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Last year (meaning 2011) was the first time Zach and I haven’t gone away for our Christmas together. We had to stick close to home because I was SUPER pregnant 😉 Since then I’ve been pretty pumped about going away for our Christmas celebration. Especially because we were able to go back to where it all began: Banner Elk, NC! We haven’t been skiing in ages (legit since 2009!!!) and were looking forward to the trip!
We left on Saturday Dec 15th to head up to NC. We had a little pit stop in Adel for me to get an MRI on my foot (post to come with a foot update sometime soon) then hit the road. The same day we were on our way was the day that VSU played for their third National Championship title. It would have been SO fun to be in Alabama for the game! We tossed around the idea of trying to go but with my dang MRI it just wasn’t possible 🙁 We still rocked our VSU gear in support though! While it would have been a fun experience to go together…I think it would have made me a little sad too. NOTHING can compare to those memories of seeing Zach on the field!!! So proud of our Blazers for bringing home another WIN 🙂
We stopped in O’Charley’s on our way up to Atlanta. We drove separately because Zach would have to stay in Atlanta for work on our way back down. It didn’t make since for him to drive ALL the way home just to drop me off and turn back around again. So sweet Rachael let us park one of our cars at her house and we took the other car the rest of the way to NC 🙂 And it worked out great b/c I got to see her and the kids for a bit when we stopped through on our way back to pick up the car!
I wish we had an O’Charley’s here. Well…actually I’m glad we don’t have one. I’d be a BLIMP if we did b/c I could LIVE off their rolls. For real!
The drive is a beast. Splitting it up helped but it also made it feel like a LONGER trip. I addressed Christmas cards on the way there until it got to be too hilly and I started feeling sick. When we booked our stay we weren’t sure what to expect. We’ve stayed somewhere different every year that we’ve gone up there but this location BLEW us away!!! It ended up being this HUGE condo type thing and had more than enough room to comfortably be able to fit us and our kids (something I’m always on the look out for now haha). I seriously want to take them up there! I just wish it wasn’t SUCH a beast of a drive!!!
We had the condo from Sat through the following Sat but couldn’t stay that long as my man’s gotta make some dough at some point 😉 We planned to head home Wed so that means we had the condo for three extra nights that it would be empty. I offered it up to a few of my friends but no one could make it work to use it. When we got there I couldn’t believe it was gonna just sit VACANT! I texted Rachael a bunch of pictures and tried to talk her into taking their kids up for those extra days! Oh well…I tried 🙂
We were seriously CRUNK about this place!
If you’re looking to travel to Banner Elk HERE is the place we stayed!
So excited that he could actually fit in the bathtub but then I don’t think either of us even used it?!?
When we checked in we asked the girl at the counter for tips of places to eat. We changed clothes and headed out. I was EXHAUSTED. We had to get groceries for our stay too and getting the MRI that morning, driving myself to ATL, then riding through the mtns wore me OUT. We ended up buying SO MUCH junk food at the grocery store b/c we were both so sleepy and just threw stuff in our cart 🙂
The restaurant had too many things to choose from that sounded delicious. Which, seriously, NEVER happens for me. I had just had spinach and artichoke dip from O’Charley’s at lunch but coudn’t resist the crab and artichoke dip they had. Everything was made fresh on site and you could tell! SO AMAZING.
THE best hamburgers EVER.
Originally I had planned to be completely done nursing Brittlynn prior to our trip. However, I just couldn’t do it. Literally the NIGHT before we left I changed my mind. I had gone back and read my weaning experience with Kye and decided I didn’t want to be in pain and miserable our entire trip and that I didn’t want my last time nursing Britt to be in a rush since we’d be hurrying out the door. At that point I was down to only nursing her in the mornings so I just decided to give Mrs. Charlotte enough frozen milk from our freezer for her to have one bottle each morning and I’d just pump each morning of our trip. No big deal 🙂
We took our time waking up Sunday morning. It was lovely to not be in any kind of rush! I pumped and Zach made his famous pancakes for us to enjoy together 🙂 And yes, we bring along our pancake pan and spatula when we travel haha
We set up all our presents for each other the night before so we could enjoy them all. We like to always buy matching paper for each others presents. Zach started that idea one year early in our relationship. He took so much time and care to make my presents so pretty and now we just both do that every year! We also like to make it as even with numbers as possible…this year Zach made his budget stretch further than usual so it worked out great!
