Saturday, December 27, 2008

White Christmas Eve in Oregon

The snow has mostly melted by now, and we're left with dirty snowbanks and slush. Kieran has been very sad that his beloved snowperson has melted.

Christmas is over, although we are still celebrating. Tomorrow we will attend church after three cancelled services in a row, and then gather at my aunt and uncle's in Lake Oswego for a postponed extended family Christmas get-together.

In the end, it was a subdued but nice Christmas. It almost wasn't so because of three near-misses:

1. Nadine and David nearly didn't make it down for Christmas, between the dicey weather and their lack of traction devices. On Tuesday, David had to spend 4+ hours buying snow tires, only to return home and get ready to leave for Portland and while packing, have the car-top carrier freeze in a half-open position on him. Nadine called me on my cell phone (while I was racing through Fred Meyer buying last-minute provisions before the next storm came in), and we were both feeling panicky about the possibility that they wouldn't be able to come. She and the kids were waiting in the van for an hour before finally getting too cold and going inside...she and the boys were crying because they thought they'd miss Christmas in Portland, when David came in to ask if they were ready to go. He had fixed it, thank God! Had they not been able to come down after all that, we all would have been terribly depressed. Even though they didn't leave Puyallup until almost 6 p.m., amazingly it took them only 3 hours in the snow!

2. I nearly burnt my dear nephew's hair/ear at the candlelight services. When I was an adolescent, I badly singed my own hair because I leant over to say something to a friend (I'll never forget the smell and the amount I had to cut out!), and we all tell that story as a cautionary tale to our kids...to be careful at candlelight services. Well, I was holding Daniel on my lap with a candle, so there wouldn't be any accidents, and I leant over to retrieve Mike's candle for him (it was on the floor), and I snuffed my candle out in Daniel's ear/hair! Fortunately, he was fine...it was a bit hot, and his hair got very slightly singed (nothing like mine, luckily!). I think it upset me more than him! Nadine took him out to put some cold water on it, and apparently he informed her, "Aunty Marie looked really worried!" What a clutz I am!! And of course, it made me feel so much worse that it wasn't my own child that I had done this to!!! Thank God he was fine!!

3. The usually good-natured Gettel nuclear family (adults) had a Christmas Eve argument about apples. This is so unusual for my family that Chris was quite alarmed by it. Suffice it to say that we all could have behaved differently. Fortunately, we were able to put it all behind us and enjoy the rest of Christmas!

As I mentioned, on Tuesday the 22nd, we ventured outside into the snow again--only the second time I'd left the house since Saturday the 13th! I had decided that with all the snow, I needed a last-minute Christmas project! (Ha!) I decided to make a sister scrapbook for Nadine...and to do so, I needed to make copies of photos to put in the scrapbook. So one of our jaunts was to Fred Meyer to pick up photos. We also needed to stock up for the holidays, since the forecast predicted a fresh wave of snow and ice on Christmas Eve.

After our extended family gathering was postponed and we planned to get together at my parents' house for dinner, we were all hoping to go to our own church on Christmas Eve. (We are never able to do so, because the services coincide with our family dinner, so we typically go to a neighboring church, St. Luke's, instead.) However, our Lutheran-Catholic community, Mission of the Atonement, cancelled its Christmas Eve services because of the weather, so off to St. Luke's we tromped (or drove, that is). It was easy to see how much bigger St. Luke's is than our own little congregation, because their parking lot had been perfectly shoveled by some dear souls, whereas the Mission of Atonement parking lot remained blanketed in snow yesterday when we drove past. Apparently St. Luke's NEVER cancels its church services because of inclement weather. (I'm guessing their pastor lives nearby, which probably helps.)

With the exception of the previously mentioned candle accident, and the fact that Nicholas had not had a nap and was completely wired as soon as he saw his beloved cousins (I took him out into the lobby during the sermon, during which he ran circles around me for a good 15 minutes!)...it was a nice service. St. Luke's is more traditional than our church, but they have incredible music. (Very important to a good Lutheran soul like me.) Also, Christmas is not Christmas without a candlelight service. When I was a kid, our pastor used to call the 11:00 p.m. candlelight service the "pajama service," and actively encouraged the kids to come in their pajamas.

Years ago when Mike's family was visiting for Christmas, I called around to some Catholic churches to find a candlelight service. I thought that Mike's family might prefer to go to a mass rather than a protestant service. I specifically asked whether it was a candlelight service, and the secretary at St. Clare's said, "Yes, we have candles." Well, let me tell you non-Lutherans out there...having candles on the altar is NOT the same thing as having a candlight service. You must each have a candle in your hand and sing "Silent Night." Of course, the Catholic version might be safer for pyromaniac aunties like me...

Here were are at church (who was that tacky woman taking photos???):


Mike and his mum--who was so glad to get out of the house at last!!


The pyromaniac herself and the boys


Chris sitting with his friend James (one of his oldest friends--they went to preschool together) and James' dad, David


Kieran in his fancy duds, which I had to BRIBE him to get him to wear (I told him I'd pay him a quarter, and then when he said no, I said "how about 50 cents?" to which he replied, "How about 10 cents?" Deal! I used to make bargains like that with my younger sister!) Later on I kept telling him how handsome he looked, and at first he was delighted...but then he announced that he was EMBARASSED. Then I started to tell him how un-handsome he looked, which made him beam! I tried to get my sister to tell him that too, but she refused...


Grandma England holding the sleeping Nicholas, who fell asleep after his racing in circles during church...


Cute Cousins Daniel and Kieran


With the "unhandsome" one...


Kieran and Chris

Daniel with Uncle Mike

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