My Sweet Carolina

23 01 2011

I am so lucky.

Not only do I have the best nuclear and extended family, but I have had the great fortune to have become part of several other families throughout the course of my life. The initial connections were made over classes and cadavers and grew into holidays and my own room in their homes. Now I simply just belong.

I just got back from another wonderfully fun and far too short weekend with two of my other families in Morganton/Shelby, NC, and despite the 4-hour drive, I am still feeling happy and loved and almost overwhelmed by the words that Laura’s mom said when she hugged me goodbye… “You are the sister that Laura never had until now.” There was plenty of “sister” conversations in the past two days as Lily is getting a baby sister in June, but I will never forget those words.

The other role I get to play, and one that I so adore, is Aunt Kristen. Though to Lily, I’m still just “Aunt K.” My friends’ kids are hilarious and so smart and cuddly and loving. And though I’m not able to be around them (or their parents!) as much as I would like, somehow the closeness of our relationship has not been affected by distance or infrequency of our visits. It’s very special.

I am so lucky!

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Fall 2010 Project: Photography

10 10 2010

This year, I’ve really started tapping into a more creative, more artistic side of myself. I bought a sewing machine and have completed quite a few wonderful projects: bags, aprons, baby dresses and burp cloths… And I have several ideas and plans for more projects in the textile medium.

But lately, I seem to be more taken with photography. I love turning my digital images into photo books with Shutterfly, and I think they (the photos and the books!) turn out pretty good! At least my friends and family all enjoy looking through them!

So it was really exciting when my friend Sunni asked me to take family photos of she and Brian and their (absolutely adorable!) 8 month old daughter. They have a really nice camera, which made me a little nervous, seeing as how this extremely amateur photographer barely utilizes the functions on my Kodak point-and-shoot! But I’m a quick study, and after a few test shots (while baby Sydney was getting into her first outfit!) we headed out to Glenwood Park for their Fall Family Photo Shoot!

As if there could even be a “bad” photo taken of this darling family!





Still the Best. Family. Ever.

25 07 2010

…. Sorry for the delay, there are big changes afoot for me… but that is a story for a later date…

Event #5: Zarosinski Family Graduation(s) Celebration – Vancouver, WA – Sunday, June 13

After we had ambled around Portland’s Saturday Market, indulging in cinnamon elephant ears and Isabella’s first taste of fresh lemonade, we headed north on I-5 to Vancouver (Washington, not Canada, to clarify!) where there was to be a Zarosinski mini-reunion. Although it turned out not to be quite so “mini” as we were only missing two of the 30 Don-Z’s.

“There is nothing worth sharing / like the love that let us share our name.” – Avett Brothers

Not too shabby! We were all here together celebrating FOUR cousin graduations: one college (Mark), two high school (Tom and Ian), and one 8th-grade (Anne). Not to mention Fathers Day, several birthdays, and Grandma and Papa’s Anniversary. In our family, the traditional Paper Towel Banner marks special occasions, usually holding court via some masking tape on a kitchen cupboard door. Thanks to cousin Kieran, the tradition stands… 

The weather was absolutely PERFECT, and we spent long hours outside with a delicious spread of food, great beers, and of course an obligatory basketball game.

Event #6: Cousin Michael’s Graduation from U of O – Eugene, OR – Monday, June 14

(Too) early Monday morning we headed back down I-5 to Eugene to attend yet another graduation ceremony. Once again, the weather was stunning, but I was quickly reminded how a sunshine-y summery day in Eugene will wreak havoc on my sinuses. I probably sneezed no less than 284 times in the 6 hours we were in town. But it did give me a great excuse for my watery eyes as graduate after graduate took to the stage at Mac Court (*oh, you sweet old Pit, how I adore you!) to announce their name, major, and a joyful burst of thanks and love to their families in the stands!

“Michael Klaas Zarosinski vanBronkhorst”… it’s a good thing everyone said their own name!

After the ceremony, we met for a reception on the patio at Excelsior. I spent four years at school in Eugene, and never had I once even stepped foot inside this darling Inn! It’s really a beautiful place. The restaurant and kitchen take up several rooms on the main level of the building, with 14 guest rooms tucked away upstairs. I think I’ll definitely be returning here, whenever the next Eugene-event occurs!

Event #7: Visiting Mary Ann’s New House Project – Lake Oswego, OR – Tuesday, June 15

The next day was my first Non-Pre-Scheduled Event Day of the trip, and unfortunately my last full day in town. So, naturally, I filled it right up! First up was an “After” tour of Mary Ann’s project at “Millie’s House,” where I had lived (when it was in its “Before” state) before I bought my townhouse. Then it was off to Lake Oswego to see the new house project. Very, VERY “Before.” But knowing MA, she’s going to do wonders and amazing things with this little place!

Event #8: Happy Hour with the Girls and NoPo Reunion with an ATL buddy

My last night in town, I was able to meet up with two of my oldest friends (Emily and Sarah – and Shawn!) at McMenamins for a bite to eat and a fast catch-up session. It wasn’t long enough to even scratch the surface, but it’s worth it to me to have even a few minutes at a time to stay in each others’ lives. Jill and I then met up with cousin Zach at his sweet condo for a whiskey and downtime. The east-facing wall is entirely windows, and though we didn’t get the 3-mountain view, we were treated to a full-rainbow spanning I-84 instead!

Then it was once last stop in North Portland to see an old friend of mine who had recently moved to Portland from Atlanta, no less! We had a slice of pizza and a couple of beers at Mississippi Pizza Pub, which is one of my absolute favorite spots in town. They have a great, cozy live-music spot and host the Portland Spelling Bee on Monday nights! It’s fantastic.

It was yet another fun, full, happy trip to Portland. And I found it much harder to leave this time than I’ve experienced in the recent past. I still get a little misty-eyed when I think about the breakdown I had when saying goodbye to my brother Scott. It had been two years since I’d seen him last, and it’s hard not knowing when the next time will be. I am so very grateful for the close relationships that the four Grba-siblings have built and maintained, despite the physical distance that continues to separate us.

There’s nothing better than LIKING your family just as much as you love them.