Holiday recap: Taking a ride on the Polar Express

I am a little behind on these, but better late than never.  This past Christmas we decided to take a little trip up to Hood River, Oregon.  If you've never see Hood River, you really must fit it into your travels.  It's a quaint little town with lots to offer and one of those offerings is a train excursion during the holidays.  

Before we left on Christmas Day, we had a quick little Christmas morning celebration at home.  Skylar had his list all made out months in advance.

And we had the entire room decorated, of course.  Even though we were set to leave on Christmas morning, it's still not Christmas without opening gifts on the 25.  I ended up leaving up the Thanksgiving chalkboard quote and used it to house our Christmas cards this year.  It was a great quote to look at and be reminded that we should really be thankful all year.

Santa came in the night and left the gifts for us to open before we took off for Mount Hood.  He even left evidence of his presence. (Unfortunately, one of the big gifts that Skylar wanted was sold out when we went to get it. Two weeks before Christmas it was gone.  :(  We had to order it online and it didn't make it here before Christmas morning.  But that's okay, he will be super excited when it does come.)

We had a little Christmas dinner and baked/decorated some gingerbread cookies to take on out trip.

Love the ugly Christmas sweaters that come out during this time of year too!

Meia kept the tree guarded and warm while we were gone.

A few pre-trip gifts before we left.

And one of my older ornaments that always hit the tree.  It's from 1986 and from my parents good friends and neighbors, The Fryars.  Such a neat ornament to hang each year.

.....More about the train ride.  
The Mount Hood Railroad offers train rides with themes to keep the riders entertained during the travels.  A couple that they offer is a Murder Mystery Train Ride, and a Western Train Robbery.  It's such a great little excursion and during the Christmas holiday they offer one for the kids called The Polar Express Ride.  We decided to give the Polar Express train ride a try.  The trip itself is based completely off the book, so we were not disappointed.  Here's a little recap of our trip.

We booked our trip about three weeks in advance and then went on a hunt to find a great hotel.

When we first arrived, it was dark and our hotel looked like something out of a horror movie.  It was a bit creepy, to be honest.

The shower was cool though, and I was wide awake when we got there, so I sat and watched TV and doodled for a few hours while the other two passed right out.  Boys!

What we couldn't see the night before, revealed itself the following morning.  The view of the Columbia river from our hotel room was amazing.  We were on Oregon's side of the river and that was a view of the Washington side from where we were.  It was awesome!

After taking in the view of the river and having some fun with Flat Ryan, we headed over to the train ride.

Our "genuine parking pass."

Skylar wore his pajamas, just like in the book and on the movie.

A view of the sky-dome train car we would be riding in.

Purchasing our "genuine tickets to ride."

The conductor.

Skylar posing with "Flat Ryan." Find out more about that here!

We found our seats.

The conductor came through and punched our tickets.  It was just like in the book!  It was great and Skylar loved every minute of it!

Next Santa came through and gave each rider a silver bell.  (Notice Flat Ryan?)

Skylar listened to the bell to make sure he could hear the jingle.

Next we had hot chocolate and Christmas cookies.

The servers were dressed just like in the book.  It was great!

We had a great time and will definitely be doing this train ride excursion once again.  
You can find out more about the Polar Express train ride here and book your tickets for 2015.

When we returned from out train ride excursion, it was nice to see this flowering cactus all on display.  Beautiful Christmas Cactus never seems to let me down each year with her beautiful pink blooms.

We also got busy making the batches of root beer that Santa brought Skylar this year.  Santa also brought some hard cider mix and it's currently fermenting in the hall closet.

Skylar and I spend the next few days wrapping up Arkansas family gifts, and Oregon family gifts to either mail or exchange on New Year's Eve.

We ended up eating out traditional New Year's black-eyed peas on the 31, and enjoyed them again on the first of the year.  We also made out sugar cookies that came with out Honest Company bundle in December.  If you haven't heard of The Honest Company, you are really missing out on some great products. 

We receive a bundle each month with household supplies in them.  We get laundry products, dish products, body products like the Shampoo + Body Wash, healing balms like the Organic Healing Balm and household cleaners like the Multi-Surface Cleaner .  The December box came with this sugar cookie set that included a cookie cutter, sugar cookie mix, a cute little bag, and instructions.  

You can sign up to receive these bundles and the little extras The Honest Company throws in, by visiting their site and picking which Bundle works best for your family.  You can chose from:

Essentials Bundle 
Health and Wellness Bundle 
Diaper and Wipes Bundle

You can also take advantage of some summertime items that are in their shop right now.  

Sun Hat
Swim Shirt
Sunscreen SPF 30

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