Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Mount Pleasant, Iowa ~ North Pole Express

Once upon a time I participated in a Blogger Book Swap hosted by Chaotic Goddess Swaps and received this wonderful gift from Jenni.  You can read about the swap by clicking here.


I found this exciting event of a train ride very much resembling "The Polar Express" and knew I wanted to take Taj to it.  We tried to get tickets last year but the event is so popular the tickets are typically sold out within the first two days.   I made a mental note to check the website on November 1, since it was the first day tickets would be on sale. This is the same day every year and it was easy to remember the date since it is also Ethan's birthday.  I checked with Kera to see if she wanted me to try to get a Sunday she is off to join us.  *Presto*  Four tickets were purchased for Sunday, December 4th.
Now we have been very lucky so far here in Iowa, no snow until December 4th.
The first snowfall is always beautiful and it set the perfect setting for the day.
 
Todd, Kera, Taj and I drove to Mount Pleasant to take a train ride to the North Pole. We rode on the North Pole Express.

Our cabin was named "Snowflake" while on our voyage they played the audio of "Polar Express ". Taj was so excited.
Once the train stopped Taj was super excited because he knew we were there...at the North Pole.
Our first stop was Santa's Caboose.  We waited and Taj was super hyped.  He finally had his turn and told Santa everything he wanted.  Santa gave each of us a bell ornament. 
 
There was an area for group pictures.
 
An area for cookie and cocoa.
A snow princess visited and gave all the girls and boys gifts.
A craft house where the boys  and girls made an ornament.
The children could run an electric train.
We stopped at the gift shop and picked up some gifts. Kera bought Taj a conductor bear. I loved what Taj did next, he walked to Santa's caboose to show Santa what he got.  I just love this photo.
 
This was such a wonderful event and one I know made memories for Taj.
Our trip to the North Pole definitely wore this little guy out.

Mount Pleasant is 58 minutes away from Iowa City.


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Monday, December 5, 2016

Christmas Time ~ Horse Drawn Trolley

One of the banks here in Iowa City sponsors a wonderful event every Saturday after Thanksgiving until Christmas. This year we took Taj to it on one of the Saturdays we watched him.  The event is a 15 minute horse drawn trolley ride through downtown.
The Trolley wagon is pulled by a team of two horses. The two horses  at this days event were brother and sister, Romeo and Juliette. We were told all about the horses.
We were also told Christmas stories of horse drawn sleighs.  Both Romeo and 
Juliette had sleigh bells attached around them. Inside the Trolley were a set of 
sleigh bells where the children had the chance to jingle.  
During the last few blocks of our journey we all sang "Jingle Bells".
We also found out Santa had stopped downtown and thought it would be 
great to take Taj, so off we went towards the Ped Mall.  
We found this little sleigh and could not pass up a photo opportunity. 
It was only seconds after the picture with the sleigh we found good Ol' Saint Nick. Taj was excited and told Santa everything he wanted for Christmas.
We want to create fond memories with our grandson just like we did our children.

Do you take your children/grandchildren to see Santa Claus?

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Saturday, December 3, 2016

2016 Gingerbread House



Every year, well since Taj has been old enough to help, Todd and I will pick up a gingerbread house kit to make with one of the days we watch Taj.  This year's kit I purchased the day after we took him to the movies and I could not pass this one up because I knew Taj would be excited about it.


Yes, our gingerbread house this year is Troll's Gingerbread House.  The only disappointing thing to Taj is the Troll was not Branch, but I explained to him they did not make a Branch character gingerbread house. 


After the explanation he was fine and could not wait to jump in.   He also wanted to taste the frosting and candy pieces.  He was concerned about "gluing" the candy on because he was taught at school you cannot eat glue.  He told me this over and over before we opened the package.  He was delighted when he realized the glue was frosting.



The kit also had little paper dolls I cut out to add for the day.  He was thrilled Branch was included.  I told him he could take the paper dolls home to play with when Mama came to pick him up.


He was absolutely happy with the house and wanted to know when he can begin to eat it.  We did not add the chimney to our house.  We frosted it and let him decorate it with the extra candy and then I told him to eat it.  He told us he thought it was very good.  


I wish they had these kits when my boys were younger.  I did build a much smaller with each of them.  We used cardboard milk container as our structure and glued graham crackers to it and then decorated.  

Do you make gingerbread houses as a family?

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Friday, December 2, 2016

Friday Confessional ~ Art Show

Alright originally I was planning on blogging about our Christmas fun we did last weekend, however Thursday night something more important happened and I wanted to celebrate and share about the event.

I confess...


Once a year the Secondary Schools have a joint art show.  December 1 was the last night of the show and they have a reception and awards that night.

I confess...


Noah (aka Christian) had an art piece in the show this year. His stained glass work "Sworn to the Sword" made the show.  Noah spent many hours cutting and grinding the glass pieces for this project.  The taping and welding came together rather quickly.

I confess...

Here are a few of my favorites besides Noah's of course...

Above: Noah's art work.
 Above: Another art piece from Noah's school with mixed medium.  
My picture did not do justice for this piece.
Below: A ceramic piece from another student from his high school.
 I had to take multiple shots, this ceramic piece was dimensional.

 Above:  A charcoal drawing from another high school.  
Once again, the photo does not give justice to this piece.
Below: Canvas painting a student from the third high school in town.

I confess...

Each school gave a student an award "Teacher's Choice".   Noah's art teachers stated they gave their student the award because he dedicated so many hours into his piece, he came in on his free hour, during lunch hour, and after school, then they called Noah's name.  Well they called Chris Titler since that is what he goes by at school.



The other award is the US BANK Award, the employees vote on their favorite and the Lion done in charcoal won. I have to agree, they made a solid choice.

I confess...

I am so very proud of Noah.  He has come so far and is becoming the Noah I lost through his depression.  He has not had any self harming thoughts anymore.  He has blue moments but they are very manageable.  

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