Saturday, December 1, 2012

Polar Express recap (Pic Heavy)

On Nov. 29 I took my Hail, Raph, Amber, and Brooklyn to ride the Polar Express train at Mt. Hood Railroad. For the price of the tickets, it wasn't really that fantastic. It was overall a fun experience but not something that I would repeat.

The train ride itself was very short. A total of 45 minutes from start to finish, the train went straight forward then backed up to the depot. The dancing chefs in the movie all seemed to be wisened old cooks singing, dancing, and serving up some creamy, delicious hot chocolate, instead they were mostly teenagers in stained uniforms. The hot chocolate that was served to guests was lukewarm and far from creamy as it was made with water.

The train was decorated nicely and smelled of Christmas with its fresh garlands, bells, red velvet bows and lights. The lights inside were rather bright, however, so it was nearly impossible to see outside when we pulled up to the "North Pole" where the toy factory, Santa's house, and the caribou supposedly were. Hobo Jo, the hobo that lives on top of the Polar express was funny and engaging with the kids attempting to get them to trade him cookies for odds and ends that a vagabond would have. 
 The best part of the whole tour was Santa. His elves were cute and dressed appropriately although some where rather tall. His suit was a nice red and had no odd smells like some mall Santas do. His beard was real which is always a nice surprise over the overly fake snow white beard that is common. Santa was very cheery and nice and didn't attempt to make my scared two-year-old sit on his lap but instead simply gave him his "magic" sleigh bell, pat him on the back, tell him "Merry Christmas" and walked away. As a mom, that is always greatly appreciated.

The souvenir station wasn't that expensive overall. I purchased my son a color book with the Polar Express for $1 and a giant coffee mug that holds 1/3 of the pot in each cup for only $10. It's the best coffee mug any caffeine needing parent can have.

Overall, the experience was fun, but not something that I would pay to do again. The price of the tickets were not worth a two hour drive to sit on a train for a 45 minutes.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Polar Express is coming to Mt. Hood Railroads in Portland

All Aboard! The Polar Express comes to life this holiday season as the Mount Hood Railroad rolls out of the station bound for the "North Pole!" Come early and climb aboard with your family to cozy-up and enjoy our festively-decorated vintage train cars. Dancing chefs deliver hot chocolate and a cookie to each guest to savor while music from the Polar Express movie plays en route to the North Pole. Make sure to have your tickets handy, because your conductor will be by shortly to punch each child's ticket. Before arriving at the North Pole, the iconic book, The Polar Express is read as your Chef turns the pages to share the beautiful illustrations in the original book. With the station far away, The Polar Express magically arrives at the outskirts of Santa's North Pole village, where Santa Claus himself and his elves joyously welcome the train! As you stay comfortably settled and warm in your seat, Santa and his helper elf board the train! During the return trip, Santa will greet each child with his signature holiday spirit and the first gift of Christmas: a bell cut from his sleigh. It is said that only children and those who still believe can actually hear the bell ring. Join in the singing as your Chef or Conductor lead Christmas caroling on the 30-minute return trip. For those wanting the magic to last or to do a little Christmas shopping, visit our gift shop in the station for special Polar Express gifts and merchandise. Oh, one last thing, children are encouraged to wear their PJ's; adults who still believe have been known to wear them, too! So, are you coming? All Aboard!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Adios Portland!

Well, things are about to get crazy here. I probably won't be around near as much as I usually am. Our little family is going to make a big change-- and I think that it will be for the better. We are going to be moving to New Orleans in September. Raph has accepted a position working on the oil rigs down there and we are all moving. I think this is going to be the fresh start that our little family has needed for a long time. Not only are there job opportunities down there that we simply don't have in Portland, but educational opportunities for Hail and a cheaper lifestyle. Everything is incredibly cheap down there. We have found beautiful houses that are hundreds of square feet larger than the apartment we rent for the same price. Absolutely crazy. Wish us luck! it will be a journey.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

50 Book Challenge- Book 14- Water for Elephants

For those that haven't read this book, you need to. I thought this book was absolutely amazing. After Jacob's parents are killed in a car accident, he finds out that his dad's veterinary practice he has been going to school to join is so broke that the bank owns it and the house. Left with nothing, Jacob joins the Benzini Brother's Most Spectacular Show in the World circus train and begins traveling the country.

At first, nobody is sure of his place until they find out that he has vet experience. His first job is to kill one of the show horses that has gone lame. From there, he treats the lion with no teeth, Bobo the chimp, and then a bull elephant is purchased when another circus collapses. Everyone thinks that Rosie, the elephant is stupid until they find out that she only speaks Polish.

