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.
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”!
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.
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.
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.
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!
~ Next week I will share the remaining adventures from our Christmas week together ~
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Until next time ~ Rachelle