May 2022 Adventure Date – Wicked at Ohio Theatre

We have had a rough month in our house in a lot of ways. Our youngest daughter is involved in theatre at her high school, and we are heavily involved in volunteering for the theatre program. The musical this year had some hiccups that resulted in 2 weekends of shows 2 weeks apart. In between, we had COVID in our household (I am still fighting a cough and fatigue). Add in all the regular end of school year celebrations and events and you can see how we didn’t get a lot of time for dates. On top of that, both dates that I had scheduled for this month got postponed by the event coordinators. So, we are making lemonade and counting our Wicked experience as our adventure. We have been to the Ohio Theatre for many shows the past few years – we’ve had season tickets since the 2018-2019 season that included Hamilton. We also saw a couple of shows and a few symphony concerts in this beautiful space. These tickets were different, however, as we were able to get seats in the second row! We were one row away from the pit and it was a totally different experience.

We are used to being in the balcony and not being able to see any details. From the second row, we could see the stage details so much better – it was amazing. I loved being close to the special effects, makeup, and costumes. However, we were in front of the speakers and next to the pit, so there were times when we couldn’t clearly hear the actors on stage. And we did see a lot of spit sitting that close.

Overall, I am really glad we had this experience, but we will be trying to move our season tickets to the Loge, not the Orchestra section. We prefer to be a little above the action and have a clear view of the whole stage. I would definitely recommend trying it at least once to anyone, though. Especially for anyone interested in theatre tech of any kind.

Have you ever been to a show in the Ohio Theatre? Have you ever seen Wicked? Let me know in the comments what you thought of either one.

February 2022 Family Game Time – Jackbox Games

It is the last day of February today, and I am coming in just under the wire with this post friends. We had a bit of a crazy February with weather and car shopping and dinner theatre at our high school and auditions and classes and two birthdays and a wedding. I wasn’t sure this was going to be a month where we hit this goal. It wasn’t looking good. And then, yesterday we found a pocket of time in the afternoon to play a few Jackbox Games together. It wasn’t a long pocket of time, but it was enough. I think we all walked away feeling a little more connected to each other. And that’s really the point, isn’t it?

We started our time playing Drawful 2. We have usually been big fans of this one, and it did not disappoint this time. Keith and I actually tied for this round – something that has not happened before, but I think we all had some pretty funny/interesting drawings. To get into the game, you have to go to Jackbox.tv on your phone or tablet and enter the code shown on your computer. Once everyone has done that, you can start playing. When the game starts, every player is given a prompt to draw. Then everyone is shown the drawings and writes what they think the prompt could have been. In the end, everyone tries to guess which is the true prompt for each drawing. It really is a lot of fun! Here are a few highlights:

The next game we tried is Quiplash. For this one, you are given prompts and you write funny quip – like a witty description or summary. The game pairs up two players for each prompt, and you blind vote for the quip you like best. This one is harder for Charlotte because of the writing and her dyslexia, but I think she ended up in second and I lost big time. Maddie was the big winner of this one. Here are a few highlights:

The final game we played this time was Guesspionage. For this game, each player gets a turn each round. You are given a question that involves a percentage of people – like “What percentage of people like Jackbox Games?” You set the percentage to your best guess, and then everyone else gets to guess if the real answer is higher or lower. Some of the questions are pretty obviously high or low, but some are really difficult to guess. The answers come from polling people online, so that is always at least in the back of my mind because I think it does narrow down which people would be answering. The big winner for this game was Charlotte, mostly because she was just really good at guessing the percentages on her turn. Here are some of the questions we had:

I know that we will definitely play some Jackbox games again – either as a family or with our friends. It is enjoyable for larger groups and can be done completely online, so it was our go-to for a while during quarantine.

Have you ever played any Jackbox games? Which is your favorite? Let me know in the comments below!

Love Letters and Seven Dragons – January 2022 Family Game Night

It finally happened. We were meant to have family game night the weekend of New Years, but everyone had horrible headaches because of the weather. So we postponed it. And then got our COVID booster shots the following week, causing another weekend of not feeling so great. It was not looking good for our family game night this month, but we pivoted and had family game day instead because we were all off of school and work for MLK Day. I made fondue, we snacked and played, and a good time was had by all.

We started out by eating fondue and playing Love Letters. Keith and I had played this at a game cafe several years ago now. We remember liking the game, so we chose it as this year’s “pickle gift” (the gift received by the person that finds the pickle on the Christmas tree first). Charlotte was the quickest pickle-finder this year, so it is technically her game. We will see how that plays out in a few years.

