Annual Trip To Celebrity Dairy

Main, North Carolina

Sharing photos from our annual trip to Celebrity Dairy’s Open Barn days. This is the 4th year we’ve attended! The kids love the goats, mama loves the soup and gelato. Look here for our first visit to Celebrity Dairy or here for another year’s visit. Our babies were babies, and there was only one, and then two, and now there are THREE (plus Sara our dream adopted child.) I don’t how exactly to describe Open Barn Days. Even though every year, I swear the crowd gets bigger, it’s somehow a cozy day in the country for us and we look forward to it every year. There are goats everywhere-meandering around the rustic property and baby ones being passed around like they are actual human babies. Kids are sailing through the air on the rope swing or chasing chickens-it’s organized chaos in the best way, complete with homemade chili and focaccia being served to the masses. Enjoy the pictures and that’s all I have to say! -Addie

P.S. I’ve added a work page to this site for anyone that wants to keep up with that other part of my life ūüôā

January Raleigh Adventures in Photos

Main, North Carolina, People, Raleigh

Trying to be better about sharing not just our bigger adventures away, but little adventures around our actual home, and our home city. Few things bring me more joy than photographing and adventuring with these kids lately. Enjoy!

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Pretending that we live at Oak View County Park, a favorite spot of ours.
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Butternut, squash and kale pizza making
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Couch surfing
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Train searching at Union Station
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Playing restaurant with sunchoke soup on the menu
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Apple sampling at the State Farmers Market
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Market loot
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Simply the best
Art viewing at NCMA, Georgia O’Keefe at that!
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King Cake making
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King Cake tasting
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Afternoon snoozing
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Art making, toddler edition

Also, T-Shirt 2.0 in this months Walter Magazine.

Until next time! -Addie

Raleigh’s First Snow!

Main, North Carolina, Raleigh

I know how much joy the beach brings my family, but never did I anticipate just how happy two snow days could make them. Even me, a hot weather gal, was elated for this yea’rs first snow. Perhaps it was because it happened at a perfect time, just before Christmas (so festive!) and not at the tail end of winter when we have already been so cold for so long, cooped up inside dreaming of sunny days. But really-back to the happiness factor. Never have I seen my kids, especially Grace (which is saying a lot because she is typically always happy) SO HAPPY. For two days there was no school, no plans, no where to go, and loads of snow. Grace stayed outside for hours until her ankles were numb and red. Elation- she was outside laughing and screaming and concocting all sorts of things she wanted to do in the snow, a bucket list of sorts. Snow angels, snow balls, snow castles – for her, it was the Frozen world brought to life. It was the perfect mix of joy and contentment. Charlotte loved it too, until she tumbled one too many times and then was happy to come inside to warm cocoa and cuddles and watch from our bay window. These kids might make a cold weather convert out of me after all. Here are a few snapshots from our first snow of the year that I couldn’t resist sharing. Enjoy!

 

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Charlotte, Carly and Olaf the snowman sharing the carrot nose.

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I didn’t realize how large and majestic¬†looking the evergreens are in our yard until they were drenched in snow.

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Larger than life snowman, built mostly by the man of the house much to the girls joy.

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Please notice how wet she is. I couldn’t¬†believe¬†how long she stayed outside!

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Winter clutter

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A hot classic winter lunch on a very cold day.

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Lou bean joined me in staying inside where it was warm and dry:)

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Cinnamon salt dough ornaments. I was armed with activities for us in the event of cabin fever.

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Post-snow hot cocoa

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Always with a book, always in a dress.

Happy winter everyone!

P.S. Diamonds in the Rough in this month’s Raleigh Magazine by yours truly.

Sights of Home

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Everyone wants to know, how are we enjoying our new house? Very much! With the help of lots of books, plants and “old things,” our new-ish house is starting to feel like home. Renting a tiny, two bedroom, one bathroom house for 8 years (in the best neighborhood!), where we had two kids, a dog and oodles of guests, taught us so much about living minimally without too much stuff. We found it so satisfying. We didn’t need a swing set, we’d just walk to the park. We didn’t need dress-up stuff or a play kitchen, we’d just head to Marbels. And the whole house could be cleaned in under an hour. We really just couldn’t fit anything inside our house except ourselves and the essentials! We’re trying to keep that mindset, experiences over objects, with this house too. It’s easier said than done, but we’re trying! So we’re taking a very slow approach to decorating. Also because, let’s be honest, having three kids, including an infant, and work of some kind, just doesn’t lend itself well to home-improvement and decorating projects. In fact, we’ve barely hung anything on the walls except in the girl’s room. While we are missing living in such a close-knit neighborhood where we had built-in babysitters, dog watchers, friends who felt like family and so much to walk to- we are loving the new space and living in a part of the city with more nature around us. Space is something I didn’t realize how badly we needed, until we had it. It just feels more comfortable for us to be able to all congregate in the kitchen to make breakfast together or alternatively, separate if tensions are high. I find myself wanting to spend more time at home, which is new for me. In fact, we do now have a swing set and a toy kitchen ūüėČ The cozy cold weather and snuggly baby can also be blamed for this new desire to be home. Tis the season right? Anyway, just wanted to pop in to share a few photos. Visitors welcome and enjoy! Addie

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Welcome to the family, Louise!

