A Magical Mountain Christmas ✨🎄

Good morning, friends! I hope you have had a wonderful start to the New Year. Currently, the house is a mess, laundry is everywhere, my to-do list is about a mile long, but I really just want to share with y’all about our Christmas before it gets too far gone! 

For Christmas, we met with my mom, Pete, Halston and Kevin in a cabin-inspired Airbnb home on Lake Lure, NC. Lake Lure is situated among breathtaking mountains, so peaceful and quiet you could hear a pin drop. On a hike, you may have the occasional black bear sighting, as my mom and Pete did. It’s the type of place that when you’re there, it feels like the rest of the busyness of the world fades. And once we were settled in, we were all able to take a big deep breath, but the lead up to the road trip was pure chaos (as is expected!).

We had been planning on taking my car for the road trip as it’s a smoother ride than DJ’s truck, and Quinn seems to tolerate the longer rides in it better. However, with the storm and plummeting temps coming in, taking the truck was a no-brainer. The only problem was we didn’t have a cover for the truck bed (with the gifts, baby things and our own luggage we needed to use the bed!). On Sunday, I was calling every car shop in town and looking online for a cover that would come in on time for us to leave. I found one that would arrive the 21st. I then frantically called around to mechanics to have it installed on the 22nd, the day we were pegged to leave. Thankfully, Joe’s Auto in Stow agreed to make it work even though they had a full docket as was. They were so kind and had it done by noon on the 22nd. (Although they did mess with me and called telling me I had the wrong size cover- followed by, “just kidding, you’re all set!” lol, I needed the laugh that day, but I did believe him because I totally would order the wrong size). I picked up the truck, thanked them profusely, loaded it up after zooming around packing in the morning, and we were ready to hit the road when DJ got back from work that evening. 

We left around 8 pm on December 22nd after dropping off Moose at Marie’s (so hard to leave him, but we knew the 9ish hour drive would be near impossible with him in the truck- more motivation for us to get a mini van ha!). While the driving through winding West Virginia can put anyone on edge in the middle of the night, we were lucky to have avoided the storm and only dealt with fog and rain. 

Quinn did overall pretty well through the night. We arrived in NC around 6 AM on December 23rd to a balmy zero degrees outside. DJ and I were zombies- neither of us had slept a wink. My mom was eager and ready to scoop up Quinn- so I handed her over as I fell into bed and a deep sleep. I didn’t realize I hadn’t given her any of Quinn’s toys to play with or her pacifier- so my mom and sister got creative with entertainment using kitchen supplies! 

Look at these two together! <3 

When she started getting hungry, I got up to feed her, and just those few hours of sleep made a huge difference. I still had some cobwebs the rest of the day, but I could function! 

I took in the breathtaking home. It was so cozy and not a detail was spared. A book was lovingly placed on the blanket near the fireplace, there was a s’mores station ready for the outdoor pit, a hot tub was sizzling and ready for all, and the view of the mountains and lake was magnificent. Here’s a compilation from the weekend:

Downstairs, there was an adorable little sitting area.

While there, we gave Quinn blueberries with oatmeal for breakfast every morning (they even had a high chair!). We discovered blueberries are a contender for favorite food. 

After her morning nap, the fam watched Quinn while I snuck off to the workout facility to get a real deal workout in! It felt amazing!! The views from the workout center were beautiful too. 

When I returned, I got both me and Quinn ready for the day. I put her in the most adorable onesie that our family friend, Melinda, made her that fit perfectly!

Quinn is pulling up on furniture at every turn! Too fast, Quinnie girl! Momma needs you to slowww down. She also started saying “uh-ma” over the weekend, which is transforming more and more into a confident “momma” by the day <3.

For lunch every day we were there I had a turkey wrap with veggies and hummus, a side of Siggi’s yogurt and some popcorners. 

For dinner that evening, my mom made a delishh Jamaican curried stew. This is definitely going to be added to our winter meal rotation! We pureed up a bit for Quinn to enjoy too, and, boy, she did. It even had a little spice, but she didn’t seem to mind. Probably because I craved spicy food like nobody’s business when I was pregnant. 

For dinners, we hooked up the Inglesina fast chair so she could eat at the table with us. LOVE this thing!!

Cuddles with Grampy after dinner <3.

Kevin arrived later that evening and met Quinn for the first time right before she went to bed! She warmed right up to him.

