We blocked out dates for the Christmas tree farm trip way back in September. After our last two years of fun, we wanted  to make sure we got this essential time on the calendar. I just fondly read back on our 2009 tripand 2010 excursion . I truly think that it's one of my favorite days of the year. Somehow, we've always had the fabulous sunshine and along with our wonderful friends, cutting down our tree is a morning full of laughing and chaos. We arrived this year just in time for the kids to crunch down on the ice that had formed along the puddles on the muddy road. Man, I so remember the blissful satisfaction as a kid of doing this.

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Then before anyone went headlong into a puddle, I grabbed everyone for family pictures. Here's Eric and Denise and their gang, including Eric's sister. Amy was a lifesaver, hauling along kids and lending her extra and able hands to all of us.


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The "It's a Wonderful Life" sign came out as well as the kissing ball.


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It must have been pretty powerful because they kissed, and kissed, and kissed....


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Then it was our turn.


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We moseyed over to the train station and congratulated ourselves on being early so we didn't have to wait. We didn't mind waiting a few minutes, however, while Denise grabbed some bags of donuts and ran up and down the row of kids on the wagon, handing out donut after donut.

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Kellie and Jonathan and Ariella and Ruth met up with us too to get their tree before their photo session.

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Theo was happy for about ten minutes, then we was one cranky monkey head who wanted a nap way more than a great family memory.

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All aboard.

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I absolutely love the next one as it shows so clearly all the stages that my kids are at. I remember wheeling that little umbrella stroller through the tree farm with other occupants in years past.


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That's when things started to slide downhill for the Chubster who was starting to get cold and grumpy.

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Here's Eric giving his sister a thumbs up as she cut down her own tree. Come on, where is the help, brother?

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It was decided after roaming around and trying to keep eight kids intact, that the perfect trees had been found.

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The kids began to cheer as their dads began to saw.


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Eric's toppled and absolutely smashed Tymen into the ground. He hollered, "Ben, have you made it through the bark yet?" Ben responded, "I am sure my blade is dull!"

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It's all good. Thanks, Denise, for grabbing my camera!


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Then the little monkey lost it. (Lauri, this one's for you. He's a champ but he isn't always happy :) ).

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Time to go back. The guys threw the trees on the back of the train. Denise crammed and jammed seven of the kids in the caboose, which Ruby reflected later, was the low point of the trip. "It was so crowded, Mom. We couldn't breathe!"

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Breathe, shmeathe. At least these two lovebirds had time on the train to get close without four kids crawling all over them.

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It was happy. Even though it's a bit of work to get those little creatures dressed up and out there, we're doing it again...next year, and then next. One day all those boys of ours will be big enough to do the cutting and carrying and all we big people will do is point to the tree we want while we munch down our donuts.