Some catching up to do

I feel like I have some catching up to do. It’s been quite a long time since I was blogging regularly and I miss it.

Here goes! Let’s see – in the last year I planned a trip to Paris with my grandmother, went on said trip to Paris over my Spring Break, planned a trip to Barcelona and Madrid with my mom, went on said trip at the beginning of summer break, planned the most amazing wedding with my now husband, Scott, started a new position at my school as Administrative Assistant, traveled to Massachusetts for our most amazing wedding, Mini-Moon-ed in Maine, and moved to a new house! Oh, and I took a French class and a Spanish class at the beginning of the year along with planning said trips. Here are some photos of aforementioned adventures:Grandma and Adrianne in Giverny Engagement photo by Leigh McLindenPam and Adrianne at Montserrat DSC_0443Wedding Planning at Friendly Crossways Sam Adams Brewery Our wedding shower Marriage License Just married! Mine Mini-Moon mid Casco BayChristmas at Biltmore Our First Married Christmas Ornament IMG_0325 Moving truck! Kitchen window view Our new house is amazing. First of all, it’s an actual house. We don’t share any walls with anyone, we have a front yard and a backyard, and we have our own driveway. It’s definitely bigger than our apartment was, which makes it so that we actually have places for all of our things. A place for everything and everything in its place. (Credit where credit is due if that’s some individual’s quote.) Our kitchen is brilliant. It’s an eat in kitchen with a giant (very heavy) table so there’s room for hanging out and cooking and no one gets in anyone’s way. There’s a beautiful view of the mountains and we can tell that it will be absolutely lovely come spring time. We have at least three dogwoods … I’m so excited!!! And we can hardly wait to see what else pops up. The two bird feeders that hang outside our bay window are quite popular with the birds. We have a lengthy list of birds that we’ve seen from our window! And of course, a few squirrels.

Married life is wonderful. I’ve been adjusting to my new name and I love it. Otherwise it’s business as usual in the Anderson household. We often sit around fondly recalling moments from our wedding – it was the best – and being thankful for our beautiful new home. So here’s to all of the adventures that await in 2015!

Paris!

Several months ago my uncle called me and told me that my grandmother wanted to take me to Paris! Of course, I said yes. And we decided to go during my Spring Break! Plane tickets were bought and planning commenced. I signed up to take a 7 week French class for a crash course – my first French class after many years of Spanish classes – and, in the words of my fiancé, I learned just enough to be dangerous.

We rented an apartment for the week in the middle of Paris, got Paris Museum Passes to see as many museums and monuments as possible, figured out how to find each other once in Paris, and off we went! (Okay, it wasn’t quite that simple.)

First day in Paris!

Grandma and me on the balcony of our flat overlooking our street in Paris! Soon after our arrival.

Claude Monet's House and Gardens at Giverny

Claude Monet’s House and Gardens in Giverny

Giverny - Monet's Gardens

Grandma and me in Monet’s Gardens – seriously gorgeous.

Monet's Flowers

Mmm spring flowers in Monet’s gardens.

L'arc de Triomphe

L’Arc de Triomphe

Hall of Mirrors

Hall of Mirrors, Chateau de Versailles

Versailles

Chateau de Versailles from the gardens.

Le Tour Eiffel

Le Tour Eiffel

View from Le Tour Eiffel

The view from le Tour Eiffel.

Musee du Louvre

Louvre!

Musee du Louvre

Sculptures in the Louvre

Le Basilique du Sacre Coeur

Le Basilique du Sacre Coeur de Monmartre. Climbing the stairs with Grandma and finally going inside was incredibly moving and was one of my favorite things about Paris.

Selfie at Notre Dame

Selfie at Notre Dame!

Candles at Notre Dame

Candles inside Notre Dame

Stained Glass in Notre Dame

Beautiful stained glass in Notre Dame.

Notre Dame

Notre Dame from the Seine River

Musee d'Orsay

Musee d’Orsay

Le Penseur

Le Penseur (The Thinker) – Musee Rodin

Le Baiser

Le Baiser (The Kiss) – Musee Rodin

Le Petit Chatelet

Le Petit Chatelet – the most wonderful little restaurant where we had one of the best meals I have ever had the pleasure of eating in my life. Roast duck with pistachios and all the other goodness on my plate.

Centre Pompidou

Centre Pompidou – Museum of Modern Art

View from the Centre Pompidou

View from the Centre Pompidou

The door to our courtyard

The door to the courtyard where our flat was.

There really are not enough words for the week I spent in Paris with my Grandma. It was a once in a lifetime kind of adventure and if given the opportunity I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. I just feel so incredibly lucky to have been given such a spectacular gift. I know I will, and already do, look back on the time spent together so fondly. The memories we created together, the laughs we had, the stories we told, and the time we spent is some of the best time of my life. I only wish it could have been longer.

