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That Time I’m Certain My Life Was In Danger..

I knew I was in for it when Scarlet burst into the house and said, “Mama! You’re..not going to believe what we did!”

It was the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and as tradition goes, we always get our Christmas tree on that day. It was, as Cassidy said, “..pissing rain outside.” Des was napping and Cassidy and Scarlet were raring to go, so I happily sat this one out. I read your blogs instead. I uploaded client photos and studied them. I was deep in my own world when Scarlet interrupted me.

“We may have gone overboard.”

Overboard? This is a kid who once asked me to drive her to the Golden Gate Bridge. A kid who wears a princess dress, amulet, crown and don’t-forget-the-earrings to go to storytime at the library. A kid who once poured half a jar of honey into her yogurt.

And asked for seconds.

What does overboard look like to Scarlet? This is what overboard looks like to Scarlet:

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(That tree? Is in as far as it can go, all the way to the driver’s seat.)

Overboard is when a “modestly” sized 13′ tree was already paid for, when this (at least 17′) monster was spotted on the way out.

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Overboard is when he couldn’t even lift it enough to take it home, until an employee helped him.

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(He’s over six feet tall.)

This is the previously at-least-17-foot-tree-less spot in our living room.

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Overboard is when someone helped you get it into your car, but she’s nowhere to be found at home.

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This one badly needs a caption. You can see it all in the way he’s scratching his head and looking at..that thing.

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Des woke up soon after the tree’s arrival. His expressions say it all.

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Scarlet was very nervous, for very valid reasons.

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I really thought one or both of us would end up in the ER. Cassidy was drenched in rainwater and tree sap. He tried to lift the tree. I tried to lift the tree with him. We gave up about 17 times. Each time, I just thought we’d have to call for backup. Then we’d try something else. It would fail. Finally, and believe it or not, I had a winning idea about securing the tree stand against the wall and having Cassidy lift the tree into it, and then I ran under the tree (risking my life, truly) and screwed in the clamps.

It took some tweaking to straighten the tree.

Han Solo watched on and he did not once pass judgement on us, bless his very heart.

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On the second day, I came home to Cassidy putting on the Tardis tree topper from the second floor balcony. He also strung the top lights from there. Then he used a ladder for the reasonable heights of the tree. Reasonable being 13 or 14 feet, of course.

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The tree is lit with a middle blue core, and then surrounded by white fairy lights. If you’re wondering, yes, the tree has a Doctor Who theme. Last year we had Tardis lights but Cassidy didn’t like the glaring white string that attached them, so he ripped it out, added hooks and made Tardis ornaments out of the lights.

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(This is what clever looks like.)

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Then we added all of the beautiful, sloppy, pristine, memorable, meaningful, pop culture, handmade, moose, Doctor Who, Star Wars, more moose and just-for-decoration ornaments from our multiple boxes of tree decorations. Scarlet joined in.

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Des kept morale up by quacking and walking under ladders.

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And that is what is meant by going overboard. It’s when you do something kinda dangerous, but you know all along you’ll be ok, for the sake of the kids and for the sake of yourselves, and you just do it. You go big or go home, as Cassidy says. You put a giant monster of a tree into your home. Your kids watch you in anxiety and wonder. All along, they too, know the truth.

That it’s ok. That we’ve got this.

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  1. Oh my goodness. It's like you have the tree from Rockafeller Center in your house! It looks amazing! I love all of the personable ornaments. I hope Scarlet reads your blog when she gets older. It looks like she lives in such a wonderful world that's similar to her stories and movies she watches. I'm sure she will appreciate the life you all made for her. πŸ™‚

    1. It’s nuts here, Brittnei! I’m in my office and I’m staring at nearly the top of it. And I’m up close to our little attic crawl space.
      I hope she reads it too – thanks!

  2. Oh, my! I don't think my house can handle that tree. Since the kids are grown my tree is three foot and stays decorated year round. And I don't like getting it out because the cat is always in it.

    Your tree is so much better! And now I know what overboard is to Scarlet. Doesn't take much, just a 17' tree. LOL

  3. I LOVE IT!!!! This is freakin awesome! What a great memory for all of you. The tree really does look amazing. It's perfect for that spot. My favorite shot is the one of Des' expression – OMG how did you capture that? I also love the Hans Solo – so very cool. You know that you will now be getting a 17 footer every year, right?

