O Christmas Tree

Growing up in the desert meant that you went to a parking lot to pick out a pine tree for Christmas.  I didn't know any different, and it was one of my favorite Christmas traditions.  The trees were tied up into bundles, and the tree guys threw them down from the back of a huge truck.  They'd cut the strings off and the branches would bounce out in a jolly reveal of it's perfection.  We'd spend forever choosing the fullest, tallest, most perfectly shaped tree.  {We always wanted the tallest one on the lot and Dad always had to talk us down.}  After we finally made a selection the tree guys would tie it down in the truck for us and we'd take it home.

Those tree-filled trucks came down from Oregon, though they might have come down from the North Pole for all I knew.  People only got to cut down their own trees in old movies, I thought.  Meanwhile, my future husband and his family in Oregon were cutting down their own Christmas trees most years!

Magical, right?  We don't live in Oregon, but we do have naturally growing evergreens around here.  So Roy got us a tag and we headed into the forest as a family.

Problem was... we didn't really know where we were going.  The US Forest Service gave us a really sorry excuse for a map that was supposed to tell us where it was legal to cut down a tree.  We got lost real fast.

We finally stopped in the middle of nowhere, and we were pretty sure we were allowed to cut down a tree.  Camden and Roy stomped around through the wood looking for something roughly the right height while Hallie and I watched from the road.

Funny thing is that as soon as Roy put the blade to the tree trunk the tree hugger in me wanted to stop him.  But Camden loved the whole process.

Except for the part where he had to share his personal bubble with pine needles.

Hallie, on the other hand, rather enjoyed having something to play with.

O how I loved our Arizona Christmas tree in our living room, sparse and lopsided and awesome.  This year Camden really liked decorating it.  He wanted to hear the story behind each of the ornaments we put on our tree.  And the gaps in the tree were so huge that the ornaments were extra visible, haha!

Hallie liked the lights and trying to rip apart all of the ornament boxes.

The rest of our Christmas prep was wonderful.  There was the 6th annual Grammy Camp, where Camden got to decorate a ginger bread house.  He was really much more concerned about when he would be allowed to eat it.

Hallie got to meet a lot of her relatives for the first time at Grammy Camp.  I took this picture specifically for those big, chunky legs.  She's too cute.

And it's always fun to spend time with Grammy, who is surprisingly competitive with Candyland ;-)

Camden had his preschool Christmas program, which just about melted my heart.  When he came onto the stage and caught my eye I thought my heart would burst at the sweet, proud look on his face.   The songs and the poems were so cute.  Unfortunately he spent most of the program with his back to the audience, checking out the kids behind him, but he was still the cutest little dude up there.

Hallie kept me company while Cam was at preschool.  She loves being tickled, exploring, and ripping my air out.  It was fun taking her Christmas shopping because she's a good secret keeper, plus she so enjoyed all the sights and sounds of the holidays.

And I absolutely love how Camden crawls into her crib to sing her the "good morning" song almost every day.  They are the sweetest.

We went to the Christmas Lights Parade with friends and these little guys were having a blast.  They got lots and lots of candy handed to them, but were disappointed that most of them were peppermint. Seeing Santa made up for it.

Another day we baked and decorated sugar cookies with other friends.  Camden decided he wanted to give them to some of his friends, so he was quite liberal with the sprinkles.  Because "kids like sprinkles."

Dude, she's gonna be so cute with hair.  I mean, she's cute bald too, but can you just imagine tiny pigtails on this cute head?

Last but not least, Roy and I got to see a Christmas play together.  It's a Wonderful Life made the season feel all the more special.  As did our nights of driving around looking for Christmas lights, mornings finding our elf Buster, and nightly Christmas books.  Definitely a favorite time of year.

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