Snovember Update

That’s no typo.

We woke up to a couple inches of fresh powdery snow covering everything. My toddler ate her breakfast in record time to be able to go out and play in the snow this morning.

It’s also 20° degrees outside today, so we won’t be venturing out. I thought this would be a good time for a quick update. Yes, we are still moving to Arkansas. We will leave Ohio at the beginning of the year. We listed our home for sale and it was under contract in 3 short days (YAY!).

Things are moving smoothly. We are downsizing, packing, cleaning, and trying to soak up everything Ohio. It is sad though – each event becomes a new “last” for us.

Like yesterday we ventured out to Young’s Jersey Dairy in Yellow Springs. We ate lunch (cheese curds are life), fed the goats, and got ice cream. I couldn’t stop myself from wondering if this was the last time we’d visit Young’s in the next month and a half that we have left in Ohio.

It’s bittersweet because we love Ohio, but we are very excited for new the adventures that 2020 will bring us.

Otherworld

It was situated in a desolate parking lot. Where are we? We drove in to be greeted by empty store windows, brand names peeled from the exterior walls with only the glue and sun stain to mark it’s past box store resident, abandoned trash cans, and aging pavement throughout the parking lot.

We were in Columbus, Ohio, which made the emptiness feel even more strange. This is large city crawling with people and then there’s… this? A desert of sorts. This itself was possibly an unintentional (but maybe completely intentional) introduction to the immersion art we were about to experience.

Otherworld.

When you walk in, there are a few ways you can go. There are lights. There are noises. There is art. There are hidden passage ways. There are secrets written in the art. You can make music with the art.

There are eyes everywhere. A room where the light follows you. A room where if you touch the gems on the wall, the shatter. Mirrors echoing neon lights as you walk through them.

You really have to feel your way around because there are hidden rooms right behind curtains that don’t look like curtains. Touch everything. Crawl through everything.

Visit the room full of your childhood toys. Visit the room full of spiders. There is an office full of psychology books. There is a room with a graveyard and large manic looking figures. Twins. Visit the ocean room. Visit the room with the man eating plants, close to the center of it all.

Just go. Immerse yourself in the strange yet beautiful art. Look at it all. Touch it all.

*I would like to add – it is pretty kid friendly. I took my 2.5 year old and she loved it.

10 years

Cheers to 10 Years and many more!!

That’s right. My husband and I celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary yesterday. It’s been an adventurous decade. We met in 2007 and got married shortly after in 2009.

We started our marriage by totally uprooting our lives and moving to the Azores! We lived there for two years, gained a cute pup, made life long friends, and soaked up the culture.

We eventually packed up our things and moved our family to Okinawa, where we spent 3 years breathing in that tropical ocean air. Japan taught us a lot – mostly how to be gentler humans in such a busy world.

4 years ago, we settled into our new home in Ohio. We bought a house, had a baby, lost our cute pup to sudden illness, went through two deployments, and fell I love with the gem city. Ohio will always have a special place in our hearts.

It was a beautiful, but quick 10 years. We’ve had a lucky run. Plenty of ups and downs, but we always manage to pull it together, together.

But here we are, celebrating our 10 year wedding anniversary while preparing our home for the market – We will be on the move again soon! Our family is packing up and moving to…

Little Rock, Arkansas!

Oakes Quarry

We went on a little adventure recently and guys, this is a true hidden gem. I’ve always casually heard about an old quarry that was turned into a park. Never really thought anything of it even though it’s under 10 minutes from my house – That’s it!

So you know how long it took me to get there? 2 years since I heard about it. Well we headed out there the other night for an evening adventure… and fell in love.

Walking down the rocky path sends you into another existence. I did not feel like I was in Ohio at all. It was 89° and the sun was beating down on us and this rocky desert like scene.

Yes, this is an appreciation post just for an old quarry in Fairborn, Ohio. Pics below and if you live near here – GO! It’s got plenty to see and a nice 2 mile walk amongst the rocks. (There is a quick history below the photos)

I even headed back out there a few days later to do a photo shoot with the ever so lovely and dark Aniyahlationn

Back in 1929, it was surface mined for limestone. The Oakes family purchased it in the 90’s and eventually donated the land to the city of Fairborn in 2003.

The park has a 2 mile foot trail and 1 mile horse trail. It’s the 2nd largest park in Fairborn and it is a beauty. Keep a look out for wildlife and fossils! The last time I was there, we saw swarms of Buckeye Butterflies!

PSA FOR CONCERT GOERS

I have to share something with you guys.

