Mark and I decorated our Christmas tree today! It was a team effort. Mark put the lights on and I put the ornaments on. I'm almost embarrassed to post the picture as we have a much larger tree than we have ornaments to cover, but I guess that gives us room to grow. Mark, being a native Oregonian is rather picky about the type, shape and size of his Christmas trees (if only he could see some of the wild Alaskan trees I grew up with, then he'd understand my apathy =).
As I decorated our tree today I was reminded of some very good friends of my parents, Ben and Norma. I had the pleasure of spending a few extended vacations of my childhood with them and I think they are wonderful people. My most recent memory of them includes Norma rescuing my friend, Leslie, and I from exploring every yarn shop in Seattle with my Mom. And Ben putting away more Top Pot donuts than I ever imagined possible (and he's a runner and a bit of a health nut, supposedly), then 'breaking' into a classic car shop with my Dad. They seem to bring out the extremes in my parents - and they always have a great time together!
When we were growing up Norma would send each of us kids our own ornament for Christmas. They were always beautiful ornaments and getting them out each year was my favorite part of decorating the tree. Often times she'd get similar ornaments for each of us, so we'd have sets of three or four (once Keeton arrived).
Once Mark and I were married my Mom let me take all of my ornaments down to Oregon with me. My favorite is a little golden gingerbread house, although, it doesn't look quite the same without the three other little gold ornaments.
After awhile the ornament tradition faded. But then, for a wedding present Norma did a wonderful thing, she went to a local store and bought me a box of fall and Christmas decorations. I have to admit that about 80% of our current holiday decorations can now be attributed to Norma - and I'm certainly grateful for that!