I am not much for new year’s resolutions, but I hoping that this will be the last time I do a mega-wrapping-up-a-season-of-life-because-I-got-so-behind-on-everything-giant-photodump-post. Our lives are full and fun, and I want so badly to remember everything (and if I don’t photograph it or write it down, it’s like it never happened), so here’s to being a little bit better in the new year (set realistic goals that you can achieve, friends).
Without further ado, here’s how we rocked the end of 2017.
As you may recall, Eric and I generally take the holiday break as an opportunity to do a local-ish getaway (see 2013’s trip to the Redwoods, 2014’s Wallowa Mountains, 2015’s Leavenworth extravaganza: part 1, part 2, and part 3, and 2016’s Thanksgiving in Bend). This year (technically last year, at this point), old friends came to visit us in Portland, and we all traveled to the magical land of Bend for a few days.
The Bloems are some of my favorite people in the world because they love food just as much as I do (and Megan is a top notch cook). We treated our bellies to Pip’s (obviously), Tasty n Alder, Tusk, and Proud Mary. And food was delicious on the home front, as well: Swedish cardamom buns and flank steak with chimichurri.
With a toddler in tow, we played at the Portland Children’s Museum and playgrounds, and mostly just laughed at his unbelievable adorableness (imagine the cutest kid you’ve ever seen, then add 100 cuteness points, and you’ve got Simon).
We added Nathaniel to our crew for a few days in Bend (making it a real Blingerotta). Again, we spent most of our time eating (Jackson’s Corner and The Sparrow Bakery for life) and playgrounding. After participating in the Thanksgiving Day “I Like Pie” race last year, we knew that had to be on the agenda again.
On the way back to Portland, we stopped in the forest to cut down a Christmas tree (you can get a permit to do this in Oregon). While it wasn’t quite my romantic winter tree-cutting vision filled with snow (instead, pouring rain), it was fun to pick out “the perfect tree” and then worry about it falling off the roof for the 3-hour drive back home (it didn’t, but the needles were a bit sparse after the long journey).
As you may have heard, it rains quite a bit in Oregon. If you need proof, go for a hike at the end of November. Wear your best rain gear. Learn that your rain gear can handle approximately 20 minutes of pouring rain before all of your under layers are soaked. Be disappointed in your clothing. Continue to hike, passing people wearing rain gear that actually keeps them dry. Feel jealous. Also pass people hiking in jeans. Feel superior. Return to the car, completely soaked and frozen. Change into the clean, dry clothes you actually remembered to bring (there’s a first time for everything, folks), and eat the doughnut you wisely bought on the way to the trailhead. Repeat next weekend.
Snowshoeing Bald Mountain
We’ve been watching snow pile up on Mount Hood from afar (we can see the mountain from our house, and it is as dreamy as it sounds), and we made our first journey into real winter at the beginning of December. We headed to one of our favorite trailheads (Top Spur), which turned into a very snow-filled drive. We finally reached a point where our SUV couldn’t go any further without the risk of getting stuck in the deep snow, so we pulled over and snowshoed from there.
This trail is magical in any weather, but it is especially spectacular with the addition of fog. Something about this trail’s position in the mountains leaves it as the barrier between two microclimates (I’m making up this science, but it sounds right). Fog tends to roll over the top of Bald Mountain and disappear as it drops into the valley below. It’s truly breathtaking (and so, so windy).
Random life, in photos
Portland is pretty, and I have to stop myself from taking 1000 photos every day.
This year, we spent the holidays with my family in Kentucky. We thought we might end up with a white Christmas, but it turned into a very light dusting of snow, followed by a week of temperatures that didn’t rise above 20-something degrees. It made for some very chilly runs (I’m not sure my Portland running clothes were appropriate for an 8-degree jog), but lots of appreciation for a fireplace and a cozy home.
As you may recall from previous years, one side of my family does themed Christmases (highlights include “I’ll be gnome for Christmas,” where we all dressed like gnomes and played gnome-related games, and “My big, fat ancient Greek Christmas,” where we all wore togas and had a Parthenon-building contest with Legos). This year, we had a 1980s Christmas. My sweatshirt had shoulder pads, and it was marvelous. My brother-in-law dressed as Bob Ross (which paired nicely with my cousin’s husband’s Bob Ross t-shirt).
We were thrilled to get to see old friends and family during our trip (especially after I got the flu on our last trip to Kentucky and had to cancel all plans to see anyone). Although I have no photographic evidence of these events, we had old friends (Matt, Kayla, Matt, Ben, and Izabella) over for dinner, and had breakfast in Cincinnati with Brent and Megan. We met Eric’s brother and family in Ohio for some BBQ (bless you, Eli’s, for being a halfway point between our homes) and kiddo time (my first time meeting our little niece).
And we got to enjoy a tradition that started back in our high school days (we are quickly becoming ancient): a New Year’s Eve EVE party with old friends at a cabin in the woods. I can’t tell you how much it fills my heart to see old friends and be amazed by all of the great things they are doing in the world.
And with that, we’ve wrapped up 2017 (if you’re wondering what we did on actual New Year’s Eve, we flew back to Oregon after 3 hours of sleep, and I fell asleep on the couch at 8:30 pm, living up to my full potential as a party animal). Here’s hoping 2018 is documented in a much more timely manner, and that your year is full of joy!