Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas at the Gaylord Hotel

I know my mom already posted about the great day we had on her birthday, if you haven't read it you should check it out HERE,  But I wanted to post a few more pictures of our fun Christmasy day in Nashville...

William took Rosie on a Christmas Carrousel, TWICE. Both times she insisted on riding the Moose.

Nothing says "Merry Christmas" like "Check your weapons at the door." We're not in California any more Toto.
(This was at the Bass Pro shop next to the Gaylord)

Rosie really enjoyed the Christmas decorations at the Gaylord Hotel.
Ok. Rosie wasn't the only one who enjoyed the decorations.
We got lucky enough to show up just before closing time for their Christmas tree land so we didn't have to pay to get in... We all enjoyed walking through and admiring their Christmas tree collection. I got so many ideas for next year.

This one was Rosie's favorite. It had neon lights that would flash and it rotated. It was very bright and colorful.

Rosie got to play on the peddle cars. She thought the fire truck one was the best and kept talking about how "Rosie did it. [in a] circle" afterwards.

She also got to ride a Christmas train with her Nana. Rosie loves trains.

Rosie wrote a letter to Santa.
And then mailed it to him.

The rest of the hotel was decorated in amazing Christmas lights.
Rosie loved walking through them and looking at everything...

Even if she was a little tired.

We ended our super fun, but long day, at the Irish Pub in the Gaylord Hotel.  This is one of our favorite places to just sit and talk, have some nice snacks and fun drinks and listen to live music.
This time they had a special Christmas drink on the menu that was divine. I tasted like you were drinking a candy cane.

Rosie stuck with her favorite drink, Apple Juice. That seemed to perk her right up and then she was energetic again and danced and got really huggy with every one. Yeah, we take our baby to the Irish Pub and get her drunk on apple juice.
The first time we went here Rosie was just 5 months old and William danced with her.(my mom blogged about Rosie's good Irish upbringing back then.)
This time they danced again to the live music.
Every one in the pub enjoyed watching Rosie dance. She's such a good little dancer and I think it's one of her favorite things to do. Especially to good Irish music.

So that was our fun day at the Gaylord. If you've never been and you ever find your self in the Nashville area I would totally recommend checking this place out. Especially at Christmas time. They have wonderful decorations and fun things for the whole family. Including shows, live music, and pictures with Santa.
The only place I've seen that does a better job at Christmas time is Disneyland.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Franklin Dickens Festival

 Ever year the city of Franklin, TN has a street festival in honor of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol.

I read about it this summer and I've been looking forward to it and counting the months, weeks and days to it since then.

FINALLY, this weekend was the weekend to get bundled up and wander the historic streets of downtown Franklin in search of Father Christmas, Tiny Tim, Scrooge, roasted chestnuts and apple cider.

(Rosie and her Nana are like two peas in a pod, bundled up and ready to be festive)
 The day did not disappoint. People of all ages we dressed up in costumes from the 1800's. Some were actors with specific rolls to play, like Scrooge, Tiny Tim, and the ghosts, and others were just people who decided to get into the spirit of things and dress up.

There were street performers all over the place. I really liked this girl who played and sang songs from the 1800's.  There was also a group of kids who did scenes from Oliver, as well as a stage where an Irish Dance School really captivated Rosie's attention.

Besides street performers there was lots of great food, including hot chocolate, chestnuts, apple cider and meat on a stick. And to top it all off there were booths and booths of artisans and crafts people selling unique Christmas gifts.

There was also a horse drawn carriage that I was very excited about.  Every time the carriage stopped to pick up and drop off passengers this dog would climb out and stand on the horse. It was very funny and very cute.

Even the Police officers on duty got into the spirit of things and were dressed in Victorian inspired uniforms. 

AND we met Father Christmas! He was very nice and actually got Rosie to talk to him and smile at him.

Here's a random family that decided to come dressed up. Aren't they cute!  

We also found a stand that was selling Sugar Plums!  We each had one and yes.... they've been dancing in my dreams ever since. Even Rosie liked them. 

Rosie is such a cool baby in her sunglasses. She loves wearing them.
She also really loves to watch people dance. Here she's mesmerized by all the dickens characters dancing 300 year old dances in the street.
 Our favorite part of the whole day was when all the Dickens Characters got together in the street and danced traditional dances for the 1800's. It was so much fun to watch them.  Even Rosie couldn't take her eyes off them.  You can even see the Ghost of Christmas Past (in the white dress) dancing with The Ghost of Christmas Present. (the Ghost of Christmas yet to come isn't much of a dancer apparently.)
It made me want to learn how to dance all those all dances... and dress up as a Dickens character.
It was a wonderful day with yummy food and fun things to look at. A lot of the churches had performances in them too but there was so much to see we couldn't do it all in one day. With a toddler and a pregnant lady in tow we were pretty tired and had to go home to sleep. But I'm very much looking forward to going again next year, and hopefully next year we can go both days of the festival and attend the Christmas All Sing in the town square.

For information about next years event and other Festivals check out

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Advent is my favorite time of year.  Advent is the time before Christmas.  It starts 4 Sundays before Christmas and ends on Christmas.

Many Churches, both Protestant and Catholic, celebrate Advent as a time of "looking forward" to or "Anticipation" of the birth of Christ.  Some even mark off each of the 4 Sundays before Christmas with candles and an Advent Wreath.

This is a picture of the advent wreath at our local Catholic Church. 

On the first Sunday of Advent we made our own Advent wreath with some of ladies at the Catholic Church.  The ladies brought fresh cut Holly and Ever Green branches and ribbon and showed us how to wrap it around the circular candle holders. It was really fun.

