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Monday 30 December 2013

Ballerinas and Gingerbread

The last few days before Christmas saw a flurry of Christmas activities for our family. We visited the Victorian Christmas fair in Nevada City, were dazzled by the Zoo Lights display at Oakland Zoo, were entertained by a production of the Nutcracker and checked out the giant gingerbread house at the Fairmont Hotel. Phew, what a lot of Christmas fun! Of course, on top of all that there was last minute shopping, wrapping and decorating. It's amazing we weren't all Christmased out by the big day.

We've already seen the Victorian Christmas fair and Zoo Lights so let's have a look at the Nutcracker and giant gingerbread house...

Looking very much like Christmas at the Fairmont Hotel

On Monday we headed into the city to watch Mark Foehringer's Nutcracker Sweets at Fort Mason. At only 50 minutes long this production is perfectly suited to younger children whose attention span doesn't always last a full length performance. I actually took Ava to this particular performance our first Christmas here back in 2011. Back then Lola was a little young and didn't come along. This time around Lola is our budding ballerina and was very excited to watch the performance. She was extra excited when she discovered that she recognized most of the music from her ballet class. I actually had to stop her from practicing her dance moves to certain pieces of music!

Both of the girls enjoyed the performance as did Kim and I. Afterwards we met the dancers in the theatre lobby. I had thought that the girls would be most excited about meeting the Sugar Plum Fairy but in fact it was the Mouse King that caught Lola's attention. Her favourite part of her ballet class is pretending to be a mouse from the Nutcracker so the Mouse King was like her kindred spirit. Plus he had a sword! The Mouse King's sword is much cooler than the Sugar Plum Fairy's wand!

My little mouse with the Mouse King

Meeting the Sugar Plum Fairy

After the Nutcracker we went for a walk through Fort Mason and along the waterfront to Hyde Street Pier where we joined a long queue for the cable car. The girls were pretty pleased with the fact that the cable car we hopped on was covered in Christmas decorations. Christmas decorations and Jackie Chan!

Lola balances on an old railway track

We lucked out and caught the Christmas cable car

Waiting to ride

We hopped off the cable car at California Street and headed to the Fairmont Hotel to see the giant gingerbread house. In the past we've always trekked up the ridiculously steep Mason Street to get to the Fairmont. Catching the cable car was much, much easier even if we did have to wait about 45 minutes to get on it in the first place. Plus it's not something we do often and it's still such a novelty for the girls.

The girls enjoyed seeing the giant gingerbread house and this year I didn't even have to try and stop Lola from eating any of it! Judging by the amount of candy missing from it I'd say that other parents weren't quite so lucky.

Hanging out in the gingerbread

Watching the train go round

Festive details

The whole lobby of the Fairmont Hotel was decked out in festive decorations. Apart from the gingerbread house the other main focal point was the giant Christmas tree, decked out in a multitude of lights and sparkling baubles. It looks extra sparkly in the Auto Awesome photo below.

Sparkly lights
Ava and Lola

Lola and I

The beautiful lobby

Our visit to the giant gingerbread house was followed by dinner and some last minute Christmas shopping. The girls were absolutely exhausted by the time we got home. It had certainly been a busy day of Christmas activities.

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