Photography. EVERY TIME.
Quarantine Lifted

Oh Christmas Tree, You Are Drunk

Thrilling update on the stomach flu front: We were all fine, until we were not. Noah woke up complaining of nausea this morning...but still managed to seem a bit too chipper about the whole stay-home-on-the-couch-and-watch-TV aspect for me to be fully convinced that the plague and pestilence were once again upon us. 

"Now I can't go to school today!" he wailed dramatically, yet he was unable to mask the quiet level of glee that was bubbling just below the surface. 

"Mmm-hmm," I replied, struggling to walk the fine line between Sympathetic Mommy Who Makes Sick Days All About Fluffy Couch Beds & Cartoons Because Poor Baby...and Suspicious Mommy Who Kind Of Thinks You're Faking. 

Compromise: I made him a Couch Bed but refused to turn the TV on. You get to stay home but you're gonna be bored out of your mind.


45 Minutes Later: The TV is on now. He really is sick, and I'm an asshole. 

It turns out, though, that seven-year-old children can get themselves to the bathroom and throw up in the toilet like civilized human beings. So that's nice. And a first. Practically a vacation day, comparatively speaking. 

Anyway, there WAS a time this weekend when everybody was feeling fine, so we went out in search of a Christmas tree. 


You know we've never actually done the whole tree farm cut-your-own thing before? Right? What's wrong with us? 

(Don't answer that.)

In the past we were hesitant to take Noah, since he can be a little...unpredictable.

(One year he was happy to go to a tree lot and select a tree, then lost his ever-loving mind over the idea that we had to put the tree on top of our car in order to get it home. We ended up leaving sans tree, only to have Jason go back out and seekritly transport it home after bedtime. The next morning, Noah was thrilled to see the fully decorated long as we steadfastly promised him that we'd managed to get it home some other way than on the roof of our car.)

(Christmas! It truly is the magical season of lies.)

Sure enough, Noah was initially very distressed to hear about our change of plans this year. No farm! Go to the regular place with the normal usual trees like always and before! I don't care if they cost twice as much and are half as fun, STOP TRYING TO MAKE MY CHILDHOOD ENRICHING AND ALL THAT STUFF.

He complained pretty much the entire drive there, straight on through a McDonald's Bribery Meal of Please Let It Go, LET IT GO, THE TREE FARM IS HAPPENING, OKAY? 


As usual, his anxiety melted away the second we got there and he realized that the tree farm actually is pretty fun, and involves absolutely zero children-eating trees or whatever it was he was scared would happen there. Math tests, maybe.


He declared the very first tree he saw to be the Most Perfect Tree Ever.

It turned out he was right, but we still spent a very fun hour hiking around the farm and judging tree after tree and giving them all complexes over their natural imperfections before circling back to this one.








Watching the cutting process from a safe distance, like that thing was gonna be all, "TIMBERRRR!" in a matter of minutes.


This part might have taken a little longer than everybody was expecting.


Okay, maybe a lot longer.


Luckily, the farm had arranged some haybales for (I assume) festive family photo opps and such.



(Still managed to get a photo opp or two out of it, though.)

When we got the tree home we did learn the first lesson of tree-farm Christmas trees: They look at LOT smaller out in the wild, surrounded by bigger, taller, fuller trees, than they do once they're smack dab in the middle of your average suburban living room, surrounded by displaced furniture.


This tree is HUGE. Who lives here, the pope?


Ike napped through the decorating process and woke up to find a giant illuminated monstrosity of a tree hanging out in his house. 


He was pretty cool with it, though. It's a'ight. Nothing phases these third babies, you guys. 


Speaking of third babies, LOOK AT ME LEARNING LESSONS.

After countless close calls and one direct in-the-face hit, I finally replaced our stupid heavy pointy metal stocking holders with something lightweight and...less likely knock teeth out and cause concussions and ER visits. I know, I know. I obviously spoil my children too much and they shall grow up soft because of it. But Sterling Pear sent me these awesome child-safe stocking scroll holders and Ike's face and I thank them very much for that. 


After the kids went to bed, the pets came out to bask in the warm glowy festiveness.


And Jason and I did the same, with some help from all of y'all's helpful hot toddy recipe suggestions. This one is hot apple cider, brandy, cinnamon sticks and of course, swanky far-out vintage ski resort style, because I insist on being as ridiculous as possible at all times. 









Amelia Sprout

5 Year old two days after toddler sister's puke fest, "I don't feel good, my tummy hurts."
Me, "OK, you can stay home, better to puke at home than at school, besides your sister just relapsed all over the kitchen floor."
5 Year old, "TV! Games! Can I eat a giant meal please?"

Five days later:
5 yo, "I don't feel good, my tummy hurts."
Me, "Suck it up ya big faker. We're going to Nana's and you're going to behave."
5 yo at in-laws mid bite of pie, barf!
Me, "That will teach you to fake."


It is better to let them con you than to send them to school with a bracing good-bye and then have the school call you to get the kid. The kid says, in front of the nurse and the principal, and two office administrators, "I told you I was sick but you wouldn't let me stay home." The tree looks grat, by the way.


"because I insist on being as ridiculous as possible at all times."

Looks like someone just found her future epitaph.


As a teacher - keep the kids home! We deal with I feel sick so often, and usually it's an excuse but when they are sick keep em away. I've lost count of the number of illnesses and infections I've had cause someone was sent to school ill. I'm mostly immune now but my other half and baby are not as displayed by the spectacular exploding from both ends bug they both picked up.


"Who lives here, the pope?" made me actually LOL. :D

Laura Lou

The ability to puke in an appropriate receptacle is a seriously underrated developmental milestone. It makes things SO MUCH easier.


