Thursday, December 12, 2013

The cabin....

As long as I can remember, my dad and I have been getting our Christmas tree in Floyd, Virginia.  A family friend, Don, built a log cabin in nearby Franklin county.  Since the 1990's, my dad and I have been going up there to help him, and we started a little Christmas tradition to head into the nearest town (Floyd) to get our Christmas tree.  They are much more fresh, and less expensive up there. Every year, we head to Floyd, eat lunch at the Blue Ridge Cafe, peruse the Hardware store, and then get our tree at Slaughter's.  Leah (Don's daughter) and I always decorate the cabin when we return - put lights up outside, the bows on the porch rails, etc...We've added families along the way, and now we also do an impromptu wine and food spread at the cabin afterwards.  Everyone brings something - Don has his homemade sausage and his wife's amazing homemade cheeseball...this year, Jeff made individual bourbon cheesecakes...and we feast in this tiny cabin warmed by our company and the nostalgic wood stove.

I was not able to go the last 2 years, which really broke my heart, so I was beyond excited that we were going this year, and taking Emma.  Don and my dad had discovered a place nearby Floyd where you could cut your own tree down (how's that for nostalgia?!), so we were pretty excited to partake in this Griswald tradition.

We started our day out with a last minute Walmart visit in Hillsborough to grab some last minute supplies -and let Emma gt some wiggles out....

running around the parking lot...

reunited with gamma and peanut!

Love these two:)

We literally turn off of about 8 roads (which don't look like roads at all) to get to the cabin.  I would certainly NOT drive this by myself without my Beretta attached to my hip!  A few years ago, Don built a bridge over the stream, so we don't have to LITERALLY drive through a stream to get to his cabin anymore....but it sure was fun when we did:)

Our trip to Slaughter's nursery to check out the holiday maze was a winner.  Emma wants to "love" and kiss everything.....

posing with one of Santa's reindeer....

kissing baby Jesus in the manger (heart melting...)

this animal sorta creeps me out.....those eyes!?!?

safty?  gotta love homemade signs!!

no one else got the "picture is over here" memo

love these little hands pulling the polar bear in for a smooch!!

SMOOCHIES for everyone!

Picking out our tree proved to be more difficult with a toddler than I had anticipated. Unfortunately, Emma only wanted to run down the mountainside at full speed....on soggy and steep ground.  We retreated down to the small bakery at the base of the mountain to warm up and terrorize the inside customers.  The vintage snowman sign inside was a casualty of this choice, but it's nothing a little superglue can't fix:)

Looking up the mountain....

The first moment Brent put Emma down after carrying her up the hill...

Looking down the was very cold!!

"This is awesome!!"

Family photo fail....

fail, cont'd....

forever fail....

I snapped these photos alter that afternoon at the cabin...they don't do the beauty and tranquility of this place justice...

Monday, December 2, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

I was really excited to have a few days off this year for Thanksgiving, and it just so happens that this year, my birthday falls on the day after Turkey day.  So I not only had a 2 day workweek, but I had my birthday off this year as well!  For the record, I did not work on my birthday last year, but that was because Emma was sick, and then crazy here forgot to pay the power bill last year as well in November...and while Emma and I were at the doctor on MY birthday, they shut off my power.  I came home to a cold, dark, and lifeless house....on MY birthday last year.  So anything was better than last year.

I realize lately that I have been very bad about not taking pictures.  Poor Emma will have no documentation of November 2013, except for this past week's last hooray.

We started out the week with an impromptu dance party and picture session while waiting for dad to get home.  

Emma LOVES animals!  She can spot a dog a mile away and start whining to go see it.  She also LOVES the cats...much to their dismay.  She gives them hugs and kisses all the time and chases them around the house.  I happen to think it is the cutest thing in the world...the cats - not so much.

I took her to school Wednesday because it was class picture day, and I wanted Emma to be included in the group picture.  How they get all 8 toddlers to look at the camera is beyond me.  I ran a few errands and got some much needed cleaning done at the house, and then picked up Em after her nap.  It was a cold and rainy day, so we headed to Carr Mill mall to grab some mittens at Townsend and Bertram.  My original plan was to also get a pretzel at Katie's Pretzel's - a highschool staple.  But sadly, they were not there anymore.  And I am sure they had not been for some time, but I had not been to Carr Mill in several years.  Emma had a blast there - it was a great place for her to roam the wooden floors.  She was obsessed with this one window display and we spent almost 10 minutes there.

Thanksgiving day we always eat with my parents.  We did a roast this year, as we alternate meats from year to year.  We also always go for a walk that morning.  The trails behind our house were way too muddy after our 2 days of non-stop rain, so we headed through the neighborhood.  I love a walk, and especially a cold, brisk one.

All bundled up!!!

I mean, how cute is she in her hat and ginormous coat????

 The men headed outside for some be-be gun parents live way too close to downtown for it to be acceptable to shoot the shotguns:)

We tried for a mommy-daughter shot.....FAIL.

 But I did shoot this super cute pic - I just love her!

"Mom, you're crae-crae!"

 Black Friday was also my birthday, and Brent had to work.  I was super bummed about this, because he also worked I spent 2 days with Emma...which I loved, but I also love to have our family time too.  My parents cheered me up and we all went to breakfast at the Weathervane and then did a little shopping in University mall.  This is Em's new face - the "OH!" face.  She does this often and it is too cute!

 Emma refused to nap at home - this has been somewhat of a challenge.  She falls asleep in the car and then I can't seem to transport her during the day to her crib for her nap.  Mom won though and we went for a nice long, country drive.  It was beautiful out and I had my Christmas XM station on, so life was good!

 This looks beyond uncomfortable....but oh well!

Of course, in true southern fashion, it was time to ditch the fall decor and set up Christmas.  Emma was sad to see the pumpkins go and had a hard time saying goodbye.

If Emma just has a diaper on and nothing else, she hates it.  She constantly pulls at her diaper, showing her beautiful little hiney.  I think she gets this from her daddy, clearly.

 Saturday, we had somewhat of a diaper crisis, and I realized we would have to run out.  I loathe the thought of shopping during the busiest time of the year, especially with a toddler.  But we literally only had 2 diapers left in the house.  Surprisingly, Target was normal -I had no trouble parking and no line in the store.  Emma was also an excellent shopper!

We even managed to get a bracelet while we were there...and Emma had the best time wearing it out of the store.  And I admit, my heart melted when she also wanted to hold my hand...

Saturday evening, Brent had a haircut at the mall, so we did have to brave the masses to go with him.  It actually was not too bad at 4:00pm, and I even parked the truck all by myself in a spot made for a Mini-Cooper.  Bystanders said it couldn't be done, especially by a woman...but I did...

Emma loves Pottery Barn kids, and we had a very hard time pulling her away from this phone and vanity mother, like daughter!

Sunday, I rustled up the whole family so we could make it to Sunday school....only to pull into church to see no cars and realize that it had been cancelled for the holiday weekend....FAIL.

Emma fell asleep on our way to Lowe's (we decided to go there before church since we now had an hour to kill), so we ended up driving around instead since church falls right during her nap time.  This way, she was sure to be in a good mood for nursery.  After church, we ran some much needed errands together (our weekly Trader Joe's wine trip was first on the list), and just had a blast as a family.  I am so lucky that Brent and Emma both like hanging out with me:)

I ended the holiday weekend feeling very blessed - and I hope everyone else did as well! Now - let the chaos of Christmas begin!!