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Sunday, December 31, 2017

December, always a busy month, full of traditions and family and memories to be made!

The leaves were gone and a new color came to the canyon.
I started my usual 'get the decorations up and cookies baked' routine.  I made little boxes of cookies and froze them to be ready to give to the neighbors and friends and family.  I also made each of the grandkids that were coming to Christmas Eve dinner, their very own favorite pie, it was a mini pie.  They thought that was pretty fun.  Lina request a cherry pie...she has NEVER had cherry pie, but she insisted it was her very favorite.  I guess she saw it on some show.  Anyway, she loved it and now maybe she really can say it is her very favorite.

It is always fun to see my old decorations and have the memories that go along with them.  
I put a tiny tree up in almost every room.  The guest bathroom had a seashell theme, the toy room, guest room and my bedroom were all decorated and ready for company.
John put the outdoor lights up, that is his territory.
Last year, Arianna re-arranged my Nativity scene to make all the figures circle around Baby Jesus.  "Everyone wants to get a look at Him" she said.  I thought it was so cute, but set it up all spread out again this year, just to see what she would do.  She didn't disappoint!  As soon as they walked in, she immediately went over to the table and rounded them all up, so everyone could see.  She gets it!  She knows that Jesus is the center of our Christmas. 
We attended two Christmas programs, one with Arianna and one with Josiah performing.  They did great, even though they had missed most of the practices at school while they were gone to the Dominican Republic.
 And we could not diminish Lina's 3rd birthday.  I took them shopping for her gift.  She knew exactly which baby she wanted and was not about to be swayed, I even tried getting her to buy two babies but this one was all she wanted.  Afterwards we went to Mexican food together.
 Her party was a ballet theme with another cake made by Great Grandma.
I just cracked up one evening as we watched a show on PBS called 'Cats'.  Bazzel really paid attention!
We took the kids to see 'The Star'.  I think it is my very favorite Christmas movie now.  I never buy movies, but I am going to get this one to always have.  I love how it told the story of Jesus birth, and it wasn't just a cartoon, it had solid a Christian message of sin and forgiveness, the reason we were given such a special gift. We all loved it!
 we had to play on the toys while we waited to get in...
The kids stayed the night and I braided the girls hair into crowns.  While we ate popcorn that we popped over the fire, Josiah found a piece of  that looked like a face.  When we played Jenga, he decided he had a better idea for the little blocks of wood. The green lights are their new shoes that their parents bought them.  They change all colors and flash.
The holidays always means a few extra gatherings of friends and families.  Here are a few of those.  I didn't get them all photographed, next year I will try harder.
We had a special treat waking up on Christmas Eve to a little bit of snow. 
(the picture below was taken by Ariel)

 The snow was topped off with a little ice.

 Here are some shots from my parent's place on Christmas Day.  I just realized I used the tractor in both collages.

I bought an espresso machine when we first moved here.  There is a perfect little nook to put it in.  But it was missing a grinder all this time.  I thought I didn't really need one.  But the grinders at the store have not been very dependable and I have had to come home and re-grind my beans every time for a few months now.  It is messy and takes forever with my tiny little grinder. John went online and ordered me a really awesome one.  Of course I saw it in my shopping cart on Amazon, when it arrived, I put it in his chair and told him he needed to wrap it up and put it under the tree.  Instead, he unwrapped it and put it on my counter.  So I started using it early.  I am so happy with it!  I can't believe I managed my espresso without it.  I got John a vacuum cleaner.  Really!  When he retired, he insisted on having a chore, I gave him the vacuuming.  The vacuum cleaner was getting to be a struggle to use.  So he got a new one.  hahaha ok, so I did get him a couple of little things along with it.
Once again, I am so grateful to live in this era of internet.  We were able to see the California grandkids open their gifts and they watched us open ours.  It is so 'future-world'.   I remember when I was in grade school seeing movies on how the world would be someday.  We watched 'The Jetsons"  and saw them talking on TVs to each other instead of phones and thought it was only imaginary.  And now, here we are.  It really helps make it bearable to have Dennis, Abby and Gabe and Daniel away at the holidays.  But I would rather have had them here!
Afternoon brought John and Jessi  with their families. 
Ariel brought me flowers.

 We started out with gifts...
 and then had a really relaxed dinner together.
ending up with their very own pies...
and the traditional birthday cake for Jesus.  
 This year, it almost caught on fire!
 This year, since Josh turned 16 in November, we are taking the kids to Florida for their gift.  All of their presents were hints of where we were going to go.  I gave them a list of ideas and they are in the process of picking what we will do while we are there.  We won't be going until August, so we have plenty of time to figure it out.
Christmas Day, we started out with a brunch.  Everyone had stayed the night and the party from the night before continued on.  We ended up at my Parent's in the afternoon for dinner and gifts.

