Over Thanksgiving break, I headed back to Northeast Ohio to spend time with my family. After a week of activities and eating, we spent our Saturday afternoon visiting
Stone Garden Farm & Village in Richfield. Having never been, I had no idea what to expect.
Upon arriving, after a scenic, 25 minute drive, we were greeted by a black cat and many chickens. Unlike chickens kept in a fenced in area or pen, they were able to roam where they wished. They seemed to like us, especially after feeding them some chicken feed, and followed us around where we walked.
The owners had relocated historic buildings that were going to be torn down and collected different historical artifacts within, such as a post office and school that were open and ready to be explored.
Their general store featured seasonal products and gifts, as well as sold live Christmas trees. While we did not buy a tree, we purchased some homemade soaps and jam.
With further exploration, we found cows, goats and more cats within a barn full of antique farm equipment and buggies. While the gardens were empty after their harvest, it was an amazing experience to see a family almost fully living off of their land.
It would be a treat to go back during the other seasons throughout the year to see the seasonal products they make or buy pumpkins to carve. After the visit, I felt relaxed after being with the animals and in nature. I would highly suggest visiting this farm when in the area!
Here are pictures from my visit:
With Thanksgiving break quickly approaching, I took a step back and thought about what I have been thankful for. A lot has happened this year with many lasts and even more firsts. While I am always thankful for the little things such as when there is chicken nuggets once a week in the dining hall or a goodnight text from a friend, here are the 4 things I am truly thankful for this year:
I want to wish everyone a very happy Thanksgiving spent with the family and friends they love. I am ending this blog differently than most by offering the question, what are you thankful for?
I have always been one to enjoy a fall adventure with friends. Around 45 minutes from the Ohio University campus, and down a long, winding and rather hilly road, sits Old Man's Cave in Hocking Hills State Park. As a spur of the moment trip (planned at 3 a.m. that morning) on a chilly 40° day during our long weekend, my friend Gwyn and I made the pilgrimage to what is considered the "mecca" for nature enthusiasts.
Having never been before, Gwyn was my tour guide. I was absolutely blown away by the amazing nature. While having the ability to use my words when it comes to all things journalism, I simply cannot find the words to describe what I saw. I still cannot fathom the incredible, natural world that surrounds us. Instead, here are the pictures that I took throughout our day together.
I would 10/10 recommend a trip to visit this picturesque spot to simply explore, have a photo shoot or get off of campus for a few hours.
*All photos are original. Only editing/altering is through cropping of photo
I have loved my first semester spent at Ohio University. While I missed home, I tried to stay on campus as much as possible. When I had an off week and was missing home more than usual, I planned for a trip home over "Dad's Weekend", also my birthday weekend. While noting the differences from the dorm to my home such as the amount of noise, door handles and space, here are 10 things I took for granted while living at home:
1. My Mom
I always knew she did so much for the family, but I never knew truly how much she did until I had to take care of myself completely. Within 5 minutes of walking through the front door, a load of my laundry was started, my bags were in my room and a meal was on the table for me to eat. While in high school, I complained about her "nagging", but she really just keeps everyone in the house moving.
2. Showering without flip flops
Showering without wearing flip flops, what a concept.
3. My cat
Animals have been proven to relieve stress. Being home and getting to cuddle with my cat, made me so happy and ready to return back to finish the semester.
4. Toilet paper
Tissue paper used to wrap presents is thicker than dorm toilet paper. Having nice toilet paper makes me dread going back to the dorm toilet paper in the following weeks.
5. My bed
The bed in the dorm is up high, and with me being short, I have to jump up to sit or get into bed for the night. My bed at home is nice and low so I easily just sit down and can get into bed with minimal effort.
I brought cheap pillows to school so if anything were to happen to them, there would not be as big of a loss. Coming home to my memory foam pillow caused me to have the best sleep I've had in weeks.
7. The smell
Being completely honest, the dorms smell. Everyone's dirty laundry, cooked food and all-around personal scents. Being at home, everything smelled so clean. The bathrooms were kept fresh, the house smelled clean and there were no lingering odors from food.
8. Locking doors
Every time I leave my dorm and close the door, it automatically is locked. This means that I need to carry my key with me whenever I leave, even to just go to the bathroom. At home, I never worried about having a key or leaving my bedroom door open.
9. The kitchen
Food was available whenever I wanted it and without having to walk outside to a dining hall.
