More Traditions & Stuff

I thought I'd share more traditions (guess we have more than I realized) and what the winter season has looked like for us over the past few years. Thought I'd also include some of the time we spent abroad. During that period we spent most of our holidays traveling. It was strange not being home but exciting as well. When we are at home, we generally keep things pretty traditional and spend a lot of time with family, friends & being outdoors. I'm grateful that we've had the opportunity to experience both.

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The above photo was taken a few years back from our apartment in Amsterdam. I think winter was my favorite time of year living abroad. The city always looked so magical and the snow seemed to highlight all of it's unique character.

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Here's an example of some of that magic, this was a canal not far from our place. The building in the righthand corner is a beautiful hotel and the illuminated boat is actually a  taxi. I think some guests were arriving that night for their stay...not to shabby right?

This is a photo of us that same night. We were standing on the other side of the canal in front of the hotel. Think this was our first year living abroad, brings back tons of memories! 

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The above photo was taken in Belgium (Brussels). We were heading out on a flight the next day (Christmas Day) and had the chance to wander the city and check out the Christmas Market. The cities in Europe take such pride in tradition during the holiday season. Everything always felt so festive, think that's why I enjoyed the winter months as much as I did. 

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Another photo in Brussels, roaming the streets for some Gluhwein and waffles!

Oh, home sweet home! This is one of our treasures here in Oregon, Mt. Hood. We try to get up to the mountain as much as we can during the winter season. 

Cross country skiing is my preference when it comes to winter activities. I enjoy the quiet and being able to take in the surroundings. My husband is in the photo below getting ready for some downhill skiing. Both photos were taken on Mt. Hood. 

Soooo, this is where the traditions begin. This is part of our family celebrating on Christmas Eve last year. We do the traditional gift exchange, eat food, talk about the past year events AND we also make hats! We started doing this a couple years back. It's actually more about the new year than it is about Christmas. Basically, we design a hat that resembles ourselves (figuratively) and what we want for the new year to come. We'll write sayings, draw things, use specific stickers, adorn it with feathers and create a design all surrounding a personal theme. At the end of the night we each declare what we want for the new year and burn the hat. I have to admit, I was a little apprehensive about introducing the idea originally. Much to my surprise everybody was game and we now look forward to it!!. What's funny is that we wear the hats all night & eventually forget that we are. Before you know it, I'll look over and there's my dad and my husband chatting away with feathers and glitter on their head. It's so worth the tradition for that alone!!!

Last but not least, the above photos are from a tradition that we've recently started....A New Years Day Hike! Not a bad way to start fresh, right? These photos are from last year in the  Columbia Gorge. It was a great day and looking forward to doing the same this year.

On that note, Happy Holidays and Cheers to the New Year!

See you in 2015, Big Hugs - J