Monday, December 16, 2013

All Aboard!

We have had a fun and busy weekend, including a road trip to St. Louis that I will write about in a separate post. First things first, though, our Friday evening ride on the Polar Express!
Jim and I went along with this sweet group to hop aboard an authentic, full size train and travel to the North Pole on the Polar Express.
Ella liked putting her nose (or maybe her tongue) on the window glass.
The conductor came through and punched our tickets just like in the movie. Punch, punch, punch, punch, punch.
My night-time inside-on-a-train photo-taking skills are definitely lacking, but Ella squealed with delight when we approached the lights of the North Pole.
Matthew kept a lookout for Santa.
It is so much fun to share in special times with our grandchildren. There is something magical about Christmas, and I think many of us are reminded of memories from our own childhoods each year as we celebrate the birth of our Savior. Riding the train made me think of the times we dressed in our Christmas best to go to L.S. Ayres for Breakfast with Santa. There was a small indoor train that we rode around an area decorated like a winter wonderland, taking us to the spot where we would have the opportunity to meet Santa himself. Santa! I know him! I'm pretty sure there were a few years when my mom took her whole preschool group to Indy for the trip downtown to see the elaborate window displays with moving figures, ride the train, and eat in the fancy Ayres Tea Room. When I was past preschool age, I think I got to miss school to go along. As a helper, of course. :) The Indiana State Museum has preserved and replicated some of the history of the train and the Tea Room, and kids today can enjoy the train and a visit with Santa at the museum.
On the Polar Express, we enjoyed cookies and hot chocolate while the train made its way through the snowy countryside toward the North Pole.
Grandpa and Ella.
Grandpa, Ella, Matthew, and Haleigh waiting for Santa to come.
Most of the kids on the train were dressed in their pajamas, and even some of the adults. Grandpa thought about wearing his, but decided against it. Matthew was dressed and ready in his pjs though.
Haleigh was calling for Frosty here, I think.
It's almost our turn to visit with Santa!
Here he is!
I think he's telling them to be good boys and girls, and leave him some cookies.
He talked to each one of them, and they told him what they hoped he would bring them for Christmas.
They each got a silver bell, just like the boy in the story.
And if you have read the book, you know the final line:
"At one time, most of my friends could hear the bell, but as years passed, it fell silent for all of them. Even Sarah found one Christmas that she could no longer hear its sweet sound. Though I've grown old, the bell still rings for me, as it does for all who truly believe." ~Chris Van Allsburg, The Polar Express
Can you hear the bell?

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