I'm a full-time wife and mom of two adorable boys. When I'm not busy trying to keep up with them I enjoy photography, traveling, planning parties and a little bit of reading.

In February of 2008 I was diagnosed with an incurable terminal lung illness, though God promised me a full and complete healing. While we wait for His timing, we're taking it one day at a time, and standing in awe of how God's using all of this for His glory. The tough road we've traveled has given us a new perspective on the fragility of life. Memories are more important to us than ever before. The goal of this blog is to share some of our family life - the ups and downs, the joys and probably some of the pains as well. It's mostly meant as a personal journal of sorts, but you're welcome to share in it. We'd like to take this opportunity to say ...


Monday, November 23, 2009

Light Up Night

Apparently in Pittsburgh, Christmas officially beings the Friday before Thanksgiving with Light Up Night. I remember as a child going to light-up night a couple times, but Aaron has never had the pleasure. So, once he found out about it (from a neighbor), and remembered how much I love Christmas, it was put on the calendar! We were going to go as a whole family, but that afternoon Harrison absolutely refused to take a nap. We were not prepared to deal with toddler melt-downs when we were out past normal bedtime. So, my mother volunteered to change her plans and watched Harrison while the three of us went out.

For those of you unacquainted with Light Up Night, it's when all the big buildings across town light their Christmas trees, and turn on their Christmas displays. There's TONS of FREE activities for the young and old alike: concerts, parades, carolers, horse-drawn carriage rides (yeah - for free!), parties, fireworks, and so much more - all around town! There's whole websites dedicated to letting people know what's happening where and at what time. The city even offers free shuttle service from many of the big parking garages! I think activities began at 11 am, but we didn't get to town till around 6. After consulting the event calendar, we decided to stick to with only two areas (maybe 3-4 blocks apart) that had kid's stuff, and so I wouldn't have to walk too far.

First was One Oxford Centre. Alex got to meet two of Santa's reindeer, though he couldn't decide which ones they were. Later in the evening as we walked to the next location we passed the trailer that transported them all the way from New York, and Daddy accidentally pointed that out to Alex. After a very concerned "you mean they can't really fly?" comment, Daddy quickly came back with the well-known fact that Reindeer are only allowed to fly over the continental US on Christmas Eve. That way they don't run into all the airplanes that fly all over the place. (Phew - that was close!)

Inside was a gorgeous tree with Santa sitting in front of it. (Sorry - I cropped him out of my picture.) What a great opportunity to get that important conversation with him out of the way at the beginning of the season - even had a gorgeous background for the hundred pics each parent would take of their child on his lap. And was was even better was that it was FREE! (That sure beats paying 15 bucks at the mall for the photo they take of your kid with Santa, where inevitably it's of Little Johnny screaming because Santa smells like Jack Daniels!)
There was also a jazz trio playing up-beat Christmas tunes, face painting, caricatures (which weren't free), and shaped balloons (which I'll post about later).

After the half-mile or so walk to PPG, we were greeted with Pittsburgh's version of Rockefeller Plaza - complete with a skating rink around the tree! (I took advantage of the Zamboni doing it's thing to snap some pics without people in the way of the beautiful tree.)

Okay, so they're not quite "Christmas-y," but how could I not have taken a picture of a Heinz Ketchup Triceratops, or a PPG-inspired Stegosaurus? I mean, really? It's not everyday that I get to see these fabulous historically-accurate fossil replicas!

Then inside one of the PPG buildings was another beautiful Christmas tree.

It was surrounded by gingerbread houses made by local schools, and a huge train display. Of course once Alex saw the trains, this was the final stopping spot of the evening. He must have spent the better part of an hour watching the trains from all sides of the massive tree. Such a patient Daddy to participate in Alex's excitement for so long!

On the way out we finally spent some money, and bought Alex a "light-up sword". (Hey - that's what he called it!).

Then the whole way back to the car Alex and Daddy had sword fights. We really are pacifists, but it sure beat telling Alex that we were walking toward the car to go home. They just kept running further and further up the street sword-fighting all the way. I couldn't count the number of smiling passers-by. (I was just lucky enough that none of them were in the following video!)

(Nothing like hitting a man when he's down... yikes!)

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