Category Archives: Snappies

francedance

Notes before reading this post! A) These are all iPhone photos which still blows my mind because less than 10 years ago my shitty digital camera couldn’t take these pictures (we haven’t had a chance to look at the snappies we took on the big camera yet, but just imagine a lot more of the below with better resolution). B) There are happy little links throughout (some in the photo captions!) that will take you to even MORE photos on the Elderworld Tumblr.

So grab a glass of wine, kick back, and enjoy the next couple hours of enviously hating me…

I’m 31 years old and I’ve visited many places across the United States, but the extent of my travel outside of the country consisted of a cruise I took with Pete a couple weeks after I graduated from the University of Florida. The cruise was loads of fun and hugely memorable (drunken british accents, Belizean river tubing, getting engaged, stuff like that), but being that passports weren’t required and your exposure to any place was limited to maybe 5-6 hours, I never considered it to be proper world travel. After dreaming of exploring new places but never taking any real action, we finally decided last year to take our first big leap across the ocean together and commenced planning a trip to Scotland which is fully arranged for this September (thanks to Pete and his mad travel agent skills). Part of that planning included getting my very first passport which we made sure to do well in advance of the trip and it arrived just in time, because mid-May I received quite the surprise…

On a normal weekday workday, my boss asked me and a couple colleagues to head outside for a quick chat to talk about a new trade show idea. We go outside because we’ve got 16 people and a crap ton of stuff crammed into 1,800 square feet of office space and the walls don’t go to the ceilings, so any time you want to talk about anything you either accept that everyone will hear you or you “take a walk down the tracks.” So walk we did and he proceeded to explain to us that we had an opportunity to attend a trade show in Monaco but we had to make a decision in the next couple days. We fired off our normal slew of questions that follow any crazy idea proposition from the bossman, and were mostly satisfied with the answers, but then came the kicker. The show was happening less than one month from that day and bossman’s in-laws would be in town from London, so he who usually attends all shows would not be able to go. We now had to decide if we wanted to attend this show we’d never done before in another country with less than 30 days to plan and minus one of our key people. Brain racing, I quickly opined – send me! Part of the show was an investigation into doing business overseas and part of my job is to develop new business opportunities, so of course this makes sense! And guess what? I already have a passport! Ding ding ding, let’s do it! I thought they’d never go for it but quite the contrary – bossman’s eyes lit up and he was totally into it. A week later tickets were booked and I and my buddy slash colleague Shelly were prepping for a trip to Nice and Monaco. It’s over now and I still can’t believe it!

Clearly I couldn’t go to Europe for the first time and spend my whole trip inside a hotel doing conferency things, so we went two days early to get in some solid Nice exploration. I was a bit nervous about the whole affair – first time in a non-English speaking country, first time flying overseas, first time attending a conference of this sort – but much of that was quelled by the fact that Shelly had experience in all of the above. Thank goodness for her French skills for even though most folks we encountered also spoke English, it helped tremendously with their willingness to do so when we first approached them in their own language. The whole adventure was amazing, I’m officially in love with Europe (even maybe drunkenly tried to convince Pete that we should move there), and I am more excited than ever about our September trip to Scotland. So, despite the fact that I already blew up Instagram and Facebook with a million snappies, I’ll throw down a few (lot) more photos here and blurb it up with some highlights (let’s be serious, this post is going to be epically long)…

Our original flight pattern was RDU to BOS to Paris to Nice, but when we arrived at the airport to check in we quickly realized that some silly tropical storm was threatening to cancel all sorts of flights and proceeded to spend a very sad and stressed out 90 minutes with a Delta attendant trying to figure out what we were going to do. At the end of said 90 minutes, on the phone with her Delta customer service counterpart, her face lit up and she said OH! That is great news! To which Shelly and I responded with a happy little jig in front of all the other angry people in line and #francedance was born. Our new flight pattern became RDU to JFK to Nice and we arrived at the same exact time as our previous plan, with one less annoying stop. Huzzah! One easy bus ride and less than a mile of walking brought us to the Rue de Chateau, a cozy sloped alley in the hear of Vieux Nice.

