Christmas is in the air…and by Christmas, I mean North Pole, because that’s what Portland has felt like this week. 18 degrees was the lowest I’ve ventured outside the house in, and it was like nothing I’ve ever felt. But then again, I’m a huge wimp.

I’m definitely feeling the Christmas spirit more this time around than I ever have before, and I’m thinking that our holiday-obsessed roommates have something to do with that. We even drove an hour with them last week to cut down our own 10 foot tree to put in our living room. That was definitely a first for me! And as I unpacked our 5 little ornaments from a box in our closet, it occurred to me that being apart from my family and their traditions has been a huge learning experience for me.

Take Thanksgiving, for instance. A couple weeks ago Josh and I went to our friends Josh and Becky’s house to celebrate Thanksgiving, and even though being away from the familiar scene of my Grandma’s blue dishes piled high with turkey and mashed potatoes,  it was fun to gather with friends and share their traditions and memories. I look forward to the same type of Christmas. Many more nights of sitting on the living room floor drinking hot tea and talking to our housemates about what Christmas was like for them growing up. I also look forward to building great traditions with my husband that our kids will be telling their friends about in 20 years.

Don’t you just feel all warm and tingly inside? I don’t know what’s in the water up here, but I like it! And you can’t tell me this tree isn’t the prettiest one you’ve ever seen!

In other news, a crazy person jumped in front of our car when Josh and I were driving in downtown Portland to meet some friends for lunch today!! We were  just driving along and then all of a sudden…out popped my DAD of all people!

Apparently he got a last minute layover in Portland, and plotted a surprise visit that Josh knew about all along. It happened to be my day off from work (Thank you Lord) and I couldn’t think of a better way to spend it than going out for beers in a wonderful city with my cool Pops.

I wish I had a picture of the look on my face when he jumped out at me, but here’s one of us outside the Pearson Air Museum by our house.

Family doesn’t feel quite so far away when your Dad is an airline pilot.

Oh, and while I’m here, I also wanted to give a HUGE congratulations to the Vogeltanz family for their adoption of a baby girl from Ethiopia, and our dear friends Courtney and Charles Ficken, who are going to be parents to their second little one! What an amazing season for you guys. Wish we could be in Georgia to celebrate with ya’ll!

Well, if you need me I’ll be watching Home Alone on repeat in my pajamas until December 26th 🙂

Much love to everyone! Hope you’re enjoying the holidays as much as I am.