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Monday, December 27, 2010

Wonderland Express

 Yesterday, my mom and I took Jackson to the Chicago Botanic Garden to visit the Wonderland Express exhibit.  I told Jackson before we left that we were going to see some choo-choos (he is very intrigued by the show "Chuggington" on Disney, so trains are a hot topic right now), and he was excited the whole car ride.  He kept saying, "Choo choos!"  It snowed a crazy amount overnight on Christmas night, so the snow added to the atmosphere.  The main exhibit is indoors, but it looked like the whole garden was decorated with lights--that must have been pretty in the evening!  The indoor exhibit consisted of tons of train track with different groups of trains running around and around.  The trains ran amongst various flowers and plants and miniature replicas of Chicago monuments and landmarks.  Jackson was mesmerized right away and loved wandering around looking for the next choo-choo.  

First there was a big table with a gingerbread house town.  There was one train running around that set-up.  

The next room had the main set up with many more trains!

This was the look Jackson had on his face most of the time :)

There was one little train--Ladybug.  She was on a very certain, timed track.  One of the "engineers" taught the kids how to clap for Ladybug so she would come out.  It was SO cute!  Jackson loved watching her come by and even started clapping for her at the end.

A Lake Michigan lighthouse.

The third room had a large table set up with one train going around and around.  The decorations on the wall made it seem like you were at a train depot.  The train was eye-level, so the kids liked waiting for it and then following it around the table.

There was a room set up with a cafe and crafts.  The crafts yesterday were paper snowflake making and a station to make mini-bird feeders.  Jackson isn't ready for scissors yet, so we made a couple of bird feeders.  We strung Craisins on wires anchored with miniature pinecones.  Then we stuck birdseed on the pinecones and took them home to hang up.

Since we got such a great snow, and since Mimi had Jackson-sized snowpants waiting for him, we decided to play in the snow after Jackson woke up from his nap!  He thought it was pretty exciting getting all his snow gear.  I'm just thankful for the lack of wiggling due to his excitement ;)  He loved walking in the snow, and took off down the block in the direction of the playground.  Unfortunately, it had gotten pretty chilly so we steered him back towards the house.  Otherwise, it would have been fun for him to play in the snow at the playground!  He and Josh had a good time pushing each other over and throwing snowballs.  Sadly, Jackson face-planted in the snow as he was trying to grab a handful, so our outing ended in tears :(  Nothing a little egg nog couldn't cure once we got inside!  That kid is hooked!
The traditional family Hanukkah picture (taken a few weeks late...)!

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