Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Family Visits are just NEVER Long Enough!

Its sad but true, I can never just appreciate the time I have with my family I always feel as though it is never enough! I completely unplugged from the world other than here it seemed and savored every moment but before I knew it they were getting in the car to head back home as though they had only been here five minutes!

Truthfully 2013 was a great year for us in regards to family time, we made it back home to see everyone more than we ever have and it was absolutely wonderful! We got a ton of time in at home throughout the summer which is really the best time to be there, my brother made it down to Raleigh with us, Mom and Fiona were here in October and just days after Christmas Dad and my Aunt and Uncle came.. SO GRATEFUL!

December 27th was an extremely long day as the traveling trio left at 4:00am to head South and once they crossed the border (an hour and a half into their trip) they no longer had working cell phones! All morning I waited for a text that never came, I tried calling and nothing.. so I called Mom asking had they been turned around and was someone to scared to tell me. She assured me that they weren't there and someone probably forgot to text, not to worry. I tried all day to keep busy, waiting and hoping for confirmation they were somewhere close.. nothing. Finally at almost 6:30pm when they should have definitely arrived Jason decided to go and pick up dinner anyways in hopes they would be here when he got back. Not 10 minutes after Jason headed out the door the door bell rang.. I literally flew down the hallway and as I opened the door there was Dad... YAY! I was so thrilled, having been spoiled over the summer with seeing everyone once a month and knowing they were finally going to get to see the house I was beyond excited!

I got about half way through hugs and the house tour when Jason came home with dinner! We hung out and ate and chatted! Found out that they took a little longer then expected on account that they got lost, sort of! Turns out they took the wrong exit thanks to Tom Tom and ended up downtown Raleigh, about 9 miles past their exit, they eventually stopped at a fire station and asked for directions as our address is still quite new and did not register on their GPS! All in all they made it and we couldn't have been happier to have them. Naturally the first night was low key and early as they had one hell of a long day/drive!

Honestly I cant even tell you what we did during their visit it seems, I feel like it just FLEW by! I wanted to take a ton of pictures and although it seems like I did, I feel like I didn't capture half of our bent over belly laughs at the most hilarious things.. funny how that always happens when family is together. The first day we really just hung out, we toured around our general area and took them to Target and a few places that they don't have at home or aren't the same. We knew we were going to hit the Carolina Ale House for dinner but didn't want to spend the day sitting at home. However their first day here the weather was beyond gorgeous so we did spend most of the afternoon outside with beers and snacks enjoying the sun, as they came from a cold Canadian winter!

Dinner at the Ale House was great as always, we had debated the places we wanted to take them to eat but being the CAROLINA Ale House we couldn't resist the tourist like appeal. Dinner was excellent and so was the environment! Excuse the terrible Iphone photos, but I barely used that let alone lugged around my camera sadly!

Can you see that foot hanging down off the telephone booth? Jack the Ripper was up there... how freakin' creepy is that?

We did a lot of touring around Raleigh, enjoying our time at the house together, dinners in and out! We managed to get in the Carolina BBQ the first night, The Carolina Ale House, and of course the Cracker Barrel! 

New Years Eve we headed downtown because Dad was dying to go to the Harley Shop in Raleigh! He has Harley shirts from all over North America and sadly we had not gotten him one from Raleigh so we made sure to stop there. Although Aunt Bren isn't a biker chick she found some fun activities while we waited. 

We knew they would be getting set up for the New Years Eve events downtown so we thought we would have lunch at the fabulous Tir Na Nog  Irish pub downtown and then do a little touring around. Sadly it was quite chilly that day and the wind was whistlin' dixie through the streets of downtown! We managed to get around the State Capitol and see the Acorn they drop at midnight (Raleigh is the city of Oaks) before heading back to the house. 

Everyone in front of the State Capitol

Aunt Bren, Cant take her anywhere.. haha!


This was an amazing float they were putting together for the parade, mother nature!

We had a great afternoon! We came back to the house and while the boys all decided to nap in anticipation of the late night ahead Aunt Bren and I took off to Target because Target in the states is WAY better then Target in Canada and I was determined to prove that to Aunt Bren.. she believes me! We decided on snack foods for dinner and drinks of course... lots and lots of drinks! 

HAPPY 2014!!! (Weird to say that, it will be about another month before I actually write it the first time around.)

