Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Winter Fun in the Smokies - Day 3

On Sunday morning in the Smokies, we woke up to a nice, sunny day. We packed up and checked out of our condo, and we headed down into Gatlinburg.

We went to The Log Cabin for breakfast//lunch, one of our favorite spots in town. Then, Meredith and our friends decided to head on back home.

Mom and I wanted to ride the tram up to Ober Galtinburg so we could see the views with the snow. We left the gentlemen at the bottom (they weren't up for the ride) and enjoyed taking it all in as we headed up.

When we got to the top, we couldn't believe how beautiful it was! I took a ton of pictures, but none of them really do it justice. We wandered around, and we chatted with an employee who told us it's really rare for the Smokies to get this kind of snow. I'm so glad we took the tram up and got to see the views.

When we got back, we found the boys and walked around town a bit more. I love that they still had their Christmas decorations up everywhere - it was so fun to see them all weekend.

We decided to head back home, thankful for a really fun weekend!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Winter Fun in the Smokies - Day 2

We woke up on Saturday morning to a beautiful view, and it was still snowing!

In the end, we had about 9 inches of snow. I don't think anyone had any idea it was going to snow that much! We quickly determined the Biltmore was closed and that we would not be making the trek to Asheville. We were a little disappointed, especially since mom had been looking forward to doing the Christmas candlelight tour with all of us. Our consolation was that we got to enjoy some beautiful scenery all day instead.

We went for a little walk around our condo property to take it all in that morning.

Once we got word that the road down had been cleared, we decided to venture into Gatlinburg for the day. We only had snacks in the condo, so we knew we needed to get some food. We also wanted to make the most of the day since our plans were changed.

We went to Pucker's on the strip for some delicious bar food and hung out there for a while.

We then wandered around the strip and did a few of the moonshine and wine tastings around town. We had the best time! It was really fun to hang out all day and just take in the ambiance of Gatlinburg on a snow day. It was the off season to begin with, but with all the snow there wasn't a ton of people in town at all. I have to say, it was also really fun doing all this with my parents, haha!

As the afternoon ended, we decided to head back up to our condo. We were concerned the roads would get icy from the snowmelt and wanted to be back before dark. We stopped to pick up some pizzas from dinner on the way and arrive in time to see a beautiful sunset from our balcony.

We spent the rest of the evening going to the indoor pool and then playing board games. It ended up being a really fun day even if it didn't go as planned!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Winter Fun in the Smokies - Day 1

Back in early January, Adam went with my parents, sister, and some friends to spend a weekend in the Smokies. Our original plan was to spend Saturday driving to Asheville, NC to do the Christmas candlelight tour before it ended for the season. The weather had another plan in mine.

Adam, my parents, and I drove up Thursday night and got to the condo we booked at Deer Ridge Mountain Resort. When we woke up Friday morning, we found incredible views!

We knew there was a chance of snow all day, but they weren't calling for it to be too much. We went into Pigeon Forge and checked out some shops and wine tastings. We also had lunch at The Pottery House, which was delicious!

We saw some favorite sites around town and snapped some pictures.

We also saw a lot of the fire damage from the fires that the area had in November. It was really sad to see the damage, but you could tell it wasn't as bad as it could have been.

Meredith and our friends got there Friday evening in time for us to go to dinner at The Peddler Steakhouse. It was SOOO yummy!

As we drove back up the mountain to our condo, it started to snow.

We made our way up and then went outside to enjoy the snow coming down. There wasn't a ton yet, but it was still so pretty. We also did a little sledding in the parking lot - we're classy like that.

After we had some fun, we went inside to warm up and hang out for a while before heading to bed. We were a little nervous about whether or not we would be able to go to Asheville in the morning, but we they were saying it might only be 1-2 inches so chances were good! Stay tuned...

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Our Son is NINE!

A few weeks ago, Connor turned nine! I can't believe that Adam and I have a little man now. It's so crazy remembering what a little squirt he was at age four when Adam and I started dating compared to what he's like now!

This year, Connor wasn't with us on his actual birthday, so we spent the weekend before it celebrating. We're actually not even done because my sister has been sick off and on over the last few weeks, so she hasn't had a chance to celebrate with him yet. I think a special dinner with her is forthcoming.

On Friday night, we took Connor to The Melting Pot for the first time. He LOVED it! We let him order a Shirley Temple as a "mocktail," and we did a cheese and a dessert course. It was a hit!! It made for something fun and different that we could do to celebrate.

On Saturday, Gram came to town to celebrate the birthday boy. It was also a few days until her birthday, so after hanging out together around the house we went downtown to eat at The Old Spaghetti Factory. We all love this place, but it's not somewhere we go often since it's downtown. We even got to sit in the trolley, a first for all four of us!

On Sunday, Adam and I gave Connor a few presents from us. Adam has adopted an animal through WWF each year for Connor on his birthday, and a few years ago we started picking the animal as a family. This year's selection - a panda!

He loves the new stuffed panda, and he opened his other gifts with it safely tucked under his arm.

