It starts with a sort of Electric light parade. The floats are all covered in lights, not only is this beautiful but essential because it is getting dark here at 5:00 pm every day! Daniel has his favorites from year to year, the top of the list is the double sized city bus that looks like a caterpillar and the "Christmas train". Santa is riding on one of the floats. The excitment in Daniel's eyes it just priceless and he was singing Christmas carols at the tops of his lungs through most of the parade. When the parade is over they light the Christmas tree in front of the state capitol followed by fireworks over the capitol building. We go to our friends conference room in his office building to watch the fireworks which gives us a wonderful view of the show. Daniel, as always, was yelling "Magnifique! Bravo!" The 3 year old next to him was echoing every word, which was just adorable.
It has become a wonderful tradition to go just a few miles to our state capitol and kick off the season this way.
Saturday night Daniel was invited to a birthday party! It is his friend Emma who lives down the street. She and her family have just been wonderful to Daniel and our whole family. I feel so fortunate to have them in our lives. Emma turned 13 and had "a garage dance party". Daniel was walking around saying, "I'm so excited to go to Emma's garage dance party" over and over again! We weren't sure how Daniel would do at the party with the noise and 30 middle schoolers being crazy for 2 1/2 hours but he had an incredible time. It was from 7:30 until 10 pm. I was graciously invited to stay to keep an eye on Daniel and be there to help if he had a hard time with the noise.
When we arrived the kids were in the garage popping all of the balloons that were throughout the space. This sent Daniel back into the house (not only him there were other kids who felt the same way!) Once the balloons were all popped it was an "all clear". The lights went out, the disco balls went on along with the ipod attached to two huge speakers and the dancing began. I have to say it was a lot different than I remember the 7th grade parties I went too. I have memories of girls literally stuck to the wall on one side of the room and the boys on the other and never really moving the whole night long. Here, they were all intermingled, under the watchful eye of parents, enjoying themselves. Daniel, who has no inhibitions whatsoever, let's loose when it comes to dancing. He is the bumper sticker that says, "Dance like nobody's watching". I wish I had a just a small amount of that. To not care what anyone else thinks can be a good thing sometimes.
When Emma's dad turned on the lights at one point, Daniel responded how they all did, with a loud "awww, what are you doing!?" Apparently, at one point the kids were all in a circle with people taking their turns with solos in the middle, with cheers from their peers. Daniel took his turn in the middle of the circle to chants of "go Daniel, go Daniel". I, unfortunately, missed that part, although Todd was there to see it. And he hung in there! At about 9:40 I looked at him and could see how tired he was becoming. We went back into the house for a break. He looked at Elizabeth's gorgeous gingerbread house (that is a replica of her house) that is just amazing. He loved the gingerbread house so much and she loved that he appreciated her work! Here is a picture of him taking in the house.
It was truly a magical weekend for us, but especially for Daniel.