The fam played Chameleon late into the evening (our current fav game) while sippin’ on Kahlua & Creams and orange vodka sprites. Pete dominated! I hit the hay earlier than everyone knowing I’d be up bright and early with Quinn. 

And I surely was! Around 630 on Christmas Eve, I got up with her and made some oatmeal with pb and coffee. My mom heard us and snuck out to kindly hold Quinn, so I could eat my breakfast without interruption (it’s the little things as a mom, isn’t it?). 

After her first nap, DJ took over so I could sneak out again for another run. Those little 30 min workouts through the weekend felt amazing. Sometimes if I try to add in a workout on daycare days I feel so guilty, so I don’t really enjoy it even though I know it’ll make me a better mom ultimately – it’s just a tug-of-war of the mind and heart!

For Quinn’s naps, I just walked her in the carrier in the downstairs sitting area.

It was tough at times feeling like I was missing out on precious time with the rest of the family I rarely see. But on the same token, I love Quinn’s nap time because it means cuddles for me. At home it’s a non-issue (I even can often get things done while she’s in the carrier or walk so I’m getting exercise), so it’s hard to have incentive to try the crib… But a time like that where I felt like I was missing out was a good reminder of why it’d be good to get to sleep in a crib on her own for naps. She does it at daycare (cat naps, but still), so I know she can do it! I told DJ one of my NY goals is to get her taking one solid crib nap a day by March. I don’t think that’s too lofty at all. I just need to be consistent which I have not been. It’s tough with my work schedule being so inconsistent & with all the sickness we’ve had recently. And I mean, again, it’s hard to turn down the sweet snuggles! Ok, I’ll stop now with my stream of consciousness lol. 

P.S. DJ offered many times to do the carrier nap with her, but I was worried about her getting overtired if she fought falling asleep, so I just said I’d do them.

Anyway, once she was up and ready to groove for the rest of the day, I changed us into our outfits for family photos. We took many, and of course, I have to share most of them :).

I did a little mini haul of outfits from H & M for Quinn- they have such cute stuff & you can find great deals!

I do love the neutrals, despite the “sad beige baby” warriors out there.. but come on, no one can accuse this girl of being sad!

For dinner, we had salad, wild rice, peas, veggie shish kebobs and beef tenderloin with bearnaise. As Quinn has tolerated yogurt and me eating a little goat cheese without issue, I decided to have a little bearnaise – and she seemed to do well! 

I had this alcohol-removed Luminara wine my mom brought along for dinner- it’s the best NA red wine I’ve tried yet! Good “fake” reds are really hard to find; whites are much better. But this was as good as it gets IMO!

Quinn had a serenity kids beef, kale and sweet potato pack. These were easy to bring along to make sure she got her solids in while traveling. She loves these packs, and they’re made with only organic good stuff.

Once we got her ready for bed, we started a couple new traditions. First, we traditionally celebrated Christmas on Christmas Eve with my dad every year, so as a way to honor and remember him we decided to have Quinn open one gift on Christmas Eve.

She opened her first ornament that matched her nursery theme <3. 

We then read The Night Before Christmas, which is surprisingly longer than I remembered ha!

We played a round of Chameleon and then loaded up Church on the living room TV.

Quinn and I called it a night so we could be rested for Santa’s arrival!

Doesn’t get cozier than this!

Before doing gifts, we enjoyed a spectacular spread my mom put together of my grandma’s mouth-watering quiche, cinnamon rolls, a tofu scramble, pastry, bacon, egg scramble with no cheese (for me), tater tots and fruit!

We poured mimosas, and my mom and I enjoyed non-alcoholic mimosas made with Surely wine (incredible).


Quinn opened some of her stocking after breakfast before taking a nap while the rest of us exchanged gifts. She snoozed well in my carrier despite the shuffling of wrapping paper and sound of torn open boxes. 

Sweet girl & her first stocking!

DJ took the pic after she woke up, and it melts my heart!!!

Time to join in on the fun!

and we sure did have fun!

The rest of the day we just lounged and relaxed. For dinner, we had asparagus, mashed potatoes and the most tremendous seabass made in the air fryer! I can’t believe I didn’t get a pic. It was out-of-this-world good! Just melted in your mouth. 

We checked in with Marie, and she sent us a Google file with Moose pics that helped us being away from him. He seemed to be having a blast! I admittedly did cry on Christmas because I missed him soooo much. 

