The summer that flew by

That’s how this summer was. Has been. Whatever it is now that it’s September. At any rate, it absolutely flew by! In the blink of an eye. I miss writing and blogging and sharing so here’s a little catching up. Since my last post I have:

1. Finished another year of being an assistant teacher.

2. Switched jobs to work in the office as administrative assistant.

3. Spent two phenomenal weeks traveling in España with my wonderful mom. We flew into Barcelona and met up in baggage claim after a year apart. Suddenly, as I was walking toward baggage claim, I heard someone running toward me and looked over and there was my mom! I took off toward her and we crashed into a huge hug in the middle of baggage claim. It was epic.

Barcelona Metro

We spent a week in Barcelona, seeing as much as we possibly could.

La Sagrada Familia

Sagrada Família

Human Towers!

Serendipity Number 1: Summer festival with people building human towers in the square where we were having breakfast.

Ice Barcelona

Ice Barcelona

Mediterranean Sea

Mar Mediterraneo!

Casa Batlló

Casa Batlló

Montserrat

Montserrat

Park Güell

Park Güell

Barcelona Cemetery

Incredible headstone statue in one of the cemeteries in Barcelona.

Mom in Barcelona

My beautiful mom in Barcelona!

Adrianne in Barcelona

I’m still so glad we got these hats.

And then flew to Madrid for another incredible week.

Flying into Madrid

First dinner in Madrid

First dinner in Madrid

Coronation Day

Serendipity Number 2: We happened to arrive in Madrid on the Coronation Day of their new king!

Madrid!

Tour bus!

Valle de los Caidos

Valle de los Caidos // Serendipity Number 3: We visited Valle de los Caidos on Corpus Christi Sunday during their service and saw part of it when they brought the procession outside.

Prado

Museo Nacional del Prado

Templo de Debod

Opera at Templo de Debod

El Escorial Monastery

El Escorial Monastery Selfie

Stork Nesting on a Gothic Cathedral

Stork Nesting on a Gothic Cathedral

Avila

Avila

Arco San Vincente

Arco San Vincente

Roman Aqueducts in Segovia

Roman Aqueducts in Segovia

Palacio Real

Serendipity Number 4: Spanish Armed Forces practicing for a parade at the Palacio Real.

Palacio Real Selfie

Palacio Real Selfie

Plaza del Sol Selfie

Plaza del Sol Selfie

4. Traveled to Massachusetts to visit family and work on planning our wedding.

Friendly Crossways

5. Taught three weeks of summer camp.

6. Trained for my new position as administrative assistant.

7. Spent a week with my mom before she went back to Kuwait for her second year of teaching there.

Mom in AVL!

8. Had a wedding shower and a bridal shower.

Wedding Shower!

9. Started my new position as administrative assistant.

10. Celebrated my best friend and Maid of Honor’s birthday!

Emily's Birthday!

11. Lots of wedding planning with Scott!

Countdown!

So there you have it – a brief recap of my summer. And now we’re less than a month away from The Big Day!!! I can hardly wait!

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Head First into September

I find myself diving into September head first. And it’s already almost halfway through!

School is off to a rock and rolling start. We are getting into a routine slowly but surely and getting to know our kiddos better every day. Teaching certainly is a challenging job, but I do love it.

I started taking a continuing education Spanish class at the local community college and we had our first class on Tuesday of this week. It was so great! It feels wonderful to be back in a Spanish class, reviewing my knowledge, practicing my conversation skills, and building my confidence with speaking! I surprise myself with how much I actually do know and remember when I just start speaking. Hopefully this class will hold me accountable for actually using this beautiful language!

Spanish Textbook

The Walled Garden at the Biltmore Estate is beautiful in late summer. The large leafy plants are lush and lovely. The flowers are abundant and bright. The grass is green and it feels so magical.

Walled Garden, Biltmore Estate

The roses are still blooming and I wish I had enough sniffs in my nose to sniff all of them. I’m always a bit disappointed when they don’t smell. But so many of them do, and jeepers do they smell good!

Roses at the Biltmore

Biltmore Estate from the Italian Gardens

I would like to say that it’s starting to feel like fall around these parts, but I just can’t bring myself to say that when it’s still mid-80s and humid. We have had some absolutely gorgeous misty mornings though! The clouds catch on the mountains and hug the sunlight into the morning with a tenderness only foggy mornings can. It’s like bits of magic leftover from dreamland.

Misty morning sunshine

Life has been busy lately. Busy, but good. I took myself to yoga last night even though I was so tempted to just stay at home. And I am so glad I went! Yoga is awesome.

African Violet

Fall is a busy time of year for us here in las montañas! I’ll try to keep the blog updated on all of our adventures. Also, my mom’s African Violet is blooming abundantly! It’s incredible! And it makes me think of her every time I see it.