Purple is the color of Advent. It represents Royalty. Pink represents Joy, since Advent is a joyful season. The ever greens represent the everlasting love and salvation of Christ, as does the tradition of it being a circle.  As far as I can tell the red berries are just because they are pretty... but I'm sure someone could come up with something more meaningful if they wanted to.

Here's a picture of Rosie with our Advent wreath at the wreath making party.  She also has next to her a paper nativity the church ladies gave her.

Each week we get to light another candle. I usually light ours at dinner time so we can enjoy it while we eat.  Some people put a white candle in the middle and light that one on Christmas Eve.

Another fun Advent thing, and this one is not church related, is Advent Calendars. I've always loved Advent Calendars. When I was a kid we got the kind with little card board doors and we'd get to open a door every day of December. There was a piece of chocolate behind every door. I also like the kind that just have little pictures behind each door. 

When Rosie was a baby I bought a string of small stockings each numbered 1 through 24 for our family Advent calendar. My mom and I have had fun putting little toys and candy in the stockings and Rosie has had fun getting them out.

Every day she  asks for her "stocking" and then she's allowed to get out what ever is in the one for that day. She's always happy to find whatever it is that's in there. But I think her favorite so far have been the little Dinosaurs that her Nana put in there for her.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Girls' Shopping Trip

We girls went Christmas shopping today. Our first stop was Starbucks for a bit of holiday cheer.
Rosie is such a good little shopper. She likes to look at the make up, purses, dresses and then of course the toys. 
We all had fun and ended our shopping date with a nice dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant and then Rosie danced for us.
What can be more Christmasy than, Starbucks, tamales and the cutest holiday elf dancing to Mariachi music?

Rosie likes to wear her hat over her eyes in the car

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Another Thanksgiving post?!

Well kind of. Like I said before. This was one of my favorite Thanksgivings ever. But there was one down side. Since we flew home the day after Thanksgiving we missed out on all those wonderful turkey leftovers.

I thought about turkey and cranberry sandwiches all the way home. OH and Gluten Free Stuffing. yum.

When we finally landed in Nashville it was kind of late and Rosie was hungry. So we stopped by Publix Grocery store on the way home to get her some yogurt. We decided to look at the turkeys just to see if they were on sale. And sure enough, they were!

We got a 15 pound (never been frozen) turkey for $4.41.
(that was the smallest they had)

 Well we couldn't pass that up, so we bought it and a bag of potatoes. The next day we did Thanksgiving all over again.

It was really fun to enjoy the Thanksgiving meal again. Just the three of us.

And then of course there were the leftovers the next day. Which was the ultimate goal anyway.

Oh heavenly and wonderful turkey and cranberry sauce sandwich on gluten free bread.
Now I'm hungry again...

Monday, December 5, 2011

Wonderful Thanksgiving Part 2

 Our Thanksgiving was so wonderful it deserves two posts.

By the time Thanksgiving Day finally rolled around Ross and Jenny had taken us bowling, feed us great food, took us shopping and the boys had played on the farm with the ginormous tractors. We'd also put up the Christmas tree and watched Christmas cartoons and old classic movies.  AND we'd made friends with the cat, who wasn't so sure about us sometimes but was really loved by Rosie.

We decided that we should have Thanksgiving Supper instead of a Dinner/Lunch so that my mom, who was flying in around 5 pm, could eat with us. So that meant we didn't have to get up early to start cooking. It also meant that we needed to decide what we wanted for lunch.

Since Ross had shot a deer the day before you can guess what we decided on. Yup. We had venison steaks wrapped in bacon for lunch on Thanksgiving day. This was William's favorite part of the whole trip.

 Not only did we have venison for lunch but Ross is an excellent meat cooker and it was cooked to perfection. Yeah. it was amazing.

 Then it was back to work on Thanksgiving Supper. William and Jenny did most of the cooking while I washed dishes. We also had the pleasure of "watching" Seven Brides for Seven Brothers while we were cooking since Jenny has a TV in her kitchen. This meant we spent the day singing show tunes as well as cooking.

Jenny planned a completely Gluten Free Thanksgiving dinner. Everything on the table Rosie, my mom and I could eat. Even the stuffing. I can't remember the last time I had stuffing. It was incredible.

My mom's flight came in a little early and we all had Supper together.

 Jenny started the meal by reading Psalm 100 and Ross prayed for the meal and then we all age to our heart's content and drank 3 bottles of Sparkling Apple cider.

It was  perfect and wonderful Thanksgiving.

Rosie loved it too. Her favorite was the Turkey leg. This is the only picture I remembered to take during the meal, because I was enjoying it SO much.

Afterwards, Rosie played "horsie" with William, we sat around and talked and then opened Christmas presents.

Rosie loved looking out the airplane window
 The only part of our trip to Ross and Jenny's that we regretted ever so slightly was having to leave so soon.  We flew out the day after Thanksgiving, which by the way is an awesome day to fly if you don't like busy airports.  But it also means you miss Black Friday shopping, which was especially sad because Jenny is much fun to shop with, and have to get your Thanksgiving left overs at breakfast time.

Ross and Jenny are some of the most hospitable and welcoming people we've ever visited.  Not once did we feel like we were in their way or like we'd stayed too long. They are so much fun and laid bad. And did I mention they fed us really really? It's not easy or cheap to feed a pregnant lady and a toddler but with Gluten Allergies... but Ross and Jenny managed it. Thank you guys.