Where I live on campus, there is no laundry in my building meaning I have to carry my laundry outside to a laundry center to then pay $2 for a wash cycle and to dry. I brought clothes from the past two weeks as well as sheets, towels, bathrobe and blankets to be washed so that I could save the amount of trips to the laundry center and the cost of having to do multiple loads in order to wash everything.
While I have fallen in love with campus and the atmosphere, I really did miss home. I am excited to go back and continue finishing my first semester but I am also ecstatic to be going home in a short couple weeks for Thanksgiving break.
(All photos courtesy of Giphy)
The family lugged the heavy packed bags into the trunk and squeezed in their small car. On the way to the airport, the conversation was bubbly and lively, taking in the last moments with their son and brother. The short 20 minute drive to the airport was not long enough. Waiting for his plane to start loading passengers, the talking slows and the scene becomes solemn. They say their final goodbyes, hugging with tears rolling down their faces, unsure of when he will be home again.
He is in the military, and just like the other million military families in America, sons, daughters and spouses must leave to fight for our country. The turmoil and stress put on the families of those in the military is often overlooked, but being a military family offers pride and new opportunities unavailable to other families.
When Ben and Betsy Moskowitz’s son, Nick, enlisted in the Marines, they were both hesitant as to what the future held for their son, but had to stay supportive of his decision. After the 13-week-long boot camp, where all communication is cut except for letters, his family packed up and drove the almost 12 hour drive down from Ohio to Parris Island, South Carolina. Watching him graduate bootcamp brought proud tears of joy to their eyes as they were able to embrace him again.
Nick’s sister, Amy Moskowitz shares, “Graduating boot camp was an accomplishment he was very proud of which made everyone in the family feel proud and happy for him. At graduation, I knew that joining the military was the right decision for him. This experience has only made me view him with an even better lens than I was before.”
At that same graduation, Brittany Wimmer watched her now husband, TJ. She expressed the enormous amount of joy after seeing him after being apart for 13 weeks, “In that moment it didn't even matter how long it had been since we had last seen each other or how hard it had been being away from him. I was too proud of him to even worry about what we had just gone through as a couple. It truly made all the time we spent apart worth it when I saw who he had become and just how proud of himself he was.”
While everyone is proud of their son, daughter or spouse, having a family member in the military offers many daily hurdles that must be jumped over in order to maintain family order and strength. Military life, stress, anxiety, moving and deployment challenges families daily.
At a young age, Yenah Joe’s family had to move multiple times when her father’s assigned military base was changed. She now lives in Korea where she believes that, “Living the military life and moving has been a blessing. Moving to new places, especially overseas, opens your perspective on the world and different cultures. Since I go to a small Department of Defense school in Korea, I get to do a lot of different things and travel a lot.” Traveling and gaining new friends and experiences has helped Yenah grow into the person she is today but, “Moving has its downsides, like losing contact with friends, anxiety and uneasiness”
There comes a time where a family member is deployed, often being put into dangerous situations, separating them from their families. Deployment can create a ripple of stress that runs through the family affecting parents, siblings, spouses and children.
Wimmer’s husband, TJ, is stationed on a non-deployable base but if there was a day in the future where he had to be deployed, she would be extremely worried. A best friend of hers from high school did not make it back after his first deployment as a Marine. Although she would be supportive of her husband, “No one honestly wants their loved one to be put in danger.”
Spouses of those deployed now must care for the family, home and themselves. The increased amount of responsibilities, financial issues, loneliness, fear, sadness and quickly becoming overwhelmed felt by the spouse can spill over onto the children of the family resulting in behavioral problems. Military children face separation anxiety, temper tantrums, falling grades, eating disorders and other long-lasting emotional problems when a parent is deployed.
Research done by Child Trends, a nonprofit that focuses on improving the lives of children and their families found that, “Young children are at a higher risk of harm because of their emotional dependence on adults and their developing brains’ susceptibility to high levels of stress. The negative impacts of high stress can impact young children long term.”
David Murphey, Child Trends researcher and author states their concern that, “children exposed to stressful events, particularly traumatic stressful events, will have difficulty learning to cope with emotions, to do well socially and academically, and even have problems with their physical health.”
Working as a military police officer, Wimmer’s husband has inconsistent shifts changing every six months. Although her son is just the young age of two, she already sees the negative affects when he is crying asking for his dad, when he would not be home for 12-13 hours. Having a father in the military herself, Wimmer knows how hard it will be to see her children have to go through growing up with a father who must work or go to training for multiple months. She adds the positives that, “They will have an amazing role model to look up to. They will always feel loved and safe when he is around and that makes me happy to know.”
