We took Aiden skating during the Christmas break for the first time. We opted to go during a Public Skate time, which worked the best with the kids’ schedules. Unfortunately, we did not know until we got there that the skate aids (like the skating walker) is only available during Family Skate times, not Public Skate times. Who knew?
Of course, once you tell your 3 year old that he’s going skating for the first time, you kind of need to follow through. Since Damien was going to be due for a nap half way through our time at the arena, Ianiv opted to go skating so I could nap Damien in the Ergo. Unfortunately, Ianiv has only skated a handful of times and not even recently. Ianiv soon found he was not so steady on the ice!
Well, Aiden was excited and eager to get out on the ice. He balanced ok on the skates when he was walking but had absolutely no stability on the ice, even just standing. Ianiv basically propped Aiden up under the arms to take him around the rink and it was not a fast circuit!
Next time we will be more prepared for skating – still, Aiden enjoyed his first skating trip!
I absolutely love Christmas. I always have been a big fan of holidays of any kind but my spirits always soar around Christmas. I love spending weeks finding the perfect gifts for people, sometimes making them or buying them. Stocking stuffers are my favourite thing to buy – I often pick things up all through the year in anticipation! I love spending the time to carefully wrap presents, adorning them with something personal be it a homemade ornament, homemade gift tags or homemade paper – I’ve done all variations before. Now that I’m a mom, I love that my kids can share in my joy for the season.
Although Damien was too young to appreciate most of our adventures (except the Stanley Park Bright Nights Train, he loved that!!), Aiden was really into Christmas this year. Granted, there was an unhealthy obsession with chocolate that had to be moderated (advent calendar!), he was really into the magic of Christmas. We baked cookies, made crafts almost daily, went on a variety of adventures (Polar Express, Bright Nights, Capilano Suspension, Park & Tilford Lights, The Magic of Santa theatre), watched movies, read books, sang songs & listened to music, and generally talked about Christmas a great deal. He was very interested in how Santa made presents and, appropriate to his obsession with The Polar Express, how said train got to the North Pole and what it did the rest of the year.
We managed to avoid the Santa Question yet again, though it was a close call. Aiden is very inquisitive and it was clear some answers were hard for him to accept – though he loved the idea of magic! In all honesty, we’re pretty blunt about things being either real or pretend in our house, since Aiden is very sensitive to suggestion and very analytical (plus, it suits our parenting). To say that all magic doesn’t exist except Santa is a little weird – so, we’ll re-assess next year. Again.
Aiden loved Christmas day – opening his presents (and helping with everyone else’s gifts) and being with family. I wish we had more parties, actually, since it is so nice to have the excuse to share our joy with those we love. Aiden was happy with his presents (which mostly ended up being things like trains and cars with some games, crafts & dinosaurs too) and he is already asking about when Christmas will come back!
Don’t they look cute? Ok, we have a better photo of them in this outfit, but it’s not uploaded yet. Plus, the whole Christmas PJ thing was kind of a gong show – I put in an order on Gap for PJs only to realize a few days before Christmas that the PJs must have sold out as I confirmed my purchase (had some other stuff on there), so I never realized I didn’t have them! They were blue with penguins, the perfect matching-yet-not-too-Christmas-themed look I was going for. Oh well – next year! These ones ended up being cute, even if they were quite roomy for my thin guys!
For the second year in a row, we boarded the Polar Express out of Squamish-based West Coast Railway Association. The experience was mostly the same, though 15-minutes longer on the train ride. The conductor on the ride was amazing this time around and they really upped the fantasy factor with small details such as the “spirit” walking the aisle. To draw out the experience, the cookie and hot chocolate were served separately this year, which I liked. We had both Oma and Babby there, which really made the experience fun for our boys.
Although I love the whole experience, it is still a little slow for the young ones since the train does a lot of track switching and doesn’t travel very far. Aiden was a little disappointed that the locomotive was not steam-powered and that it was not snowing, like in the book / movie. He would notice those things, right? We also made the mistake of not immediately lining up for Santa and then having to wait an hour for our visit. Oh well, it meant skipping the mall Santa visit.
Damien woke from a nap about 10 seconds before this photo was taken! Although I put them in PJs, as per the suggestion for the Polar Express adventure, I didn’t think about using the cute PJs for the photo. Oh well, next year!
I also think it’s crazy how different parenting a second child is! We never would have taken Aiden to The Polar Express at this age, or Squamish either. Damien actually is ok in his car seat during the day, so he stayed awake for all but the last 2 minutes of the trip (grr, we hoped he’d nap). He napped twice while we were at The Polar Express and we all went out for dinner before our trip home. Aiden fell asleep almost instantly at around 5:30 but Damien cried the whole way home. Boo for that.
It seems like Halloween is something I always get behind on writing about, but for once I wanted to properly post it (a few months late).
Aiden’s first costume was a bear at a couple of weeks old, then a dragon, and last year he alternated between R2D2 and the dragon, which still fit. This past Halloween, I spent a crazy amount of time trying to find a cute costume for Aiden (why are boys costumes so restrictive?!). I wasn’t pleased with local selection and put together a bunch of costumes for Aiden to pick from to buy online – I was personally leaning towards train engineer. However, on the possibility that a local store may have said costume, I took him there… and he fixated on being a doctor.
Given a huge wall with dozens of options, all Aiden wanted to be was the doctor. I thought maybe it was simply that he saw it at eye level and he’d forget. Nope. A week later, I picked it up. It turned out to be really cute and unique, I’m so glad he was Dr. Aiden!! The costume still sits in our dress-up bin (not that Aiden cares much for dress-up yet).
Babby bough Damien a cute little lion costume and it was just perfect too! I love my little lion!!
For the second year in a row, we included a trip to Bright Nights in Stanley Park to ride the Stanley Park Christmas Train. Though Ianiv is right in calling it the “Gong Show Nights”, I consider Bright Nights to be a highlight of the holidays. I love walking around looking at Christmas lights and would, if our kids didn’t go to sleep so early, consider many more such outings during the holidays (Van Dusen, Trinity Street, etc). As it was, we had to book our train trip at 5pm and go home right after to get the kids in bed – Aiden fell asleep in the car.
2011 and 2012 Bright Nights in Stanley Park
We missed out on some of the Bright Nights festivities, like choirs, but we had a nice walk around to look at the lights and enjoyed some popcorn and chestnuts. Aiden was quite impatient to ride the train, as we expected, so there was a lot of whining too ;)
The train did not disappoint. I was surprised to notice that the train ride had been themed this year, with elements of the lights and the performances (as well as the synchronized music) altered since last year. I honestly thought it would be exactly the same. So, nice surprise.
Aiden loved the train ride (we got the front seat!) and Damien was mesmerized too – looking all over the place, taking it all in. Great night.