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

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

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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

 

 

Signs of spring at the Arboretum

Main, North Carolina, Raleigh

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Let the pictures speak for themselves-spring is nearly here. While it was bright, blistery and cold (41 degrees to be exact) at the JC Raulston Arboretum this morning, shades of pink, red, and purple could be found all over the grounds. Of my favorite are the Japanese Magnolia trees. After these bloom, the peonies, dogwoods, tulips and more will begin to follow suit and we are ready. See you so soon spring!

– Addie

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Billiards and Bluefish

Main, North Carolina, People, Visit

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It’s snowing now – and for the second time already this year! It’s nice to look at it but I’m over the cold weather already. Actually, I was over it before it even started, but I’m wearing my best poker face for the girls. They don’t seem to mind the cold at all. Every winter, I beg (plead!) for Chris to look for a job on the Gulf Coast. However, with Mississippi experiencing unusually cold weather this year, I’ve decided that idea must be nixed. The only option now to avoid ever feeling cold and stuck inside would be to move to Australia or the Caribbean.¬† To get through the season, I’ve been embracing all things hygge which is helping. Yet, I still just resist the cold. Today I can’t help but think of our last beach trip, the last time we were in swimsuits and felt our skin sweat. I longed for it and sat looking through these pictures and replaying the memories in my mind. Emerald Isle, early this past November for 5 days.

What do you do in Emerald Isle, North Carolina for 5 days? Not much of anything. Fish, play in the sand and of course, eat. You may have heard us mention our honorary North Carolina parents, Liz and Bill. To our kids and us, Bill is referred to as¬†Guillermo, the Spanish translation for the name Bill. I met Guillermo on a mission trip in Honduras years ago. Since that meeting, you could say we have sort of inserted our family into theirs. They like to garden and eat good food. We do too. They like to make and talk wine. We like to drink it. They like the beach. We do too. They value their family, their marriage, their faith and love a good adventure –¬† they’re a couple we easily look up to and enjoy being around. We spend hours talking about anything under the sun, including the often-avoided religion and politics. I think it also helps that we’re not related ūüėČ Guillermo himself, a retired engineered from Cotton Inc., is full of interesting facts. He can somehow simultaneously make us all scratch our head and burst into laughter. We just never know if what he says is true or not! They spent most of the months of October and November in Emerald Isle, NC (#retiredlife) with visitors coming and going and generously invited us over for an entire week.

Most posts about our little adventures have just been general highlights of where we stayed, what we ate, the more vague stuff. Lately though, I’ve really been wanting to hold onto the little details that I never share and often forget. Funny things Grace says, conversations between Chris and I, images I want to ingrain in my mind of all of us together. Here’s what stuck out to me about this trip.

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Grace insisting I bury her in the sand over and over, accidentally eating sand over and over and laughing about it.

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The large amount of seashells we found each day and quizzing the girls on bi-valves. “Is it a scallop, mussel, clam or oyster shell?”

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How loud and close the waves sounded at night when we slept..all like we were milk drunk infants. The beach is the best remedy for a good night’s sleep.¬†We slept with the blinds open so we could rise with the¬† sun.¬†Chris was up early just about every morning to go fishing with Guillermo. Nothing like the prospect of catching fish to get a man out of bed early!¬†

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Charlotte being cheeky as ever all weekend, mischievously sneaking up and down the staircase having us wondering what trouble has she sought out now? She loved the sand, eating her weight in boiled corn and all of Guillermo’s¬†fist pumps.

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Bluefish-the buzzword of the week. It was pretty much all anyone was catching. Still, every catch was exciting (and sometimes frightening) for the kids. We ate it for the first few meals, fried hot with seared vegetables and cold on sandwiches. It’s actually incredibly tasty but you must eat it the day of or after you’ve caught it. It has a reputation for having a fishy taste and not a favored seafood. But alas! Most of the fish you buy in stores or at restaurants have not likely been caught that day. I mistakenly did a Google search of its safety which led to a huge discussion of mercury¬†levels and the safety¬†of consuming certain fish. Note to self – never start a debate with a chemist and an engineer unless you have a huge glass of wine and a lot of spare time. At one point Guillermo¬†repeated the phrase in his natural New York accent “forget about it” in what must have been five different¬†languages. We concluded that unless we were catching huge bluefish (which we weren’t) there was no reason to be concerned¬†about heavy metals. “They’re hitting, they’re hitting!” Guillermo¬†or Chris would observe on and off throughout the day. They meant birds where huddled over the water nose diving to catch blues. Chris and Guillermo¬†would then load up, walk down to the beach and follow the birds, catching their leftovers. “Still blues? Still blues?”¬† Mostly blues. However, Liz caught several puffer fish much to the girls delight.¬† We bought scallops one night to have with the blues, a surf and surf if you will. And the next night did a shrimp and crab boil feast on the balcony. Grace proudly got to stay up late enough to enjoy dessert, oven broiled s’mores. She’s doing some socially-conscious eating¬†lately..aka vegetarianism. Can you believe¬†it? My child decided¬†against all fish and many meats and cheeses?!..Pray it’s a phase.

