Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Texas Railroad Polar Express

Santa Clause brought the kids an overnighter with the family and tickets for the Texas Polar Express. We went a few days after Christmas, during which Tessa would excitedly talk about meeting the "real real real real Santa." I would smile.
We packed our bags, put our jammies on, and headed for Palestine, Texas. It was fun to see a different part of Texas. There were some incredible, tall pine trees. 
We arrived at the Days Inn and got settled into our two rooms. Jake and I made jokes about drug deals we might witness there when Cole exclaimed that it was the "best hotel ever!" There were a few times I was reminded that I could do with a little more childlike excitement and positivity on this trip through remarks like Cole's. Noted, and I'm trying to do better. No disillusionment allowed!
We left to get to the train station. What a beautiful train and woodsy area. People were lining up at their cars.

 I had to hide in a corner to feed Sadie while people settled and boarded the train. Meanwhile, this:
 We then smashed ourselves into one cubby area on the side of the train where the North Pole would be.
Sadie proceeded to cry. As the train got going, we were served hot cocoa and snickerdoodles. Delicious as they were, there was no where to set them, and our kids are less than adept at keeping a good hold on their food... Jake and I simply did not have enough hands between the two of us to keep it all together. With Paige moving all over, Cole insisting that he have a foot rest, and Sadie screaming, I started to get somewhat tightly wound. Jake asked Tessa to hold onto Paige's hot cocoa she wouldn't hold so he could get situated with the baby. Tessa, with her own hot cocoa in her left hand, with panic in her voice, proclaimed, "I don't know how!!!" I set her cookie down on her lap, Jake tried to hand her the cocoa, but, true to her word, she suddenly didn't know how to hold a cup in her right hand...
It dropped and spilled ALL over the seat, mostly on the seat of Jake's pants. We cleaned up the best we could, but we were a mess. I didn't realized until the end of the night just how soaked in cocoa Jake really was. What a trooper.
Things finally calmed down, including Sadie, before the reading of the Polar Express was finished, and we were all intent on making this a good, albeit sticky, experience.
 Here we are pulling up to the "North Pole".  Santa was out by a lit up shed waving with two "elves". There were lit up decorations, etc. I expected more. However, when I saw the looks on my kids' faces, I realized I was missing the point. It was magical for them. Santa soon boarded the train.
 Here he comes!!!

 Santa greeted each of the children and gave them a Polar Express bell.
 I love the look on Tessa's face. It makes my heart glow.

After Santa left, we sang some carols together in our train car, and they turned on some dancing Christmas music. The baker girls asked kids to come and dance with them. Tessa went first and sat down after a while so other children could have the chance to dance. Cole shot up and went to dance with a baker. She was a cute, heavy set, African American teen with her baker hat and coat and teenage bedazzled butt jeans and Ugg style boots. Cole stared up at her like he was in love. He would look over at us now and then with a huge grin on his face. Paige danced with another baker and looked at her like she was an angel. Jake and I couldn't stop laughing. Her happiness was palpable.
When Cole sat down, I asked him if he had fun dancing. He answered, "Her face was........long pause.......AMAZING." Whenever we would ask Cole later about what his favorite part of the Polar Express was, he would say first that it was dancing with the baker, and second was meeting Santa.
We headed back to the hotel after picking up some fast food for dinner. We brought the food with us and dined together in one of the rooms. Then, to bed. Jake and I split up. I took Sadie, and he took the other three to the room next door.
It was a really fun experience. We have enough stuff, but we could always do with more happy family memories. I think Santa is on to something here...

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