Chocolate fondue remains and Love Letters game

Although both Keith and I remember Love Letters as a quick game, it definitely took a while to get a winner. We all enjoyed it a lot, though, and some new inside jokes were definitely created. I was the biggest loser and Charlotte came out as our glorious winner in the end, although it was a tight race amongst everyone but me…

To finish off the afternoon, we played one quick round of Seven Dragons. This is a perennial favorite of ours and is definitely a go-to if we want something quick with not much set up. I was very, very close to prevailing with my black dragon goal, but Keith managed to swoop in and win at the last second. It was a tough loss, but a very fun afternoon.

Seven Dragons with background folded laundry to add to your viewing enjoyment…

We know that family game night is going to be changing as we continue this year. It might be only 2 or 3 of us at times, but we will definitely shoot for all 4 as much as possible. We are definitely on the look out for more 2 player games – do you have any favorites we should try? Please let me know in the comments!

Dude! We’re Getting the Band Back Together!

During this slow down and wait time, we have had some major shifts in our family. We halted our monthly adventure and create dates, we stayed home but definitely also stayed a bit separate. We all have our own areas of the house and we tend to gravitate to them. We have stopped doing many family things unless we are out of town or it is a special occasion. We need to get back to Adventuring, Creating, and Relating to each other more.

At the same time as we have stopped our dates and family nights, I have started 2 new creative endeavors. I am a teacher on Outschool with classes in phonics, crafts, phonemic awareness, confident speaking, and vocabulary. I have thoroughly enjoyed creating games and activities for all of my classes the past 20 months – it has been an amazing creative outlet and adventure in learning new things. This past month, I have taken my creating to another level and opened a Teachers Pay Teachers (TpT) shop to sell the materials I have made for my classes. It is a very slow start, but I am really hopeful that this will be another great creative outlet.

What does all of this mean for my blog? Our family (and also our marriage) is definitely ready for some adventure and create dates again – we have done a few new things during this pandemic, but I have not been ready to write about them. It has taken me a long time to be ready to share this part of me again. Looking back at the past 2 years, however, I realized that writing is my way of coping with things, and I have felt a real desire to get back to it. So, my dear friends, I will be back to posting. And, since I have 2 new creative jobs of my own, I will be posting more. The goal will be 3 monthly posts (adventure, create, and relate) and then 1-2 weekly posts (Outschool and TpT shop). It feels good just to be writing this post, so I am certain this is the right decision for me at this time. I hope that it will be a fun and interesting thing for you, as well!

I would love to request that you take a moment to look me up at my two jobs and follow me. If you use my personal link on Outschool as a new family, you can get a $20 credit towards your first class: https://outschool.com/?signup=true&usid=7SKDulCR&utm_campaign=share_invite_link (I am also happy to help anyone interested in teaching on Outschool to apply – my referral code is: 7SKDulCR)

You can find me on TpT at the following link: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Sellers-Im-Following/Add/Ae-Speech-And-Language-Services I have a few products added and will be adding a lot more over the next few months. (Right now I am very excited about my Time-Themed Treasure Hunt games for the Vocalic R and R Blend, L, S, and TH sounds – you can find out more about them in my shop.)

I can’t leave you without a little taste of the create, adventure, and relate posts that I wanted to make the past 20 months. I hope you enjoy – let me know below if you want to learn more about any of them. 🙂

As I close this post, I want to make 2 promises. First of all, I promise to keep this blog about adventures, creating, and relating. Secondly, I promise to have a fun post about my yearly goals for our family and for my businesses in the next couple of weeks.

If you want to be sure you don’t miss future updates, please join my email list. I have lots of fun things planned for this year and I would love to share them with you!

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Turning the Page

Our oldest child came out to the world as a transgender young woman a couple of weeks ago. We have known about 6 months, although if we are honest, we have known something was going on a lot longer than that. Writing the facebook post to announce her new name was in a lot of ways a relief, but there was also a really large amount of anxiety and fear. This is the post I shared with our friends:

We would like to reintroduce everyone to our oldest child. This is Madeline. For 17 years we thought we had a son, but it turns out that we have 2 daughters. Parenting is full of unexpected news, and we certainly didn’t see gender dysphoria in our future when we embarked on our journey. At the same time, it wasn’t actually a shock when Micah told us in February. We are so sorry that we do not have the energy to have this conversation separately with all of you. Please know that this has come with lots of counseling, soul-searching, and not a small amount of awkward/humorous situations. We are confident this is who our child is, and we will do all that we have to in order to keep her happy, healthy, and safe. We know it will be confusing for all of us for the foreseeable future. Respectful discussion is welcome. Judgement and hatred will not be tolerated. We strongly feel God has trusted us with this incredible person to care for and protect and we intend to do just that. While our little family unit has known and been processing this for 6 months, we ask that you are respectful of extended family members as they are still processing this news and are all at different stages of acceptance. Thank you.

