Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Post-Christmas Wrap Up

We had a wonderful Christmas!  Just wonderful!   But, the whole Christmas season ate my lunch. 

So, we decided to take a quick, little post-Christmas getaway to the Smoky Mountains.  Just our little family and Blair's sweet boyfriend, John Samuel, who we basically consider one of us now.  We had a great time!  I'll hit the high spots with some pictures because who doesn't like vacation slides? 

Nine hours in the car together and the lines of personal space start to become blurred.  We had one in the backseat with a bladder about half the size of a walnut and two others who would've been up for eating at each exit if given the chance.  Davis is all about the ETA and I was the mediator betwixt them all.  By about hour #8, Carson best summed up the mood in the vehicle, "I think we're all starting to get testy."

Different people have different ideas about what constitutes a vacation.  The rest of my family lives with the delusion that vacation must involve vertical movement and accelerated heart rates while I maintain that just the opposite is true.  Our first little hike started out ok.  I was keeping up at first but everyone started pulling farther and farther ahead......except for Davis who was being chivalrous and hanging back with me.  Soon, the kids disappeared like they were part mountain goat and I insisted that Davis go ahead and catch up to them.  I mean there wasn't any reason for us both to be slow and miserable.  At about the point pictured below, small children and elderly Chinese women with canes started passing me.  I tried not to think about the warning posted at the trailhead stating that there had been a bear mauling death on this very plot of land.  I'm not sure what my family was thinking but could've been something like....."Hey, let's take Mom, who's been convalescing for the last couple of weeks, up the side of a mountain and run off and leave her for dead."   
Anyway, while I was back who knows where with the bears and the international elderly, they all ran to the top and took pictures.  I suppose so they could each remember where they were the day their mother was mauled. 

If I might add here......another clue that you might not be on a relaxing vacation is when the subject of death keeps coming up. 

I did try to appear somewhat rugged and outdoorsy for some of the pictures. 
You see that highest peak in the background of the picture below?  That is Chimney Tops.  Everyone in this photograph climbed to the top of that.  Not pictured: Joni.

One day, I did do enough to cause my Fitbit to refer to me as an overachiever.  So, there. 
As if climbing mountains weren't enough, Blair would lead planking and ab sessions in the floor of the condo each night for anyone interested.  Not pictured: Joni.  She, being 4 months and 1 week away from a degree in nutrition, was also quick to interject a, "We don't need that," at each mention of fatty or fried foods.  Vacation killjoy.
We stopped on the way home at a random Buffalo Wild Wings to watch our Bulldogs win the Belk Bowl in an impressive way!  We're going to miss our senior quarterback, Dak Prescott.  Great player.  Great guy.  Great role model.   Here, he is climbing the wall after the game to kiss his grandmother.  In the South, we like boys who will do anything to kiss their MaMaw.  They're our most favorite kind of boys. 
So, we got home last night and I opened the door to the same awful mess that I'd walked away from 2 days after Christmas when we left.  I broke all of the rules that my mother had ever taught me about leaving town with your house in disarray.  I suppose the reasoning behind this is, in the unfortunate event that you don't make it back, (like because of a bear mauling) the greatest tragedy of it all would occur when your friends and family discover what a dreadful housekeeper you really were.  This explains why we'd always have to wait for hours to get on the road because Mama refused to leave even one cup in the drain board. 

Anyway, I came home and there it all was.  It looked like Christmas had vomited all over our house and it had been left there to dry for about a week.  Now, generally, I'm the one who is taking all the decorations down the morning of the 26th because I am a firm believer in "when it's over, it's over".  But, our schedule didn't allow that this year.  We did take the tree down on Christmas night because of its eerie likeness to kindling but we left the rest in its place.

Today, I started taking all the decorations down.  You know how your house looks so empty when you take down your Christmas stuff?  I mean, you get used to having large trees and evergreen garland in your living room and then when they're gone, you're like, "Dang, we need more shrubs and landscaping in here."  Now, it looks like Cindy Lou's house after the Grinch got through with it.  Just a bunch of emptiness left.
So, I'm trying to get everything back in order.  Clean.  Organize.  Laundry.  Restock the kitchen. You know.......try to return to life as we once knew it.

It was so good to get away with my little family, enjoy God's beauty, and just unwind. 
Blair graduates in May so who knows where she'll be when our next trip rolls around.  I want us to enjoy as much of life just as it is right here and now.  You know....while we can. 

Y'all have a Happy New Year!  Hope it's one of your best yet!      



  1. Your trip looks great but I would have hung back with you (I'm not much on hiking, heights, bear sightings, etc) better yet we could have found a cute little coffee shop and stayed inside!

    Although our respective teams might not be "friendly" I love me some Dak Prescott! I, too, was sorry to see him play his last game, he's a fine young man.

    I left my house in a mess too as we went to our son's on the 26th and didn't get home for 3 days. All the stuff is down (except for the outside flood lights which my husband has yet to remove)but all the body bags with garland, wreaths, etc. are sitting in the sun room waiting to be stored.

    Well, we're off to our daughter's for blackeyed peas, ham, tater salad and cornbread and lots of playing time with the grands.

    Happy New Year!

    1. I'm behind on reading my comments, Judy. Next time we go to the mountains, though, you're coming with us so we can hang out. Sounds like we'd be good vacation buddies. Sounds like you had fun over the holidays with your kids! I was so glad that our teams both pulled out the wins in their bowl games. SEC showed out!!

  2. Happy New Year Joni!
    I agree in all accounts. I'm glad your family took the time to go on a nature trip. That's what is all about, Family. It does look a bit empty without the seasonal decor up from Sept on.
    May this year bring you good health. Because I know you have family, faith and love.
    Looking forward to reading your blog this year, 2016.
    Kathleen in Az

    1. Thank you so much, Kathleen. And I hope the same for you and yours. I appreciate you being so faithful in reading my little blog. You encourage me!