Main, People

Louise newborn photos

In case you didn’t catch the news, we are now a family of 5! Wow, a family of 5. Sounds like so many more people than 4, even if it is a tiny baby girl. Louise Ader joined us on October 22.

The name Louise came from a warm and kind lady who took care of my grandmother, her home, her 9 kids and grand-kids for many years. My grandmother was a lot of things, but warm and fuzzy was not a trait that I recall in her. Louise always made up for that, with smiles and hugs and the sweetest energy. I always loved that even in her later years, she rode her cruiser to and from my grandmothers house in our tiny hometown, back and forth, from a little Creole cottage she shared with her sister. Her name and presence always stuck with me. And Ader, a family name, that Louise shares with her mama.

My friends think I’m wacky for saying this. I’ve said it once, twice, now three times around-I love having a little baby in the house. I just love babies! These really are the days. There is nothing more soul soothing than sitting by a window resting with a sweet, soft, milky wrinkly little peanut on your chest. Even in the hospital, Chris and I just sat in quiet awe at this little miracle of life we created and, knowing how fleeting it is, relished every minute. We’ve been in the best care these past few months, really since August, when we moved into our first home, living in a little bubble. Friends and family have been in and out with food, decorating advice and helping hands-many I didn’t want to leave!

Now that the visitors have tapered off, I have to admit though, while I felt like a pinball in an arcade machine after having Charlotte (when Grace was just 19 months old!), now I really feel like pinball, but in an arcade machine that is malfunctioning and never turning off. People have asked over and over how’s it going. Chris and I both laugh. On any given day, the newborn is the least of our worries or stress. She just sleeps and eats and gets toted around all day. It’s the older siblings that seem to be taking days of our life at times.¬† If parenting is a lesson in anything, it’s in keeping a good attitude and rolling with the punches. Like when the 2.5 year old wakes up at 5 am, after you have just gotten the newborn back to sleep 3 times. Instead of feeling angry and sorry for myself, I made a cup of hot rooibus tea and took it as a chance to spend time with just one child instead of three. We did dishes and puzzles and enjoyed the quiet dark dewy morning. This attitude isn’t always easy to come by, but it’s working at the moment.

Louise, we love you so much. Thank you for coming early and easily, thank you for sleeping and providing us with warmth and comfort on chaotic days. Welcome to the family!

Louise newborn photos

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P.S. Picture credits go to my talented friend Liz Condo.

P.P.S Hoping to clean the house this week so I can share some pictures. Feeling ambitious!

Keep in touch.

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Beaufort, NC + a quick note

Main, North Carolina, Visit

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I started this post months ago and was tempted to skip over it and get right to all the exciting changes our family has experienced the past few months to catch you all up. But then I realized I always do that! It would be remiss to act like our annual blissful summer in the sun never happened, when the girls (only two of them!) were sun kissed and had the permanent smell of sunscreen and salt water on their skin. And Grace, only 4, learned how to swim with confidence! Oh summer where did you go? So many amazing changes since then, but looking at photos from summer makes we a bit weepy. My love of warm weather and the water must be rubbing off on my children (along with other, unwanted attributes). Grace several times recently has asked “When will it be summer again so I can go scuba diving?” People, she has never been scuba diving. But she came pretty close in her mind while in Beaufort, NC over Labor Day with flippers and a snorkel set up to search for mermaids and treasure chests ūüôā Remember our tradition to cap off summer with a weekend away? We chose Beaufort this year and what a good decision it was.

However, I’m not going to go into too much detail about Beaufort except a little insiders guide at the end. Beaufort, along with the rest of the Carolina coast was devastated by Hurricane Florence and my main reason for even posting these photos is to shed light on this sweet little inlet town and encourage you this season, to donate your time or money to hurricane relief or pay a visit to all the small coastal towns I love. Knowing all to well what it’s like to have your world turned upside down by a hurricane, my heart ached at the sight of my beloved Carolina coast after Hurricane Florence. So consider donating to hurricane relief this season or swap material items for a weekend away and pay a visit to this inlet town. While you’re there…

Stay¬†at the Inlet Inn and look at the wild horses roaming across the water every morning. The Inlet Inn is an old hotel right near the boardwalk so you’re in a central location, walking distance to the shops, restaurants and sights. They serve a humble breakfast every morning of muffins, bagels and coffee.

