Sunday, December 30, 2012

Christmas Craziness

It's the most wonderful time of the year... Kind of. Although Christmas this year was totally crazy, we still managed to have some good times. We went to Arkansas to spend Christmas with my family. We drove all day Saturday and arrived around 9pm. We got stuck in some traffic on the way so it set us back about an hour and a half. No fun but we finally got there.
Sunday night we had a Christmas party for my extended family. We didn't really do anything Christmassy, but it was about spending time together. Someone even busted out an old family video luckily it was a pre-sarah video so no personal embarrassment!


Monday we just chilled, played some dominoes and snacked on reindeer mix and apple cider.

Christmas morning Mom made a delicious breakfast, per my request, of biscuits and sausage gravy plus eggs! Yum!! It was wonderful.
We did a family (mom, dad, Simon and me) christmas exchange after eating.

Dad unwrapping gifts

Mom and her KitchenAid
I managed to snap an unwanted Simon picture :)

Later that afternoon my grandparents came over for a second gift exchange and an afternoon/evening of eating delicious food.  

Papa couldn't wait for the picture, he had to have his coke. haha  
Our wished-for white christmas was a few hours late, only beginning to fall as the sun was setting, but man did it stick.  My grandparents headed home early to avoid getting snowed in with all of us crazies for who knows how many days.  
Here is a snow picture after only an hour or so.  
Christmas evening about 8, after some more snow, ice, and then some heavy snow, the power went out. Sad times!

We made the best of it, though, by busting out the flashlights and setting up by the fire for some Skip-Bo.

The next morning we figured out we were not alone in our power outrage.

Wednesday we were to the point of being creative. So we heated up some of the leftovers over the fire. It was nice to have some warm meals in the chilly house.  By the end of the week we had mastered pop-corn, mini thanksgiving dinner, taco soup, coffee and apple cider.  It was quite the feat.  We were definitely blessed with hot water, a nice fire, and many many blankets. It truly made it all bearable. During the daytime, with all the natural light illuminating the house, it was easy to forget the power was out.

Once the roads had melted a little bit Simon and I were able to make the hour drive to Searcy where Tanya and Wilson and their sweet family had come from texas to stay with family for the holidays.
We both were glad the in-climate weather didn't force us to cancel our little trip. Upon arrival at Marvin and Roki's home in searcy (Wilson's parents by whom we enjoyed many delicious meals as well as their sweet hospitality during our college days) we happily discovered that the weather had prevented Jay and Andrea and their family (Wilson's sister and fam) from leaveing when they had planned. Angie (wilsons sister-in-law) and her kids were also over. So... full house! 20 people in total. We were excited to see so many people we love at once. We were able to chit chat with everyone and then of course, enjoy a great meal together. I truly don't think I have ever been to Marvin and Roki's and not eaten something wonderful. We even managed to squeeze the good part of a hand and foot game into our stay.
We were really thankful that the invitation had not been terminated due to such a full house.  It was definitely an uplifting day for us after a couple of cold, unpleasant, powerless days. 
Thanks...everyone in the Robertson family and beyond... for always welcoming us and making us feel loved.
Friday I was able to get out and do some coffee, shopping, and girl time with my good friend Elizabeth.  I hadn't seen her since her beautiful wedding in July and it was so special to be able to catch up with her. Then my mom and I spent a girls day together shopping some more... and drinking some more coffee.. :) my kinda day!!  It was good to get out and have some fun together.  

Saturday morning... still no power.  So, after a reliably delicious breakfast at Cracker Barrel with mom and dad Simon and I hit the road, a few discounted Christmas ornaments heavier, bound for Alabama and our New Years holiday hosts, the Warfields.   

As I said, it was a bit of a crazy Christmas holiday.  It was, as always, special to see all our loved ones and share in the making of holiday memories (which hopefully don't turn into holiday traditions).  This was definitely a Christmas to remember.  

