Goin’ On A Tree Hunt

Today we went hunting.


For our Christmas Tree!

I had never been to a tree farm to cut down a live tree until I married my husband. But it really is so much more fun then digging the old plastic tree out of the box and fluffing the little plastic limbs! Even thought it was 36 degrees outside, I think the kids enjoyed themselves and prefer this method of Christmas tree procuring as well.

Little Man was ADAMANT that we get “a BIIIIIIG tree!!” So naturally, we all started pointing out the tiniest trees. It was funny, until the 3 year old started crying. Then we had to start looking in earnest.

First things first! A “tree-sniffer”.


I have no idea. It is a long-running joke/tradition with my husband’s family. From what I’ve gathered it has something to do with identifying “alien trees” from “non-alien trees”. And also, people could leave these to “mark” the tree they liked best in order to find it again later. Or something. Mostly it’s just fun for the kids to wander around sniffing trees with these little weeds.

Here we are, debating Tree Goodness, Alien Qualities, and whether or not Little Man actually has any idea what a “big christmas tree” would be.


It turns out he wanted one of the giant pine trees. As in, he pointed to the trees past the farm, the ones towering over the house, and said “THAT’S a big tree!” Yes. A very big tree. However. Not an inside-the-house kind of tree. He was a little disappointed.

We finally found Our Tree!

I tried to take a picture of everyone. I took six. They were all bad. So I just decided to post the one that made me laugh the most.


Grandma had better luck taking our family photo. Everyone is looking the right direction and even smiling! Hooray!


Then it was time to get to the business of sawing down the tree. The girls were very excited, and immediately got on the ground and wanted to help.

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The boys…..Not so much. They were happy to stay on the sidelines and watch. Edo had left to fetch a tree cart actually, so he still counts as being helpful and involved.


Pudah took this picture for me. My little babies! They need to stop growing. For real.


Finally the tree was down! However, true to their nature, the men had to find some way to use a gadget in this endeavor. Dean’s iphone has a leveler app or something, so they could make sure the final cut was straight and level.


Here are Edo & Daddy, carting the tree away!


And here is Grandpa helping the girls back to the car. So sweet!




(Seriously, who let Pudah carry the saw?!?)

Looking through these pictures, I couldn’t help but reflect on our experience last year at the very same Christmas tree farm. When I opened those photos I was amazed to see the difference in all the kids. But the difference in Vi was especially striking.

Here she is LAST YEAR in 2012 hunting for Christmas trees:


And here she is Now, in 2013. She has always been stunning, but the openness in her eyes and in her smile is truly transforming:


It may sound strange to some, and maybe people won’t understand, but today seeing this photograph was the first time I really saw myself in her. It was the first time I could really see how very much she looks like she fits right in with the rest of us! She has spent a lot of time fretting and bemoaning  the fact that she “doesn’t look like Mama” for the last 21 months. And I spent a lot of time worrying about it because it seemed to bother her so much.


Even iPhoto’s face recognition software has trouble telling us apart and tags her as ME!

Today I celebrate that I can look at her and say Wow….she’s MY girl! And my heart hopes that she sees the same when she looks at me…a little bit of herself. We are still learning and growing. At least we get to keep figuring it out together!

12 Responses to Goin’ On A Tree Hunt

  1. ooooosh you got me crying with this one! yes i see it! i see the openness the relaxed face, the mama’s girl…you can see in her eyes she knows she is home xxxxx

    • Lora says:

      I know YOU can see the difference Jane!!! She is definitely NOT the stressed out, sad, fearful she will “lose” Mama little girl we met in Ukraine! She is still working through things, and probably will be for the rest of her life because of what she has been through, but she has come SUCH a long, long way!

  2. samm says:

    I immediately noticed the beautiful relaxed little girl smiling in the photo. Such a difference! She’s a beauty, and it’s lovely to see how she’s feeling so much more secure.

  3. Rose says:

    I’ve always thought that all your kids look like you. lol They all have your chin and jawline. Every. single. one. And then I shake my head and think “that’s not possible” buuuuut somehow… there they are!

  4. Allison W. says:

    Believe it or not, I got to the last picture of you and Vi and stopped in my tracks- they look so much like each other! Then I read the next paragraph! YEAH!

  5. Milena says:

    Such a wonderful outing! We always go get our tree like that too, and have something hot to drink afterwards. We will get our tree next weekend.

    The two of you really look alike! Except for the colour of your eyes, but those often differ between parent and child anyway!!

    And Vi really looks like a different child. You are perfectly right about the openness in her eyes! I am sure you notice how far she has come every day, but it’s amazing that those of us far away can share a glimpse from a photo. I am so happy for Vi. Every child has the right to be loved!

    • Lora says:

      When I showed her the old photo next to the new photo even SHE was shocked at how different she looked! Every child DOES have the fundamental right to be loved, you are so right. It changes us all!

  6. Jenna says:

    This gave me chills. I have been reading your blog since before you brought Vi home and oh my sweet goodness, she is a doll. You two are beautiful and so meant to be with each other!(:

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