Spontaneous Best Night Ever: Polar Express Movie Night

It was a couple Fridays ago. Other than grocery shop, the little guys and I had quite the lazy day. I wasn’t feeling too hot, with my sinusitis flaring up (super fun), and was in my pjs looong before it’s socially acceptable. It was cold and grey outside. The kind of day you just want to stay in and curl up. We were hanging out, waiting for the first grader to come home from school around 4pm (told you, pjs waaay before it’s socially acceptable;).
I watched her hop off the bus, run home, excited to tell me about Movie Night at her school tonight. Newman. (Any Seinfeld fans out there?)…I often forget that she’s now old enough to hear about all the goings-on now – like Friday night events at school, which start at 7, which is bedtime, which means Momma is off the clock! No, in all seriousness, I would have been happy to take her (ok, ok, I would have taken her), if I felt well, and hadn’t been so jonesed about spending the cold (almost) winter’s night cozied up by the fireplace.
The  movie her school was showing was The Polar Express.
Which we happen to own.
Out of the clear blue sky, I concocted a plan. One of my prouder mommy moments to date, I must add.
“Hey! Instead of going to your school’s Movie Night, we’re going to have OUR OWN!!! Won’t that be the coolest?!!”
Lucky for me, my first grader is one of the most go-with-the-flow and understanding children I know. Sure, she would’ve liked to go to her school, but you know what? The girl had back-to-back-TO-BACK birthday parties on Saturday and Sunday, so it’s not like I was depriving her of a fun weekend.
I admit, I felt a twinge of guilt. I threw the trio in the tub, and quick googled “Fake Polar Express Ticket” – a friend told me about them last year, and we printed them out then – not sure the website, but do a little googling and you’ll find them. Sorry, I had no idea I was going to end up blogging about this night when I started cooking it up;).
I printed out the tickets. I even dotted their names on them to look like punched holes, a la the conductor.
Made a pizza. Popped some popcorn. Grabbed tons of pillows and blankets and made a huge bed on the family room floor. Cue fireplace and Christmas lights…Success!

Got them out of the tub, and the squeals when they walked downstairs were ah-MAZ-ing. We all ate dinner on the bed made on the floor (first thing they thought was super cool), then we turned off all the lights and popped the DVD in (getting even cooler), handed them their tickets and popcorn (minds were blown), and our OWN family movie night had begun…

Now, if there’s one thing I’ve learned in my 6 years of parenting, it’s this: life hardly ever, if at all, goes according to plan. That expensive party that you had spent months planning for, thinking it’s going to go down in history as the BEST EVER? Hardly even memorable.
That night you quick threw a family night together in 5 minutes by running to the computer, printing something out and popping popcorn?
Turned out being one of my Top 5 Favorite Nights of All Time.
Go figure.
No one moved for the entire movie. Not even the 3 year old. He didn’t let go of his ticket the entire time, and went to bed holding it. When I went in his room the next morning, he was still holding onto it.

(Sorry for the dark pictures – I have no idea how to take shots in the pitch black;)

I made them all hot cocoa, we munched on peppermint bark. They were in heaven.

My husband and I didn’t get up once to talk on a phone, check an email. Nothing.
My favorite people on the planet in one room, snuggled up in our warm home with a Christmas movie.
Since I’m such an emotional freak, of course I teared up. Cuz that’s what I do.

When it was over, we carried them up to bed, and there wasn’t a peep to be heard.
That in and of itself is pretty amazing. 😉
That night, without even realizing it, a tradition was born. Memories were made that I think (and hope) they’ll always remember when they’re grown, and maybe even one they’ll carry on with kids of their own.
So yes, maybe I was being a lazy mom initially.
But maybe there are times when that’s just fine.

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