In the end, the post received over 200 likes/loves and so many responses. All of the responses are loving and kind and supportive and uplifting and I sobbed with relief and happiness at reading them. We have obviously found the right people to be a part of our lives. They love and support our family, even when we barely know what we are doing. They lift us up in prayer when we don’t have the words. Our people are amazing!!

Since Maddie came out to us in February, all of my energy has been focused on the logistics of telling everyone. I was not naive enough to think everything would be smooth sailing after that, but I really thought it would be the biggest hurdle we would face for right now. And in a lot of ways, that was correct. We have big things on the very near horizon – blockers and hormones and name changes, oh my – but there is a definite lull in what NEEDS to be done right now. Maddie is getting more and more comfortable being herself, we are slowly replacing her wardrobe, and everyone at school is adjusting nicely.

Other parents in my circle are going on college visits, helping with college applications, prepping for auditions, and worried about the right combination of classes to get into the first choice of schools. I am so relieved that we are not trying to do that right now – Maddie has decided to attend Community College for at least a year to get her associates degree and then transfer to a four year institution. That buys us time before we need to help her navigate being a trans student in a dorm living situation, and I truly believe she will be stronger and have a better sense of herself because of this choice.

I was naive enough to think that this lull in what needs to be done, this small respite time without major decisions, would be an easy time. I thought I was emotionally spent and would just be able to coast for a bit. I do not pretend to know what living as a trans woman who wasn’t out to the world was like for my daughter. I am sure it was tremendously hard. For us as her family, it was like we were living a lie when we talked about her to people. We were having conversations about a person that we knew didn’t exist, at least not as everyone perceived her. There were all kinds of excuses about why we aren’t going on college visits and which schools she is considering. There were lots of funny looks because our answers didn’t seem to make sense with the obvious intelligence and talent our child possesses. It is a huge relief to not have to make excuses or leave questions hanging anymore.

It is in this place of relief that tiny things have started sneaking up on me. Little things that are small in the grand scheme of things, but little things that break my mom heart. I started getting the September calendar ready this week. We use a large desk calendar on our wall – the kind with the tear off pages – because we have a very active family and we need the space. I also use an electronic calendar that we share on our phones, but I like being able to see the month at a glance. As I prepare to turn the page to September, it has hit me that I am also completely turning the page to Madeline. The name Micah will not appear on our calendar again. The name we have spent over 17 years with. The name we chose with love for our first baby. The name I have signed to hundreds of cards and letters. The name that carried with it so many hopes and dreams. And I am suddenly grieving in a way I never expected to and in a way that doesn’t make a lot of sense.

My child is still here. My child is alive and well and has unlimited potential and opportunity ahead of her. She is intelligent and funny and kind and strong. And I am so proud of who she is and who she will become. But I have to let myself grieve the loss of the hopes and dreams I had for her before we knew. I need to grieve for her, having to live as someone she wasn’t for so long. I have to let myself feel and then let go of the guilt of not knowing for so long. The guilt of trying to force her to fit into a life that wasn’t meant for her. I have to sit here in this place of sadness before I can let the person my child was before, the child in my memories, merge with the daughter I have going forward. I know that eventually it won’t be awkward trying to talk about the past. It won’t feel like our memories are of a different person. It will be perfectly natural to call that child Maddie instead of Micah. And look forward to that merging because I know it is what is best for my child. But today? Today I am just a mom grieving the passage of time, which I guess isn’t so different from my circle of friends after all. Stay strong Mommas – we’ve all got this!

August Create Date

You may recall that one of our June adventure dates was to an art installation called Otherworld. We really enjoyed exploring all of their rooms, but my personal favorite was one with a variety of plush creatures. I am told it is called the Land of Schnoop. Anyway, Otherworld is starting to offer classes, and the first one was a class to design and build an Otherworldly creature! Not only were Keith and I interested in this opportunity, but both kids were excited to sign up, too.

The first step we had to complete was deciding what our creature would look like. They had precut creatures if you really didn’t want to do that part, but they encouraged everyone to try to sketch one out. Everyone has a different creative process, and it turns out that some of our family could sketch out a design and some of us needed to have pieces to play around with to really make design decisions. Both completely valid.