The entry gate to the building that housed our third floor studio apartment rented through Airbnb.

The entry gate to the building that housed our third floor studio apartment rented through Airbnb.

Our apartment, maybe 40 square meters, super cute and stylish and close to EVERYTHING.

Our apartment, maybe 40 square meters, super cute and stylish and close to EVERYTHING. (Stole this photo from the Airbnb site, everything else here we took!)

After checking in we took a walk to the nearest Monoprix to stock up on cheap amazing wine, delicious cheeses and butter I’d eat by the spoonful. On the way back we stumbled upon some cathedrals.

We walked into three different cathedrals and they each was just as grand and opulent as the next.

We walked into three different cathedrals and each was just as grandiose as the next.

Then came lunch, our first legit meal in France, and after striking out several times in a row since it was that weird time of day when most places are closed between lunch and dinner, we found a place that would feed us and we sat outside devouring caprese salad, pizza and bread. Everything tasted like perfection which I’m sure was at least in part due the surroundings. Fueled up and running on holy-shit-I’m-in-France adrenaline, we set out to walk and shop and explore.

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Place Masséna and Jaume Plensa’s Conversation å Nice. These seven statues represent the seven continents and apparently light up at night in different colors but sadly we didn’t catch that.

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Street after street of pretty colored buildings and magnificent mountains in the distance.

We went into all sorts of shops on this main strip of clothing stores, but ironically made the most purchases at H&M. We basically closed the place down and in fact the angry fitting room attended was the only rude person we encountered on our whole trip. She was quite displeased with the my non French speaking American ass still trying on clothes at five minutes to closing, but I honestly didn’t know the store hours. Her haircut was stupid anyway. We also bought stuff at another Monoprix (it’s like French Target i.e. the happiest place on Earth), then dropped our goodies off at the apartment and headed out for dinner.

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More awesome structures. Pretty much nonstop cool shit to take pictures of.

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Our intended restaurant was unfortunately undergoing renovations so we found a lovely place with outdoor seating (i.e. every place in Nice) and had another fabulous meal. We also took pictures of each other taking pictures of our meals. Nerds.

After dinner we walked over to Fenocchio and got nutella crepes and I died of happiness.

After dinner we walked over to Fenocchio and got nutella crepes and I died of happiness. Also note bags under eyes. Three or so hours sleep on the flight over and a day full of adventure were not friendly to the ol’ face.

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We walked back to the apartment, eventually went to sleep, and stayed in bed until noon the next day. Vacation rocks.

Post first day in France bathroom happy selfie wearing Shelly's pajama shirt because I packed a million things but no pajamas. Nerd.

Post first day in France bathroom happy selfie wearing Shelly’s pajama shirt because I packed a million things but no pajamas. Nerd.

Once we finally dragged our jet lagged behinds out of bed we went for a run on the Promenade des Anglais, the road that runs along the coast. The warm temps and low humidity made for outstanding running weather and clearly the scenery was top notch. Post shower, our next adventure was a “hike” up beautiful, old, tree shaded steps and pathways, past a waterfall to the Parc du Château. Nearly 1,000 years ago a castle was erected at this spot, but in 1706 it was razed by the ranks of Louis XIV. Today it’s a popular tourist spot with stunning panoramic views of Vieux Nice and the Baie des Anges, and a few benches perfect for a picnic. And we did just that – with our scrumptious cheeses and wine, we snacked and chatted the afternoon away in one of the most beautiful settings I’ve ever experienced.

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The view! Gross.

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The top of Tour Bellanda.

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Pard du Château selfie.

After the parc picnic we walked and walked and walked some more, stuck our feet in the Mediterranean, took pictures of doors and windows and alleys, ate decadent pastries, did a little more shopping and eventually headed back to the apartment for some more eating before dinner and more eating.

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On the street just before our apartment we heard from a window above a very French man singing a Maroon 5 song very loudly. Shelly sang along.

