The Fun and the Not Fun

It’s that weird time of year – too busy to make sure my head is on straight, but enjoying fun family traditions at the same time. For about four years when the boys were younger we used to go up into the mountains surrounding our valley and cut down our own Christmas tree. I LOVED doing that, like Little House on the Prairie. We would obtain a tree-cutting permit, pack a picnic lunch, and drive up into the mountains, hike around in the snow, pick out our tree, saw it down and tie it to the roof of the car. Then we’d drive back home, bring it inside, and decorate it while listening to Christmas music. About eight years ago, on our way back down from the mountains, we slid on some hard-packed snow and nearly collided with another car as we headed toward the edge of the road. I don’t even want to think about what would have happened if our car hadn’t stopped – inches from the other car, and inches from the edge of a scary ravine. That did it for me. No more getting the Christmas tree in the mountains.

So the next year, oddly enough, I started seeing signs for a local U-Cut Christmas Tree Farm, and it turned out to be in a lovely rural area just seven minutes from our house! I was so excited – all the fun of choosing and cutting down your own Christmas tree without the danger of driving off the edge of a snow-packed mountain road! (I was also excited that I didn’t have to plan and make a picnic lunch, but that’s not really worth mentioning.)

Thus began our current tradition of going to the charming U-Cut farm mere minutes from our home, in the foothills of southern Oregon. We sleep in on Saturday morning, have brunch, and then off we go to pick out our tree. Last year Nigel did the cutting, so this year Aidan wants to. He picks out a gorgeous specimen, and Nigel gets the sawing started for him, about an inch into the trunk. I pull out my camera and Nigel retorts, “There’s no need to document the strain of sawing the tree,” (!) at which point I suggest that Aidan take over.

After ten minutes of valiant effort, Aidan successfully cuts down the tree and poses for one of my favorite shots of him, ever:

We get home and Nigel elects to put his tired, grouchy self in bed for a nap (more on that in a minute). Aidan helps me get the tree in the stand, and we notice that it is the largest we’ve ever had – the tallest and the fullest. We cut a little off the bottom and the top, get it upright, sweep the surrounding area (at which point we discover that Aidan had stepped in dog crap at the U-Cut Farm), and clean everything up. Finally, we put on the Christmas music, and I string the lights while Aidan plays with the ornaments.

Since the boys were toddlers we’ve had the same star on top of our Christmas tree – an impressive 16-point tin star with holes punched in it for the light to shine through. I think it had been made in Mexico, and it was so pretty. But last year it just fell apart and could no longer be used. So this year I had to get something really special to replace it. Something I knew that the boys would love. See there? That green glow at the top of the tree?

Yeah, that’s right. I got the Yoda Tree Topper.

We save some ornaments for Nigel to hang, and I get him out of bed after two hours, not wanting him to nap too long. Here’s the thing: I think something’s going on with him lately, like, possible seizure activity. At first I thought it was jetlag, but we’ve been back for two weeks, and there have been other signs, some that appear to be postictal. Ironically, the week before I noticed anything, we had already gone to the neurologist’s office at the request of Nigel’s regular doctor as a follow-up to his major seizure in June. And so when the neurologist suggested doing both an MRI and an EEG, at first I thought Fine, we’ll just do it, even though I didn’t think it was necessary. But now I do. Something’s going on, and it’s not just residual jetlag. And it just so happens that his tests are scheduled for next week.

The staying up with him next Thursday night for the EEG? Not fun. The worrying about what’s going on in his brain? So not fun. But I do feel fortunate that the appointments had already been made before I started noticing stuff – an example of things coming together just when they need to. I’m anxious, but hopeful, as always. It’ll be good to get the tests out of the way so that we can enjoy the holidays – and all the rest of our traditions, old and new.

***UPDATE: 12/17*** Both tests are now out of the way, and Nigel did really well with them! We just got back from the EEG a little while ago, and he is now napping 🙂 Of course, we have to wait a few weeks for the results, but at least we can catch up on sleep this weekend! Thank you all for your prayers and well-wishes.

