Monday, July 21, 2014

Ohio has my heart.

I've been busy and tired and sick and just too emotionally on edge to put this post together.  but, it's time now.
I'm sitting in our temporary house here in Japan.  Kent is at work. I've drugged metta so she'll take a nap now and not fall asleep at 3PM only to reawake at 2AM!  the boys are busy reading their books from the Japanese library :)
and I'm sifting through pics from my last couple of weeks in dayton- trying not to be a blubbering mess. pregnancy hormones and jet lag are NOT helping the cause.

My life has always been wonderful.  and it's been made wonderful by the people who have filled it. My three short years in Dayton were some of the hardest of my life thus far- but certainly three of the very best.  I learned a lot of lessons there. I grew in so many ways. I am a better person now.

here's a grainy cell phone shot of just a few of the many superb people I call friends.  We had a giant farewell dinner and laughed and laughed and laughed.   These people are my family.  They took care of me (and my kids) when we needed it most. we spent holidays with them. birthdays. and just regular days.  we shared laughs, tears, workouts, and lots of food together!  It's amazing how important good friends become when you are so far away from family.

Several of them are friends from church. and my last Sunday was so traumatic for me.  we literally drove away from church to head out.  I cried and cried and cried. Our kids cried and cried.  It was a pretty dramatic way to leave.

 Before we left- a friend gifted me with this little yearbook of sorts.  It has pictures of all of our friends and their families.  Metta still won't put it down.  She asks to read it every day.

Our last couple of weeks in dayton were CRAZY!!  prepping to move, cleaning, packing, partying, and trying to make every last minute count!  we had so many great parties.

Our friends SAVED us those last two weeks. Well over 40 hours of volunteer time was put in helping watch our kids, clean our house, help with yard work, and clean our car.

If you know me- you know I am not the tidiest person.  If we got stranded in the mountains in our van - we could survive for two weeks off crumbs alone.

We had to clean it SPOTLESS to prep it for long term storage.  Our friends - the moellers- spent way too many hours helping us with it :)  Thanks Heather and Ryan.  You are saints for sure.

 How do people survive without great friends?!  Thank-you! Thank-you! Thank-you! to every person that helped out!  it means more to me than you will ever know.

Metta and her best pal, cora. these two are HYSTERICAL.  the craziest little tag team you've ever seen.  I miss that little cora so so much. And I know that metta does, too.

The entire three years I spent in Dayton- I worked at the YMCA teaching spin, tabata, and boot camp classes.  The people at the YMCAs in Ohio are some of the most fabulous people you'll ever meet.  One of my very best friends from the Y- Diana- put together a giant Sayonara party for me.

Diana is one of those people who change your life!  she taught me so much as an instructor and person.  She is kind and loving and just plain fun!  and I miss her and her workouts every single day!!  thanks, diana!!

the workout ladies :)

 mary and her daughter!
 It's amazing how the people you work out alongside become such a part of your life!  you become so accustomed to their faces and smiles!  I really really miss my workout buddies!  thanks to every one of you who listened to my life as we ran alongside each other and sweat it out.  Running and venting has got to be one of my biggest stress relievers :)
 here we are after one of my favorite classes- Cardio Circuit.  hot, sweaty, and happy!

and this picture KILLS me.  Jeri is metta's other mom.  She has taken care of metta since she was BORN!  she has held her, rocked her, fed her, changed her diapers, disciplined her, taught her to speak, and LOVED her so so much.  Leaving the ymca child care for the last time was so so hard for me.  They loved my kids so much.  such wonderful people.  Mr. Trevor in the background is metta's other best pal in the childcare.  She calls him 'stinky trevor'.  These people really did love my kids like their own.

 We had a giant backyard barbecue before we left to celebrate summer.  I hope my kids' last memory of Ohio is this night!  we did sparklers, played in the water, caught fireflies, and ate and talked for hours.

 we borrowed this super amazing slide from friends.  it was a hit!
 As much as I hated the weeding and yard work- I miss our backyard already!!

 my kiddos made such good friends in ohio!  hopefully one day they can be facebook friends or college roommates or pen pals!

 every kid ought to spend summer nights catching fireflies!!

 metta loved holding them!

Pretty sad picture, huh?  metta kept crying as they loaded stuff up. "where's my bed?! where's my bed?!".  It was so cute.

I could go on and on and post pictures forever- but enough is enough.  I love you Ohio.  I love you Ohio friends.  the past seven years were wonderful!!