On the street just before our apartment we heard from a window above a very French man singing a Maroon 5 song very loudly. Shelly sang along.

Dinner our second night was at a restaurant called La Rossettisserie and was just as lovely as every other meal. Especially lovely was the moment a random man walked in wearing a French Maid costume and proceeded to not only go around the restaurant kissing people on the cheek but also lift up his skirt to expose tighty whiteys and dangling fake balls. When in Nice? After dinner we went to Fenocchio again, this time for ice cream and I swooned over the most vanillatastic scoop of dessert I’ve ever consumed.

Oh look! More pictures of us taking pictures of food.

Oh look! More pictures of us taking pictures of food.

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Post ice-cream selfie.

Post ice-cream selfie.

The final day was all about the market. Oh the market! How I wished to spend hours buying every piece of produce and every bottle of olive oil and every loaf of bread and every stem of flower. It was like our local farmers’ market on steroids. We bought things and tasted things and walked around a bit more before we checked out of our apartment and boarded the bus for our big tradeshow adventure in Monaco.

Ginormous figs putting my little Mebane figgy tree homegrown figs to shame.

Ginormous figs putting my little Mebane figgy tree homegrown figs to shame.

All the rad and wonderfully awesome flavors of salt - yes salt! - you could think of.

All the rad and wonderfully awesome flavors of salt – yes salt! – you could think of.

Sunny buildings around the market.

Sunny buildings around the market.

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I bought this bouncy giraffe for Norah at an adorable French toy shop.

I bought this bouncy giraffe for Norah at an adorable French toy shop.

Bye-bye beach selfie.

Bye-bye beach selfie.

And the final ride down in the apartment building elevator with all our crap. Shelly kindly sporting Pete's hat I bartered for so it didn't get squished.

And the final ride down in the apartment building elevator with all our crap. Shelly kindly sporting Pete’s hat I bartered for so it didn’t get squished.

I won’t go into too much detail about Monaco other than to say that the tradeshow went smashingly well and we had almost as much fun as we did in Nice (minus the excellent food). Here’s a little panoramic snappy from the 7th floor pooldeck of our worky hotel:

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Scotland is only a few months away and I can’t. freakin’. wait.

XO.

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Thing number 291 that you hear about having two kids before you have two kids that you ultimately find to be true once you have two kids: you take less photos of the second one. Now anyone who’s linked to me on instagram, twitter and/or facebook might find that statement to be implausible based on the social media salvo of snappies that I unleash on a regular basis, a good percentage of which include or are solely of Crosby, but I swear if you compared the actual quantity of photos taken from Norah’s first seven months to Crosby’s, she’d win by a margin of at least 25%. I am conscious of this and it does stress me out because I do want to have just as many mind-blowingly adorable moments captured from Crosby’s youth as I do Norah’s, but with two wee ones in tow it’s ever so slightly more challenging to remember to get the good camera out. Thank goodness for the handy dandy iPhone lest there be such a disparity as to cause some questions from teenage Crosby about favoritism.  All of that said, every now and then we’re successful at snatching the ‘ol Pentax from its roost in the kitchen and clicking a frame or two, so I figured I should actually share some of those moments with the people that love our dear little buds almost as much as we do.

IMGP4608Early December hanging out in the kitchen with the dogs on daddy day. That exersaucer came to us all the way from the faraway land of the Florida Elders and afforded us much baby holding time for both kiddos. It now lives down the street where it will soon house yet another adorable baby.

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Mid January good times on the weekend in the bear’s room. Yes he is almost always this happy. Also, that’s an Eagles blanket he’s laying on and his sleeper is orange and blue. Start ’em young!

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Walker time sporting a super stylish outfit care of the Khannas. Buds looks good in green and blue! The walker is his (read: our) best friend. He really gets moving in that thing and is quite the little navigator. Our ped once suggested that walkers are questionable because of something about how they encourage toe walking and that doesn’t help babies learn to actually walk. Well guess what? Norah was walking by one with no problems and oh, also, it makes Crosby super happy. So take that.