How cute is this. It amazes me how she can get them all on a schedule. Also we were all cracking up at Moose choosing the smallest dog bed.

And that brings us to December 26th, sadly our last day.

We started the day with more fun by rolling one of her new gifts (a sensory ball) back and forth. Seeing how excited/proud she gets of herself brings me so much joy!!

Oh, and we couldn’t let Christmas pass without putting Quinnie in this outfit… 

We relaxed most if the day then packed up to go. Quinn soaked up some treasured last moments with her Grammy, Grampy, Aunt Hally and Uncle Kevin.

On our way out of town, we stopped by my Aunt and Uncle’s home in Asheville. It was special getting all the little cousins together for the first time!

Also, this was my first time going to my Aunt and Uncle’s new home- it is a renovated barn, and it may be the most incredible home I’ve ever seen! 

We left around 630 pm to hit the road after enjoying dinner and each other’s company. Quinn was not having it on the way home. Considering we have done three big overnight trips like this, and this was the only rough leg we’ve had, I consider ourselves pretty lucky. She was definitely overtired and, ironically, when babies get overtired it’s harder for them to fall asleep. We saw this scenario play out much of the drive home. I was so desperate at times to settle her I would lean over and nurse her for comfort in the car seat, lol.  When she did finally stop fighting it, I had to hold her hands or she’d startle awake. Thankfully, she slept well once we were home by around 4 am, and then she was her happy self and made a great unpacking buddy the next day :).

Thanks for sharing in our very special Christmas with us! Thank you also to my mom and Pete for putting this unforgettable family trip together! 

Questions for you:

  • Do you usually travel for the holidays or stay local?
  • What was the highlight of your Christmas?



23 thoughts on “A Magical Mountain Christmas ✨🎄

  1. I’ve been so looking forward to reading your Christmas post- and it was amazing, just like I thought it would be! Quinnie had a perfect first Christmas! Ok, I’m going to read your list all over again! Happy New Year!

  2. My husband and I (along with our 2 dogs) drive 3.5-4 hours every Thanksgiving and Christmas to be with my family. It’s become quite the chore with both dogs having developed travel anxieties, but we’re working on it and the destination is always worth it.

    This year my husband and I along with my brother gifted my parents a night out at the National Harbor with some spending money and a hotel room booked and paid for; we offered to pet sit their fur babies while they were away. They had a blast and I think it was a much needed break for them. 🙂

    1. Oh wow that is quite a trek with the two pups! So true about the destination being worth it though.

      That is the sweetest Christmas gift!! I LOVE that idea and May steal it in the future. I bet that meant the world to your parents!

  3. I genuinely don’t know where to start. The rental looks unbelievable, and I think your parents did a phenomenal job planning every detail down to the food! You all always eat so well. I love your creative meals. I would love for our family to bring in some variety, but with the different preferences and such, it probably won’t happen.

    You look incredible, Mack! You beam and radiate happiness, and your family picture outfit was so cute. I love your family pj’s too! Quinn’s looks vintage and so classic. I wish I had bought one like it for Ansley!

    I have felt that guilt of moving my body too, but it truly helps to relieve stress and tension, and I feel I then show up better as a mom and a wife. Don’t feel bad for prioritizing yourself!

    I love her first ornament! I think I saw that on Amazon. I almost bought one for Ans! My MIL found one for her at Cracker Barrel, but it looks kind of funny. The bottle doesn’t quite look like a bottle. Ha.

    I adore all that you shared, and while the trip back was rough, I am so glad you were able to see plenty of family and soak up Quinn’s first Christmas.

    1. Hi, friend!!! So fun to read your comment. I’m so thankful to my mom and Pete for organizing everything- I agree, they nailed it! It is fun trying new dishes- usually we do paella for Christmas Eve, but that would have been hard at a rental, so it was a delicious change with some new dishes!

      Thank you for your super kind words <3. I can truly say, as I'm sure you feel the same, I have never felt more fulfilled & full of joy!!

      Thank you for saying this!! Can't tell ya how much it helps to hear.

      Awwww! I'm laughing at imaging the bottle that's not quite a bottle. A pick-your-own adventure ornament, if you will, ha!

