Playing Catch-up: May/June, Weddings and Camping!

Early on a Saturday late in May, Michael and I left the pup with the ‘rents, and drove from Cleveland to Madison (a drive we would mimic a little over a week later, but with a moving truck instead). Our friends Erin and Annie were getting married that day.


It was a beautiful ceremony on a ridiculously hot day, but the heat didn’t keep us from dancing the night away. The next morning, we were able to say goodbye to Erin and Annie as well as our friends Neima and Jackie, all headed to Boston; and our friend Jordan, who’s doing his surgical residency in Philadelphia.

Because we had all moved out of the Shaker house early, our housemates the Hedges invited us to go on a camping trip with them– one that would take us from the wedding in Madison to our next destination: Molly’s wedding in Traverse City, Michigan the following weekend.


Our campsite the first night in northern Wisconsin

The tent on the left was one we inherited from Mom and Dad H. It had a very short life with us; it poured that evening and the tent flooded before we even got a chance to sleep in it.


The next day, we drove into Michigan via the Upper Peninsula, where we hiked for a few hours along the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore before finding our next campsite.



It was so, so green.


It also happened to be our anniversary that day, so we counted this as an extra little celebration.

We loved our campsite that night so much, we ended up staying there for the remainder of our trip. If you ever go to the UP, look for Twelvemile Beach Campground.


During the days, we took little trips out– one was an ill-fated kayaking excursion on Lake Superior during which most of us got seasick. BUT we also went to a part of the shore that’s lined with steep sand dunes– this specific one is locally famous; called the log slide.


We slid down to the bottom, of course.


… But then had to climb back up. That little black speck in the middle is Michael, taking a break about halfway back up the dunes.


More hiking on our last full day, with my trusty Montrails.


Then we trekked on down to the big house we were renting in Traverse City, big enough to hold five medwives and their husbands. After five days of camping, a shower has never felt so good.

Our time at the house in Traverse City and during Molly and Josh’s wedding was exactly what we’d hoped– my dearest friends all running around, borrowing each other’s curling irons and jewelry, cooking together, playing games and talking late into the night. Not to mention the main event:




Our first time at a wedding with “Dr.” and “Mrs.” on the name cards. 🙂



And when the last song played, and the lights came up, the evening found us like this:


Except despite our smiles, we were all actually crying. In fact, I’ve never sobbed so much in my life. Saying goodbye to good friends is hard enough, but this was different. I might not have survived medical school without these girls to lean on, and we left each other that night knowing exactly what we were facing: several years of residency, the most difficult time in a medical family’s life, without our friends by our side. It was the loveliest last hurrah, but the saddest farewell.

To NOT end on that note, though, I also remember this: later, driving back to Cleveland with Michael, and thinking that even though this new step is scary, at least I get to do it with him.

Next up: Our move across the country to Seattle!


Playing Catch-up: May, Packing!

I don’t know if the title up there really deserves an exclamation point, but in keeping with the pattern…

After graduation, it was time to start the moving process. My parents stayed for an extra day to help us get started, and our pile of boxes began to grow. At this point, we didn’t even have an apartment lined up in Seattle. (Ugh. Remembering that stress is not fun, even though I’m typing this while sitting in our Seattle apartment.) So we had no idea what all would fit, what we’d be willing to haul, what we had to sell…

Well, we did know a couple things we had to sell. Our cars! We sold both my Escape and Michael’s Camry, trading up for Grandma and Grandpa Adamek’s 2008 Prius. A perfect car for the city, and (for once in my life) one that’s actually reliable. We sold two cars and bought one, all independently, all within three days. We also sold a ton of mismatched furniture and lots of superfluous stuff in a two-day moving sale with our housemates, the Hedges.

Somewhere in there, we found an apartment. A tiny, 630-square-foot “one bedroom” (the walls to the bedroom don’t reach the ceiling, so it’s really a studio with glorified partitions) in the First Hill neighborhood of Seattle. Finally.

We got the house cleaned and fully empty about a week early, and moved everything from Shaker to Concord, where all our belongings lived in Mom and Dad Hermelin’s garage for a week and a half (thanks, parents everywhere, for doing this kind of thing).


One last snap of our empty entrance and living room. So many memories in this space.


The last picture I took of our beautiful house in Shaker. We moved before the hibiscus out front bloomed.

We managed to get in a few non-moving things during that stretch…


Dinner at Pier W with family, and a beautiful view of our beloved Cleveland.