Weekend Review: David and Emma do Asheville

Scott’s brother David and his girlfriend Emma came to visit this weekend! They are currently on their way back to school for the fall and we are so glad they came to visit!

They were here very briefly, but it was wonderful to finally meet Emma and spend some more time checking out Asheville together.

Friday evening we took them downtown to Tupelo Honey Cafe. I forget how noisy it can be downtown on a Friday evening (thank you drum circle). But it was nice!

Tupelo Honey Candle

David and Emma at Tupelo Honey

We spent the evening just relaxing and playing games.

The next morning we went to another downtown favorite – Early Girl Eatery. We got there just in the nick of time with only a 15 minute wait!

Early Girl Eatery

Matching boat shoes

After brunch we had some time to wander around downtown. Went to Malaprops and earnestly checked out their Blind Date with a Bookseller table. I wanted most of the books. Such a clever idea!

Blind Date with a Book Seller

We also took them through Mast and then for an obligatory visit to the French Broad Chocolate Lounge. It was a great way to wrap up their brief visit!

David and Emma at the FBCL

Thanks for making this a stop on your trek back to school! We loved having you. See you soon!

late august

Yowza it’s been a while since the last time I posted! And a lot has happened since then. These past few weeks have been a bit of a blur.

I started back to work a couple of weeks ago after some glorious time off. We had two days of teacher workdays and then The Weekend Before Mom Left.

My Mom is living in Kuwait now. Scott and I spent a busy and wonderful weekend with her just before she left. We sorted through some of the last things, took a couple of car loads to her storage unit, helped her pack her 6 suitcases, and soaked up as much time with her as possible. I went through the house and took pictures of all of the rooms so I can remember them. It was so empty when we left, and even more so when my mom finally left. I have so many memories in this house – this is where I grew up! But the most important thing to remember is that home is with family. Always. But it’s still a little bittersweet to say goodbye to my childhood home.

Home

Family

Mom and me

I dove in head first after getting home with a couple more days of teacher workdays right before school started back with the munchkins! I am grateful that I was so busy right after getting home from The Weekend. I suppose it meant I stayed in a denial a bit … er … a lot longer. But then suddenly she is living in Kuwait! Being busy as she was leaving did create a welcome distraction from moping. It still seems totally surreal but it is getting easier as I am learning more about what she is doing and where she is living. Can’t wait to talk to you soon Mom! Such an epic adventure.

After all of the emotions of my Mom moving and starting back to school I opened a Dove chocolate at work and it said this:

Truth in a chocolate wrapper.

And I realized that it was truth in a chocolate wrapped like none ever before.

***

Last weekend Scott’s brother, David arrived! He was here briefly for Scott’s graduation back in May, but it was such a whirlwind weekend that he didn’t really get to see much of Asheville. This time was much different. On Friday night we went to Farm Burger for dinner – a first for us all! And let me tell you – it was delicious! Local beef, fresh toppings, tasty sides, and wicked good sweet tea. (Describing sweet tea as “wicked good” feels like I’m forcing two very different things together against their will – southern sweet tea and New England wicked … but I’m doing it anyway because that pretty much sums me up.) Saturday we started our day out right with some Sunny Point brunch. That place never gets old.

Get to the point.

Then we walked around downtown Asheville a bit and headed out to Black Mountain. Found ourselves drinking sweet icy beverages at the Dripolator and headed back home. Went to the Biltmore after 5 (Passholders can bring friends to the Estate after 5 for free!) and wandered around Antler Hill Village, peeked up the hill at the House from the Lagoon, and enjoyed some samples in the Winery. Retired to the apartment for some noms and Cards Against Humanity – good times.

Sunday after Gump’s Very Superior Pancakes we headed south on the Blue Ridge Parkway to Mt. Pisgah. It was a gorgeous albeit slightly warm day for a hike! It felt great but it did bring to my attention how sorely out of shape I am. Boo hiss. (One of the kids we passed said, “I hope there’s a gift shop at the top!” Hilarious.)

At the top of Mt. Pisgah

But seriously – check out this view! WE LIVE HERE!!! It was a really magnificent day.

View from the top.

We are so glad David finally got to see a bit more of Asheville! Thanks for coming!!!

***

We officially have the first full week of school under our belts and it feels great! I’m excited to be getting to know our munchkins better and better each day. Teaching is not an easy job but I get more joy and fulfillment out of being with those kiddos every day than I ever have in my life. I am so lucky! I’m even saying this on Friday afternoon!

Now I’m off to enjoy every last drop of this three-day weekend!

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!

Camp Pamdrianne

Last week was Camp Pamdrianne. Pam + Adrianne = Pamdrianne.

