Last night we had a family date! We went to a farm out in Clayton near the Neuse River, where we could take a hayride through a forest of Christmas light displays. Because... we live in North Carolina, and apparently hayrides and Christmas lights go together. :)
And we apparently picked the coldest night of the year so far -- according to weather.com, it was 26 degrees out when we were on the hayride! I know to some people in some parts of the country, that's laughably warm. But for us, anything below freezing is dang cold. I mean, it makes the news and stuff. I kind of don't understand how it goes below freezing anyway. I mean, are those even real temperatures? I don't think so. (And don't get me started on below zero, which totally blows my mind and is something I hope to never experience.)
Anyway the good part about cold weather is getting all bundled up. Which makes children at least 25% cuter than they already are. And last night was no exception. Anneliese and I wore our matching Peruvian flute band hats (please don't ask me how I know that's what they're called; I learned it here) and she went in the bjorn with a blanket around her legs, and then got buttoned up inside my coat. Nathan had on sweatpants under jeans, two shirts, and of course his coat and hat and superman mittens.
I don't even know if Nathan felt the cold, to be honest (although the other three of us sure did!) -- he was so entranced by the light displays ("Look at that! It's a reindeer... it's another reindeer! It's orange lights! It's green lights! Look at that big tower! It's purple lights!" and on and on). And the fact that we were riding behind a tractor was really exciting for him too. Of course. :)
It was a pretty cool hayride. I liked that it wasn't just an orgy of Christmas lights in a field, but a bunch of different displays through a path in the forest. That way you could see and appreciate each display (and the music that went with it!) instead of being overwhelmed by all the lights at once. Also, it meant that they could turn the lights on and off as the hayride came by each section and then left, which I'm sure keeps their energy bills down. I heard someone say they had more than a million lights out there!
They also had a "Santa's Barn" 3-D display and you could make s'mores on their campfire and get your picture taken with Santa... but we skipped all that in favor of getting back to our car and getting warm. Also, because Santa (once again) brought out Nathan's panicky tears. Also, because Nathan spent the whole night licking his lips and I didn't think they could take any more chapping (any hints on how to convince a toddler not to do that?)... Also, because it was already past bedtime.
Here are some more pictures from last night:
We all slept well afterwards! But it was a great way to spend an evening as a family. :)