I had the kids open their Countdown Calendar activity a little early for Monday....as in Sunday night. Given the activity required a little travel and staying at Michele's until Wednesday, I frankly needed their help in preparing and packing.
So, after returning from watching "Arthur Christmas" (Sunday's activity - and yes, Jodi, I'm in agreement with you, definitely not a holiday favorite - but not deplorable either....), they opened the card that said:
"Courtney + Dutch Babies + Julie + Portland Zoo + Ending up at Michele's = A Super Fun Monday!"
Kaela showed up a few minutes before Courtney, which was perfect as she had given Mikayla a birthday present and I had told Mikayla that she was allowed to open it only if Kaela said "yes". Of course, Kaela agreed and Mikayla was delighted. Kaela had wanted to see Courtney and give me something to pass on to Julie - unfortunately she had a staff meeting she had to attend that had her leaving just before the Dutch Babies were ready to pull out of the oven....but, not before we got a lovely picture of the three of us reunited.
I love how much the kids love these folks just as much as we do. (Or almost....)
After an all-too-brief time with Courtney (it was nearly 3 hours, but our time together never seems long enough as I enjoy her company SO MUCH!) the kids and I hopped in the car and headed north to meet up with Julie. She had flown in from Oahu the night before and was setting aside her afternoon to hang with us.
We met up at Bridgeport Village - which is, I've decided, a wonderful place to shop and stroll. The mall is all outside, which in Oregon can be an issue, but it is very high class and might I say, romantic in its set-up. I told the kids we'd be returning some time in 2012 to shop as a family...kind of an untapped treasure for us.
This Christmas tree at the center demonstrates the mall's classiness.
As we ventured forth to find Julie at the Apple Store, we passed a PF Chang's - and thus decided that would be the location to satisfy our need for lunch. As usual, the food was great and a big hit for my kids (yes, they are picky eaters) - but, our server was so awkward! She was abrupt, inefficient, and forgetful. It was one of the scenarios where you had to wonder why she pursued being a server as a job, as it really seemed like she didn't like people. But, for Julie and I, it was merely a source of humor and fun to kick off our time together.
The next stop was the zoo. We assumed correctly, that at the time we were going, it would be relatively empty. They have an evening attraction called "Zoo Lights" that brings in a lot of people these days, but we didn't plan on being in Portland that late, so our ambition was to visit the animals - not see the lights.
As you can see by this picture, there were a lot of lights already turned on, though - which was a bonus for us.... =)
There was also the bonus of "Elephant Ears" (and in case you're noticing, no, it wasn't a stellar calorie day for me!).
One thing that I would have never noticed, but Julie makes fun of herself is her long arm length. So, when we saw this sign, we couldn't resist taking a picture to prove just how long they are.
Is this pose with my kids becoming a trend, or what?
We did hit a little Portland rush hour traffic on our way out, proving once again how I'd never make it in a big city. But, fortunately, it was pretty easy getting back to Bridgeport and heading on back to Dallas with minimal traffic issues. We arrived at Michele's at 6, and I'm now cozily perched atop her bed, so happy to be here until we all leave for our house on Wednesday. Michele is wrapping presents while I'm typing away. Soon I will move on to the stack of magazines that have arrived in the last 6 weeks that I haven't had a spare moment to look at - noting that their Christmas themes and ideas are a little ineffective if read about in January.
So goes our "Marvelous Monday". Two women that I feel such a tight bond with - both of them ladies that I am sad no longer live near by. But, the beauty with both of them is how time and distance are never an obstacle - conversation picks up as if we'd seen each other yesterday.
Now, on to those magazines....or maybe bed....I'm getting very sleepy after such an eventful day.