An evening trip to a couple of wineries in far-east Ohio with Mom and Dad H.

I don’t know what else to write about that week-and-a-half or so between graduation and our last couple of weddings for the season (coming up in the next post). We were excited and ready to turn the page; we’d been waiting and preparing for this change for a long time. But when I moved to Cleveland back in the fall of 2012, I couldn’t have imagined how much it would come to feel like home. And every one of those last days in May came with an underlying current of sadness. I like change and welcome it, but closing the door on this chapter of our lives was harder than I ever thought possible.

Thankfully, we had some good things to look forward to– two medical school weddings, and a camping trip with the Hedges in between. Stay tuned!

Playing Catch-up: May, Graduation!

Michael’s graduation from medical school landed on a day of freak weather in Cleveland– it was below freezing, sleeting and snowy. After traveling, arriving back home, unpacking our bags and beginning to pack our belongings, we then had family arrive– and of course in the middle of it all I got really sick. So for me, Michael’s graduation day is a haze of emotion and kleenex in my memory. Thankfully, we got some good pictures.

These are blurry, but they’re some of my favorites from the day. In the chaos of arriving, trying to make sure hoods were being worn correctly, laughing with friends at the culmination of four years of hard work– I love these guys and am thankful for their friendships with Michael.


We only had two tickets to the larger university ceremony, so Mom Hermelin and I went together.


We managed to find Lauren…


Then Steph…


… Then Emily. 🙂


While we were waiting in relative warmth, the graduates were doing this:


L to R: Nick (Steph’s husband), Zach (Emily’s husband), Michael, Erin, Jordan

The rest of the family were able to watch on screens from another building. Following this, though, was the smaller medical school graduate ceremony– where they actually get to cross the stage– and we could all attend.




Getting that M.D.!!!

I was crying off and on all morning, but this ceremony was just full of joy. One favorite moment was during the reading of the Hippocratic Oath: Because so many voices were reading the same words, and all else was quiet, my mom could hear the words via her cochlear implant.IMG_3538

After this, it was time to celebrate.



It was chaotic and we couldn’t find everyone we wanted to see and congratulate, but managed to snag a few more moments with friends:



Hey– we made it, too. ❤

Then we had a party at our house. 🙂

… And when the weather warmed up, took some more pictures.

I couldn’t be more proud of that guy.

In the midst of a crazy busy time in our lives, this day was a good reminder that all the work, absences, intense schedules, grumpiness, tears, and stress was for a purpose. And on the eve of heading our separate ways, it was also really good to celebrate the result of the last four years with the people who walked beside us.

Happy (belated) graduation to all you new Medical Doctors.

Playing Catch-up: May, Visiting Austin!

We flew into Austin for our cruise so that we could spend some time with the Congdons and meet our new nephew, Harvey James (see above). So for one evening prior to the cruise and a few days after, we got our fill of playtime with Darcy, snuggles with Harvey, good conversations with Leigh and Doug, and lots of excellent food (the main purpose behind our trip was Tex-Mex, let’s be honest).


Her expression changes are lizard-quick.



Sno Beach is a must while in Austin.


A hike in the beautiful Texas hills.


This one’s a grainier iPhone picture, but I couldn’t resist. I mean, look at them.

We also got to see the church where Leigh and Doug work, go to storytime at the library, and more. We packed a lot of quality time into just a few days, and it was wonderful. Thanks, Congdons, for having us!

Until next time, Austin…

Playing Catch-up: May, a Cruise!

On April 30th, we set out for Austin, TX where we got to meet two-month-old Harvey James and see the Congdons (lots of pictures to come in the next post, so hold your horses). The very next morning, we drove down to Galveston where we embarked on our celebration cruise! (We were celebrating Valentine’s Day, our anniversary, Michael’s graduation, Matching, starting a new life chapter, and probably several birthdays and Christmases. 😉 )

We discovered that we like cruises, and they are great if you want a week of relaxation– but maybe not if your goal in traveling is to experience other places, cultures, and history. The ports are basically humongous souvenir shops; if you want to do more than buy trinkets you have to go on an excursion, and the quality of those can be hit or miss, plus they only last a few hours. BUT there is plenty to do on-board: enjoy the sunshine; eat good food; see great entertainment; and if you’re like us, whup some butts in trivia tournaments several times a day. 🙂 We loved Royal Caribbean and would recommend the line to anyone.


