Thursday, January 18, 2018

Montana winter trip

After a busy Christmas where the festivities had just wrapped up on Wednesday, we were supposed to fly out to Montana on Friday. Montana got SO much snow that we had to delay leaving until Sunday, which was kind of nice because it gave us some much needed down time (and time to put away Christmas decorations.... I love the season, but when Christmas is over, it's time for it to COME DOWN and get your house back in order!)
 We ended up landing in Montana on New Year's Eve. What a beautiful, snowy sight to see upon descent! 
 Seth and I made NYE dinner reservations at the Isaac Walton. We had to wait over an hour to get seated. 

After waiting so long, they ended up seating us with a random couple just to get us in faster. At this point we didn't care that we weren't getting our "date night". Sally and Woody are from Western Montana. We enjoyed chatting with them, and it was fun to try their Huckleberrry Liqueur that they brought from home. 

This is the driveway coming home. Snow is piled up so high on the sides! In a suburban, it comes just below the window! 
 The next day was a SKI DAY! James had a 2 hour private lesson with good ole Mr. Jesse (this is our 6th year with him!). After the lesson, Jesse said James was SO much stronger than in years past and by far did the best he's ever done! Go, Jamesey-James!
 Adelyn did ski school for 2 hours. Seth and I skied just the two of us while the kids were in their lessons. We had a blast! It was perfect ski conditions. 
 We met back up for a yummy lunch! 
 Hello, hot ham and brie! I have missed you since last time we skied. Y'all, this is the world's best sandwich- maple syrup, jalapeƱos, ham, and brie on ciabatta 
That afternoon, the four of us skied. We went down a blue that was too hard for James. Other than that, it was a super fun family afternoon! We ended it with hot chocolate at the lodge :) 
 When we got home, Brenda had a traditional New Years dinner prepared. We had pork, and collards, black eyed peas. Here's to health and wealth in 2018!
 Two tired boys! SO sweet
 The next day we went into town and hit up Norm's News for bison burgers and huckleberry milkshakes. 
 There's an antique shop in the basement. I was *this close* to buying this gladiator helmet! James loved it! 
On Wednesday, we just stayed at the house. Check out the icicles! 
The kids all made a cool fort. Thomas was the main one that dug this tunnel. By the end, they could all fit in it. I'm not kidding, there was a crazy amount of snow there!

His whole 10 year old body is inside!

We all went snow shoeing that afternoon. We normally snow shoe down to the river but the snow was too deep (no one had made a path). We could walk to the neighbors' house, as they had been out early and had done the hard work of making a path! 
Cousins in the snow
Turning more cartwheel as usual

Seth tossed everyone into the snow
These kids don't care about snow all over them!
Even I got a turn!

Snow ball fight

The trees are so pretty!
After dinner, they wanted to go BACK out. 
 On Thursday, we went skiing again. On this day, Seth and I skied with Melissa, Emily, Thomas, and Adelyn. James did ski school (you technically have to be 7, but he did awesome!) until noon. 
 Just look at that sky!
I had so much fun skiing with my girl!
She has become a great little skier! She loves going to the very top of the mountain and doing the blues. 

After lunch, we took them all down a blue. Again, it was too hard for James. The remainder of the afternoon was spent with Melissa, Emily, James and I on greens and Seth took Thomas and Adelyn down blues (and even an easier black!). 
On Friday, it was clean house/pack/play outside day. We brought James's BB gun and had some fun shooting that. 

Adelyn's first time with a gun. She was NOT excited. 

This is me watching the kids sled from inside the house :) 

We did all sled for a little while. Love the knee sleds! 

James eats snow all the time!

Later on that day, the power went out! It was out for almost 5 hours! We all snuggled up, read books, played games, and just chilled. Once the power went back on it was a mad dash to get laundry and cleaning done! We left the next day and returned to EVEN colder temperature in Georgia! What a great trip and a wonderful way to start off 2018!

Monday, January 8, 2018

Merry Christmas

What a wonderful Christmas! 

We were supposed to go to my parents' house earlier, but we got that snow and weren't able to make it. I HAVE to go home at Christmas, so we squeezed in a trip. We left after the last day of school (we were in SC Thursday the 19th through Saturday the 23rd)
We spent Friday in downtown Charlotte. Our first stop was the Ritz to see their giant gingerbread house! There was a little mailbox to the North Pole so the kids could send a letter to Santa

This tree is made of macaroons
Tree at Bank of America
After a yummy lunch at Newk's, we went to Founders Hall and watched the Leonard Bearstein’s Animatronic Symphony Orchestra. It was really cute!

We left Saturday morning and made it back in time for James's friend's birthday party. We got home around 3 and then had Seth's aunt, uncle, 2 cousins (and their husbands and children), Bobby and Brenda,  and Seth's sister's family over to our house for appetizers and cookie decorating. 
All the kids 
Of course, Mac and Bentley get in the Christmas spirit as well!

On Christmas Eve we attended TWO church services in the morning and then went to Seth's parents' house 
We had a delicious lunch that Brenda made and then enjoyed exchanging gifts
Grandma and Grandpa with the grandkids
The kids got spoiled. Once we came home, they set up their "offices" and put together their new Legos for the rest of the afternoon/evening. 
Meanwhile, I made dinner- our annual cornish hen with wild rice

We always eat in the dining room

Seth read the kids the Christmas story (a children's book I got Adelyn on her first Christmas that beautifully tells the story of Jesus's birth). Once the kids go to bed, Seth and I watch Christmas Vacation. 
Here are the kids on Christmas morning, so ready to turn the corner and see what Santa brought!
One of Santa's elves didn't put Geogie, the robot dog she wanted, in the sleigh. This note is explaining that it will be delivered later. Yes, this girl still believes!
I got this hat with the fox fur ball on top. We went to Montana a few days later and this thing lived on my head
Grandma and Grandpa stopped by to see the kids and eat breakfast 

We ate this yummy blueberry cream cheese pastry, bacon, and fruit
Back at it! James got the Lego Police Station and Adelyn got the Lego hospital. I would have loved that hospital when I was little 
We spent the rest of the day doing a lot of this. 
We spent Christmas evening at Seth's grandparents' house. We had a huge delicious dinner and did more gift exchanging. 
Emily baked a cake and the kids sang "Happy Birthday" to Jesus

 James got a Red Rider BB gun from Martha, John, Lynn, and Ricky. He had to put on his hunting shirt, camo hat, and shooting glasses for his first shot. He's pretty pumped!
 Oh, look what was on the porch the day after Christmas! I'm not sure when or how Georgie was delivered, but this is one happy girl!
 My parents came the day after Christmas. We exchanged gifts with them. My mom found James a REAL army helmet, canteen, and satchel. It's pretty cool!
 My parents 
 Seth and Joseph
We had salmon, rice, and roasted vegetables
Rather than exchange gifts, we get this crew of cousins together. This year, we went to Get Air for some trampoline and ninja fun! 

Whew, I'm tired just recapping that. We're blessed to have so much family to share the most wonderful time of the year with. Another great Christmas in the books