I was overdue for an update – going on 9 weeks here – and this is as good of reason as any for just that!  See my first two updates here & here, keeping up that momentum, we’ve been keeping very busy.  1st order of business – we bought a house!  Very excited.  We’ve loved living where we are so much, that we bought a house just a few streets over.  1 block from Lake Erie, in quintessential small town America.  Lots of people have been here their whole lives and there is a lot of pride in living here (also evident in the almost 3% property taxes – yikes!)  I’ve also heard it referred to as a bubble – sound like another town GA friends??  We are set to close this week and move over the next few.  Very excited to get settled – also stay tuned for some house projects.  A deviation from what I usually blog about – but I think it may be fun to document.  Thanks to Houzz.com – we have lots of inspiration!

I’m so overflowed with pictures that yesterday my iPhone told me I couldn’t take anymore – so sorry for the photo purge – but we’ve just been doing so much AND it’s just so beautiful here.  (We’ll talk come winter!)  So here are a few more things to do in CLE!

Bay Days Festival.  An old-time carnival invades this picturesque small town around the 4th of July.  The kids had a blast on all the rides (which can also be described as old!) and this year we kept them up late to watch the fireworks.  An amazing display over Lake Erie made it a magical first time (and a lot of live up to!)

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.  I’ve mentioned before how impressed I am with the Metroparks system here.  The zoo did not disappoint, so much so, we bought a pass!  We first got to visit doing a 5k, then went back.  We could go a few more times before we see everything there is to offer.  But a beautiful zoo, easy to get to, and not for the out of shape – as there are A LOT of hills, but makes for some good exercise, especially with the double stroller!  There is tram for those who can’t keep up though!  And not to miss is the Circle of Wildlife Carousel – beautifully handcrafted – you can pick almost any of the zoo animals to ride!  (And you can also see LL on a real camel!!)

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Cleveland Botanical Gardens.  As a member of Atlanta Botanical Gardens, I was happy to learn we get reciprocal membership here in Cleveland!  We’ve been seeing adds for the latest exhibit – Nature Connects – a Lego exhibit – so we went for a quick trip.  In a really cool park of town – University Circle – the gardens sit among many other museums all around a circle!  Will definitely be back often to visit more of these cool places!

Local Beaches, Pools, and Splash Pads.  Kids completed two weeks of swim lessons at our local pool, which doubles as a small waterpark, really I’m impressed with it!  And growing up going to the Jersey shore, Lake Erie beaches don’t bother me, so it’s fun to mix it up and go there, and the kids don’t know any different!  I think I had mentioned before too – but there is a dog beach that the dogs have been loving too!  And even a few local splashpads for more water fun!  (Now if it would only get above 70 – haha my GA blood is already thickening – I have no idea how I ever survived in the 90’s!)

Last week we also wished our Zevon a Happy 10th Birthday!

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Anything peak your interest?  We will very soon have our own house, complete with guest room – so come visit!  All the cool kids are doing it! Thanks for stopping by today – have a FABULOUS weekend!

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Beaches, Parks, Baseball, & Dogs – 2 more fun weeks!

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Hello friends!  3 weeks now in Ohio (see week 1 here) and we’ve been keeping quite busy (so not to think about how much we miss everyone in GA).  Today is a cool 62 and we are stuck inside due to the rain (after checking out a local church!), but this is the first day this has happened, so I’ll use it for some catch up.  We are free and clear of all home-ownership right now (yay for our GA house closing this week), but ramping up our search in Ohio.  We are not finding exactly what we want, but trying to wait patiently and pray for the right house to come up.  It’s pretty cutthroat here too – actually put in an offer last week and lost out to someone willing to pay higher than list..more power to them if they want to overpay, not my style (but probably should prepare for that scenario.)

