Hello again! The past couple of weeks have been filled with adventures as Andrew’s parents followed by my parents came to visit for the holidays.
* Warning: long post & a gazillion photos ahead*
Some of the highlights during their visits:
– Christmas: Since we don’t have kids yet, we are those crazy people who treat their dogs like children and give them gifts to unwrap. The dogs totally played along and were very happy with the treats Santa brought them. I was especially proud of the homemade toys that I sewed for them, since (A) I’m terrible at sewing and (B) my sewing machine tried to sabotage me while making them. Cinnamon rolls and coffee in front of the fire made for a cozy Christmas morning.
– The coast: We headed out in the rain to introduce Andrew’s parents to the beautiful coast of Oregon. Even in the drizzle and fog, it is such an incredible sight.
– Hiking in Dunn Forest: While Andrew’s mom snagged some rest to battle a stomach bug, we took Andrew’s dad on a hike through Dunn Forest, practically in our own backyard. A lovely view of the valley below caught us by surprise and I was reminded yet again that we live in a beautiful place.
– The Cascades – Equipped with snow chains and warm coats, we ventured into the winter wonderland of the Cascades. The trees are always magnificent but to see them decorated with fresh snow was nothing short of magical. We took a walk through Hackleman Old Growth Grove (which was more like a crawl), and it felt like we had the whole world all to ourselves.
– Mt. Hood – On the way to drop Andrew’s parents at the airport, a crystal clear day revealed Mount Hood. Thus far, every time we’ve driven to Portland, clouds have obscured this wonder, so we were thrilled to see it.
– Mary’s Peak – After my parents arrived and rang in the new year with us, we were blessed with several days of sunshine. We headed up to Mary’s Peak for spectacular views of the area, including Mt. Bachelor, Three Sisters, Mt. Jefferson and even Mt. Hood. (And I have to say I was so proud of my dad who had knee surgery a month ago yet hiked up without complaint).
– The coast (again!) – This visit was nice and dry as we ventured into Newport then further up the coast to Devil’s Punchbowl and Cape Foulweather. I am always blown away by how dynamic the coastline is, looking so different from day to day but always gorgeous. We tried a new-to-us place for lunch, the Deep End Cafe, that turned out to have excellent food and service.
– Into the Woods: We hit up the theater to see Into the Woods (and eat copious amounts of buttery popcorn). I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect but I ended up loving it! I will say it’s not for kids at all but a very entertaining tale for adults.
– Powell’s City of Books & Deschutes Brewery: on my parents’ final day, we paid a visit to Powell’s Books in Portland. I have to say it’s a very good thing that I don’t live closer – I love this store so so much and I know I would spend way too much money there if I had easy access to it. After perusing the stacks and stacks (and stacks and stacks) of books, we walked down a few blocks to the PDX location of Deschutes Brewery, where we enjoyed a great dinner.
All in all, we had such a good time visiting with our families and showing them around our new home. There’s always a bit of a low after the holiday high, and I definitely feel it more keenly with the departure of our family. Going from a house filled with people and decorations to a house that, well, isn’t ... is a bit sad.
I’m reminded that there is an entire country that separates us from most of our family and that’s just plain hard. But relationships aren’t defined by geography – they’re defined by connection. And we can connect through phone and skype and even that almost unheard of and primitive method – letters.
I am so grateful that both of our families were able to come spend time with us during the holidays – there is no greater feeling in the world than to be surrounded by the love of family. Andrew and I are very blessed.
I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and happy start to the new year!