Thursday, February 19, 2015

Making our Mark and the Nash Bash New Year!

Jason called me one day from work and said, "What do you think about going to Nashville for New Years?"
I had one word.  YES.
Everyone knows Nashville is the place of my heart and I'd be hard pressed to turn down a trip to go there!  It meant seeing my family, dropping off the kids and 3 kid-free days in the place I LOVE.  
There was more to his motive.  He had his "golden ticket" to the Makers Mark Distillery.  He signed up to be an ambassador for his favorite bourbon brand while we still lived in NC.  Every year they send him swag of some form and updates and such.  They also put his name on a barrel of bourbon.  One that would take 5-7 years to become mature.  Well...that day had finally arrived.  He could go to the facility and get a bottle (or three) of HIS bourbon with his name engraved on a plate.  We also got a VIP factory tour while we were there.  We meant to do the bourbon trail the whole time we lived in Nashville and didn't get around to it.  This was our chance!

We drove the 14 hours with 3 kids and a dog to my parents house.  It was a LONG day!  After a day or two we headed to Kentucky for the deeds!  We were cutting it closer than I wanted on the last tour of the day.  We were set for the 2:30 and the last one was 3:30.  UNTIL, we crossed over into the EASTERN time zone and realized we would be on the 3:30 tour.  AH!  I called them frantically and told them we were 20 mins away but Not to leave us, we'd driven from Texas for this!  
We made it in plenty of time for the last tour but we really know how to cut it close!
The tour was awesome.  Both Jason and I love this kind of thing, how things work etc.  The process is cool, and timeless.  I kept telling Jason when we arrived that I smelled something bad, like vomit.  Yeah, that'd be your fragrant bourbon smell I kept getting a drift of.

The vats of corn mash were cool.  There were 8 in this room and all were HUGE wooden vats at different stages of fermentation.  You could actually stick your fingers in it and taste it.  So weird!  They said that was the secret ingredient, lots of fingers in the bourbon making process.

We got to do bourbon tasting next to the barrel storage rooms.  I'll be honest, this wasn't my favorite part.  I'm not a bourbon connoisseur but it was RIGHT up Jason's alley.   He got to taste some products only sold at the distillery even.  
The Makers WHITE is the higher proof PGA that is before it is aged into barrels.  The 46 is a newer product for them and the small bottle is a cask strength that is before any water is added to it.

This isn't Jason's name plate but one similar to the one his would have been on.  There are 33 other names on each plate that he would share the barrel with.

I love Chihuly art and I knew the instant I saw this that it was his work!  

One of the coolest things we got to do was dip our own bottles with the signature red wax.  All the bottles that we purchased and the ones with his name on them he got to dip in the red wax. There was really an art form to getting it just right.  They said the perfect dip had 6 tendrils of was running down it.  I think our best had only 5 but not bad for our first go!  

When we left KY we headed into Nashville to stay with some of Jason's grad school friends.  It was sure to be a good weekend with great friends and lots of laughs but the guys took on ALL the cooking and cleaning also.  That was the icing!  They were pretty awesome at it too!  All I had to do was shop and wear sparkles!  If you know me at all, you know I LIVE to wear sparkles!  

I mean that is one GOOD LOOKING...standing rib roast!  The guy holding it isn't half bad either!  

The Childers had a pretty fancy set up for just a bunch of grad school friends, who just so happened to all come from TEXAS to visit!  

I was even able to sneak away one morning for a fabulous brunch with my FAVORITE and much missed running partner Stephanie.  I miss her (almost) every Tuesday and Thursday mornings because we ran at 6am sharp!  It wasn't all about the running. It was the best hour of sounding board I've ever had.  Miss this girl!!

We ended the weekend with a not-so-great football game.  I tried to go to bed several times but kept getting up to see the score. I guess I cared more than I said I did about Alabama football.  As you can see from the look on his face...they LOST.

Its the place I love.  
Where I left half my heart.  

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Christmas. WHAT?!

Sure, sure, we may be a quarter of the way to NEXT Christmas but i'm still living in the past.  At least until I feel like I've properly documented the lives of the kids for my last few missing months!  Here goes...

