When Christmas {Train} Comes to Town

Like most toddler boys, Little Lion Man is obsessed with trains.  Although when my oldest daughter was his age, she loved trains too.  In fact, because she loved Thomas and trains so much, we saw The Polar Express in the cinema when she was close to his age, however, she was a timid toddler and a few of the scenes frightened her.

But it didn’t frighten my Little Lion Man.  He hollered out, “Whoa!” when he watched the Polar Express cascade down the mountainside like a roller coaster.

Since Little Lion Man loves locomotives, we boarded the 7 ½ gauge CP&G Railroad at Crews Lakes Wilderness Park for a ride on the Christmas Train to the “North Pole”.  When Little Lion Man spotted the little engine chugging down the track, he had a similar reaction to The Polar Express. “Whoa!  Mama, it’s a train!”

Winding along tracks through the woods, reminded me of a similar train in England years ago.  On that train ride long ago, Allana met my friend, Suzie, her mum and Father Christmas.

But I digress.

Over the track and through the woods to Santa Claus we go went, but Little Lion Man wanted nothing to do with the big man in red.  He preferred to watch the trains arriving at the station.

After a quick photo opportunity and an even quicker word with Santa to remind him of the toys to bring, we were back on our way home.

At the end of the day, that little train ride brought a great deal of joy to one little boy.

And the rest of us had fun too. 

Merry Christmas!

What Christmas music is moving you this season?

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Denise Mestanza-Taylor+


Ten Years with Our Soul Sister

My first born child turned TEN today.

A whole decade!

When did that happen?

How did that happen?

Ten years ago, I cried happy tears when I held her in my arms for the first time.

Today I cried happy tears all over again, just thinking about ten years with our Allana Rose.

And I want to hold my baby tight again and never let go.


Happy 10th Birthday to our little Soul Sister, Allana Rose!


Music Monday: Love Songs

It’s February and love is in the air thanks to Hallmark, Hershey’s and florists.  Years ago, my husband and I decided to stop spending money on cheesy Valentine’s Day gifts and challenge each other to be more creative and thoughtful (and more frugal) when demonstrating our affection and admiration of each other.


One year, I loaded Allan’s MP3 player with a bunch of love songs and other tunes that made me think of him when I heard them.  I think I may do this again, but with some of my more recent favorite love songs, like Guster’s Do You Love Me?


Hubby isn’t a huge Guster fan, but this song always puts a smile on my face and a little pep in my step.  It’s a feel good song that sounds much like a sunshiny song from the 60s, reminiscent of something by Herman’s Hermits.So although he’s not a huge Guster fan, he’ll think of me bouncing around happily to the tune when he hears it.



I’d also add the soulful sound of James Morrison’s Precious Love. It’s another song reminiscent of the 60’s. I love the Ottis Redding sound and style of James Morrison’s demonstrates.



And since my hubbie is learning to play this song on the guitar, I would also add the acoustic version Train’s Marry Me. I couldn’t find any videos that weren’t blocked by Sony and the video is so lovely. I highly urge to follow the link and watch it on YouTube.



What love songs on your playlist?



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Shake Up Christmas

Being married to a Scotsman, I have been educated in the UK Christmas tradition of pop stars creating THE number one hit at Christmas.  Across the pond, pop stars fight over the coveted number one spot at Christmas. The movie, Love Actually, pokes humor at this silly UK Christmas custom.



Here in the States, a new Christmas single may hit the airwaves every once in a while but for the most part, artists simply put a new spin on old classics.


Well, it must be a blue moon Christmas because Train has released a new Christmas single this season, Shake Up Christmas.



The song fits my criteria for being the perfect Christmas jingle with its merry and jolly sound.  Apparently, the marketing department at Coca Cola shares the same opinion of Train’s new Christmas single as it has been featured in their Santa commercials this season.



So what Christmas songs are shaking things up for you this season?



Visit Amanda, Xmas Dolly and Hairbows & Guitar Picks for more Music Monday fun.


Music Monday: Happy Birthday, Soul Sister

Over the past nine years, I’ve watched my baby become a bright, beautiful little adult although it feels like overnight.


You’re growing up right before my eyes in a blink of an eye.


You’re kind.  You’re thoughtful and you bring such sunshine into the world with your lovely smile.


You may have your Daddy’s nose, but you’ve got you Mama’s boisterous belly laugh.


When you’re holding your baby brother, I love how you make him smile and giggle and how you tear up from all the joy your baby brother fills you with one tiny smile.



Every time I hear Soul Sister on the radio, I think of you belting out the notes and singing along as it blasts out from the car speakers.


With your kind, generous, caring nurturing way, you are truly our little soul sister.


Happy 9th Birthday, Allana.


I love you.






Visit Amanda, Xmas Dolly and Hairbows & Guitar Picks for more Music Monday fun.