Sunday, December 14, 2008

To the North Pole We Went!

That's right, didn't you know you can get there from Calera, Alabama, on a train? Well Geez! Get with the program! And it is incredibly convenient, being just 20 minutes from our house to the station.
So, last night, the four of us met up with Jack's friend Payton and her mom and dad, Leslie and Chris and we boarded the William Penn dining car on the Polar Express for a trip to the North Pole to visit Santa Claus! (That's visit #4 this season for those of you that are counting :)) Payton had taken the trip last year and had a great time and since we are always looking for special things to do during the holdiays to start some traditions down here, this seemed like a perfect chance!

We were all decked out in our pj's (except Daddy Scrooge) and at 5pm the whistle blew and we were only takes 15 minutes from the Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum to get there! And that's just enough time for the conductor to read aloud the entire book, by Chris Van Allsburg.

Just as the conductor finished, we were pulling into the North Pole and Santa's toyshop, where Santa, Mrs. Claus and their elves were waiting outside waving to all of us among all the Christmas lights and trees and toys in front of the toy shop! In just minutes, two elves entered the William Penn and handed everyone a single silver sleigh bell (you'll need to read the story for the significance if you haven't already). And coincidently, one of the elves even looks very much like Mommy's friend Clydene who clowns at Children's Hospital - isn't that amazing!

Next, the big man himself, SANTA, came on board and greeted all the children, coming up the aisle and stopping at each table to take pictures and even sign your copy of The Polar Express, if you had it handy. It was VERY EXCITING for little boys and girls to see Santa again and we wondered (out loud) if he was going to give out candy!

Instead, it was even BETTER than candy - a chocolate chip cookie and chocolate milk (which Duke inhaled by the way). Jack gobbled up his cookie (and ate Daddy's), stopping in between bites to comment, "Grandma Grandpa's House? Cookie?" He apparently recalls one of the previous visits with Santa this season with happy memories.

Today's first words when Jack woke up were "train?, Santa?, cookie?"...yikes! Well worth it, but I hope holiday memories fade fast in January or it's going to be a long road to Christmas 2009!
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