OMG, I had one kid that "could do it in the bathroom" and the other could never make it not even in the provided bucket by the bed, why why why????


So, what I really wanted to know before ordering the scrolls is how do they work, what holds them on the mantle????


Thank you thank you thank you!!! Last night our 20 month old pulled down the stocking that had been on the mantle all of 30 minutes and we are now calling her Rocky. The holder barely missed her eye but not her cheek and I was just trying to figure out what to do with the stockings! Now I know :) thanks!


I'm very very interested in everything you have posted and I have multiple comments, but I, like jb above, can only concern myself with the magic of the damned stocking holders.


We have similar stocking holders that are wooden with little knobs on the end … I think I got them through amazon last year (maybe search wooden stocking hooks?) … anyway, it's just the magic of the proportions of how they are made vs the balance of hanging on the mantle. They just hang there! Balanced on the mantle! It's magic!


I'm beginning to think our sons are the same person who managed to find two different bodies. I can totally see mine freaking out about a tree on a car because trees don't belong on cars! It's uncanny! We sneak so much past him because of his ideas about how things should be.


I'm beginning to think our sons are the same person who managed to find two different bodies. I can totally see mine freaking out about a tree on a car because trees don't belong on cars! It's uncanny! We sneak so much past him because of his ideas about how things should be.


Your fresh tree is gorgeous but I am scared of the bug issue. A couple years ago, our entire extended family was gathered at my sister-in-law's house and her tree erupted with literally thousands of bugs. Crawling everywhere. Gah! I still squirm thinking about it. Her tree was quickly dumped and I've gone with a plastic one ever since. Wishing you a bug-free holiday! In other news, I'm ordering those stocking hangers today. We've already had one near miss with my toddler's face so far.


Is Jack Daniels brandy? Beacuse I've had warm cider with that & it's the best!


A couple things...We also call it the "couch bed" complete with a sheet over top and a convenient puke receptacle. We also have those P*ttery B*arn Kids stockings. I use wooden no-head-bashing stocking holders though. But still, parallel lives!


We tried to get a tree on Saturday. After a few errands, we headed to the tree farm. A mile away we turned too early and had to swing a u-turn to go back. Made the turn and 5yo puked in the truck. We had 2 napkins and some wetones. We went home. Sunday the 10yo and husband got a tree. We'll tempt fate again next year with proper preparations. I'm glad your trip was hork free.


OK Amalah and ReadersofAmalah, can someone please tell kid turns 2 tomorrow (!!) He's very curious and does lots of running and touching of things (of course) and we have a small apartment. Is it *safe* to get a real Christmas tree or should we stick with a little table top one this year? I feel bad...magic of Christmas and all that...but I'll feel worse if he electrocutes himself or manages to eat an ornament or something.

Alison Presley

HAY BALE THUNDER DOME. All Christmas tree farms should provide and heavily advertise this feature.

Pauline Herr

You've learned the first lesson in choosing a live tree from a farm--size matters.
Second lesson--did you check for little critters before bringing it into the house?
We did this for many years, but sadly little children grow up and leave--and those live trees are Heavy! We are now the proud owners of an artificial tree --and two unforgiving grown children!


real trees are my fave too. it is part of our family tradition also. it is worth all the work. . . :)


I was so stoked to see those stocking hangers as I am also a house of 3 boys one of which will definitely concuss if I have one of those giant hooks.

So bummed that Sterling Pear doesn't ship to Canada. Why? We Canadians are nice people and we love to spend money online. Please ship here!


@jb & @Arnebya The new stocking holders just kind of...balance and stuff, like @Cassidy said. There's a strip of silicone on the top part to keep it from sliding, and then gravity and the shape of the thing keeps it pressed around the mantel and in place. Ike can shake and wobble them but hasn't been able to pull one down...though even if he DID, I wouldn't be worried, because there aren't any sharp edges and they weigh less than nothing. A solid hit to the face wouldn't even hurt.

@Maggie We found one tiny spider on our tree, but that's it.

(I had an artificial tree my whole life thanks to childhood allergies and it was pretty much the first big change I made upon entering adulthood. I would have a REAL TREE and TAKE CLARITIN OR WHATEVER, SO HELP ME. Baggage! Yay!)

@JenVegas We've *always* had a tree, from Noah's first Christmas on. I recommend non-breakable ornaments on any low branches within reach and a really sturdy stand. (Ikea has giant cheap boxes of plastic ones that look like glass.) Yes, you'll say "no" a lot and probably lose an ornament or two, but they learn and they love looking at it. Ike's 18 months and there was no question whether or not we'd have a tree or not...we just put all plastic and paper and non-sentimental ornaments on the bottom and tell him he's not allowed to pull shit off it. He gets it, mostly.


Thanks Amy!


we've been questioning the tree with toddler thing too, but have decided to just go for it. on saturday (because godless jews + sabbath = christmas tree/chrismukkah bush and i'm going straight to hell!).

that thing is huge! and beautiful :)

neth the lawyer

Hi its really hard when we make a christma stree when we are drunk. We can not make that christmas tree because may be we cannot think nice style in the tree and it looks not good because your drunk. so if you will do something don't drink so taht you can make it in a nice and good presentation of the christmas tree

neth the lawyer

Hi its really hard when we make a christma stree when we are drunk. We can not make that christmas tree because may be we cannot think nice style in the tree and it looks not good because your drunk. so if you will do something don't drink so taht you can make it in a nice and good presentation of the christmas tree


Ok is it just me or is there someone buried under a fallen tree in the picture where Ezra is lying on the ground? There's definitely a hand wearing a wedding ring ...


I love your tree, but I am coming to your house in the night to steal that chair. And possibly that baby too. Okay not Ike - that sounded creepy and possibly scary. But the chair is MINE.

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