Here’s to many more adventures in this lifetime.

Seven Years

7 Years

Celebrating 7 incredible years with the love of my life! It has been quite the last 7 years and I am so excited to see what happens next in our life together! I could blab on and on and on about how much I love him and what an extraordinary adventure this has been, but instead here are 7 things.

1. He is so handsome in plaid – and it’s a good thing because he wears a lot of it. He is handsome all the time.

2. He makes me laugh every day.

3. He helps me see things in a new light and challenges me to be my best.

4. He supports me always.

5. He loves me unconditionally.

6. I love him more than I thought it possible to love someone.

7. And I get to marry him and live happily ever after!

I love you so much, Scott!

Baby It’s Cold Outside

The weather has been up and down lately – mid-60s earlier this week and mid-30s today! Fall has been crazy busy … still.

Samantha came up for a glorious weekend of adventures and indulgence. We ate good food, drank good beer and wine, and had a wonderful leisurely time together. Thanks for coming Samantha! We loved having you here!

Biltmore Winery

Wine Tasting

Christmas Decorations at Biltmore

And now, a few photos from life lately. I got the most terrific package in the mail this week from Leigh! Inside was the loveliest honey pot! And every time I look at it makes me think of Leigh and Winnie the Pooh. Thanks Leigh! Working on a letter soon.

Love from Michigan

Honey Pot from Leigh!

Went for a lovely walk at the Biltmore yesterday afternoon. The air was crisp, the views were beautiful, and it was nice to get outside. For some reason we are much more apt to bundle up and go for a walk this time of year than during the summer. It can definitely get cold, but goodness it feels great to get outside when the air is crisp.

Shadows at Biltmore

Biltmore House

Then we found ourselves at Home Depot where we saw this cheery little fellow nestled in the Christmas Tree display. Pretty cute!

Christmas Flamingo

Finally went to Highland Brewing Company for the first time yesterday too! We both got a pint of Cold Mountain – yum!

Highland Cold Mountain

I’ve been slowly working on this cable-licious cowl – it’s so meditative for me to knit and it’s so satisfying to make something so scrumptious and snuggly. I used a gift certificate and got myself some rather decadent yarn made from baby alpaca fleece (thanks Janet and Karl!!!) and I can’t wait to finish this and wear it all the time. And yet, at the same time, the process of knitting is so methodical and peaceful that I just want to keep working on it until I come up with another project. The trials and tribulations of a knitter.

Cables

In other new, I’m looking forward to Thanksgiving, but I’ve completely moved on to Christmas already. This is very uncharacteristic of me – usually I am rather militant about not doing Christmas things until after Thanksgiving. Not this year! I decided it was arbitrary to wait and that if it makes me happy then I should just do it. Luckily Scott is on the same page. No, we don’t have our Christmas tree up yet, but we have started whole heartedly listening to Christmas music. It’s indulgent and puts a smile on my face every time. So there’s that.

 

Gratitude

Every afternoon at the end of the day, once the children are all packed up and ready to go home, we have a Thank You Circle. We go around the circle and write down two things that each person is thankful for on a tile and the children are free to go and look at it throughout the day. We have one child who has a lot of trouble choosing just two things so we helped him come up with a way to encompass them all:

“I am thankful for all the people (or ‘things’, if it really can’t be narrowed down) I love in my life.”

It is a humbling reminder that we have so much for which to be thankful and to stop and really think about it from time to time.

Today was one of those days where I just couldn’t stop thinking about all the things I love in my life. We set off on an adventure this afternoon to “peep some fall leaves” (thanks to the leaf peepers) and found ourselves way out of cell phone service and almost in Tennessee. As locals we tend to avoid the Blue Ridge Parkway during this leaf-peeper season because it just ends up being a parking lot and it’s not as enjoyable as one might hope. What we stumbled upon today was far better than we could have imagined. I found myself glued to the window, leaning forward to see more of the views, in absolute awe of the unbelievable beauty of the mountains in which we live.

WE LIVE HERE.

Fall Colors

Twisty Turny Roads

Out for a drive

Fall Colors 2013

The leaves this time of year are absolutely spectacular. Admittedly, it is past peak in some places, but in others it is right in the midst of all the fall color glory. I found myself swooning over the scenery in Southern Appalachia – the changing leaves, the crisp air, the old barns and houses, the creeks trickling over rocks, and the twisty roads that we had almost entirely to ourselves were right out of one of those novels you just don’t want to put down. At one point we realized we had absolutely no clue what the time was, nor did we care. We just followed the curves of the road from one majestic creek to the next. It was like magic out there.

