Monday, September 28, 2009

Thomas is a hit!

Due to Mason's current love for Thomas, Grandpa & Grandma Nikkel took us to spend the "Day Out with Thomas" at the Scenic Valley Railroad in Boone on Sunday. I'd heard mixed reviews of the event, including several people that said the train ride wasn't too cool, so I just wasn't sure what to expect--especially from a 1-year-old boy. Thankfully Mason loved it and had a great time!

We left from church and drove through Arby's for a bite on our way to Boone. Just as I'd hoped, Mason quickly zonked out for a nap. Although it was only about 45 minutes of sleep, I know it saved us from some ugly fit-throwing!

We got there in time to peruse the activities a little, see Thomas and snap a few pictures, watch Sir Topham Hatt from a distance (Mason was just fine keeping his distance!), and hop aboard the train that Thomas was "pulling." I must agree with the reviews: the train ride was definitely the dumbest part of the whole event! Mason was actually pretty bored; we had to get out the snacks. It felt like we were barely moving, and aside from some Thomas music playing overhead, there was nothing at all fun going on in that train! Hopefully older kids thought it was cool to be on the train because it was definitely lost on us! Mason acted fine and sat nicely, but he was simply not enthused (none of us could blame him).

After the train ride, Mason played in the straw maze a couple times, wandered through the petting zoo, played with trains and tracks in the Imagination Station for long time, got a James tattoo, jumped through the blow-up train tunnel, jammed and danced with the railroad singers, and rode a trolley car (which was equally as boring as the Thomas train but thankfully much shorter and with more leg room!). There were only a couple things we didn't do. I was impressed with the range of activities and thankful that so many were age-appropriate for Mason as well as for older kids. Mason really had a great time!

Mason was really into the music. He even skipped the limbo to keep on drumming! :) Here's a little video...

We made a final quick stop at the gift shop where Grandpa & Grandma bought Mason a Thomas train whistle. I thought the whistle was a fine idea because Mason really couldn't blow it very loud. Well, that was yesterday--today he has practiced enough to learn to blow it loud and clear!

After a stop at DQ, we were headed home from our day with Thomas. Mason told us several times on the way home that he was "all done" with being in his carseat, so my mom and I ended up doing a quite impressive Sunday school song sing-a-long to entertain him. Mason was asking for encore performances right and left! If you'd like to book us for your next birthday party, let me know!

When we got home last night, we got Mason bathed, being careful not to wash off his James tattoo, dressed him in his Thomas PJ's, and realized that in the excitement of Thomas, he'd barely eaten a thing all day. Two hot dogs, half a banana and some cottage cheese later he was off to bed! But wait...I'd left the Thomas whistle downstairs, and that just wouldn't do. So, after retrieving the whistle and practicing with it a few times, Mason was finally off to bed! This morning when I went to get him out of bed, he already had his sleeve pushed up. He immediately pointed to his arm and yelled, "James!" then followed it with, "I go whistle too!" We had to immediately leave his room to find the train whistle, which he can now blow like a champ LOUDLY. Thankfully he has an extremely tolerant and patient mother that can handle such things (or just hide them!). :)

A tip to parents: If we had it to do over again, we'd only buy tickets for a couple people instead of all 5 of us. You only need your ticket for the train ride, and at $18 a piece, it's not worth it! You can enter and do the other activities without a ticket. I would have been content to let Mason and Brent or Mason and Grandpa & Grandma ride the train while the rest of us waited.

As adults, we did brainstorm a few ways they could make the event better while we were there, including spicing up the train ride,but overall it was a fun place for kids, especially those who love Really Useful engines. :) Thanks to Grandpa & Grandma Nikkel for a fun day!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A Summer Favorite

Well, without warning I took a summer break from our blog. In fact, I didn't really even know I was going to do it myself! But when life feels full, there are certain things that must go away. Since Labor Day marks the unofficial end of summer, I thought I'd jump back in--though I just can't promise how consistent I'll be. Still, it's such a fun way to record life and share with friends and family.

I'm starting simple to ease myself back in. :) This is my current favorite picture from the summer. I tend to just look at it and chuckle. After babysitting Mason for us, Brent's parents stayed over one Friday night because we were headed to a family reunion together the next day. As Grandpa Gaulke got ready for the day, he did his usual spikey hair routine, and Mason thought it was something he needed as well. They are quite a pair! Mason's facial expression just cracks me up!