When the Moskowitz’s found out their son, Nick, was being deployed to Japan in 2014, there was a mix of emotions. While mother was sad he was being deployed, father thought, “it was a good opportunity to travel and see foreign lands” with sister agreeing, “I felt relieved that he was not going to a more dangerous place. I knew friends who had been deployed to Japan and my brother seemed excited to travel there so I was not too worried. Selfishly I also felt sad that he would be traveling away from home for so long and be missing the holidays.”
After deployment comes reintegration. Adjusting to a spouse or parent after deployment can be hard due to changing schedules and a shift in the environment in the home. Military members who have seen and experienced violent action during their deployment face a harder time adjusting back to civilian life making it harder for families to continue their regular routines. Children often have a hard time reconnecting to those who left them and may suffer from trust issues, always afraid they will leave again. The military homecomings seen on the internet do not show the hard realistic readjustment that must occur afterwards or those whose family members would never make it back, but only the happy families of those returning.
Living much of the first year of her marriage separated from her husband, TJ, Wimmer found it hard to adjust to living together again. She realized during her time apart how dependent she had become, but was able to change explaining, “This lifestyle has made me extremely independent in more ways than one. I now know I can function on my own without TJ being right next to me. I also don’t have my family to fall back on when the times get rough due to our distance and that has made me emotionally stronger as well. I am beyond thankful for how much personal growth has come from being a military spouse.”
Having a family member in the military positively affects so many families by making them stronger as a unit. Family members learn ways to cope with stress, cherish the small moments and to be thankful for what they have.
Through keeping in touch by phone, skype and social media, families can stay connected to their loved one. Talking to others who are going through the same situation helps you know that you are not alone.
Holidays can often be a time where family comes together, but frequently, military members are unable to come home on leave. Parents Ben and Betsy Moskowitz agree that, “We can’t spend every holiday together so it makes us more appreciative of holidays we do spend together” and that, “When he’s on leave it has brought the family closer together.”
A family member in the military puts everyone to the test on if they are able to stay together as one and support each other. Wimmer mentions, “We have grown so much already as a couple. I feel like anything that is thrown at us, we will survive and grow from.”
While nothing is set in stone with the military, with plans constantly changing, families are able to stay together, cherish time spent with each other and support each other as they go through the good times and the hard times.
Sister, Amy Moskowitz shows the resilience her family has, “From the day my brother enlisted in the military to the day he graduated boot camp to the day he moved to a military base or was deployed- our family stuck closely together and leaned on each other for support. We grew closer together.”
It is officially your year, class of 2017! This is your time to grow up and go off on your own. Here is a list of 17 things that you have to look forward to this year!
1. Last Week of School
That last week of school where you get to goof off, turn in your books and make fun of the underclassmen one last time.
This is the last time in your high school career to go the full nine yards by getting dressed up, taking pictures and dancing the night away. Prom also means the creative promposals. But like most things involved with high school, do not set your expectations too high or try to micromanage the night, just enjoy yourself.
The day you have waited for is finally here. You have been looking forward to commencement since freshmen year and now you are sitting in a room with everyone in your class for the last time. Enjoy the moment, take it all in, look around and move that tassel from right to left!
4. Grad Parties
Now that you have graduated, it is time to celebrate with your family and friends!
If you are going to college, you will have to go to a summer orientation to sign up for classes, see more of the campus and meet others who will be going to school with you. This is a time to meet new people so you don't go into college completely blind knowing no one except students from your high school.
6. Summer Nights
This is most likely your last summer that you and all of your friends will all be home at the same time. Enjoy and spend as much time as you want with the people you care about because chances are, you and your friends will be going in different directions when it comes to school.
7. Back to School Shopping
If you are a fan of regular back to school shopping, this year's back to school shopping is on the next level. You can finally buy things for your dorm room that you can plan and design by yourself or with your roommate. Along with this, you still get to buy all of your favorites: binders, folders, notebooks, pens, highlighters, etc.
8. Move in Day
While rather stressful, this day you'll meet who you will be living with on your floor, your RA and possibly your roommate. And if your parents come to help you move in, this will be your last time with them until you come home again. Move in day symbolizes the first day that you will be on your own without parental supervision.
9. Meeting New People
You are finally at college! It is now time to meet new people!
10. Freshman 15/Getting in Shape
During this new stage in your life, this is one of the only times that it is truely "okay" to gain weight and is even labelled "The Freshman 15". During this time though, with most schools offering free recreational centers to students, you may take matters into your own hands and actually get in shape.
