the hyphens that define my life

Advent-ageous Day 6 December 8, 2013

Filed under: Life — multihyphenatedme @ 9:40 am
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After four very short hours of sleep Thursday night (my own fault for over booking and procrastination packing), my twelve-year-old son and I boarded Delta airlines direct flight from Spokane to LAX.  Before I begin my story, this is my new favorite flight.  Yes, even with flying into LAX.  Fast, direct, and reasonably priced, I will take this flight any day.  Flying into LAX is typically not my favorite due to crowds, chaos and traffic.  Friday morning was a breeze, from gate to rental car bus, less than 15 minutes passed and what was dreaded turned out to pleasant and easy.

My company’s holiday party was the purpose of my trip.  This party is not one to be missed and I would go to great lengths to attend, and have, each year.  Somebody had to stay with the kids and my husband readily volunteered as his company party is in the near future, he can only handle so many holiday parties.  Our son, thanks to improved behavior and grades, was treated to a trip south so he could spend the weekend with his friends, specifically his BFF whose birthday is next week.  Our son has really struggled with the move to Spokane, leaving his friends, his soccer team, and everything he knows.  As if tween/teenage years aren’t complicated enough, pack one up and move one a thousand miles away to really know a good time.  We told him he would have opportunity to visit and this weekend was the perfect opportunity.  His friend’s mother, my dear friend, had a complete agenda put together and published to guarantee he would see all of his friends and have an incredible visit for which I’m incredibly thankful.

Our first stop was Terranea Resort in Palos Verdes to meet Grandma and Teta for lunch on the coast. (  At Nelson’s, we sat outside and soaking up the sun rays – having left six degree Spokane weather Friday morning – and enjoyed our company and lunch.  My son loved Grandma’s new Fiat.  How many 82-year-old grandma’s drive a sport car?  His does, he knows it and loves her for awesomeness!

We then headed to Placentia for a party at the park with my son’s closest twenty-plus friends gathered right after school to play soccer, eat a ton of snacks and unsuccessfully attempt to avoid the Canadian Goose and Duck Poop that covered the playing field.  My favorite part of this party was that most of the kids While the kids played I got to hang out my mom friends.

A wonderful Mexican food dinner, to satisfy our out-of-town cravings, for thirty followed.  Thirty. For us?  We are loved and so thankful for each and every friend.  My son was glowing when he left to go play soccer tennis. I dragged my tired, disaster struck looking self to my hotel to end the first day of our travel adventure.

Advent-ageous Day 6 is dedicated to our friends.  Where would we be with our friends? Their love, support, humor, honesty, and graciousness is a true reflection of Christmas.  We are blessed to have our friends in our lives.


Advent-ageous! December 1, 2013

Happy December 1, Happy First Day of Advent,  and Happy Countdown to Christmas!

Being the non-practicing any religion person that I am, Advent, to me, means chocolate calendars that countdown to Christmas.  Chocolate isn’t required, it could mean a construction paper ring chain counting down the days.  Western Christians  observe Advent as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas.  The Nativity Fast, a period of abstinence and penance from November 15 through December 24practiced by the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches, in preparation for the Nativity of Christ.  My 23 days of detox and Thanksgiving deliciousness were definitely not aligned with the Nativity Fast.  Like I said, I’m a chocolate calendar, construction paper ring chain kinda gal.

Typical of our house, we are counting down the days.  Our boys know they have 15 days of school before Winter Break, 24 days until Christmas, and 30 days until the end of the year, and 32 days until their sister moves to Spokane.  Western or Eastern Christian, or not religious at all, countdowns are on. Advent-ageious, one and all.

For our family, Christmas isn’t about the day, it is about the season.  Giving, receiving, experiencing the full effect of the holiday. Yesterday we joined two families and caravanned north to Camden Ranch in Elk, WA to cut down our own Christmas Tree.  The weather was cold and foggy but the scenery was glorious.


We were instructed to hike up into the hills and surrounding area and find your perfect tree.  Take a hand saw, cut down the tree and carry it down the hill.  The tree is tagged and loaded into a truck and driven back to the main barn at the ranch.  We follow on a hay ride.  The tree is condensed into a mesh bag and muscled onto the top of your vehicle.  We laughed and contemplated and hiked and shivered until we found our beautiful tree.

Our 8-year old insisted he would cut down the tree and managed about a 1/2″ cut into the trunk before his arm gave out and the others got a turn.  Eventually, TIMMMM-BERRRR, the tree fell over.

christmas tree 2013

This tree was no featherweight.  It took 5 of us to carry it down with our 8-year old leading the way, pointing out slippery slopes yet maintaining far enough of a lead not lend any muscle.

We sipped on hot apple cider while waiting for our tree to be bagged and loaded.  The sun was setting as we drove home, naturally spotlighting three cotton-tailed deer bounding through the meadow.

My husband is very scroogy, bah humbug when it comes to most holiday traditions.  Yet the entire drive home he commented how much he enjoyed this excursion to get our Christmas tree.  He enjoyed it so much he suggested we should plan to go to Camden Ranch every year.  Who is this guy having Christmas fun and setting tradition?    He even tolerated listening to hours of Christmas music to and from Camden Ranch.  Whoever he is, wherever he’s been, I like this new Spokane guy!

Today, for our first day of Advent, we put away our fall and Thanksgiving decorations and hauled out the Christmas boxes.  Our tree is massive, standing at 9’3″ but fits beautifully in our living room.

christmas tree

No lights or decorations yet and I realized tonight that the two uncarved pumpkins are still out on the porch.  Slight holiday overlap but we’re getting into the holiday spirit, one day at a time.