Friday, January 23, 2015

Another Christmas House weekend for the books

This past weekend was the Walker Family annual Christmas House (so-called because when the tradition started 17 years ago, we always did this at Christmastime; these days, it would be more accurately called the I Have a Dream House because it's turned into a MLK weekend kind of ordeal, but Christmas House is just quicker to say). As we have for the past few years, we rented a house in Lincoln City, Ore., on Devil's Lake. It might seem weird to rent a lake house at the coast (hello, Pacific Ocean!), but this plan is actually full of win: Less traffic near the lake, quiet setting, still close to town. Plus it's a house that fits all of us comfortably. When you're up to 25, even if three of you are babies, that's really something to consider.

I love this tradition, by the way. Instead of buying Christmas gifts for everyone, we pool our money to cover the house and food costs and just hang out together (more expensive at this point, but way more enjoyable). I love that my girls have grown up with this. Experiences over stuff, you guys. That's minimalism!

Plus the Walkers are just super fun and cool. It's not bragging if it's true.

Here's a run-down of the weekend's events for posterity. I mean, what else am I supposed to write about?

The Good
Finally saw Silver Linings Playbook (loved it!), lots of chatting, a rather delightful three-hour nap on Saturday, heavy rain doesn't deter anyone from doing anything at the coast, cousin time for the girls, card time with the boys for Eric, hot tub time for Johanna, and just general awesomeness all around.

The Bad
Why is the toilet paper in rental houses only one-ply? That is the only bad thing I can think of, and yet, we survived.

The Ugly
I took one photo all weekend. What the what?

Figure 1.
Johanna and Reid (see "The Babies," below).

The Insane
We watched the Seahawks vs. Packers game, which was interesting because there were 24 Seahawks fans and one Packers fan amongst us, and things were looking pretty bleak there for a while, but then! The Seahawks came back with like 16 points in the last four minutes, I don't know, I wasn't paying that close of attention, but it was awesome.

That's not even the insane part, though. Cute Rachel's boyfriend announced that he was going to jump in the lake if the Seahawks won, and then all of a sudden he's shedding clothing and running for the dock and we're all like, no way! and following because it's not everyday you see someone jump in a lake. Then my sister-in-law decides she's going in and has to pretty much be rescued by the boyfriend and her son-in-law Andy before Andy jumps in, too.

You guys, what is this nonsense? It's WINTER. It's the COAST. It's freaking freezing!

Johanna also jumped in the lake, but that's just because she got too hot in the hot tub and Eric encourages anarchy, apparently, even when his beloved wife is screaming from the door DON'T YOU EVEN DARE. Jo started the trend, actually. She and Eric were way too proud of themselves.

The Coffee
Coffee, naturally, plays a big part in my life, and this weekend was no different. We had coffee in house, of course, but then Abby and I were forced to go into the world (to a cute little coffee shop in the outlet mall one day, to Starbucks the next two) for more because hello, you can never have too much coffee in your cup. Side note: I finally tried the Starbucks Flat White and mmm! I'm a fan!

So is Johanna. She drank half of mine.

The Shopping
So you guys, I tried to keep light in mind while at the outlet mall. And I did okay. I replaced my black and navy long-sleeve t-shirts and my pair of jeans (and learned Levis makes a 34-inch inseam, which rocked my world) and added a white long-sleeve t-shirt, a teal pullover sweater and a black turtleneck sweater (I know, I know, but! Sweaters!). Um, I also bought a pair of super long yoga pants so someday, theoretically, if I were to fight my fears and go to an actual yoga class instead of, say, just doing yoga in my living room, I wouldn't look like (much more of) a dork. But those things don't count because Courtney.

The Unexpected
My favorite grey sweater (favorite even though I look kind of terrible in grey) got a hole in the back collar almost ASAP after purchasing the thing at Eddie Bauer in September. I causally mentioned that to the kid behind the counter as I was buying Johanna a plain black t-shirt (that is another post for another time) and she was all, that is not right, and then went and found my sweater in my size and traded me one for one right there. Um, I was not expecting that. Wicked cool, Eddie Bauer kid!

My new sweater is a little more oversized than my old sweater, but is way better quality. I can't figure out why that is, since this is from an outlet and the other was from an honest to God store, but whatevs. There are just some things in this life you can't explain.

The Minimal Packing
I wore clothes. Every day! No one noticed I was recycling the same items over and over. Oh, and oops, I brought a nice pair of pants for Mass and then totally forgot to wear them. So I could have packed lighter is what I'm saying. I kind of wished I'd packed my tennis shoes so I could have walked on the beach... or around the lake/neighborhood.

The Babies
Babies! Are fun! But they weren't all that interested in me unless I had my iPad, and then we were best friends. Reid (2) was Johanna's satellite all weekend long, which was hilarious. She took it all in stride. Logan (1) and Kayden (2) were mostly just enamored with her block building skills, especially since she let them knock all towers over.

The Food
My sister-in-law Debbie was in charge of renting the house and getting all the food figured out (no easy feat), and wow, she nailed it. Here's a little something she made for Saturday breakfast that I ended up eating all three mornings we were there because A) Delicious and 2) Leftover are the best.

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