Merry Christmas to everyone! Joel and I stayed in Portland this year for Christmas which ended up being really fun. We certainly missed our friends and families that we would have seen if we were able to travel but in spite of that we had a really great couple of days. On Christmas Eve Joel and I went on a bike ride to a Presbyterian church for their candlelight service. Not just any bike ride to any Presbyterian church, no. The bike ride was a bike pulled sleigh ride! I was a reindeer, there were four of us hooked up together by bike inner tubes (2 x 2 reindeer) which pulled a two mountain bike sleigh. I really wish I had thought to bring my camera but I had no idea we were going to do this! Joel found out about the ride from a Portland bike newsletter so we decided to go, not knowing we'd be pulling a sleigh. Joel was the lookout man telling us if it was alright to turn or to get in a lane.
Then when we got to the church Joel and I realized we'd passed it plenty of times. Its a large old (1887) stone building as grandiose as any German cathedral. The inside was bedecked in hand-fashioned wood friezes and panelling, it was one of the most beautiful churches I've ever seen! (You can check it out here )
Then Joel and I rode with the group to a Catholic church by our old house and then took off for home (it was getting really late at that point) and stopped by our old house on the way home. It was fun to ride in downtown on Christmas Eve because no one was out (or almost no one) and in spite of being a big 12-wheeled creature we were able to maneuver with no problem.
Christmas morning Joel and I opened up Christmas presents and then went to our friend Kelley's new apartment. This is our little tree that we got last year and we brought in for a second Christmas.
Joel's grandfather made us the cute reindeer in the back there. And his grandmother made us ornaments (a Grindstaff family tradition). Grandma made me the cat and the snowman was Joel's.
Unwrapping Christmas gifts!
Joel gave me this book which was later reinforced by my telling him that when a child, I always got the biggest/fattest children's books out of the library. Because not only did I want to be a know-it-all, I wanted to look like a know-it-all.
Orson got a bag of Pounce cat treats and stripy orange and yellow balls from his grandma (Joel's mom). He liked the Pounce so much, he tried to open it himself while we were at Kelley's! Sneaky cat.
Here he is jumping for a treat. (Sorry about the blurriness.)
We didn't have real stockings but this is what would have gone into them if we had (thanks Linda!).
Joel bought himself a front wheel for his bike with some of his Christmas money.
And I'm going to buy myself a ticket to see Muse in concert in April (yay!!).
I had every plan in the world to make stollen Christmas bread (a delicious German fruit bread) but didn't get to do it. However I did make some cherry chocolate bread. And it was delicious!
Prior to Christmas we had solstice party to welcome back the sun (I can't wait for long days again!). It was also a Christmas party and an end-of-the-semester party all rolled into one. It also started off as a knitting party. Wow, so many things! It was a lot of fun and probably the most people we've ever had at our house all at once.
Also, Joel has a hard time keeping his eyes open for pictures, for whatever reason, neither of us will knows -- so just to be ornery (when I was little I thought this word was the British way of spelling "honorary") he closed his eyes while I took the picture. Yes, on purpose!
Kelley and Brady brought over dirty Christmas cookies. (Viewer discretion advised!)
A good time was had by all and it was probably the most successful potluck/party we've ever had at this house except for maybe Kellam's going away party.
In other news, the chickens are still laying eggs. Beautiful brown eggs! I'm hoping next summer we can get some chickens that lay dark brown eggs because that would be very exciting, but we'll see how it goes.
And lastly, I've been working on crafty things lately. I made Kelley this little bear for Christmas. He stands maybe 2 1/2" tall and 4" long. I felted him with wool.
I've also been learning how to make socks (and learning how to follow a knitting pattern for that matter). I feel so accomplished!
And that is our Christmas in a nutshell. I'm not sure what we'll be doing for New Years but we may be going up to Seattle or the coast, we'll see what happens and I'll be sure to bring my camera with me this time!