growing like trees

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A visit to our favorite tree farm which we’ve gone to for 5 years now.  Family pictures were attempted but mostly unsuccessfully.  Oh well. 🙂  Lots of little eyes and mouths needing to coordinate into one big looking smiling bunch and I have to laugh remembering my parents trying to take family photos of us when I was little.  Only then, we didn’t hear the wrath about it until dad got the pictures developed (back in the dark ages) and then he’d flip through them and realize they were all basically worthless.  This is a part of the journey a family makes–the quest for the illusive family photo–and really it’s better to laugh about it and accept defeat.  All of these pictures together paint a better portrait of us, anyway: in constant motion and with the full gamut of human emotion on display.

This tree farm is now a 30ish minute drive away for us so we packed a picnic on a Sunday after church and made a day of it.  We did eat more than chips but that’s all that was pictured, so there you go.  The children played hide and seek amongst the trees and the girls made bouquets with spruce clippings.  Everyone graciously allowed me to choose the tree–my specifications were that it be very fat and short.  You pay for height, you see, not girth.  We did end up with a $45 tree that is quite a bit wider in our living room than it looked at the farm, but we all think maybe it’s the best one we’ve ever had (though we say that every year).  I think next year someone else should get a turn to pick the tree since my skills are obviously lacking in sensibility.  Phoebe had Brandon and I pose with a bouquet of pine in my hand, which we did to oblige her as she snapped our picture.  This is how she sees us, how they see us, and we need to remember it.

We put the tree up that evening and decorated it the next, all before the first of December.  I like to have the tree up after Thanksgiving but definitely before December and the beginning of Advent because it’s so wonderful to have our advent readings by the tree.  Brandon and I are getting better at figuring out ways to simplify and keep December as chaos-free as possible and this includes getting birthday and Christmas shopping done early in the month (I have everything for birthdays + Christmas already purchased and wrapped at this point except for one gift for Wren) so that we can savor the season.

Anyway, we decorated the tree, myself unwrapping ornaments in crinkly tissue paper and handing them out to each child from the couch, while Daddy stood at the tree to help and lift children.  It was Philippa’s year to put the star on the top, her first year, and she was so proud.  It’s the best time of year, having a bright pungent spruce in the home, remembering our tree-farm-one-day dreams, making memories for our children and teaching them all the little traditions that are special to our family.  I keep snapping photos and writing these words, bundling the memories up and wondering why I keep at it, and then I look back at old posts like this one and this one and this one and I remember.  Here I am, just trying to nail down the memories and the moments while they spin by me.  These days are going by in a blur and how did these babies transform into these big lanky kids while I blinked?  Everyone says it–it goes by so fast–but it is only becoming more and more true in my experience.

(Also, in the farm pictures, Philippa is wearing her birthday sweater that I knit in the yarn I dyed myself.  So love it, though she sort of doesn’t.)

Is it too early to say Merry Christmas?  I don’t think so.  Merry Christmas, friends.  May these days be merry + bright!

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