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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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.

Warmth

A month in review:

1. I am going on a trip to Paris over my Spring Break with my Grandma! I have been taking a French class for the last couple of months and it has been amazing. I am so excited!!!

Paris!

2. Our sweet Lily passed away after 14 years of unconditional love and is now resting in peace. She was such a beautiful princess and is so missed, but she is in a better place. I imagine that she has found the biggest stick in heaven and is playing keep away in the greenest sunniest grassy meadow. Rest in peace, sweet Lily. I love you!

Sweet Lily

3. These tulips helped bring hints of spring into our home. It feels like sunshine in a jar!

Tulips!

4. And we have some coming up outside the door, along with some hyacinths!

Planties!

5. Planning a wedding with this handsome man has been the best adventure of my life! I can hardly wait to be married to him.

My handsome fiancé

6. Also, these two cuties drove down from Michigan to visit us and the ever so talented Leigh took our engagement photos! Hooray! It was so wonderful having you two visit. Can’t wait to see you again soon!

These cuties

7. Things are starting to bloom ’round these parts! It makes me giddy every time I see them. Ahh spring! How I’ve missed you.

Crocuses!

8. Also, ice cream is the bees’ knees. Especially on warm, sunny days.

Chocolate on chocolate

9. Most especially ice cream eaten with this handsome fella.

Handsome fiancé

10. And spring warmth means Wedge weather! ‘Nuff said.

Wedge weather

My life juggling has gone to a new level – full-time job, planning a wedding, yoga, French class, Spanish class, trip to Paris, trip to Spain, and all of those other sundry life delights. Somehow it all feels just perfect. This year is full of so many blessings. And I am so happy!

regarding summer

Craggy Pinnacle

Craggy Pinnacle

Farmer's Market Basket

Farmer’s Market Basket

Woopie Pies

Woopie Pies

Brews at the Bywater

Brews at the Bywater

Hiking up Mount Pisgah

Hiking up Mount Pisgah

Hiking

Hiking

View from the top of Mount Pisgah

View from the top of Mount Pisgah

Mountain Laurel

Mountain Laurel

40 Eastbound in the morning.

40 Eastbound in the morning.

Walking down memory lane with my mom: my first Passport photo. 3 days old.

Walking down memory lane with my mom: my first Passport photo. 3 days old.

Heirloom Tomatoes

Heirloom Tomatoes

A Visit to Hi-Wire Brewing!

A Visit to Hi-Wire Brewing!

Summer is here.

I would say that we are settling into a nice summer routine. We have gone hiking in the beautiful mountains that surround us, sipped beer at the countless places in Asheville where one can drink beer, watched our tomatoes grow, stayed dry during the monsoons this past week and steered clear of the flooded roads. My tomato plants have enough water now thankyouverymuch. There have already been two trips to Carrboro and there are more visits still to come before Mom moves to Kuwait. Memory Lane is becoming a well traveled highway in our family as of late. I think it’s my favorite highway. Parker is in China and seems to be having the time of his life. I am grateful. Summer camp schedule at school is most excellent. It allows for an actual summer vacation unlike any I have had in a long time. Mornings allow for leisurely drinking cup-after-cup of joe. I like joe. The farmer’s markets are abundant and rich in smiles and freshness. The flutter of love in my heart is so real. Love that feels settled and rhythmic. We dance in the kitchen. Sometimes there is no music.

My backyard is glowing with the flashing lights of fireflies.

Summer is here.

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.

Get Ready, Kuwait!

Here she comes!

Have you met my mom? Well, just in case you haven’t, or you didn’t already know – she is AMAZING! She went to Boston this weekend (just in time for the storm) for a job fair and is coming home with a job teaching elementary drama at the American School of Kuwait! She has been planning and interviewing and researching and writing resumes and filling out applications and orchestrating the adventure of a lifetime! This weekend was the moment of truth and everything is falling into place! She had back-to-back interviews for many hours straight, truly exhausted herself in telling everyone how awesome she is, got three job offers (in Turkey, Kuwait, and UAE), and is coming home with a position teaching elementary drama at the American School of Kuwait!

Shut the front door – I’m choking back tears!

Dear Mom,

You are truly an inspiration to me. I have watched you suffer for the past several years, wishing things were better, and my heart has ached for you. Through the unfairness of it all you picked yourself up, put yourself out there, and got the best response you could have possibly gotten! I know how challenging this has all been for you and I know how on top of the world you must feel right now! You received some incredible feedback, boosting your self esteem right back up to where it should be, and then even higher! I am elated for you and I can hardly wait to see how this adventure of a lifetime unfolds for you! 

I truly believe that I speak not only for myself when I say that you deserve every bit of this gift! You are an incredible woman and I look up to you and aspire to be my best because of you! 

I love you so much, I am so proud, and I can hardly wait to see what the next few years hold for you!

Love always, Adrianne

My amazing mom!

What a woman!

Flood gate of tears now open. I’m going to go get a tissue.