I love our little travel Christmas tree too 🙂
Zach with the presents he bought for me
And the ones I bought for him!
We brought along an iPad player and had our Christmas music going. We also brought along our Santa mugs to be able to take breaks to drink hot chocolate together. I’m proud of myself for remembering to pack all of this stuff!
We spend MORE time debating which present to have the other person open next than we do actually opening. We like it to go in an order where the BEST presents are at the end and half the time we can’t remember which gift is which haha. We stretch the event out as long as possible 😉
I thought it’d be fun to see if Zach can rock a scarf!
Thoughtful necklace (from Coach) to remind me of our awesome UOT trip!
I was sneaky and bought these gray dress shoes while on our trip too 😉
Zach and I both enjoy writing silly tags to each other…usually they help us remember what we wrapped. This tag was HILARIOUS. Zach had attempted to draw a picture of me hahaha. My chest and butt are soooo funny but my FACE is straight freaky. Oh my husband, such the artist.
Gotta have a new PINK outfit each year 😉
Case with keyboard for my iPad
Apple TV (I know…look out world we’re turning into MAC people…)
I LOVE my new purse!!! I have the same one in black and it’s my FAVORITE 🙂
Jacket from Express that I fell in love with on our UOT trip!
Zach really wanted a white golf belt and dressy shorts to wear while golfing. He was SO excited about this gift! I’m proud of how good I did finding the belt…it wasn’t easy!
He also wanted a dark grey peacoat!
Two Coach purses? Why not! Especially when this one was FREE from a contest Zach won with Aflac!!!
The final present…
Seriously. I’m SUPER proud of myself this year for how great I did shopping for Zach. We have a budget and usually we both go over it. The past couple years though we’ve both wanted to make spending smart more of a priority so we have done a better job sticking to the budgets we set up when it comes to our gift giving. The list of ideas of things I wanted to get for Zach this year ended up totaling $200 over my budget. I shopped for good deals and ended up getting him everything I wanted to buy for him PLUS some extra stuff and spent exactly on the nose what our budget is! Whatwhat! 😉 Thank you Black Friday Online deals!!!
He really wanted a new walking golf bag and I figured he’d know what it was by the big, long box. However, I tricked him pretty good…I researched for the top rated walking golf bags and found one that only weighs 4 lbs! It was SO light that when Zach carried the gifts to the car and unloaded them into the condo that he was totally confused as to what it was 😉 He was SO surprised and excited! I think this was probably his best Christmas yet from me!!!
He also did SUCH a great job buying for me too! I think this past year Zach and I have just really come a long way with our relationship and truly have developed that deep best friendship that all married couples hope to have. We know what each other like and don’t like and it made gift buying so much more fun! He did awesome with all the stuff he got for me (well…except for the jewelry set that we ended up exchanging but he KNEW I wouldn’t like it when he bought it haha) and I loved all the thought he put into everything!
Trying on my new pjs (one of the THREE new pj sets he got me…I live in some pjs)
Zach with all of his goodies!!!
We had a wonderful time enjoying the day and relaxing together opening our presents. I love that Kye is old enough for us to start explaining things to him and we told him prior to the trip that we were going away to have a special Mommy and Daddy Christmas just the two of us. I try hard to point out when Zach and I spend quality time together as it’s important for him to KNOW that we put a lot of effort into our marriage. I hope that is something he too will do someday when he is a husband!
Here is a look back at our Christmas getaways of years past: