A big belated thank you to Nana and Bopa for bringing the four of us on the Mt. Hood Polar Express! That was such a fun Christmas experience - so magical for the girls. We rode the Mt. Hood express (an old train, rather slow actually, quite unworthy of the name express which, in my mind, denotes speed) from Hood River, OR up to the North Pole, which we accomplished in only 45 minutes! Magical indeed. On the way up, we were treated to hot chocolate and a cookie (Meri's first hot chocolate - no doubt she likes it, actually it appeared like catnip to her). A crazy conductor took our tickets (He told Jell if she didn't have a ticket he'd throw her off. The poor dear hugged her ticket to her the rest of the night. When she lost it after a bathroom break, she got a little frantic) Then the story was read over the speaker while our servers walked up and down showing the pictures. When we arrived at the North Pole, Santa's little village was all decked out in Christmas lights, he and Mrs. Claus were waving, and there were elves running frantically all over. They all boarded the train, and the elves got to know the kids and led us in Christmas carols. Santa took the time to talk with each child, pose for pictures, and then gave each child their own bell. Isn't that delightful? Just makes me smile. Meri actually sat on Santa's lap ... for a few minutes (Coop remembers it being a few seconds) before she burst into tears. Jell refused, but waved politely, and talked to him from the safety of Daddy's lap. She was sure to tell him that she wants "pink, sparkly shoes for Christmas" (She came up with that on her own, by the way). It was so fun to see the girls' eyes light up when they saw the lights, Santa, or the elves. Just riding the train was tons of fun. So thanks again Nana and Bopa! We loved it!
P.S. sadly, most of the pics are quite iffy. Bopa may have struggled with the whole flash thingy. Oh and don't even ask what kind of a hat Jell is wearing. She insisted on wearing it because "Santa would think it is soooo funny." I think she looks like Little Miss Muffet.