Christmas Eve morning was the day of our annual trip to Pittsburgh to see the Santa Claus exhibit and Nativity Scene. We have done this almost every year since we have been married and Brian and the kids really look forward to it. Notice that I said Brian and the kids, not including myself in this statement. It's not that I don't enjoy going to these places, it's just that I get very nervous taking our entire family anywhere involving traffic, big buildings, people, subways, sidewalks...you get the point. We are numerous and move at a pace much slower than one accustomed to living in the city. We are country folk...remember the pony in our front yard!? I am always worried that someone will get left behind or separated from our group or kidnapped or any other totally ridiculous and highly improbable terrible thing. I take my role of keeping my kids safe very seriously and with eight kids Brian and I are majorly outnumbered. I am also the teensiest bit paranoid and psychotic. Anyway, it was that time of year again so we got up early loaded into the van and headed to Pittsburgh. After trying a few different parking lots and garages we finally found one that our giant 12 passenger van would fit in. We parked and tumbled out of the van. I immediately paired everyone up. This is the only way that we can function out in the world. I put Aiden in his baby sling and Brian carried Noah. Coley and Gia buddied up. DJ and Hannah paired up. Which left Isaac and Jake to be buddies. Normally this wouldn't be a problem, but Isaac was in a mood and didn't want to hold anyone's hand. He was giving Jake a hard time. ( Big shock there!) He was told to buddy up or stay in the van. Given that as his only option, he reluctantly gave in and we were on our way.
First stop: The Nativity Scene at the USX building.
A woman was nice enough to take a picture of us so that we could all be in it.
It was freeeeeeeeeeeezing! But the nativity was beautiful. It is modeled after the one in the Vatican. We love to go there and see it (briefly!).
After that we were headed to destination #2...the Santas from around the World exhibit at PPG Place. But for the Dayton Houghs the final destination is only part of the fun! Getting there was an adventure in itself! This involved an escalator and the subway!!! big excitement for little country kids! We were approaching the escalator and Isaac looked a little bit skeptical. "The stairs are sliding."
Gia took a little bit of convincing...
But we all managed and made it to the top safe and soundly. Now it was on to phase two of getting to the Santa Exhibit...the subway (insert scary music here).... The thing about the subway is that it's kind of fast and again, let me remind you, that we are numerous. My totally unfounded paranoia starts to set in and I am terrified that one of the kids isn't going to make it on and they will be eaten up by the city, never to be seen again. We had some time to wait for the subway which was good. The kids bounced around and got some energy out. Daddy helped the process by flipping them around to shake out some giggles.
I had Aiden in the sling to keep me warm!
Here are Coley and Gianna waiting for the subway.
DJ and Miss Hannah
Noah and Jake were excited.
Bubba was pouting. This just further proves my theory that all eight kids are not genetically capable of being happy at the same time. Someone has to be complaining or whining or crying at all times. Oh well!! 7 out of 8 isn't too bad!
We even had a siting of the very rare Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindasaurus!!!
The subway came and we all (thankfully) made it on and off. The kids loved it. I think that may have been the favorite part for some of the little ones! Ahhhh the little things in life!
DJ and Hannah
Big fun on the subway!!
We finally made the epic journey to the PPG Place to see the Santas From Around the World exhibit. The kids loved them, as usual. My favorite is the Italian "Santa" La Befana. She leaves bad boys and girls switches to be spanked with by her scary little sidekick!
Noah and Bubba checking out their favorite Santa, the Victorian American one.
Brian and Aiden and Hannah admiring the gingerbread houses.
Our favorite "gingerbread creation"...Go Steelers!
Daddy enjoying some AD-Joe snuggling!
The tree with the gingerbread houses
The boys checking things out
DJ and his little buddy Hannah
Sissy and AD-Joe
We also got a kick out of the ketchup dinosaur.
Bubba liked this dinosaur
Gia LOOOVED the sparkly discoball dinosaur!
Brian and Jake ran to get the van so that we didn't have to venture the subway again. We had to wait for them, but it gave us some more time for some looking around.
Here is a picture of the ice rink right outside of the PPG Place. Yeah...maybe next time!
Here we are back in the van safely on our way back home! I must admit this trip wasn't nearly as stressful as I had anticipated. I think that we have finally reached a point where we can safely and (relatively) smoothly go places!!! Woohoo! The big kids are big enough to keep track of their little kid and the little kids are big enough to know to stay with their big kids! It is a major milestone for us. Oh the places we can go!
You are probably wondering what in the heck this is all about. Long story short...if Brian is talking to the kids and they are totally ignoring him, he will sarcastically start to talk to an imaginary monkey. This was happening in the car on the way home so he actually drew a monkey on the window....he so weird! That's why I love him!
Here it is....Our lunch from Sonic! This is how a mega-size family orders drive-in!! For the record, we brought our own drinks. This was strictly sandwiches and fries. It was quite Yummy!
There it is, our Christmas Eve morning in a nutshell.
Stay tuned for Christmas Eve part two.....