Todd on Christmas Eve 2017

DEC 20 – DEC 27


We left home just after 9 AM to drive to Bend, Oregon for the holidays. Along the way, we decided to try a new place for lunch: Pete’s Pizza (Goldendale, Washington). I’m sure we’ll go back there again because of the interesting red decor, fun swivel chairs (that go up and down), and light, fluffy pizza crust. Todd was excited about the Frozen bean bag toss game.

Todd at Pete’s Pizza – 12/20/17

Pizza!! – December 20, 2017

For the first time in Todd’s life, we stayed overnight at my parents’ house. We spent three nights at their house before going to my sister’s house. My mom said she was going to “take good care of us” by cooking us lots of good (vegan) meals while we were there…and she did not disappoint!

We told Todd that he could open up his Christmas gift from Grammie (Eric’s mom) once we got to Grandma’s house. He knew what he was getting (Lego Ninjago set: Garmadon’s Volcano Lair) so he was excited with anticipation. In the week+ before we left for Bend, Todd had been repeatedly watching the video that accompanies the Lego set description on He also repeatedly watched the following YouTube review of the set, by Jangbricks. Little did we know…Todd was memorizing full sentences from this review video word-for-word (more on this below!).

Once we arrived at my parents’ house, it actually took Todd a while to remember that he was going to open a present. For this reason, we didn’t quite get the whole set built before going to bed that night. After he got this set, Todd was a real chatterbox the rest of the night. The first 2 videos show him unwrapping and opening the box, and the third video shows him saying “Thank you.” He said it repeatedly that night…so genuine and sweet.

Holding the seeker clam drone – December 20, 2017


Eric finished building the Volcano Lair before Todd woke up. Boy, did Todd play with this set! Here are the things he kept repeating…

  • “Seeker clam drone that can actually fly off. So this has wings that deploy down and you see its little eyes in there and it has a laser on its head.”
    • Todd basically memorized word-for-word that whole quote by Jangbricks (from the review video, at 5 minutes, 45 seconds)
  • “This is my favorite figure by far.”
    • Todd was talking about the figure, Steve. In the review video, Jangbricks said (at 11 minutes, 35 seconds), “Steve here is my personal favorite figure in this set by far” 😀 )
  • “This is big box get for price. This is big build get for price.”
    • In the review video, Jangbricks said (at 14 minutes, 18 seconds), “It’s a big box to get for its price. It’s a big build to get for its price.”
  • “This set my favorite in the whole world.”

Seeker clam drone – December 21, 2017

Later this morning we went swimming at Juniper Swim and Fitness Center. Eric and Todd went in the kid’s pool while my dad and I did the deep water exercise class. After swimming, we all checked out one man’s train collection, on display at the library.

Trains at the library – December 21, 2017

Grandpa & Todd – December 21, 2017


Just like the 21st, we went to the pool for swimming / water exercise in the morning. During Todd’s nap, Eric and I finished up our Christmas shopping. In the evening, Todd and Grandpa bonded over The Incredible Hulk. This was the last night staying overnight at my parent’s house.

Todd & Grandpa watching The Incredible Hulk – December 22, 2017


We went up to Mt Bachelor to ski the free Carrousel chair. Todd did well and seemed happy, but he quickly had enough of the freezing rain. He asked to leave after just a few runs. He didn’t even want to go in the lodge, he was just ready for “Subaru car.”

Todd at Mt Bachelor – December 23, 2017

Family selfie on Carrousel chair – December 23, 2017

During Todd’s nap, my mom and I made the lemon coconut cake out of my 2007 edition of Veganomicon (by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero). This is a tried and true favorite cake recipe! After Todd woke up, we moved our ‘camp’ to my sister’s house.


Still in the mood for baking, I made snickerdoodle cookies out of Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar (by Isa Chandra Moskowitz) in the morning. That evening, we celebrated my dad’s birthday at Nana and Grampy’s house (Todd’s cousin’s grandparents). Nana got reindeer jammies for the kids…how cute!

New jammies! – December 24, 2017

Cousin Eli decided to run laps around the living room, hoping that the activity would make it easier for him to sleep that night. Of course, Todd followed suit.

Going through the furniture – December 24, 2017

Our usual Christmas Eve dinner is lasagna. My family has really perfected a vegan version! Todd tried some plain lasagna noodles. He also liked eating sourdough bread from The Village Baker. This year he did a great job staying seated at the table for all of our meals (unlike when he was younger!)…how nice! After dinner, Todd got some practice opening presents by helping my dad open his birthday gifts and then opening presents in a ‘white elephant’ game (the first annual?).

My parents – December 24, 2017

Elisa & Eric – December 24, 2017

Todd eating plain lasagna noodles – December 24, 2017


Todd didn’t wake up particularly early on Christmas morning, which was nice because my parents were able to arrive before he came out to see all the presents. Remember from the “Todd is Three (Month 4)” post that his number one (and only), highly anticipated gift from Santa was the Lego Ninjago Master Falls set. After he opened it, he wanted to build it immediately. Of course, this meant waiting until later in the morning to open any other presents!

Master Falls!! – December 25, 2017

Eventually– Todd got interested in the process of opening all his other gifts. The rest of the family was just about done with present-opening by that time! Todd was surprised and **super excited** when he opened the ‘Hulk hands’ that Santa sent him. His reaction was priceless (melt my heart)! (He’d been asking for Hulk hands on and off for several months prior to Christmas).

One cool toy that Todd received from my sister was the Snap N’ Glow Trax Light Racer Set. You run battery-powered cars on a flexible track that can be configured in various ways. Todd’s favorite part is when the cars crash into each other.

Todd on Christmas Day 2017

We spent the evening at my parents’ house. It was the Creature (from the Black Lagoon) against Hulk…

Eric (Creature) & Todd (Hulk) – December 25, 2017


This was a day for play! After Todd’s nap we had Christmas dinner at my parent’s house.

Cousin Ashley gave Todd a new look – December 26, 2017

The Spooner was a gift from Todd’s grandma (my mom) – December 26, 2017

December 26, 2017


Oh, how Todd loves Kaiser! He wanted to make sure he said goodbye to him before we left for home. I let Todd spend a good long time with him because Kaiser is quite elderly. I really hope this visit wasn’t their last time together. A picture is better than a 1000 words…

Saying goodbye to Kaiser before we had to go – December 27, 2017

Saying goodbye to Kaiser before we had to go – December 27, 2017  

December 27, 2017