Eat pizza at Black Sheep, paella and scrumptious tapas at Aqua (amazing service!) and 2 dollar hamburgers and hot dogs at the historic Royal James cafe.

Do take a charter to Shackleford Banks to swim, shell hunt and horse watch. Visit the NC Maritime Museum and make time to get ice cream and stroll along the board walk every night to watch the sunset, no matter how tired your kids are.

And now, a few other important things!

In August, we moved into a new home. Our first one that we can call ours!

I’ve been working a ton and wanted to share some recent writings here and here.

And the best for last, we welcomed a sweet baby girl last month, Louise Ader, born on October, 22, just before mama’s birthday. She’s perfect in every way and a welcome addition to our family, encouraging us all to stay home and slow down a bit this time of year.

That’s all for now and as always, thanks for reading. Appreciate you all so much! -Addie

Keep in touch,

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Finally a trip to Ocracoke Island

Main, North Carolina, Visit

What feels like eons ago (pre-kids) my best friend Emily¬†and I planned this epic camping trip to explore Ocracoke Island. Around that time a tropical storm (or maybe it was a hurricane) was brewing in the Atlantic, planning to make landfall on the North Carolina Coast. Not intimated by this fact at all, I stuck with our plans. There were plenty of hurricanes that often approached the Gulf Coast growing up, only to die down before making landfall, leaving us out of school with beautiful weather to take advantage of. So unless it’s a large, high category storm, I rarely worry. “Hello! This is Addie, I just wanted to make sure you all were going to be open this weekend as my friend and I are headed over there for a camping trip,” I said, when I called our campground. The man, in a very twangy eastern NC accent, replied; “Honey, you won’t even be able to get anywhere close to this campground this weekend I’m afraid, or the island for that matter.”

“What? Where is everyone’s sense of adventure?” I didn’t say that but I was thinking it ūüėČ A similar trip to Ocracoke was later canceled because of Mother Nature, again, and since then my desire to go there only strengthened. It didn’t help that award-winning food writer, Andrea Weigl, wrote about this apparently fabulous fig cake that you can only get on the island (unless I wanted to make it myself). Then come to find out the entire island is filled with one of my favorite things in the world, fig trees (14 varieties at least!). And in August there is an entire festival dedicated to the FIG. Then I’d have so many people say, “I can’t believe you’ve never been to Ocracoke! It’s your type of place!” Well, it wasn’t for a lack of trying I’d say.

It’s true that good things come to those who wait. This year, immediately following our trip to New Orleans (literally 1.5 days later) we road tripped out to Cedar Island to hop on a ferry ride to…wait for it…Ocracoke! Some great friends of ours (who left us for a life in PDX) were coming in town and wanted us all to trek out to Ocracoke. “YES!” I said. Never-mind that we will have just gotten back from New Orleans, are in the throes of house-hunting, that Chris is working 60+ hours a week, that I had a story deadline due which I had yet to start, and that we seem to have a million other things going on (including having another baby!!). I am a yes person. So of course, yes was my answer and I’m so glad it was.

The untouched island is both gorgeous and rustic. Because it’s truly remote, aside from a handful of golf carts, it’s remained un-commercialized. Just a handful of restaurants, a bookstore, some art communities and a few ice cream and coffee shops make up the shopping and dining options. The historic island (which is largely uninhabited) is filled with dancing live oak trees, fig trees, oleander, ancient cemeteries, and a few families of ducks, and it’s only accessible by way of ferry. Here¬†are a few things that I’ll remember about this trip and some snapshots too.

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IMG_1740 (2)Pizza and a ferry ride. What more could these two want?

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Seeing dear friends for the first time in two years.

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Ocracoke, finally!

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Daily bike rides to hike through¬†Springer’s Point where we’d have a large stretch of beach all to ourselves. Springer’s Point, a natural preserve area, is said to be the famous pirate Blackbeard’s favorite hideout place. It felt so cool yet eerie to be hanging out in the same exact woods where notably the most famous (or infamous) pirate spent so much time. The hike was long and hot for the girls but for the most part they where such champs.¬†

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I was able to bring my bike along and use it as our main mode of transportation. Ocracoke is so scenic, biking is really the best way to enjoy it. We loved discovering all the cemeteries, the historic homes and the lighthouse.

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Grace having too much fun. So much so, that on the first day she cut her foot on seashells and insisted on wearing socks (and also wanted to be carried everywhere and was absolutely¬†hysterical during bath time¬†#3yearolds) the entire trip. The girl makes me laugh so hard! It wasn’t that bad of a cut but I think it’s the sight of it that disturbs her. She wore socks the entire time and came back with the funniest looking tan lines on her ankles.¬†

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Fig cake for breakfast on our last day. Mission accomplished!

