Distributed Christmas celebrations

Dump truck cargo

Our Christmas celebrations didn’t go according to plan due to unforeseen circumstances. Nevertheless, we had some good family times.

Because Mark and Annmarie were planning to be in La Grande, Oregon for Christmas day, we had our family get together on Saturday, December 20. We had lots of presents that we took turns opening one by one. The kids have remarkable restraint, although they do enjoy the excitement of watching others open their presents too.

Chase liked his toy dump truck, not just because he could ride around in it, and get dumped out of it, but because he could push it around in front of him.

Getting dumped

The girls each had a present to find through a small scavenger hunt type activity. Audree’s three clues asked her to go to locations she could pretty easily recognize, and it didn’t take her long to find her present. Cortnie’s was a little more challenging. Her first clue was just a photograph of a small pumpkin display we still had in our backyard. It didn’t take her long to figure that one out. The second clue (found under the pumpkin in the photograph) was a GPS coordinate. I’m not sure she recognized what the numbers were, although she has gone geocaching with me, and has used a GPS to find a geocache. We helped her set up the GPS and she eventually arrived at a fence corner in the back yard where she found a note saying, “This is not the clue.” That stumped her for a while until we reminded her that the other side of the fence would have the same GPS location. The clue she found there was a cipher (a simple ROT13 cipher) along with the lookup table for deciphering. She quickly got the hang of that and enjoyed deciphering the message that told her where her present was.


We wrapped up the day with dessert—an ice cream cake that we used for our now traditional happy birthday to Jesus song.

At the last minute, an intestinal flu bug kept Mark and Annmarie in town, so they invited us over Christmas morning for the opening of their presents. In the afternoon, everyone came over to our house again for a simple soup dinner, visiting, and games.

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