It was quieter than I remember. Maybe because we were there a little earlier? In any case, it was nice to be first in line for the train.
Hayden decided to explore the Christmas decorations section, while Lucy, Camille and the little boys rode the train.
It was Camille's first time. And the look of wonder in here eyes was magical.
My heart skipped a beat.
And then it was time. Time to see the Big Man in Red.
We crossed the train tracks and made our way into his secret office. Joshua knocked on the door and an elf answered saying Santa was ready for us. Cookie, his reindeer, lay sleeping on the ground. With a bellowed laugh, he welcomed us in.
The Reasons beamed and immediately ran over to start running off their lists and questions. Oh the magical questions.
How is Mrs Claus? How are the reindeer? Are the elves happy? Are you paying them in candy canes or peppermint chocolates?
The assumed their positions and the photographer snapped away.
Then it was time to go, and they said their goodbyes.
We made our way out of Santaland and spent some time searching for a new Christmas book or two. Another tradition.
Without knowing what was ahead of us, we chose "Russell's Magic Christmas"
Along with a "hide and seek" Christmas book.
Then it was time. Time to head to our next destination.
As we navigated our way through the crowds, we saw the twinkle lights in the distance.
And it was spectacular!
I read each window (page) carefully and full of expression. Five Little Reasons and Two Gorgeous Friends listening carefully. Taking in each word. Experiencing every sparkle of every window.
As I reached the final window and announced the words "The End" the crowd around applauded.
I hadn't even noticed the audience that had been listening to my every word. A father thanked me for such a dramatic reading and the crowd dispersed.
I turned to Brett and laughed. I should have charged!
We then slowly made our way to see the Lord Mayor's Christmas Tree, which had only been officially "lit" just a few hours earlier.
It was at this point that I had a minor break down. Seven kids, three adults and a bustling city centre will do that do a mother.
It was after the 2nd time I lost Camille in the crowd that I announced that it was time to end our adventure.
Kids were tired, mama was stressed and I was getting increasingly uncomfortable in the heat and humidity.
We made our way back to the car, turned the air-con on high and drove home.
It was hard work. Really hard work.
But there are Five Little Reasons why we do it.