Have I mentioned how beautiful it is here?  So many people outside all the time and so many parks to explore!  Here is my attempt at a selfie on my new favorite mode of transportation (but hard to get the full bike and trailer in!)  But loving our new Baby Jogger POD as both a bike trailer and jogging stroller and how easy it is to get around via bike!

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Since I last posted we spent a nice afternoon with some family at the beautiful Edgewater Yacht Club on Lake Erie:

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Attended a Memorial Day Parade, followed by our first visit to Huntington Beach (part of the AMAZING Cleveland Metroparks – which I’m guessing you’ll hear a lot about as there are a lot and they are all so unique and cool!), and then an afternoon swim for Zevon & Baxter at another local beach dubbed the “dog beach”.

Celebrated my birthday taking in an Indians game at Progressive Field.  And let me take a minute to tell you just how impressed I was!  It didn’t hurt that Steven was able to use corporate tickets to get us VIP parking, club access with all you can eat, and great seats!  (See our panoramic view at the top of this post!)  Sundays are also kids day, so the kids were able to make crafts, play, dance with hot dogs, see a magician, see a variety of exotic animals, watch a live interview with an Indians players, and they had a blast!  A bright, sunny, 80 degree day, really made this a perfect afternoon.

The next week brought more great weather, more parks & picnics, our weekly Chick-fil-A visit, and the grand opening of our local pool.  It won’t be relaxing chasing 2 young kids around the pool, but it sure will be a fun place to spend many days.  The kids pool alone has a 1 ft toddler area, a zero-entry area, and a playground with a slide and more squirters than you could ever imagine!  Then there is a lap pool, diving boards, and 2 huge slides for the more daring!

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And then I’ll end this weeks segment with a fun event we attended yesterday at another Cleveland Metropark – their Farmpark.  About a 40 minute drive from us, the promise of a “Working Dog” festival (along with it being a working farm) was well worth the drive!  In addition to sled dogs, search & rescue dogs, sheep herding dogs, agility dogs, guide dogs, therapy dogs, and rescue dogs, the horses, cows, sheep, goats, pigs and chickens were quite entertaining.  There were a lot of hands on activities (you’ll see one below of LL operating on Tigger at a mock animal clinic), I was guided by a Golden Retriever guide dog for the blind, and the kids will tell you the playgrounds in the middle of the park kept us all very entertained!

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Stay tuned for more – and hopefully some updates on our home search so you can come visit!  And since it is Sunday (and I’m way behind on any calling posts), I’ll leave you with a verse:

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“For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.” Isaiah 55:12.

Amen – have a blessed week!

 

 

 

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1st week in the Midwest!

Hello again from Ohio!  We could not have asked for a prettier week here to get acclimated.  It’s been busy, some fun stuff – some not so fun, but enough to warrant a new blog post for those of you wanting an update!  And I have been reading, actually have finished 3 books since my last review, so hopefully next week I can get some reviews up and get back into Teaser Tuesdays.

From where I left off (see our drive from a week ago here), our first stop, even before unpacking, car dealerships.  With 2 little ones, and not a lot of patience for car salesman, we made one stop to check out the Pathfinder at a local Nissan dealership.  We went in wanting the captain’s chair 2nd row (LIKE a minivan), and although I had read online that this was an optional feature, that was sadly the one feature we did not end up with.  That is okay though, only having 2 kids, we will only need it on special occasions, and this came fully loaded with everything else (including 4×4 which I’ve heard may come in handy during the winter months!) and so much more.  So we can check that box off!

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Next stop – Ohio BMV.  Yes I said B not D (GA friends) – Bureau of Motor Vehicles.  I’m now licensed to drive in Ohio.  Check that off!

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Next stop – find local Chick-fil-A.  Here we are at Westgate Chick-fil-A in Rocky River.  “Taste of Home” as I proclaimed on Facebook!

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Also while in Rocky River, we stopped by Rocky River Park.  Beautiful spot along Lake Erie, complete with a playground!