  4. I love it and seriously just perfect for you guys! Des in that video is priceless, as is his expression in that first photo. And I totally don't think you went over board not at all, because in the end your tree looks amazing and so wish I could see it in person!! πŸ™‚

      1. Seriously, I could so picture the kids watching a Sofia marathon, because well we do that anyway, but all 4 together would be awesome. And getting to finally meet you in person would be the icing on the cake!! πŸ™‚

  5. I absolutely LOVE it! We are a family who loves going "overboard"… so I'm all about it. This year my husband created a giant wreath (it is pictured in my blog about Staying Sane in December if you want to see it…) ENJOY!!

    1. Ooh, I can't wait to see your post! I think we like going big, but how are we going to top this next year? We can't go taller than this, so we'll have to go more overboard with the decorations.

  6. Holy giant tree!! I love the Doctor Who theme!

    I also love that part of your house, high ceilings is part of my fantasy home.

    (also, keep posting Des videos, please)

    1. I will! I even have another one I meant to use today, but decided to spread out the love.
      I totally understand about fantasy homes. Mine has a high ceiling, and a big jacuzzi. Still working on that second one.

  7. Hi from SA πŸ™‚ i don't always comment…because u get so many comments…u probably wouldn't even notice but as u know i love your photography and your blog… this one had me lol-ing πŸ™‚ and i am truly impressed by that tree and your bravery πŸ™‚ awesome post

    1. With help! We usually take it down around New Year's because we have too many guests around and we host here and it takes up..well… a lot of room. So we'll have a lot of strapping guests to help.

  8. Now THAT is a Christmas tree! I don't even know what to say. There are not words to accurately describe all of the AWESOMENESS in this post and these pictures. I think Des's expression says it all!

  9. It is GORGEOUS!! I might obsessed with your ceilings, by the way! I think they made the choice, even if it had to hang out of the back of the van the whole way home. The Tardis is the perfect addition for the top, by the way! :)-Ashley

    1. Obsess away about our ceilings! I do too. If I'm looking at them when I'm half asleep, I start to see our whole house as a rocket about to launch. And it looks like a ski lodge in here.

  10. From the little bit of your house I can see I want to live there! The high ceilings that can accomodate such a tall tree are incredible. I'm seriously in awe of that tree and the tenacity it must have taken to bring it home and put it up. And Scarlet telling you they have have gone overboard? Priceless!

    1. Well if you’re ever in the area, open invitation to see our ceilings! And our tree if it’s the season. Scarlet was truly overwhelmed. A little excited and also a lot nervous. I think she’s happy about it now that it’s done and we survived to write the tales.

  11. OMG that is the most amazing tree!! And the pictures! I can't believe you all managed to get it into the house and up! The biggest tree we can get is about 8 feet, I think. I can't imagine a tree double the size. It's gorgeous and so is your house. I love decorating the tree and bringing out all the ornaments from my childhood and that we've collected along the way and sharing those stories with the boys. The best.

    1. It always takes a whole day too. I wonder if that will keep expanding. We really needed a tree this size because our ornament collection keeps expanding every year!

  12. THAT TREE IS HUGE! And I LOVE it! If I had high ceilings like that I would TOTALLY go "overboard"! I am dying at Des' reaction…I know he was looking like What the heck is going on! We put up our tree yesterday. It's good to see the decor coming out and the holiday season rolling! πŸ™‚

    1. I wish I could have been in Des’ brain to wake up from a nap, with a bad cold too, and see this monstrosity in his house. He was only a little one last year so he’d have no memories of Christmas.

  13. If only Scarlet was old enough to record you and Cassidy putting up that tree – what a video that would have been! Sometimes I feel a little sad that we don't have a tree. But I guarantee if we had tried this at our house, someone would have ended up in the hospital. I'm impressed!

    1. I wish she were adept at holding a camera for sure! Although I probably would never have publicized that one!! I was literally wringing my hands.

  14. It looks gorgeous! As you know, I love the Tardis. And Doctor Who, Star Wars and moose and assorted ornaments sounds just awesome.