IMGP5296A couple weeks ago at bath time, Norah decided that Crosby was having too much fun in his whale tub without her and so she climbed in with him and they had a grand ‘ol time. I’m sure was saying something about how she doesn’t like Crosby at some point during the event, likely while she was smiling and laughing because, well, she’s crazy.

IMGP5551And for every 10 heart achingly adorable, gush worthy snappies, there’s one of these. But come on! Still somehow cute.

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Captured mere moments after Crosby went forehead first off the bed landing, as luck would have it, on my somewhat cushy slipper. While that perhaps saved him from any broken skin or blood, he still cried horribly hard for at least three whole minutes and immediately formed this delightful little bruise just under his hairline. I take responsibility for this one as I was supposed to be preventing any such happening by actually watching him with both eyes when Norah got up in my face claiming she peed in her pants (she didn’t). I was distracted just long enough for him to take the plunge. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t ever so briefly consider the possibility that Norah planned the whole thing. Toddler cunning is fierce. The cut under his eye is a self-inflicted baby-dagger-fingernail wound.

I’ll do my absolute best to keep the camera snapping so as not to deprive anyone of oodles of Crosbyness!

Elderland out. XO.

visits!

We’ve had oodles of awesome family time since Crosby was born and it’s about damn time I got around to posting some of the photos. Here’s a gallery of visits over the past five months.

Here in Mebane we had: The Florida Elders (Uncle John, Aunt Courtney, and cousins Dylan, Olivia & Grayson) and Grandma Joy (Pete’s mom) in July; Papa (my dad) and Uncle James and Aunt Tiffy in August; Grandaddy and Grandmama (Pete’s dad and stepmom) in October; Aunt Dana and Uncle Denny in November. We also took our first family flight as four in October and visited Aunt Martha, Uncle Kunaal, cousin Raj, Aunt Mary Lynn and Uncle Chuck. Super fun all around!

Elderland out. XO.

the big two

On July 10th our little bear turned two! (can we say overdue post?) One big bonus of having the kids be almost exactly two years apart is that Norah’s birthday came soon after Crosby joined our clan and was an excellent opportunity to shower her with attention in a time of major change and adjustment. And boy was it a long shower – it seemed like every day for at least a week Norah had a present to open from our friends and family and she loved every minute of it. She was also kind enough to open Crosby’s presents for him so needless to say there was a veritable deluge of spoiling happening here in Elderland.

On the day of Norah’s birthday we four (FOUR! so cool) celebrated with a full day of fun. First thing in the morning Pete ran out to grab a couple balloons to greet her with when she woke up. Norah loves balloons, but what self respecting toddler doesn’t? Our local grocery store had the perfect combo of helium filled Elmo with a birthday hat and Tigger on a stick. Balloons presented and birthday song sung, with smiles galore we headed to the kitchen for a birthday breakfast – pancakes of course. Bellies full, we packed up our stuff for the first ever Elder family of four (FOUR! can you believe it?) outing – a trip to the Triangle Sportsplex for toddle tumble. Running, jumping, swinging, climbing and a little circle session of animal aping sapped her energy (Crosby slept) so it was home for lunch and nap. After nap we took the family out again to what we refer to as the “special place” – Mebane’s very own brand new froyo shop called Icy Sweets. Having this special place be barely more than a mile away is awesome and dangerous all at the same time, and my sometimes third child Pete has been begging to go more than the toddler who forgets its existence until we talk about it. So all four of us (foooooooooouurrr!) hung out at Icy Sweets and three of us enjoyed some frozen candy topped happiness (sorry Crosby, your day will come).

