While Jesse was getting tattooed on Saturday, I took the kids to McAdenville (aka "Christmas Town USA). This was a childhood tradition so it is especially fun for me to continue the tradition with my kids. Jackson's enthusiasm was contagious.
You can either walk or drive through the small town to admire the lights and decorations. Though it was cold and I had all four kids by myself, I chose to walk because there's more to see and do when you're on foot. We walked up and down the streets to see the festive homes and stores. With every display he exclaimed, "Look at Santa!" "Mom, come see the snowman!" etc.
My favorite part of McAdenville will always be the lake. When Jesse and I were newly dating in college, I took him home with me to meet my family at Christmas. Even though we had only been an official couple for a few weeks, I remember standing together on the bridge overlooking the lights. In that moment I had thought it would be the perfect spot for him to kiss me and tell me he loved me for the first time. That didn't happen that night (we exchanged "I love you" a month later) but I always think of the excitement and anticipation of that moment when I am standing on the bridge.
Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to linger since the bridge is narrow and didn't actually fit the double stroller. I was in the road at that point (which sounds a lot more dangerous than it was) so we had to keep moving.
Another benefit of walking through McAdenville is being able to go inside one of the churches that offers free cookies and hot cocoa. The church fellowship hall had several stairs. I was contemplating how I could get inside when two gorgeous men suddenly picked up the double stroller and carried James and Amelia inside. Jackson and I (along with Maddie) followed in awe. Jackson enjoyed his chocolate and all five of us were happy to nibble on a cookie.
Jackson cracked me up with the snowmen. I kept calling any snowmen "Frosty" and Jackson would correct me, saying, "That's not Frosty. That's Olaf!"
I only let the trio walk briefly in an open field. It didn't last long because Maddie fell to the ground crying, Amelia headed towards the road, and James was determined to tangle himself in the lights. I had envisioned a cute picture with all four kids by a Christmas tree, but that wasn't going to happen.
On our way back through the town, we ran into Mr. and Mrs. Claus. I don't know the background of these two individuals, but I guess they regularly dress up and sit down in front of the storefronts. Jackson happily sat on Santa's lap.
Mrs. Claus was adamant that I let James and Amelia out of their stroller, but I repeatedly refused. She climbed down the step and asked to take a picture behind the stroller. We were taking so long and a line had formed behind us. The
impatient kind dad behind us offered to take our picture so we could be on our way.
Jackson walked for two straight hours and never once complained. The trio were content the entire time as well. I was exhausted and sweating after wearing 25 lbs of baby, pushing another 50 lbs of babies, holding Jackson's hand or feeling his resistance when he held onto the stroller, and lifting the stroller up and down sidewalks that abruptly began and ended.
Thankfully, I called my oldest sister who lives nearby. She offered to help feed and change the kids.
It turned out to be a joyful evening spent celebrating the Christmas season and interacting with family.