Sunday, December 08, 2013


It's swinter, or wummer (a nod to all you Phineas and Ferb fans, ya feelin' me?). I decided that I don't like how they have everything good in life packed into a few short months...Thanksgiving, beach days, Christmas, ice cream cones, New Years, flip flops...and then the rest of the year is nothing but a long cold winter and all of the sudden drinking hot cocoa by the fire just doesn't seem so cozy and festive when it's like July.  It's so hard to get into the Christmas spirit when summer vacation is two weeks away, but we had just the remedy. A trip to the Christmas tree farm. There were pretty slim pickins, but we found a gem.  It's perfectly odd and oddly perfect. Ya know, it has a "sweet spirit".

This tree was the runner up, but I had to include it because of the soul hug Ryder is giving me.  And he was actually being really rotten that day so I love it even more.

Maddox was disappointed that he couldn't chop the tree down himself. He was dying to get his paws on an ax, all Paul Bunyan like.

I always had a little Christmas tree envy every time I saw someone driving down the road with one tied to their roof.  You give them a wink, a nod and that look that says, "I know what you're doing tonight..." Kind of like when you see a car with "just married" painted on the window. Except for nothing like that.

Every year I try to make the whole tree decorating thing so festive. And every year I can't understand why the kids aren't dying to help me divide fake Christmas tree branches into their respective color coded piles. We did it right this year.  And since we didn't ship any ornaments or decorations we made our own. Christmas music playing, snippets of paper flying every where, the constant click of the stapler, fighting over the three crayons we own, smiles spread across their faces as they show off their creations and for the first time not caring that the tree didn't look perfect. Perfection is overrated. Actually, this is probably the most perfect tree we've ever had. It embodied everything good about the season. Maddox did not waste any time but went straight to work on the star before the tree was even untied from the roof. Which of course enraged the other kids that he got to make the star.  So we decided our tree would have three stars. Why not.

It only took me like 10 guesses to figure out that this was a gingerbread man. Poor kid with only a red crayon and no brown. Crap project problems.

I had to laugh at Kylie's "sweet as" ornament. It's a phrase they use here a lot.  She's also stapling (yes, I said stapling) on one with "balloons for the children of the world". Now a nod to Madagascar 3 fans. Three dvd's to our name problems.

Grandma Judy came back from Queenstown (where she said it was so bloomin' hot she had to pull over and do a "nudey Judy" and went skinny dipping in the lake on the side of the road. Twice. What is not to love about Grandma Judy?) and brought over some bags of decorations, because that's just the sort of thing Grandma Judy does. So now it looks like an elf threw up an entire meal of tinsel all over our tree, but whatever. It's got character.

Maddox found this heart for me in the snowflake carnage. Of course he did. And why yes, that is a duvet cover that doubles as a picnic blanket and a tree skirt, thank you for noticing.

And then the boys did their part to bring the Christmas spirit. The way Ryder's belly spills over his little cut-offs...I die.

I'm going out on a limb when I say this, but not only do I not like carving pumpkins but I loathe gingerbread houses too. They don't taste good, the kids get frustrated because they always fall apart, they take forever, they make a huge mess and then for the rest of the month I'm stuck with gingerbread houses cluttering up my counter tops. So in the spirit of everything home made I attempted gingerbread men for the first time and I like this like 152 times more better.  It was perfect for the kids and they actually tasted good. Not a single toe or finger was left uneaten.

We were baby-sitting Julie's kids this night and after we made cookies we were invited to a real Samoan bbq. I mean this thing was legit. We're talking traditional Samoan dress, loud music, lots of flowers, lots of dancing, lots of huge smiles and welcoming hugs, not a lick of English spoken, banquet tables filled with whole roasted pigs and fish and food I couldn't pronounce. So you can imagine how silly I felt when I showed up with my little plate of chocolate chip cookies. Don't mind me, I'll just squeeze these in between the snouts and hoofs. It was quite the amazing party and we were so grateful they invited us to be a part of it. But you know how those Samoan parties go, or maybe you don't because I didn't. Two hours into it and they hadn't even started serving the food. With seven starving kids I left Jason to enjoy the roasted pig while the kids and I picked up pizza on the way home then settled in for a Christmas movie and the best caramel popcorn. Why did no one tell me that the secret to the perfect caramel popcorn was to bake it? Kylie didn't believe me when I said it was homemade. When it's homemade it's a compliment to say it tastes store bought, but when it's store bought it's a compliment to say it tastes homemade. Go figure. It was quite the day. We were exhausted by the end but so glad to finally get some Christmas cheer up in here.

(The stockings were taped by the chimney with care, and thumbtacked. And one earring in lieu of a thumbtack. I tell you, we are bare bones over here when it comes to supplies. Or when it comes to anything. And that would be the top of the tree that we had to cut off so that it would fit inside. Two fer one, I tell ya)


Marisa said...

I LOVED this post! You are such a good, witty, amazing writer. I died laughing about the samoan bbq. It sounds like you are making so many amazing memories.

Janessa said...

Oh, Jame! My heart is hurting, I miss you so much!!! I love the way you are embracing this simple new life. I love all the wonderful memories you are making as a family. From the new adventures and friends to the simple joys of life that you share as a family. And to top it all off you take amazing pictures and write about it like a pro. I'm so happy that to see the shirtless boys and bare feet. You've waited long and hard for that sunshine! My mind is still trying to wrap around the mixing of that with Christmas though. Good thing you're from AZ and it's not a huge difference for you. Oh, and I love our homemade gingerbread cookies. What a great new tradition!

Kyoo said...

Nudey Judy! Ha! I'm suddenly so jealous my name isn't are making me trunky for my trip last winter. I almost bought tickets but then I remembered they're like $2000 right now. Your Christmas is looking great!

Kyoo said...

{\fonttbl\f0\fnil\fcharset0 ArialMT;}

\f0\fs26 \cf2 \cb3 \expnd0\expndtw0\kerning0
\outl0\strokewidth0 \strokec2 ALSO, my husband picked up the "sweet as" phrase on his mission and it's growing on me. He accidentally dropped it at the pulpit while giving a talk here shortly after he got back and took the congregation quite by surprise :-)}

nicole said...

I LOVE your Christmas tree. Isn't living overseas the greatest :)

Chelsea said...

this post is my favorite. I think that about every post though, so... but really, the tree, the ornaments, the simplicity of it all, just perfect. And I'm especially fond of the pointe shoe ornament :) And of course Grandma Judy continues to be my hero.

I really love your bit about stinking gingerbread houses. I don't enjoy much about them...and mostly the clutter on the counter till they're dumped in the trash (always a huge relief). You nailed it! We also did gingerbread men last year and it was so much better, and even better because my friend brings them to half the neighborhood with frosting and candy to decorate (she is so wonderful!)

Jodee said...

don't even get me started with gingerbread houses. I like your cookies, much much safer on the sanity. I love the tree, it is the best tree ever. Such love hanging on every branch. And I must meet this grandma Judy, she is most wonderful. I am sure its hard to get into the christmas spirit in the middle of summer but you are from arizona, hunting christmas trees in flip flops is nothing new right?

Chelsea said...

again, I love your hair au natural!