December 24 Really no days left as I am up finishing the wrapping and other late night work. Time for some more sleep. We had a great Christmas Eve at my brother Steve's home. He took over our mother's tradition of hosting dinner and the gift exchange game. Teri, his wife, prepared a fantastic meal. We had eightteen this year and we missed those who could not be there. Teri and I both bought popcorn tins for others, another of our mother's traditions. A very Merry Christmas and may you have a very blessed day doing the things that make life special for you.
December 23 Two days left and today we pretty much finished up the shopping. Hannah and I had a great time getting things for her parents. New PJs for the girls and some boots for her. Caught some great sales. Went to visit the women from church who I Visit Teach and took them each a Christmas cactus, one of my mohter's favorite plants. My mother's grew to be gigantic, and I do not have her magic touch.
December 22 Three days until Christmas and the house is quiet tonight. We had a great time with the girls and they had a good time at church. Today is my parent's 60th wedding anniversary. Our Dad passed away in 1988 and our mother this year. She always regarded this as a special day in her life. They were devoted parents and grandparents. We are so blessed to have had their guidance from birth to becoming parents and grandparents ourselves. What an honor to remember them on this their special day.
December 21 Four days until Christmas and the floor is mopped, the dishes are done, and a few more decorations are on display. The sister missionaries are coming for dinner and the granddaughters are here. Chinese food is the menu for tonight. One of the best places for Chinese food is "Happys" in Gladstone, Oregon. Low key plans with very special people. Hope you are having a nice weekend.
December 20 Five more days until Christmas. We have one son moving out, one son moving back in, one daughter looking to buy a house and another wanting to buy a house, one daughter just changed jobs and one son wanting to go back to college and another going to college. So, out of six children all are making big changes in their lives. No wonder I have not finished our annual family letter. It is coming, but maybe in January.
December 19 The girls were over and things were a little crazy when a man called needing information so he could provide me with access to my mother's AOL account. I spent the evening going through her 78 old emails, 29 sent emails and 298 new emails sent since June 23. She passed away on June 29. It was precious reading through them and sharing a few with my brothers and sister.
December 18 Tonight was our Christmas dinner at church. My husband David and oldest son Daniel organized the event, with great work done on preparing the ham and other food. Others brought potluck dishes and deserts. No one went away hungry and it was very well attended. Santa came to visit with the children and brought them goodies.
December 17 This afternoon we took our granddaughters to see the movie Frozen. It was very well done. I loved the colors and singing. Then the girls helped us decorate the Christmas tree with the help of their Uncle Daniel. It looks great. They are spending the night, so tomorrow should be a busy day.
December 16 David had our son David bring up the tree and ornaments. Then my husband David put up the tree and the lights came on. Why I named a son David I am not quite sure, probably to honor his father. It does create complications on a regular basis. To top it off they both have the same middle initial. Our six children are all named after a relative or ancestor. Anyway, back to decorating tomorrow. For tonight I just enjoyed the peacefulness of the lighted tree.
December 15 We had a great cookie exchange party at our oldest daughter Sarah and Charles home last night. They made some very yummy snacks, and then we decorated Rice Krispy houses with lots of fun candy treats. This was followed by the division of a wonderful assortment of cookies, no two types alike. The family and friends enjoyed this fun and relaxing time. I think our granddaughters and their three dogs had the most fun of all. Thank you to Sarah and Charles for making this a new event for our holiday season.
December 14 We were supposed to go back to my mother's home for more of her things, but this was canceled for the second time this week. Previously we went on December 5 and 7. Now we are not scheduled to return until January 4. I am very grateful for the things that we already have and feel very blessed to be able to share with others as we sort through them. I so appreciate all those who helped in doing this.
December 13 On this day I went to lunch with my aunt Lois and cousin Judy at the Rivershore Restaurant in Oregon City. My mother and Lois were sister-in-laws who married brothers. This is the same brother that I had an oral interview with last year and is still living. Lois and he divorced many years ago, but my mother always enjoyed her relationship with Lois. They were less than a year apart in age and neither had a sister. Lois and I share the same middle name. It was wonderful sharing memories of my mother with them. Then we went to the "Joy to the World", a display of Nativities, at our church. We were just in time to enjoy a musical presentation by Charlotte Laughlin, one of our children's past music teachers. She played the violin and the piano. My aunt and cousin seemed to really enjoy this time.
December 12 This day I went to lunch with my mother's friend Kay and her daughter Sheryl. We have known them since we lived on Roselawn Street in Portland. There were so many fond memories to share with each other. For years we would go to their house for Christmas Eve and other events. This time lunch was at the Portland Seafood Company at Mall 205. It is one of my favorite restaurants, and I don't really like seafood. Clam Chowder and shrimp I do like and all of their non-seafood items are delicious.
December 10 I just looked outside and it is snowing. I am so glad Crystal's family is safely back home. Had a very restful day yesterday and I am starting to feel better. Lots of reading to do and house cleaning in between. Scanned a personal history of my mother last night to share with family. So many treasured memories are making this Christmas special for me.
December 8 I don't remember ever feeling this tired. We are going through my mother's belongings and after two trips to the house my front room is now a sorting station. The best part is sharing with other family members. It is a great Christmas blessing for our family. I am very grateful for her husband and his help with a very challenging task. The family members who are helping are greatly appreciated.
November 30 Day #30 and we actually all but one made it to the Holiday Express train ride, and the one not there was not due to illness. If you live in Portland and have never gone on this ride I highly recommend it. Then we went out to eat at Mongolian Grill. We had reservations for their large room and it was nice to let the kids relax while we ate. I am so grateful that we could have this time together. It will be a forever memory.
November 22 Day 22 is almost over and I am grateful for Christmas and all of the traditions that go with it. This should probably wait until later next week, but as I was driving today the holiday music took me to my peaceful place about the spiritual side of life. We may believe different things, but in the end it is how we treat each other and especially our families. Our daughter will come on Monday and we will celebrate Thanksgiving and having everyone together for two weeks. Christmas will seem very different after they go home and also as we experience these days of celebration without my mother. I am grateful for the stages of life and the joy that comes with each.
Trace Adkins's photo.