Waiting in the (very long) line to embark.

After a day by the pool, enjoying the equatorial sun a little too much (i.e. I got a really bad sunburn) we arrived at our first port: Cozumel, Mexico. It was my favorite. Not only did I get to break out my very rusty Spanish, but we also chose to do an excursion here– to some Mayan ruins and then to the beach. We had an excellent tour guide who didn’t mind my broken Spanish and loved talking with Michael about ancient Mayan medicine. The ruins we visited used to be a temple for the Mayan goddess of the moon and fertility, Ix Chel, and functioned as a fertility retreat center for Mayan women. Some would go there when they were having trouble conceiving; others would stay there for the duration of their pregnancy. The island is basically a jungle and yet it’s an ecological oddity: there are few bugs, dangerous snakes, or other threats that a pregnant woman on the mainland might want to avoid.


There are iguanas, though. Big ones.


This was an archway you were supposed to walk under if you wanted to conceive. I didn't get too close. ;)

This was an archway you were supposed to walk under if you wanted to conceive. I didn’t get too close. 😉


Ceiba (the Mayan tree of life) roots


After the ruins, we headed to the beach.

We got some Mexican Coke (COCA COLA, I mean) and Coke Light. It's a million times better than Diet Coke.

We got some Mexican Coca Cola and Coke Light for the trip. It’s a million times better than Diet Coke.

Happy place

Happy place

Here is a picture of me holding iguanas, at the exact moment their owner told us that pictures cost $5.

Here is a picture of me holding iguanas, at the exact moment their owner told us that pictures cost $5.

Then we went swimming. It was salty and glorious.

After escaping Iguana Guy, we went swimming. It was salty and glorious.

A Corona ad to go with my Coke Light ad from earlier. ;)

A Corona ad to go with my Coke Light ad from earlier. 😉


I wanted to stay in Cozumel, but we had to back. :) This is our ship!

I wanted to stay in Cozumel, but we had to go back. 🙂 This is our ship!

The time not spent in ports went somewhat like this:

Me, excited for the sudoku challenge.

Me, excited for the sudoku challenge.

Michael, excited about his coffee.

Michael, excited about his coffee.

Me, happy because I won the sudoku challenge.

Me, happy because I won the sudoku challenge.

Michael, sad because he did not.

Michael, sad because he did not.

(We didn’t take as many pictures during trivia challenges because we were too busy dominating, but Michael was obviously the breadwinner in that category.)

The next port was Grand Cayman. We didn't go on an excursion, and there wasn't much to see near the port (except the beautiful water, and my handsome husband).

The next port was Grand Cayman. We didn’t go on an excursion, and there wasn’t much to see near the port (except the beautiful water, and my handsome husband).


But the ferry ride over was nice.

But the ferry ride over was nice.

Next up: Jamaica.


We docked in Falmouth.


We ventured out past the port gates, where we were accosted (in the best and most fun way) by local merchants. We got some souvenirs and I had a single braid put in my hair, haggling over its cost the whole time.


I liked Jamaica. I think I’d like it better farther away from a port. 😛

With all the ports visited, we had stretches of unfilled time to explore the ship some more. Besides having excellent shows every night (we saw an Elvis impersonator, Saturday Night Fever, aerial acrobats, two comedians, and more), there was also rock climbing, soccer, movies on the deck at night, etc. Basically, if you’re bored on a cruise ship, you’re doing it wrong.

IMG_0059 IMG_0067 IMG_0072

But our FAVORITE part was the food. Approximately 20 dates over delicious meals: Perfection.

Verdict: Cruising. We’d do it again.

P.S. Happy Independence Day!


Playing Catch-up: April

The last two months have probably been the most intense, action-filled, and stressful of my whole life. They’ve also been filled with a LOT of once-in-a-lifetime experiences, big and small. Because I haven’t been posting, I can’t give every event its own due diligence, but I’m going to try to include it all!

