A couple weekends ago we spent some time at the largest mall in the U.S. and couldn't help but notice their MASSIVE Christmas display for the children to meet Santa Claus. We thought the mall in Florida was oh-so-fancy last year, to the point that we never thought another mall could top their display...but we were wrong. As we walked towards it I got so excited that there was a carousel of reindeer - a huge carousel of reindeer! What fun! Gabriel would have so much fun riding the carousel!
And then I realized that it was fake.
If I was disappointed, I can only imagine how many hundreds of children had the same reaction to this epic tease. It makes for beautiful photographs, yes, but whoever designed that didn't really think it through that children would be walking through to meet Santa Claus....
Anyway, the display was over the top but it reminded us that we wanted to take Gabriel to meet Santa Claus at some point this year. Last year he was 4 months old and the lines were absolutely not worth it, but this year we thought it would be fun.
Needless to say, the mall was packed on the weekend and we weren't about to waste time in those nonsensical lines for a 15-month old, but we did head back on a weeknight and were quite pleased to see that there was absolutely zero line. :)
Of course Gabriel had nothing to say to Santa and had no idea what was happening, but he seemed intrigued and perfectly content to sit on this curious man's lap while his daddy snapped some photos.
Afterwards, Santa gave him a page of stickers and a reindeer hat which I wasn't expecting at all - especially since we didn't pay for them to take professional photos or buy the merchandise they flaunt as you exit. He didn't think much of the reindeer hat, but he did have fun wearing it for 30 seconds - just long enough to catch another photo. After that he focused on the stickers, which he happily held for an entire ten minutes before attempting to eat one.
Before heading home, we made our way to the new pho restaurant because their bubble tea is much better than what is sold at the mall's bubble tea kiosk. On the way we stumbled across a big jewelry sale and Michael slowed down to look at their collection of pearls. Before I knew what was happening, we had found a beautiful 5-pair set of earrings that I loved and Michael just...bought them. My birthday is coming up in a few weeks, so I thought he was going to ask if I'd like them for my birthday...but instead he told the sales person that they were a "just because" gift. Honestly I'm still soaking that moment in, because even though I'm not huge on the "gifts" love language that gesture meant so very much to me.
We eventually ordered a bubble tea to share and, because Michael knows it's my favorite, we got taro. Then, as if I didn't feel loved enough, the person making the milk tea accidentally made a taro smoothie as well - which he gave to us for free. Taro bubble tea and a free taro smoothie right after my husband bought me beautiful earrings for no reason?! For a second I actually thought it might be my birthday but then I remembered that it isn't even December yet.
Since we had an extra drink, we let Gabriel try the taro smoothie and let me tell you: little boy was in heaven. He practically jumped out of his stroller trying to drink it, which led to this hilarious photo that I love:
He ended up drinking nearly half the smoothie and was one happy boy. All in all, it was such a lovely family outing that left me feeling completely blessed.
Now we're off to Ohio to stay with my in-laws for the next 4 days! May you all have a blessed and very Happy Thanksgiving surrounded by your own loved ones!
"It is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all."
-Laura Ingalls Wilder