(or, "You see, George, you really do have a wonderful life . . .")
How about a minute-by-minute, day-by-day recap of our jam-packed weekend, complete with some pretty cool photos?
You say you don't really need to know THAT much information about us? Well . . . you're gonna get it any way!! (LOL!)
Let's see . . . when I last left you, I was shaving my legs and pretty-fying myself for our date on Friday night. Gary had a company party (he works for Coca Cola) and while we really aren't big fans of the company hoohas, and Gary doesn't really have any good friends as co-workers, we kinda thought we might need to make an appearance since the invitation was from the president himself and we had skipped the last two parties. Besides, it was a chance go out on a date (something we hadn't done in a month, at least!) and a chance to get a little bit dressed up. (AND we had babysitters for the entire evening--Gary's parents were nice enough to watch the kids--so, let's get while the gettin's good. Or something like that!)
Here we are as we got ready to head out the door (we clean up pretty well, if I do say so myself! Delaney actually came to me and said, "Pop looks really good," with no mention of whether I looked good. I told Gary it was because I ALWAYS looked good. He just laughed!) . . .
While we didn't stay too long at the party (we had a running plan for the evening before we ever left--get in, get some drinks, get some food, mingle and be friendly for about an hour, then make our polite exit), we did enjoy several things about the night. First off, it was at this really cool place. Vulcan is the highest spot in Birmingham and you have the MOST gorgeous views from up there (it's a big iron statue, by the way, that commemorates Birmingham's role in the iron ore industry in the 19th and early 20th century). Also, the food was REALLY good! The caterers had set up different stations with international food--French, Italian, English, and Chinese. Everything from miniature beef wellingtons, to fresh mozarella, to sushi. And what was really great was that the waitresses took your plate away as soon as you finished eating, so it never really looked like you were making a pig of yourself!! So, I "visited" every country and really enjoyed the food! (The drinks were yummy too . . . pretty much anything you wanted!)
We took advantage of the fact that the sitters were still working hard (thanks again Larry and Clara. ha!) and went to Chili's to enjoy another drink and some appetizers. Thanks also go out to Pam, a blogger friend, who actually sent Gary a Chili's gift card. Pretty cool! Then... maybe the best part of the night . . . Gary dropped me off at home ("so you can take a bath without the kids barging in on you") and he went to pick up the girls. Very sweet!
On Saturday morning, the main event was the Hueytown Christmas Parade. This is an annual event in our little town and I think that the ENTIRE town comes out for it. Lots of excitement . . . vintage cars, lots of horses, lots of beauty queens, lots of mayors and other government dignitaries (ie., every member of the city council), cheerleaders, bands, boy scouts, football teams... etc., etc. (McKenna marched with the high school band and Delaney with her school's Safety Patrol.) A lot of time and energy taken from my life, so that the kids could get a little bit of sub-par candy (not that I don't like the parade mind you! it has its own quaint, hometown appeal, I guess!)
It was cold, but not quite as cold as we thought it would be. Instead of the anticipated 18 degrees, it was more like 40 and no wind. So, it was actually pretty bearable. But Sydney still had to get bundled up . . .
Sydney and I scouted out our spot right on the main road, right in front of Arby's.
Here comes Delaney's Safety Patrol, carrying in the parade sign (if you look to the right, she's the one with her mouth open. lol) . . .
The band did a great job! Here's McKenna (and then, after her, the band). I'm not sure why our girls have such funny expressions on their faces in the pictures we took of them . . .
The last participant in the parade is the most anticipated. It's Santa Claus, on top of a Hueytown fire truck! Sydney was VERY excited, to say the least!! "Hey Santa!!! Merry Christmas Santa!!! He looked at me!" (waving excitedly over and over) . . .
(If you want to see a few more fun pictures of the parade, go to Gary's blog to see a really funny recounting of the event!)
On Saturday afternoon, we went to hear the performances of the UAB Honor Bands. This is a very impressive deal and I'm always amazed at how these kids can put together such amazing performances! McKenna made the UAB Blazer Band for 9th-10th graders (there was also a Festival Band for those grades, as well as a Blazer and Festival Band for 11th-12th graders). Each band performed three or four compositions--all after learning the music and practicing it for just two days! They did a great job! I have NO musical ability--just a love and appreciation for it--so I'm always very impressed by this sort of thing!
(I didn't get any pictures of the event. Sorry!)
That evening, we sat down and watched our VERY FAVORITE Christmas movie of all! My niece, Lori, had never seen it before, so we had an "It's a Wonderful Life" movie-watching event!!
This was always my Dad's favorite holiday movie (in fact, one of his very favorite of ALL movies), so I grew up watching it. And I've watched it almost every year since. So, I wouldn't be surprised if I've seen the movie 20 times or so. And, you know, it never gets old! The humor and the wonderful lines, and the phenomenal acting (who was better than Jimmy Stewart?), and the powerful meaning just get to me EVERY time! I cry like a baby at the end and I'm left every time thinking to myself, "It's so true. You never know how many people your life touches. Each of us ARE vastly important!" I just LOVE that movie--and it was so good again (for like the 23rd time or so!)
I had to share the package I got in the mail on Saturday from my new blogging friend, Amy. How gorgeous is this package?? When I won the cool pink Christmas lists from one of her posts last week, I never imagined that they would come so beautifully wrapped! So, "Thank you, Amy!" You're a doll! (And the lights are SO cool. I'm painting Delaney's room hot pink and green, so I'm thinking of incorporating the lights in her room somehow. I'll make sure I post the final picture of it, of course!)
You also won a fan, Amy, with my little Scout. She loves boxes more than any store-bought gifts, so the box the lights came in were a big hit! Here she is saying, "The box is gonna be a drive-thru." Fun times!
On Sunday, we had a wonderful time at church (the sermon was awesome, and really reminded me of what this Christmas season is all about!). I went and picked up some photos at Costsco, picked up a gift for Gary from HERE (just thought I'd make you wonder about something, Gary!), and then came home to get ready to go to one final event for the weekend!
McKenna has been helping her youth director with the conducting of an inner-city choir not too far from us. Tonight was the choir's Christmas performance and it was SO good. Just so proud of McKenna for stretching out and trying something new, and so proud of those cute kids and what a great job they did!
Then tonight, we didn't so much enjoy watching the New Orleans Saints beat up on our Cowboys (Phats--I agree with you that your guy Drew Brees is something awesome. He beat us, and Romo, all over the field!), but did enjoy our Advent celebration together as a family. The only thing I DIDN'T get to do this weekend was do some scrapbooking with my friend Adrienne; we'd planned on getting together Sunday afternoon, but busy-ness on both of our parts kept us from it. We need to do it SOON, though!
As I finish writing this post (to all of you who stuck with me and read it all . . . Wow!!), I get ready for bed with a tired body, a couple of worries on my mind, but a heart full of gratitude. I can go along with Clarence, the raggedy angel from my favorite Christmas movie, who said . . . "You really do have a wonderful life!"
Yes, I do!!