We woke up to a leisurely Thanksgiving morning with nowhere to be until mid day. We stayed in our pajamas, brought up all of our Christmas loot from the basement storage room, and told Brandon two dozen times, "be gentle" while hanging the ornaments on the tree. Last year, we decorated while the boys napped. This year, we let them help. (I did have to tell Jaden a couple of times not to hang three ornaments on the same branch).
Brandon got really into "Coming to America" during the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade. In fact, when they went to commercial, he hit the TV and yelled in protest. (True story).
It was Brandon's turn this year to help put the star on the top of the tree.
I absolutely love Christmas decorating. I love pulling memories out of a box that you haven't seen in a year.
I love adding that one or two new ornaments to the tree and reflecting on the ornaments from year's past.
There's hanging the stockings...
...and turning off all the lights in the house... even in the middle of the day... so that the white lights can shine with just a bit more sparkle...
...There's looking at old Christmas cards... while adding new ones to the mix...
...and there's Jesus in a manger. Always.
After we finished decorating, we headed to my parents' house for our first Thanksgiving meal of the weekend. Last year, a new tradition was started when my dad purchased a Christmas train for their house. Jaden couldn't wait to help Papa put it together this year. He's been talking about this train since football season kicked off.
And then it was time to eat. The turkey this year was extra delicious, and I have to admit that I'm pretty proud of how my pumpkin layered cheesecake turned out. It was my very first attempt at a cheesecake... and it won't be my last.
Friday night we continued another tradition that we had to miss last year due to cold weather and sickly kids. I was really excited to return to Holiday Hoopla downtown Cedar Falls this year. It was perfect weather, and the perfect night. It started out a little shaky when we first got there -- Jaden was afraid of the giant snowman character, and Brandon wanted nothing to do with his stroller or Daddy's shoulders - he just wanted to run wild up and down Main St. independently. But once that helicopter appeared overhead, and Jaden realized that it was carrying none other than Santa Claus himself... the night turned "just right." There is nothing like the feeling of watching hundreds of kids on their daddy's shoulders squeel in delight with eyes wide as can be when they catch their first glimpse of Santa. I'm not embarassed to admit that a lump formed in my throat as I took it all in. Holiday Hoopla is another event that makes our town pretty special. And this year, the crowd appeared to be the biggest yet.
And once that giant tree was lit and those fireworks started exploding in the sky, our kids did not want the night to end. (And neither did I). This was their first experience watching fireworks. Brandon couldn't take his eyes off the show, and Jaden said, "somebody is playing those drums really hard!" -- every time one exploded with a boom.
It's that time of year -- where everything is extra special, extra sparkly, time with family means more than ever, and adults get to be kids again.
Merry season of Christmas to you and yours...
...from all of us!