We just had the most festive Christmas weekend in our history, commercially speaking. All the things that we're told is Christmas (but really isn't) were jammed packed into this weekend. Parties. Family. Outside. Decorations. Lights. Visit with Santa. More Parties. We were ignited and launched into blissfulness this weekend and we enjoyed ourselves in every cheerful way.
Party, race, Santa, lunch, downtown, shuttle bus, local pizza, Christmas lights, church, another party, the Hobbit (for John), Survivor finale (for me). A few naps were thrown in there as well.
Friday night we hosted our biggest party to date. We've talked about throwing a Christmas party every year that we've been married. It seemed too much on top of my annual cookie exchange, but that was cancelled this year. I cancelled it specifically to throw a larger party. It was a great decision! I could do a whole post on that party, but I'm pretty sure that I'll remember that night for a long time. The best way to describe it is festive fun.
Saturday morning we went to Chattanooga's Nature Center for my brothers' race. It's a family race, and I'm not sure of the rules. I usually don't go because it's too cold, but this year was bearable. We had a great time, and I hope to make it a regular event. The race is an out-and-back, so we only get to see them start and finish. That way, we're kind of stuck for 30-ish minutes to play. We played on the playground, explored two of their swampy tree houses, saw animals, and took some pictures.
My mom was a great photographer for us, and I was able to get a sweet picture of her and her grand-babies. The setting was amazing and we were all in great spirits, so the pictures naturally turned out well. Good pictures are not just good because they're pretty, but I think they always serve as a good memory. Taking pictures with babies always involves silliness and laughter.
Next stop was Santa. I heard a rumor that there was a free Santa with free pictures at this little mall on the rebound. It used to be way cool mall with a J. Crew outlet in it, then it died, now it has all these funky local stores that are scrumptious. The whole place looks amazing.
The most amazing thing was the Santa experience. I'm pretty skeptical when it comes to the jolly fellow and am not one of those picture-every-year with him. BUT, Burl loves going to talk to him. Since it was free, I decided to go and I'm so glad that I did. It was gorgeous. Very natural. Very simple. Very perfect. The photographer and Santa were so kind. I thanked both of them and Santa replied, "oh no, thank you! This is such a treat for me." I almost got teary. Almost.
After that, we lunched and the kids got naps. I asked John if we could go back downtown for dinner. We got pizza, rode the free downtown shuttle bus (fun stories there), and went to go see the decorated windows. For the second time this year.
The windows are fun and my kids LOVE them. Burl talks about all the things he sees and Fern just jabbers and coo's. She especially loved this doggy that moved. She wouldn't leave that spot right in front of the dog. Christmas through a child's eyes is so exciting. Wonder and awe!!!
Sunday was fun. The boys went to church and I stayed home with a snotty Fern. I don't get a lot of one-on-one time with her, so when I do, I soak it up! She is just the sweetest!
Later that day, we went to a family dinner party. It was with our church. Our church encourages us to connect by what area of town we live in, which I love. Neighbors are friends and church peeps, which makes everything feel a little more cozy. After the dinner, John went to see the Hobbit with my brothers while I stayed home and watched the Survivor finale and texted my cousin's wife about everything that was happening. I'm slightly obsessed with that show. Survivor isn't really Christmas, but it makes me excited, so it counts.
While some full weekends are draining, this one was not. Some of the events were planned and some just evolved. When the weekend flow takes over, it usually takes us to a fun place. It quickly became an avalanche of Christmas activities, and I so enjoyed it. We have another fun weekend coming up. There are two parties planned, and I have a feeling that another visit with Santa and lights are brewing. Tis the season to cherish and celebrate all the special times!