      Thank you for sharing in this fun trip with us 🙂

  4. Every photo here just makes me smile! What a beautiful Christmas blog this is and I will definitely look at these pictures over and over. Quinn could not be cuter and that early morning face of her looking up at you is precious! Thanks for this blog gift!! XOXO

  5. What a wonderful Christmas you had. I’m so happy for you all. When my kids were young I stored my Tupperware in a low cupboard and when I was working in the kitchen they could play in that cupboard. It would entertain them for quite a while. My granddaughter Addy, who just turned 5, loves blueberries and every year since she was 1 she comes out to the farm to pick blueberries with grandma. She ends up eating more than she takes home. It is such a special time.

    1. That’s such a great idea!! I may need to steal this one!

      How special to have that time with Addy- she will cherish those memories for a lifetime!! I may need to see if there are any places to pick blueberries near here! Thanks for stopping in, Ruth 🙂 Hope you are doing so well!

  6. This is the post I’ve been waiting for!!!! I’ll try to comment more later, but right now I just want to say how cuuuuute that Christmas baby is and I love all the family photos and that photo that DJ took right after she woke up should be blown up, framed, and hung on a wall.

    As for sad beige baby, EXCUSE ME???? Quinn is a beautiful, chic baby in earth tones! You just keep right on wearing them, Quinn!

  7. Quinn keeps getting cuter with each blog post – it must be the genes (or maybe the bows). 🙂 Look at those six teeth you were telling me about. Blueberries – well, she got right into that treat didn’t she? What an amazing location and the perfect mountain hideaway for a family get together at the most magical time of the year! Happy new year to you and your family Mackenzie!

  8. What fun you all had in such a beautiful place! So glad you could be with family even though the trip back was tough.
    Happy New Year!

  9. Merry belated Christmas and Happy New Year!!!
    Wow, that ‘cabin’ was breathtaking. That first picture just took my breath away. It was relaxing just looking at your photograph of it. Ha, ha.
    And hmmmm, Quinn’s little fringe-bottom jeans. I can’t handle the cuteness!!!! Also do those jeans come in my size?!? Although let’s face it, we all know that she wears them better. Just too precious. Also her in the large, yellow bow was just cuteness overload!
    I fully understand the mom guilt over having someone watch her while you work-out (been there… too often, still do that), but it’s SO important!!! It’s like when an airplane goes down, you’re asked to put the oxygen mask on yourself first and then your children. You can’t care for your family if you’re not taking care of yourself. And a happy and healthier you means you’ll be that better of a mom. So don’t think of it as being selfish, but instead think of how much more amazing you’ll be for Quinn if you do take those moments. 🙂
    Your family is just SO beautiful. Anytime you’re in Massachusetts, you need to let me know; so that I can photograph you all. My little photography business is still tiny, but I have fun with it. So just sayin’, if you’re ever in the area together, you have a free photo session lined up. 😉
    Your aunt and uncle’s home was just GORGEOUS!!!
    This sounded like such a perfect, beautiful Christmas for you all. I’m SO glad!
    We had a wonderul Christmas as well. We stayed local, and it was quiet but perfect. There was something really simple but special about our holiday as well. I think that COVID taught us all to just appreciate the moment and the people we can spend it with. 🙂

    1. Hi, Nicole!! Merry Belated Christmas and Happy New Year to you too, sweet friend!! I felt the same- I was in awe when they sent where we would be staying! Hahah- sometimes I wish I could wear her outfits too, lol!

      Thank you thank you thank you for sharing that analogy & your encouragement – I need to remember this!! I LOVE this perspective <3

      Oh my gosh you are too kind!! I really will take ya up on it if we are ever in the area- either way I just would love to meet you!! Congrats on the photography business too- what a fun endeavor- you definitely have a great personality for it, I know you make all your clients, even the camera shy ones, so comfortable!

      Quiet Christmases are truly some of the best <3. Sometimes it's hard to stay present in chaos. Glad it was a good one for you all! I so so agree about COVID teaching us to appreciate the moment. Thank you tons for reading & sharing in this special trip with us!

  10. I know you realize how fortunate you are to have such a beautiful family. What a fabulous Christmas you all had, Quinn was definitely the cutest one there! I can’t believe how fast Quinn is growing up! I loved the video with the ball when she wanted a hug for her accomplishment, there will be many more hugs to come.

    1. Aw thank you tons, Diane 🙂 I have to agree with you!!
      I watched that video on loop for days, hehe. I just love how excited she gets when she realizes she threw the ball & wanting the hug melts my heart! Thanks for stopping in & sharing in this special time with us! Hope your New Year is off to a great start!

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