So, starting at the end of April, we had:

  1. My dear friend and fellow medwife Molly’s bachelorette party. She was the last of us to get married, and we went all out with matching tank tops. We walked around Ohio City all night with people squinting at our shirts, asking “midwives?” Nope. We just like to be confusing like that.IMG_0651

Bonus: Some hilarious outtakes…

There is probably more collective laughter in our friendship than over some lifetimes. ❤

2. One of Michael’s best friends from undergrad, Lesley, got married the next day. It was a beautiful ceremony and a great time for Michael to connect with a lot of Akron friends he hadn’t seen in a while– including Ethan, who flew in from Seattle for the occasion.


leswed (1)

Photo: Lesley Booher Buga

3. The week that followed was my last working at the library, with my final day being the 29th. It was bittersweet. After three and a half years working for the library, I was (and am) ready for a change and some new challenges. But I had such an amazing group of coworkers in my fellow “Noblettes,” and leaving that work family was sad and difficult. I’ll forever be grateful for having the chance to work in that tough– but extremely supportive– environment during some formative years of my career. I’ll always love CHUH and I’m proud of my little legacy there.

Next up: May, and our cruise! A big trip that deserves its own post. 🙂


A Family Wedding and a Visit “Home”

Oh man, the craziness has begun! We knew that starting in April our lives would kick into hyperdrive, and April is now almost over. Hence the lack of posting. This is not a post about moving to Seattle or any of our preparations– I’ll work on that one later. But you’re about to get a lot of pictures, so buckle in…

After Match Day, our next big event was Alex and Rachel’s wedding in Kansas City. Michael went to help his brother with the prep about a week and a half before the big day, then I drove down with Patrick and Lauren (my other brother-in-law and future sister-in-law) a week later. After 13 hours in the car, we still managed to pull off a decent sibling photo:


The Hermelin “kids”! Plus Alex and Rachel’s dogs, Oliver (in Lauren’s lap) and Gwenie.

The guys celebrated Alex’s bachelor party that evening with a Sporting KC game, and we girls got to have an unexpected dinner date– a time I’ll treasure. I’m so, so grateful that those two women up there are the ones my brothers (in law) have chosen. They’re pretty great.

The next day was all about setting up the venue and rehearsing!






Pizza and beer for the rehearsal dinner. A+


The next morning, Mom Hermelin, Lauren and I got ready together. Alex stopped by to practice the mother-son dance, and I had to snap this picture of the bathrobe/heels combo. 🙂







And then it was ceremony time, and I put the camera away! Picked it up again during the reception…


Maid-of-honor’s speech


And my husband gave a speech about his brother that left me in tears. Geez.


Ridiculously, my only real picture of the bride and groom on their wedding day is this blurry iPhone photo of their first dance. But if you can get past the graininess, you can see the joy they radiated that night. ❤

Michael and I extended our time in the area through the end of the weekend so that we could visit my friends and family in Kansas, so the next day we struck out for our first stop: lunch with Uncle Larry and Aunt Myra:


Delicious KC BBQ.

After catching up with them and poking around at an estate sale together, we headed to Lawrence and visited my alma mater.


My first visit to KU’s campus after I was accepted was in April of 2008. I’ll never forget how beautiful the campus was with tulips in full bloom that year, or any of following springs that I spent there.


I was wearing my Sellards shirt, so obviously I had to pay a visit to my old scholarship hall, too.

And THEN we headed down to Mass Street for the main event:


Meeting Miss Darcy Lee Boehmler.


We are having a very serious conversation here, because Darcy is a VERY serious baby.

It’s one thing to know your friends are parents, but it’s another to actually see them in action. Our visit was too short, but it was pretty amazing to see Aaron and Amanda– friends I’ve known since before they were even dating– be Mom and Dad to this precious little one.


Daddy admiring his daughter.


Beautiful Mama.


Darcy B., one short visit was not enough. It was wonderful to see you at two months; my hope and prayer is to see you through two years and two decades, as well. I’ll always be your Auntie Dana. 🙂

After Lawrence, we headed for our westernmost destination: Topeka for a meal with a good chunk of the Wible side.


I highly recommend being friends with your cousins as adults. There’s nothing quite like it.

The next morning, we visited TBC and I got to see SO MANY people I love!


Liz, the Mahner girls, and Lori– Liz and Leah were in 7th grade when I first started working with the youth group, and now they’re all multiple years out from graduation. And I feel old! (Lori is ageless as always)


My dear friend Heidi.

We wrapped up our trip with some classic Topeka Mexican food at El Mezcal, and a couple more pictures:



Thanks for smiling, Grandma. 🙂

And that was last weekend! Whew!


This week is Michael’s last week of rotations (i.e. his last week of medical school! What?!) and my last week of work. We’ve had a weekend full of time with friends, and we’re looking forward to leaving for a cruise in six days to celebrate graduation, our second anniversary, etc. and to try to relax a bit before all the coming changes.