All Aboard the Christmas Train

Tickets to ride the Christmas Train at Irvine Park Railroad sell out fast, so I bought tickets in November. Or so I thought. When the day came for us to go, I looked frantically in my email for our tickets and then in our bank account and Paypal for record of the transaction. Nothing! 
The weird thing was that I remembered emailing a few friends asking if they wanted to go and explaining we had tickets for the 13th. Even though it was listed on my Google Calendar for a month, apparently, I never actually bought them. We decided to go anyway and hoped, by some miracle, that I hadn’t lost my mind and that our tickets were waiting at will call. 
Me to will call lady: “I’m having a mental breakdown! I swear I bought tickets!” 
Will call lady: Calm down!
While we waited for her to look, other ticketless families were being turned away, one after the other. I was bracing myself for disappointment, when the lady came back empty-handed. Then, she leaned over the counter and whispered the magic words, “But I think I can get you on the train anyways.” 
A Christmas miracle! Either I looked pretty desperate/crazy or the lady took pity on Samantha and Amelia who were staring longingly at the train, because she let us buy tickets and hop on the train, despite the bold SOLD OUT signs posted everywhere.  
Huge sigh of relief. Thank you, nice ticket lady!
Riding the train to Santa’s village. 

S and A switched seats several times before finally settling on who they wanted to sit with. 

Normally, there are tons of peacocks roaming around the park, but for Christmas, they put up Christmas light peacocks which were fun to look at. 

We made it to the North Pole!

While waiting to visit with Santa (yes, for the third time) the girls tried out Santa’s sleigh. 
Sister kisses. 
All I want for Christmas is another twin besides Samantha. 
There was something special about this Santa, because he was our best Santa experience yet. He had some kind of calming effect on the girls who didn’t seem completely terrified of him. Despite the line of people, he took time with the girls to introduce himself and talk to them, which was adorable and so sweet.  

Waiting for the train leaving from the North Pole. 

Enjoying hot cocoa and popcorn on the way back. 

The girls took advantage of the fact that I was attempting to take pictures and knocked down both snowmen. 

Playing keep away the hot cocoa from Samantha is not an easy task. 

Before I could say, “STOP”, S and A ran in opposite directions into the maze. 

Good thing I could see over the hay bales. 

S and A thought it was awesome that the actual point of the game was to throw things. 

Life lesson: always let the girls pick out the same prize if they so desire. We dealt with epic battles over the flamingo the rest of the trip. 

The girls’ future vacation wish: ice fishing in Alaska. We went fishing twice here, at the girls’ request. 

The only problem was, once the girls successfully caught one fish, they refused to put it down and wanted to carry it around like a pet. 

Even the prize guy had a hard time convincing Samantha to turn in her fish for a stuffed reindeer.

 In the end, we had to pry the fishies from their little fingers. 

Longing after the fish. 

Christmas coloring. 

There were so many fun activities to do at the park that we ended up crossing off several things from our bucket list, including cookie decorating.
I was shocked that the girls didn’t try to squirt frosting directly in their mouths. Despite the messy faces and stained sweaters, they exceeded expectations. 
Samantha was pretty artistic and took her time decorating her cookie to perfection. 

Amelia uncharacteristically put one dab of frosting on her cookie and dug in. 

Hmmmm…needs a few more sprinkles. 

Samantha even let me have a bite, unlike Amelia who hoarded hers. 

Samantha the elf. 

Who’s that giggling little photobomber?

Monkey’s turn for a photo!

And don’t forget flamingo!

We had to haul a screaming Amelia away from the teddy in the wagon. She was attempting to climb up there to give the bear a hug, thinking it would have been the perfect photo opportunity.

Ice fishing round two. 

Still had a hard time parting with the fish the second go-around. 

Before leaving, we stopped by to say hi to Mrs. Clause, who, like Santa, was deemed non-threatening by the girls.
See you next year! Our favorite Christmas outing by far. 

Lots of love,

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