November 27, 2010: Liesl Turns Two

It is unbelievable but today my little girl turns two years old.  In some ways it is so hard to believe that my baby is now in her “terrible twos” but it is also weird to imagine a time when she wasn’t a part of our lives.  Her actually birthday party is not going to be for two weeks yet so that we can have it in the new house since we have no place to do it right now.

The big thing that we wanted to do today was to take the kids up to Grapevine for the North Pole Express Experience which includes a show and a ride on the Grapevine Historic Railroad.  We tried to get tickets to it this morning but discovered that tickets for today were not available online.  As this is opening weekend we were pretty surprised that tickets would not be available – how busy could they be?

So to figure out what was going on we took a drive up to Grapevine with the entire family.  It turned out that tickets just were not available on the same day due to technical difficulties so we were able to buy tickets right then and there and schedule a ride for the five thirty showing.  Perfect.

So we left Grapevine and drove down to Denny’s to get lunch before going back to the apartment for a while before we needed to return to Grapevine.

We went to Grapevine a little early, or so we though, but the line for the show started early so we were in line starting around five.  We realized that we needed cash to be able to get things from concessions and that no one had any so while the rest of the family was waiting in line I walked briskly for several blocks through Grapevine to find an ATM so that we could load up on cash for the evening.  By the time that I got back from that very, very long walk everyone had already filed into the show and Dominica was outside waiting for me so that I could get in to join everyone.

The show was in a small exhibition pavilion next to the train station.  They did Christmas music and some light comedy and dancing stuff.  It was cute and the kids enjoyed it, I think.  They did some crowd-interactive things which got people involved.  It was more than we had been expecting.  We were not really even aware that there was a show associated with the train ride.  The show ended up being the majority of the experience.

The last bit thing that they did was the “Daddy Dance-Off” competition.  The emcee went around and asked for kids to volunteer their fathers for “something” up on stage.  The first two people were selected and I felt pretty safe.  I was hidden deep in the crowd and was hiding behind Clara, who I was holding, so I thought that he would avoid me.  But, alas, no.  My family went nuts trying to get me chosen.  Madeline and Emily really worked hard to get me noticed and having so many people making a big deal to get me noticed was hard to avoid, I guess.  So I was chosen as the third, and final, participant.

I must appear to be a character because the dancing girls who were positioning us on stage decided that I should be the highlighted father in the middle of the stage.  I am the cute one, after all.

“Fortunately”, both Dominica and Francesca had video cameras at the ready and were able to grab plenty of footage of me dancing.  This video was taken by Dominica’s new Droid X smartphone.  This was her very first time taking a video with it so was not used to dealing with orientation issues.  But she was also stuck taking video from between peoples’ heads so had a very tight field of view.

It’s hard not to be embarrassed being up on stage dancing at something like this but it was sort of fun too.  Once I heard that they were giving away tickets to the Grapevine Historic Railroad as a prize, well, I knew that I had to win them then.  And I did.  The dad on my left tried pretty hard and gave me a run for my money but the guy on my right didn’t even put in the effort.  But I’m used to being on stage with large audiences and making a fool of myself dancing in public just comes naturally so it was an easy win for me.

Liesl was very upset while I was on stage dancing.  She really wanted to come up and join me on stage and dance.  She is a little dancer for sure.

After the show we road the North Pole Express for several miles.  Liesl fell asleep almost instantly.  She was very tired and couldn’t handle keeping herself awake on the warm, slowly rocking train.  It was perfect sleep conditions for her.  She woke up just enough to open her eyes and acknowledge when Santa Claus came through the train to see the kids then she was asleep again immediately.

After the train ride we went to the little concessions area where the kids made some ornaments for free which was cute.  Liesl (with her daddy’s help) put together a foam penguin ornament to give to her mommy.  We also got hot chocolate, funnel cake and nachos.  There wasn’t a lot to do but it was nice and we had a good time.  At the end we went and got all of the kids’ together for a picture with Santa Claus.

It was a fun outing and very different from what we normally get to do.  A fun change of pace.  The kids all seemed to have a good time.  It was a little chilly for being outside.  It would have been a little nicer had it been just a little bit warmer.  Nice that we got to go out and do something memorable with Liesl on her birthday.

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