With all of the snow and school closures over the week, it created my kind of ideal Christmas prep environment. I was able to bake in peace, organize presents in peace, complete the last of my Christmas cards in peace, and begin wrapping presents in peace as all social interactions were pretty much shut down.
Now, when I say "in peace", it was with one major caveat - I had to put up with Brayden and Mikayla (and their frequent inability to be nice to one another or take care of themselves). Basically, I just made a lot of threats, implored them to "get along", did some Countdown Calendar bribery, and bought them some sleds to use on our driveway. Hey, whatever it takes.
By the end of the week, though, even I could admit I was missing "people". So, it was quite a treat on Thursday when Cully stopped by on his way home to Lake Oswego. I quickly compiled a bag full of homemade treats for him as well as his card, and then the kids introduced him to the fun of our "AMAZING" sledding run. (Said with sarcasm!)
Thursday was also the only day we had Whitley this week. Despite the fact that Junction City School District stayed closed all week, the superintendent begged for her to come in and help her on Thursday (Stephanie is the executive secretary to the district's superintendent). So, we used the day to introduce Whitley to (very mild) sledding. It only lasted about five minutes. Whitley thought it was amusing, but had a lot of things inside the house she'd been missing for a while.
On Friday, both Marist and Eugene resumed their schools. It was a surprise to have Junction City remain closed, but I took full advantage of the time without Whitley and set out to wrap as much as I could.
I did take a noon-day break, however, by meeting up with Stephanie and Lisa for a holiday luncheon at "Indulge". In the same vein of (the now closed) "Ruthie B's" and (last year's) "Glory Days" - it is an antique store with a cafe built in. I found it delightful - what a hidden treat in Springfield! I never organized a Ladies' Gift Exchange this year as has been the tradition in year's past (I felt like it had lost its purpose) - so this was a perfect substitute - and MUCH MORE my style, with just two people at my side, not to mention two ladies that I could talk forever with, about anything - and never feel judged.
I certainly hope we make this a repeat tradition. You know it was valuable to me when I chose to leave the rare opportunity to wrap for three hours without kids to make it happen.
Later that afternoon, I met Michele halfway between our houses to pick up Traig. The Harlow Staff reunion was happening this weekend, and he really wanted to be a part of it. Not bad timing, as the boys also had a High School Christmas Party they are currently at - so well worth it for Traig to hang with us. (However, the fact that Michele will have to drive him home so late tonight might not make it so worth it).
At any rate, we decided to treat him along with our own family to a night out to dinner at the brand new Texas Steak House. Whether it was the fact that it was new, it was a Friday, it was the first "it's safe to drive day" in a week, or the fact that it's right next to the mall where most people would choose to Christmas shop....it was PACKED. Fortunately, John and Brayden got there early enough to get us a booth and then Mikayla, Traig, and I joined up with them. Indeed, it was good food - I'd definitely go back!
After that, we stopped by Dickie Yo's for fro-yo - but even more, to encourage Michael on his final day of employment there (and get him his "goody bag" and Christmas card). That guy has been a fixture for Dickie Yo's since it opened - many people choose to go there just because of him. However, he'd decided to take some time off for his final term of college and then begin focusing more on the career path he went to college to pursue. He will be missed!
Finally, on Saturday - after much back and forth as to "when are we going to make this happen?" - we got to see Drew and Kaela for a quick gift exchange and holiday greetings. I still try to pretend they live down here, but it's getting harder and harder to ignore reality. Miss them!
What a rare "treat of a week" that I truly believe I embraced for all of its worth!