A Turtle and A Penguin

Today's Advent Tree paper said, "Take photos with Santa!" We've never made a big deal out of the Santa Claus side of the holiday and our kids know that he's not real, but Lila thought it would be fun to do pictures. Eli had to be convinced. He thought the whole idea of a big hairy stranger in a red suit was on the creepy side. He also didn't understand why we wanted to try and take photos with someone who doesn't exist. Once we explained that we were not delusional, but were talking about someone in a costume, and once we agreed that one of us would be in the photo with them, he finally consented.
Soon after we made our list and set up the tree, we saw a flyer for a Family Night at Chick-fil-A that included photos with Santa, an Elf Cow, AND Nate the Great! We couldn't pass that up, so we shuffled our Advent Tree activities to make sure it would work out. Nate the Great is a fantastic balloon guy in Austin and he can draw quite a crowd on his own. Combine that with Chick-fil-A on Family Night and Santa Claus... a guaranteed madhouse!
Surprisingly, there was no line for our food and we found a booth right away. Getting the kids to take a deep breath and focus on eating was a little more tricky. We assured them that Santa and Nate were not going anywhere while we ate. Also surprisingly, there was no line for Santa. At all. I guess Chick-fil-A is not the kind of place you go for formal photos with the Big Guy, but it was perfect for a casual snapshot!
The painful part was standing in line for our balloon creations. Doug and I stood in line for an hour. The kids went and talked to friends for a while and they played in the play scape for a while, but I still had kids hanging from my body and stepping on my feet for far too long. Heck, I had kids I didn't even know bumping into my butt and pawing at my back. I've basically forbidden anyone in my family from touching me for the next 24 hours. We'll see how that goes.
But, long line aside, we accomplished what we went there for. Just look at those cute kids with their cute balloon animals. He can make some truly impressive creations, but there is a time restraint in this kind of situation. We might have him come to Eli's birthday party next year. I'll bet he can make a mean-looking monster truck!

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