My heart is overflowing with gratitude. For all the people I love in my life, for this breathtaking place where we get to live, for the home I share with the most incredible partner, for my job and all my tiny munchkins. I am one lucky gal, that’s for sure.

spontaneous whimsy // biltmore house edition

Hibiscus Flower

On Sunday Scott and I spontaneously decided to go for a house tour at the Biltmore! Disclaimer: We have 12 Month Passes and we use them regularly. We read an article on the Biltmore Blog that outlined a few restoration projects that are going on right now and we thought it would be fun to go check things out! So we took ourselves on over, found a doozy of a parking spot, and wandered through the house. They have self-guided tour booklets available (that you should definitely use if you’re going through the house for a tour), but we have been through the house enough times that we don’t always pick them up anymore. Lately we have enjoyed mapping out the many levels of the house in our heads and noticing the ever-changing decorations in all the rooms. The tour itself also changes from time to time. It gets rerouted depending on the time of year and the restoration that is happening at the time. We gallivanted through the house taking note of the detours and various subtle differences. It was delightful! After a quick jaunt we found ourselves at the winery – because free wine tasting. Why not!?

It was wonderful and spontaneous and whimsical.

Oh, and this beautiful hibiscus flower was blooming beautifully outside the winery!

life as of late

An update on life lately in photographs.

Triple Falls, DuPont State Forest

Triple Falls, DuPont State Forest

Covered Bridge, DuPont State Forest

View from the Covered Bridge, top of Triple Falls, DuPont State Forest

Us at Triple Falls

Us at Triple Falls

Mast General Store Hendersonville

Mast General Store Hendersonville // slowly but surely checking them off the list!

Heirloom Tomatoes

Heirloom tomatoes from our garden!

Cat Without his Hat?

Cat without his hat? Lexington Avenue.

Friends!

Friends!

The Dripolator

The Dripolator

Because Pink Nails

Because pink nails // Pink nails because summer.

Watching Titanic

Watching Titanic.

Ultimate Ice Cream!

Ultimate Ice Cream!

This End Up

Earlier this week my mom and her friend did a whirl wind trip to Asheville to do a furniture swap. They rented a cargo van, loaded up my mom’s This End Up furniture from her house, drove to Asheville, we moved the current furniture out of the apartment, unloaded the This End Up into the apartment, loaded the van with the other furniture, had a brief evening on the town for dinner at Wicked Weed, slept, and they hit the road early the next morning, unloaded the furniture into my mom’s house, and returned the cargo van. All in 24 hours. So yeah, they’re pretty much the bomb diggity. If you know what I mean.

The first picture is a bit of an oldie from right after we moved in two years ago. But the furniture didn’t really move and it was always a bit too big for the space. But it was free, and for that we were always grateful! (Thanks Dad and Dean!)

old furniture

The This End Up furniture isn’t really that much smaller as far as seating is concerned, but it is much lower profile and feels like it fits the space much better. (Thanks Mom!) Oh, and we have a Classic Overnighter upstairs too!

this end up

Friends!

So there you have it. Our new-to-us furniture!

Weekend Review: Family of Travelers

Childhood bedroom

My childhood bedroom.

This weekend was the first of many trips to Chapel Hill this summer. There is a lot of prep with my mom moving to Kuwait in August, selling her house and her car, and sorting through a lifetime of memories. On top of all this my brother, Parker, left for a month in Beijing this morning! He will be studying there for the next month, taking classes at a university, and soaking up the culture as much as he can. This weekend was a fond farewell to him.

The Bees' Knees.

Mom and I also soaked up some time this weekend. We visited Parker at work, sipped tasty drinks, and enjoyed the asparagus with parmesan and the cheddar tater tots at The Weathervane. It was a slow night so Parker was able to hang out with us a fair bit, which was really nice!

Mom and me!

On Sunday we went to a neat little place in Pittsboro for brunch called Small Street B & B. We wanted to have a little going away gathering for Parker before he left on his big adventure! It was such a neat little place and the lemon ricotta hotcakes were divine. Also, Beyonce was there. (Click here if you don’t know why that’s funny.) Pittsboro really is an up and coming place these days!

Small's B&B

Headed home after our get together on Sunday with my dad’s guitar and some of my mom’s wall art. I am hoping to learn to play the guitar and it feels like a reasonable goal now that I have a guitar that I can learn on! I’ll keep you posted. As for the art, we are keeping some pieces and just babysitting others, but it will feel wonderful to have things up on the walls in our apartment! Thanks Mom and Dad!

Parker is off to China now and I am holding him in my thoughts and prayers that he may have a most terrific, safe, eye-opening, growing experience. I love you!

This was the first trip of many to Chapel Hill this summer – soaking up family time like a dry sponge. (Update: A damp sponge soaks up more water than a dry sponge. I’ll try to soak up family time like a damp sponge from now on. Thanks Mom!)