Tonight we took an Epic Family Christmas Excursion to the Holiday Open House in Valley Junction. Valley Junction is a place in West Des Moines full of the kind of shops we don’t usually shop at (read: not WalMart), as much as we’d love to. But every year they have their open house and there’s all kinds of fun stuff, including live music, horse-drawn carriages, Santa (with no long lines or pressure to buy expensive pictures), and just general fun. We’ve gone nearly every year since we’ve been married, although we did skip last year which was the Year of the Scrooge (AKA me).
Art got the boys ready in their full winter regalia, including snowpants and boots, which I thought was perhaps overkill in spite of the cold temperatures. Sammy proved me wrong almost immediately upon our arrival, however, by falling face-first into a snowbank. Score one for the hubby.
Our first stop was the red caboose which is the only sign of the reason why Valley Junction has its name.
Yeah, let’s get a closer look at that.
Ah, yes. Peace on earth, goodwill to men, and strangling your brother. The true meaning of Christmas.
Our next stop was a visit with Santa. Ryan wants a backhoe.
Sam has decided that Santa is dead and has been telling us that he doesn’t want to sit on Santa’s lap because Santa is dead. Um, okay? I’m kind of glad he’s not in preschool anymore because I don’t want to have to explain that to the other parents.
Anyway, you can kind of see the look on his face here– he was totally processing this– maybe Santa isn’t dead after all? It was serious cuteness, people.
He told Santa he wanted whatever Mom and Dad bought for him. So I think he’s still skeptical.
Frosty the Snowman was walking around and when he held his arms out the boys seriously bolted into them and gave him a huge hug. How cute is that? I mean, yeah, the corncob pipe is a little creepy but look how adorable the kiddos are.
These people (lucky them in their Victorian costumes in the 15 degree weather) were caroling, and we stopped and sang along with them. They were highly impressed that the boys new the words to “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.” What they don’t realize is that we’ve been listening to Christmas music in the van for at least a month. We love Christmas.
They were even more impressed when Ryan sang “All I Want for Christmas is my Two Front Teeth” for them. Fear not. A video of his overwhelming cuteness is coming soon to a blog near you.
Our final stop was this soda fountain/coffee shop, where we had to run due to Sammy being suddenly stricken with a potty crisis. Those can be dangerous in snowpants but we made it. And then we warmed up with some extra yummy hot chocolate.
You know, this was just such a wonderful evening with my family. We spent a grand total of about $5, got thoroughly chilled, but we just had so much fun. The boys were mellow and sweet and excited about everything. Lately they’ve been kind of a handful and it was nice to just have some family time to enjoy them.
Tomorrow night is Ryan’s school Christmas program, which is bound to be cute and adorable and will undoubtedly appear here for your enjoyment.
I hope your family will have sweet times together this Christmas season. 🙂