Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Our Twelve Days of Christmas: Day 4 Lego Land

On our fourth day of Christmas, the two kids and I headed off to visit Lego Land - Kansas City. One of my wonderful co-workers works part time at Lego Land and they had free passes that were about to expire so she let us go.

I don't know if I was ever huge Lego fanatic but I am always impressed by what can be made out of Lego's. I have visited Lego stores in Minneapolis and Orlando and I have to say Kansas City's Lego Land was pretty impressive.

I snapped photos from one of my favorite rooms in the whole place. It is a room full of Kansas City landmarks all made of Lego's. The room's lights brighten and dim on a regular interval so that you can experience Lego Kansas City by night and day.

By night the Kauffman Preforming Arts Center.

 In the first photo is the National World War 1 Memorial, Union Station, and the Sprint Center to name a few.

The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, The Spring Center, and The Kansas City Power and Light Building all by night.

Here is Union Station by day.

 The Sprint Center by day.

 The Western Union building.

Kauffman Stadium: Home of the Kansas City Royals.

 Arrowhead Stadium. We had just played the Colts and I wondered with the kids if they change out the opponents every week based on who The Chiefs are playing.  I also loved that on the concourse of the Lego Arrowhead, the news crews were interviewing our official mascot, The KC Wolf.

 Even the Nelson Atkins Art Museum is represented in Lego Land. I love the picnic on the lawn and the Shuttlecocks! I thought of my dear friend Shannon when I saw this. She works for the Museum and visits this beautiful building all the time.

 The County Club Plaza by day.

 And by night!

Starlight Amphitheater all light up with a concert.

After you walk through the Kansas City Landmarks then you get into Kansas fantasy land. Of course I am talking about The Wizard of Oz!

Aunt Em's house in Kansas being hit by a tornado. The house spins and spins.

We all know the house lands in Munchkinland right on top of the Wicked Witch of the East. If you look super closely you can see her feet sticking out of the house. Then of course, this is where the yellow brick road starts.

 The Yellow Brick roads leads to the Emerald City where the Wizard is located. In the dark spot of the Emerald City was the Wizard and after he asks, "Who dares disturb the great and powerful wizard?" the lights of that section come one and you can see the crew standing there {Dorothy, Toto, the Lion, the Scarecrow, and the Tin Man}.

The final Wizard of Oz scene is the castle they find the Wicked Witch of the West in. As the soldiers march inside you hear the Witch scream out, "I'm melting, I'm melting!" There is a tiny lift that lowers Witch so she in fact looks like she is melting!

There you have a short glimpse at our Lego Land experience. There were other cool experiences; rides, games, play area's, movies, and building available. The Short Chic has just started playing with Lego's. She loves the Friend's line so she was happy to see Olivia there as well!

Thank you, Tammy for the awesome passes!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Our Twelve Days of Christmas

I share custody of my oldest son with his father. When he was little I dreaded him being gone over Christmas. Don't get me wrong. I believe a child have a right to both parents but it still broke my heart. I don't dread it any longer but I also don't look forward to it either. However, I have been divorced for a very long time and we do have this shared custody over the holiday's thing down to a science.

This was my year to have The Boy in the days leading up to Christmas. When he has to leave our house on Christmas Eve we try to celebrate with our family and friends prior to his departure. So, here our Day 2 and Day 3 of our Christmas.

The weekend prior to Christmas Day, our forecast included snow. And ice. Fortunately, those who could safely travel to our home did and those who could not were thought of and missed.

My Mother-in-law (MIL) brought over Santa hats for everyone at the party. They were a huge hit!

The Short Chic and her Papa exchanging gifts. 

 These two are cousins; having a little fun at the party.

 Here is our family. Or at least those that could join us for our Christmas celebration. Oh yeah, and that fence, that is my new Christmas gift!

That night as we gathered and celebrated, ice formed and snow fell. When we woke the next morning we had several inches of snow and a long drive to make to our second celebration.

It took longer than normal but we made it my Mother's home. Unfortunately, my little brother was sick and his girlfriend was unable to get her three children there in the snow.

 The Boy, The Husband, and my brother all received peanuts from my Great Aunt for Christmas.

My brother participated in No Shave November and then decided to participate in Don't Do It December. I think he looks a bit like Grizzly Adams!

 We got my niece her first 16 inch doll for Christmas. It is not an American Girl but I certainly think it is wise to start off with a cheaper brand.  Now she and The Short Chic can play dolls together.

 Here is my family minus those that could not be with us. My poor brother might have given his yuck to The Boy because he came down sick the day after this celebration!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Our Twelve Days of Christmas: Day 1

I love family traditions. Some traditions have been established for years. They have been handed down from parent to child for generations. {I enjoy black eyed peas every New Year's day because that is what my Grandma did.}

Other traditions just happen because you tried something once and you liked it and decided to do it again. And again.

This year we were invited to participate in my best friend's new family tradition. Three years ago they started gathering together in a bus to drive around the city and look at Christmas lights. This was our second year to be invited.

We gathered the Friday before Christmas, thus starting our twelve days of Christmas celebrations.

This tradition starts off meeting at my friend's mother's home. There is always a lot of excitement as we wait for everyone to show up. Adults and children a like reacquaint. My best friend gave all the kids a Christmas gift last year {pajamas} and they loved it so much she did it again this year. The younger one's were so excited they were getting matching pajama's again this year!

This is Joe. He is married to my best friend's mom. He is also a licensed chauffeur and has an employee benefit of using this big bus.Joe loves this night probably more than anyone! As a chauffeur, he drives all over Kansas City and sees really awesome light displays. I think he loves sharing that piece of his work with all of us. Joe also loves to dress up like Santa to drive the bus.

