Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Christmas Roundup Part II - Oh, Christmas Tree

Angie heard a story on the radio earlier in the season that, I think, almost made her cry. It was about the number of families with real Christmas trees vs. fake trees. I don't know the exact numbers, and I'm too lazy to open another tab and Google it, but there was an astounding number of fake tree families (FTF).  It was apparently a number higher than Angie's psyche could take because she brought it up several times over the next few weeks.

Angie and I have always had real trees and always liked the whole process of going to a tree lot, picking one out, driving home with it on top of the car and then spending 16 hours trying to get it to stand straight in the tree stand. Most of our trees have done well except for the one time we went to Lowe's and found out when we took it down that there were THOUSANDS of some kind of bug living in it and had now died on our carpet. That year kinda sucked. But other than that, live trees have gone well. This year's tree was especially great due to poor measuring and/or labeling on the tree merchant's part.

We usually go to a big local tree lot and pick out the tree but this year, in the name of efficiency, we ended up just getting it from Home Depot since we were there for other stuff anyway. We were a little wary after our Lowe's experience a few years back but we thought we'd chance it. Our house has 10' ceilings so we headed for the 8-9' section of trees. We figured, even if we got the tallest in that section, we'd still have a solid 12 inches to spare on top (good thing I did that really complex math for you. Sorry.). The kids and Angie unanimously agreed on what appeared to be a very large tree. But, it had a tag (and, more importantly, a price) on it that clearly said "8-9 feet!" Fast forward to us at the house and me trying to stand the tree up and we quickly realized the tag was not accurate at all. The tree scraped the ceiling then bent...a lot. It was at least a foot too tall. I think Madelyn expressed it best when she saw it fully standing up and said with wonder and awe "*gasp* Daddy! It's touching the sky!" After a good laugh, some tree trimming and creative star hanging/tying, the tree actually looked pretty darn good.

Once all the branches settled, it felt like the tree took up half the room. But it was great. The whole house smelled like Christmas and the kids loved decorating it, playing around it (we put it in the playroom) and hiding things in it. The tree also lasted longer than any other we've had and was healthy right up till the end. Last Friday, we finally had to let it go. I'm pretty sure I saw Angie hugging it one night before we went to bed.

Good bye Christmas tree. We'll miss ya...

Friday, January 4, 2013

Christmas Roundup Part I - St. Nick's Day

We've celebrated St. Nick's Day at our house every year since we've had kids, but this year was definitely the most fun. We kind of used it as a Christmas kick off point for everything from getting our tree to hanging decorations to our Elf on the Shelf (named Moguls last year by Patrick).

The night before St. Nick's Day, the kids wrote notes to Santa telling him what they would like for Christmas, assuring him they had been well behaved and letting him know the cookies were for him. This was also Santa's chance to drop off Moguls the elf who would stay at our house through Christmas and keep an eye on the kids. Angie had the kids make "elf donuts" out of Cheerios for Moguls to eat when he arrived because starting off on Moguls's good side seemed like it was in everyone's best interest.

When the kids woke up the next morning, they raced downstairs to see what St. Nick had left for them. They got a few little things like a book, some candy, their ornament for this year and a snow globe. The snow globe was the big hit because both kids had asked Santa for a stuffed-animal boy and girl husky pup named Jingle and Belle respectively. The snow globes they each got had a little figurine of the dog inside which gave them confidence Santa knew what he was doing and wouldn't botch Christmas morning up :)

Here are some blurry pictures of the kids opening their gifts because THEY NEVER STOP MOVING...

This year's Elf on the Shelf was a lot more fun too. Last year, Maddy was too little to really get it and Patrick was just skeptical and a little creeped out. But this year, both kids woke up every day wanting to find where Moguls was hiding and couldn't wait to see where he'd be the next day. Moguls hid all over the house, mostly up high so as not to be manhandled, over the course of the month and the kids loved every second of it.

I really like that we've kept doing the St. Nick's tradition. It's been a great way to start off the season and get all of us in the Christmas mood. We had a really busy and fun December with the kids' Christmas programs, a way-too-large Christmas tree, three Christmas celebrations and tons more; but I'll save those for their own posts. Happy new year to everybody!