Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

We had a wonderful last day of 2012. This morning we went for a little hike on the trails around our neighborhood, on what we have christened the Bompy loop. Both Seb and Liesl ran and ran, and hid behind trees to scare us, and counted steps, and played the Three Billy Goats Gruff and the Troll on the bridges, and in general were just delightful. After naps, we went to 23rd Ave to browse the shops, eat ice cream at Salt and Straw, and get dinner from Olympic Provisions. Yum. They're tucked in now and we are left free to contemplate the big changes for 2013 that we've put into play.

We hope 2013 brings you joy, new adventures, and the love of your family and friends.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Merry Christmas!

We celebrated Christmas in our new home, and it was wonderful. On Christmas Eve, Grampa read 'Twas the Night Before Christmas to all four grandchildren - Dani and Roxy joining in via Skype. Seb and Liesl put out a plate of gingerbread cookies and a glass of milk for Santa, and reluctantly went up to bed. Seb asked for the curtains to be left open, just in case he was awake and could see Santa arrive.



Santa Claus arrived in the night and left lots of presents for our (mostly) good children. We had a frenzy of opening stocking presents and then took a break for fig bread, fruit, eggs, and coffee/tea/juice. And then we opened more. Both kids got new pajamas and slippers, books, animal friends, and toys. Liesl's big gift was a doll house, and Sebastian's was a red Radio Flyer wagon that he can pull around the neighborhood. They had very different styles when it came to presents: Sebastian tore through his pile, barely glancing at each gift before racing on to the next one. Liesl was much more curious and deliberative about each thing, often stopping to play with something at length.


















After we finished with presents, mom and I started prepping food while the children played, and then we achieved the impossible: all six of us took naps! It was splendid. Mom and I cooked the dinner together: roast leg of lamb with garlic and rosemary; farro with mushrooms and walnuts; roasted cauliflower; butternut squash and chickpeas; kale salad with fennel, apples, radishes, cherries, and pepitas; cranberry pecan bread; and for dessert a chocolate cheesecake. Everything was delicious and it was really fun to make our own holiday dinner.






On to 2013! 

Monday, December 24, 2012

pre-Christmas joy

We were moving around for most of December, but still tried to preserve a sense of Christmas fun for the children and ourselves. Our advent calendar traveled with us from Grandma's house to the rental apartment to our new home, the advent elf faithfully filling the daily pocket with some sort of treat. Our stockings too have been hung by various bookshelves and mantels, traveling in our suitcases rather than being relegated to the storage unit. The children had great fun making a gingerbread house with Grandma Raab, who also took us to a luncheon at a decorated little Christmas village and gave the children some early presents.  

 











As soon as we possibly could, we bought a big tree and decorated it together. Both the kids were very enthusiastic and participated in hanging up all the ornaments.






And finally, we have been baking for the holiday. My mom made cranberry bread with pecans and a chocolate turtle cheesecake for Christmas dinner, she made gingerbread men (and stars and trees) with the kids, and together we baked four lovely fig breads for Christmas morning. Steve and I have been menu planning for our first ever holiday dinner in our own home: roasted leg of lamb, kale salad with fennel, apple, and cranberries, farro with mushrooms, walnuts, and cherries, butternut squash and chickpeas, cauliflower with raisins and pine nuts. And of course, cranberry bread and chocolate cheesecake. Yum.




Merry Christmas to all!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

PORTLAND!

We made the big move across country in December. We spent the last week of November packing our things and putting them into cubes/pods to be shipped. We left our Irvington apartment on November 30th (we worked like mad until late on Friday night to finish up) and spent five days at the Raab house in Greenlawn on Long Island.






Our car was picked up by a shipper on Monday and we flew out on Thursday morning. The flight passed easily - Seb entertained himself with books and my new iPad, and Liesl napped for nearly three hours. We landed in Portland, rented a minivan to transport all our luggage, and moved in to a temporary vacation apartment in the Nob Hill neighborhood. The neighborhood has so many fun restaurants and cafes and we loved exploring it with the kids.







We started looking for a home the next day. We've decided to rent a house for a year or so and get to know our new city and its various neighborhoods before buying a more permanent home. We looked at a variety of houses and condos in Forest Heights, the Southwest neighborhoods of Bridlemile and Hillsdale, the Bethany area of Beaverton, and some places in random neighborhoods.  My parents arrived on Sunday, thankfully, and were able to entertain and take care of the children while Steve and I figured things out.









Happily, we found a townhouse that we like in Forest Heights. It's a three bedroom, three bath, three floor house in a really quiet neighborhood with an excellent school district. It's in a newer development and lacks character, but it makes up for it with excellent preserved green space and tons of nearby trails. Steve will be able to ride a free shuttle bus to his office - a ten minute ride away. We are already very much enjoying our expanded space and the noise protection it offers.









We got our keys on Friday, December 14th, had our pods delivered that noon, and worked like crazy to unpack them entirely by the end of the day. And then it was a perfect frenzy of cleaning, laundering, washing, and rebuilding furniture. And buying new furniture and other supplies, of course.  We were all moved in and slept our first night here on Sunday.  We still have things to buy and boxes to unpack, but the home is comfortable and livable.





We are so happy to be here. I have to pinch myself occasionally that we finally made it to Portland, a city we have loved and dreamed of living in for so many years. We're on the west coast! My mom and dad are within a morning's drive! We have a house!


And so, on to Christmas!!!!