We love showcasing beautiful families here at Black Southern Belle and this Charlotte, NC family is too cute not too share. The matriarch of this family has strong Lowcountry roots that influence how she raises her family in metropolitan Charlotte. This mompreneur loves fashion and her family and we are honored to share her story. Take some time and enjoy this Charlotte, NC Family Feature with a Lowcountry Raised Mother.
Names of Family Members and Title (mom, dad, son, daughter, etc.) Andre Lennon- Civil Engineer-Dad (40) Danielle Lennon-Owner of Leola & Simone Boutique-Mom (33) Jasmine Lennon-Daughter (5) Andre Lennon II-Son (7 months)
Where the mom from? Charleston, SC
Where is your current location? Fort Mill, SC (Charlotte metro)
What is your favorite thing about being a mom?-My favorite thing about being a mom is watching the constant change and growth of my little ones! Andre Jr (AJ) is now babbling and discovering how to move, while my daughter is asking questions daily from everything about the world around her to biblical stories. It’s a wonderful adventure to see their maturation and to be able to guide them on their life journeys.
What do you love about raising your children in the South?
The history, hospitality, culinary prowess and college football are just a few reasons I love raising my kids in the South. Being from Charleston, my daughter already knows the beauty of the Gullah culture and the contributions of strong, southern women that have come before her. Our family favorite artist is Jonathan Green! His portraits of Gullah life in the South show the strength and beauty of our southern roots. Southern culture normalizes great manners, the golden rule and the importance of family. These are all attributes that were cornerstones of my husband, and my own childhood.
Strong traditions in the South are centered on food. I love that my children are able to participate in enjoying barbecue shrimp and grits and sucking on crawfish on any given Sunday in the South. My husband graduated from Auburn University (War Eagle) and our family joins him as avid Tiger fans. We travel to Auburn for homecoming and on other occasions to tailgate and enjoy family fun. Watching Cam Newton’s journey to the National Championship in 2010 and then having him as our franchise quarterback, in Charlotte, has provided an opportunity to bond with our extended family and keep this truly southern pass time alive and well.
What are some of their favorite southern dishes to eat? Which do they only eat if you make? As mentioned above, low country barbecue shrimp and grits is my favorite southern cuisine. My two famous southern dishes include macaroni and cheese, as I have a secret ingredient from my grandmother, and sweet potato pie. I baked Andre 2 pies while we were dating to take to work, and we have been together ever since!
Why did you choose this location to do the family photo shoot?
I choose this photo shoot location because it truly represents were we are in our life journey. Charlotte, NC is a beautiful southern city and will be the place we call home, for the rest of our lives. When I was teaching, and had summers off, I would grab the light rail and join Andre for lunch at his firm uptown. We would take turns picking different, local activities to take part of, have picnics in Freedom Park and feel in love to the backdrop of the Charlotte skyline. Our children were born in Charlotte, and it has a beautiful mix of suburban living with big city amenities. It was a perfect mix of my Charleston southern charm and the progressive opportunities provided by the city culture. Andre is currently growing an Engineering Consultant office and I own a local clothing boutique so we can give back and serve the local city we love.
What are your favorite lessons to teach your children?
My favorite lessons to teach my children are the importance of spending time family and going after your dreams. Jasmine and I recently made a summer bucket list that her and I can do together. Not only does this keep “I’m board” at bay, but it also shows the importance to prioritizing doing things together. My daughter also watches us work at the store, treat our employees with respect, serve our customers. She loves to roll the clothing rack outside and sweep the store whenever she gets the chance. I want her to see that following your dreams is hard work, but very worth it. Teaching lessons is not all about what you say, but mostly about what you do, as your children watch.
What is your favorite southern activity to do with them?
Our favorite family activity this summer is the Anne Springs Greenway Concert Series. On Thursdays, we grab our lawn chairs, blankets and head to the greenway to enjoy a live band ad socializing with our neighbors! We also spend a lot of time in Charleston hitting up our favorite spots and going to the beach. Andre and I like to steal away for walks uptown or spending time at the local breweries!
Do you have any favorite restaurants you like to take them?
My daughter is addicted to brunch at Terrace Café! It’s a locally owned eatery in the Ballantyne area. It’s customary on Sundays after church for us to enjoy a nice brunch featuring chicken and waffles and gray biscuits. We also frequent Ladles, which is local spot next to my boutique that sells southern style sandwiches. All of these places feature southern cooking, with gourmet twists and we love it!
What are some of your favorite books you read to them?
Jasmine’s teacher has done a wonderful job with instilling a love of reading for my daughter. She has taken very well to Martin’s Big Words, and anything associated with strong historical figures. I think it’s because I was a history major myself. Other favorites include Chicka, Chika, Boom Boom, Oh the Places You’ll go, and I love my hair!
Who styled the children for this shoot?
Being a boutique owner, all of the styling for the photo shoot was done by myself.
What southern values do you hope they inherit as they grow up?
The southern values that I hope they inherit as they grow up are the importance of family and good manners. Sunday dinners, impromptu cookouts and traveling across the South to visit relatives are what make life worth living. Family bonds provide the foundation for weathering whatever life may bring. In addition to family, good, ole fashion southern manners are a trait I hope my kids will utilize daily. I use to tell my students all the time, you can catch more flies with honey, than you can with vinegar. Meaning, manners will take you places that your intelligence alone cannot.
What advice did you get from your mother on parenting?
She taught me that there is a difference between equitable and equal. No two kids are the same and to be sure to develop their gifts, talents, and strengths in the way that is uniquely best for them. She also tells me weekly, since she lives about 5 minutes down the street, to soak up every minute, and not wish their childhoods away. She always talks about how quickly the time passes before they are gone and on their own.
Where did you get some of the clothing items?
Pink Ruffle Romper-@leolasimoneboutique /www.leolasimoneboutique.com
White CLT shirt-shoppinksocial.com @shoppinksocial
Andre Jr & Jasmine Lennon
Janie & Jack and Glory Days Apparel @glorydaysapparel
Banana Republic and Glory Days Apparel
Images by Crystal Cofie Photography
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