December 13

Yesterday marked our first family trip to a tree farm to pick out and cut down our own tree. Based on the size and type of tree we were able to get for the money, I think this is not going to be a family tradition. The Stupid American in me would rather get a prettier, larger tree at Lowe's than a tiny cedar that injures us when we try to decorate it. But this was really fun to do once. Maybe someday, we'll live somewhere with nicer native species, like Fraser Firs, and we'll know someone who'll let us just come cut down a tree for free? I just can't bring myself to go artificial.

We got a cute set of straw ornaments (hearts, stars, and rams) at IKEA this year so that we wouldn't need to worry about what was breakable, knowing that Kent would want to touch everything. I want to set up safe ways for him to explore when I can, and this was easy enough. I don't get too upset about not being able to put all my favorite ornaments on the tree every year, even though there are some that mean a lot to me. I was thinking a few days ago that when the boys are old enough to (1) help, and (2) care, it would be fun to have a year where we decorated with things like popcorn, cranberries, and pine cones, and maybe do a year just with origami ornaments. For now, the straw ornaments are doing alright by us, and since it's IKEA, we got a box of ornaments big enough to cover the tree and spent about $4. I believe someone commented recently that she loves Swedish Christmas. I'm there.

Here's Kent, trimming the tree. He decided he preferred hanging the ornaments on the light strand instead of on the branches, and since they're light and we're not using metal hooks, we indulged him this year. He'll get a safety lesson in the future.

Jack took some photos without flash to show the effect of how the tree looks, though I realize it's kind of dark and blurry. If you look closely, you may also notice a pregnant belly.

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I love how Kent looks like he is skipping around the tree in the first one!
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