The Christmas snow melted off and turned the river from crystal clear to super high and muddy as it melted off.
The fog in the canyon was so gorgeous this day as it lifted off.
 The mountain has shown off the new snow

 We had a weird sunrise one morning, it reminded me of the smokey skies from the fires last September.
  the fog keeps amazing me
I will end the month, and the year, with this shot I took of the mountain last night as I went to bed.  The full moon was so bright, I could not go to sleep without a photo of it.  So I got up, tip-toed downstairs, set my camera up on the tripod and snuck outside into the freezing cold to shoot. That golden glow in the canyon has me baffled.  There is nothing down there.  I am guessing it is a reflection of the moon off of the fog.
And so another year is over.  I read things other people post about what they accomplished this past year, and it makes me wonder what exactly I did.  It was a good year.  It was a busy year.  I watched my grandkids grow. I watched my dear sweet Irene as she left this world.  I miss her.  We are so thankful that we made sure and saw Bobby on our trip to California for Gabe and Daniel's birthdays, we had no idea that two months later, he would be gone.  It was another reminder to not put things off.  To make the most of our time. I watched Emily graduate, go away alone for 3 months on a mission trip and get her first job when she arrived home.  In the period of just a couple of months, all three of my kids faced a cancer threat, Dennis even had to have surgery before we knew for sure he was cancer free. Josh got his license. I am passed the 3 year mark since I had cancer.  Maybe I am not able to say "I did ___", but I can say I was blessed with another full year to be a part of each of the lives of my kids and grandkids.  That my parents are alive and healthy and my sisters live close-by.  For all that is, I am grateful and hope that in the year to come, I will use each day, each minute, each opportunity completely.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

November, it is a memory now.  But a month full of memories. Fall colors hung around in the canyon longer this year than last.  And then suddenly one morning. Gone.  It seemed like overnight the leaves all decided to drop at once.  It went from vivid color to winter bare in just one night.  I swear it did.

The weather was sunny and warm and suddenly foggy and rainy.
 ...and we had rainbows while the sun and rain fought it out
Bazzel didn't know what to think of the sudden change of weather.
We were so happy for Joshua as he turned 16 and got his driver's license on his birthday.
A week later, it was time to celebrate Josiah's 7th birthday!
 He had a Godzilla/Volcano birthday this year.

 It took two trips to get his gift right.  The first one wasn't quite what he thought it would be, so we took it back and found a better one.
  I had my 3year check-up and am still showing no sign of cancer returning.  Of course I wore my necklace that Joshua gave me for Christmas that year.
 Mt. Hood was extra gorgeous this month.  I tried to narrow down the shots of it, but this was the best I could do.  From sunrise to clear sky to windy mountaintop to sunset, it did not disappoint. 

The photo below has a long line of geese headed out for the winter.  If you click on it it will enlarge and you can see it better.

 We had our first fire of the year.  
 Do you see the outline of a dog in the cloud?  It was pretty strange how the clouds opened up and you could see another layer of clouds and also blue sky behind there.

 My high school best friend Terri stopped in for a visit.  Nice to see her and catch up again.
 We had the smallest Thanksgiving that we have had in years.  None of the Grandkids were in town, so it was down to the three of us girls with Mom and a couple of guys.  John and his family were Klamath Falls at Rachel's parents', Dennis and his family were in Korea and Jessi and her family were in the Dominican Republic visiting his family.
 We are so thankful this year, as Dennis and his family traveled to Korea and were able to meet with the little girl that they are still trying to bring into their home.  It was a sweet visit and we are praying for a way to be made for them to get to have her.  We know that God has a plan and they are trying so hard to be patient and listen to what He has planned.
and another thankful moment was knowing that Jessi and Ariel were finally able to see the house that they had built for his Mother.  Her home was literally falling down around her.  Every year, she had to move out during the rainy season because it flooded.  She is finally settled in the home they built on the property after the old one was torn down.  Now it is her home that the neighbors go to when it rains!
We ended the month celebrating my Mom's 80th birthday.  We all piled into my Dad's rig and drove to Little Creek Resort and Spa in Washington for the night.
When we arrived we all had lunch and then settled in for a massage.
Dad does not like massages, so he spent his time rounding up Mom's favorite champagne for an after massage party for all of us in their room.
 HAHAHA!  Mom thought that pile of presents were for her.  not really.
 The next morning, we went to the Chihuly Glass Museum in Tacoma.  Such amazing glasswork!
 And suddenly here we are in December.  I have spent the week decorating, baking and shopping for gifts.  I hope everyone has an awesome holiday season.