Our next step was to choose fleece for the main body of our creature and felt for the details. As I said, they had some precut options you could also play around with to get ideas. It was at this point that we had to start sharing 2-3 pairs of scissors for 6 people, and while it wasn’t terrible, it would have been quicker if everyone had their own pair.

Once all your pieces were cut, you had to attach the features to the fleece using sewing, hot glue, or a combination of the two. We did discover that the combination got tricky if you tried to sew through the hot glue – it was pretty tough to get the needles through. They also had some scraps of fake fur if you wanted to accent your creature with some of that. This step went very smoothly with plenty of glue guns and needles for everyone.

The last couple steps were really where the bottleneck of the class happened. It is quickest to use a sewing machine to sew the front and back of the creature together, but Otherworld only had one sewing machine for the 25 or so people in the class. And yes, you could hand sew, but the class time was supposed to be only two hours. And the Emigh family was hungry. So, the kids ended up having their creatures sewn and stuffed while we were there. They sent us home with more than enough stuffing for Keith and me to finish ours as well. I think this was just a result of it being their first class and them not knowing what to expect. I am relatively sure they expected to have more teens and less adults in the class, but everyone really enjoyed it and made amazing creatures. We LOVE ours!

We would 100% recommend future Otherworld Makes classes and will definitely try to make it to more in the future. A great experience for our family to make things together, and very reasonably priced at $10/person. Thanks Otherworld! If you have been to Otherworld, what was your favorite room? Let us know in the comments!

April Adventure Date

This month, we decided our adventure would be The Rooms at Easton, presented by COSI. We were excited because it was going to be close to home and free! Micah was also interested in going, so we let him tag along. We started our afternoon at Five Guys because they really do make great food. After lunch, we strolled over the the entrance the The Rooms. It is a really small space that used to be a Bose store, so it was amazing to me that they were able to fit so much into it. Our first room was the mirrored room where light and reflection were the stars.

The next room was the sticker room. Everyone that has gone through this exhibit has been given a strip of stickers to place wherever they would like in the room. It is wonderful chaos! We really liked this room a lot!

The next room was not good for my vertigo, but my guys enjoyed the built in sit and spins!

The following room was a blue building room. There appeared to be pieces missing, but we really had fun making a large “marble” track. We work pretty well together!

The last room was one that used different colored lights to reveal different objects. It was fun to see all the different parts that were in one picture.

There were also several different optical illusions on the walls of the hallway that I did not photograph. All in all, a nice way to spend some time together on a Saturday. I would definitely go back to take Charlotte.

April Family Game Night Recap

March may have been rough for Family Game Night (FGN), but we are back on track in April! Even losing internet the evening we were planning to play an online family game didn’t phase us! It was a good month for games.

Our first FGN was April 12th. We were going to play Jackbox games using our television and cell phones, but our internet went out. So, we decided to take it on the road to the FGN event at two.fifty.four, the new youth center in Gahanna. We took Seven Dragons and Quarriors with us. We also enjoyed using their ping-pong, pool, and foosball tables. We really enjoyed that evening and will most likely be going back to two.fifty.four soon!

Our next FGN was actually on Easter with Keith’s parents. We went to Marion for dinner and then sat down for a couple of games. We played Tsuro – Keith’s Dad took everyone out the first round and I think Micah won the second. It was our second time playing this game with them, so I think they enjoyed revisiting it. Then it was time for some smack talk in Uno. It was a really long game with lots of me remembering that I alter the rules some when I play with my clients… It was a really fun evening and I think everyone is looking forward to doing it again.

May is looking to be a little crazy, so we will have to see how everything works out. I am sure we will at least fit in a couple nights with our kids. 🙂

February Mini Adventure

Years ago, on a trip to the North Market, our family tried some Bubble Tea. At the time, we didn’t know how to order and if you know anything about me, I am a super picky drink person. I do not tolerate sweetener in my tea well. I do not like surprises when I am drinking. So, I’m sure you see where this is going, it was not a good Bubble Tea experience.

Today, we tried a new location of Bibibop that just opened in our area. When we walked in, we saw that there was also a Bibitea shop in the same space! It was finally time to have someone really take time to explain it to us, and we all walked out with Bubble Tea that we love. I cannot recommend this Bibitea shop enough! The ladies let us try various things and made sure we really liked what we were getting ready to buy. Excellent service and product. We will definitely be back!