The bus is a traveling party; complete with pizza, drinks, desserts, and story telling. This year Joe took us to three places. We drove to the Plaza from the West driving through a few neighborhoods along the way.

Every house is decorated. It reminded me of Christmas with the Krank's. I wonder if you buy a house in these neighborhoods you have to sign a contract to hang lights up every Christmas?

These lights have almost look like a lazy approach. They just ran a strand of lights from the ground to a tree. However, they look like lasers when you are driving through them.

Before we knew it we were driving through the County Club Plaza. The Plaza was busy, as usual on a Friday night. People looking at the lights. People out shopping. People heading to dinner. 

Yeah, the photos are a little blurry.  Getting quality photos on a bus ride is not as easy as it sounds!

 Our last stop before heading home was Union Station. By this time a bathroom break is needed and Union Station in Kansas City is just a beautiful building and beautifully decorated for the holidays.


 The little people on the tour pose in front of a giant Christmas tree. The minute they got back on the bus they quickly changed into their new pajamas. Which worked out great for us parents, they were already dressed for bed by the time we got home!

 They also pose on Santa giant sleigh.

We also spent some time wondering around the train exhibits.

 Giant Nutcrackers.

Mrs. Claus double checking Santa's nice list.

We drove past Crown Center on our way home. Crown Center is home to the Mayor's Christmas Tree. 

All in all, it was a wonderful night. A night of magical sparkling lights and good friends. It was a night to slow down and just enjoy a moment of the holiday season before the Christmas parties began.

Thank you dear friends for including us!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Elf On The Shelf 2013: Week 4

Our final week with our Scout Elf, Isabella, has come and gone.  Isabella is back at the North Pole with Santa, having finished another successful Christmas season of scouting for Santa.

Day 22: Isabella discovered there were other elves in our house. She met the Rice Krispies elves: Snap, Crackle, and Pop! Although I am not sure what she did to Crackle and she decided to take his place on our cereal box!

Day 23: We had a family Christmas celebration on the night of Day 22. Meaning we were up late. We also had a snow storm that night. Meaning the entire family got up early to check out the snow that had fallen. Unfortunately, The Short Chic noticed Isabella had not moved overnight between Day 22 and Day 23. 

I tried to explain that Isabella had been up late scouting the snow storm for Santa's arrival. Luckily for me, Isabella moved herself to our Christmas tree while we were off visiting Grandma. She did a good job of hiding there too, The Short Chic had a hard time finding her!

Day 24: I think Isabella felt like she deserved a day of pampering, relaxing, and sunbathing. She hung out under a lamp, sipping a drink and reading the paper all day long!

Day 25: The Short Chic knew exactly where to look for Isabella on Christmas Eve. She remembered that last year Isabella was sitting right by the fireplace waiting for Santa to return. And sure enough, that is where she found Isabella this year.

This Christmas Eve, Isabella took a moment to remind us of why we were celebrating Christmas to begin with. She sat up our Nativity Scene and was found holding Baby Jesus...right by our fireplace.

On Christmas Eve, all the Scout Elves hop a ride back to the North Pole with Santa so they don't need much Christmas magic as they are not flying back by themselves. This gives each boy and girl an opportunity to say good-bye to their Scout Elf.

The Short Chic gave Isabella a hug and promised to be good until she saw her again!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Elf On The Shelf 2013: Week 3

Day 15: Isabella was found stuck head down inside a bag of M&M's.  I guess even Elves get chocolate cravings!

 Day 16: Isabella got into my makeup. From the looks of it, she had a great time playing and trying out some new looks.

Day 16 was also a Sunday.The Short Chic had a friend spend the night. They both loved seeing Isabella all made up. This is also the Sunday I fell down the front stairs and broke my tailbone.   Which is important for Day 17!

Day 17 started off with us oversleeping. The Short Chic and I woke up 15 minutes before the bus arrived.  {I am blaming the pain medication for the broken tailbone.} As I am rushing around to get get The Short Chic ready for school, she comes downstairs with big crocodile tears in her eyes. She said to me, "Mom, I found Isabella." I asked her she found her and The Short Chic informs me that she found Isabella in the exact same spot as yesterday.

We quickly determined that Isabella had some how lost her Christmas Magic.  During the day while I was sleeping off the pain, Santa sent some elves to care for Isabella. Santa wrote us a letter and informed the children it I was the one who accidentally touched Isabella and caused her to lose her magic. Since it was an accident, Santa  decided to heal Isabella. In order to give Isabella her magic back the kids had to:

  1. sleep near a Christmas tree with twinkling lights.
  2. Eat as many candy canes as possible.
  3. Drink as much maple syrup as needed.
  4. And, The Boy and The Short Chic had to sing Christmas Carole's to Isabella every hour for 4 hours.

 Day 18: Luckily for us, Isabella's Christmas Magic was restored and she was right back to her normal self the very next day! We found her sitting in the dollhouse sharing donuts with a few of the dolls. {Thanks for my MIL for making the mini donuts!}

 The Short Chic remembers Isabella bringing donuts last year  and she was excited to see them again! She knows that Isabella's donuts are made out of cheerio's and she enjoyed eating the rest of the donuts!


Day 19: The next day, Isabella was on our kitchen table and had made snowmen out of marshmallows.

 Day 20: Isabella went camping in The Short Chic's American Girl camping tent.  Of course our scout elf likes camping at much as we do!

 Day 21: Isabella spent the day zip-lining between our dining room and living room. I guess she is not afraid of heights!