    Also, I love the first photo of Des' expression and that Han is showing some holiday spirit as well. πŸ™‚

  15. That is seriously the most perfect tree ever! I am impressed that you got one so soon. I know if I did, I would kill it. This is why my family and I now do fake trees. In fact, I do believe my mother never took down last year's tree! LOL! I recall when we used to get real trees though, so many amazing memories – Scarlett will definitely remember them!

    1. I think we nearly killed last years. It seemed to go through water so fast that we figured we must have spaced out on doing it more in the beginning.

      It's definitely a tree to remember, though!

  16. That has to be the largest tree I have ever seen in a HOUSE! Lol. What an awesome job, and I completely love it! Your tall ceilings are amazing. Just thinking a little "Christmas Vacation", but there are no squirrels in there, right?

  17. Wow. I don't think I've ever seen a tree so tall. You have the perfect space for it. My husband would be soooooo jealous of the Beatles and Batman ornaments πŸ™‚

  18. OMG your tree is amazing!!! BTW your house looks amazing too with those high ceilings!! How awesome to be the kiddies in your house with that giant tree! It’s like every kids dream come true. Just beautiful and I love your ornaments! The memories they bring back when you are hanging them are the best part!

    1. I love our high ceilings and boy do they come in handy when we want to knock it out of the park around the holidays! I hope my kids one day tell their kids about the giant trees of their youth.

  19. Lost count how many times I said WOW! and OMG!!! Cassidy laying by the tree! Well it looks incredible. How are y'all going to EVER top that. I love that Scarlet said, "We may have gone overboard." It was even more hilarious when I saw the picture.

    1. I feel like we can't top this with height. No way. So we'll have to top it with decorations, maybe! Or spreading this out to the outside of our house!

  20. OMG that is a monster. It is beautiful! I can’t imagine getting home with no assistance, HA! I just love it. I wish we had tall ceilings like that. I’d duplicate in a heartbeat! You all are going to enjoy being overboard for the holidays!

    1. He is insane, Joi! Insane. I kinda didn’t want to help. I saw all kinds of liability issues with this. However, marriage is about..support. And he’d be crushed under the weight of that tree!

  21. There are times when moderation and poise don’t get the job done. If overboard means big monster Christmas trees with handmade ornaments, I’m in.

  22. That is some tree!! I loved the picture of it out of the car and Cassidy laying on the ground next to it!!! And Scarlet's overboard comment was too cute. But it really does look great!

  23. Ok, it IS huge, but it fits in your house, so I think I’m with Cassidy on this one. Go big or go home! I absolutely love the tree topper. Can’t wait to get a tree myself! I think I’ll have to wait on my parents to do the honors though, because me carrying a tree up three flights of stairs just isn’t going to happen this year.

    1. Oh yes! No three flights of stairs alone for you! Cassidy had the right idea. Even he second-guessed it until the end. Then we realized it was perfect for our nutty family.

  24. It’ll be fun to jump from the balcony and into its branches on Christmas morning. Also, did you check the branches for bobcats? I read online that trees in excess of 15 feet oftentimes have a family of bobcats living in it.

    1. Exactly. Once it all fell into place (and didn't fall on us, thankfully) we now see how awesome it is. It was touch and go for awhile, though.

  25. I have laughed SO HARD at the picture where your husband is just looking at the tree scratching his head. That is exactly what I would have done. How do you even have enough ornaments or lights for such a huge tree? The biggest we have ever put up was 12-13 feet and I thought I was gong to lose my mind. I’m sure you will have TONS of fun with it and this is definitely an amazing memory for Scarlet!

    1. Last year's tree was 12-13 feet and I honestly thought then that we might be insane. I don't even remember two years ago but I was pregnant and the smell of pine made me nauseous, and that was rather unfortunate.

  26. I LOVE your tree!!! And, the story of the tree and setting it up – so much fun. Funny that a giant tree is overboard for Scarlet!!
    BTW – your house looks beautiful -love the super high ceiling and the windows!!!

    1. Thank you! We love this part of the house. It's just built for entertaining. It gets good sun too, but there isn't much good sun between now and May.

