santa express

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We might have to call 2016 the “year of the train” for us – we’re on a roll! This was our first experience at the Strasburg Railroad in Lancaster – I think it’s going to be a new holiday tradition. One of their most popular events is the Santa Express Train, which has been happening since 1959! I couldn’t wait to give the kids the experience, and I was pretty excited myself, having never been on a vintage steam train. We had the pleasure of being pulled by the #90 locomotive, circa 1924, and rode in the passenger car #58, circa 1911. After geeking out over all the equipment (I have my Dad to thank for the interest), we boarded the train and anxiously awaited the arrival of Santa. See more on my Steller story!

 

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a christmas tradition

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Cutting our own Christmas tree has become quite the tradition for our family. I grew up cutting fresh, and have such happy and hilarious memories of the event – it’s incredibly nostalgic for me. Even though we’ve been doing it since before we welcomed Marie + Henry into our lives, it became so much more special with them in tow. It’s hard to believe this is our fourth year doing it as a family! They are just so big now, I can’t get over it. I mean, we let them both carry the saw this year – that speaks volumes. Their bond is truly unbreakable, their friendship and love so very precious.

 

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forward motion

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I’ll be honest, it feels very odd to return to my usual content, especially since this happened before the election. While I’m resuming my “regularly scheduled programming”, please know that behind the scenes I am working harder than ever to do my part in brightening the future of America. I plan on sharing a separate post with helpful links very soon. Thank you to all of you who have commented, emailed, and reached out via social media to thank me for sharing my thoughts. You are not alone – we are not alone. So here’s to forward motion, to progress, and focusing on the positive.

 

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trainside

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We had every intention of introducing the kids to an old-fashioned train for years, but somehow it only just happened. While we have many options in our area, we chose the WK&S Railroad in Kempton, a privately owned heritage railroad company founded in 1963. They operate over a landlocked remnant of a former Reading Railroad line – ring a bell, Monopoly fans?! They have quite an impressive collection of motive power, to include two Porter steam engines (circa 1920’s-30’s) that they are currently restoring. The 1940’s coach we rode in has been immaculately preserved, and was pulled by one of their three diesel engines. The gentleman you see below has been working at the railroad for over 40 years, and uses a family heirloom timepiece to keep things running smoothly – this place truly transports you in time.

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at the orchard

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Our love for Pennsylvania is most palpable in the fall. We live for the rolling countryside, rich autumnal hues, crisp temperatures, cider donuts, pumpkin patches, and yes…apple picking. It’s a tradition for us, and the kids have loved it since before they could walk. Thankfully, even though we moved, we’re still in the same county and our favorite orchard is within a reasonable distance. We spent a glorious afternoon there and enjoyed a private hayride during golden hour. We returned home with a bushel of red delicious apples, a few pumpkins, and hay-filled boots. Click through for more!

 

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habitus exhibit

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We journeyed into the city today specifically to see this incredible exhibit by artist Ann Hamilton. I first learned of her work back in 2012, when she exhibited the event of a thread at the Park Avenue Armory in NYC. While we had the best intentions of getting there to see it for ourselves, we never made it, and I regret that intensely. This latest work, entitled habitus, refers to a condition or custom of dress but also to social patterns. It’s an immersive, engaging installation, and we were all delighted by it. The kids found so much joy in pulling and turning the curtains, which billowed to gigantic proportions. I found it to be simultaneously intimate and vast, and as with most of Ann’s work, mesmerizing.

 

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