Brrrrr . . . baby it’s coooooold outside . . . and unbelievably for many of us, it’s fixing to get a lot colder!!! Actually, we were very blessed with a beautiful sunny day here in the Smokies today, and with milder temps reaching all the way up into the mid 50s! We enjoyed it with a lovely walk earlier, and then I contentedly sat on our front porch for a little bit, while soaking up the delicious warmth of the sun and getting a much needed dose of vitamin D! My thin Florida blood, which had previously all but gone completely on strike, suddenly came to life once again!
Okay, now let’s go back in time a week ago, to when my family was still here visiting and old man winter wasn’t punishing us so severely. I decided I must have been a very good girl this year, or at least most of the time, because my dad and mom graciously got me a beautiful, shiny, new, mountain bike for Christmas, and a pretty purple one at that! I was absolutely thrilled to say the least, as my other bike and old faithful “steel horse” has been laid to rest. I felt like a little girl at Christmas once again, as the thrill and excitement of getting to ride my new bike mounted! Our first adventure together, took place while my brother, Marshall, and I rode the bike path around Townsend Christmas afternoon, and I have to say it’s a sweet ride!!!
Thursday after Christmas, was spent here at the house for part of the day with Haydyn and I coloring, and then Tyler joining us to build and decorate our chocolate gingerbread house. Yes, that’s right, I said chocolate, what else would you expect in this house? . . . Ha Ha! Well, it turned out to be highly adorned with gumdrops, peppermint candies and other sugary things, and the three of us were quite proud of our lovely little edible creation in the end! That afternoon while the others ventured into the big city of Maryville, my parents, the kids and Wes and I drove into nearby Tremont area located inside the Smoky Mountain National Park. We hiked up Middle Prong Trail for a ways, and were delighted to see that there was still some accumulated snow in areas, adding even more beauty to the already gorgeous walk! Tyler wanted to see a waterfall, so see one he did! As a matter of fact he saw several stunning cascades, many adorned by an assortment of icicles in various lengths and shapes. He was really thrilled to be able to suck on an icicle pop! Haydyn on the other hand, was a little less enthusiastic about the hike, and decided to enjoy it while sleeping and being carried by her grandpa, Uncle Wes and then myself. When we had returned to the vehicle, she immediately awoke, and when we had told her that she had missed the waterfalls, she said “I heard them in my sleep”. That evening the six of us made our way to our local Pizza Hut where we enjoyed a piping hot delicious pizza for supper! That evening the entire family enjoyed watching a couple of episodes of “Duck Dynasty”, which as usual brought much laughter!
Friday morning after breakfast, we loaded a bunch of picnic goodies together, and made our way into Cades Cove. We spent the day slowly driving around the loop road, stopping occasionally to walk to a cabin or look out over the scenic fields surrounded by mountains. We choose to enjoy our picnic at one such spot, and with the sun shining down and clear blue skies above, it created the most perfect restaurant atmosphere ever! The kids loved it, as they ran and played in the soft grassy fields, as the rest of us feasted on homemade cookies for dessert! Later on, while most of the group walked around the historic cabins and barns, my dad, brother and I rode our bikes up Parsons Branch road for a distance, while just absorbing the peace and serenity of it all, before turning around and enjoying the lovely scenic ride back along the windy road. I must say that my “steel horse” took to the gravel road like a true natural, but I didn’t want to admit to the other two that I was concerned about getting dirt on my precious new bike. But Hey . . . come to think of it . . . I can’t think of a better way for it to have gotten christened! We made it home later that evening in time to enjoy some delicious homemade chili for supper, a great winter weather treat indeed!
Saturday, the clear sunny skies left us, and the weather became unstable, so we all headed into nearby Maryville, where we enjoyed a delicious lunch and great time while eating at one of our favorite Mexican Restaurants, El Jimadors! We kept the sweet waitress quite busy with refills on their yummy chips and salsa and as we left Tyler presented her with his place mat, which he had carefully colored, as a gift. I think she was quite pleased to say the least! That evening, everyone got mostly packed and loaded their belongings into the vehicles, before enjoying a relaxing remainder of the night. Sunday morning, after breakfast, it was time for hugs and reluctant goodbyes, and so they began their long journey back south. All in all, we were blessed with mostly beautiful weather, fun in the snow, and many wonderful memories to last a lifetime!
Fresh off the easel ~ Wes finished his miniature painting of a precious Chipmunk enjoying a little feast on pine nuts! I’m currently putting the finishing touches on my colt painting, which I’ll share with you next week. This time I’m sharing with you, a recent pet portrait commission which I did for a collector, which was given to his friend as a very well received Christmas gift!
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Until next time ~ Rachelle