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Billiards-Chris and Guillermo¬†decided to go for a walk one night, a walk that lasted well until at least midnight. At one point after realizing the time, Liz and I both looked at each other thinking, “did we really let our husbands go out together alone?” We still don’t know the entire story of why they were gone so long. According to them they were hustling¬†a group of marines at a local bar over a few rounds¬†of billiards. They apparently won 100 bucks which we’ve yet to see.

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Chris and I agreeing, “we need more of this, time at the beach with no plans.” Or just anywhere with no plans which I’m happy to say we’ve done well with so far this year. We stayed put for both Thanksgiving and Christmas, a first ever for us. By far it was a great decision. We’ve been enjoying a restful, cozy New Year.

I’d love to hear from our friends and family who we haven’t seen in a while. Hope you all are well! Feel free to keep in touch in the comments or connect on twitter or instagram.

P.S. I wrote an article (both print and online!) for Raleigh Magazine on a few unexpected places around town to bring your little ones. You can read it here. I also happily answered some questions for Mother Magazine about where to play and eat in Raleigh which you can read here and shared my granola recipe on Raleigh Moms Blog which you can view here.

Birthdays in Brevard

Main, North Carolina, Visit

The only year we’ve missed our annual fall trip to the mountains was when Grace was in my belly waiting to make her debut. She was four days late and we totally could have made it! Perhaps the change in elevation would have sent me into labor though. Typically, we are in the Banner Elk/Boone area but this year we met Christopher’s parents for a lovely weekend in Brevard, an area we’d yet to explore.¬† It was a joint celebration weekend between ringing in my 30th (wowza) and Grace’s 3rd birthday.¬† My mother-in-law (hi Juju!) pulled out all the stops with decorations all over our historic rental house, pumpkin spice pancakes in the mornings, and lots of fun things for the girls. Here are a few highlights and things to know if you ever make a visit to the Brevard area yourself!

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We stayed at a vacation rental house connected with The Red House Inn and made a point to actually spend some time in the house itself Рdrinking hot cocoa, reading, cuddling, etc. We even made smores on the gas stovetop one day. And as a birthday treat, I took the opportunity to get through some reading tucked away in the upstairs bedroom listening to the rain.  The house was walking distance to downtown, where we tested several local restaurants and played at this awesome toy shop. If you need eating recommendations, try Marco Trattoria for Italian (I loved their asparagus appetizer and crab risotto), Square Root for brunch or The Phoenix and the Fox for a fun farm-to-table, local place.

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We explored downtown Waynesville for their Apple Fest where I found a dream store: part local grocery, part coffee shop, and part gift shop, with a little corner for the kids to play!¬†¬†Blossom on Main served us a bright, flavorful warm Thai lunch. Who would have thought you could find good Thai food in little ole’ Waynesville in Western NC?

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Transylvania County (where Brevard is) is famously known for the large number of enchanting waterfalls including¬†Skinny Dip falls, pictured above and below. We’re looking forward to checking out more of these when it warms up and we can swim, especially Sliding Rock!IMG_9517 (2)IMG_9588 (2)Chris and I sneaked away one afternoon to take in the spectacular views of the¬†Art Loeb trail. Even with the low visibility, it was breathtaking. Last time I hiked this, I was pretty heavily pregnant with Grace. It was late summer, and the views were lush green and bright blue, with wild flower patches everywhere. This time, the atmosphere was eerie, golden and gray. I loved it just as much.

