Sunday, December 4, 2011

Two down, one to go

Today is going to be a festive family fun day. We've decided we're going to dedicate all or most of this day to holiday activities, just the 3 of us. We're going to go get our Christmas tree, we're going to decorate the house, we're going to watch a Christmas movie or two, and Trin is going to paint some ornaments. All in all, I'm thinking it's going to be a pretty great day.

Getting myself back into the spirit of things might be difficult considering I got to clean up a raging river of Labrador vomit first thing when I woke up this morning. I also cleaned up Labrador vomit yesterday evening. (I'm all barfed out, thanks!) So in an effort to try to recapture some of my holiday excitement from the past couple of days, I figured I'd blog a little about the 2 community festivities we've attended since my last post.

First was the Victorian Christmas parade. This is an event that we have only missed once in 6 years. It's always unbearably cold and crowded, but our little fam LOVES it nonetheless. This was the first year we took our youngest nephew with us. He can be a handful, as I'm sure I've mentioned in previous posts, but he was actually very well behaved despite his mom's warning that he had been grouchy earlier in the day.
We all bundled up and headed out to Jacksonville an hour early to try to find a decent spot for the kids to see the parade. We ended up finding a pretty good piece of curbside property to park ourselves so the kids had a good vantage point.

My besty & her clan showed up just as the parade was about to start. We didn't get to all stand together up by the curb, but her kiddos were able to snag a little space up front while my besty & her boyfriend hung back and watched from the steps of a local shop. My besty's daughter, whom I lovingly refer to as Doghuter (it's a joke based on Brit's misspelling of the word "daughter"), made the horrible mistake any teenager could make and stood right next to me through the festivities. You see, friends, I like to embarrass the holy living hell out of teenagers in my direct vicinity b/c, well, it's just fun. So as floats and bands and bagpipers paraded by, I made sure to sing (loudly) the words to the songs they were playing. In case that wasn't enough, I also made sure to put my arm around Doghuter and sway to the music. You know, so everyone would know she was in our group. :)

Typically after the parade we stay for the tree-lighting with Father Christmas. This year, however, the tree lighting just wasn't enticing enough to make us continue freezing our buns off while simultaneously dealing with increasingly hyper children. So we gathered our bunch of hooligans and headed for the warmth of our home. No matter how many layers of clothing we wear, we always manage to suffer. Yet no matter how much we suffer, we always manage to have a great time.

Last night was the Winter Festival downtown. Having only attended this particular event once before, I recalled how much fun it had been and was really excited to take the kiddo. I also figured we'd enjoy it a little more b/c we didn't have to contend with a cranky or wild 3 year old.
Amidst the activities, a few of our friends showed up with their chitlins. Things started out well with a candy cane hunt & marshmallow roast. Then came the long, cold lag between those events and the parade to the plaza where the festival was taking place. While the kids ran amok on the playground, us adults hung out, lamented the days before our fingers were frost-bitten, and complained about the lag in events.

Finally the parade began and we walked down the middle of main street in a mob of children and adults to the plaza in the heart of downtown. We could see canopies up all over the plaza, which to me says there should be plenty of crafts and games to join in. Boy was I wrong! There was a bean bag toss, some free crescents, and free cupcakes for the kids and over-priced cupcakes for adults. Other than that, there was nothing of any interest. We missed out on the free hot chocolate, which was like denying a glass of water to a man in the middle of the desert. I could see some spots where kids were taking pictures with various sports mascots and I heard a rumor that Santa was taking pictures with kids across the street. I say it was a rumor b/c we never actually ventured that direction. After standing around waiting for the tree to be lit, we all decided to call it a bust and get our toes near heat.

While the actual festival was disappointing, I would not call it a wasted evening. Having our friends there to hang out with was a lot of fun. We chatted endlessly, complained about the cold, and otherwise just enjoyed being able to spend a little time together. As we were leaving, Chrissie had the brilliant idea to make it a "thing" and have a game night. So we all adjourned to my casa for games, pizza, and spiked cocoa. (The only bummer was that the hubs was his mom's date to her company Christmas party, so he missed most of the game night. He made it home in time for a fun game of Scrabble, which I won.) The impromptu game night was really the highlight of the evening for me. I absolutely love gathering with friends to play games and act silly. (Maybe this was my favorite part of the night b/c I won both games. But who's keeping score?!)

Next weekend will be the last of the community Christmas events followed by Justin's birthday bash, which just so happens to be a game night/dinner extravaganza. By then, our house will be decorated for the holiday, making it a nice, cozy atmosphere to enjoy our time with friends. This will be the first time in years that I've planned a party without being completely frazzled and stressed out about how I'm going to pull it all off. There is no need to decorate, save for a few streamers & such. Dinner is one of my specialties, which is very easy to make. I'll bake some cupcakes, but there isn't much else to be done. Which is pretty rad, if you ask me.

Ahh...mission accomplished: I'm back in the spirit of things!!

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