That's my family walking down main street at the most adorable Christmas village I've ever had the chance to stroll. This was a very special year for us. Since my parents are busy around the other side of the world, all my younger siblings headed my way. If you know me, you know I love house guests. Koryn called a few hours after I said goodbye to last of them at the airport this weekend because she knew I would be having a hard time with the 'empty' house. I would collect people if I could.
Anywho. Allison and Noah were the first to arrive. They brought some good tunes along which turned into a dance/karaoke party one night:
I think we only stopped because my dear friend, Sara, dropped off a gift for the girls. Fairy princess dress ups and toy puppies...she knows them well.
I mention this mostly because of the puppies: luckily Allison and Noah overheard the girls naming their pups. Edison Lund and Fluff Willow Folly. Names of dolls/imaginary friends/babies change pretty quick around here, so I'm glad they caught that :) They spent the rest of the evening introducing E Lund and F.W. Folly to the Nativity crew.
Then it was on to the Christmas village. There's a county park around here that moved about three dozen turn-of-the-century buildings (churches, general stores, school house, homes, stables, you name it) to create its own little village. I was amazed, it was magical. You buy tickets to go on a train that takes you past big lighted displays and Santa. For real. That dude was just hanging out in a field by his sleigh to wave to us.
They've also brought in a century old carousel and ferris wheel. This is kind-of one of those 'had to be there' stories, but I gotta write it down. We walked into the carousel and there was the worst, off tune, loud band playing Christmas music. Allison and I can be...a bit snotty about music. We could not stop laughing. Allison said, "We have to pull it together before we see this band face to face." I asked if it could be a recording then promptly said, "No. There's no way they recorded this then thought, 'Yeah! I think we got it! That's a wrap, folks.' " I was picturing a band of sweet old men playing on the other side of the carousel which made me feel awful every time a particularly bad note was played and we would crumple in laughter again.
Allison and I hopped on the ride with the girls, rounded the corner, and to our surprise, realized it wasn't a band! It was the carousel. So my best thought was that the pipes themselves are just as old and don't sound how they used to, you know? Well, by the time we realized that, we were giggling with relief that we hadn't been mercilessly laughing at sweet old people and then about peeing our pants with laughter that we seriously could not keep our equilibrium straight on this carousel! I'm not kidding you, that thing was FLYING. And if you stood in between the horses going up and down, it was all you could do to stay upright. We'd pull it together just as another sour note belted out and we would start all over again.
J took the girls out on the ferris wheel that was as delightfully terrifying as the carousel.
After singing carols with our fellow passengers on the train ride, the conductor made a point of mentioning Santa had ridden his way back to the village if we wanted to say hi. We mosied about, thinking there would be an enormous line. Something about waiting in line to see Santa takes away some of the magic to me--probably because you hurry and tell him what you want, they click an overpriced picture, then you get out of the way. So there was nothing sweeter than walking into a dimly lit, beautiful little home to find just Santa and Mrs Claus waiting to see the girls--I was half expecting to find him on a break. I don't know how it happened that we caught it with only one lady ahead of us.
Abbey has never been big on Santa and I don't tend to make a big deal about it. We'd seen him at the mall a few weeks ago so I asked her if she wanted to say hi and remind him. She just said, "No. He knows." Good enough. But Hayden ate it up. He was sweet and gave her plenty of time to chat about things other than toys. I loved this. I know some people don't like the Santa concept and I totally get that. But I'm glad we get this for a few years, there's so much goodness and innocence wrapped up in that hug.
On Christmas Eve, we picked up my two youngest siblings to complete the crowd. It was so fun to reintroduce myself to my little, tall brother, Collin. He has been on an LDS mission in North Carolina and I haven't seen him for three years. Megs kept our rears in check with some personal training all week and Collin graciously endured the kids' energy that was usually directed his way. These two have been ridiculously easy going their entire lives, they are so nice to have around and I had a few tears when they left.