Saturday, June 30, 2012

The best of the South

Growing up, my extended family was, quite literally, scattered all over the world. I always wished I had a large extended family living just down the street; many aunts, uncles, cousins. I finally got my wish when I married Chad. 

Chad's father is the youngest of seven; four girls and three boys. All but one live in the greater Charlotte area. All but Chad's dad have grandchildren of their own. The patriarch of the family, Harold Christenbury Keith, is alive and kicking at 96. For every celebrated moment, the entire extended family gathers together for a good homemade southern meal. Below are some snapshots from Father's Day.

Chad's Pawpaw's home.

His Pawpaw has lived in this house for over 50 years; this stump is indicative of the history.

Chad remembers his Mawmaw's hydrangeas reaching well above his head. Aren't these gorgeous?

Carolyn (aunt) prepares lunch

No meal is unaccompanied by sweet tea

Lindsay (uncle), Chad's father Wayne, Dick (uncle) have some of the best stories

Mawmaw's counted cross-stitching   

Chad's great great grandfather (top), great grandmother (bottom)                 

Mawmaw and Pawpaw

Mawmaw and Pawpaw were married on October 16, 1935

two down, forever to go

I've taken a bit of a break from my blog baby, but I'm back.

On Monday, Chad and I celebrated our second wedding anniversary. It's strange that I can't remember life before him, but at the same time the wedding feels just like yesterday. I'm thankful to have married a man as loving, patient, forgiving, and encouraging as he is.

 My friend Cassie suggested we throw a wedding every year to celebrate. Wouldn't that be fun!

(The last two photos taken by our talented friend Seth Snider)

Friday, June 22, 2012

A date with the

Some more photos from Saturday's night spent at Shakespeare in the Park. 

1. The entrance to the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art with a cute couple taking a stroll     2. The Ratcliffe's Flowers sign that reminds me of my mother's favorite bakery in downtown Utica     3. Ivy covered exteriors are just fun     4. The product of Chad's photography; I love the flowers in this one. Raised with a greenhouse in my backyard, I should know what they are, but I don't. I welcome answers.    5. This reminds me of Peter Pan and-conversely-William Blake's "The Chimney Sweeper".

When Mom comes to town

Happy Friday! I hope this finds you wrapping up an amazing week.

My mother came to visit for a few days this week. We had such a fun time together. Mom flew in on Monday afternoon and we had an early dinner at Hawthorne's, our favorite shared meal: pizza! The rest of our evening was spent watching a Netflix movie, "Sarah's Key". If interested, grab a box of tissues and make sure your subtitles are on-a mistake Mom and I made the first go around-much of the film is in French. And yes, there were two viewings. The second was accompanied by subtitles, and much more intriguing as a result. You won't regret choosing this flick.

The rest of her trip was filled with great dinner, shopping, a surprise lunch date with my dad (on business in Georgia, en route to Asheville), and shared memories of my childhood in New York. I love sharing my life in Charlotte with her, even if just for a few days.

The most amazing salad; a precursor to perhaps the best salmon and risotto ever. Seriously, unbelievable. Thank you mom for liking Dressler's. 

Our spontaneous lunch date with my Papa (dad in Dutch). 

Mom spending some quality time with her grand dog, Koda. 

Just a few of the 821,124,509,238,549,270,785 yards of fabric at Mary Jo's. (Don't quote me on that number.) PS-the first two fabric photos are possible options for downstairs curtains. Thoughts?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Charlotte summer nights

What a beautiful weekend it was here in Charlotte. Chad and I had many adventures with family and friends. Friday night we had a dinner date with Cam (Chad's brother) and his wife Emily. They left for a missions trip in Honduras this week so it was great to see them before sending them off.

Saturday evening Chad accompanied me to a graduation party for a sweet student of mine. After the party we made our way to Shakespeare in the Park. It's a free concert series on The Green. The show: The Tempest. The turn out-as you can see-was amazing, and the show was just as fitting.

Sunday afternoon we enjoyed a home-cooked lunch at Chad's Paw Paw's in celebration of Father's Day. (Much more on that in my next post.) Happy Father's Day to my Papa and all the amazing Dads I know. That evening we met friends, Crystal and Darrin, for Concerts on the Green in Davidson. Last night was slated for a big band that brought me back to memories of our wedding. The band was great, the dancing entertaining, the conversation awesome. After the concert we visited C+D's gorgeous condo on Lake Norman. The pictures above don't do their scenery justice. Thanks guys for a fun night!

Saturday, June 16, 2012


Yesterday I met my friend Lynne for lunch at the scenic North Harbor Club situated next to Lake Norman in Davidson, North Carolina. It was not too hot or humid. Perfect for catching up with a pal over lunch. 

Lynne and I have an interesting story. Lynne, my mother's age, used to live in upstate New York, my hometown. Our families belonged to the same church. When I was around five years old, Bob, Lynne's husband, was relocated to Charlotte for work. So, their family followed. Periodically I'd see Lynne during summer visits to our shared Adirondack vacation spot.

My life continued as planned and I found myself a college graduate, home, with no promise of a job, most likely to my parents' dismay. That summer my mother attended a wedding where she bumped into Lynne's sister, Lori. Lori spoke of a healthy job market where her sister lived and promised to connect the two of us. She did. We connected. I got a job. A couple days later I found myself in her home, teaching alongside her, sharing a bathroom with her son, and adjusting to her town.

For me, the move turned out to be one of the most amazing decisions I've made. So much good has come from  that one simple day when I said, "Sure, I'll come down to North Carolina where I don't know a single soul." I was terrified, but God was good. Too few times have I only looked at how I have benefited.