Merry Christmas
 (a little late)
 from the Reinhardts

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Trip to Nashville

This past weekend Simon and I took a little road trip to Nashville to celebrate with his cousin Kira as she graduated with her MBA. Y best friend Katie also lives in Nashville, very close to where we were, so I was able to spend some time with here also.

Upon our arrival in Nashville, Simon dropped me off at Starbucks for some girl time with Katie and headed to Kira and Andrews. While I am quite thankful to be done with college, I do miss the fun that was had by constantly being surrounded by friends. Having girl time or catching up was almost effortless because you merely had to walk across campus at most in order to get together. Now, as we've all spread out, it is much more difficult an the times of togetherness are much fewer and far between. It definitely makes me more thankful for the times I do get to spend with those friends. Okay, enough reminiscing.
After Starbucks, I went to Kira and her husband Andrew's house and said my hellos to Jessica and Grant (Simon's cousin and her husband) and Bill and Toni (Simon's aunt and uncle- Kira and Jessica's parents).
I am thankful that, despite the craziness that the holiday season can bring, we were all able to get together - thanks to Kira and Andrew's hospitality- for the weekend.
Saturday was graduation day. It was special to be able to celebrate with Kira as she completed this goal towards which she has been working. I know she felt a sense of pride and accomplishment at this step, and rightly so.
The remainder of the day was filled with a little shopping, lot of eating, and fun times playing cards and talking.
Sunday we all went to church and then out for a delicious lunch before heading back home our separate ways.

Congratulations Kira!!
And thank's again to Andrew and Kira for opening your home to us all and making the celebratory weekend so enjoyable!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Surprise trip to Helen, GA

The Christmas season brings many wonderful things.  Along with those wonderful things,  I always tend to feel a tad overwhelmed;  I seem to never have enough time for everything- something has to take the back burner.  Because of this, I had big plans to really be productive one last Saturday.  However, my sneaky husband had other plans for us.  He told me we were going on a little road trip but he wouldn't tell me where.  I love surprises so I was sold!  

We drove and drove: About 2 hours, until we came to Helen, GA
Apparently it is a city with German and Dutch heritage and they are clinging quite firmly to that history.   
 There was a Christkrindlmarkt that weekend in the downtown area of the little town.  The stores themselves, aside from a few, were not selling any Alpine items, it was just the general look of the town that had kept the "Alpine look" as they called it.  Parts of it were very touristy, but it was still a fun place in which to wander around and spend time together.  
 Few from afar of the biergarten. 

 We didn't take a horse drawn carriage ride but the horse was wearing a little santa hat on his ear! It was pretty cute.

Moo the teacup pig.  She was wonderful!
I was so excited to get to hold her! 

After we had walked around and seen everything we could, we headed back to SC.  On the way we took a detour to an antique shop we had seen on the way.  Our final stop was in Greenville for a nice dinner at P.F. Changs.  

It was a really fun day and I am thankful for a husband who plans little exciting adventures for us.  

Getting into the Christmas spirit!

Although I was excited about getting our tree from one of the local Christmas tree farms this year, that just wasn't in the cards for us.  We got the info, very last minute, that Simon might have to go to Germany for a couple of weeks the following morning, so we had to get a tree ASAP.  Sadly, all of the Christmas tree farms are closed by the time we get off work, so we made out 2nd annual Christmas tree purchase from my favorite hardware store and yours: Lowe's

 I wanted to strap it to the top but Simon said that was unnecessary.  
 On the way into the apartment

all decorated- and those are our stockings

The next afternoon we got the news that Simon would not be traveling yet, maybe next month.  Oh well, at least we have out Christmas tree all set up!!
A little Christmas decorating

Simon's favorite addition to my life: the auto reindeer costume 
 Nose :)
Whole outfit :)

 Our new stocking holders.  It was hard to get a good picture with the weird lighting in our apartment.
The advent calendar from Aldi and the advent calendar from Irene we have been keeping up with.

Irene, Simon's mom brought us a little nutcracker that has happily been added to the Christmas decor this year!

Christmas decorations combined with lots and lots of Christmas music, both in the car and at work (and at home when I can get Simon to deal with it), have gotten this Christmas season off to a festive start!

