Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Our (Pallet) Christmas Tree

Last night we listened to Christmas carols, took turns keeping HP from a complete meltdown as bedtime approached, burned dinner due to distraction, and most importantly--decorated our very own pallet Christmas tree.

Here's the finished product:

The project is fairly self-explanatory, but here are the steps if you would like to make your very own pallet tree:

(1) Find an abandoned pallet.  We found ours next to a dumpster at the charter school in our neighborhood and were lucky that it was in such good shape. 

(2) Paint or stain the pallet.  We went with a stain so it would retain the natural wood look (and because we didn't have a background paint on hand).  It was amazing how the stain transformed the pallet from a dumpster find to something worthy of being brought into the house.

(3) Paint a tree onto the pallet.  We spent hours outside figuring out the best angles and design, but when the time came I didn't follow any of our lines and just painted freehand.  Turns out I was over thinking it.

(4) Hammer in nails to hang ornaments.

(5) Hang on wall and decorate to your heart's content!

I'm so pleased with the way it turned out.  Even if we get a real tree in the future, I think we'll continue to hang this one as a decoration to remember our first Christmas as a family of three.

Monday, November 26, 2012

'Tis the Season

In the years since becoming an adult I have not decorate my home for the holidays.  It always seemed expensive and a hassle.  Every year we would discuss getting a tree, then argue about whether to get a real or fake one (I grew up with real; he grew up with fake), then end up not doing anything at all.  The issue never seemed pressing since we were always visiting family for Christmas and relied on their traditions (and decorations!) instead of creating our own.

Now that HP is on the scene, it feels different.  We're still visiting family instead of having Christmas at our house and we still don't agree on whether a real or a fake tree is better, but Christmas has taken on a new importance now that we are a family of three.  This year I feel a strong urge to put up decorations, listen to carols, and generally get in the holiday spirit.

I know HP is too young to "get" Christmas and could care less whether or not we had a tree.  Even so, I want to start creating family traditions now.  What can I say?  Christmas is just more fun now that we have a child.

The issue of a the tree still remained unresolved.  My husband didn't want to get a real or a fake tree, and I didn't press the point since our house is tiny and can not accommodate a full-sized tree without some serious rearranging.  For several weeks I had been brainstorming creative ways to have a (free) tree without taking up valuable real estate in our cramped living space. 

Enter the pallet tree.

We found a pallet in good shape next to a neighborhood dumpster, brought it home, stained it, and painted a tree on it.  It's currently on our patio airing out.  I'm very happy with how it turned out, and will post pictures once it's on the wall and fully decorated.

It sure doesn't feel like the holidays are approaching with the highs in the 70s for the past week, but once our tree goes up it will be "beginning to look a lot like Christmas" in our home.

Thursday, November 8, 2012


Yesterday was going along swimmingly until around 4pm. After that? Complete disaster.

HP was tired, screaming, and refusing to be comforted.

I just wanted to order a pizza, drink a glass of wine, and curl up with a book. But HP doesn't tolerate dairy in my diet, there was no wine in the house, and the screaming child required my constant attention.

Parenting is easily the most humbling endeavor I have undertaken in my short life. I (naively) thought it would be easier. I thought I would know how to get my child to take naps. I thought I would always be able to easily comfort him when he was upset. I thought I would intuitively know what he needs at all times. I thought being an intelligent, competent adult would be enough for me to easily handle the challenges of motherhood.

Turns out, none of the above is true.

Last night I reached a breaking point. Neil wasn't coming home until after HP's bedtime and I just couldn't cope with it anymore. The fact that HP is still adjusting to the time change (read: I see a lot of the 5-6am hour) is not helping matters. I like to be up for at least half an hour before HP so I can drink a mug of tea and read a book in peace before starting our day. Lately, I haven't had that luxury. Or if I have, it means I am in tears and exhausted by the time 8pm hits. I do not cope well with limited sleep.

Speaking of 8pm, that's when I went to bed last night. The thought of staying up a minute later was just too much to handle. Good thing, too, because HP was up at 10pm, 11pm, and 3am before getting up for the day.

Parenting, you got the best of me yesterday. But as Oprah says, "Cheers to a new [day] and another chance for us to get it right."