22 thoughts on “The Fun and the Not Fun

  1. Johanna

    good luck with the tests, and as you say yourself, so lucky you had the appointments already. The process getting any help for our son is sometimes driving me insane. It is SO tedious and i think especially of those, who don’t have the will power or skills to pester the help out of the system.
    I like you tree topper a lot! Did Nigel and Aidan approve?

  2. JoyMama

    I had a similar experience with one of Joy’s EEGs — things started happening in between the setting of the “let’s just check” appointment and the actual visit.

    Will be thinking of you!

    And the Yoda tree-topper is just about the coolest thing ever.

  3. Karen Weaver

    Love the tree and Yoda! You’re so better than me…no tree yet. Every time I bring it up, hubby finds an excuse. There are good and bad things about having a man around. 🙂

    My 15 year-old son has been sleeping a lot as well. I thought it was a cross between being a teenager (lazy) and a little depression. Now thinking…it would be a good idea to have him see his doctor just to make sure.

    As usual…love your pics!

  4. Boy Wonder's Mom

    Wonderful tradition! I love it!

    I hope all goes well with Nigel’s tests and that you get the answers you need. I’ll be at about 2 am your time so I’ll be thinking of you!

    Love you and your boys!

  5. Kim

    Oh man, I feel for you, I am hopeful that you get some answers for you and Nigel. Intuition is a powerful thing.

    Great pictures (noticed a cat on a jacket–they just love to sleep on anything you shed from your body the second it hits the ground! Ours do that too, and we have one that looks just like yours!)

  6. Lex Savko

    Thinking positive thoughts and wishing good luck on those test results. Thanks for the great pictures! Beautiful tree and Yoda rocks!

  7. tera

    Tanya…def worth mentioning! haha

    Things can never just be totally easy and carefree, can they? I’m glad you were prepared and everything is working out as needed. It often seems to work that way, thankfully, to benefit.

    I love your tradition…and the Yoda…holy cow…where did u find him? Jari would LOVE it! Though I dunno, Erwin only allows the ‘peak’ at the top of the tree…those traditions…thanks for sharing.

    The tree ceremony is my absolute favorite during the holidays…

  8. AUNTastasia

    Of course the Yoda is fantastic! I’m jealous! I hope everything is ok with Nigel. I remember once when I worked overnights at the Girl’s Group Home, a girl needed to be kept awake all night for her EEG and I had the job of making sure she didn’t fall asleep. My solution?: Giving her a head of intricate cornrow braids. I wish Nigel’s hair was long enough that I could pass along that advice to you!

  9. Tanya Savko Post author

    I love that story, AUNTastasia! I wonder if the cornrows made it easier to attach the electrodes to her scalp!

  10. Carrie

    U-Cuts are the way to go. Sending love and good wishes during this time! Hope you read my post about single moms like you. I bow to you over and over and over again!

  11. Macrina Lesniak

    Did you surprise the boys with Yoda or did they help you pick it out? I love it!

    Thursday night? If I can’t sleep I’ll give you guys a call!

  12. Elizabeth

    Damn. I’m sorry to hear about his and hope you’ll call if you need to talk more. Nigel sounds so amazing (his comments) — I wonder if he’s making so much progress that his brain is making new pathways and therefore short-circuiting. That’s my amateur opinion!

    I love your Christmas tree story — and that photo of Aidan shows a deep and soulful kid.

  13. Carrie N

    Love the Christmas tree farm! And the teenage boy Christmas tree topper. (I shall not let my boys know it exists)
    Will say a prayer for there to be clear answers from Thursdays tests.

  14. rhemashope

    oh, i know several boys who would DIE for that tree topper. so funny. i once got brandon a card with that same Star Wars character on the front. the inside of the card said “Yoda one for me.” =)

    thinking of you and nigel always. hope the tests go well.

  15. Paulene

    I feel with you for the tests, all will be fine.
    Puberty also makes lots of things jumpy!
    Super photos.

  16. Jazzygal

    What a fabulous (yet exhausting !) Christmas tree tradition! Glad you found one closer to home though.

    We’ve just started our traditions last year…. I let daddy and Wiiboy go get the tree! Then WiibOy and I decorate. I forgot to play the Christmas CD though!

    How worrying about Nigel’s tests, I do hope things work out ok. Thinking of you all..and wishing you a very Merry Christmas.

    xx jazzy

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