Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Holiday Traditions: Friends.

My favorite part of the holidays isn't presents and decorations and cookies. My favorite part is the togetherness. I love any excuse to get together with my loved ones. Since my family is a fairly long car ride away, most of my togetherness during the year comes in the form of friends. My core group of friends have become my second family over the years. People I lean on for so many things, good and bad. It is only natural that we would want to celebrate the season of togetherness, too, just like any regular family. And we've been doing just that for quite a few years now.

I'll set the scene for you. Three families. Lots of kids. Chaos. Giggles. Screaming. Tattle-taling. Smiling. Playing. Fighting. Picture-taking. Gift-opening. Food-ingesting. Running. Hiding. Refereeing. Laughing. Crying. Sighing. And a bunch of talking. That pretty much sums it up for our yearly Christmas get together. Now I'll let the pictures set the scene.

The Outtakes.

Another tradition we share with our friends is the Rotary Lights. We inevitably go on the coldest day on record and stuff our kids into so many layers they visibly waddle through the rows and rows of lights. This year was no different. The temperature dropped to negative 14 with the wind chill and the driving conditions were less than ideal. Yet, we still persevered for tradition-sake! It was well worth the risk of frost bite to watch our kids run (err, waddle) and dance with so much excitement, pointing out lights they remember from years past and new ones they just discovered. This year since the temperature was so extremely cold, most people opted to drive through instead of walk it on foot. It was an added bonus for us troopers since the usually mile-long line to Santa was mere feet. We usually skip a visit with Santa at the Rotary Lights for this reason, but this year we snuck right in to see the bearded fella. My camera lens kept fogging up inside the warm building as it tried to adjust from the bitter cold it was existing in outside, so the Santa pictures have this white, foggy, blurry softness to them.

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