Saturday, January 14, 2017

December 2016: Part II - Getting Out for Lights, Fun, and Good Cheer

Our first activity of the month was seeing Santa arrive by tank at the Flying Heritage Collection. They called it Tanksgiving. We were standing out there longer than I was expecting, so if we do this again next year, we're bundling up more. On our way inside we got some excellent mini donuts - marionberry and bavarian cream and maple bacon. Ty and I devoured them while we listened to a quartet of Dicken's Carolers.
There were several little games, like pin the nose on Rudolph and a bean bag toss. We were also able to frost and decorate a gingerbread tank. Yummy!
They had a game to search for the penguins and win a prize. We found several but didn't get them all.
Ty insisted on having his face painted, though the wait was nearly an hour and he cringed the entire time she was painting him. They really should have more than one person doing the face painting.
I decided against waiting through the enormous line to see Santa, but we came back at the end to see if he was still there. He wasn't, but Ty still got a candy cane tootsie roll. They had tons left and told me to take a handful. I didn't like them since I'm not a fan of strong peppermint flavor, but Ty loved it.

On the first Monday of the month we bundled up the kids for a fun Family Home Evening at Garden D'Lights and Festival of the Nativity. It was a lot for the kids for one evening, even with both of them getting really nice naps before we left. Neither stop included food, so they could only snack in the car. It would have been easier on them to do one on one night and one on the other, but since they're both down in Bellevue, I'd prefer to do them both in the same day than make the drive twice.

Allison looked so cute bundled up on my back, like a pink little teddy bear. She was generally happy as long as I was moving. She expressed her dislike greatly when I would pause for a few seconds to take pictures.

The garden was beautiful as usual. It's fun to walk around trying to identify which kinds of plants/animal/bugs the lights are supposed to be.
What they do with running water is incredibly impressive. There's a pretty sparkling river when you first walk in complete with a jumping salmon. There are also icicles, fountains, streams, and ponds as you stroll around the grounds.

Our sweet Ty guy kissing daddy under the mistletoe and having fun spotting the butterflies. It was a bit of a challenge to keep him from crossing under ropes he wasn't supposed to go under. It was a lot of walking for our little guy, so he took a little break on the bench.

Oh my goodness the window aquarium and tomato plants just blew my mind. So cool!

It took us forever to figure out what the red and orange lights were. I thought it was a fire at first and then realized it was a rake with leaves.

The critters looked awesome! There was a monkey in the trees, a dragon in the hills, dragonflies, a rabbit with carrots, a parrot, an owl, and Winnie the Pooh (Pooh looked much more impressive in person).

I also loved the spider and the Christmas tree of lights at the end of the path. This was one of their free nights since it was a weekday early in the month, but the regular cost is only $5. It's well worth it.

At the festival of the nativity we dressed Tyler up as a shepherd, Oscar as Joseph, me as Mary, and Allison as baby Jesus. They took some fabulous pictures of us. I actually really like the one before we started posing because it looks like we're all focused on taking care of baby Jesus.

Allison was super cute and smiley on daddy's shoulders, and Ty was just crazy adorable as a shepherd.

Ty did some puzzles and other activities before we went in to see the nativities. I didn't take many pictures of the nativities themselves since I've been here before and have already taken lots. Allison was such a little sweet pea in the car on the way out.

The next week when mom got here we took a drive down to Woodinville Wonderland. It's an incredible display all on one family's property. They had an ice rink with a train running around it that Ty really liked.

Just across from the parking area they even had a little light show going.

As long as we were down that south we also drove through Keener's Christmas in Bothell

On the Wednesday evening before Christmas we took Ty down to Evergreen church in Bothell for their light show. We hadn't originally intended to come to this because Ty hadn't had a nap and would typically need to be in bed by 7:30. But on the way to meet up with our friends at Black Angus, he fell asleep in the car and continued sleeping in the booth at the restaurant for over an hour. We knew he'd be full of energy when he woke up (and he was) so we thought we'd take him somewhere fun. Unfortunately we hadn't brought appropriate clothing for standing out in the cold, but we did have Allison's baby blankets in the car and a couple spare beanies. It was a lovely show, but I really wished we'd had our winter coats. We could only handle being outside for so long before we'd have to go into the tent with the trains, cookies, and hot cocoa. They also take a picture for you and print out a little polaroid.
The church has a projector now, which adds nicely to their display. 

On December 23rd, I finished up work early enough that I was able to take Tyler up to Marysville to do the Cedar Crest train ride. Mom didn't think she was up for it, so she stayed home with Allison. Ty hadn't had a nap, so before I put him in the car we had this conversation

Ty: I'm tired.
Me: do you want to take a nap in the car on our way to see Christmas lights?
Ty: yes, and you wake me up when we get there.

And that's exactly what happened, except he woke up on his own while I was getting myself bundled up. He was asleep within a minute of turning on the ignition.

We got there right at 6pm when their website said they opened, but apparently they started at 5:30 and it was nearly sold out. The cashier told us it was a 2+ hour line. If I'd known that in advance I wouldn't have come, but since we'd already driven all the way up there, I decided just to go ahead and do it. They give you tickets for hot chocolate and smores, and a nice family behind us in line held our spots while we went over to get them. When we got back they told us that several groups of two had been called up to fill extra space, so we'd probably get through much quicker than expected. Ty played with their four year old boy and did criss cross applesauce on his back. They did call us up after only 30 minutes of waiting, most of which we'd spent at a bench eating our smores, so it really wasn't a bad wait at all. The other little boy seemed sad when we got called to the front and he didn't have a playmate anymore.

