We, along with I think most of the rest of the world (or at least everyone in the Instagram world), went to get our Christmas tree last weekend. It was the perfect Christmas weather: cold, wet, muddy and windy but not raining. This type of activity is my absolute favorite, but not quite up Matt’s alley. Nature would not be one of his loves. So that made this little trek all the more special because he bundled up and put on his boots and a smile, grabbed a saw and made it a fun day. He even entertained my insisting that we sit around the campfire and roast our hotdogs and drink the apple cider, and he cut the tree down himself (as if he’d have me do that at 38 weeks pregnant, but still). It really meant so much to me. He spoke my love language that day.
I’m not sure what is in the dirt or water here in Vancouver, but literally almost every tree was near perfect. It was hard to pick one! Each one seemed perfectly proportionate with no holes or gaps. We finally settled on a cute little douglas fir, because I have this idea in my head that douglas fir are just the best (they are also the most expensive, of course). Ev was really into it, commenting on each tree and telling us which ones she wanted. Theo, on the other hand, was in a weird mood and just kept wandering off. I would’ve thought mud and trees would thrill him and be right up his alley, but it turns out he spotted the fire pit on the way in and just wanted to get back to that (typical boy). At one point I actually lost him and panicked because the tree farm was right next to a busy highway. Those 10 or 20 seconds of fright were not fun. After calling his name over and over I finally saw his little head pop in and out of the trees, I think he thought we were playing a game because he seemed pretty proud of himself.
It’s strange to think that at this time next year we’ll have a nearly one year old joining us on our tree hunt. Ev will be in kindergarten. I’ll be 28 and hopefully a lot less round. I keep thinking “this will be our last time doing this as 4″ every time we do something special like this. Not that it’s a bad thing to have a 5th person join us, it’s just…hard to imagine, simply because I haven’t met this little person yet and don’t know what it will be like. I’m sure I will love it, and that this little boy or girl will make us wonder how did we ever do life before them, without them? That’s the wonder of new life.
Experiencing Christmas through and with your own little ones has to be one of the best things ever. It reminds me to be in the moment, to notice the details. I think kids do that to us in general, but at Christmastime it’s accentuated, more magical. The getting of our Christmas tree certainly was.
“The flakes still fell hard and Inman could not even feel the way the trail went, but he ran on until finally he stopped in a place where the the hemlocks stood black around him and made a world undifferentiated, with no compass degree preferable to another and with not a sound but snow falling on snow, and he reckoned if he lay down it would cover him and when it melted it would wash the tears from his eyes, and, in time, the eyes from his head and the skin from his skull.” (Cold Mountain, Charles Frazier)
That last bit hit me hard. It’s the laying down of a man’s will, considering the option of no longer willing to go on, or maybe no longer able. It’s a sentence I read several times over, just taking it in, letting the words create a scene in my mind of that kind of darkness and despair. Although bleak, it is stirring and strong in an oddly inspiring way.
Lately I have wanted to do nothing but sit with a book and hot chocolate and read. It must be the cold weather that brings that on, this desire to hibernate and pass through the many dark hours in a different place. But no matter how much I try to hide, they always find me. You can’t really hide in 700 square feet anyway, but they are not the best lookers. So I may be able to steal a moment here or there before they realize I’m alone, and then that inherent instinct kicks in to disrupt the stillness.
So along with the words I’ve been (trying) to soak in, this is what we have been up to lately, in pictures. Pumpkins and preschool and keeping track of when #theogetsscared and as much time outside as the weather will let us. The everyday things that make up life as we know it. And then one morning we saw otters on our walk to school and that was pretty amazing. Though perhaps in Vancouver something like that is fairly normal, for us it bordered close to extraordinary. Magical even.
Out front. It’s where we go on afternoons when it’s not raining and when we don’t have much day light left to make a trip to the park, but still need space and air to let the after nap energy escape. Or possibly on those long days where naps were discarded completely, and I need something, anything, for us to do to make it through those hours. It may only be a handful of trees lining a busy street and a sidewalk but it’s still a city kid’s makeshift playground. A canvas for chalking. A 10 minute break on the bench and breath of fresh air in between taking the trash out and heading back upstairs to finish dinner. It’s nothing special, but it’s an escape at it’s best and a patch of grass at it’s simplest.
I took the kids out front the other day for a project I wanted to try-the 5 minute project. The idea is just as it sounds, take 5 average minutes and document it. Here are our 5 minutes. Out front.
This may be my favorite Theo picture yet.