New Years Day was Aunt Bren's birthday! We were thrilled to be able to celebrate with her and I was even more thrilled that we planned weeks prior knowing they were coming to have a big ham dinner and low and behold Aunt Bren LOVES ham.. SCORE! I really didn't want to waste one of their last full days sitting around the house but we didn't have a lot for options so Jason and I talked and we decided to take them to Chapel Hill to get coffee (at Caribou Coffee) and tour around the UNC Chapel Hill Campus!

Jason and I haven't been there since we lived here a couple of years ago but we too once took a drive down there in the fall, got coffee and toured around, the campus is absolutely beautiful! We knew they would love it and it would be a great way to spend the day, and that it was! We toured around gift stores and the campus all while enjoying amazing coffee (where else can you get a pomegranate vanilla latte). Here are a few pictures from our day! 

The campus is incredible and it was a beautiful day to get out and walk around before they headed back to the MISERABLE weather Canada is seeing right now! We had a little bit of a later dinner as ham takes some time to cook, but that was fine. Dinner turned out excellent and the rest of the night was spent with cake, tea and some Yahtzee! 

January 2nd was their last full day here.. I was super sad at the thought of everyone leaving. That morning Amelia and Evan arrived bright and early to spend the night with us as Brianne was heading to Maine to pick up the kids from their holidays with their dad! I was glad everyone got to meet them before leaving and was anxious to spend the day with Millie G. Millie and I hung out while Jason took everyone else to check out the Pawn Shops as they are in plenty around here. Aunt Bren and I headed out to get snacks for their trip home the next day and we had a wonderful dinner! 

Millie enjoyed Yahtzee too!

The next morning was early, with the baby and because everyone had planned to head out around 7:00am! It was so hard to see them go, I am way better now about waiting until they leave to cry! Millie was a great distraction but I swear the idea of everyone leaving and not knowing when we will see them again will never get old! 

We had an absolutely wonderful visit and cant thank them enough for making the long trek down here, spending the week with us and just being so wonderful! We are so lucky to have such amazing family! We cant wait for the next visit! 

I'll be back tomorrow to tell y'all about our extended visit with Evan and Millie G! I have the most adorable pictures to share! 

I hope everyone is staying warm at home and wherever you may be that is being plagued by this arctic vortex? Is that what they are calling it? MISERABLE! It is QUITE chilly here today but I will not complain as it doesn't even compare to most of your weather situations! 

Jason and I are on day 2 of our New Years diet and I am feeling great! Slugging lemon water, breakfast smoothies, I even tried and LIKED tuna!!!! CRAZY! Tonight for dinner, halibut and asparagus! I cant wait! 

Stay warm everyone!! STAY WARM!

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  1. Had a great visit . Mom and I will be back soon . Not sure if I want to bring uncle Stick neat time... maybe aunt Brenda .We will have to see what You and Jason are doing before we plan the next trip . Great meeting Evan and Brianne , and just LOVE THE LITTLE ONE . hOPE YOU WARM UP , Is -25 here now , with a wind chill of about -333. But you as great white northerners we love the cold . Time to do some ice fishing . hahahaha. My favorite meal for dinner tonight "venison", thanks to my son . I think we had a great meal of this at your beautiful new home . Anyway talk to you soon . Love Dad

  2. Fabulous pictures Nicole ! Your home City looks really nice, old and stately. It's weird seeing leaves on the ground when it's so darn snowy and cold here. We hope to enjoy some of your fabulous eateries sometime in the future.

  3. I'm so glad you had a great visit Dad, I miss you already!!! We will definitely start planning another trip as soon as we find out what's going on with Jason and work!
    Thanks Steve, Raleigh is beautiful.. not really touristy but has so much to offer! It definitely is weird seeing leaves in the winter but its so nice. Today however it was -13C which is the coldest it has been here in over a decade!
    We would love for you guys to come for a visit and we would be happy to show you the good places to eat! We have definitely scoped those out! Sadly in a week you just cant cover them all!

  4. So happy you had a great visit with your family. I would love to visit UNC in the Fall! It is a beautiful looking campus! Your Aunt Brenda reminds me of some of these people! Check it out! She looks like a lot of fun!


  5. Haha Cathy!! Aunt Bren is amazing and fun is the biggest understatement!! The UNC chapel hill campus is incredible! I've been in the prime of fall as well and it is wonderful! One of my most favorite places this far in NC!