IMG_9571 (2)IMG_9573 (2)IMG_9581 (2)We couldn’t not take the girls on a little hike of their own, so on our way home we stopped and hiked the Hard Times Trail Loop on Lake Powhatan (located within Pisgah National Forest right outside downtown Asheville and the Baltimore Estate). This is a great trail for young kids to walk on their own (or if you have babies in carriers). The trail follows Bent Creek (which houses a trout hatchery), gives glimpses of the mountains, has a natural tunnel made from clustered old winding tree branches, and lots more exciting things for a 3 year old ūüôā

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Speaking of, Grace, I can’t believe you are THREE. You are wise beyond your years and filled with so much spirit.¬†If I had one word for you, I would say content. The day we were packing to leave, frazzled running in and out of the house, I had a bit of a minor panic attack when I didn’t know where you were. I realized it’d been a while since checking in on your whereabouts and for all I knew, you’d walked down the street to make a new friend or “go to school.” I found you happily laying in the grass in the front yard with a doll, singing a song. I smiled and asked what you were doing. You replied, “Just lying in the sun mama.”

Today, while playing with you on the beach (yes-we’re currently at the beach!), we decided it would be fun to cover you in sand. Per your request, we decided to build you a “sand castle mermaid tail” over your legs. I was just about finished and without thinking, you kicked your legs up, wanting to wiggle out to see the finished product. Sand went flying everywhere, most of it landing in your eyes and mouth. I gasped a bit, looked at you, expecting some dramatics. You looked at me, started laughing, opened your mouth and said “look mom I’m accidentally eating it.”¬† I’ve said this before, to know you is to love you and I certainly do!¬†Please never change.

Until next time folks, and thanks for reading!

P.S. If you read my last post from your email, you missed out on all the photos that went with it. To view those you would have clicked on the post title where it would have opened it in your browser. Here it is again if you wanted a look.

Addie

 

Summer out of a Suitcase

Main, North Carolina, People, Visit

Hello friends and family!

Apologies for the extended absence. We had a busy summer, as you will soon see.

It kicked off in the charming Matthews, NC visiting my Aunt Pat who proved to be a super host. Thank you for hosting our rowdy bunch Aunt Pat!

Then there was Emerald Isle for a long weekend with the famous Liz & Guermillo and some other super great cooks and friends.

Then the in-laws came in town for a week in the Outerbanks. There we celebrated Charlotte’s first birthday, ate our weight in birthday cake and seafood and discovered the idyllic, historic Manteo, NC.

Then we spent about 3 weeks in Mississippi (you can read more about my beloved hometown here) where we made play-dough, did fish prints, learned to overcome our fear of the water (good job Grace!), eat scrumptious homemade ice cream, collected chicken eggs and played with all the grandparents.

Then we spent a week in Grayton Beach, Fl where we “fished” with our cousins, built sandcastles and read lots of books.

I just scratched the surface on all the people we saw, the meals we ate, and the memories. But let the pictures and smiling faces speak for themselves. It was a good summer! Mostly it was a summer of growth for both girls as you’ll see how different they now look (and act!). September has been a month of catching up with friends, doing all the things we love around Raleigh, and relaxing at home. ¬†I’m happy to be back into a rhythm and look forward to sharing some upcoming fall adventures with you all.

Hope you enjoyed the pictures and thanks for reading!

P.S. If you want to see more of some home-cooked meals we enjoyed this summer, check out this post on Grace Gourmet.

P.P.S. If you’re interested, I wrote a guest blog post on Carolina Parent.

 

Climbing Kitty Hawk

Main, North Carolina, Visit

If you’ve ever seen a car with a North Carolina license plate, you may have noticed the phrase “first in flight.” ¬†While this claim to fame has been contested (which you can read about¬†here), Kitty Hawk, NC is where the famous Wright Brothers, achieved the first successful aviation flight in the world. We had the pleasure of vacationing in this area of the North Carolina coast, known as the Outer Banks, a few weeks ago with my in-laws. One of the highlights of our trip was making a visit to the Wright Brothers memorial, which was conveniently just across the street from our vacation rental. It was a long, hot hike to the top but worth the panoramic views of the coastline. Grace, in all her confident grown-up acting glory, walked the entire way! From the top of the memorial, you can see the actual runway that the plane departed from. It is open for patrons to walk along from the visitors center and museum to the monument itself. Between the kiddos and the heat, we opted to save our energy for the hike up and just enjoy the views. There was also a very cool rendition of the first flight with statues of the crew aiding in take-off. Check out the pictures below and enjoy!

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