I held off telling the children about our plans until the day before which was Jalen's birthday. Jalen was so excited and was also of the impression we planned this especially for his birthday. It was sort of a trade off in his mind for the 'Swagger Party' he really wanted to have (that is entirely another blog post). Mireya just giggled with excitement and Makinley heard train and knew it had to be something good. Choo Choo!
We arrived at the Train Station and the kids were greeted by a cheery group of elves. Each child received jingle bells and a conductor hat in preparation for their journey. The level of excitement and anticipation increased as the children waited for the train to pull into the station. There were smiles from ear to ear as we boarded the train. Just as quickly as we stepped on the train, we were off to our destination. All the children's little faces were pressed against the window as the train raced down the track. A car ride to Ashland would take about 30 minutes from the station, but we got there in a record twelve minutes. If you took the kids to the bathroom, you missed it, fortunately I 'made' everyone go just before we left.
When we arrived we were greeted by more elves and Mr. and Mrs. Bear. Jalen has always been a bit leery of large over-sized characters, however, Mireya and Makinley immediately ran to them for a hug. As we walked across to the lovely Henry Clay Inn, Santa and Mrs. Claus awaited us. The kids went wild, that is, except for Makinley who wanted no parts of Jolly St. Nick. Inside there were crafts, games, food, and lots of fun. Mrs. Claus read the children a story which the really enjoyed and by the end of our Polar Express experience Makinley and Santa got friendly. Each child was presented a handmade Polar Express Christmas Ornament with their names inscribed.
We extended hugs and waved goodbye to everyone as we boarded a chartered bus to return to the train station. Thank you so much to our coordinator Kaila and the Leadership Team at James River High School for planning and hosting such a wonderful event. It was truly a special time for us as a family.