Monday, March 30, 2015

The Cabin in the Woods

As you know, the last few years we have visited Blue Ridge, GA and stayed in mountain cabins with my husband's family. {I was going to put a link to every post that I have written about our trips to Blue Ridge, but I noticed that there are so many that it would be easier for you to search the blog, away!}

After much begging and pleading, we finally relented and allowed my father-in-law and his girlfriend buy us a place there. And by "us", I mean them, but since we are family it is fair game. And since you are along for the ride of my life, you are virtually invited to every visit we take there.

So welcome to The Cabin in the Woods, heretofore referred to as "the cabin" because I cannot think of a more clever name.

As you can tell, I gave you the complete tour of the inside. You are welcome. I have no idea why I didn't take more pictures, but there you go. Onward!

The cabin sits on a couple of acres of land, and since this was our first time checking the place out we decided to tour the area.

Through the woods there is a neighbor that lives full-time and has this pup. He is a really friendly, though pretty skittish, bulldog. I think he is a rescue because he tends to steer clear of you until he determines you aren't evil. Also, he didn't like the sound of my camera click. Very strange. But oh, those eyes!

We, obviously, were visiting in the dead of winter so there wasn't much color to see in our walk, but I am so excited to see what the place will look like in spring. There are a ton of dogwoods, maples, and oriental pear trees so I bet it is going to be full of color everywhere. I am going to be in picture heaven!!!

We walked the property lines to get a feel for my FIL's plans for the place, such as clearing out the underbrush and making paths to the stream that runs through the property. As we were exploring, we came upon this button. I suspect it is a button that opens a secret lair disguised as a corner marker. Just a hunch, though.

We ended our first visit to the new place with a nice fire in the living room. Of course, this is just the starter log so it looks kind of weird, but work with me here. Ooooooh, aaaaaaaah, fiiiiiire!

I am so pumped to have a place to hang out with family and relax without having to always travel to Freakin-Hot-Naples-FL to see them all*.  Bonus points for the fact that it is only an hour and a half away from our house.

Oh Blue Ridge, you don't even know what you've gotten yourself into.

*Don't you worry, dear in-laws! We will still be down in south Florida for Thanksgiving where the weather is gorgeous and mild. Brace yourselves for the thundering hordes every November!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Christmas Overload

You know, Christmas is my absolute favorite time of year. I love the music, the lights, the cold weather...everything. But...

But right now - in late March - I am not feeling it. I am having a hard time reaching back into my Christmas spirit to give you these posts. So I decided to finish the season in one fell swoop. A photo dump of sorts. I will give you a quick run-down of what we did and then we can move on. Sound good? Good. On with it then.

Canon had a Christmas program at school where they sang a couple of songs, served refreshments, and had a party on the dance floor. The big man himself even attended and read the kids 'Twas the Night Before Christmas.

Doesn't my boy look sharp in his blazer?

We visited my sister-in-law in North Carolina to celebrate the holidays with her and my MIL and FIL.

We didn't know it at this moment, but she was about to get sick so our trip ended up being pretty quick and consisted of making sure that we didn't catch whatever she contracted. We didn't, thank goodness!

My family came to our house for Christmas morning {check this one off of the 40 Before 40 list!} and we had blast hosting the whole crew!

The 'big kids' played so well together and enjoyed being together so much that Anderson ended up staying through the week following Christmas.

Remember Evan? He was a month old here and was basically passed around the room the entire time. I did catch him in a single moment of not being cuddled. It was rare and I am sure lasted only about 2.3 seconds.

Look at their sweet faces of elation on Christmas morning! I know it isn't a great photograph, but it is the best when I see how excited they are!

While Anderson was still here, we made Christmas cookies, albeit after Christmas Day but whatevs. Do NOT make fun of these cookies, bee tee dubs. I can't remember exactly what I did, but I know that I was trying to make them a certain way and it didn't work out. They were just sugar cookies and still tasted fine but...let's just say I was glad that the kiddos were the only ones really paying attention to them. ;)

Of course, we also took the traditional family pictures with my Aunt Karen as the ever-patient photographer. We do this every year and I am always amazed that she can capture even one serious picture of everyone. Don't believe me? Check it. Here are the guys...with my dad cutting up.

Not sure what is going on here with the girls. It looks soft and blurry on some faces and fine on others. At least we were all smiling...nicely.

Oh wait...

Next we siblings got together to show just how photogenic we are.

Ok fine. We had to be mature for one.

I don't know what made us think a change of scenery would get us to take things more seriously. I do love Anderson's look of 'what have I gotten myself into?!'.

Ah, see? We can be calm.

And then Evan goes and starts screaming. Grow up, dude. Seriously what are?! A baby?!

As always, I set up my tripod for our family photo to include with our Christmas cards. We took the photo...but didn't get any Christmas cards out. So, if you know you would have gotten a card then here you go!

Oh wait, this one is definitely more us.

Merry Christmas a few months late! Now let's move on to other things, shall we? Like, say, 2015?

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Lights! Camera! Action!

Ok, I'll admit it. That was probably one of the dumbest titles ever, though it is technically all true. There were lights, I did have my camera, and - let's face it - anywhere Canon is, there's action. I don't just stretch to make titles fit - I grande jete to make them werk.

Ahem. Anyway...

One of our family holiday traditions has always been to visit Bellingrath Gardens in Mobile, AL to view their amazing light displays. You can view past years here and here, but the gist is that Craig and I visited there on our first date, were engaged there, and have returned each year since to enjoy the Christmas display. Upon moving to Georgia, we were pretty disappointed that we wouldn't be able to continue that tradition, but I was determined to find something comparable. There are several options pretty close to us, but we decided to check out the Atlanta Botanical Gardens for our first shot at trying to keep pace with previous Christmas seasons. Of course, we simply couldn't let Canon miss out on all those lights. It's ALL for him of course. And so, the Garden Lights Holiday Nights tour began.

We had never visited the Atlanta Botanical Garden so I was just as enthralled with their lobby as I was the lights display. I am determined to go back this spring to see the grounds in full floral glory, but these huge metal leaves on display were a cool alternative to the flora we didn't get to see that night.

The blown glass sculpture wasn't too bad itself.

However, it didn't take long to find out the true stars of this show were the millions of lights on display throughout the grounds.

This may have been the coolest thing I have seen in a long time. All of these orbs were on timers that would change colors with the music that was playing, resulting in a light show a la this. We watched them, mesmerized, for quite a while before realizing that we had miles to go before we finished viewing everything and grudgingly moved along.

These guys looked as if they were flying through the air, as their wings floating up and down. Against the pitch black sky, it was really a cool sight.

Unfortunately, I couldn't capture just how cool this sight was with the skyline of the city behind all of the lights. Suffice it to say that it is worth your time to see.

The blown glass sculptures were displayed throughout the gardens - one of the greatest placements being in this fountain.

Apparently, I really liked these guys. Also, we were standing in this spot for quite a while as I waited for the inevitable 5 year old potty break. Lucky for me, he is a growing boy which means he wants to go to the gentleman's loo. That translates to 'daddy's turn' while I get time to take pictures...of dragonflies. That whole paragraph sounded a lot more fluid in my head.

I will leave you with a shot of this lovely lady. She was probably my favorite spot in the entire display. A true stunner.

So okay, it wasn't Bellingrath. We didn't get to visit the spot where we got engaged. We didn't get to see the crawfish jumping out of the pot or the alligators in the water {both are displays there that Canon loves}. We did, however, expand on our tradition and saw some new and exciting things. We all really enjoyed our time and I am excited to continue to explore more places the longer we are here.

Aw shucks, GA, you've beat my expectations again.