Sunday, December 03, 2006

The Polar Express

Get set for a picture heavy post.....

This weekend was the final realization of an event in the works since last March for our family. Way back last spring, I received a brochure from the Hood River Dinner Train. In it, they described their different offerings and the description of their version of "The Polar Express" especially caught my eye. Could their be a better way than that to celebrate my daughter's upcoming 5th birthday? I got on the phone, called the close network of families that we refer to as our "Bible Study group" and asked if they'd be willing to come along with us - us paying the way for their daughters as Mikayla's "party activity"..... They all said YES and even all agreed to stay at the Hood River Comfort Suites to extend the festivities of the excitement even more.

It's been a long time waiting, but we finally hit December 2nd to board the "Polar Express" It was a wonderful time. The ambience of the train itself was a little lacking, I will say, but the kids' overwhelming excitement simply being on it made up for that fact quickly. Particularly as Santa came down the aisles - all of them, even the older boys were so enthusiastic - it was very precious. Did I mention it was below freezing and there was snow all around? Yes, very beautiful, and downtown Hood River was glorious. Brayden even asked, "Can we make coming to Hood River an annual Riley tradition?" Boy, does that kid know already the right lingo to use to get Mom to do what he wants.....

The only other downside is the therapy costs that the Whites will have to fork out for the "up close and personal" experience Stephie had to have with Santa. No, Santa did nothing out of the ordinary, but sadly, Stephie hasn't outgrown the 3 year old fear that children that age tend to have of Santa (or any other figure in costume). You should see her in Red Robin when the "Red Robin" visits the table - forehead beaded with sweat, pale face - pretty scary. Perhaps that's the real reason we can't get her to come to Disneyland with us..... Thanks for being so brave for all of us, Stephie - it wouldn't have been the same without you.

Overall, a wonderful weekend - that as Mikayla said, "was even more fun than she ever thought it would be..." Now, on with the pics......

Mikayla blowing out her candles in her ice cream cone at the Hood River Dairy Queen prior to the train's departure
This is the adult crew that came with us on the dinner train - notice Mom and Chele, both their honeys were gone with work related commitments - fortunately, Michael joined us later at the hotel - as Dad is in San Diego - he had to pass!




Here are the kiddos all clad in their favorite holiday jammies - just like in the book:


Here are some pics of the kids with Santa - he was so great - we traveled to a beautifully lit "North Pole" that the kids viewed through the window of the train - and he then borded the train, traveling down the aisles to sit with each child, listen to their requests and pose for pictures, and finally, give them a special "bell" - just like the book suggested....


Outside of Santa, the sights from the train, and the intercom reading of "The Polar Express" we were entertained with cocoa, molasses cookies, singing Christmas carols with jolly teenage elf choir, and finally, Travis pretending to be "Baby Annabelle"

4 comments:

HollieHobbie said...

Awww sooo cute! Dennis told Pete that you were doing that. How fun!
I gotta ask....Is that Andrew with an Oregon cap on?????

StephieAnne said...

Yes, that family is so confused in their allegiances..... Ever since Andrew participated in a Duck football camp, he's quite a Duck fan....

stephietoo said...

What a traumatic experience for me... Notice that I have two kids sitting on my lap. When Santa sat down to chat with them, I quickly thrusted one of the kids (I am not going to admit which one, but I must say, sorry Lisa and Dennis :o)~) at Santa. I have no idea why I have such a fear of anything in costume, but my mom says that I have had this fear ever since I was a child.

But, it wasn't about me that night, it was about Kay-Kay and celebrating her upcoming 5th birthday. It was very special to be part of it all. Thank you for having us!

StephieAnne said...

Steph, next time we do something like this- we'll get you a prescription of Xanax - and all will be well!