Sunday, November 25, 2012

O Christmas Tree

As we do every year on the weekend following Thanksgiving, we ventured out of the city today to cut ourselves down the perfect green tree.  It's one of my favorite Christmas traditions, and this year was extra special because there is snow on the ground!  It's just not the same without snow.

Every year we listen to my mom as she waxes poetic about the merits of a balsam fir over a spruce.  She goes on and on as we wander the family-run tree farm, quite often mixing up her facts and backtracking, confusing herself about which ones you have to water more, which ones last longer, which ones have prickly needles.  

She and my dad are quite the pair, he is a little obsessive compulsive about tasks like this, searching in vain for the illusive perfect tree, with my mom on his heals nagging him to just pick something already, but then finding something to criticize about each tree that he stops to consider.  

I love that they each have their roles, and I love that they're the same every year.  

Just like how every year Dan and I arrive right away at the agreed-upon time, and then somehow have picked out our tree and feel like we've run a marathon with the toddler/baby managing that is going on by the time most of my relatives even arrive.  I'm married to a very punctual and practical man, so it's truly not a surprise that this happens, even though we're the only ones that have to get out of the house with little babies.  Plus, IT'S TRADITION! So I kind of find comfort in it even if it's annoying.   

Unlike my parents, Dan and I are a little more free-wheeling with the actual act of picking out a tree.  We wander around quite a bit, Dan follows me usually.  I pick out the first tree that looks mildly alright, Dan notices that an entire side of it is practically bare, so we move on.  Finally after much indecision I just randomly pick one and he chops it down and we are done.  Decision is made like that.  Quick and painless, no regrets.  

Unfortunately this haphazard method sometimes leads to us unwittingly picking out an enormous tree that takes up half our dining room.

Family Picture Outtake

Haphazard is also a pretty good word for this FAIL of a family picture.  I think any family with young kids can relate to what's going on here.  Don't worry, we did end up with one better than this.

So the giant tree problem.  Pretty much this happens every other year.  Two years ago, I complained throughout the month of December about the size of our tree, so last year I specifically went with the intent of NOT doing that, over-compensated, and we ended up with an itty-bitty one.  2010's tree could have birthed 2011's tree.  

It suited our needs just fine though, we were happy with our tiny, crooked tree.

Now today I went with little intention other than to make it quick and keep the children warm and happy, not to mention the pickings were somewhat slim for the balsam firs (clearly the ONLY way to go, you know, according to my mother).

Anyway we found one that looked, okay-ish, not too dead and dry on the inside (it was a really dry season this year, according to Mr. Kringlund), and I questioned Dan repeatedly, "Are you SURE it's not too big?  It looks really big?  Are you suuuuure?"

And he replied, "It always looks bigger before it's cut down and in the house."

And I just went with it, I was tired of pushing the stroller around and Gus was starting to wander a little too far from us.  But now as I sit here, I'm having the realization that he is bat-shit crazy, because in our experience the truth is the total opposite.  It is always going to look smaller out there in nature, hanging out with its tree friends.  Get it home and put it in a corner of your small house and it takes up half the freaking dining room.

So we'll see.  It's still tied up out in the yard, we'll be putting it up tomorrow and then we'll know who's right (me) and who's wrong (him).  I shouldn't be rooting for him to be wrong as much as I am, because that means we have to make room for a monstrosity, but on the other hand I really really like winning.  

So we'll see.

On to the pictures!

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Into the woods we go!

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Louie was such a happy camper throughout our outdoor adventure, despite the fact that he took a whole thirty-five minute nap in the morning, and then bitched from the second he woke up in his bed at home until the second we arrived at the tree farm two hours later.  ARGH!  I'm back to blaming teething again.

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Gus looks like such a kid here.  I bought that jacket for him around Christmas-time last year and it was so huge on him.

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And here is the chosen tree, it is looking very bare and dilapidated in these pictures.  And not all that big now.  Sooooo.... hmmm... we shall see.  I may be eating crow tomorrow.

A pretty good family shot though, right?  Gus is definitely doing his fake smile cheese-face and Louie looks mildly irritated, but I'm just sort of ecstatic that I actually asked someone to take our picture this year!

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Nathan and his boyfriend Eric came out and cut down their very own tree for their cute little Uptown apartment.  I think this is just awesome, and I'm so happy my brother is so happily settled down these days.

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Louie and Grandma.

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I have to admit, this sort of gives me the tingles, my manly husband with our big ole Christmas tree propped up on his shoulder, pulling his child in a sled.  Despite the fact that he's wearing a horribly ugly white knit cap that I hate, there's just no way around it.  Sexaaay.

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Wrap it up.

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Behind Louie in the distance you can see the tiny little log cabin where the Kringlunds serve their customers homemade spritz cookies, hot apple cider, and popcorn popped over a wood stove.  It is there that they catch up with my grandparents on what's new over the last year with our family, new babies, deaths, you know, the big stuff.

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Oh boy, these two are trouble.

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Louie has pretty much decided he is a toddler these days.  He wants to hang with the big boys, do what they're doing, open and close doors, vroom cars across the room, play chase.  It has just happened so fast, I love his crazy spirit so much but sort of wish he could stay a baby a little longer.  That just doesn't seem likely.

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Pure joy.

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Here we are, warming up in the cabin.  See Dan in the window outside?  He caught Louie's eye and had to come make faces at him.

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That's Gus and my grandpa.  Mrs. Kringlund added to her little wooden box of toys this year, which helped contain his wild energy in this little space a little bit longer than usual.

The cookies helped as well.

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I'm dying. Is he three or fourteen?

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Until next year...


Erin said...

What an awesome tradition! I love the idea of cutting down our own tree... but I also love the PRACTICE of going to the tree lot about a mile away from our house ;)

I've seen all these posts about people having their trees up already - we were always the first weekend of December when growing up, and we've pushed that even later as adults. This year we plan to get the tree the 2nd weekend in December... I tend to get kind of sick of dealing with a real tree, and want to keep the magic going until Christmas :)

val said...

What a great day, Alicia. This post makes me feel like I was there with you too, and this may sound silly, but I adore Dan, always have, and am so happy he married someone who adores him also, and matches him wisecrack for wisecrack.

Thank you for that.

And your babies melt my heart.

Hugs, and happiness, and onward to Christmas. love you all so, Val

Berbs33 said...

Love your tradition and every year that I read about it I become jealous... I want a real tree!! And that picture of Gus laying in the sled is perfect... his smile is contagious.... beautiful little man you have there! Can't wait to see pics of the tree all dressed up... and to hear who "won" with the size issue!

Erin said...

Love this tradition, too, and I'm impressed with you for keeping it up with two small kids! Dave and I cut down our own one year when we were first married and since then, we've just gone to Steins. ;) But once our kids are a bit older I want to start this tradition!

Great pics, too!

Dad said...

Obsessive compulsive? Me? I only strive to present the best looking tree ever!

Jo said...

Ha! We have the big/little tree issue too. We clearly went too big this year. Hopefully, I keep that in mind next year... when I will for sure find Kringlunds!

Oh, and Jesse and I were also like "let's pick this one" at the first tree we saw, but my father in law kept wanting us to look and even drive around... and they don't even do real trees!

Glad the day went well - I know what a challenge it is working around naptimes to pull these events off. Oh, and love your boots.