//a Black Friday that did not include shopping but a whole lot of lounging instead. While Cody went hunting, the boys and I vegged at Mom and Dad's new place and helped them set up their new tree for their first Christmas in the new house. It was such a cozy morning, as I sipped on Starbucks, helped hang ornaments here and there, and cuddled with Dasher by the fireplace in front of Star Wars and yes - more Hallmark movies.
//a Black Friday afternoon around our own tree, playing board games and listening to Christmas music.
//a Black Friday tradition - Holiday Hoopla. I once again made dinner reservations weeks in advance, and we stayed warm inside while the stage came to life directly outside on Main Street. And once again, this evening did not disappoint. It's always a special night, but there's also that familiar routine to it all that keeps us going back year after year. The way my dad always makes a comment about how amazing our community is to show up in numbers like they do. The way the hundreds of people stand shoulder to shoulder, hundreds of kids mount their daddy's shoulders, and everyone joins in unison to sing, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, never failing to put that familiar lump in my throat as I take it all in. There's the march up Main Street towards the river bridge, the traffic on 1st Street backed up as far as the eye can see, the lighting of the tree and the way the river banks are lined with families all bundled up in hats and mittens. This year was the warmest one yet, and I loved how when it was all over, instead of families racing to the warmth of their cars and homes, families and friends mingled long after fireworks were over to celebrate in front of coffee shops and store windows. Yet in addition to all that good, I'm not sure how it happens, but every year at Holiday Hoopla, something extra special seems to take shape for us. There was the one year that Santa called out Jaden's name from atop his sleigh as he waved at him, there was last year as my dad himself got to welcome Santa to town in front of our the mobs of people, and then there was this year. When Brandon insisted that we get as close to Santa on his rocket ship to watch the fireworks alongside him. There we stood at the top of the bridge, directly over the water, fireworks booming right above our heads, when Mrs. Claus walked right over to our boys, took them each by the hand as she called them by their first names, and told them they were on the nice list. Their eyes were so big and Brandon kept saying, "That was SO cool!" the whole way home. It was a good night, one we'll always remember.
//Warming up post-hoopla with hot cocoa and Christmas sprinkles, a Netflix Christmas special and the first Christmas reading by tree light.
//A Saturday of basketball followed by Main Street shopping, Santa letter writing and a game of pickup basketball at the park. Brandon and I played two-on-two vs. Cody and Jaden, and Brandon scored more baskets than his big brother!
//A Saturday night with friends. We introduced the Graham's to Raspberry wine, enjoyed a cheese spread and ordered in pizza, let the kids run wild in the basement for a few hours, before all cuddling together on their big sectional couch in front of Home Alone and their Christmas tree. It was a fun night.
//a relaxing Sunday of Christmas baking, football on TV, some basketball with friends and teammates at the rec center, and a whole lot of snuggles under blankets.
It was such a good, drawn-out weekend, and I'm more than ready to do a lot more of all of this over the long Christmas break!