Last Monday, my husband and I went to a concert while our amazing friends watched our daughter. We drove out to Cincinnati to see Lil Wayne & Blink182 – which honestly fulfilled some teenage dreams for us.

But that’s not what I’m here to talk about. It’s about what we tried for the first time and I will NEVER attend another concert without them.

That’s right… look at the photo again! We wore hearing protection to a concert. Why? We are old. No, I’m kidding. We actually heard a tip that it would make the concert experience much more enjoyable and it did!

The earplugs took out all of the extra static noise and buzz from the speaker & audience. The performing artist’s voices and the music was so much more clear. It honestly sounded like we were listening to it right off of the album.

So PSA to all of you concert attendees – Not only do you protect your hearing, but you hear the concert clearly making your experience that much better!

Dayton Area Fall Favorites

It’s finally September, so if you haven’t gotten spooky yet – now is the time! I started decorating around August 1st because I was just too excited to wait. Would you be interested in some Fall decor photos?

Since moving to Dayton, Stephen and I have developed some favorite annual Fall events that we always attend. It’s been super exciting to share that with CJ as she gets older. We LOVE autumn. The tree changing colors, the welcoming fall decor, all of the mums, spooky decor, and the crisp cool air speaks to us.

Two weeks ago was the Fairborn Sweet Corn Festival and even though this is mid August, it really feels like the start of autumn for us. It’s held every year around the 3rd weekend of August at the Fairborn Community Park. The dinner is what draws us in – blackened chicken, corn fritters, lemonade, and fresh steamed & delicious corn!

Another favorite is Katie’s Pumpkin Barn. This is a small place and it is not a u-pick pumpkin patch. It is better because it is literally a barn full of every color, shape, and size of pumpkin you could imagine. The barn is always decorated for the spooky season and usually opens at the start of September.

They have a live stock that you can look at and sometimes pet. They even have a small corn maze that is super friendly for small children. I think what I love the most is the classic Halloween decorations. Katie’s is our favorite stop in Autumn!

Peifer Orchards is a new place that we explored last year. We went Apple Picking! Again, this venue isn’t huge, which is what we loved about it. They sell mums, baked goods, pumpkins, and apples. You can do your own apple picking, which is so fun! It’s a bit of a walk down the path, so if you have little kids make sure to bring their strollers. CJ got tired and just sat down in the middle of the trail last year after all of the excitement. This year, we will bring the stroller.

Honorary mentions –

Tecumpsah Land Trust for Sunflowers – its best to check their Facebook for updates about the fields.

Hiking at the smaller family friendly trail at Wegerzyn once the leaves begin to turn.

Apple Butter Festival in Enon in October 12th & 13th

Sauerkraut Festival, if you don’t mind give crowds! October 12th & 13th in Waynesville.

Potato Festival – get there early to beat the crowds. I recommend the potato ribbons! Happening on October 5th & 6th in Spring Valley

Ohio Renaissance Festival is a must! Now -Oct 27th on Saturdays and Sundays

Dismissive Nature

I don’t often touch on the military subject, but I wanted to put a couple things out there – from both sides of the spectrum.

“This is what you signed up for” is a phrase that military spouses hear way too often. I don’t think people mean any real harm by it, but they also don’t realize how dismissive it can be to our feelings. So friends & family, please delete that phrase from your mind when asking us how we are doing and responding with those words when we tell you we miss our spouse.

For a lot of us, we loved our spouse before they joined the military. I met my husband two years before he joined. I married him because I loved him and I couldn’t imagine spending my life without him. I can guarantee you that the idea of spending 6 to 12 months alone with a baby in a house where things just start breaking the second your spouse leaves town was not an appealing factor in our marriage.

So instead – you can substitute those words for something more encouraging like “Wow. That’s got to be hard, but you’ve got this!” Or the cliche but still encouraging “Hang in there. They’ll be back before you know it.” — OR my personal favorite “Wow. That’s rough. More wine?

On the opposite side of the street though, I would like to address other military spouses for a minute. You guys. We get it. Deployments and short tours… they are hard. It’s not easy. You miss your spouse and you have every right to.

HOWEVER, when your civilian friend comes to you and talks about how their spouse is on a business trip for a few days, it is NOT okay to compare that to a 6 month deployment.

EVERYONE is allowed to miss their spouse no matter how long they are gone.

So please check yourselves before you say “Well at least your spouse isn’t gone for six months at a time.” It really is just as dismissive to them as “This is what you signed up for” is to us.

Those are just some thoughts I wanted to share with you all. If you are going through a deployment or your SO is out of town, I just want to say that you aren’t alone. It’s rough, but you’ll get through it. Also, an evening glass of wine can’t hurt. Just drink responsibly!