On the 22nd we will be making our way over to Little Rock to spend Christmas with my family- can't wait! Hope everyone is having as much fun "Decking the halls" as I am!!
Happy Holidays everyone! 

Thanksgiving 2012 and Simon's 28th birthday

As the thanksgiving holiday approached, Simon and I assumed that we would be spending it alone.  We will be traveling to Little Rock to visit my family this Christmas, and we just don't have the money to make two big road trips so close together (three if you count our mid-December travel plans to TN).  These assumptions caused us to be even more excited when we found out Jessica and Grant, Simon's cousin and her husband, recently moved to AL; a mere 6 hours away.  While still a decent drive, it definitely beats the 20 or so hour drive it would have been to visit them, and the majority of Simon's remaining America-dwelling family, in TX.   
We were very excited that Jessica and Grant were willing to make the drive, giving us all the opportunity to spend the Holidays together.

Not only were we all able to spend Thanksgiving together but also Simon's birthday, November 23rd, as it falls, this year, on the day after Thanksgiving.   

But first thing's first: Thanksgiving.  
Jess and Grant arrived Wednesday night around midnight.  Thursday we enjoyed a slow, lazy morning before Jess and I began preparing for dinner.    

Some of the dishes I prepped ahead of time and the pie I completely made the day before so that things wouldn't be quite so crazy day-of.  Especially since out kitchen is quite tiny and doesn't allow for a lot of team work.  

The fruits of our labor.  
Cornish hens (by Jessica for she and Grant), turkey (for Simon and I) Green bean bundles (under the foil, opps), cornbread dressing/stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, corn on the cob, rolls and gravy

Pumpkin Pie in the oven

Because it was my first pumpkin pie I didn't know it would settle and look nicer. Therefore, I didn't take a picture once it settled.  This is the puffy pie stage.  But I thought, for a first attempt, it turned out pretty well-and it was super easy.  The crust was a little droopy one the right side for some reason but oh well.  

After the mini-feast we drove to downtown Greenville and took a little walk.  The Christmas lights were already up so it was a nice holiday atmosphere.  

The 23rd was Simon's birthday! 
We slept in a little but, I inevitably woke everyone up with my pancake making; the disadvantages of having only one bedroom.

Simon's birthday breakfast.  He was incredibly excited about the candle.... as all of you who know him would assume.
 Then cards and presents

 This is Simon organizing his new screw/etc. tool box.  
Happy Birthday Simon! 

Later that afternoon we dared to venture out of the house and into STORES.  It actually wasn't all that bad.  By the time we made it out, most of the blackness had fizzled out.  We went to Trader Joe's and Greens (a discount beer and wine store that has an extensive selection) and then headed back to the apartment.  

 We spent the evening playing a few games and chitchatting mostly.  

After breakfast Saturday morning, Jessica and Grant packed up.  Just as they were about to head out we got a knock at the door followed by a pleasant conversation with the police officer informing us that 6 or so cars had been broken into in the back parking lot.  Of course, Grant's and Jessica's car was one of the lucky winners.  So, down to the parking lot we went, all with images of broken glass and ripped out stereo systems flashing through our minds.  Thankfully, it was not quite as dramatic as all that.  Nothing was taken, no windows were broken, the crooks just Houdini'd the doors open and snooped around probably looking for cash or expensive electronics.  We did get to see a real CSI in action though.  Kind of cool.  I had never seen anyone fingerprinting a scene in real life.  

 Unfortunately, no prints (other than a hip print from Jessica's jeans), so that probably means it will be a  long shot to catch the serial thieves that have apparently been victimizing many unsuspecting cars in Greenville county.   
Apparently easily finding dozens of useful prints at a crime scene is not as realistic as the crime shows lead one to believe.  Unfortunate.  

So, that concluded our weekend together and Jess and Grant were only delayed 45 minutes or so from their initially desired departure time.  

Thanks again guys for making the drive! We really enjoyed having you here and having you closer to us in general since your move from Austin.  
We hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving with good food and memorable family time!