Sunday, December 23, 2018

Two more sleeps 'til Christmas

More words than photos today, so I'm posting on the regular blog. About 45 minutes til my next event.

A year ago I recall feeling very b-word at this time and I commented to a friend that I had felt organized and put together until about October, and then it felt like everything got rushed and crazy. I said, is it just Christmas? Is that all this is? It can't be!

So this year I realize yes, it is confirmed, it is actually just Christmas that causes this. It is because there is so much that goes on to the calendar, even if we are limiting our traditions to just a few things, and doing just a few parties, that's quite a "few" things that have to get scheduled on to that last page of the calendar. And with Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Black Friday thrown in, the extra things start in October. It is all very rushed but this year I think I enjoyed it at least a little.

Mike and I went to The Grotto in Portland by ourselves and we looked at all the beautiful lights and sat in the church for a 45-minute choir performance. It was the Vancouver Chamber singers and they were very good. I was surprised later when Mike said he had never heard that type of music before. I think he meant the 4-part harmony. They did a version of Christmastime is Here which was really special. With the 4-part harmony it was much better than the Charlie Brown version. Anyway, we both really liked those singers and it was nice to sit down for 45 minutes without the kids poking me and asking if we could leave yet.

my own photo of the Vancouver Chamber singers at The Grotto

I tried to take photos of the lights but it is impossible. At least, the internet says I need to bring a tripod if I'm going to attempt it, and I didn't care to bring a tripod.

photo from

For our charity donations I involved the kids for part of it. They had a home school assignment that included giving to others, so I decided to explain to the kids that Daddy and I always adopt a family or person each year and buy them gifts, but this year they could help. This turned out to be more effort than usual. (1) The charity that I have used the last few years, well, they really screwed up and they had to close temporarily. (2) I knew that in advance, so I had already chosen a different charity through a local senior center. But when I brought the kids there, they said they didn't need any more donations. (Occasionally this happens and I'm always dumbfounded when it does.) (3) The senior center sent us to a 3rd location which also didn't quite meet our requirements. (4) But luckily through Girl Scouts I happened to know of a local elementary school that had adopted a few families. So I took Libby and Mae to choose some items from the school's "giving tree". I expected the girls to choose the few kids who wanted toys. But instead, Libby chose a dad that wanted a coat. I was impressed with her choice. Then Mae chose a teen girl that wanted a hoodie. We filled those requests which also was a little more hassle than I thought because I had to deliver the items during school hours and this took 2 attempts and then we felt a little weird being on campus during school hours.

For our other charity donations Mike and I went to a charity auction and dinner hosted by the Elks Lodge and we got to see a Salvador Dali print valued at $15k. I had my bidding paddle all ready to go because I thought they would start the bidding at $100. But they started the bidding at $5k so I'm glad I didn't have a hair trigger on that bid. Instead Mike bid on some pickles and he won. There was a silent auction in addition to the live auction and I saw this cool vintage cowboy hat. Well, really I liked the box. But I did not bid on it.

Another tradition is to go see the lights set up at Portland Raceway. It is fun but the exact same each year. But the kids just love it even though it is the same. Last year Libby requested we go, and this year Mae requested it, she said, "You know, the lights with the dinosaurs at the end?" Because nothing says Christmas like lit-up dinosaurs. I could not find an image of the dinosaur lights but here is one of a sea dragon. A Christmas sea dragon!

photo from
We also attended Christmas events at OMSI, another kids event at the Elks Lodge, and 2 Girl Scout parties.

photo taken at OMSI
Kids party at the Elks Lodge
We've also been doing these cool Crayola Advent calendars that I picked up last year and saved for a whole year. I don't know if Crayola is still producing them, but they are really nice, I would recommend.

And now it is time for me to take the kids to another party and then Mike and I will go see the new Mary Poppins movie because Mike loves Mary Poppins movies and for some reason the kids do not, so it is grownups at the movies today. I will have more photos on the photo blog soon.

1 comment:

Patricia Tremko said...

Hi Heather,

Really, really enjoyed your blog; it's so nice to read with pictures what your family is doing. Libby and Mae are so lucky to be part of a happy, busy family. Looking forward to a visit on Wednesday.


Mom, Grandma


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