P.S. I believe the next several months will include some whirlwind go-help-Mom-get-her-things-ready-to-move-to-Kuwait weekends!!! I can hardly wait!

P.P.S. Christmas 2013 in Kuwait!? I think so.

Holidays in Retrospect

And now that the holidays are “officially” over, I’m finally getting around to looking back at the holiday break. It was the most time I’ve had off consecutively over the holidays in forever, and I pretty much wallowed in it. That being said, it was also an utter whirlwind. We were involved in a wedding the weekend before Christmas (luckily it was also in Chapel Hill, so we didn’t have any extra traveling to do), we had a Christmas bon fire party, then there was Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and Scott flew north on Christmas Day in the evening to be with his family for a week, then I spent the following week dog sitting for the best dog ever for our friends who got married, party hopped on New Years Eve, and headed back to the mountains on New Years Day. Yep, a whirlwind. And now, for some photos.

The lovely bride and handsome groom getting ready for an epic bike ride to the courthouse to get married!!! It was about 40 and windy that day. Brrrrr!

Nick and Kathy on the way to get hitched!

Lovely Kathy and me at the party after aforementioned bike ride. (Scott and I opted out of the bike ride, but went to the courthouse!)

Oh, Kathy! You're glowing in this picture.

Went to a concert at the Haw River Ballroom – Ananta and I were matching!

Matching boots!

Kitty’s favorite spot under the Christmas Tree!

Kitty under the Christmas Tree

A Christmas Eve Party (that’s actually before Christmas Eve now) with a wonderful bon fire! Good company, singing Christmas songs, hearing the Hanukkah story, lighting the Menorah, hearing the Christmas story. Such a great tradition!

Christmas Eve Bon Fire!

We went out for Chinese food on Christmas Eve! The restaurant was packed – not surprising – and it was delicious!

Family dinner out for Chinese on Christmas Eve!

The lovely Christmas Tree on Christmas morning!!!

Mmm Christmas Morning!

Mom and I made flan for Christmas dessert! We were both surprised at how easy it was – and we feel very lucky because from talking to folks it is not always so easy!

Making a Christmas Flan!

My sweetheart and me on Christmas! It was such a blessing to be together for part of Christmas this year.

Scott and me, Christmas 2012

Sweet Cricket! We got to spend a week together while her humans were out of town and it was so fun!!!

Sweet Cricket!

New Year’s Eve with Ananta!

Ananta and me on New Year's Eve!

And another bon fire for New Year’s Eve! Christmas Trees burn so quickly!

New Year's Eve Bon Fire!

So there you have it – a recap of my holidays. It was a great couple of weeks, that’s for sure! Spent time with some wonderful people – family and friends – and enjoyed the time off! So grateful.

Conservators’ Center

This place is seriously awesome!!! It is located outside of Burlington, NC in Caswell County, more or less the middle of nowhere. Scott and I met my mom and her friend there on Saturday evening for a Twilight Tour. It was incredible! We saw lynx, bobcats, red foxes, servals, chausies, jungle cats, binturongs, lemurs, genets, geoffrey’s cats, caracals, kinkajous, leopards, wolves, tigers, and lions. It got dark pretty soon after the tour started so I stopped trying to take pictures. But there are some pretty incredible pictures of the animals on the website! Check it out here. Part of the excitement of the Twilight Tour is that a lot of the animals are more active during that time of the day. We got to witness the wolves howling and the lions roaring!!! We were right in the middle of it!

IT WAS ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE!!! 

I totally wish that I could have gotten more pictures, but the tour gave me goosebumps and I learned so much that it didn’t matter. I would really like to go back for a Photography Tour some time though! You should check it out! The Conservators’ Center Inc – pretty amazing!

Weekend Review: Awesome 80s Prom!

Last weekend we headed to Chapel Hill for the show my mom was in! One of her former students contacted her to be a part of the East Chapel Hill High School play Awesome 80s Prom! And we couldn’t miss it! My marvelous mother was Mrs. Patty Lascalzo, the drama teacher, and the school was called Wannaget High! It was an audience interactive show in the gym at Lincoln Center. The gym was set up like a school dance and it was decked out for your 1989 Senior Prom! The music was great, the costumes/outfits were so much fun, and the whole evening was a blast! There were bits and pieces on the stage and the characters all interacted with the audience on the dance floor throughout the night. Whenever there was a slow dance my mom (the drama teacher) and the principal came around with rulers to separate people! It was so funny! It was such a great show, and such a fun weekend! We got to see some good friends, family, and had a great time at our 1989 Senior High Prom!

On Sunday afternoon, once we were home from Chapel Hill, it was time to do a bit of gardening! We bought some spring flower bulbs on super sale a couple of months ago and it was really almost past time to plant them. So I spent some time digging in the dirt, dug a nice big hole, and planted some hyacinth and tulip bulbs! They were so beautiful! I am really excited to see them in the spring!

Also, in honor of Election Day, here’s my photo. I voted early last Thursday! I really hope you voted too.