*Cody went hunting Friday afternoon, and the boys and I headed back to my parents' to help them decorate their tree. I'm not sure how "helpful" we were as Brandon is very opinionated about where things should go. ;)
I love those three small red stockings hanging on the tree. One for Duffy. One for Shane. One for Lucky. Those were our three dogs when I was growing up, and those stockings still get put out every single year. We love our doggies!
*The boys had some quiet time while I finished some decorating at home and while we waited for Daddy to return from hunting. We filled our house with lots of Christmas movies and music all weekend long.
*Friday night we headed downtown to Holiday Hoopla, our town's annual kickoff to the Christmas season. It was very cold, but it's one of those things that you just can't miss. Our Main St. looks like a scene out of a Christmas movie, and I have so much pride in our community during this night every year. It amazes me every year -- this year especially -- how many people show up for this in the freezing cold. As my dad said that night: "Only in Iowa." I think my friend Gary on Facebook said it best when he shared a picture of the mob of people surrounding the 4th St. music stage: "Cedar Falls. We may be cold this time of year, but I'll be damned if this isn't the way life is supposed to be." It truly is remarkable looking out on the crowd and seeing dozens of small children on their daddy's shoulders. Since Jaden is fascinated with drummers, we got up right next to the stage and watched the entire show from there while waiting for Santa's big arrival.
And when Santa arrived, we followed his sleigh up Main St., stopping at the curb for a moment where there was a small break in the crowd. Just as Santa rode by us, he pointed down at Jaden and said, "Hi Jaden!" The look on my five year olds face at that moment was priceless. Well worth the freezing toes and Brandon's near Santa miss when he had to go potty!
We watched the fireworks from the warmth of our car and cozied up at home under blankets when it was all over. We read Christmas books by tree light, and I made a warm mug of hot cocoa.
I love that whenever my sleepy boys seek comfort and warmth, they end up side by side.
*Saturday was for present wrapping, Christmas coloring and a trip to Aplington for a casual Ubben Thanksgiving of pizza and football. Cody helped his dad load up a trailer to prepare them for their big move next week, and we welcomed James and Cassi back from their honeymoon.
*And Sunday. We started our Advent calendar... a tradition the boys love. This little Fisher Price Advent might not be the prettiest or the most traditional but I love that each day when we take a character out of its pocket, it forces a conversation about the real reason we celebrate Christmas. And the boys love that it plays Silent Night at the push of a button!
*After church, Cody and Jaden went to a friend's house to watch the Bucs game, and Brandon and I spent the afternoon making cookies, building with Lincoln Logs and enjoying some relaxing cuddle time. I tried this new recipe from Pinterest, and these turned out so good. The whole cookie practically melts in your mouth. I always love when a Pinterest recipe works! ;)
*Sunday night we headed back to my parents' for my mom's birthday. Present opening, fried chicken... and more of that pumpkin pie.
It was a fulfilling weekend... every night ending around the Christmas tree with my candles lit and Christmas stories before bed. So much to look forward to this month...