We had school Christmas Parties.  Why are school parties SUCH a big deal?  The kids live for these things.  They last like 30 minutes and the food is just meh!  But seriously, it's like the best party on earth to them!  It's cute. And I remember it too!
What I DON'T remember is my mom running back and forth between the two parties!  But I'm sure she did!  That's the night shift work that never gets fully appreciated until you become a parent!  So hopefully all they remember is "My mom was there!"

Lillian isn't just MY arm candy.  Jackson's classmates think she is "sooooo cute!" and he likes to show her off! Can you blame him?!

After school that day I took the kids to burn off some of that sugar   have some fun at the Children's Museum of the Woodlands.  We had only been a few times but it was fun for them to get to run around with their friends!  

Have you ever seen a cuter pole dancer fireman?!  Haha, He really can hold onto that pole pretty well!

Lillian had a whole lineup of Christmas attire.  I bet she could have nearly sported one outfit a day!  Some new and some were vintage.  This little gem was probably my sisters.  It's in the range of 30ish years old but Oh, so in style!!  I'll never get over how thankful I am that my mom kept all of these dresses!

Jason took off for 2 weeks while the boys were out. He had some extra vacation time and we really enjoyed him being home.  He works A LOT!  We took the boys to the outdoor ice skating rink that they build in The Woodlands every Christmas.  It's neat to skate outdoors in Texas.  It's also very energy inefficient.  It was cool when we went but it was one of the few cool days we had to date!  The boys took to ice skating pretty well.  Jackson skated like a robot and Lincoln was slow to start but he got the hang of it quickly.  They both had to realize that falling down wasn't so bad then it went much better.  It was such fun that we went back again once in January before they started the take down of it again.  We might have to add this to our deFoor family traditions for Christmas in the future!

Christmas Eve service is always important and special to us!  The boys enjoy the candle lighting and the music which is so familiar.  (For those of you that don't know, we commence Christmas music listening sometime after July 4th.  I'm kidding.  Kind of.)

Lillian is sporting another vintage dress.  This was my dress BUT the material was from my Granny's attic.  It is somewhere in the 50 year old range!  It's truly one of a kind!

Our Christmas tradition always includes a visit to The Waffle House.  I'm not going to say it's my favorite.  I keep trying to convince them that we could bring it up a notch but they all insist that Waffle House is the tradition.  So I guess it's sticking.  Who wouldn't love a chocolate chip waffle on Christmas Eve?  

There is nothing like seeing the magic of Christmas through your children's eyes!
This little glimmer is what makes it ALL worth it!
The light, the hope HE brings for all the World!

The traditional reading of Twas The Night Before Christmas.  

I love Lillian checking to make sure they are reading the right book!  She looks as if she's double checking to see "so you're telling me a strange guy is going to be allowed into our house tonight and he's going to be dropping off presents?"

Lincoln is pretty easy to please.  There is no doubt his age is the most magical!

"You mean all this paper and boxes are mine, mine mine?!"

She did actually act like she liked the presents she got!  It's the first toys she's really played with!  Please take a moment to note that ruffled butt!  Ahhhhh!

Lincoln wore that helicopter out over the next few days.  So much so that I had to replace it...Twice.  He's tough on his toys!

"Me, I want a Hooooo-la-hooooop!"

Look at this!  Special delivery!  A cute boy and a cute dog!  That's JUST what I wanted for Christmas!

This is probably listed in the rules under "what not to do".  Boys have a way of following those rules perfectly!  The scooters were a big hit with the whole neighborhood by the afternoon!

We always plan an elaborate breakfast and dinner on Christmas.  Jason and I like to cook and to try new recipes.  We could normally feed at least 2 more families with what we cook for just us!  This year we had a traditional Italian dish.  We made Brig-ole with homemade sauce, toasted ravioli and Dijon Asparagus Salad.  

Jason and Jackson spent the rest of Christmas break building what would become the Lego Death Star.  It was HUGE!!

Our Christmas was fabulous and I'm so thankful that we got to spend lots of time together as a family!  I'm happy we are able to balance the gifts and fun with the real reason we celebrate Christmas each year.  I hope that our kids are building memories that they will always carry close to their heart and one day pass on to their own families!