  27. I want to be at your house for Christmas. That tree is AWESOME! You totally have the house for it too. My house can’t fit anything bigger than about 10′ so I’m so jealous. πŸ™‚ I can’t wait to see it all done up. The impulsiveness of husbands, and they say we’re impulsive. This was a good impulse buy though. Hope you had a great weekend!

  28. You can not take it down before the New Year’s party. You. Can. Not!

    Why is it that not only Des is looking older, but suddenly Scarlet is looking older, too? They are breaking my heart oh so beautifully.

  29. OMG!! You have my dream home-and tree! How fun your decorating looked. I love tree ornament photos. Now, I need to get some. Sorry I havent been around, but I've been busy putting products together for our design blog. : )

  30. Tamara, as I told you on Instagram, the tree is stunning!!! I am impressed by Cassidy's will and determination to get it not only IN the house but up and running! He had to use a ladder for goodness sake!! Thank goodness for tall ceilings huh? πŸ™‚ Des' face–perfect, they mimicked my own actually when I saw the tree! LOL

    1. Thank you! We really did. And it was pretty fun to have that big monster of a tree next to our holiday dinner. It wasn't lit yet then, sadly.

  31. LOVE your tree! And I love how your husband enjoys being in photos. I feel like I have to beg mine a lot. Though he did pose in the turkey hat the other day…

    Awesome ornaments too. Love The Beatles!

    1. I could probably get more photos of Cassidy, come to think of it. He's always posing and thinking up ideas!

      The turkey hat was worth a lot, though.

  32. You can never say you live a dull life, Tamara! The tree is truly exquisite. Love the choice of ornaments. And Scarlet declaring that they might have gone overboard? Priceless!

  33. I am so happy you laughed! I really needed to put this out on a cold Monday morning. That's my life! And today we had a wild goose chase to find that dang remote to light the whole thing!

  34. haha! I wish someone had taken a photo of YOU seeing the photo of my tree. I'm getting more and more into Instagram lately – I love putting up those tree photos.

    1. Thank you so much! We’re having a disastrous Monday with losing the thing that lights the tree, as well as Scarlet’s Disney Frozen dolls. It never ends!

  35. It might be slightly overboard, but I LOVE it. So there you are, with your 17' monster, and today I was just thinking that it's probably going to be a 3' table tree or nothing for us!

    1. haha, I'm glad you love it. Overboard and all. I was going to call my post "Overboard" but then I thought everyone would confuse it with that Goldie Hawn movie.

  36. Oh my goodness, this post made me laugh so much, for so many different reasons! First off, your little girl saying that the tree might have been overboard before you saw it. I can just imagine a little kid voice saying that and its so cute! Secondly, that TREE! That thing is massive, but so pretty. Its very fitting with your home and I’m sure smells lovely. πŸ™‚

  37. Found you on Growing Up Madison. It would be fun to see Madison chasing Des around instead of Des chasing her lol. What an amazing tree and what a great photographer you are. Looked at your gallery of photos and you have some spectacular shots. I'll have to follow your journey. Your two little's are gorgeous as well. Love the look on your son's face when he saw the tree. Priceless.

    1. ha! Madison will be chasing Des around for years! He can’t really be bothered to chase..yet.
      Thank you for finding me and making my night here!

  38. My BIL would LOVE that tree topper…and the lights-turned-ornaments. I just love the whole story. That and I don't know many people who could fit a 17 foot tree in their house. EPIC.

  39. Wow that is huge. I could never even fit that in my house.

    I would also need to buy about a 100 more decorations to go on one that big. Love it though! That's awesome πŸ™‚

  40. Here is what I know about you guys. When you do something, you do it BIG. You always have, and you always will. So really, I’m not surprised that they came home with a 17ft tree. I’d be more surprised if they didn’t. Your house was made for a tree like this. I MUST come over soon and see it in person!

    1. It’s kinda like our wedding! And I agree that our house was made for this. I really thought last year was the biggest ever – 13 feet. Little did I know what Scarlet and Cassidy would do to us!

  41. First of all, I’m in love with your house! And that view behind it! Secondly, I may have snort laughed at the part where you said “what does overboard look like to Scarlet” after reading some of her past incidences lol. But hey, if you have a house with that much space, ya GOTTA go overboard with the tree at Christmas time!!! That’s a REAL Christmas tree. I’m glad no one was injured, that was quite brave of you to run under it and screw it in!