It was absolutely grand.

Living room.

My mother, as many of you know, is moving to Kuwait. She is going to be teaching elementary school drama at the American School of Kuwait. It is a two-year contract, so we’re not talking about an indefinite move. However, she has been wanting to downsize for a long time now, so this is pretty much the perfect excuse. Or something. At any rate, she is selling her house and her car, purging like a maniac, putting everything she wants to keep in a small storage unit, and the rest is going with her to Kuwait. Over the course of the past several months she has had a good friend helping her with this gargantuan task and I have helped as I was able. This past week, during camp, we took two car loads of boxes and a few other things to her storage unit. It felt good to get some things out of the way.

Storage Trip

Loading up.

We also sorted through some of Mom’s things for packing and traveled Memory Lane … er … Highway a few times. Mom sorted through her clothes, mostly emptied her closet, and I packed a vacuum bag for her suitcase! Found an old floppy disk and I fondly recalled sliding the metal thing back and forth on the top even though that was probably really bad. Oh, and it holds an entire megabyte. One whole megabyte. Hilarity ensued when I realized my external hard drive holds a terabyte. The hilarity was probably exacerbated by exhaustion and wine. Then I found Mom’s old rose-colored sunglasses and the Wizard of Oz finger puppets. It was a fun evening!

One Whole Megabyte.

One Whole Megabyte.

Mom's old glasses.

Wizard of Oz Finger Puppets

There were a number of house showings this past week, which feels promising. This is the part where we all say a prayer that Mom’s house sells soon! We found ourselves at Looking Glass Cafe to escape the house during a showing one afternoon. The iced mochas were delicious and the butterflies were abundant (though elusive every time I pulled out my camera).

Looking Glass Cafe

Lantanas

On Wednesday we decided to empty the attic. Sounded simple. Turns out there were several heavy boxes – mostly full of papers and magazines and such – among the multitude of empty boxes. We ended up with a pile of flattened boxes about four feet tall and four large cardboard boxes chockablock full of crumpled up paper from previous moves. There were also two trunks and zero keys. Oh, and it all had to come down the attic ladder! What a work-out! Three car-loads later and it is mostly gone from the family room!

Emptying the attic.

After some errands on Thursday we went to Carolina Brewery for some delicious lunch and tasty brews.

Carolina Brewery

We also sorted through the linen closet! Mom got rid of some old towels, set aside things to bring with her to Kuwait, and I folded and packed a vacuum bag for storage. One more closet down!

Sorting linens.

Overall it was a wonderful and productive week. I am so blessed to have the most amazing, inspiring, beautiful, thoughtful, funny, caring, adventurous, marvelous mother in the world. (Grab a tissue, Mom.) Camp Pamdrianne was brief in the grand scheme of things, but it meant the world to me to spend that time with you, Mom. And it flew by in the blink of an eye. I would be remiss if I did not mention that I have gotten quite used to just being able to pop down the mountain to see you. And I am forever grateful that we have seen so much of each other this summer. The flood gates are beginning to leak tears and I just want you to know that it is not because I don’t want you to go. We made it a long time in denial and away from tears. I am unbelievably proud of you and I want you to know what an inspiration you are to me. I am beyond excited for this new adventure in your life. But that does not mean I will miss you any less. We could have spent the entire week hugging and it would not have even come close to supplying me for the next year. But I am the luckiest person in the world (except for Parker) because I carry you in my heart. Always and forever, here and everywhere. Distance is no challenge for this kind of love.

Mom and me!

Summer Break: Chapter 3

Assuming that Summer Break: Chapter 1 was our trip around the Northeast in June, and Summer Break: Chapter 2 was teaching summer camp for five weeks, then that makes this the beginning of Summer Break: Chapter 3.

Sunset after yoga

Sunset after yoga on Wednesday. 

Summer Break: Chapter 2 ended smoothly. I lead my Sewing Camp with a group of eight sweet children and it was wonderfully easy. My kiddos were peaceful and kind, they listened really well, they enjoyed the sewing projects we did together, and they sang my silly song (I’ve been sewing in the classroom … to the tune of I’ve been working on the railroad). Sewing with kids was a new experience for me and they did so well! They learned really quickly, they were eager to try new things, and they were so safe with all of the pins and needles we used. The kiddos all did impressive embroidery on burlap and made little dream pillows! Overall it was a wonderful week.

Ergo, the beginning of Summer Break: Chapter 3. So far so good! Monday I’m heading to Carrboro for Camp Pamdrianne (Pam + Adrianne = Pamdrianne). Should be exceptionally superb. But first, a wonderful weekend with my sweetheart!

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!)

