Bright Nights 2013

As in years past, we paid a visit to Stanley Park for the Bright Nights Christmas Train. With over 3 million  lights, it’s always a fun visit, and this year they added a huge new reindeer with red and sparkly lights. Glorious. We arrived a little earlier than planned, so we ate some popcorn and viewed the lights, then lined up for our train – the highlight of the trip for our boys! 

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The theme of the train this year was Charlie Brown, so that was super cute for us parents, even if the kids didn’t understand the reference. The fact that they theme the train every year never ceases to amaze me. A job well done!

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And of course, you need a little drama! Damien was fussing with a cold all night, so he didn’t leave my arms. I attempted to hold him in the cute family portrait cut-out, not noticing that he was kicking Aiden in the head. Oops!

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Holiday Hi-Light Festival at Park & Tilford Gardens

Our family spends a lot of time at the Park & Tilford Gardens in North Vancouver. It’s a little gem of a place that offers us a convenient place to let the kids run around and explore after going for coffee and/or grabbing groceries. Their favourite spot has always been the fish pond, now iced over and beautifully decorated for the Holiday Hi-Light Festival

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We kept the kids up late last Friday to pay a visit to the lights, despite the sub-zero temperatures. We walked around the gardens, ending up making cookies and watching the live entertainment included on Family Friday Nights. Damien even had a little visit with Santa!

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North Vancouver is an amazing place to live!

The Polar Express Adventure

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.

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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. 

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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. 

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Vancouver Mini Maker Faire 2012

Aiden was still a mini man when we attended the Vancouver Mini Maker Faire in 2011 – and he still had fun. This year, we were excited to attend the Vancouver Mini Maker Faire for 2012 a few weeks ago, this time held at the PNE (a way better location). Given we had a newborn with us, our visit was short, but still fun.

Aiden was fascinated with the 3D printers and robots, but his heart was smitten by the pedal car that was on hand (he was thrilled to be able to go in it). He briefly made his own pin (he’s not the crafty type) and had a hot dog too, so it was a great event for him. There was a huge kids section this year with many interactive exhibits including a fun t-shirt painting station. Aiden isn’t super into crafts yet, so he didn’t want to take part, but it looked like a lot of fun.

I can’t wait for next year! I think Aiden will be even more into this event, able to participate more fully in the kids’ crafts and activities.

Disclosure: we were given a media pass for this event.

Fun at Modern Mama Brunch

This past weekend, I went with Nicola to the Modern Mama brunch held at the Brock House for Pregnancy Awareness Month. I didn’t attend any pregnancy events with my first pregnancy, so it was all new to me, in a way. It’s different being pregnant with people you know, that’s for sure!

Check out our complimentary portrait – I also won a newborn photoshoot with the same photographer.

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Modern Mama hosts events for to-be or new families on topics ranging from fashion to parenting. For example, they are just about to host an event on sleep featuring the same sleep consultant we used with Aiden.

Despite the fact that I’m not a new mama, and this is not my first pregnancy, I did manage to learn some new things from the set of speakers that were on hand for the brunch. I learned, for example, that belly support after birth does have a more-than-just-aesthetic purpose (thx FitnessDoula). Go figure!

Disclosure: I was invited to the Modern Mama event but was not asked to write a post. I also have a continued working relationship with the sleep consultant featured in their next event.