Driving under this sign was just another reason to cry again. ugh.  moving sucks. leaving best friends is like ripping little pieces of your heart out. Ohio still has many many pieces of my heart,

Thursday, June 19, 2014

our lasts of Summer in Ohio.

Sometimes when I'm sitting too still- little tears well up in my eyeballs.  That's why I'm trying to run myself ragged with tasks and friends and work!  How is it that time can move so quickly??  even when you feel like you've just had three of the hardest years of your life?!

Here is an overview of just a few of the things we've been doing.  I didn't even get any pics of the world cup USA game party we went to!  or kent's resident barbecue.

Ike has been begging for 's'mores at the millers' one more time before we head out.   These are those 'other millers' I'm always blogging about.  Such wonderful friends.  

It's amazing how living so far away from actual family can help you rely so heavily on other people to create a support system.  I have the MOST amazing group of friends that I consider family.  I would NOT have survived without them.  
 Metta is going to have MAJOR withdrawals when we move.  eek.  I'm sad for her.

Enjoying our favorite spots- and checking out all of the spots we never got around to!

This park in Beavercreek, OH- is pretty awesome.  Wax paper under your buns on this thing makes you go pretty insane fast!  even Kent had some fun!

Don't mind metta's ridiculous pig pants and tinkerbell top.  She's such a cat lady.


And some pics of the run from our house this past weekend.  Somehow there was a record LOW for temps on Saturday.  47 degrees when we started our run!  I REALLY wanted one last longish outdoor run before we left Ohio.  I have been running here for SEVEN years now.  I am going to miss the green and the rivers and the bridges SO MUCH.  these pics are just a couple miles from our house!
 We put in 11 miles while Kent used up his saturday morning watching seven crazy kids!  thanks, kent.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Creation Museum and Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives!

Since it opened its doors a couple of years ago I've been DYING to go the Creation museum.   I love science and I love God.  I like to consider myself an Intelligent design evolutionist.  I have no problem with the fact that my spiritual beliefs and scientific knowledge coexist happily.  I taught evolution from a strictly scientific perspective in a public school classroom and I was excited to see the opposite end of the spectrum.  The museum did NOT disappoint.

Just as you walk it- you are met with a life size diorama of this.  People mingling with dinosaurs!  It's pretty shocking right off the bat.  Even though I believe in the biblical creation- a lot of the information here was downright absurd to me.  Overall we had a great experience- but did some explaining to our kiddos!

I LOVED the insect exhibit! insects are some of my favorite of God's creatures and the displays were impressive.
everything in the museum is so detailed and new and impressive. the animatronic people were very life like!

Some of the exhibits actually made me chuckle out loud.  I mean no disrespect-  I just think the ideas are a real stretch.  This explanation that does away with the idea of Pangea was one of them.

Log rafts left over from 'the' flood that created barges for animals to cross oceans?!
and the ideas that dinosaurs WERE present on Noah's ark.  The displays explained that they were baby dinosaurs and easier to manage that way.  they became extinct later due to new conditions after the flood and being hunted by humans.

This is a diorama of people suffering during the flood.
I think the scientific evidence proving the geological time scale and dinosaur life is pretty solid.  Biblical history explaining dinosaurs- not so much.
Although our kiddos did love the dino exhibit.

there was an entire section of the museum devoted to 'calamity and confusion'.  It was kind of dark and pretty scary.  We rushed the kiddos through quickly.
The grounds of the museum were incredible.  There are botanical gardens, bridges, and a petting zoo.   Admission into the museum is REALLY pricey but the kids were free until the end of 2014- and Active Duty military are free- so I was the only person who had to pay!
we really enjoyed shaking the bridge while metta was on it :)  she dropped to the ground and screamed like a wild little monkey for us to stop!!
Metta thought the petting zoo was pretty stinky :)

that camel licked my hand and I was totally grossed out. metta was pretty nervous at first, too- but then loved it.
I'm really glad we made a visit to the museum!  I wish we could have been there a few weeks ago when Bill Nye was visiting for a 'friendly' debate on Evolution vs creationism!  that would have been amazing!

Our final stop was 'Terry's Turf Club'.  A small little bar/diner in Cincinnati.  Guy Fieri featured their burgers on 'Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives' so we HAD to stop.  Kent and I really love food :)

   the boys' faces in this picture are pretty amazing!! as were the burgers and fries.
although VERY difficult to eat.

we had a fabulous mini vacation!  I LOVE exploring the places we live.  That is the reason I am MOST excited for the move to Tokyo!! SO much to see and do and taste!!