Once upon a time, two parents took four preschoolers to see Santa.
It had all the makings of a disaster: the kids had no nap, I forgot to bring any drinks or snacks, it was FREEZING cold but we somehow left the house with no jackets, we ate late AT A RESTAURANT something we never do, and the kids were up way past their normal with-a-nap bedtime.
But God smiled upon us this night, and a Christmas miracle happened! The kids were WONDERFUL!!! No one was as surprised as I was!
We went to see Santa at the Bass Pro Shops (because it’s free!) so we had the extra entertainment of looking at the fish in the big fish tank and all the stuffed animals that decorate the store. They LOVE fish tanks! (Note: DO NOT BUY US ANY FISH!!!)
The line to see Santa was longer than we expected, and Jim wanted to just forget it, but there was a train set nearby that the kids were quite content to watch, so I insisted we stay, at least as long as they were behaving.
Once the line put us too far away to continue standing by the trains, we managed to distract the kids by pointing out all the things you could see in the store, and then had to get a little more creative: What colors do you see on the Christmas tree? Who can count all the red lights? Now let’s count the green lights!
Finally, we reached the front of the line. Jim and I had decided to do the kids in pairs so each child could sit in Santa’s lap. Jim went first with Jonathan and Zachary. Here you can almost catch the look of surprise when Santa found out this pair was half of a set of quads!
Then Santa insisted on having all four of the kids at once. He was a WONDERFUL Santa, calling them each by name and giving them lots of attention. He insisted on taking a picture with all four, and then also with 2 and 2, so everyone could sit in his lap.
Of course, not everyone was WILLING to sit in Santa’s lap! Zachary didn’t even really want to be this close. He wouldn’t stand beside Santa for the picture, but agreed to stand “beside Reagan”! Ha! So we came away with three free pictures with Santa, none of which are seen here because I haven’t scanned them into the computer yet. We took these ourselves.
Santa was great, and he made a really big deal over us. I felt kind of bad for all the people standing in line behind us, waiting for us to hurry and wrap the quad party up!
After Santa, we went across the way to the Smokies Stadium where Shadrack’s has a second musical lights display this year. The first one is out in Farragut. It was amazing to see all the lights flashing in time to the music, and the kids really enjoyed it as long as we kept moving. They didn’t understand why Mom and Dad would want to stop the car and just sit and watch the lights. No meltdowns, but a fair amount of whining.
After that, it was LATE and we hadn’t even had dinner yet! On a whim we decided to brave the Cracker Barrel. We’ve been there once before, but that was on the way to the beach this past summer and I was sick, so it wasn’t our very best experience. This time, it was GREAT!
It helped that it was late in the evening and not crowded. We were seated immediately and got our food quickly. We were also able to snag some extra peg-jump games from nearby empty tables so everyone could have their own. The kids amused themselves forever taking the pegs out, putting them back in, and lining them up in rows on the table. They were SO GOOD! In fact, two different people from other tables took the time to tell us how impressed they were with our kids! Wow!
And the final bonus: they went to sleep SO FAST!!
What a great night!