Sunday, December 18, 2016
Christmas with Hick
"I feel like we made memories today!" Angie said in her one-of-a-kind high pitched, jubilant voice I love to hear. We had the entire hay rack to ourselves, although preferred to snuggle up together on the back quarter instead of spread out and take advantage of the space around us. With kids on our laps and blankets on theirs, we took in the winter scene around us, heckled Hick to go faster, and sang Jingle Bells at the top of our lungs. And I learned the word "perm-a-smile", a term quite fitting for our afternoon adventure to Hick's Place for their 2nd annual Christmas with Hick.
We went to Hick's last December in our spring coats and rain boots, and spent the unseasonable fifty-degree day with 300 other people looking to take advantage of a day outside in December. This year, thanks to a little snowstorm the day before, created a much different scene for us. We nearly had the place to ourselves, and took full advantage of all the fun with one of our favorite families. The snow had finished falling, the temperature climbed to a near thirty-degrees, and we spent the entire afternoon bouncing around from one thing to the next - horse riding to hay rides, laser tag to bingo, crafting making, cocoa drinking, and of course, more Santa sitting. Angie and I laughed together later over the fact that Hick's family and the other volunteers probably wondered if we were planning to stay the night! :)
Our afternoon started with horse rides, Jaycie and Cruz braving the big guy, and Mila surprising us all by hopping on the little one, and not batting an eye. She scored an extra lap or two, requested the horsey go "faster", and looked pretty natural promenading around the pen in her little helmet. Claire decided she will wait until next year... :)
Soon, we all gathered around Hick's beautiful log cabin to await Santa's arrival. Hick persuaded our children to meet him under a tree, then proceeded to shake the branch above them, ensuing their own little snowstorm and endless giggles. And then, with eyes lit up and looks all around to see who would be the first to spot him, we saw Santa in the distance speeding through the snow on a snowmobile. It may not be a pretty horse-drawn sleigh like Heritage Farms, but it was quite fitting for Hick's Place. :)
What did remind me of one of my favorite Christmas memories out at Heritage Farms, was watching the kids meet Santa Claus in a cozy log cabin in the woods. Hick's sweet family opened up their own home for all of us to parade through and meet Santa in a big chair in front of the stone fireplace. The backdrop made this picture-taking mama swoon, and I once again snapped away as the kids reintroduced themselves to the big man in red. They're becoming quite familiar with him this month!
After a visit with Santa and a few fresh baked cookies from Mrs. Claus, we bounced around the property to take part in all the adventures they had planned for us. The kids made cards for military members oversees and made the sweetest star ornaments on slices of a tree limb, we drank cocoa and cider around the fire, played Bingo and won not one, but two wooden toy trucks to take home, and lastly, played a few games of laser tag in the freshly fallen snow. We had the place to ourselves and I discovered that I've got a pretty good aim.
We are so appreciative of places like Hick's, that put in the time and crazy preparation to create experiences like this for families during the season. As Hick was driving us around on yet another tractor ride, bantering with the kids, I said it is pretty neat to see someone who seems to be living out what I'm sure was a big dream. A cabin in the woods, inviting little kids and big kids of the like to experience all his fun, and to give back to causes near and dear to their hearts. His joy was all over his face, and he left eight perm-a-smiles on ours that afternoon, too.