Tuesday, December 7, 2010


When I was younger, my parents made very little money. We were by no means poor but I can remember how tight my parents finances were. There were little to no extras during the year. We didn't get to go on elaborate vacations. We camped, in a tent. But even without all the things that most of my friends had and what I think many kids just accept as facts of life now-a-days, we made some wonderful memories.

One of my favorite memories was going to Santaland. It was run for 2 weeks at the beginning of December every year at Chestnut Ridge Park in Orchard Park. And it was free which was a bonus for my cash strapped parents. I was old enough to know there wasn't a Santa any more but my sister is 5 years younger than me, and she believed we were at the North Pole. There was a visit with Santa, fake reindeer, a timetable of all of the cities in our area as to when Santa would be arriving, a horse drawn hay ride, crafts, cookies, hot chocolate, and sing alongs. We always had a great time.

Then they stopped running Santalnad for 10 or more years. It was run by volunteers and donations and they just couldn't get enough people to help out. But 3 years ago, they started it up again. So we packed up Annabelle in her snowsuit and went to Santaland this past weekend. I had high expectations, which were let down slightly. The hay ride wasn't horse drawn anymore, the fake reindeer and Santa's time table were gone. But Annabelle had a great time. It was wonderful to see her happy little face that whole afternoon. Even if my expectations were mildly dashed, it was OK because she was enjoying herself like I used to do when I was a kid.

First we did some sledding. But when I say we I really mean Mark and Annabelle because I'm not really an "outdoorsy" kind of girl.After some sledding Annabelle and her cousins, Austin and Anya warmed up by the fire. This was the smaller fireplace!After some crafts and face painting we went in to see Santa. But first some cookies and hot chocolate. Yum!Annabelle enjoyed some as well.Santa was a bit scary with his super loud Ho Ho Ho's right as Annabelle tried to climb into his lap but she did OK. Sorry for the blurry photo but our camera is dying and Mark was in charge of picture taking that day, which is always a mistake.Annabelle, Anya and I sitting by the stage singing some Christmas carols.Then my baby got up on the stage and helped sing along to Rudolf! Are we cute or what?!

Annabelle was so in charge of that sleigh! She was whipping those wooden reindeer hard!
So over all it was a good day. It was nice to do something Christmas-y with my sister , her family and my parents. Christmas is not my mom's favorite time of the years but she had a great time watching the kids get excited over Santa. Next visit will be even better, I'm sure:)


  1. SOunds like we had simalar upbringing.
    Sounds like you guys had fun. As always love your photos.

    I miss the days of having my kids photos taken with santa, now we just take the dogs.

  2. Thanks KittyCat. I love that Annabelle is happy to pose for pictures all day long for me. She's growing up too fast already. My cat would never tolerate Santa:)

    We didn't have much growing up but we didn't know that. We had each other and it was always enough for me. It still is.