Christmas in the City

From 1987-1991, the lovely Robin and I (and our children, Aubrey and Aaron) lived in northern New Jersey. Several times during that period we trekked into Manhattan for a day of the Big Apple's unique Christmas sights, sounds, and experiences--such as Rockefeller Center, Radio City Music Hall, Macy's, and more. This photo is one of my "Favorite Travel Photos," not because it shows pretty scenery (you can barely tell that it was taken at Rockefeller Center) but because the lovely Robin took it...and because I miss those kids. And those glasses I'm wearing. And moments like these.

A Ride on the North Pole Express

Last Saturday the lovely Robin and I had the joy of taking three of our grandchildren (and their parents) on a ride on the North Pole Express, operated by the Lebanon Mason and Monroe Railroad.
These train rides travel a half hour to the "LM&M Junction" to visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus! They sell out well in advance, so we booked our tickets back in October, I think.
A snack bar on the train sells hot dogs, chips, cookies, popcorn, and drinks, which was good since we were on the 12:15 train--right at lunch time!
At our destination, we enjoyed the hot (warm) cocoa and Christmas cookies, and Calleigh and Ryder colored pictures (above).
Calleigh was too shy to approach Santa and Mrs. Claus, but Ryder didn't hesitate. After about forty-five minutes there, we boarded the train for the ride back to the station.
Ryder's daddy snapped this photo of him looking out the window from the train.

It was a fun excursion, and a memory to treasure. I only wish our other grandchildren could have joined us, but we were informed that the train doesn't make any stops in California.

A Messiah to Remember

What a beautiful performance by Collegium Cincinnati and Cincinnati Boychoir of Handel's Messiah the lovely Robin and I enjoyed this afternoon at Christ Church Cathedral in Cincinnati (the program forbade photos during the performance so I had to content myself with the above picture, taken about fifteen minutes before it started).

It was truly wonderful. The musicians and soloists were outstanding, and it was delightful watching the young men of the Collegium and Boychoir sing their parts enthusiastically and flawlessly. It was also entertaining to watch the boys stifle yawns and overcome restlessness while standing for the whole performance. And I must have forgotten how high fifth- and sixth-grade boys could sing!

Many thanks to those who planned, executed, and hosted this performance. It was a Messiah to remember.

Awaited 2014

For the third year in a row, the lovely Robin and I were blessed to attend "Awaited," the spectacular Christmas presentation of Crossroads Community Church in Cincinnati (see my posts from previous years here and here). Crossroads distributed 100,000 tickets to this event within twenty-four hours of making them available. Cuh-razy!

In many ways, this year was my favorite, as the original songs and creative carol arrangements have become more familiar, and I anticipate some of my favorite moments.

If you missed out on ordering tickets, don't despair. They make room for walk-ins at every show, and encourage people who can't use their tickets to return them for re-distribution.

It's become a Christmas tradition for us to return, and to share the experience with those who haven't yet attended. Performances continue through December 23. Check the church website for information.

RedsFest 2014

 Thanks to an early Christmas present, I got to attend RedsFest at the Cincinnati Convention Center yesterday!
 It is a gathering of Reds players and fans unlike anything I've ever seen. What a blast!
 Rosie Red got to meet a celebrity soon after we arrived.
 And my almost-three-year-old grandson Ryder got there just in time for a team photo.
 Ryder proved that he can steal home faster than Billy Hamilton....
 And swing the bat better than a healthy Joey Votto.
Reds pitcher Mike Leake asked to take a photo with me, so I stopped for a moment to oblige him.

It was a fun way to spend a Friday afternoon and evening, and a fitting cap to a year in which I visited both the National Baseball Hall of Fame for the first time and the Reds Hall of Fame for the first time.