    1. I love that view! I'm looking at it right now and it doesn't disappoint.

      And I'm so glad no one was injured. Taking it down will be easier because we will be smart enough to have big, burly house guests with us.

  42. Wow. That is just stunning. I am amazed that they managed to get it home safely!! Please tell Cassidy that I am super-impressed with his TARDIS lights (and also a bit jealous). Love all your baubles, particularly the Batman one!!

    Our tree will be a very humble (by comparison) 6ft artificial tree–I am one of those odd people who can’t stand the smell of pine–and it will probably go up in a couple of weeks.

    1. I will pass on the message! Don’t be jealous – we can send them to you if you’d like. Although you probably have access to much better Doctor Who stuff than we do! We have to mail order a lot.
      Your tree is only humble by comparison. Six feet is nothing to crow at!
      And when I was pregnant with Des, I couldn’t stand the smell of pine. It was..bad.

  43. OHMYGOSH!!! THAT IS AMAZING!!!! I can't believe how unbelievably AWESOME Cassidy's spirit is!! And that TREE!!! And those lights and ornaments and that HOUSE!!!! Oh Tamara!! I am just freaking OUT about this beautiful post! And your house? Did I mention that I tried to peek around the shots to see all the glorious views from those windows and how the hell high is that ceiling anyway?

    That TREE!!! Oh my… just amazing.

  44. I know, tree, and all that…but that SPACE!

    The space and the light – are breathtaking πŸ˜€ You have a very beautiful home.

    And I’m glad they went overboard. Overboard is gorgeous chez toi πŸ™‚

    1. I sure love overboard. Yes, space is nice. You should see the outside. We have spent our share of years in small apartments with roommates on top of us, and below us, so it's only natural that we now live in a ski lodge in the middle of the woods.

      1. I can't wait to! It has been like two years now πŸ™ It all depends on if we opt for baby #3 in 2014- Then it may be a bit longer…. but we are totally meeting up (Michelle, too)

  45. Wow! What a beautiful tree and what a beautiful home! Love that you have the high vaulted ceilings for that tree! Oh and the Beatles ornaments are so cool! Thank you for sharing this moment on your blog!

  46. OMG that picture of Des' reaction to the tree was soooo adorable! That tree was perfect for your home. And no, I don't think your blue lights look like meth lab lights. LOL

  47. Holy crap, I’d say all of your lives were in danger!
    I’m in ceiling envy right now though so forgive my one-handed typing not doing justice to your amazing photos, tree, and words. Adore.

  48. Squeal! I love Christmas trees, and this is the Christmas tree of all Christmas trees! I am sitting here and showing Alex and he thinks you guys are so cool for your Tardis topper and all the geeked out ornaments. I also told him I wanted to come visit you so bad so I could hang out with you and your tree, but he pointed out it would be a really long drive.

  49. OH my goodness! It is so beautiful, and it fits perfectly in your home. I love that y’all went a little overboard, and I really love your ornaments and Doctor Who theme. Very nice!

  50. I am laughing so hard at your description.

    I love it! I WANT YOUR TREE! πŸ™‚
    We live in a hobbit house, though, so that is so not happening. I’ll live vicariously.

  51. woooohoooo!!! that looks so amazing, it was worth the effort. and the way you captured it and told a story with this post, just had me cracking up in stitches! i love how the tree looks in your home, too. it really captures the light and looks absolutely majestic!

  52. This tree is truly amazing!! I cant get over it… Me and the girls took a break at work and were cracking up !! We loved it all ! This will be a Christmas tree to never forget !!

  53. This tree is truly amazing ! I cracked up looking at these photos… you’ve captured some amazing moments! This is going to be A Christmas to never forget ! Love the tree !!!

  54. haha..not illegal!! Only in England. I've been told that Doctor Who is like American Idol in England – that everyone has seen it there. Well..I've never even seen American Idol here.

  55. I LOVE this. Cassidy and Rich would get along. I’m working on a Christmas tree post for next week. Ours is 16 1/2 feet = it took five of us (and some pulleys) to put it up.

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