a snow day and cake

DSC_0375It’s been a while. No, I haven’t given up on this blog. I think about it frequently, actually. In November life sped up when I went back to work. Then the holidays came and went. It’s been a whirlwind to say the least.

But this weekend was a significant one for the books. We celebrated Juniper turning one! Her birthday was technically last weekend, and although we had a party planned we had to cancel it. It feels like we’ve been sick on and off for a month. I’m not going to meticulously count the days because I’m scared to find out that’s the case, even though I’m pretty sure it is. We finally came out of the woods, or virus-ville, this past week. So, we rescheduled her party for this weekend. Lo and behold, a massive blizzard came right through our yard! So, we cancelled everything except cake and it we had a fantastic time!

With work and school both cancelled we experienced our first official snow days on Friday AND Saturday! It was pretty magical having our family safe and warm in one place while the storm took over our town outside. A snow walk occurred. There were snow balls thrown. We made attempts to sled on a cardboard box, in laundry basket, and a shovel, none of which worked. And there was cake. Here are some photos from our snowed in birthday celebration!

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Happiest of Birthdays, dear Juniper. We are endlessly in love with you.

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on turning 30

* I WROTE THIS IN OCTOBER, WHEN I TURNED 30, AND NEVER POSTED IT. I LOVED THE EXPERIENCE OF REAING WHAT I WROTE, AND STILL FEEL THE SAME, SO I DECIDED TO SHARE. ENJOY! *

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Well, I made it to 30 everyone! The words “I’m 30” passing my lips feel far more cringe worthy than the way 30 feels. And I’m thankful it’s not the opposite. I feel so fortunate to be where I am and to have had experiences high and low that continue to shape my inner being as I move forward. Rollercoasters aside, I am thankful to be surrounded by such great people. There is nothing better than to feel both supported and challenged at the same time, and as I enter my 30th year I realize that this is the company I keep. I am appreciative of the balance.

We celebrated in a number of ways and none of them fell short of excellency. AND each contained special treats. My first treat, to myself, was a haircut. Nothing like chopping locks to rid of the old and bring on the new! With my new cut, we met some friends at the bowling alley. If you think Asheville doesn’t bowl on a Wednesday night, you’re wrong because it was jam packed with colorful folk in matching shoes.

The next morning we packed the car and headed to Nashville bright and early to spend a long weekend with Natalie. The weather was perfectly sunny and crisp and the pace was just right for our little family. We visited many coffee shops, ate tons of great food, took the dogs for a beautiful walk and visited the zoo with JP. We also had the pleasure of visiting with Nathan and Natalie’s cousin Anna and her family. They even sent us home with a horse named Sebastian for JP! Here are some iPhone photos from the trip.

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Nathan and I celebrated two years of marriage on Monday. This time of year also marks 14 years since we first dated in high school. And 7 years since we decided to give it a go for round two. I still have the love letter.

Nana & Pops Visit Asheville

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Can you stand the cuteness? Neither could Nana and Pops (aka Dede and Ken Goddard). This Radio Flyer treasure was found at the beginning of their trip out East at the flea market in Nashville while visiting Natalie. We were graced with the Goddard’s presence on the second leg of their Southern adventure. The visit was nothing short of delicious and busy. We ate our way through all of our favorite restaurants and added a few new ones to the list, strolled downtown for some window shopping, and of course there were plenty of opportunities for them to love up on Little J.

Two highlights from the trip were the rain hike we took on to Lake Pohatan and our evening at the Battery Park Book Exchange.

We hiked along Bent Creek in Pisgah National Forrest. With the leaves beginning to change there was an array of fall colors scattered in with the remnants of Summer’s bright green foliage.

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After ringing out our clothes from the Autumn mist, we made our way to the Battery Park Book Exchange. This has been one of Nathan and my favorite places to go since we moved to Asheville. Think Labyrinth meets book consignment meets library meets coffee shop that serves wine and beer… minus David Bowie and Jim Henson, unfortunately. Oh, and canine friendly!  Really, it’s a book hoarder’s dream. I remember our first visit there. I was pregnant and it was uncomfortably hot. We decided to check it out and brought Hannah along. Not only did it provide sweet relief from the heat, but there was Beer for Nathan and Chocolate Cake for me. We decided that day that anyone who comes to visit will get to experience this wonderful place.

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And I’ve got heart eyes for these two all day.

