We are a family that takes comfort in tradition, although some traditions seem more sweet and pack more punch when left for the day of the actual holiday. So, we set our leaf-gathering and pie-making aside and filled our days leading up to Thanksgiving with a trip to the Oregon Zoo, a treacherous drive midway to the coast, a day in downtown Portland, and plenty of after dinner "dance parties".
Lilly, Colleen and Barrett at the Oregon Zoo
We arrived at the Oregon Zoo with three bundled babes, a pack full of snacks, and our choice of primo parking spots. Note to self: when you don’t want to battle-it-out in the parking lot or in line at the concession stand, head to the zoo when the temperature is just cold enough to freeze your nose hairs and make it a tad bit difficult to form words with your mouth: 34 degrees was a bit cold. But . . . Lilly and the boys were determined to reunite with their bedtime story friends: “huge hippo”, “big o’ elephant” and "brown bear, brown bear".
|I loved this carved piece at the zoo.|
|Bundled up on the "farm" at the zoo|
Five layers of clothes, three cups of hot chocolate, a new menagerie of storytelling characters, and one degree warmer on the zoo’s entrance reader board later, we headed back to our conveniently parked cars and drove to Big Reds - a restaurant close to the zoo and one where we ate as kids.
Our nights have been full of laughter and music. Lilly has been the ring leader and lets us all know when it's time to turn up the music for a "dance party". After-dinner-rock-out-sessions have been the evening’s highlight each and every night.
|Turns out, Lilly's a big fan of hip-hop|
Henry and Lilly walking around the table with Darin
We've been able to venture out, although the weather here has been pretty darn cold. Darin, Henry and I tried to make a side trip to Gearhart, Oregon but turned around after 2 hours due to the snow and temporary closure of the main coastal pass. So, instead, we opted for a trip to Portland's NW 23rd and the Pearl District. Found a slice of heaven at Paper Source . . . and gathered a great crafting idea from Kelle Hampton. Thanks Kelle!
|Lilly's hand on the left. . . Barrett's hand on the right|
I know that this may sound awfully cliché, but I love that this holiday reminds us to focus on giving "thanks" and allows us to recognize the gifts we've been given (or have given) throughout the year. I'm so grateful this year, more than any other year, to be among my family to celebrate this holiday. And although we no longer have my Grandfather here, we can still listen to "Alice's Restaurant", dance 'til we drop and eat the gourmet food that my family will prepare. I am forever thankful for our son, Henry, and I'm beyond thankful that Lilly is healing and is recovering so remarkably well. And to top it all off, we're all here, celebrating this feast of thanks, together. I wish you all good health and the ability to appreciate all that you have in this very moment. Celebrate with your families and after you gobble your feast, don't forget to dance.