On September 11, 2001 Lynne was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. For Lynne, this degenerative disease seemed rather easily manageable until 2007-2008; my first year at Hopewell. It was during this time in Lynne's life when the disease reared its ugly head and made its presence known. Everyday tasks and simple actions became quite difficult and painful for Lynne. I remember several days when one of Lynne's students would find me in my classroom to tell me she wasn't doing well and we should probably get help. Bob or I would drive her to the doctor to see that all was well.

I can't say that time in Lynne's life is over, because the truth is that Parkinson's will never wane or leave her, only worsen. Thanks to the wisdom of doctors, Lynne has found ways to manage and live with this disease. If I'm really honest with myself, I think God knew that Lynne and I needed each other. I needed the new life Lynne could help me build. Lynne needed a helping hand to maneuver through the trying time of her disease. God works in ways, for our good, that we don't always know and understand. That is just one of the innumerable reasons He is to be glorified.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Here, have a rose

I have a funny friend. Seriously, Aaron is hilarious. Aaron Strauch, the husband of my dear friend Renee, is a member of Improv Charlotte, a comedy troupe quite worthy of many laughs. The group performs both long and short skits, many with help from the audience, that take on a Saturday Night Live/Whose Line is it Anyway feel. The last time I saw Aaron perform I walked away massaging my laughter-exhausted cheeks.

So if you claim to be a Charlottean, you are most likely aware of the Queen City's newfound Bachelorette fame. Improv Charlotte was recently asked by Creative Loafing Charlotte to work with Justin Driscoll in designing a just-for-fun photographic portrayal of the current Bachelorette for CL's cover. Improv Charlotte and Driscoll's work came out great! (Aaron is second from right)

The group performs the first Friday of every month at the Wine Up in Noda. Shows begin at 7pm for only $5 at the door. The neat part about it is that all proceeds go toward charity; a different charity each month chosen by a different member of the cast. What could be better than a fun, feel-good, Friday night out.

a day's galavanting

The much anticipated summer break has arrived. In the moments between cleaning house and preparing for an entirely new school and curriculum I've busied myself with mini adventures. Here are some snapshots from yesterday's galavanting.

A substitute teacher gave me this coupon; I'm not otherwise a McDonalds patron

Once I got over the initial brain freeze, it wasn't that bad. It looks rather small, doesn't it?

The drink was in preparation for my visit here. (I also stopped in Ikea across the street for some graduation presents and napkins-I love their napkins.)

The product of my morning adventures and afternoon free time. 
(inspired by Elsie and Emma at A Beautiful Mess)

On today's agenda: lunch with a very dear friend. Stay tuned for more on her sweet, yet strong, spirit. 


I came across this design of Matthew 6:34 while pinteresting. Such a great reminder. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

date night

Most nights Chad works late, except Tuesdays. So, date night it is. Last night we explored a new Italian restaurant (my fare of choice) Chad spotted. The food was okay, the decor decent, but the atmosphere was less than great; we were the only ones there!

Just shy of our two year wedding anniversary, we are well past awkward moments getting the best of us. Trust us, we have many. We did, however, get several good laughs in imagining if this had happened to us on a first date.

Which leads me to pose the question: what is the most awkward dating experience you have survived to speak of? Come on, spill it.

the dog lady

We can all agree that cat ladies get a bad rep. As a fellow cat lover restricted by her non cat loving husband, cat ladies, you have my respect. 

As of late, I have jokingly referred to myself as "the dog lady". As a child I've always loved dogs, but never had my own. My husband gifted me one for Christmas of 2010, sweet Koda bear. Having openly voiced my love for dogs, I am now the go-to dog sitter among friends, traveling and pregnant alike. Here are our recent tenants.

Cosmo Turner

Enzo Kasten

Berkley Berkowitz (snuggling up to Koda)

Oakley Velez

Sunday, June 10, 2012

remembering yankee summers

As a kid, summer was a little slice of heaven; running around outside, barefoot, relying only on the waning of the sun to summon you home. I rode my bike everywhere: to my father's greenhouse business behind our home, to my friends' houses down the street, and even to ice cream. cream.

Here are a few of my favorite summer things (in no particular order):

1. Early morning coffee sipped slowly on the patio outside of my childhood home.

I always love shared early morning coffee chat with my dad in his original Adirondack chairs.

2. Afternoons by my parents' pool. In high school my girl friends and I would spend hours swimming, tanning, and swimming by this small oasis. Today, when I visit, I love watching my niece (Madelyn) and nephew (Jack) laugh and laugh while kicking and blowing bubbles in their Oma and Opa's pool. 

 Jack's still a little hesitant on his own.

Madelyn and I tend to be a bit more goofy. She's ready for the deep end!

3. Ice cream. Does this really need an explanation?

My favorite place to pop in for a waffle cone with Moose Tracks is Kilwin's in Blowing Rock, NC.

4. My mother's strawberry rhubarb pie. I had the worst craving for this yesterday, so I emailed my mom for her recipe. She hasn't responded yet, but I'm also hoping she feels inspired to make one when she visits next week. This recipe looks very familiar to her own. 

Photo from smitten kitchen

5. Time with family.

My petite mom entertaining her grand babies.

This is blurry, but I adore watching my father love on Jack.

Dinner while visiting my parents in New York. 

For now, face time with my sister will have to suffice.

the Keith brothers, July 4 circa 2010.

What are a few of your favorite (summer) things?