how happily you surprised us!
last weekend we went to a customer appreciation event at our realtor's office. they were offering free trees or wreaths, visits with santa, snacks ... so we decided to take part, since actually getting to a tree farm wasn't in the scheduling cards this year.
the office was taking 'toys for tots' donations, so on friday the kids and i went shopping ... i figured we weren't paying for a tree, so the least we could do was donate the same amount in goodies for the kiddos. the kids had fun picking out toys and jewelry (we tried to focus on items for ages 12 and up ... i think that age group gets forgotten too often), and it led to a good talk on service and giving.
anyway, saturday morning we headed to the realty office, dropped off the items we brought, and next stop was santa and the mrs ...
henry was being a bit of a grinch about the santa thing (he IS almost 11, after all), but when push comes to shove, he's not ready to give it up. the rule around here is that santa is the magical spirit of christmas and giving, and whether he's real or a myth doesn't matter; when you stop believing in him, he stops believing in you. i like to think henry is hanging onto the magic; i suspect he's hanging onto the guarantee of a gift.
when harper had her turn, she froze ... wasn't sure what to ask for ... and finally she came up with the stuffed penguin in a parka that she'd just seen that morning at swim lessons. henry was more motivated - dragonquest ix for the ds, and a nerf something-or-other.
after that, we headed to the snack table, found a drink of water, got a little bag of reindeer food from our realtor's adorable daughter, then wandered out back to see the reindeer.
one of the reindeer wranglers had an antler we could hold to see how heavy it is. marc channeled his inner max ...
(you know, max:)
then henry decided he could do it better ...
then we turned in our tree ticket, found one all bundled up that fit the height criteria and seemed a little fatter than the others, crossed our fingers, and tied it onto the car, hoping that our mystery tree would turn out to be lovely.
we drove home, passing a monster cadillac on the way ...
(simultaneously fascinating, horrifying, and hilarious)
then marc took off to work the rest of the day away.
sunday morning, marc popped the mystery tree in the stand, we unbound it, and i willed the branches to drop and surprise us with loveliness. by that afternoon, it was starting to find it's shape.
and the aroma? oh my goodness ... i've never smelled a more fantastically fragrant tree!
monday night we decorated the mystery tree:
and after the kids went to bed, i did my task: tinseling the branches.
poll time regarding tinsel: do you drape a single strand on the edge of each branch tip, so it dangles delicately and shimmers like ice? or do you grab a clump, toss it at the tree, and where it lands, it lands? or c) none of the above?
i'm a draper. i'm a one-strand-on-each-branch-all-the-way-around-the-tree draper. it's prettiest that way.
and now, pop quiz time: how do you know when you've married the right guy?
answer: he's the one who willingly lays one strand of tinsel on each branch that is out of your reach. even though he hates every second of it.
because he knows that you believe that's how tinsel looks its best.
before we went to bed, i gave mystery tree another full drink of water. (can i just proudly point out that mystery tree has drunk two full bases of water a day since sunday? good job, mystery tree!) and after i pulled the tree skirt back into place, i stood back and admired ... mystery tree had, indeed, turned into a beautiful tree. actually given the size and shape and drinkyness and fragrance, i might go so far as to say this is one of the best trees we've ever had.
so much for the hours of driving, walking, debating, cutting, pulling, shaking, binding, buying, tying, driving. this tree was easy, and is amazing.
we love you, mystery tree.