Christmas With My Family . . . Part I

siegrist and davis family
Happy…Happy… Happy New Year from my family to yours!

What an exciting Christmas Day, and week full of adventure we had this past week! All of my family arrived here at our house in the Smoky Mountains late last Sunday night, a week ago. After everyone caught up on some much needed sleep, we awoke to two very excited kids, and everybody enjoyed a yummy pancake breakfast. It rained most of Monday, so we enjoyed playing with the kids here in the house much of the day. That evening, we went into nearby Maryville, where we had a delicious supper at Cheddars, with the onion rings being the highlight of the meal! The drive home was filled with much searching for Christmas lights, and each sighting caused the kids . . . big and little . . . to get excited and cheer! My nephew Tyler really loved seeing the Christmas lights up on the mountainsides, causing them to look like they’re floating in the nighttime air.

chocolate cookbook
I’m reading to them out of one of my favorite books . . . a chocolate cookbook!

The next day was full of adventure! After our friend Fred called and said that he could see snow up on the mountaintops from his house nearby, we loaded all the coats, scarves, gloves and hats we could find, along with peanut butter and bread, then piled into the vehicles and headed into the adjacent Smoky Mountain National Park. We excitedly began seeing snowflakes fall while stopped along the drive to look at Meig’s Falls.  After passing Chimney Tops Trailhead, we started seeing snow accumulated on the ground, and before long the world was white! It was so beautiful, as everything was covered in snow, and the gracefully shaped limbs of the trees were all outlined in white, creating a magical winter wonderland setting! The kids were totally mesmerized as we drove along, and the rest of us kept exclaiming “Wow . . . it’s just beautiful!” By the time we reached Newfound Gap, the snow was thicker, creating an even more stunning winter wonderland! After suiting up, we all made our way to a small road leading through the woods, and everyone got to go sledding for the first time. A tree, which had fallen across the road made it challenging, but alas created a chance to try doing some “extreme limbo sledding”!

sledding at newfound gap
Marshall has it all figured out . . . get his son Tyler to push him!
sledding at newfouns gap
My Dad doing some impressive sledding limbo!
sledding on newfound gap
Grandpa takes little Haydyn for a sled ride
newfound gap with snow
The family seriously bundled up and loving it!

Laughter and squeals of delight filled the air as we took turns, slipping, sliding, crashing, and with Wes and Justin even almost going over the edge a couple of times! Then all of a sudden the gray clouds parted and the sun shone down, causing the snow-covered ground to glisten like millions of diamonds, with clear blue skies above. It was getting more beautiful and magical as the day went on! After much playing, sledding and snowball throwing, we headed back to the vehicles, where we had a peanut butter sandwich picnic in the snow. Leaving there, we slowly made our way back down the winding mountain road, stopping numerous times to simply admire the scenery, take more photos and play in the snow.

snow in the smokies
Haydyn shows off her little snowball
snow in the smokies
Me, mom and Hayley pose for a wintertime photo

snow in the smokies
Tyler shows off his snowball
snow in the smokies
Wow . . . what a glorious Christmas Eve day!

One such stop was especially for Tyler and me to build a snowman . . . and build one we did! After trying my best with limited amounts of very powdery snow, Tyler politely told me “That’s not a very good snowman Aunt NoNo!” Hmmmm . . . I thought, and feeling like I had been challenged, began improving greatly on our little white snow buddy. By the time we had finished, we were all quite pleased with our creation, including its personalized Mohawk to match Tyler’s Spiderman hat with a mohawk! We all laughed until we thought we’d bust while watching Tyler point down with both hands at his snowman and jump up and down each time a vehicle would pass, while showing off our amazing frosty sculpture! Seeing the smiles on the faces of those passing by, I could tell they were most impressed, or better yet, probably amused at the sight of us! We arrived home that evening in time for me to make my homemade baked Ziti for our Christmas Eve dinner, and enjoy a relaxing evening afterwards.

rachelle siegrist
A very proud Tyler and me with our Frosty friend!

The next morning we heard two very excited kids in the living room when they saw that Santa had come to our house! They were even more amazed to see that he had eaten all of his Christmas cookies and drank all of the milk, leaving only a few crumbs on the plate and an empty glass! As soon as we could get the rest of the gang up, we opened presents, before enjoying a breakfast of grits and scrambled eggs, and my Mom’s delicious homemade Banana Nut Bread! The kids had a ball playing with their toys, and after a light lunch, we all went for a lovely walk around Townsend. Since town was mostly empty, it felt like we had it all to ourselves. The first stop was to walk across the swinging bridge, which was a first for several of them! Then we spent some time catching imaginary fish on our stick poles in the Little River and skipping stones across the river’s surface. From there we walked over to the train museum, where the kids a great time playing on and looking at the different train engines. Leaving there we enjoyed a leisurely walk back to the house, where Mom and I got busy cooking Christmas dinner.

santa's cookies
The kids are thrilled with the fact Santa ate his cookies and drank his milk!

wes siegrist and his Xmas card
My mom made Wes a most appropriate Christmas card . . . ha ha!!

The red cloth covered table was set with china plates, Wes’ grandmother’s gold flatware, and accompanied by brightly colored snowman napkins. Placed in the middle of the table was an evergreen Christmas arrangement with a large gold candle in the middle, and when I had lit it and turned the overhead light down. Tyler excitedly exclaimed . . . “Oh how pretty . . . Look everyone it’s fashion lighting!” And I must admit that his and Haydyn’s excitement over it all truly warmed my heart!!! Surrounded by the soft light from nearby Christmas lights and a warm home, we talked, laughed and ate . . . and ate, while enjoying a delicious dinner and the joy and blessing of everyone being together for Christmas!

Duck Dynasty
Tyler with his favorite present from granny and grandpa, his Duck Dynasty toys!

haydyn and the cars book
Haydyn with her coloring book of “Cars” and paint set

~ Next week I will share the remaining adventures from our Christmas week together ~

Come see the artwork in person at our exhibitions!

Cherish your loved one or a beloved pet in miniature!

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Until next time ~ Rachelle


2 thoughts on “Christmas With My Family . . . Part I

  1. Well, needless to say, that sounds like one incredible Christmas! I was at Newfound Gap the same day, and the snow-covered rain forest was absolutely stunning. Ever since, I’ve been hoping that it would happen again. It didn’t last year or the year before, but I’m not giving up yet! I’m so glad to see someone else share their experience from that incredible day. I wish I could post the picture I took of the view with this comment.

    1. It was indeed a wonderful Christmas, and that day at Newfound Gap was truly magical and one of the most beautiful sights to us all!!! Although it was very cold, it didn’t stop us from playing and sledding and enjoying the blessings of snow covered mountains, and being together made it all the better! I too wish you could’ve posted your photo, as I would love to see it!
      May it happen again one day and we both be able to enjoy it 🙂

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