You probably know this already, but the Advent season is a bit busy for a preacher lady. Especially one in a liturgical tradition. Especially one who loves her job. And who loves to make merry at home as well. And who is trying her best to carry on traditions started long ago, when she was on a break from the preacher lady business and things were a bit more simple.
So since you know all of this, it probably won’t come as a shock that she (me) would do something as funny as get her family all dressed up in their fancy clothes, find the baby-dog a babysitter, load everyone in the car, and be well on their way to the Symphonies holiday concert before she realized that yep, they were indeed a week early. A whole stinkin week.
What did this preacher-lady-momma do? Well, first she shed a tear. (Because crying is what she does in Advent,) and then she and her Sweet Man (who was wonderfully cheery about the whole thing,) decided to embrace the Christmas-Crazy and instead of going on one annual Christmas Outing Day, they would go on two this year.
Now, let’s be honest. Did they have time for two trips to the city to jolly things up? Nope.
Did that really matter? Nope.
When you are counting down the Christmas’ left with both kids at home on one hand, you stop worrying so much about what you have time for, and instead, do what must be done.
And so, this year, there were two Christmas Outing Days for The Greers, and this is the record, for all time, of
that those days.
Outing One: Our first stop was lunch at Star of India for the best buffet ever. We were all so hungry and ate until we couldn’t feel our toes. After that we decided we needed to walk it off, so we went shopping at the new Outlet Mall Extravaganza. We have never taken our boys into the typical Christmas shopping crazy before, so this was a fun experience for all of us, but by the end, they were looking for comfy chairs in every store. By the end Wylie had caught on to my picture-taking and got into the spirit of the thing.
After shopping we drove across town to visit The Inflatable House. This is one of our MOST favorite traditions from our old town and as long as the lovely man who does this each year continues to fill his yard, and trees, and garage, with his crazy collection of new and vintage Christmas (and the occasional Valentines Day or Halloween) decorations, I will find a way to visit every year.
I could have stood under this tree for hours. As it was, I stood there as long as I could, tears (Advent!) streaming down my face. I was missing my friend Alison, and all my friends from our playgroup from the kids were little. We discovered this little hometown treat because of them, and so every time I visit the Inflatable House I can’t help but feel nostalgic for those years when we all lived in a five-mile radius of each other, when the kids were little, and when Advent meant a little extra time in each other’s houses and lives.
After I dried my tears, we loaded up and went to see Home Alone on the big screen! What fun it was to see it in the theatre again (I saw it 25 years ago when it first came out.) The little theatre was packed with parents and kids, and it was so much fun to roar with laughter along with all the little ones seeing the movie for the first time. During the show we enjoyed a dinner of popcorn, pretzels, and hot chocolate, before loading up and heading home -full of happy – at last.
Annual Christmas Outing One was done and done wonderfully!
In the middle of the week Miles and I had our own extra little Christmas Outing – for YEARS he has been begging to go see the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and this year, thanks to a very sweet friend I had the honor of taking him! TSO might not be my most favorite thing, but I loved seeing how happy it made him, and truly, who can resist their version of Carol of the Bells? So. Much. Fun.
Finally, December 19 came – the CORRECT- date for the symphony, and it was time to done our fancy clothes again, and head back to the city for Christmas Outing Part Deux.
We began by going to the Capital. This is tradition we accidentally stumbled onto six years ago, when went one night to just look at the outside lights and let the kids run around. While we were climbing the steps, we realized that there were people coming and going in and out of the building, despite it being way past business hours. So, having nothing better to do, we followed the crowd inside and discovered that the whole place was decorated for the holidays and open to the public for touring.
And we loved it so much that we now return each and every year (except for the year I had a broken foot.) As the boys get older they find new things to love about the experience. This year we spent a lot of time in some of the halls that have historic maps and info sheets, comparing statistics from the 1800s with statistics of the 2000’s. It is so interesting to see what has stayed the same and what has changed.
Speaking of things that stay the same and things that change, the picture on the left popped up on my timehop while we were at the Capital. Five years seems like such a small amount of time, and yet so much has happened since then.
Those boys are the same and different, and so am I. Times like this I am so grateful for social media and the record it is keeping for me.
After we finished up at the State Capital, we headed to dinner (German food this time,) before heading to the concert.
And then at last, it was time! Time for the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra’s Holiday POPS Concert!
(HUGE thanks to our friends who gave us the tickets, our budding orchestra player was completely inspired!)
The concert was absolutely wonderful, and they closed the night with a crowd-particpation sing-a-long.
It was the perfect icing on top of our Christmas OutingS of 2015 cookie!
And now I have to go clean my house because the in-laws are coming and I have been having too much fun to get to it before now..
Happy Advent dear friends!
Christmas is coming….