celebrating Christmas

Christmas Eve

I had a nice long weekend–it started with Friday off from work, I went swimming and then met a friend for a pedicure. It was really nice to see her and catch up with her after a few months of us both being swamped with life. The weekend wasn’t awesome, honestly–lots of chores and errands and trying to frantically get ready for Christmas. BUT Christmas Eve was nice!

We got to sleep in a bit and then I took Logan to daycare and went to the gym and then Michael and I went out for breakfast.

I got the special. It was a decadent treat and not something I’d normally order but since I knew I wouldn’t be eating lunch I figured, why not? It was a cheesecake french toast! I got the half order (which was the RIGHT amount) and it was topped with a tart cherry compote. The cheesecake filling to die for. Seriously good. And I also splurged and got the habanero peach mimosa! SPICY!

Then home and Michael started the brisket and I continued the sourdough process (and started the rosemary raisin sourdough I was making for Christmas dinner). My parents were driving down from Seattle to spend Christmas Eve with us. We decided to do a new tradition this year and host. It’s been harder trying to travel and fit everything in on one day with Logan.

My parent arrived after lunchtime (about the time I had the sourdough rising in the banneton basket and laying on the couch watching Die Hard. Then I we went to pick Logan up from daycare. Unfortunately, for some reason, he didn’t nap at daycare. I have no idea why (slightly annoyed by this) so of course he finally fell asleep at like 4:30.

Anyways. Our friends joined us this year for dinner. They brought a delicious kale and spinach salad and homemade fudge! My sourdough turned out fantastic!

And Michael’s brisket was great, too.

And he made his famous mac n’ cheese. It all went perfectly and everyone got seconds. There was still a lot of leftovers so people got to take some home with them.

I got some new holiday napkins at Target and some napkin rings (a black Friday splurge):

And Logan’s holiday placemat was a find from World Market:

Dinner turned out so nice. I was glad everyone was able to come and join us and help celebrate Christmas Eve. Even though hosting is kind a lot of work, it was still nice being able to immediately get in my PJs after everyone left. 🙂

The food turned out great!

Oh and my mom made chocolate brownies from scratch, topped with vanilla ice cream and homemade raspberry sauce. It was so decadent but good!

After dinner and dessert Logan got to open a few presents from our friends. Then bedtime!

Logan fell asleep almost immediately!

Frog Lake to Trillium Lake

On Christmas Eve, Michael surprised me with a small breakfast in bed and then we hit the road for an adventure. We drove up to Mount Hood to do the first snowshoeing of the season. No matter how many times we drive up to Mount Hood, that first view of the mountaintop after we turn the corner of Vertigo Corner is breathtaking.

The original plan was to do Mirror Lake. Unfortunately, Mirror Lake is pretty low in elevation and hadn’t received much snow yet.

The back up plan was Frog Lake. It was just on the other side of Mount Hood and it was one we’d never done before. Frog Lake supposedly connected to both Barlow Pass and the Pacific Crest Trail. I asked some snowshoers who were coming back if the trail was okay. They said it was alright, that there wasn’t a lot of snow but it was still enjoyable. I decided we’d give it a try and hope for the best.

We did some of the Twin Lakes Loop here. The tree cover was heavy and the snowfall wasn’t much.

I’m not sure how far we trekked into the woods at Frog Lake but the higher we climbed, the less snow there was. In fact, we turned around when the snow completely disappeared from the trail. It was a bit disappointing.

I think part of the problem is that there hasn’t been much rainfall here in Oregon this last month. It’s been one of the driest winters that I can remember (which I’m loving!) but of course that means not a lot of snow. I made the executive decision to turn around and go somewhere else.

It didn’t take long to get back to the car.

Frog Lake Stats:
Time: 43 minutes
Calories Burned: 225

We drove back up the Mountain and went to the tried and true spot: Trillium Lake.  By this time it was 12:30 and we were both hungry so we ate our lunches before setting out on the trail. I’d bought us Subway–easy and transportable.

Trillium Lake starts with a steep downhill climb that provides endless amusement when beginner skiers attempt to maneuver the curves.

We got to the bottom of the hill and took a right. It was a gorgeous day on the mountain! The sun was out, there weren’t any clouds in the sky and the temperature was pretty warm. It was warm enough that we didn’t need our gloves.

We got to the clearing that is the most picturesque spot of the mountain. There was some cloud cover over Mount Hood but it was still a beautiful sight to see.

After taking some photos we tromped across the open field and came to another fork in the trail. We usually continue on to the left toward Trillium Lake. This time we went right to Barlow Pass. It was a slight but constant uphill trail, passed some cute little cabins nestled among the trees and snow.

We stopped to rest and drink some water further up a bit. I think it was a campground in the summer time.

We decided to turn around and head back to the car. We’d been snowshoeing for about 45 minutes at this point. That’s a good number to turn around at–especially for our first time out of the season. Snowshoeing an exhausting activity that tires you out pretty quickly–usually without noticing it.

The sun was bright and warm. It was probably the best weather we’ve ever experienced on Mount Hood. The temperature was around 45 degrees and there was no wind. Perfect!


The climb back up that huge hill to the car is long, tiring and hard work. My heart rate increased to almost 160 beats! Trust me, it’s a killer.

Trillium Lake Stats:
Time: 1:32
Calories Burned: 505

There was hardly anyone on the mountain on Christmas Eve either–it was nice and peaceful. When we got back home I hopped in the shower for the best shower of my life. Standing underneath that scalding hot water feels amazing after tromping through the snow!

Total Calories for the Day: 730
Mileage: 4.5 miles! Wow!

I am so glad we were able to get up there and do something fun and active in snow.

QUESTION: How did you spend Christmas Eve? Have you ever been snowshoeing before?