Summer Road Trip 2013

Wow! Sorry for the somewhat unexpected long blog hiatus. The last two months have flown by and I am adjusting to “being on the other side” of all the craziness. I have been talking about “the other side of the craziness” for a while now and I knew things would slow down on “this side.” That being said, it is taking a bit to realize that I am on “the other side” now. Anyway, enough of what side I am on. More about life lately.

Scott and I got back about a week ago from a two-week road trip vacation in the Northeast! The last week of school (the week before we left) was a blur including, but not limited to, the following: Memorial Day weekend in Chapel Hill with grandparents, aunt, uncle, and cousin, laundry, packing, haircut, bridal shower for some coworkers, a wee bit of sleeping, and some more packing. On Saturday morning we got up really early and hit the road at 6:00 for New York! We arrived 14.5 hours later at our friends’ house in Niskayuna. That day was the hottest day I think we have seen this year – we saw a sign that reported 94 degrees – and Scott’s car does not have air conditioning. Luckily the next day was much cooler! We spent two and a half days touring around the Capitol District and doing some much needed hanging out. It was a wonderful way to start our vacation!

Gia and I, after over a year of not seeing each other, matched upon our reunion without having planned it. This happens to us regularly.

Gia and I, after over a year of not seeing each other, matched upon our reunion without having planned it. This happens to us regularly.

Beat friends!

Hudson River antics.

On Tuesday, late morning, we drove to Scott’s parents house for a night and headed up to Maine the next morning. We spent a couple of days doing Maine things – eating seafood, walking on the beach, having campfires, roasting marshmallows and hot dogs, going to Freeport and LLBean, eating more seafood, and enjoying the quiet time together. Maine is one of those places that just feels special and we love it.

Cape Porpoise.

Cape Porpoise.

Cape Porpoise Sunset

Because moose.

LLBean Boot

Casco Bay, Portland, ME

We spent the last few days of our trip in Massachusetts at Scott’s folks house. His mom and I went to Ikea on Saturday (a first for both of us) and spent most of the day there. The other days were mostly lazy days spent around the house. Scott and his dad did a bunch of work on his car, which was necessary for the fact that we were counting on it for our trip home. Monday evening we got to see Scott’s older brother for dinner and delicious ice cream. On Tuesday we went for a short trip to Rhode Island to visit Scott’s cousin, her husband, and their sweet new baby! We got to see his aunt and uncle there too. It was wonderful to visit with them and meet the newest member of the family!

They were right ...

They were right …

Scott working on his car.

Thursday morning we loaded up the car and hit the road to Pennsylvania! Seven hours later we arrived at our stop for the night with some friends. Friday morning we drove ten hours back home!

Welcome to NC!

It felt absolutely incredible to arrive home again. We had so much fun on our trip, and we are grateful for safe travels, fun adventures, and such wonderful friends and family! Now we are on “this side of the craziness.” It feels good.

Sunny Point and Section 9

Dad and Dean came to visit this weekend! Dad was aiming for a last hurrah of summer with a white water rafting trip and Dean and I were all over it! They arrived late last night and have already headed back east, so it was a very brief trip, but totally awesome!

We started out our morning with brunch at Sunny Point Cafe. I had the special: Sunny Point Pop Tart! “Local Gala apples and currants tossed in brown sugar and cinnamon and sandwiched between a buttery puff pastry. Topped with cinnamon-rosemary-maple creme fraiche and served with an apple-chicken sausage.” (Quote found on Sunny Point Cafe’s website from their menu.) It was, how do you say, deee-scruptiou-licious! (Delicious + Scrumptious = Deee-scrumptiou-licious.) Yep.

After brunch we headed back to the apartment to get ready for white water rafting! A swim suit, some sunscreen, some spandex clothing, my contacts of yore, sunglasses, and a heavy dose of excitement later and we were off! We went down Section 9 of the French Broad River with the Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC). The outpost is in Walnut, NC – just north of Marshall. It was a pretty drive up there!

And we had an absolute blast! We were in a raft with a couple and they were super fun, and our raft guide was terrific! The weather could not have been much better – it was sunny and warm, but not humid, and the water was the perfect temperature. Ideal conditions for this outdoor excursion! We got good and wet, jumped off a big rock into the river (I almost chickened out the first time and then went a second time for good measure), swam a bit in a calm spot, and just had a glorious time. It was nice chatting with the other people in our boat, and now I’m super excited to try Zumba because they are both instructors and told me all about it! Yay! What a fun day!

Right by the French Broad Outpost there was a fenced in area of kudzu being eaten by several goats! They will eat anything! Here’s one chewing away! What a face.

Today was awesome! It was so good to see Dad and Dean, a treat to go out for brunch, and an absolute blast to go white water rafting with them!!! Thanks for coming to visit guys! Miss you already!