For weeks now, Max has been saying a few times a day, "Mom, you should write a post about this." or, "Mom! You should blog about that!"
I get the hint, boy.
Alas, 'tis the season of late nights and too many projects already. And where to begin? But if I keep putting it off, what would that look like?
So I jump in, like we have been doing all through Advent. Little has been planned or done all at once but it's happening, no matter what. The same can happen here, right?
Tree hunt 2014 occurred a week later than anticipated due to cold weather and a dead Suburban. Even then, we took the busty van out to our usual spot on a warmish sort of day.
The popcorn and cranberry string garlands were replaced by cheerios (easier to string and I didn't have time to pop the corn) and cranberries and strung together on the way. Hurray! No one got car sick in the process! We carried those with some dried oranges to decorate the tree for the 'aminals' along with Lu on Jac's back, a hatchet and a saw.
We started out and somehow I brought up the rear with Monday on the leash, a tentative Ellie and a fiercely independent Gemma. "Gem, can I help you?" "No, I dot it, Mama. I dot it." Aaaaand repeat. She made it down the hill, over the creek (a Christmas Miracle that there was a frozen patch and we didn't have to toss anyone or balance on a log!), but ran out of gas when we hit the woods. From then on I carried her "free style" while pulling Ellie along at the same time. Oh, what fun!
The boys - and dog - took off in search of a tree to cut while we ladies found a tree to trim. They worked quickly and carefully and took just a moment to admire their work before they went in search of the guys. On our trek, we noticed a little tree with two blackened pine cones and recognized them as the remainders of the 'aminal' tree, 2013. I got teary at the hardiness of tradition.
I take full credit for the finding of this year's tree, which it must be admitted is a beaut. "The best one yet!" Jac declared. High five, me. Too bad we walked a long ways dooooown a path to find the boy's choices only to walk all the way back UP to where I saw the winner. And up some more through some brambles.
By then, folks started to fall apart. Gemma and Ellie were cold. Lu decided the backpack was torture and Philip got his feelings hurt but the real fun happened when Tess accidentally broke the saw blade. Oh, the waterworks! To be fair, her brothers had shown her to do whatever it was she was doing when the blade broke and us laughing over it only made matters worse. It couldn't be helped as Jac had spent the morning telling me how great the blade was and "Who cares that it only cost $2?" It seemed so funny to me in the midst of all the crying.
Luckily, Max had the hatchet and everyone got to take a swing or 20. Turns out being a lumberjack is harder than it looks! Gemma will tell you that she was the one that "hit the tree down with Daddy" because she was. So then it was time to get grouchy kids AND the tree AND the Aspen branches I requested (that were larger than the tree. . . ) down and across and back up.
We made good time.
Up the tree went onto the van and we managed to lash it down amid the bickering and complaining. That all stopped right quick, though, when we couldn't get the van back onto the road. There were some tense and exciting minutes but Jac sweet talked the sickly vehicle into compliance and we were on our way without any more tears.
Ellie and Lu slept all the way home while Tess kept Gemma entertained. We got the tree in place and relatively straight very easily and it's doing great. We were all plenty sore the next day but this lovely tree was worth it.