Monday, January 27, 2014

The Second Oregon Trip: Christmas Part IV

Portland Zoo has an amazing Christmas Lights display during the Christmas season that we drove up  to see one evening. We went when the zoo first opened for Zoo Lights (it's a different ticket than a regular zoo visit, so limited hours as well) which gave us half an hour or so of daylight to let the boys see a few of the animals before starting with the lights. Unfortunately, most of my pictures from that night are from when it was still light out. Once the lights came fully on, I was all eyes on the lights and completely forgot about the camera. That's the way it should be though don't you think, present with those you're present with and not focused on continually "catching" the moment? Pictures or no pictures though, you can take my word for it, the lights were amazing!

Kristen, our beautiful, fun, energetic "friend with the extra sparkle", happens to live in Portland, so she met up with us to see the lights too.  It's probably a toss up for who loves her more, me or the boys, because they love Kristen! She is always, always up for playing with them and going along with their silly games! In the boys' world? That's instant love!

Another one always up for silly games with the boys? Poppi! You're all shocked by that fact, I'm sure.

Christi, baby Elsie and Ty Ty

Burke, baby Emmie (in her cocoon) and Jenn

The whole lot of us!

Cute Auntie Kell Kell


The zoo has two or three trains that run the property. Two of them were steam engines, but this is the only one I caught a picture of. Most years you can take a train ride to see the lights, but they were shut down for construction this year.

The boys roped everyone into a 3-D adventure ride while we waited for it to get dark enough to see the lights.

The lights are turned on gradually over that first Dusk half hour when you can get in to see Zoo Lights. They almost went unnoticed as they turned on and we looked at animals because it felt like we suddenly looked up and were in a totally new zoo!

I was surprised at the details! This was a "photo" wall all done in lights.

All the trees had each individual branch wrapped in lights. There had to have been hours upon hours that went into getting the zoo ready for all of this!

These are hard to see, but each of those lights is an animal next to a river. There was a crocodile, a flamingo, bears, etc.

And at the very end, you walked towards the exit through a long, winding light tunnel! 

It was well worth the drive as the lights were amazing, but I would definitely recommend going early! By the time we left, the line of people at the gates to get in, and the line of cars through the parking lots and on both sides of the freeway off ramps were insane (think cars stopped and waiting on the freeway for a good mile or two ahead of the off ramp!). In the time we were at the zoo though, it really didn't feel crowded until the very end of our visit, and by that point, we were fighting crowds only to be able to leave (completely bearable in my book).

Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Second Oregon Trip: Christmas Part III

For as long as I can remember my mom has done a Cookie Day shortly before Christmas. Since we typically head to Lala and Poppi's house after Christmas, its been a while since we have been a part of it. This year however, we were up early enough that we were able to roll, cut, bake, frost, decorate, and pile with sprinkles to our little heart's delight! The boys ate it up, my mom ate it up...I ate it up! (Cheesy pun intended? Oh, you betcha!).

Loved his concentration!

...Drew's too!

Amid all the concentration though, plenty of silliness!

Emmikins joined in the fun too.

The boys loaded the sprinkles on!

Rumor had it though, Santa loves extra sprinkles! And good thing, too!

Tanner: Official taste tester

And of course, after all that hard work, taste testing for the big boys as well!

Such fun! So thankful to be a part of the it this year!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Second Oregon Trip: Christmas Part II

There are way too many pictures for one post from the Oregon trip, so "Parts" it is! This is mostly for my own sake, so bear with me. If you get sick of Oregon trip pictures, wait a week or two (not because there are that many pictures, but because I am that slow) and we'll be back to our regularly scheduled programming. ;)

When we found out my sister would be having her baby so early, we forwent getting a tree this year, simply for lack of time. Besides, if I were being honest, it seemed like an awful lot of work to buy and decorate a tree that we would enjoy for three or four days before we left. So, instead, we decorated our house to the nines with all but a tree, and my momma promised the boys she wouldn't decorate her tree until we all got there and could all be a part of it. So the night after we arrived, that's just what we did!

At our house, we rotate who gets to hang the star. This year was Collin's year and despite not being at home, he and Drew made sure to let everyone know that it was Collin's year to hang it. My parents and sisters gladly went along with this.

...and Coll (and Poppi for that matter) were pretty proud of their handiwork when it was all said and done!

Emmikins. The cutest tree decorating assistant! I keep warning the boys that one day Emmie and Elsie are going to be vying for the tree topping job as well! Just wait till one of them suggests that things should be *gasp* pink for the first time!

The boys did a great job decorating! The ornaments were a bit caddywhompus and pretty "bunchy", but it was perfect! My sweet momma left every ornament exactly where they had been placed, and I'm kicking myself for not taking a picture of the finished tree! The center, right about Drew and Collin height, had oodles of ornaments upon ornaments that faded out to just plain sparse at the top and far outsides of the tree. My mom said it brought back memories of when my sisters and I were younger and used to decorate the Christmas tree and I think that's exactly why she left them!

Once we were done decorating, it was straight back to normal (egged on by Poppi) wrestling antics.

A few nights later, we headed out to the cutest tiny town about a half an hour from my parents' house for a Christmas light parade.

It was freezing out, but dry. 

The parade was fairly short (perfect for the boys) and  filled with lights!

They even lit up the horses (and in one rider's case, their dog)!

My favorite: the semi truck

and the semi-trucks' trailer!

The boys' favorite: the old school fire engine...

...and the firefighter who hopped off the back to bring them candy from his helmet.

The rest of our time, aside from a few days, was spent playing at Lala and Poppi's house.

The boys spent tons of time in the jacuzzi. Days for them basically went something like this: play outside, get wet, cold and/or numb, hop in the jacuzzi and warm up, and then do it all over again!

And while they spent most of their time playing, most of mine was spent snuggling these two cute girls! 

Sweet, brand new Elsie

Even Uncle Nathan got in on the snuggling when he arrived a few days before Christmas!

Of course once Daddy and Uncle Burkie arrived, the boys wanted to do "boy know, like shoot BB guns and set bunny traps". Oh, right.

Jenn's minions also came for Christmas. I stand by my original stance that they are the world's worst dogs, but how can you not love this squishy face?? I had to post.

Loved this one too. Tanner loves Auntie Jenn.

On one of the days, we took a quick trip into town because there were reindeer we could visit! Apparently a farm somewhere around Eugene owns a herd of ten reindeer and at Christmas time they bring them two at a time (they don't have to deal with herd antics if they only bring two) into town so that people can see them. They were so cool! 
Dasher. She was actually a female. We kept calling her a "he" because of her antlers, but the woman who owns her corrected us and said the females grow antlers too. Who knew?!

Baby reindeer! 

Frosty was also out, so of course we grabbed a picture!