And another fun playground later in the week, this one complete with a Fire Boat for our LM!
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Even checked off a few places on my “Why they say Cleveland Rocks” post from a few months ago.

We joined the Lake Erie Science and Nature Center.  All their camps for the summer are full – but hoping maybe some spots open up for LL.  (And I love that lizard with his tongue out – keeping that around for when I need a quick smile!!)

The Westside Market.  Picked up some local produce and scoped it out for many future trips!

Some fun around our rental.  Rope swing in front yard, watching a bunny & chipmunks in the backyard, and pulling out some good old college dorm room decorating with posters!

And Crocker Park is a really neat area.  Great restaurants, great shopping, live music and other events, chess sets (regular and giant size), a splash pad, and a train ride!  We checked out the B Spot (by Michael Symon).  Good stuff.  Will be back to this fun area!

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I’ll say it again – great week to be up here, and more to come as it’s only a half-day into our 3-day weekend!  Daddy made it home from work each day for dinner (yay!), so settling into the new normal.  We purchased a new jogging stroller/bike trailer too, which has and will accompany us on many more adventures.  So stay tuned!  (And come visit – we miss family and friends to do all of this with!)

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Because I knew you – I have been changed FOR GOOD!

I’ve heard it said,
That people come into our lives
For a reason
Bringing something we must learn.
And we are lead to those
Who help us most to grow if we let them.
And we help them in return.
Well, I don’t know if I believe that’s true
But I know I’m who I am today
Because I knew you.

Wow, I cannot believe I have to write this.  My heart is so heavy, which may be why much of it will be staying in GA as we head up to OH.  To all of our friends, family, neighbors, to all of those who have been in our lives the last 11 years for me, 18 for Steven, 4.5 for Molly, and 2.5 for Cooper, we will miss you.  You have all taught us, comforted us, loved us, prayed for us, prayed with us, grown with us, celebrated with us, grieved with us, helped us, been with us through good and bad, ups and downs, and because of that, we are all who we are today.

It well may be
That we will never meet again
In this lifetime.
So, let me say before we part:
So much of me
Is made of what I learned from you.
You’ll be with me
Like a handprint on my heart.
And now whatever way our stories end
I know you’ll have rewritten mine
By being my friend.

This song brought me goose bumps when it was just a song in a musical (albeit the best musical ever – Wicked), now I could not think of a better way to express my feelings on physically leaving all of you.  And you all know by now I like to express myself in song, so this is my chosen Swan Song (Sing Off anyone?)

In Wicked, Glinda, the good witch, sings this song with Elphaba, the “wicked” witch, when their lives take different directions and they must part ways.  They started as enemies but developed an unusual friendship which each of them came to cherish.  Their paths may never cross again, but because of knowing each other, they were changed for good.

I think I will keep it short, because this song really says it all (and I could probably ramble on for quite sometime), take a listen below.  Each one of you has left a hand-print on my heart, and in a great book metaphor from this song, has been rewritten my story by you being my friend.  This also is true of all the other chapters in our lives, God places people in our lives at very specific times for a reason, and this song speaks to that truth.  I hope it is not the case, but we may not meet again, as everyone moves on, but I am still so thankful I knew you, even if only for this chapter.

“Whatever way our stories end, I know you’ll have rewritten mine by being my friend”

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts, we love you, we will miss you, and we have been changed for the better because you were in our lives.  Keep in touch, come visit, and we will be back.

“Because I knew you, I have been changed for good”


*Not the full song from Wicked (find that here) but the best video I could find to embed.  Or here are the lyrics.

And a post from me would not be complete without a few bible verses.  Here are a few on friendship and the companionship of others that I’ve been meditating on this week:

Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom for the future.
Proverbs 19:20 

Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.
Proverbs 27:17

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Two are better than one,
Because they have a good reward for their labor.
For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.
But woe to him who is alone when he falls,
For he has no one to help him up.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

Amen – thanks for reading.  Stay tuned for much more from OH, love you all!

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