Happy New Years… 2021 please be good to us!

It’s New Years, and like every other person, I am retrospectively looking at 2020 and thinking about how things have been, what we have accomplished and what we have overcome. Like most people, this year was not easy. We had grand business plans that seems to get ruffled by the mandated shut downs and quarantine. We had trips planned, family that we wanted to visit and way more in person schooling that we were hoping for. We wished for meet the teacher nights, flights to see family, in person craft nights and so much more. As I reflect back on what we actually got from 2020, this is what I see:

I see backyard adventures, I see my kids grow together because for a time, they were their only playmates. I see that they are better problem solvers, and more creative players.

I see massive amounts of elderberry being made with one of my best friends in preparation for the impending pandemic.

I remember taking my kids to the store before everything shut down for good and seeing the shelves cleared, and stocking our own shelves when we could because you never knew what was going to happen next.

I remember doing SO much baking, especially in the beginning.

I will remember pulling together with other local seamstresses to make hundreds of masks for first responders, health care workers and assisted living facilities.

We did workout groups when it was safe, and did sporadic home workouts between.

Lots of home projects!

I will never forget having church at home on Sunday’s, and what it was like being back socially distant and wearing masks.

I cut my own hair for the very first time, and LOVED it!!

We got to know our neighbors better, which included having a social distance bingo night and explored our little neighborhood! We ended up finding a really fun creek that we frequented a lot in Spring/Summer.

The kids got better on their bikes, and Davis learned to ride WITHOUT training wheels!!

We picked strawberries, and made homemade strawberry jam for the first time, which i totally nailed!!

Nolan’s cute preschool teachers brought over packets, activities, and even helped celebrate his birthday! My depth of gratitude for these sweet humans cannot be underestimated! I also am so grateful they were still able to do their Christmas program… that was a major highlight!

The reservoir is only 5 minutes from our house, so we frequented it often! We kayaked, hiked and swam as much as we could!

Despite the travel plans had, we still found time and safe ways to travel. I started the year with a girls trip to Orlando/Boca Raton.

As a family we got to travel to North Topsail Beach, NC…

Treasure Island, FL to visit my parents and sister…

Atlantic Beach, NC

Myrtle Beach, SC

Boone and Blowing Rock, NC!

We had Davis’s first season of flag football, and him finally overcoming his shyness, and actually having fun with it!

The pool was basically our second home this summer… we spent so much time there soaking in the sun, Nolan learning to swim without floaties, and each of the kiddos becoming more and more like fish with everyday.

I see my family connecting with the community to raise awareness for human trafficking in prayer walks, social media posts, donations and marches.

I see Davis closing out Kindergarten and entering First Grade, and Nolan enter Pre-K with great eagerness!

I will remember my utter frustration with the word virtual. Virtual learning, virtual youth activities, and virtual game nights. Grateful that we have tech that can connect us and bring us together for those moments, but especially with virtual learning… my mind and my heart was HEAVY in finding a way to make that work with our family.

I see play dates, spending time with friends that have basically become family to us, and the boys doing their first soccer clinic.

I remember the day vividly when parks reopened and how i literally cried watching my kids play with other kids at a park for the first time in 6 months.

I see our neighborhood pulling together safely for Halloween and Christmas to host events to show kids magic and tradition during this very nontraditional year.

I won’t forget driving around looking at Christmas lights, and drinking hot chocolate. It was one of those simple but perfect and powerful memories.

Most excitingly…. Patrick quit his corporate job so we could fully pursue Carolina Wood Company as our full time gig and income!

When I look back at this year, I’m so saddened by the amount of friction and devastation that I’ve felt and seen friends and family go through. Loss of loved ones, loss of jobs, mental health suffering, physical health being compromised, and families broken apart. But for me and my family, I am grateful for the growth we had this year. I’m grateful for what this year put us through because we are truly better off for it. We have learned SO much, and refined our lives to reflect a better way. We found what is truly important for us, and where we feel the Lord’s hand guiding us. I would have preferred not to learn in this way, but I’m grateful for where we are because I know we are headed in the right direction with the right people right beside us!

Cheers to 2021! It WILL be great!

Magic at Chetola Resort

Okay so you know those cute Hallmark movies that take place in a small town, with so much cute charm you think “this just can’t be real”? Well guys…. I found one!! And if you followed my IG stories from earlier in the week, you know exactly what I’m talking about! Our family just had the best couple days at Chetola Resort in Blowing Rock, NC! If you haven’t been, let me convince you why this is one of the best places you could stay in the area! And let me start by saying that Chetola in Cherokee means Haven of Rest.

