I don't even know if I can begin to convey how difficult it is to take the Muffins out sometimes. They were quite good on the way up to our adventure; we didn't even resort to using the newly installed mobile DVD player until we were about 25 minutes away from North Conway (it was about a 2 hour trip), but the kids did have the new distraction of Caitlin sitting between them to occupy a lot of their time (even thought she tried valiantly to sleep).
Getting out and about was alright, and lunch was pretty good. We ate at one of our usual North Conway haunts and there was only one crying jag when I wouldn't let Liam have his entire meal in front of him because it was too hot. He ended up winning, but I did manage to cut up the chicken and potatoes and he managed to not burn his mouth.
Then we headed out to see Thomas.
Early on, just seeing the train was a big hit. J tended to Liam, and I had Ella. My attempt at getting a happy family picture didn't go over too well and Cait took over Ella while I ran over to the gift shop tent to buy something souveniry. I knew there were a lot of Thomas products, but the very first thing I saw was Thomas toothpaste. Hello? I was a little overwhelmed by it all. I settled on two shirts, two caps, two wooden train whistles and an alphabet floor puzzle which will be a Christmas gift (it got rave reviews from two other mothers who were waiting in line ahead of me). A plush James was a last minute addition since the rest of the fam found me and Liam locked onto it.
Ella fell a little bit in love with Thomas, I think, and just didn't want to see or do anything else. She was very upset when the train left for one of its scheduled rides, but became even more upset when it was our turn to ride the train (because, of course, it meant that we weren't standing outside looking at the train). She pitched a glorious trantrum, the result of which was that no one - I mean no one - sat near us on the train. I was mortified, but J was a supreme champ and contained her and ultimately calmed her down and she even fell asleep for all of 2.3 minutes towards the end of the ride.
Liam was in a trance on the train and was the epitome of the perfect child.
Prior to our ride, however, he fell in love with a plush James toy (which I unwittingly referred to as Percy, only to be corrected by another mother that "Percy is green") and wanted nothing more than to sit in the dirt and push James around. It was cute. And filthy. And time consuming.
It poured buckets while we were on our train ride, but we only got a little wet while boarding. Mercifully, the rain ended just as our ride came to a stop.
After a tedious, but successful, search for balloons, we packed up and headed home. The kidlets defied my expectations, however, and did not pass out immediately upon being snug in their car seats.
We'll try to do this all over again next year. I think 3 may be a better age for this kind of event. Thank God we had Cait with us and thank God I'm married to the best husband (and did I mention the best of the best fathers?) in the world. Liam, Ella and I are very lucky indeed.
Also? This all happened at the end of a week where the contractors have been here nearly every morning - banging away - by 7 am AND the kids decided that now was the perfect time to not sleep in their cribs anymore, prompting a massive cleaning and emptying out of their room, as well as the conversion from crib to daybed?
We're very tired in our house.