Please forgive my absence. I haven’t had a chance to update all of my recent publications just yet. In fact, I learned about this next publication (below) from Patrick, a fellow author, before I got to the email from Suburban Parent magazine.
“Kid to Kid” has now appeared in five publications around the country, and once in Canada. One day, I’ll list them all, but for now, enjoy my article here!
I admit it, my kids (and I) have always hated going to see Santa in the mall. From the long lines, to the crying children around us, it’s never been our idea of a jolly good time. Add my lack of zeal for shopping and you can imagine how hard it was for my kids to talk me out of taking them again this year. But that doesn’t mean I want to take Santa out of the Christmas equation entirely! Instead, we’re on the lookout for Santa sightings in Portland (sans malls). And we’re not talking about the rogue-Santa impostors roaming the city for SantaCon either! We’re talking the jolly ol’ fat man that will listen carefully to your child’s secret holiday wish (or, at the very least, take their tears in stride).
Here’s my list of Santa sightings to come around town during the last week before Christmas. If I’ve forgotten any, please, let me know! Add it to the comments below.
Pre-registration is required for this event, but if you do you will have VIP access to the big man himself! One on one contact and no lines! Plus, there will be story times, ornament decorating crafts and even a holiday scavenger hunt! Come out of the cold rain and enjoy the warm, winter-themed museum.
Alpenrose Dairy’s Storybook Lane offers professional photos with Santa. While you still have to stand in line to see Santa, at least you’re doing so amongst a beautiful backdrop of over 300 decorated live trees, live animals, festive music and train displays. You won’t get bored here and admission is free!
Pioneer Courthouse Square (corner of Morrison and Broadway)
Cedar Hills Crossing (3205 SW Cedar Hills Blvd)
Dec. 18-23, 11 am-9 pm and Dec. 24, 11 am-5 pm
With rain tents and hot chocolate, standing in line to see Santa here doesn’t seem so bad after all. Plus, they’re around on Christmas Eve and I don’t have to go to the crazy-frenzied mall to see Santa!
Special thanks to my dear friends, The Curreys, for letting me use their ‘Happy’ Holidays 2013 Christmas picture. I hope all of you have a very merry Christmas full of joy and good tidings – and no coal!
This time of year it seems as though everyone says, “make meaningful moments!” or “Every moment counts!” Between magazines, television and commercials, you’re pretty much guaranteed to feel as though you aren’t doing enough or baking enough or buying enough this year.
Make Meaningful Moments Mine I lost one of my oldest and dearest friends this April to cancer. He didn’t even make it to 38th birthday. I blogged through my grief (elsewhere) and I’ve included an excerpt of it here. Rereading it only reinforced my resolve: making moments meaningful has, well, much more meaning now. I’ve stopped listening to all the noise, noise, noise, and I’m redefining what it means to make these moments mine – especially during the holidays.
Here is my previous post from April 2013:
Life is Fleeting (reposted)
I recently lost one of my oldest and dearest friends to cancer. And while I could wax on about how wonderful he was and what an impact he made on my life, I’m not going to. Instead, I’m going to tell you how his death has affected me.
Christopher died exactly ten days ago. In those ten days I’ve hugged my children more, tried to find the beauty in the simplest of things, and tell those that I love well, that I love them. My children and I wrote letters to Christopher telling him how very much he would be missed. We drew pictures for him to articulate how we felt when words didn’t do us justice. Then we tied them to balloons and let them go.
This is what his death has taught me: to let go. Let go of the noise. Let go of the petty and the annoying. There’s neither room nor reason for it in my life. And let me tell you: that is a very freeing experience. Where once I was tethered by a sense of social obligation and pulled along the strings of “have to do this” and “should do that”, I am now free to float above the smog. I have become the balloon: once tethered, now set free and floating along my own whims.
I have been remiss in articulating myself. I have been remiss in teaching my children how to love themselves. For how can they be taught to love themselves from a mom that doesn’t love herself? No. That will never do. I am going to take time out of my day every day to write just a little bit more.
