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Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas eve in Black Mountain, NC

Christmas Eve morning started off with continental breakfast at the hotel with Ali, Kaye, Keith, and Aaron in Charleston!  Then we all piled in the van and headed to NC...

...but not before taking a quick drive through the battery (South Carolina) so I could see the area where Aaron used to hang out after college, and where Keith proposed to Kaye!  It took me about 10 seconds to decide that I am completely in love with this city!  I snapped a couple pictures of the historic homes in the area (through the back window, hence the crookedness)...

When we were on the battery, Keith mentioned for me to look over at the pelican sitting on the rail!  I ended up getting this gorgeous shot a couple seconds later!

5 hours later, and only 2 pottie breaks, we made it to Aaron's mom's house in Black Mountain, NC!  She greeted us in the driveway with lots of smiles, big hugs, and her newly adopted doggie, Leena in hand...

... Aaron jumped out of the car and went immediately for Cash (his dog that he raised from a puppy in Atlanta, before coming to Korea!)  His mom has taken care of Cash while Aaron has been out of the country!  Talk about a labor of love for your son!  Aaron and Cash jumped right back into playtime, as if Aaron had never left!  The two of them together is pretty special!

Aaron's mom's house is absolutely darling!  It's like a little cottage where you could imagine a movie was filmed!  It's oozes with historic charm!

The front room was lit with scented Christmas candles, lots of Christmas decor, presents under the tree, and to top it off, the dogs paws were clicking on the hardwood floors.  It was such a great, cozy feeling, wintery, holiday feeling!!

After unloading the suitcases, Pegg (Aaron's mom), Aaron, Me, Ali, and her boyfriend Dave all sat down to eat some lunch together!  The topic turned to the Ugly Christmas Sweater party, which is tomorrow, and how Dave didn't have a sweater to wear!  Pegg and I quickly offerred to search the local Goodwill for him! :)   So, after lunch, Pegg, Aaron and I all ventured over to the local Goodwill, where we unfortunately didn't find anything worth getting!  Guess all the Christmas sweaters had already been snatched up!  After leaving, Pegg drove me through downtown Black Mountain, a charming little town with a general store, and a couple small restaurants and shops... then we headed over to Gran's house.  (Pegg's mom)

She knew Aaron and I were in town, but was surprised when we showed up at her door!  Her and Aaron are very close!  It was really fun to see them interact after a year has passed.

Boy is she smart as a button (Is that the phrase?!)  It's been a long time since I've been in an English speaking country... my metaphors are a little weak these days!   Anyway, my point is... She's energetic, funny, smart, sweet, and just a good ole fashioned southern granny! 

Aaron with his girls!

Since we were in the neighborhood, we also stopped by Aaron's uncle Joe and aunt Carol's house.  (Carol is Pegg's sister)  They literally live about 3 houses down from Gran.  I love the tight knit-ness of Aaron's family!  This is their home - ABSOLUTELY STUNNING!

From left to right: Joe, Andrew, Carol (who I think is the spitting image os Susan Sarandon), Olivia, Pegg, Me, and Aaron.  We're getting together with all of them on Christmas night for the Ugly Christmas Sweater Party at Grans.

 We headed back to Pegg's house and started in on dinner - Home made chicken and dumplings with fried Apples!  Ummm, yes please!  The 5 of us ate and laughed, and talked for a long time!  It was great!

Aaron was quick to show me one of Cash's best tricks after dinner!  He sets a bone on Cash's nose and Cash waits for Aaron to tell him he can take it before he moves.  It is pretty impressive, for sure!

As the clock rang 7pm, we began opening presents from each other! Ali and Dave saved all their gifts for each other for tonight, so we got to be in on the action! :) 

Pegg and Ali went out and filled everyone's stockings!  I was so excited to see that I had my very own "J" stocking!

 The 4 kids all got together and chipped in on a laptop for Aaron's mom so she could call all of us on skype and e-mail back and forth from home!  She was so excited... and I was excited too, because I was able to use it to blog tonight!  Thanks for sharing your pressie Pegg!

Pegg and Ali found these for Aaron!   ... One of the funnier moments of the night!

This dog is really unbelievable!  He is the sweetest, most gentle and loving creature!  He cuddles with everyone!  Aaron showed me how Cash will spoon with me if I want him to tonight when I go to bed!  It's true - He spoons, arms around you and everything!  This is his own personal chairn the living room, and boy does he look like royalty sitting in it!  (Aaron tied the bow on him!)

When my turn came to open a present, Aaron handed me this box with a card.  Inside the card was a typed message stating, "Merry Christmas Jill!  - from Tiffany & Co."  With no prompting on my part, Aaron bought me a gorgeous heart necklace that I had actually had my eye on for years but had never actually pointed it out to him!  It was a very special gift, and even more special when I saw his face and how excited he was that I loved it.
As I was holding it in my hand, completely shocked, he asked, "Can I put it on you?"  I love it!

Around 9pm or so, one of Aaron's best friends from growing up, Bill, stopped by to hang for a while!  They told funny stories of getting in trouble as kids and talked about where people are at these days!  It was so nice to meet Bill in person!  He's having a big party in a couple days with all of Aaron's friends from growing up and their families!  Yes, this is a small town folks!    I can't wait to meet all of them!

It's now 1:50am, and everyone in the house is fast asleep, and I am officially finished with my blog!  AAhhhh, this girl is going to dreamland!  Hope I wake up to snow!

Merry Christmas!

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