Later that night, Nana and Papa came over to have another birthday dinner at a favorite mexican restaurant. We told them it was Connor's birthday, and he had fun when they sang, brought him dessert, gave him a sombrero to wear, and put a little whip cream on his face.

We got to hang out for a little bit, and then sadly the weekend of fun was over.

I'm so thankful to be this kid's stepmom, and I love watching him grow up. It's exciting to think that next year he will be a decade old!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Our 5th Valentine's Day

This was the 5th Valentine's Day Adam and I have spent together, and it was lovely!

Being on a Tuesday, we had decided a while back to keep it simple on the actual day. I knew Adam had planned a date night for us later in the week on Friday, but that was going to be it.

He had a nice card for me in the morning, and while I was at work I was surprised with these gorgeous flowers! We had agreed on no gifts, but I couldn't be too mad, haha. These may be some of the prettiest flowers he's ever given me over the years.

After work, I gave him a card and we went for a run and then cleaned up for our reservation at White Castle. Yes, you read that correctly. We saw their sign about Valentine's Day reservations, and since we enjoy a little White Castle every now and then we thought it would be fun to go.

We were greeted by the manager when we walked in and led to our table. It was cute how they had decorated it with real linens, flowers and such.

We ordered with our server from printed menus and took in the experience. In the booth beside us, there was a guy and girl on a date. They were being recorded, and she had like a little entourage with her sitting nearby. It actually made us feel like we couldn't really talk because there were so many other people right around us, but it was sort of fun to eavesdrop. We eventually figured out that the gal is a country music artist and was there to perform.

We enjoyed a delicious White Castle meal, and we heard a few songs from this gal and learned her name. I don't claim to keep up with country music, but I had never heard of her or any of the songs she sang... one of which was about White Castle.

We enjoyed ourselves, but it was definitely a little bizarre witnessing what appeared to be a first date on Valentine's Day in White Castle, that was also being documented and included a performance. It was like we unexpectedly ended up in a reality tv episode or something. The staff were fussing over them, so there were a few times we had to sort of flag someone down if we needed something. That was a little annoying, but it's not like we expected five star treatment at a fast food restaurant. It just sort of took away from the fun for us.

It made for a memorable evening. We couldn't help but giggle on the way home that this gal started singing about picking up a Crave Case. We picked up a bottle of wine and rented Girl on the Train from the Redbox and hung out at home the rest of the night. The next day, I looked up this singer online and found out the "date" we witnessed was the result of a contest to win the date with her. I suppose it all ties in to her having a song about White Castle.

The next night, Adam told me he had a surprise for me. I knew we had plans to go out to eat for our date on Friday, but I wasn't expecting anything this night. We went to eat at Mellow Mushroom and then we parked downtown. I still didn't have any idea what we might be doing, but we soon walked into TPAC and I realized we were going to see The Sound of Music.

It was a great show! It'd been a while since I'd been to a play, and it was fun getting to go to one together. We go to a lot of concerts and sporting events, but we've only been to one other play since we started dating and got married - and that was on Broadway in NYC on a trip!

We had a great evening, and I was really looking forward to capping off the week with our surprise dinner on Friday. We had some things come up and had to cancel our plans, but we are hoping to reschedule soon. I'm excited to see where he picked for us to go!

My flowers are looking even more beautiful now, and we can smell them the second we walk in the door.

Even though we said no gifts, I made a notebook for Adam that has all of our ticket stubs from DMB shows (and some notes about favorite songs we heard or other memories) and stubs from all the other concerts, sporting events, and movies we've been to together over the years. He loved it, and it'll be fun to keep adding to it and keeping all of our tickets organized as we continue enjoying life together!

All in all, it was a wonderful Valentine's Day (week), and I'm so thankful that I have this amazing man to celebrate love with not only on this occasion, but every day of the year.

Friday, February 17, 2017

The 2015 Christmas Season

I'm continuing to catch up on blogging about some key things that occurred during the year or so I neglected blogging. Honestly, we don't have a lot going on in the present day right now (yay winter), so it's nice to catch up.

I have been wanting to do a post to document our 2015 Christmas season. It was a pretty good one, and I think it's important to get at least one summary post in my blog history. I think pictures speak more than my words, so here are some photos and details of the highlights.

We put up our tree to kick off the season.

We attended the Blood:Water Red Tie Gala.

We saw Dave Barnes at the symphony hall for his annual Christmas show

We saw Santa!

We took Connor to his very first concert ever

The concert was a Jars of Clay Christmas show

After our trip to NYC, we saw Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors do a Christmas show at the symphony hall on Dec. 23. There were tornado warnings. It was sort of crazy.

We went to church on a very warm Christmas Eve

I managed to surprise Adam with deep dish pizza from Gino's East in Chicago for our Christmas Eve dinner.

We made cookies for Santa

Connor got the purple light saber he asked for from Santa!

I love this kid

We had a fun Christmas morning

Our family came over for Christmas dinner

Connor enjoyed hanging out with Grandma. We didn't know then that it would be our last Christmas with her.

A few days later we did Christmas with some other family. This is Grandma and her best friend of like 55 years.

The whole crew