There is a tangled love affair between the vet, the lead performer, and the equestrian director, also her husband. There are midgets, rowdy old men, cooch girls, and a handful of other characters that are brilliant in their telling.

I loved this story, throughout the entire read, I could easily picture myself traveling on the train, in the menagerie, or eating in the grease tent. This is a fantastic tale about love, compassion, and being free. It is a fairly quick read but it will leave you wanting more. After looking it up, most of the details are based in truth and really did happen on a traveling circus in America. I won't tell you the details, but it is some fascinating stuff.

Monday, April 16, 2012

50 book challenge-Book 13- The Invisible Ring

This is the 13th book I have read for my challenge, and it is also the 4th Anne Bishop book that I have read. It is the 4th book of the Black Jewels series and I have to say, this has been my least favorite. It took me FOREVER to get through because none of the characters are the same, it was difficult to get into because it is actually a prequel that should have been the first book. The book is called the Invisible Ring and doesn't have much to do with a ring at all.

While the plot of the story was decent,it took forever to get to. It started as a story of a journey to buy slaves, then you find out that the person purchasing the slaves isn't whom she is supposed to be, and they have a spy amongst them. Unfortunately, the story isn't as exciting as I just made it sound. I hope that the next book is going to be much better. I feel that had this story started as the first in the series as I feel that it should have been, the story would have flowed better. There are suck rich characters in the main series that I missed them throughout the whole series.

Friday, April 6, 2012


My dentist appointment went better than expected yesterday. I was hoping to get some of the dental work done that I need but they simply just did x-rays to tell me what is wrong with my teeth. I nearly laughed when they said I need braces. There is no way that I can afford that!For 10 years of not having any dental insurance, I feel that I fared pretty well. I have 13 cavities, which I expected, and I have to have one tooth (a wisdom tooth) removed because it is pushing against the rest of my lower teeth. The only problem with this is that they are going to have to take a piece of my jaw with it. Also, I have to have a deep cleaning which will be done in 4 parts because they have to numb me to scrape the calcium deposits from under my gums that are starting to solidify and swelling my gums. Overall, it's going to be 9 visits in total to have all the work done that I need. And unfortunately, the first appointment that I could get to get the work started isn't until the 20th.
Grandma's funeral is irritating me. There was a private burial for her yesterday that not even the entire family was invited to. Then her memorial service is Saturday which everyone is invited to. Why would you hold a burial and only allow a handful of people to attend, and not even the whole family? People have made this far more difficult than it needed to be.
My mom has sold her house and will be moving to Minnesota in a few short weeks. Sunday, we will be saying our goodbyes. I fell like I am having a personal funeral myself. While my mother and I may never have been super close, besides my sister and brother, she is the only family that I have left. My sister will be following her because she is attached to the hip of my mother. My little brother and I have never been close; he is 7 years younger than I am and he is autistic, so his needs have always seemingly distanced us because of the education he needed, and health problems. We are going Easter to clear out what we want from her house and hopefully have a decent visit. I feel so overwhelmed with the whole situation that, frankly, I want to curl up under a blanket and stay there until it's over. I don't like the helpless/hopeless alone feeling I have. while I really am not alone-- I have Hail and Raph (whom, since we are not married could leave whenever he chooses)I still feel it. Not to mention, I have a million things going on this month which has prompted me to be in high gear consistently, but not really have any time to do anything or feel anything I'm consistently on "go" mode.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Dreading this day

Today is the dreaded dentist. I am not looking forward to this at all. I am scared of the dentist and have been since I was a little girl. When I was 8 the dentist tried to remove my double Eye teeth and I wouldn't let him because he wasn't clear as to what he was planning on doing. Then the last time I had dental insurance, I was 15 years ago, and I found out I was allergic to Novocaine. I had to have 4 cavities filled with no medicinal help to ease the pain. I will never do that again. I am told that they do things differently now,and I hope that is true because the drilling was always something I liked least of all. That movie, The Dentist, from the mid 80s early 90s scared the crap out of me. I know that I have cavities that need to be filled and more than likely 1-2 teeth that need to be pulled. If they don't do some of the work today, then I can't honestly say the likeliness of my going back to get it does is very high. I also am not looking forward to the lecture I know I will receive. I know I shouldn't drink dark soda, and coffee but I am addicted to them. I quit smoking so I don't need that lecture but I do not floss nearly as often as I should and I haven't had insurance in so long that I am sure my teeth aren't that great. I AM RIDDLED WITH ANXIETY!!!!

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