Did I Keep My Promise?
For the most part, yes I did. Did I write as often as I wanted to? No. Instead, I went on mini-adventures with my kids. I walked away from a toxic working environment. I went to the beach. I played in the sand. I bought a book just because. I giggled and ate popcorn with my daughter. I went on walks and discussed politics with my son. I fell in love with the man of my dreams.
Christopher, I miss you, but this Christmas I’m also very grateful for you – both your life and your death. In life you brought me many meaningful moments to cherish. In death you’ve given me a new perspective.
I’ve learned to make meaningful moments all year – not just over the holidays, and certainly not by listening to the media. I’ve never felt more grateful, more full of love and life. Give it a try: make meaningful moments of your own that aren’t defined by anyone but you.
Love like you’ll never be hurt, Sing like there’s nobody listening, And live like it’s heaven on earth.” ~William W. Purkey
Let me preface this first with: I am not a dancer. I rarely dance in public… and even then only under extreme coercion (and copious amounts of wine). Nor do I profess to be much of a chef (I do know where the can opener is). But I am trying to incorporate a few new things into my life under the umbrella-ideology of ‘enjoying the moment.’
I recently watched this TED Talk in which Amy Cuddy, a Harvard professor, said that you need not only to “fake it until you make it,” but to go that extra step and “fake it until you become it.” In other words, don’t just pretend you know what you’re doing so others won’t know the difference, do it long enough that YOU won’t know the difference. I’ve taken that to heart. My plan is to become a happier, healthier person – inside and out – one dance move at a time. I’m fox-trotting outside my normal path and dancing in my kitchen. And here are five reasons why you should dance in the kitchen, too.
1. Dancing in the kitchen pumps up your heart rate and your appetite.
Okay, so this one is pretty obvious. You burn an average of 100 calories for every 15 minutes of dancing1 and you’re likely to get pretty hungry afterwards. But did you know that short bursts of high-energy exercise will do you as much good – if not more – than a slow and steady cardio workout?2 This also turns dinner into the best time to “cheat” and have that high-carbohydrate food you crave (read: mashed potatoes) as your body will likely use it to replenish your glycogen levels (fuel for your muscles) rather than store it as fat.3 It really is Mashed Potatoes Time!”
2. Dancing in the kitchen gets your positive endorphins flowing. If you’re like me, you may feel pretty silly dancing in the kitchen. The trick is to not take it seriously. It’s not about how well you dance, but why you’re dancing in the first place. Dancing releases endorphins that make you feel happier and reduces your stress levels too. Step outside your norm, shake those cares away.
3. Listening to your favorite song will help you live longer.
According to psychologytoday.com, “listening to your favorite music triggers biological changes that improve the lining of your blood vessels (endothelial function) and reduces the risk of heart disease.”4 The more frequently you listen to your favorite music, the greater the effect. Dancing to your favorite song doubles the biological changes to your blood vessels. Bonus: Singing along not only reduces stress and boosts your mood, it also gives you energy (and bonus points in my book).
4. No one will see you dancing in your kitchen. Shedding your inhibitions will in turn help you shed all the stress of your day. With each shimmy and shake of your hips you’re releasing all the tension your body is keeping wound up inside of you. Shake out all the frustration you’re holding onto, or the anger you are trying to shield from your children while you whip up some dinner. If nothing else, you’ll be too exhausted afterwards to hang onto your anger, and it won’t matter how you do it: no one will see! (I’m certainly not watching you!)
5. Dancing in the kitchen is contagious.
Okay, okay, so your kids might catch you in the act. But so what? They don’t care how well you dance; they will just see their mom happy and enjoying herself. That’s worth a little embarrassment, right? It’s not like you’re this guy….
While dancing in the kitchen is still a new phenomenon for me, it seems to be catching on in my house. My boyfriend – a self-proclaimed non dancer himself – joined Elvis and me in the kitchen last night. And my daughter tried her best to roll her eyes and act like her mom had finally lost it – but in the end she was dancing right alongside us.