This post is sponsored by Lumaze Lights – but as always, friends, the thoughts/ opinions/ perspectives are my own. Head to my disclosures page HERE to learn more about The Thinking Branch partnerships.

It feels different this holiday season.

Inside of my heart and my soul and even physically in my body.

There is a welcomed calm within me that has been almost nonexistent since the first holiday that I’ve had kids. In SO. MANY. Christmas seasons in the past I succumbed to the pressure of making things perfect. I felt the pressure of having the perfect thing for family members to unwrap. I was upset for days if my favorite holiday tradition (tree selecting and decorating) went awry because someone in the family was in a bad mood. I got mad if things didn’t go the way I envisioned.

But in my 8th year as a mom, I’ve finally learned that the joy of the holidays lies in none of those things; it lies in the moments… ESPECIALLY if you choose to be in those moments with the spirit, wonder and joy of a child.


Last weekend, we were hosted by Lumaze Pittsburgh to take in their indoor wonderland experience. We wandered as a family through a holiday fairytale of light gardens, lit-up globes, an icicle forest, a holiday train and more… all underneath the twinkle of a million lights.

On the drive down (especially as my youngest had a meltdown in the back seat) I made a commitment to myself to let the kids – and the experience – lead. To not get stressed if one of them melted down when we got in there. To not make them do what I wanted to do, but instead to input myself into their experience.

YES I wanted to do it for them – knowing that there are many days where they hear me rushing them out the door, or telling them to hold on a minute or seeing me stressed out. But I also wanted to do it for me – because who doesn’t want to shut off their adult switch sometimes and just tap into their inner kid?!

So that’s what I did. And boy was it fun to just let go and leave the stress outside of the Lumaze walls.

I jumped on the light-up dots with kids as we pretended the floor around us was hot lava. I danced and twirled with my daughter to the band playing holiday music in front of a couple dozen people eating their dinner. I jumped up and down when I saw Santa. I let them play on the bouncy reindeer for 20 minutes even though my fast-moving adult pace wanted to move them on to the next thing. I put my arms out, turned my head up and spun underneath a lit up snow globe with my son.

FOR THREE HOURS, FRIENDS! (With a break in the middle to head to the amazing selection of food trucks for some fuel!)

It just felt GOOD.

And as I felt my own kid-like joy, I watched my kids move throughout the Lumaze experience with theirs, too.

It reminded me how special this stage with them is, and also how fleeting. The stage when when the magic of the season is more exciting than getting the coolest smart phone… when the anticipation of spotting Santa Claus is at the forefront of their mind and not what they’re going to buy their boyfriend or girlfriend for the holiday… when the family party is what they look forward to and not what they try to leave early from to go out with their friends.

And I don’t want to miss any of it.

Thank you to Lumaze Pittsburgh for not only letting us get lost in the lights, but also get lost in the moment with our family. If you are in the Pittsburgh and surrounding area and thinking about heading to Lumaze for yourself, check out some info below.


— Pittsburgh is one of only TWO U.S. cities with a Lumaze event? (Seattle is the other!) Kinda cool, right?!

— The experience is happening here in the Burgh through January 4, 2019 and you can go HERE to learn more about Lumaze’s features and get your tickets for one of the remaining available dates to experience it with your kids, your partner, your extended family (we were so lucky to have the kids’ Mimi with us!) and your friends.

So much of Lumaze was about the memories, but here are some extras I wanted to share for those thinking about going:

  • Lumaze is stroller- (and wheelchair-) friendly and they have a parent/baby area for those who need it!
  • There are designated Lumaze event parking areas that are $10-$20.
  • There is a marketplace at the end of Lumaze with some local vendors for shopping for holiday gifts
  • There is picnic-table-style seating in the entrance/food area, but there are also benches located within the “lighted” space itself if you have someone in your group who might need to sit down/rest!
  • Soak it in. Enjoy the moment. Let the wonder in. 🙂 Learn More

Written by Brea Schmidt

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