Monday, December 11, 2006

Over the River and Through the woods

Yesterday my dear husband took the two youngest little Griffins to find our 2006 Christmas Tree. I didn't go as strolling through the woods 7 months pregnant just didn't seem wise or fun for that matter. My oldest was still a little traumatized from last year so she wanted to stay home with me. How can someone have bad memories of finding a Christmas tree? Let me just say there are many parts of the movie Christmas Vacation that I can truly relate to.

Last year after church and getting our tummies full, we headed out to a friend's pasture to pick out the perfect tree. I was really excited as we have 10 foot ceilings in our front room with 3 large windows that face the street and I wanted a tall, fat tree. On there way there, we listened it Christmas music and the kids were all chatting, loudly, non stop with excitement. I was giddy with the thought of how much fun this was going to be. Since we were driving and had little ones of the age of 5, 4 and 2 I honestly thought we would drive around the outskirts of the pasture until we spotted the perfect tree and dear hubby could just jump out, cut it down and we'd be on our way. But then we parked. The girls still had their dresses and pantyhose on from church. Allen convinced us that there were better trees in the forest a little ways. So we started our little afternoon hike. We crawled between some barb wire and headed in. I was thankful that I had changed into some jeans and boots. Well, not hiking boots, they were my cool looking "biker" boots as they are referred to, with about a 3" heel. It had been a crisp cool winter so far, but not a lot of precipitation so there were about a 12 inches of dead leaves covering the ground. At first it was like walking in an Autumn story, it was beautiful and fresh and "Oh, help me I'm going down!" Without being about to see the ground it was a little difficult to step around tree roots and boulders on the ground. As I stumbled to the bottom of our first little ravine, I was unscathed. We started up the other side, which was must steeped than the one we just quickly came down. While the outdoor exercise was nice, for heavy girls it is a little hard. Allen stopped at several trees and asked if I liked them, however at this point since we're already in and I'm not the one that has to drag the tree all the way back to the truck, so I decided we weren't going to take just any ol "this will do" tree we were going to leave with the perfect tree. We continued on past probably hundreds of trees. Allen carrying the chainsaw and a 5 gallon bucket to trim some pine branches and gather cones for decorating. After about 30 minutes the kids were getting a little cranky and loosing site of the goal. We had several run ins with thorn bushes and the girls' tights were all snagged. So now I'm carrying our 2 year old, praying that I don't fall with him, the girls are starting to whine and dad is losing patience quickly. Then there is was. The perfect tree. Allen thought it was too big, but come on...Is there really such a thing? He cut it down and said he would head on back to the truck that was no longer in sight. He gave us the bucket and told us to stay on the trail. What trail? Did we come in on a trail? Do I look like a nature gal? "no problem, we'll meet you back at the truck." We were all renewed once again by the excitement of having a Christmas tree. We were walking along and came to a picturesque grove of pine trees. It was breathtaking. We all started gathering cones and the branches were just laying there on the moss and pine needle covered ground for our taking. Oh how I wished Allen could see this. I wish we would have brought hot chocolate and sat and just enjoyed God's amazing creation and the smells of winter and the quiet breath of His air. As we were finished gathering cones and started to head back to the truck, it dawned on me that we had probably gotten off "the path" otherwise we would have enjoyed this little patch when we were coming in. It reminded me of the Garden of Eden, every direction we took trying to get out was surrounded by thorn bushes. Gabby had a direct attack and was now bleeding, Makenise was crying as her tights were now torn to shred's, we were all covered in cockaburrs and Brian was about an hour past the need for a nap time. So once again I'm carrying a 2 year old, this time dead weight as he's asleep, the full 5 gallon bucket of cones and branches and the tree trimmers. I was getting a little frustrated trying to console the girls and explain to them why I couldn't carry them too while trying to convince them, who were both crying and scared at this point, to follow me. I start crying as I realize that we are lost. I kept walking in what I was sure was the direction of the truck. A couple of minutes later, our wonderful hero daddy showed up and asked why we hadn't stayed on "the path". While I was relieved that he found us, which he said wasn't hard to do with 2 crying kids and us tromping through all the leaves, I was still a little irritated with his expectation to believe me that I knew what I was doing in the woods. He led us back to our vehicle and we all headed home, in silence. We did have to cut about 2 feet off the tree when we got home, but it was beautiful. It filled all three windows with it's branches and our entire home with the scent of fresh cedar. As we stood and admired this incredible tree, all the pain of the day melted away. And while it wasn't one of the funnest days for the kids, they still talk about it and I hope it is a memory that we will never forget.

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