Tuesday, March 31, 2015

We've Gone Country

Our visits to Reform - aka The Country - are serious business. Inner contemplation of self is promoted at every age and reflecting on the beauty of nature is impossible to resist in a place like that. Our January trip was no exception.

Haha, just kidding. The first order of business when we arrived was to play extreme frisbee outside. By that I mean, Canon threw a frisbee on the roof of my grandmother's house and Craig climbed up to retrieve it. He then proceeded to reenact Step In Time! from Mary Poppins. {Need a refresher? Check out the original here. It won't be as good as Craig's performance, but then everyone can't be as talented as he is, right?}

Grandmama decided to join us outside and it was quite chilly so she dressed in layers. Or maybe she's just gangsta. Yeah, that is probably it.

You know when you want a piece of land cleared so you call the professionals to come out with their heavy equipment and you pay them out the nose to do the hard work? People in The Country just do it themselves. I guess you could say they are the professionals. My cousin is getting married soon and will be living as a newlywed on this plot of the family's land. He and my uncle, with a slew of other people, have begun taking down trees and clearing out the underbrush in their free time. Sounds like a good time to me. *No, it doesn't.*

We decided to head down the road to check out the progress they were making and stayed for a while providing "moral support". It's what family does. The sacrifices.

As was inevitable as soon as tractors were in sight, Canon got to ride for a bit with my uncle. He even knocked down 5 - no 7 - no 15 trees! The numbers grows each time he is asked about the experience so by this time next year he will have cleared the entire 100 acres of the family land by himself. Blindfolded. In the snow.

After all that hard work that we did with the moral-supporting and the tractor-riding, we felt that it was time for a little R&R outside. So we played.

And we talked.

And played some more. Two of my brothers went with us for this trip, so they and Craig decided it would be a good idea to have a manly contest...of handstands.

Wanna know who didn't win that one? I will let this picture speak for itself.

One of my other uncles lives just up the road and has toys that Canon loves as well. I am going to go on record stating that 4 wheelers scare me to death, but while he is riding with this adult at least, I am ok with Canon being on one.

Ok, this powerwheels version is good too.

It is always a fun time when we go to The Country. The fresh air brings out the best in us, and I am so thankful that Canon gets to experience a different lifestyle as well. Plus, where else is going to get to knock down an entire forest?! Barefoot and with his hands tied behind his back?!

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, so...search 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?