About 20 hours of travel time for SO much goodness!

What does business, Boston, blowing, bird, broken, baffled, baby, bridal, bathroom and burrito all have in common? Other that the obvious alliteration of the letter “b”, it all has to do with our recent trip back home to Cleveland!

Lets start off with the first “B.” Business.
Because of Paul’s job, we had to make an unexpected business trip back home to Cleveland via Chicago with a 5 hour delay thrown in for good measure. Going home was great for my soul because I really missed our Boston Terrier, Gomez, something bad! It’s one of those things that, quite honestly, I was a bit nervous leaving him when we left for Shanghai on January 2. After returning home to Cleveland and seeing that our “rules” that we joke about with the house sitters (“don’t kill our dog and don’t burn the house down”) were still in place, my mind was even more at ease seeing his interaction with one of them as the other was out of town for work. Of course I miss Gomez something terrible, but in my gut, I know he’s in good hands at home!

Man, I love that fatty fat necked, heat producing farting machine!

Blowing, Bird and Broken:
Something that we enjoy doing is glass blowing. I surprised Paul as a “few days late” Valentine’s Day present. This was my 5th time and Paul’s 2nd. There are a few studios in the CLE, but I keep going back to The Glass Bubble Project. This time, Dan instructed and assisted us. It’s gritty, there are a few hippy-ish characters that work there, there’s always awesomely eclectic music playing, they don’t assist as much as other places (so your piece doesn’t come out as an almost perfect piece of art…it’s a bit wonky in fact) and the best of all? They have a “pet” rooster that lives in the studio named Morty! He’s so sweet! I try to remember to take him some fruits and veggies when I go there. He likes to be petted, talked to and snuggled. The only thing that bothers me is he likes to snuggle up by the heat of the molten glass oven…a danger zone for my sloppy work. Hey, it’s your house dude, so do as you must. When you start off making a piece, it’s called gathering (which I’m still a bit of a complete klutzy mess with that part). Basically, you dip and rotate the end of a 6 foot long blowpipe in the molten glass (which is the consistency of 1,900 degree corn syrup) and pull it out of the oven. Because I still suck at it, it drips all over the place and I’m afraid I’d severely maim, if not kill, Morty. I don’t need that on my conscience (really dude…you need to move out of my way). Each time I blow, I try to up my game and be more creative, go bigger, try a technique that I’ve not done yet or just overall be more skillful. I mean how many paperweights can one make? Paul made a rocks glass and a taller glass which both turned out awesome! Anyway, for my first piece, I decided to make a vase…red blown glass with chartreuse drippy bits on the outside. It was a 3 person job and I was so excited that Paul and I were about to make a piece together. It was about 9” tall, perfectly shaped, smooth and gorgeous! Was being the appropriate word. We were just about done with the process when all of a sudden, we heard it crack. So we had another go at it. Cracked again. Dan attributed it to one of the fans blowing in our general direction, thus cooling off the piece too fast. I ended up going back a few days later to make it up while Paul was at work and made a “not as big” vase. My return trip was a success! Breaking is all a part of the process and I’m more than ok with that. I think Dan was more bummed out about it than we were. Don’t worry dude, I’ll be back with more ideas and a zip-loc baggy of treats for your fowl friend.

Paul is a champ at gathering!

This is called “the glory hole.” I didn’t make this up!

Creating the shape

Bits of broken glass used to dip your molten hot glass into to create the magic!

The start of my masterpiece before it cracked

Friendliest fowl in all the land!

End results of our fun day

Sad trombone…

Baffled and Baby:
I had the awesome privilege to work in a particular 3rd grade teacher’s classroom for two consecutive school years. You really get to know and trust someone when you’re by their side day in and day out and for that, I’m truly grateful. Staci has become one of my dearest and closest friends. When she and her husband Andrew were expecting their first child, she surprise announced it to me. Mid-lesson. In the classroom. As the students were doing a worksheet. She had been saying a week or two prior that they were considering on getting another puppy to go along with their silly Goldendoodle named Ralph. So Staci grabbed her phone as the children were working, came over to me and said that she and Andrew had checked out a puppy over the weekend and that she wanted to show me a picture of it. As she turned the phone around towards me, it was a picture of an ultrasound and she said something along the lines of “Hi Aunt Michelle!” I instantly had tears and shouted some pretty awesome things…I had to go into the hall to regain my composure. That following late spring, Jack was born! I reeeeally love surprising people and of course I had to “surprise attack” her back. This trip back home was the PERFECT opportunity! They were expecting baby number two while we were home. I called Andrew at work from Shanghai and left a message on his voicemail to let him know of my scheme to show up at the hospital after the baby was born. He’s great at keeping secrets and he let me know it was “go time” via email. Kyle was born on Saturday and glassblowing was on Sunday…perfect time to show up after we were done. We arrived at the hospital with a stuffed panda bear in hand, a tiny cake that said “Hello Kyle!” on top and lots of hugs to pass out. We knocked on the door and Andrew slowly opened it. Thank goodness she was sitting down with that less than 24 hours old bundle of sweetness, because the look on her face says it all! To say she was shocked was an understatement…her jaw was dropped for a good 15 seconds before she could say anything. Touché my dear friend! Touché!

The befuddled mama!

Engaged in October 2015. Sought out and hired a wedding planner in November 2015. Left for Shanghai for 12 – 18 months in January 2016. Wedding in September 2017. By far the BEST decision during this whole engagement process was to have Jennifer of Heart 2 Heart Occasions work her magic as our wedding coordinator! We met up with her while we were home to discuss more ideas and to make sure we’re all on track for our big day. It’s like she’s in my head at times with her great ideas and her organization makes me swoon! My (our) wedding insanity is slim to none (not to mention the fact that planning a wedding from over 7,000 miles away from home is nearly impossible I’m guessing). We have all of the big stuff set in place…date, venue, officiant, photographer, videographer, music and baker for the cake. Gown, menu selection, save the dates, florist and all of the other fun stuff will be a (continued) blast to do with her…can’t wait!

We had a major bathroom headache back in mid-November which basically has two of our bathrooms torn up all the way down to the studs (the joys of living in a 91 year old house!). And no, we didn’t have a squat toilet installed. It was nice to come home to see one of the bathrooms pretty much done. Since I’ve had this awesome print named “Herr Octopus” by fOUR fISH iNK for some time, I wanted to go with a decor for my love of cephalopods.

Herr Octopus, octo hook and part of the shower curtain

Feature colored wall and a bit of the frame of the mirror

He loves taking a bath…honest! He even tried to jump in!

OK. Really, this part is about tacos, because that’s what we ordered at Cap’n Taco. It’s a Cleveland landmark that’s somewhat near the airport and has been around for about 30 years. So very good! I had to buy a t-shirt to bring back home to Shanghai. It’s located in the town where I grew up, Brook Park, so there’s your last “B.

And before we left, of course I had to make a Target run. Or three. Found this ADORABLE carry on suitcase that I had to get!

See you in June, Cleveland!

3 thoughts on “About 20 hours of travel time for SO much goodness!

  1. Seeing you two was one of the best surprises ever! We are truly blessed to have you in our lives! Can’t wait to see what’s in store for you next! Xoxo miss you already!

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