Boone & Blowing Rock

At the end of August we were reaching a point of exhaustion with the heat and humidity here. Although it’s a lot less intense in Asheville than surrounding areas outside of the mountains, we’re wimps and were ready for it to be over. With a day off together, an occasion that occurs less often these days, we decided to take a road trip. We had heard that Boone and Blowing Rock, two small cities in higher elevation, were a nice getaway to beat the heat. So we went for it! They also came recommended by my parents who remember loving these quaint art communities when we lived here in 1991. The drive being around 2 hours, it seemed like an adventure fit for us.

Of course, wherever we go, the local breweries are quickly discovered. ‘Market Research’ is what we like to call it. I don’t drink too much beer, but with Nathan being in the industry it’s fun to see how other breweries master their craft. Our first stop was Appalachian Mountain Brewery. It was a beautiful blue sky day with big dreamy clouds. And the temperature was just right.

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The tasting room was decorated with local art, huge murals and repurposed wood. The vibe was very homemade and rustic, which we tend to love.

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Little J and I left Nathan to focus on his beer flight while we enjoyed the scenery and a cider. It turns out that not only do they brew beer, they have a cidery at a different location. And they are just as creative with them as they are their draught.

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Through these doors was their brew house. After learning that eight years ago Boone was a completely dry town, we were impressed by the community that was built surrounding this little brewery.

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It was a great start to the day.

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Next we made our way to downtown for lunch and meandering. The town center is full of old brick buildings with a beautiful mountain background. Boone had one of the most beautiful US post offices I’ve ever seen.

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This is just one of the massive murals that decorated little corners of the town.

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And of course, once we saw the General Store we had to stop in!

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It had everything I remember loving as a child living in the South, if even for just a  short stint.

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And a wall of Fiesta Ware? My mother would have been in heaven!

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After perusing the town and having lunch we made our way to Blowing Rock, which was only a 20 minute drive from Boone. We stopped into a few gift shops. There is something so charming about little towns that are completely driven and dependent on their visitors. We ended our trip in the town center on the swings… and another brewery.

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In our family, nobody is too old for the swings.

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California Tornado

No, there wasn’t a real tornado in California. But it sure felt like Nathan, Little J, and I were inside of one from the second we hit the ground in San Francisco up until we stepped back through our front door in Asheville. What a trip! We were constantly reminded of the love and support we have been graced with through all of the friends and family that showed up to see us. We are so, so fortunate. So, thank you for the reminder. I don’t think we could be doing what we are doing without that love and support.

I just wanted to share some favorite photos from our trip. I wasn’t the best at remembering the camera everywhere we went, so there are very few.  The time was better spent visiting with you fine folks anyway.

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A major highlight of the trip, for me, was the chance to see my parents new balloon in action. Her name is Morning Glory. It was an opportunity to share some of my favorite childhood memories with our daughter.  This particular morning turned out to be one of those serendipitous occasions of unplanned spectacularity. We drank coffee from our favorite coffee shop, watched the sunrise, followed along for the flight and ended with a delicious brunch. I did have the camera ready for this!

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Until next time, Sonoma. We will always love you.

what happened?

Yesterday Little J hit the six month mark of life. And I ask you, what happened? This has been the fastest, yet slowest six months of my life. The concept of time, for me, just sits on the edge of reality and I find I can never fully get a hold of it. There are so many things that influence how quickly or slowly it feels like it’s going by, but the whole time the clock is steadily ticking as it always was. I could talk about the concept of time for a week, especially with my mother (Hey Ma, can we re-instate the clock wall, please?), but I assure you this post will not go on about the ramblings of time. Instead, we celebrate the half-birthday of our daughter. She has learned and changed so much thus far and Nathan and I couldn’t be prouder parents. We love to celebrate the silly things like ‘Baby’s first smelly fart, rivaling the dog, awwwww’ and ‘Honey, look!! Baby’s first hang-nail!’, and we are constantly amazed at the rate at which she learns new tricks along with her determination to perfect them. Right now our favorite is the raspberries she’s gives us on our shoulders while holding her. And her laugh, like the first gift on Christmas with a big red bow. Nathan and I often talk about how biased we are (or are we?) in having the cutest baby. And then we check ourselves and remind each other that all parents feel the same way. We are so bonded to this little human being, after knowing her for only six months. I guess we did say I love you on the first date…

I realize I owe you all some photos. In celebration of JP, here are some highlights of her journey, even some from before she was born.

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