This is the first year that the girls are actually starting to 'get' Christmas. We've started to introduce Santa, and they are excited to see him! I wanted to get a Santa picture this year, but we decided not to push our luck. They still like him at this point and I want to keep it that way! :) We put up the Nativity and I explained to them what each piece was and that Christmas is when we celebrate the baby Jesus' birthday. Then I said that we give presents to each other instead of to Jesus, because that makes Him happy. Then we threw in the Santa part. (which, for the record, I'm not totally comfortable with. I really don't want to disappoint them when the "truth" comes out---I hate lying to them. But I suppose it's fun to take advantage of their innocence...just kidding!) It's part of growing up and I don't want them to miss out on the purity of Christmas during their childhood years.
So, in preparation for the train ride, we watched the Polar Express movie together. We decided they were just a little too young to really enjoy the show, but they saw the train and Santa and the whole jingle bell thing and it did it's job. We talked it up for about a week before we went. We did a little 'countdown' to the "Polar Express" ride and I even got them new coats to wear (which we needed anyway, but it helps to provide props).
The day finally arrived! We got all ready to go, coats and all, hopped in the car and----we waited in line FOR-EVEEERRRRR! Has anyone ever waited in line with three, 3-year olds?? Wow, not fun at all. Avery was sitting on the dirty ground, Jordyn kept trying to get kidnapped by wandering off and Ashleigh was actually really cute saying "Hi" to all the people around her and winning their hearts (as usual). That is, until two stupid elves came over and she clung to Tony's leg in fear. Thanks, juggling elves. Thanks. But soon after, the line started moving and we got to our train car. When I purchased the tickets online, they were about 15 tickets away from selling out the entire season. When I clicked on the only day left with more than one ticket (there were three), before I had a chance to check out, there were only two left. And, on the website, I swear that kids under 3 were free and just had to ride on an adults lap. I knew it would be difficult, but two could ride on Tony's lap and one on mine. So I bought Tony and I a ticket each and selected 3 under three tickets. When I received the tickets in the mail, the information said UNDER TWO were free. I was panicking that we'd get there and then they'd turn us away because they were too old to ride on our laps. We thought we would just get on "stand by" for as many additional seats as we could, but when we asked, they said they were "over-booked". Not sure how that's possible or why they would do something like that (other than to make a Ba-jillion dollars, which for sure they did) but when we gave them our tickets to exchange for boarding passes, they didn't say anything. Obstacle one, passed! Phew. Now on to obstacle two. I don't normally care what other people think, but I was really concerned that we would be packed like sardines next to some other families on the ride and they would be looking at us holding our three "obviously older than TWO children" on our laps (taking up every ounce of extra space) and think we were big cheater-cheater-pumpkin-eaters. I had visions of the girls crying and screaming to get off the train (after it was already moving, of course) and just having everyone glare at us, wanting to throw us out the windows. Positive thinking, I know! But I have to mentally prepare for the worst so I can come up with possible solutions to any problem in advance. Having triplets has improved my problem solving skills in many different ways, preparedness is one.
We boarded our train car and looked for seats, preferably away from everyone else. We saw that the seats were in groups of four, with two seats on each side facing each other. We picked a section that was all empty. We sat down, got situated and noticed that no one was choosing to sit in our section. No surprise. I probably wouldn't either. Then I noticed the guy coming around clicking the tickets (like in the movie) and I started to panic. He was, for sure, going to tell us to get off. That would be embarrassing. He came, I can't find the tickets, I found them, he clicked them and then says to me, in a sympathetic tone, "Once we start moving, you can move them to these seats," pointing to the ones across from us. He moved on to the next section and Tony and I looked at each other, puzzlingly. Then the train started moving and I had a sudden realization that we have all FOUR seats to ourselves! I literally started tearing up. How was this possible??They were "over-booked"!! It was truly an answer to my prayers. I was so concerned over my innocent mistake and I didn't want to punish the girls for it. I could finally relax and enjoy the ride. I wanted to etch every moment of this experience in my mind, not only so I could remember it, but so I could re-tell the story to the girls when they got older of their "first ride on the Polar Express"!!!
Here are some photos of our exciting day:
Waiting Anxiously in Line: