The Daughter Chronicles

Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Christmas weekend was busy

Yes, it surely was. On Friday 23 December, we loaded the kids in the van and headed northward toward Flagstaff and then westward toward Williams, where we would get on the Polar Express. Yes, every year the Grand Canyon Railroad has a Christmas train based on the book, and this year Krys made reservations for it (she had to make them in January; the train fills up fast). So this year, we were off!

We were hoping the weather wasn't that bad, and it wasn't. Sure, it was in the mid-30s during the day, colder than we've been used to for the past decade, but there were no clouds in the sky and the sun was ever-present. The drive north and south was somewhat annoying, mainly because going anywhere with Mia tend to be annoying - she's constantly saying she wants to watch TV, and if we happen to be playing a DVD she wants to see, she switches over to saying she wants to go home - but it's always nice to head to the northern part of the state, where the landscape actually looks interesting rather than blasted by God.

The train ride was fun, I guess. We had a buffet dinner beforehand, and then took the 5.30 ride north. You ride about 20-30 minutes to the "North Pole," a collection of wooden façades with lights strung across them, and then you head back, but this time Santa comes on board the train and hands out presents - sleigh bells, keeping with the book. We also sang carols as we headed back. Going north was nice because the sun hadn't completely set yet, so in the west the horizon was orange while the rest of the sky was black. It was pretty neat.

We had only one hotel room, so sleeping arrangements were fun. Mia and Norah usually sleep in the same bad fairly well, but Mia kept bothering Norah and Norah was a bit wound up from the ride anyway, so eventually we left Mia alone to fall asleep and went down the hall to the pub to relax. Norah enjoyed being out and about with Mommy and Daddy late at night, I can tell you. In the morning, we had a breakfast buffet, and then we were off!

Christmas was the usual affair - presents, cats and dogs acting weird, Mia latching onto one particular present and never giving it up - and we had a good time. Norah got some nice gifts - a Barbie beach house, Harry Potter Legos, a "Monster High" doll (she got Frankie Stein), the board game Operation - while Mia got a new "computer" - a Leap Frog one - and a combination guitar/piano. She LOVES the computer. As usual, we got some new DVDs that she doesn't want to watch because she hasn't memorized them yet, and she doesn't realize she needs to watch them 40-50 times before she memorizes them. Oh well - she'll get around to it. Krys and I got each other presents, but not many - we've been married too many years to worry about getting presents for each other for Christmas. My one present to her was a food processor, which she really wanted, so I guess I did okay.

Anyway, below we have some photographs and videos of the train ride and Christmas. I was going to film some of the train ride, but I never got around to it - I was holding Mia for the ride back, so I really didn't have a chance, and Krys tends to forget about it if no one reminds her. The videos for Christmas are a bit long; I can't imagine they'd be of interest to anyone, but I'd feel bad if I didn't post them!

Anyway, 2011 wasn't the greatest year for Mia, but we're hoping 2012 will be better. In January, especially, we already have some things lined up that we hope will help her a lot. But that's news for later! I hope everyone had a nice Christmas and New Year and whatever else they choose to celebrate this time of the year!


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