I have to say they really were not very efficient in how they filled their seats. The family of 4 could have easily sat where Ty and I did. There's enough room in those carts for 4 people if two of them are small. Ty and I originally sat across from each other but within a minute he wanted to sit in my lap, leaving that extra bench free, and the couple in front of us ended up cuddling together on the same side too. I don't see why they don't at least ask if people are okay squeezing in together to speed up the line. The most they would do was two per cart or two and a baby.
As part of the train ride we got to see Santa at his village.
Ty and I had fun at wild waves the Tuesday after Christmas. It was pretty empty. I'm surprised how many less come for this than for their Halloween nights in October.Yes, it's cold at an amusement park in December, but the lights are gorgeous. It's worth going just for that. The cost was only $10 for me and Tyler was free since he's 3.

They had some cute ocean themed lights when you first walked in near the water park. The octopus was pretty neat.

Ty liked the big Santa and posing with the character cutouts. Ty really likes "being a penguin," or "being a snowman" as he calls it.

Coming around the bend where the pond is looked really neat. Their display is very well done. I'm surprised there weren't more people. It was less crowded because it was after Christmas, of course, but we went to the Tacoma zoo after Christmas two years ago and that still had plenty of people on a Monday.  Maybe it just needs to be better advertised.
I loved the skaters on ice and Ty enjoyed meeting Frosty and Rudolph. If you go before Christmas they have Santa too.

Ty's first ride was on the jeeps. I felt bad for the workers just standing around barely having anyone to operate the rides for and dealing with wet rides in the dark. At least at Halloween they're able to get things ready while it's still light out.
Some of the rides were closed due to afternoon rain making them dangerously wet, but we still had fun on the ones that were operating. The Ferris Wheel and train were two of Ty's favorites that weren't operating, but they were still very well decorated.
They really do an excellent job with the lights. More people need to see this. It was very beautiful.

Ty rode the fire engine, boats, and planes. We were also able to do six rides together, which I don't have pictures of since I was on them with him. We did get this selfie on the wagon ride, though.

My only major complaint with the park in general is the high height requirement for some of the rides. Why does my kid need to be 42 inches to go on the teacups or tidal wave (their Lagoon equivalents are 36 inches)?

Ty really liked the ginormous nutcrackers. He ran up to them super excited saying "mommy look at the nutcrackers! The twinkling stars in the sky where their water ride is looked really cool too. My picture just doesn't do it justice. I love how they used their space from a ride that they obviously couldn't operate in December.

This was another excellent use of their space. These slides looked like a beautiful, twinkling rainbow. I had a hard time tearing my eyes away from it. It was mesmerizing.

There was also a small religious display - a nativity, wise men, menorahs, and a dreidel. Ty thinks menorahs are birthday cakes.

Walking and tumbling bears
Ty liked the big inflatable Santa, and I liked the football player kicking the field goal near the roller coaster. He REALLY would like to go on the roller coaster. It's like a fast train to him. They have a kiddie coaster that he went on and LOVED during the summer, but it was closed that night. The frozen water on the rails was too unsafe to operate.

My absolute favorite lights were, unfortunately, a bit difficult to see. They were on the opposite side of the water and you could only get so close to them. It was so distant that it took me awhile to figure out what it was, but then I realized it's the 12 days of Christmas. The first has a partridge, second turtle doves, third a hen, etc. I've never seen anything like them.
The view from across the water
Our Savior's Lutheran Church, where Ty attends preschool, held a New Years Eve party. Tyler was so excited for it. The whole week he talked about going to New Years Eve at preschool. We told him he had to get a nap if he wanted to go, and he went right to sleep when we put him down. The past several years I lamented that we didn't have any sort of New Years party to attend because we always had kids that needed to turn in well before midnight. This party went from 7pm - 9pm, so it worked out perfectly.
They also had several other crafts and activities, like broom hockey, pipe cleaner fruit loop bracelets, making a new year's crown, making a snowflake, coloring the 12 days of Christmas, making figures with wooden spoons, big foam building blocks, a huge Jenga, and minute to win it games. There was also fooseball and more downstairs that we didn't even get to. It wasn't difficult to keep the kids busy. The only thing that could have been improved was more food. They provided drinks, mini corn dogs, and fries, but it would have been nice to have some type of dessert. I'll plan on bringing one next year.

About halfway through they even brought out a little bounce house. My darlin' girl immediately tried to climb up the slide. She liked bouncing too but having too many kids in there made it too unsafe for her.
Oscar caught her doing a little bit of dancing while she explored the rooms.

And last but not least, we rang in the new year with the east coast. We watched the ball drop in Times Square from their projector and the kids got noisemakers and hats. Tyler LOVED the celebration. Allison was less enthused. She'll like it more next year.
I have a feeling my little guy will always want to be the life of the party.

1 comment:

  1. Loved this beautiful blog Stacy and they get better and better with your great comments and all the pictures. loved it all including the New year's eve Party at the preschool. Great job sweet daughter