Friday, December 13, 2013

All Aboard!

Today we had special visitors: Heather, Olivia, and DonDon drove up to see the new house, have some lunch, and then head to Grapevine to ride the North Pole Express. After the train we went over to the Grapevine Mills mall and messed around until it was time for them to head back home.
We took Kate on the North Pole Express two years ago, but she still remembered it from then and often plays with the bell that Santa Claus gave her. This year things ran a little differently than before, and instead of Santa and Mrs. Claus being on the train with us we got to meet him in the gift shop afterward and take a photo.
The girls were so excited to board the train and all they kept talking about was getting their bell. Kate plays with her bell she got two years ago on occasion, although it wasn't a real jingle bell. This year, I'm happy to report that they're giving out real jingle bells (the round kind).
We sang Christmas carols all during the train ride and were entertained by two of Santa's helpers in our train car, which were most likely college students with a fairly annoying Christmas break job. They were very exuberant.

Once the train ride was over, we walked through the "snow" tree maze and into the big tent for the show, which was the first time we got to see Santa and Mrs. Claus. Instead of waiting for the whole show to end, we left a little early and headed over for our photo with Santa. This is where my 4-year-old pointed out that she didn't know how Santa was in the gift shop for pictures if he was just over on the stage doing a singing show. Also note that the singing Santa had a fake beard and the photo Santa had a real beard. So I quickly had to make up some nonsense about how one was the show Santa but this one was the real Santa because he had the real beard. She bought it, but honestly, they do make it difficult to keep up the lie when they have such vastly different looking Santas who are in two places at once.  The important part was, Kate actually took her picture with Santa! I was amazed, but she allowed me to set her on his lap and although I had to stand in the photo with her, she did it! Now don't think we got a smile out of her, because we didn't, but she didn't cry and that's a big step.
We headed to the mall after and eventually ended up in Build-a-Bear where both girls picked out and stuffed a pink penguin that they both named Pinky, which also happened to be the Penguins name to begin with. I'm not sure why they give the animals names before you stuff them and then also ask you to name it when you're making it's birth certificate.
It was a long day but we had a lot of fun.

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