For birthday celebration number two we spent the next day at Grams and Grandma’s house, kicking things off with a cupcake baking bash. Norah was a super little helper and only tried to eat the batter 20 or so times. We do our best to keep her sugar consumption to a minimum but it doesn’t take but a few exposures to sweets to get a toddler hooked for life and Norah knows her sweets. She can spot a dessert from a mile away – somehow she just knows when the container or plate on the counter houses something special, and she simply and calmly states “I want some of that.” We typically don’t give in, but I have to admit, it’s fun when we do. I get quite a bit of enjoyment out of watching her face light up when she’s shoveling in some sugary goodness. After her nap the cupcakes were ready and we strapped her into the highchair for year two of obligatory chocolate face. Then it was time for more presents! The stars of the show this year? An all terrain radio flyer wagon and a little wooden kitchen set complete with wooden food. Norah is pleased as punch with all her new goodies and sends a super big thanks to everyone that helped make her second birthday amazing and wonderful!

Snappies!

Elderland out. XO.

beach snappies

A few more cutie patootie snappies from our trip to Emerald Isle:

Elderland out. XO.

hats

“Hat” was one of Norah’s first words. From the moment she recognized what a hat was she’s had an adorable obsession with them. When we’re out and about and she spots someone wearing a hat, she has no fear of pointing right at that person and exclaiming “hat!” It’s acceptable and cute now but we’ll of course have to break her of this one day. In our bedroom on either side of our dresser mirror hang several hats and many a time she has pointed impatiently and anxiously demanding that we take them down for her to play with. One is never enough and as her vocabulary has expanded her emphatic “two! two!” has turned into “another one?!”, which is articulated more like narwon. Though not always keen to wear them herself, she has her moments of donning them for extended periods of time and not necessarily when necessary. Grandma Deb got her a pretty flowered fleece hat for Christmas and there was a period of a few nights when Norah wanted it to accompany her in her crib, only for us to come in to get her in the morning and find her standing up, paci in her mouth, hat on her head and blankie in her hands. Too freakin’ cute. And then recently she spotted this stunning blue beanie in a basket at the top of our closet. She pointed and demanded and of course Pete got it for her, and then she proceeded to sport it frequently both in and out of doors. These snappies were taken last Saturday morning while she pranced around the kitchen in her fancy hat, eating a banana. Love this kid!

A little side story on that hat and why we have it. In late October of 2009 Pete and I went on a three day backpacking/camping adventure in the mountains of Virginia on a portion of the Appalachian Trail. Unbeknownst to us at the tima I was actually about two weeks pregnant with Norah! Before we kicked off our adventure we went into this little church run thrift shop and they were doing one of those $5 bag sales where you can stuff as much crap as you want into a normal sized plastic grocery bag and pay five bucks. Well after selecting some sweaters and belts for me and some shirts for Pete we spotted these two wacky blue and red beanies and still had some room in our bag and so why the hell not? I guess we made a good choice!

Elderland out. XO.

christmas at last

We’re getting there folks! Caught up on snappies that is. This was Norah’s second Christmas and she was much more aware of the excitement and magic. She was also spoiled of course, but it was totally fun for all of us.

At our house, Santa brought Norah a little wooden train set that she delighted in tearing apart and throwing!

And a balance bike that she’s still a wee bit small for but Pete, ahem, Santa couldn’t resist having a bike with a bow on it under the tree. She’ll be using it before we know it!

Then we went to Grams and Grandma’s house where Santa and the bear’s wonderful relatives left lots more goodies for her like a super cool doctor set and personalized backpack. She also got a couple baby dolls, a baby cradle and a baby stroller! She loves kissing and rocking her babies, putting them in their bed to sleep, and pushing them around in their stroller. She also occasionally loves throwing them (I’m sensing a pattern here). Let’s hope she avoids that last bit when this real baby comes along.

One other neato thing she got that has since become a favorite in the Elder house – an inflatable red bouncy horse! It’s from the company Imaginarium and is made out of material similar to an exercise ball (inflates with the same type of pump). As much as she loves her horsey now (and kisses him, and rides him, and drags him around) she wasn’t quite sure after we put her on him that first time. It started out well and ended a little less than well.

Finally, after all the hullaballoo and excitement, we ventured outside for a few more snappies. The gray skies and soft afternoon lighting were perfect and the bear was adorable in her gray cardy, toddler skinny jeans and new chucks. Grandma looks nice too :).

Elderland out. XO.