Sunday, January 12, 2014

Weekly Wrap-Up – December 22nd-28th

Here’s another recap of stuff we did in December!

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We have an annual tradition of going to the Winter Wonderland at Hunt Club Farm in Virginia Beach.  Steve normally goes with us, but he stayed home to wrap Christmas presents this time.  The kids and I had a great time, and it was again unseasonably warm, which made it a be more pleasant to spend time outside.

First, we went through the Winter Wonderland barn, which exhibits tons of animated Christmas displays, most of which came from the local landmark Coleman’s Nursery, which burned down many years ago.  It was an icon of the community here, and I recall visiting it as a kid myself, so I love taking my kids to see some of the same animatronics now that they are at Hunt Club Farm.

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Next, we go through the petting zoo, enjoying the light displays and best of all for the kids, visiting the chicken pen!  This is their favorite part of the farm, and it’s near impossible to drag them away once they’ve gone in to chase the chickens!  Poor, helpless creatures…

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This chicken seemed to want to roost on Hayden’s head and sat there forever!  The only thing that lured the kids away from the chicken pen was the promise of roasting marshmallows on the open fire pits they had set up…so finally, we went to the campfires to get all sugared up.

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On our way out, we noticed a wooden cutout of the Grinch.  We lovingly call Steve the Grinch because he’s generally so crabby and can’t seem to have any real fun doing anything in particular, so we stopped to pose for a picture, jesting that dad really was there with us after all!  Winking smile

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It was a lot of fun, and I can’t imagine letting a Christmas go by when we haven’t stopped in there for a family good time.  In fact, a Groupon type deal came up for an annual pass to the farm for $12/person, so I grabbed that up so we can visit the farm all year long whenever the kids get a hankering for some chicken-chasing fun! 

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A quick dash through the lighted tunnel on the way out, and we were off on our next adventure!

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When we left the farm, we headed out to see a house we’d heard about in Chesapeake that is known for a crazy Christmas light show that is coordinated to music.  This guy has his own FM transmitter, so you can pull up, turn on the music in your vehicle, and enjoy the show!

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We’d never seen anything like it!  It was really crazy!  Not to mention that a steady stream of cars turned out to see what the fuss was all about.  I sure would hate to be one of his neighbors!

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The next day, the kids and I decided to break out the Chocolate Holiday House kit we’d bought and put it to good use.  We’d bought it on the Bed, Bath, & Beyond website after Christmas when it was just a couple of bucks and then saved it to use this Christmas. 

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We thought it would be more fun than doing a gingerbread house because we’d be more likely to actually eat it when it was done.  To no one’s surprise, the kids managed to polish this thing off during our Christmas break!  I have to admit it was fun and easy to make together, and it was very appetizing to eat afterwards!  No gross frosting…every bit of it was made of chocolate candy melts, even to “glue” it together.  Ingenious!

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Another Christmas tradition I have with the kids is to take them out on Christmas Eve and drive around looking at Christmas lights in the area.  Usually, we just drive through random nearby neighborhoods, but when we visited that house in Chesapeake, we saw a recommended list of other residential light shows on the Holt Family’s website.  So we jotted down the addresses and made what seemed like an endless trek all over tarnation, taking us where the GPS told us to go.

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Wow!  That was really a lot of fun.  99% of the houses we visited had their own FM transmitters with music coordinated to their light shows.  It was really something else to see, and the kids declared it made this year’s trip to look at Christmas lights the best one ever!

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Christmas Day finally arrived!  After opening gifts, we did our final tradition of posing in front of the tree for family pictures.  With 5 people and 2 dogs to photograph, this quickly turned into an adventure!

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We had a wonderful holiday together!  I usually end the day by declaring that Christmas is over and packing up the tree and all of the decorations (much to the chagrin of all my friends), but this year, I set up before Thanksgiving and actually made it until 2 days after Christmas before packing it up!  That was as late as I could go, as Holden’s birthday was 3 days after Christmas.  I like to set one occasion aside before celebrating the next!  Smile

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Then Saturday brought Holden’s 6th birthday.  Happy Birthday, my sweet baby!  This definitely means there are no more babies in my house any more.  Sad smile  He opened up his gifts, with his favorite being a brand new blue (his favorite color) football (his favorite thing in the world)!

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Throughout the day, Haylee and I came and went to the school table and worked on an awesome 300-piece jigsaw puzzle of a quilt pattern.  We finished it the same day!  Isn’t it pretty?

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Then after lunch, I surprised Holden with an ice cream cake I’d stashed at the neighbor’s house earlier in the week.  He was so surprised! 

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During the day, I thought about how his car seat was becoming a tight fit and decided to weigh him, check the seat’s limitations, and read up on the requirements of VA law.  I realized he was ready to have his seat converted to a booster!  Wow, what a milestone!  So I spent the remainder of the afternoon taking his seat apart, washing everything, and putting it back together as a booster seat. 

That night, we took Holden to IHOP to use his birthday coupon to get breakfast-for-dinner.  He got to enjoy his first ride in his “new” booster seat on the way!  Sniff, sniff…just when exactly did he do all of this growing up?!?  Anyway, the staff surprised him with a free ice cream sundae and a song! 

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When the waitress saw how much he loved the maraschino cherry on top, she brought him a whole bowl of them!  He ended up eating the bowl of cherries and gave his sundae to the rest of us!  Crazy boy…

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Stay tuned for our final wrap-up of December and our early January events.