While your high school may have had a lot of clubs or sports, college will offer so many clubs you will be amazed. There will be clubs that you would not even think about along with recreational sports that do not need tryouts. It is all for fun so go out and try different sports and join clubs and meet new people with similar interests as you.
12. Trying Something New
This is the time to experiment with new things. Try new activities, dye your hair or anything that you have always wanted to do (within limits, do not do anything illegal or something that will get you in trouble). There are no parents at college so who is stopping you?
13. School Spirit
While you could not pick/were forced to go to your high school, you picked your college. Before you even move in, you will have an entire wardrobe full of school apparel and school colors.
14. Finding Yourself
Your time in college will allow you to let your true colors show. Try fashions you want, change your hair and find true, life long friends.
15. Coming Home Again
After months of not being home, it is time to come back for break. Your family will stuff you with food, you will hangout with old friends who are also on break and you will look back at your high school and see how far you have come in just a short couple of months since graduation.
16. You Are One Year Older
This year you'll be getting older, possibly turning 18 (YAY? You are an adult finally) or maybe even older, and it is time to celebrate!
17. Simply Enjoying it
This year is your year! Relax, enjoy it and make the best of it. You can say that this will be your year, but it will only be your year if you make it your year.
Happy New Year!
(All photos courtesy of Giphy)
That's right folks. To be considered for many scholarships and financial aid, many college applications are due November 1st to be enrolled in the fall 2017 semester. Since I am your local overachiever, I have already applied to my colleges and have done my research to help you get through this stressful time.
Eeek! Due Dates
What is scarier than Halloween this year for high school seniors? College application due dates. What you must first do, is figure out what colleges you will be applying to. Once you have this list, decide if you are doing early decision, early action, regular decision or rolling admission. Do your research! Depending on what you choose, the deadlines for applications will change. Early decision and early action are typically due by November with acceptances and the unfortunate rejections coming in December or early January. Just remember that applying with early decision means you will be obligated to enroll while early action gives you until May for your final decision. Regular decision applications are due around January and February with a response from the college in March. Rolling admissions give many months to apply, but you will not hear back from a school for a longer period of time. Schools however will continue to accept students as long as they have open space.
Applying: Common App vs. Directly
With your list of schools and your application deadlines now in your heads, it is time to start applying. Look into your schools and see if they accept the Common App or only accept applications directly through their website. If your schools accept Common App, I HIGHLY suggest that you take advantage of it because it will make applying 100% easier I guarantee. By using Common App, you will only need to fill out the main application once and then just little bits of information specific to each college you apply to. If you do have to apply directly through a college's website, investigate what information you will need so that when you do sit down to apply you have everything readily available.
While the actual application is generally not stressful, if you need an essay, that is a whole different story. When researching schools you are interested in, look into whether you need an essay, multiple essays or what the essay is on. Common app provides three "common" essay prompts that schools accepting the college app will accept. Personally, one of the colleges I applied to did not need an essay, but the specific school that I was applying to within the college had a specific essay that I had to turn in with my application.
Letters of Recommendations
You are almost at the finish line when you realize you need letters of recommendations. Even if your school does not need letters of recommendations, depending on the competitiveness of the school, it is highly recommended that you get at least one letter. Depending on your high school this can be done through sites like naviance or can be turned in directly to your school of choice. When picking teachers, DO NOT wait until the last minute to ask because they have MANY other students asking for letters. Also keep in mind what your major will be when getting letters. If you plan on majoring in Journalism, have an english teacher, journalism teacher or school newspaper advisor write you a letter. If you plan to major in political sciences, have your government teacher write you a letter. When you ask, be polite, do it in person and have a résumé with where you want to go and major ready to give them. When a teacher completes and turns in the letter that they wrote you, send them a thank you. You can email them, bring them a gift or what I did was printed the attached file, cut the sides down and taped it around a Hershey's chocolate bar and left it on my teacher's desk with a hand written, personalized thank you on the back.
But Wait There's More: Honors College
PLEASE figure out if you are applying to your school's honors college. Often times, schools require separate applications, essays and letters of recommendations for their honors college. Do not miss the deadline because you did not do your research. Other times, schools will request/suggest you apply to their honors college after you have applied and been accepted based on your grade point average, test scores or other factors.
Please remember in this stressful time of your life to stay calm, cool and collected because this is not the end of the world. Relax, millions of other seniors are going through the same process and before you know it, you will be packing up your car to move into your dorm.
When you finally get that acceptance letter, celebrate fam you have earned it!
(All photos courtesy of Giphy)