Before I tell you about “Book Night,” I have to follow up on wedding dress shopping with Julie, her mom, and sister on Saturday.  We went to two different bridal stores, had lunch, and in general had a great time!  Oh yeah, and Julie found the perfect wedding dress!  Once Julie picked out her dress we were allowed to take pictures of her in it, but you’ll have to settle for a picture of the bridal boutique until August!

Now back to Book Night…  Back when Joseph and Daniel were in elementary school, we started a family tradition called Book Night.  Each year we pick a night between Christmas and New Year’s Eve to go to Reston Town Center for part-two of the boys’ Christmas gifts.  Our first stop is at a nearby bookstore and everyone is allowed to shop and pick out any books they want.  When the boys were little they would leave with an arm full of books, much to Bill’s and my delight!  After leaving the book store, we have a special dinner at one of the many restaurants at Reston Town Center.  Book Night quickly became one of our favorite holiday traditions.  This was Julie’s third year joining us!  BTW, if you haven’t read any of Adriana Trigiani’s books, you’ve got to try them.  I’ve read all of her books except The Supreme Macaroni Company which I purchased Saturday night.  I can’t wait to start it!


Since Barnes and Noble in Reston closed earlier this year, we had to drive to McLean to another bookstore.  After we made our purchases, we drove back to Reston Town Center for pictures and dinner.  Traditions will do that to you!  Our first stop while waiting for our reservation time was to swing by Fountain Square for our annual family picture.


Next we took lots of smaller group pictures.  Here I am with our youngest son Daniel…


Right across the street from the Christmas tree at Fountain Square is the Open-Air Pavillion.  If you remember from my race recaps of the Firecracker 5K and the Run With Santa 5K we finished both races right in front of the pavilion… basically where I’m standing taking this picture.


During the winter, the pavilion is a very popular skating venue.  Even though I’d break my neck if I tried ice skating, I love the festive atmosphere while stopping by and watching people skate to Christmas music.


Next we walked into the Hyatt to check out their gingerbread village made by their pastry chefs.  Ingredients to make this village included 145 pounds of sugar, 100 pounds of flour, 2 gallons of molasses and honey, 1.5 pounds of cinnamon and nutmeg, 25 pounds of spearmint and peppermint candy, and 90 pounds of other candies.




Finally our table was ready at Jackson’s and we started off with drinks…


Then rolls (that are basically melt-in-your-mouth donut holes) and appetizers (calamari and spinach-artichoke dip)…


And finally dinner…  Bill, Julie, and I ordered the roasted chicken salad, Joseph got salmon, and Daniel got a shrimp and chicken pasta dish (that came without the chicken)!  Oops!


We were way too stuffed for dessert!

  • Questions:
  • If you’ve ever bought a wedding dress, how many stores did you visit before finding THE dress?
  • Do you have a favorite non-traditional holiday tradition?
  • Do you usually go with a dinner salad, pasta dish, or meat (or fish) and a side?