We have been fortunate enough to travel and stay in quite a few different places around the country, and this is the only one that that felt like home as soon as we drove onto the property. Sure, part of it is the Christmas magic, which let me tell you is abundantly bright and beautiful! We were in awe by all the beautiful lights strung up around the property, in the restaurant and around the lake. However, I think the real magic truly comes from being able to step back in time and enjoy the beauty of being at “grandmas” house. It felt warm, inviting, and like you belonged there. It brings a sense of home as soon as you walk in.

We stayed in the Quail building, which is toward the end of the property, which may I add backs up towards beautiful woods and just past that is the Tanger Outlets! Major win! We may or may not have done some last minute Christmas shopping there, and Davis’s favorite part.. getting to meet Elvis the dinosaur! Major marketing points for Doc’s Rocks, which of course we had to head to right after seeing this dino!

Anyhow… the Quail building.. it was situated at the edge of the property, so it was a short 1 min drive to the main building and restaurant. If it wasn’t winter, it would have been something we likely would have walked to but in the cold… no thanks! It was a beautiful retreat from the world, which truthfully we needed so badly! Service wasn’t amazing, there were spots up there that nothing would load on our phones, and the main living spots that we knew service would be solid, which allowed the recharge even more powerful for our family. It was a slice of heaven we didn’t know we needed.

The room!

The kitchen is equipped with a stove, oven, microwave, refrigerator, and dishwasher. It has all the workings to make a home cooked meal or heat up some late night snacks. The dining space is right off the kitchen, and that overlooks the family room and balcony. The entire main living space just breathes the ambiance of home. It has all the quaint rustic charm that you want in a cabin retreat, but with all the space and amenities that you need to be comfortable. There are two bathrooms, and two bedrooms, both with the cutest quilts! The kids room had two twin beds and a small closet, and the master was quite large with a king sized bed and a large walk in closet (perfect for the pack n play!). It all felt very clean, which I am VERY picky about! I am weird with smells, and even the appearance of dirty spaces, and I felt very comfortable to kick off our shoes at the end of the day and curl up on the couch to watch a movie or play games!

During the day we explored the area, went tubing, looked at lights and enjoyed the Timberlake Restaurant on the property. There is so much history and beauty up in this little corner of North Carolina, it’s rich with activities, quaint shops, the downtown area of both Blowing Rock and Boone are nearby and we do some of our favorite shopping in those areas!

The Restaurant is open, but are operating at a limited capacity, so if you are wanting to dine there (which I would highly recommend), I would suggest getting a reservation at least a day in advance. We scored a 4:30 reservation with one day notice, and it actually was perfect for our little family, but if you don’t want to eat that early, I would suggest reserving earlier. The staff and food were all wonderful! We tried entrees, appetizers, deserts and of course kids menu items, and all of it was so well done! Our cute waitress, Cait, went above and beyond for our family! They didn’t have coloring pages, so she went out and drew three snowmen on blank papers for them to color. The cutest right?? Plus, she totally indulged Davis in all his dinosaur facts and even taught him a new one, which let me tell you is tough to do! When people go out of their way to be kind, it just leaves a mark on your heart, and we felt that here! Hearts warm and tummies full!

In the main building, which is right next to the restaurant, that’s where our kids favorite part was… the heated swimming pool! Yes! Swimming in December is possible! Our kids were in heaven. I thankfully had remembered to bring swimsuits, but forgot any floaties or pool toys. But, wouldn’t you know, Chetola totally had us covered! They have noodles, a few toys, life jackets and puddle jumpers. All of which gets cleaned and sanitized everyday! It was a great way to burn off that extra energy right before bedtime!

All in all, I would rate this place a 10/10, 5 stars, A+… it checks all of my boxes. It is charming, clean, family friendly, delicious food, wonderful service, and allows one of a kind memories to be made and cherished forever. Chetola… we will be back! Thank you for having us and giving us a “Haven of Rest”!

Traveling with our kids

Why would we do it??

We are a family of 5 that LOVE to travel and have adventure. We live in North Carolina, and it is perfect for our lifestyle. We live 2 hours from the mountains, and 2 hours from the beach. We love traveling to places we haven’t been, and trying things we haven’t done. I’ve heard this notion that is floating around that you can’t have a “life” once you have kids, and we’re here to prove that not only can you have a life, but you can live your best life!

We have found so much joy in traveling, and showing our kids little pieces of the world. I pray it opens their curiosity about the world, other cultures, ways of living, and especially in themselves. Help them see that we are incredible and can do hard things.

I love you babies. Get out and live!