What a tremendously wonderful time we had in Oregon. We were met at the airport by Jeanne, Desi, Heather, and a Wendy's Frosty. It doesn't get any more welcoming than that! Later that night, Josh and Chris kept us awake way past our CST bedtime playing Down the Tube. The next day we visited Grandma and Grandpa Mardock in Newberg and caught up on the news and anecdotes about the Mardock family and the [Evangelical] Friends Church. Next we drove to Dallas (Oregon) to visit Rob's sister and brother-in-law, Kelleigh and Mitch Ratzlaff. On a side note, Mitch is a State Farm agent. If anyone is looking for an ethical and hard working agent, we strongly encourage you to give him a call. Kelleigh, Mitch, and their son Grant Daniel (affectionately known by Rob as Little G.D.) always go out of their way to make us feel welcome when we barge into their home. We love them lots and enjoy our times together.
After our jaunt down to Dallas (Oregon), Rachel & Rob, Chris & Jeanne, Josh, Heather, Desi, and Andy (hereby referred to as "the family") caravanned down to Medford to celebrate an old fashioned family Christmas. We all had a super-good time relaxing, playing card games, and eating phenomenal food. On Christmas Eve, "the family" watched the ginormous 3+ hour-long King Kong.
Afterwards “the family” attended the Christmas Eve service at Trail Christian Fellowship. Pictured in order (left to right): Josh, Desi, Rachel, Rob, Pastor Rick Booye, Heather, Jeanne, Andy, Chris. Quick props to Pastor Rick: 1) One of the most influential people in Rachel’s young life, 2) Our favorite teacher / pastor - pastor of the wonderful Trail Christian Fellowship and president of Pacific Bible College, 3) Officiator of our wedding back in 2001, 4) All-around good guy. If Rachel or Rob is ever elected as President of America, they agreed they want Pastor Rick to give the invocation.
Our favorite gifts: Rachel got Jeanne’s “pre-owned” KitchenAid mixer. Rob got his dream backpacking lantern.
After Christmas, “the family” ventured north back up to Portland. Rachel took Heather on a tour of PSU. At the moment Heather is torn between Portland State and George Fox. We know that no matter where she attends, she’ll make a huge impact on the world around her. Later that week, we dined with Chris & Jeanne at Jakes Grill. Oh my! If anyone has the good fortune of spending a few days in Portland, this restaurant is a must. It’s been around for over 100 years, but the recipes are as fresh and exciting as the seafood itself.
Overall, a great time was had by everyone. We experienced a bit of weather-shock when we returned to Texas. Leaving behind flood-conditions in Oregon, we broke out our sunglasses and sandals in Houston.