Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Holiday Adventures

We've been having lots of holiday adventures, but someone has been camera shy lately, so I haven't been able to capture all of it.

Every year Seattle Center has Winterfest.  On the last Wednesday night in November I took Zane there expecting to avoid the crowds, and boy was I right!  We had just about everything to ourselves.  First stop was the rinky-dink indoor ice rink which is just awesome for a beginner.  They have walker/sliders made up for learners to push.  The ice is pretty rutted, but it does the trick!  Zane was looking forward to it, but as I laced up his skates I warned him not to be disappointed if he couldn't even stand up in them on the floor.  As I laced up my own skates, he stood up and took off walking!  I was amazed.  Then he headed right out onto the ice.  When we got out on the ice, we were the only ones there!  After some initial surprise about just how slippery ice really is, he took to it with enthusiasm.  I've seen so many kids with jelly for ankles flopping all over the ice, even with glider/walkers, but not my boy!  I am very proud of how well he did.

Then we headed over to the Armory to see the model train village, which we got to see last year.  This year Zane got to have a turn driving the train!  Another bonus for going on an off night.  Zane has been asking to go up on the Space Needle elevators, and I'm always saying, "No, it's too expensive."  Today I decided, "Why not!?"  So we added a spur of the moment trip up.  This is the last year Zane gets to ride free, so it was a good move.  On our way up to the elevator doors, we were the lucky recipients of a free cheesy photo.

Zane has often seen the elevators going up and down and has said he wanted to ride in the "buckets."  So as we went into the elevators and up, absorbing the fabulous view, I was puzzled that he wasn't more excited.  Then when we got out at the top and stepped outside, he burst into tears!  What!  What!  Was it the height?  The cold?  The wind?  No, it turned out he was bitterly disappointed that he wouldn't get to ride in the "buckets."  I explained that the elevator we had just been in was the bucket!  He had been expecting to find some sort of fair-ground like ride with boy-sized buckets zipping up and down.  He hadn't quite grasped the perspective and size of what he was seeing when he looked at the Space Needle from afar.  So, a little disappointing, but I'm still glad we did it.

I had been planning on getting our tree later in the month, but on the first weekend in December we had a morning with no rain, so I decided to go for it.  It's so rare to have no rain this time of the year, and I really didn't want to drag a sopping tree into the house.  For the past few years I've had little apartment trees, but this year I opted for a full 6 feet.  We don't have much space in our living room, though, so it had to be a skinny tree.  We lucked out and found a pretty good one in the lot in about 2 minutes!  Zane is my kind of shopper.  "Yeah, this is good!  Let's get this one!"  No hemming and hawing for us!  After we got it home and upstairs, Zane decided for some reason that it needed to be pruned and set to work with his little safety scissors.  They did a pretty good job!  I figured I'd cut the bottom branches off, anyway, to make space for presents, but I haven't gotten around to that yet.

Last year Zane didn't pay any attention to the decorating, but this year he liked unpacking the ornaments and hanging them.  The whole process took a couple of days due to much examining of each thing, repairing the stuff that broke, and meticulous placement.  There are a bunch of ornaments near the bottom, no lights near the bottom in case chewy JoJo investigates, and no tinsel in case JoJo gets a hold of that, too.  A unique decorating plan, but it seems to work alright.

Our next adventure was a visit to see the lights and sights in downtown Seattle.  We took the bus (which is part of the adventure!) and ended up making a it a four hour excursion.  I had hoped to go on a carriage ride, but Zane wasn't up for waiting in lines.  We had a carousel ride and then bought a balloon airplane from a balloon sculptor/twister.  We walked around to see the stores, but I was pretty unimpressed by the displays.  Most seemed ordinary with just some extra baubles and tinsel.  No animatronics or Santa's villages.  We tried to go see the gingerbread house display, but the line for that was too long, too. We capped off our visit with the snow fall (soap suds) in Pacific Place and a yummy burger and fries in a diner.  I think this part was the highlight of the whole trip.  Still, with all the walking around we saw quite a lot of interesting street life and street art and music. When we got home Zane set up a drum set like some of the home made ones we saw on the streets.

After a day playing hooky from school so that we could go swimming, we spent the afternoon making saffron buns, or Lussekatter.  Zane's little art table turned out to be the perfect baking table for him.  He helped me mix and knead and shape the dough.  I ended up nixing most of his "designs" as they were just blobs and pancakes and I wasn't sure if they would cook properly.  He did end up with a ring and a snail, though.  I thought they turned out to be absolutely delicious, but Zane was disappointed as he was expecting something sweeter.

This week's project was a gingerbread house!  I bought a kit for the house, and then extra fruit and nuts and pretzels to replace some of the candy.  Zane enjoyed this much more than the saffron buns, and now he wants to eat it.  I told him he could start eating it on Christmas Eve.

Today we took a trip to the mall, and after some shopping and a stint in a massage chair Zane decided he was ready to see Santa.  He emphatically did not want his picture taken, but he did a very nice job of  telling Santa that he wanted the big yellow mobile crane from the front of his truck catalog.

Tomorrow I have cookie baking planned!

Behavior has been generally very good as have naps.  I'm pretty sure the two are related!  Today we had no nap, so we shall see how the evening devolves as we try to go to Kung Fu with Daddy.