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Chris pointed out that Ocracoke was a perfect combination of my home town and my beloved Grayton Beach, Fl. I hate comparing places to other places but he was spot on which is why we probably liked it so much.

 

Let’s keep in touch and thanks for tuning in!

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-Addie

 

 

5 Days in New Orleans + Eating Recommendations

Main, Visit

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It felt so good to be back in New Orleans, if only for a few days. I love the city even more now that I have children. Growing up less than an hour from New Orleans, with much of my extended living family living there, I was lucky enough to be heavily influenced by the cities rich culture, strong tastes, sounds, and sights. “Having” (poor us!) to fly in for a good friend’s wedding was a great way to kick off our annual Summer out of a Suitcase and I’d say we did so with a bang.

New Orleans may be notoriously known for Bourbon St., Mardi Gras, and a place for drive-thru daiquiris and jambalaya but there is so much more to it. The historic homes, the hospitality, the energy, the Spanish moss that hangs from the ancient live oak trees (what I miss the most living “north!”), the rotating smells of beignets, Tony’s Chachere’s or unwelcome sweat – I just love it all.

One thing that I’m most excited about is the burgeoning food scene (for non-traditional New Orleans food that is) that’s come to New Orleans in recent years. For someone who grew up on Southern/Cajun food and cooks it often at home, I’m not necessarily looking for those dishes when I travel there. I will say however, I could sit in the courtyard or balcony dining room of Brennan’s allll day. With the help of my cousin and sister, I was so happy to discover some non-New Orleans-y places to eat that I can’t wait to return to next time. I’ve listed them below along with some pictures from our trip, and a few other tips for anyone traveling there soon with little ones. Enjoy and thanks for reading! -Addie

Non-touristy places to eat in New Orleans:

  • Bearcat Cafe for Breakfast-whatever you order make sure you order the potatoes as your side!
  • 1000 Figs for Lunch– most beautiful and inventive, yet authentic, Mediterranean food I’ve ever had. The small space and light airy setting will make you feel like you’re at a friend’s for lunch.
  • St. James Cheese Company– Any time a restaurant has cheese in the title, I’m there. This is a great place for lunch or just an afternoon snack. Well-curated salads and sandwiches, not to mention a varied selection of artisan cheese. The girls enjoyed their very own chef’s board.
  • Reginellis for pizza to-go– If you’re ordering take-out this is a great option, just make sure you call the location nearest to where you’re staying!
  • Auction House Market for Dinner– Another awesome food hall in New Orleans where you can order a drink then choose from a variety of different dining options including Indian, sushi, empanadas, dessert and more. It has a great atmosphere with the sassiest bathroom I’ve ever seen.
  • District Donuts for breakfast or dessert.
  • Cochon Butcher for lunch or gourmet food items to go.
  • Dung Phuong in New Orleans East (or Little Vietnam) for French bread, pastries and a superb Banh Mi. This is a bit out of the way but has a scenic drive of old fish camps, bridges, and beautiful marshland. The spot recently won a James Beard award and while I’m not thrilled about having to possibly wait in line for some take home French bread, I’m so happy this family-run, long-time New Orleans business got some much deserved recognition.

A few other travel notes on the city if you’re bringing¬†children….

  • You could trek to Cafe Du Monde and maybe have to wait in line, or you could head to City Park and have beignets at Morning Call.
  • Take the kids for a ride on the streetcar along the riverfront and hit up the aquarium¬†(make sure to find the white alligator!) as well.
  • Storyland at City Park is a must.
  • We rented this adorable shotgun VRBO and can’t say enough good things about it.
  • This time of year, water, hats and sunscreen are essential!

That’s all folks! Thanks for tuning in and happy summer!

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Let’s stay in touch…

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-Addie

March & April-a few highlights

North Carolina, Raleigh

A few highlights from the past month while we excitedly anticipate summer adventures!

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Peaceful Play at Prairie Ridge EcoStation, (more on this below.)

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NCMA’s Art in Bloom…this year didn’t disappoint. Do we have a new tradition mom?¬†

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A weekend away (sans kids!) in Oriental, NC

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The smallest carrot cakes for Easter.

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Shrimp and spinach pizza al fresco, recipe here.

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An almost 2 year old, always going after my camera.

Walter

The April issue of Walter which included two of my own stories. Linked below with a few others. Hope you enjoy reading some of these as much as I did writing them! 

Peaceful Play at Prairie Ridge: Walter

Jewel Tones: 3 Irish Jewels Farm: Walter

10 Books for Parents with Picky Eaters: Mother Mag

10 Books for your Mini Francophile: Mother Mag

 

More to come!

-Addie

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