We had THE most amazing night at The Christmas Train last night! Let me just tell you that we could not have had a more perfect night weather-wise! It was a little less than 40 degrees, clear and no wind. It was cold (but you want it to be cold because it's a Christmas town) but not too cold that we were miserable.
We went this year for the first time since 2001. Rick's sister, Julie, and her family (Milton, Tommy and Angela) went with us. It was really special to spend the evening with them. And, it was nice to have a couple of extra strong backs to carry Brynne around!!
We started the night off at the big playground they have installed. I was afraid that was all we were going to see! But, then Rick took Eli, Brynne and Dawson to the carousel while Kyndal, Angela and I went to wait in line for the wagon ride. The kids loved that! They took you out through the woods and had large billboards with "The Night Before Christmas" on it that we read outloud as we passed them. Brynne's eyes were wide open with excitement! Eli just had fun counting the page numbers on the billboards. Seriously, that was his favorite part of it!
We stopped off for a picture in the horse-drawn carriage in one of the restaurants, then headed to the LONG line to ride the train. It actually only took about 25 minutes to wait in line, and the kids were so great! But it was worth it to see the reactions out of the kids! Eli and Brynne loved the train ride and Dawson was overtaken with emotion as to the presentation of the complete story of Jesus. It really affected him!
Our last stop was to see Santa. Eli told Santa he wanted a little green car and a "little something else" that sounded like a bad word and shocked us all for a minute, but then we realized he said "tracks" .. like in train tracks. Brynne followed up and said she wanted a "little yellow car". They should be easy this Christmas! Both little ones sat on his lap, which totally surprised me, and we even got Kyndal and Dawson to crowd in for a picture. It was awesome!
We grabbed some hot cocoa and headed home. We didn't get to bed until almost midnight. (K & D are not too happy to be up getting ready for school at 6:30 this morning!! ... sorry!!)
This was one of those nights where everything just went so perfectly! Everyone had a good time and enjoyed each other! I really couldn't have asked for a better time for all of us to spend together as a family.
Now the negatives. Eli had a little bit of a cold yesterday and by last night he was MISERABLE! I really hope he feels better today and gets better by tomorrow so we don't have to cancel his birthday party! I will probably keep him home from school today.
The Christmas Train was closed for a few years while they did renovations. I really wish they would have left everything alone! They have completely taken away the old town feel by paving the streets. There didn't seem to be as much emphasis on the town, but more commercialism with a modern play structure, carousel and modern theatre for the message. And the Santa .. let's just say he must have been a "helper." When we went in 2001 Dawson walked out (at age 5) and said, 'Whoa, that was the real Santa.' I felt like I was at Silver Dollar City. You used to ride the train to Santa's Village where you could see Santa, walk around and look in all the stores, and then ride the train back to the town. At the end of the train ride you went into an "old" theatre to listen to Christmas carols being sung by an old-time choir, then they did their message of salvation. Don't get me wrong, it was still fun and cool to see and I loved it. But I don't understand why they made all the changes. That part was a little disappointing. All-in-all, however, it was one of the best things we have done as a family in a long time.