Although I’d pay good money for a day of 80-degree temps, it really does feel like the most wonderful time of the year around here.  December has been packed of merry-making as we’ve filled our weekends with our favorite Christmastime traditions.

The annual trek out to Mountain Creek tree farm in North Bend has become our family’s marker that Christmas is a-comin’, and this year was pretty perfect as tree hunts go.  The sun was shining, the snow was glistening, and Juliette had a grand time traipsing among the trees, some of which were just her size.

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We settled on a 6-foot Grand Fir without too much ado, Shane did the honors, and we were off!

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Ok, we weren’t really off just yet, as it takes us four times as long to securely rope the tree to the roof of our Civic as it does to actually cut it down.  Luckily, Jules was there to supervise, as she guzzled warm apple cider from the sidelines.

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And then we were off!

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After one more picture.

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We strung lights and hung ornaments on the tree that afternoon while A Charlie Brown Christmas piped through the speakers.  I love, love, love the warm glow of a well-lit tree.  Makes me want to pot an indoor tree and string lights on it to keep that glow going year-round (Shane said no).

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Juliette was pretty taken with the tree at first, pulling off any ornaments that were within arm’s reach, giving the lights a nerve-racking tug now and then.

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I let her hold my little plastic angel, thinking she couldn’t harm it.  She proceeded to bite the wings right off the poor guy.  Thus, there are no longer any ornaments on the bottom third of the tree…

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A couple of weeks ago we gathered with the gang for our annual fondue party.  But first, the annual pre-fondue 5k at Seward Park, as a preemptive calorie burn!

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As Shane and I are two of the few lucky owners of a fondue set, we’re tasked each year with doing one of the cheese pots.  The first year was not so good, as we rushed the melting process ended up with one giant cheese blob.  But now, after several years of practice, we speak Gruyere.  Shane’s a certified cheese whiz.

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It was a wild night, as nearly 20 adults and 10 kids ate and laughed and chased each other through Jack and La Verne’s house.  This fondue party, with the cheese and the chocolate and Ronda’s homemade marshmallows, is another one of our very crucial Christmastime happenings – the holidays wouldn’t be the same without it.  Juliette’s fully on board.

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Shane and I snuck out one Friday night for a kid-free evening with my coworkers for our annual holiday party.  Good cocktails, good conversation, and this hottie in an elf hat.  Nice.

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The next day I set out with Nance and La Verne for a solid 22 hours of kid-freeness for Ladies Weekend 2014.  The three of us started this tradition of getting away for some R and R in 2011 but had to skip it last year, as La Verne’s and my babes were still so little (and needy).  But when I asked La Verne last month if she was ready for a night away, she responded with a resounding YES.  The dads were cool with hanging at home with the little ones, so we booked a room at Cedarbrook Lodge in nearby SeaTac, scheduled our spa treatments, and packed our bags!  We spent the afternoon shopping at the Supermall and then made it to the hotel just in time to check in for our massages and facials.  We ate a leisurely dinner (oh, the luxury of a leisurely meal!), raided the hotel lounge’s supply of free ice cream and malt balls, and then settled into our room for a night of Haagen Dasz and chick flicks.  Dirty Dancing was playing on Bravo, so we spent two hours giggling like schoolgirls over Patrick Swayze’s bulging muscles and gyrating hips.  It felt like a high school sleepover, which was kind of awesome – there aren’t many instances these days when I feel younger than I actually am.  Sleeping in until 8:00 the next morning and waking to a quiet, foggy bit of wonderland was also amazing (I know, “wonderland” in SeaTac?  It’s true!).

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We had breakfast at the hotel and spent a long time talking about family and faith and priorities and contentedness (Nance was channeling her inner Oprah!), and then it was time to grab a few malt balls for the road and get back to Seattle.

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Juliette was quick to run into my arms when I walked in the door, which made my break all the sweeter.  She and Shane had fared pretty well – the dads and kids had eaten dinner together the evening before, Juliette had slept through the night, she was dressed and happy when I got home.  The weekend was such a success, in fact, that there’s talk of this becoming a quarterly rather than annual tradition…

We spent one clear evening checking out the lights at Gene Coulon Park in Renton.  Juliette roamed up and down the path, excited by the big glowing candy canes and the opportunity to run free after dark.

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I had high hopes for church and brunch and maybe a Santa Scouting this past Sunday, but Juliette woke up with copious amounts of snot flowing from her nose, so we decided instead to declare it a huddle day, to make pancakes and enjoy our tree before the needles start dropping like flies.

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We let Juliette open a couple of gifts in the afternoon, since she has more than enough to tear into on Christmas morning.  She’s been using this box as a bench for the past two weeks and was amazed to find that there was actually something inside of it!

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Looking forward to trying out these paint brushes and paint cups with her on our next rainy afternoon at home together.

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Shane got a Nintendo for Christmas (from…himself?), and while Juliette isn’t quite ready for Mario Kart, she was pretty taken with the controller – we didn’t even have the TV on, but she pushed those buttons and jiggled that joystick for a good 15 minutes.

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I spent this evening baking a few goodies and making sure every last gift is wrapped and tagged – tomorrow we head to Portland for a few days with family.  Happy, happy holidays, friends!

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One Comment

  1. la verne says:

    ha ha… j actually looks like she’s “supervising” with that cup of hot cider. “lift it a little higher pops… higher!”