Just took a deep breath, and oh....the house smells so good, especially sitting right next to the tree. Contentment. =)
Yesterday we begged, pleaded, and pulled some strings to finagle the Schillings to hang out with us for another day. It worked, they stayed and it was a super cozy day. Michael even patched the front entry panel of switches that got redone when we remodeled the exterior of the house - all on his own motivation. That's not the first time Michael has come in to "solve problems" in our home....such a gift. Unfortunately, when it came to Beaver game time that evening, we weren't as thrilled with the outcome as we were the night before. Their team got beaten up pretty bad by Stanford. The Beavs are the only team that stands in the way for us to play for the national championship, and a win against the Ducks is the only way the Beavs will qualify for a bowl game. Game on next weekend! ESPN's College Game Day has decided to show up in Corvallis for that event - Michael and John will be there for sure (and perhaps even Michele). As for me, I'll be sleeping in at Michele's cozy house....and watching the Civil War on tv there.
So, that led to getting our Christmas tree today. We opted this year to go to Carrol's Country Tree Farm. The Carrolls are close family friends of ours - with Sharon Carroll being a friend of ours since I was about three. Their tree farm supports our church's high school group working to earn money to attend the annual spring break Mexico mission trip. I've hesitated going there in the past just because I didn't think they had the kind of trees we usually pick, but after a little Facebook conversation, we were encouraged and made our way out there. A very great decision!
We could have ridden in the hay wagon, but no one was in the driver seat when we walked by, so we opted to walk (after taking a couple of pics in the empty wagon).
After choosing the "big tree" to go in our living room, the kids picked the tree for the bonus room. They kept aiming for taller than we needed, but we eventually relented and said "okay" to this one.
Back at home, the kids decorated the tree in the bonus room while I went to work in the living room.
Because we were "living way too close to the edge" of burning our house down with the "outside lights" we put on an inside tree (the needles closest to those hot lights would actually turn brown!), we purchased some pricey "warm" LED lights this year. John put them on the tree and when I walked in to see them, I felt so let down. Despite the "warm" label, the color of the lights looked a neony-blue. Very cold. Not at all cozy. I decorated the tree anyway as John said he thought it looked fine, but I felt very discontent. (This picture doesn't do justice to the blue hue).
While I went about decorating, we had a very special treat with a visit from our sister-in-law Mary Beth and cousins Ali, and Andie. We haven't seen them since last January, so it was so great to catch up. The girls are growing up so fast, and Ali is so personable - hanging out with "us adults" while Andie gleefully went to play with Mikayla. We're always able to pick up right where we left off with Mary Beth - she's so enjoyable to be with.
After they left, I had had it with our tree lights. During the course of their entire visit, I had been facing that tree, and I couldn't get over how much I hated those cold lights. So, I got in the car, headed down to Home Depot, and picked up about a down boxes of traditional white lights. We desperately need that tree in its corner to shed light - as it fills the vacancy where a lamp usually sits. So, I figured if I can't put big bulbs on, and LED's won't work, then I'll just fill the tree with strand upon strand of safe little ones.
Since I had already completely decorated the tree, it was not an easy project to remove all of the strands of LED lights, put them back in their boxes with their labels and extra lights, and then put all of the new lights on, but it was so worth it. I'm VERY HAPPY with our trees now - both of them. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas (and smelling like it too!).