Putting up the tree

I can’t believe we got our Christmas tree up the Sunday after Thanksgiving. That is a record for us procrastinating folks.

Sundays have been deemed “mom-not-allowed-to-run” days by the kids. Sunday morning, Mario hopped on our bed with a huge smile on his face and announced “mom, no running today!” Maria jolted into our room 30 seconds later and we all laid together (thank god for a king size bed). These moments are some of the best. Inevitably, Mario will say something that makes us laugh hysterically and Ri will follow up with some witty response. Then there’s lots of hugging and squeezing … and wrestling. It all makes me so pleased.

After Jon had enough of Mario’s jackknifes into his side, he got up to get his coffee. The kids and I decided to head to Stauf’s for breakfast (actually I begged and they gave in). I made them both walk with me rather than scooter or bike. Lots of whining at first but then they realized that it wasn’t so bad, especially when you play 20 questions. The kids picked a bar table and chairs for us to sit at Stauf’s. We got our bagels and cream cheese (all three of us got the same Black Russian bagel but three different cream cheeses) and started in on Go Fish. Mario whooped on us. Usually it’s Ri. We moved on to War and when Mario started killing us in that, we had to shut it down (Ms. Maria gets a bit competitive nowadays). 


 On our walk home, we played Pac Man on the brick enclosure in front of the real estate office. It was all fun and games until Mario tripped into the middle of the flower bed and fell on a Thanksgiving wire ornament. Ri and Mario died laughing while I reoriented the ornament. 

About two blocks from home, Ri announced “we should put up the Christmas tree!” Mario agreed. We’d never put up the tree this early but we had nothing planned for the day so I thought we better crank it out. We use the tree my Grandma Menkedick gave us when Ri was  a baby. She used it for years before handing it down to us. It is about eight feet tall and looks kinda real…. The kids love putting the branches on and could not fathom a “real” tree. 

Mario lost interest as we started on the ornaments. Ri tried to entice him by putting on Christmas music. It helped for a bit. He just wanted to find the pickle ornament. He loves to hide that ornament every year and dare people to find it. Ri got out some old, precious ornaments that I had bought my grandma in the 1970s. We found some of Jon’s when he was little, too. The kids loved to hear stories of our childhood.  

I see all these pictures of friends’ trees – they are so organized with matching gold ornaments and icicles sprinkled throughout the fir. Our tree is a hodge podge of randomness. An old 1970s ornament alongside a handmade paper ornament along side a plastic M&M guy alongside a plastic dog. But I wouldn’t change it at all. 

It was Ri’s turn to place the “blue star” on the tree. It is more like a North Star compass- every year we talk about getting new tree topper and every year we fail to do so. Mario begged to put it on instead of Ri but for once Ri didn’t give in to him.    

He didn’t get upset though (he really is getting so much better at letting things go)  and we all posed for a picture by dad. Rocco even joined us (after his tail knocked over two ornaments – a warning Jon had given us three seconds prior to it happening).

 After Jon took the picture, we begged him to get in one with us. It took the kids’ longing eyes to convince him (he has no problem saying no to me!). Of course, none of them turned out Christmas card worthy but at least he’s in one. I keep telling him he will appreciate that I made him get in these pictures when he’s old and can’t remember these times – these pictures will help him out….


So here’s to Christmas 2015 and a holiday filled with family and laughter and gratitude for those who have left us – Grandma would have just adored our little tree.

Simple pleasures

The kids have been begging to see Rise of the Guardians. After a disappointing trip to the zoo on Saturday afternoon (playground closed and hardly any animals out – I guess it is December…), we decided to hit the 7:15 showing. Of course, it was only playing in 3D so we paid $37 for three tickets – insane. Between the tickets and the popcorn, we could have bought groceries for the month. But the kids loved it.


On Sunday morning, we woke up to sheets of rain. Hence, no stroller ride. So we decided to put up the Christmas tree. I brought up my grandma’s tree and the kids and I assembled it to surprise Jon while he was out for coffee. Mario assembled the metal base of the tree from scratch; he figured out how to put the metal feet in the circle and where to place the screws. There may be an engineer in our future…. Meanwhile, Maria perused through the cardboard boxes of ornaments picking out select ones that she remembered creating or that she knew had meaning to us. Jon’s blue ornament from his teacher, the ornament I gave my grandma when I was ten, Mario’s gingerbread ornament from his old daycare. Ms. Sentimental she is.

We blasted Christmas music from the tv and went to town on the tree. I love our time spent decorating the tree. We talk about years’ past, we admire the ornaments that we forgot about it since last year, we laugh, hysterically. We are completely immersed in the process and it is delightful. Jon always hunts down his favorite ornament to place strategically on the tree; Mario places all of his in one big clump; and Ri directs us all on where things should go.




And there you have it. Our darling Christmas tree lighting up our abode. Later in the evening we realized we forgot to place the star on top of the tree. We looked through all of our boxes and finally found it. Mario begged to put it on and Ri agreed, as always. She got to take the picture and tape a video of it though so she was happy.


Simple pleasures.