Like many of you out there, I was constantly checking in on my phone and anxiously awaiting the results from the presidential election during my time away from the blog. When we watched Joe Biden and Kamala Harris address our nation after they were announced as the winners of the election, I felt hope for our nation. I understand that possibly half of you reading this post today may have hoped for a different outcome but I loved what President-Elect Biden said when he said he would “work as hard for those who voted against him as he would for those who voted for him.” His message of unity feels much-needed during a time when our nation feels so divided and tumultuous. Also, regardless of your political affiliation, the election of our first woman vice president is nothing short of historic and I felt my heart swell when Vice President-Elect Harris said, “While I may be the first woman in this office, I won’t be the last.”
While the election results were on the forefront of my mind throughout the week, enjoying our family’s annual mountain vacation was the reason I stepped away from the blog for a bit. I planned to unplug during our trip and took all pressure off myself to share anything on the blog and social media. A little break was all I needed to crave chatting with you guys in this space again.
5th Annual Family Mountain Vacation (Banner Elk, NC)
We arrived home from our fifth annual family mountain vacation yesterday afternoon. The laundry is piled up, our house is a mess and our fridge is bare but our hearts are full. The week we spend in the mountains with my parents and my sister and her family is, without a doubt, one of my very favorite weeks of the year.
Ryan found our gang of 10 a house in Banner Elk, a beautiful mountain town located in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Though we headed out on various outdoor adventures daily, we made good use of the house and spent a lot of time cooking, playing games, building forts both inside and out, kicking the soccer ball around and hanging out by the fire pit.
We lucked out with beautiful sunny weather every single day of our visit and made the most of it by opting for a lot of outdoor activities.
We returned to Grandfather Mountain, did a little trout fishing at Grandfather Trout Farm and visited some of our favorite hiking trails.
Our day trip to Grandfather Mountain was our best one yet because it was the first year where the wind was practically non-existent which made crossing the mile-high suspension bridge a lot more pleasant.
I’ve blogged about hiking the balds on the North Carolina/Tennessee state line before but I think this was our first experience on the trails with the kiddos in tow.
(The hiking backpack/child carrier Ryan is wearing is the Osprey Poco Child Carrier. He did a ton of research before buying it soon after Chase turned one and we’ve loved it for years!)
Earlier in the week, Ryan and I took the boys out for a hike as a family of five and then returned again several days later with the whole family!
The hike is a great one for kids because it’s only 3/4 of a mile to the top of the first bald where you can see stunning 360-degree views of the Appalachian Mountains. There is not much the boys love more than being outside and searching for little critters and we majorly lucked out when we realized woolly worms could be seen all over the trails! Let’s just say Creature Man Chase was in heaven!
There were actually eleven of us on the hike on Saturday… Notice anything special about the way my sister is standing and holding her belly in the above picture? The news is officially out! Leslie and Ross are expecting another little one this February! They are having a baby girl and to say our family is thrilled is a serious understatement. We all got the biggest kick out of seeing how big sister-to-be Callie responded to baby Rhett and she was just the sweetest and incredibly interested in her baby cousin. It was so adorable and I have a feeling Callie is going to be the most amazing big sister in a few short months!
As for new family adventures, Wilderness Run Alpine Coaster and Sugar Mountain Gem Mining were both big-time winners for our crew.
They’re located within a mile of each other and we paired them together one morning for some new-to-us fun.
Though the past week passed by a lot faster than I would’ve liked and I’m currently fighting some post-vacation blues and missing my family already, I’m also feeling incredibly grateful we were able to spend a full week as a family in the mountains again. It was such a great trip and my heart is so full!