Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas Tree Cutting

In recent years my dad has always gone to a tree farm and chosen, cut, and brought a tree home. This is lovely.
This year, I had the crazy idea that maybe we should bring the kids to find a tree to cut (as we'd done at times in the past, before we shared a house and Christmas tree with my parents.
"Dad, I think we want to bring the kids to get a tree, would you be okay with that?" I asked.
"Sure," he replied, "I don't think it will be easy though."
Hmm. Good point.
"Ren Man, my dad pointed out that it won't be easy to take the kids to go get a tree," I informed Ren Man feeling less certain of the wisdom of bringing 5 kids - a few of them quite young - out in to the cold to get a tree.
"It's not supposed to be easy," Ren Man replied, "it's about the experience and the memories."
Oh yeah, that.

Thursday. We'd go Thursday.
"You might want to check," my father-in-law warned one afternoon while visiting, "some times tree farms are only opened on weekends - maybe Friday evenings."
Hmm. Good point. I really don't want to get everyone bundled only to discover the tree farm is closed!
So I picked up Child F. from preschool and did a detour by the tree farm to see if I could see any hours listed.
Sure enough: Sat and Sun, 9-5 or by appt.
I saved their number with the intention of calling to see if we could come in a couple hours.
But it wasn't to be.
We had to go pick up a car that was having brake work and the days are so so short this time of year.

Plan B: Saturday.
Ren Man has farmer's market in the morning.
When he got home we started the bundle-up-of-the-kids project.
"Do I need to get money?" I asked.
"Nope, I got cash," Ren Man replied.
Got everyone psyched to go GET THE TREE!
(Grammy had sent gifts to be "open on tree-trimming day" so there was extra excitement about the whole event).
Everyone snowsuited.
Everyone Coated and mittened and hatted and scarved.
At a temp hovering around zero degrees, we wanted to be prepared.
Ren Man couldn't find the sword or knife - what's it called? Oh yeah, some saw.
But he had the chain saw.
And it started.
Despite the cold.
So we were off.

Child D is NOT happy.
She's hot and wrestling her way out of her scarf around the 5 point harness of her car seat.
Of course, she can't tell us this.
She's screaming and writhing.
That's the thing that helps her relax.
I ask if the kids want Christmas music instead of our usual mix.
"YES!" are the majority; "NO!!!" is the Del.
It's kind of like mayhem.

We're almost there and Child D. is getting upset with her outerwear again.
And Ren Man realizes he hasn't actually brought money.
He forgot.
It's quicker to keep going to the nearest town and seek out an ATM instead of going back home.
Remember the mayhem?

And it's now 4:30pm.
We keep driving.
One kid is hot another is complaining about the Christmas music.
Both complainers are quite vocal.
We stop at a gas station - I pump gas, Ren Man goes to the ATM.
The van clicks off.
It's full. That's weird. I don't know how empty it was, but it seems it would need more than that.
I start to fill it more.
It clicks off.
Must be it was almost full.
We all get back in the car.
"Why didn't you fill it?" Ren Man asks.
"I did," I reply ... then check the gauge. Half a tank. This happens to me all.the.time. - with the van.
Oh well, no more delays.
Turn around, head back to the tree farm.

"You can cut any where," the man at the tree farm calls to us through the car window.
"Thanks!" we reply.
"Just a warning," I say, "kids will just keep getting out of the vehicle."
"The more the merrier!" He announces.
Then they start coming out.
His eyes go a little wide.
"I hope you have them dressed warm!" he says, "it's cold!".
The older four follow Ren Man off down a path to look for the perfect tree, Del straggling but calling out reminders that EVERYONE has to agree.


"How old is your baby brother?" the woman at the tree farm asks Del.
"Baby SISTER," she says. (To be fair, this happens a lot and it doesn't help that she wears a brown bear snow suit.)
"Wow, all girls?!?" the woman asks me.
"We have a 7.5 year old boy," I reply.
"All those girls!" She says.
"Yep," I reply.
"Your going to be really busy with all those weddings," she says.
I laugh and agree, because what do you say? "Oh, actually, we may not have four girls by the time we're old enough to have kids getting married - but we could. You never know ..."

By the time Del catches up, Noah and Ren Man have found a perfect tree.
"NO!" yells Del. "We all have to agree! I don't agree!"
"Well, which tree would you like, Del?" Ren Man asks.
"This one!" she proclaims pointing to a tree that is approximately as tall as our entire house.
"I know this one doesn't look big when the sky is the ceiling," I begin to explain, "but in our living room it would be too big."
"It needs to be this tall or shorter," Ren Man says, stretching his arm up high high to show how tall the tree can be.
"NOOOOO!" wails Del. "We need one that is big enough for ALL of our ornaments!!"
"This one IS big enough for all the ornaments," Ren Man points out. "See? It has a lot of branches with good spacing between so you can see the ornaments."
Sounds reasonable to me.
But no.
"We didn't ALL choose it!" Del protests. Strongly.
"Maybe we should take a vote," I suggest.
"NOOOO!" she replies. It didn't work so well for her in the car with the Christmas music, so voting is out.
"Which one do you want, Del?" Ren Man asks.
She begins to wander through the trees.
"Could we choose one close to the path?" Ren Man asks.


Finally a tree is chosen and agreed upon by all.
This is also the place where Del feels an immediate need to make a snow angel.
"I need to cut the tree right there, Del," Ren Man says. "Can you make a snow angel over there?"
"NOOOOO!" *unintelligible yellling*
She moves away yelling and crying about not being able to make the snow angel where she wants.


You'd think a chainsaw would cut a Christmas tree fast.
It's not fast enough.
In zero degree weather with a screaming kid.
As the tree starts to fall I call out "TIMBER" at the same time Del is shouting a "T-" word. She turns to me to say: "What did you say?"
"Timber," I reply.
"Oh, I thought it was 'tumble'," she says smiling.
By the time the noise of the chainsaw has died down she's back to yelling about a snow angel.
So in Ren Man's experience, it was a constant yelling Del.
Noah immediately starts helping Ren Man haul the tree out of the woods.
"I want to help!" comes the cry. Ren Man gives Child D (the toddler) the strap to carry and then shows Child F. where to hold the tree to help pull.
"I want to pull the tree!!!" comes the yell-y whine-y Del-cry.
"Del, there are lots of places to hold on to," Ren Man explains. "Come on this side."
And we're headed to the car.



We're almost to the car and a family with a few teens are nearby sawing a tree.
"A five year old," I say by way of explanation.
"Oh yes," they say knowingly, "we've had 4".
"Oh!" I reply, "we have five".
"I was counting," replies the man.
"But you haven't had 5 five-year-olds yet," the woman points out.
"And sometimes at 14 they are still the same," says the man.
I hear a grumble from a figure under the tree who is sawing away.
"Hey!" says the dad, "Keep sawing".


We get to the car and start loading everyone in the car.
"You know that Del will remember this as a fun adventure where we all picked out a tree and she made snow angels and then dragged the tree to the car," I tell Ren Man.
"Yeah," he replies. "And now they have the memory, we don't have to do this again, right?"
"My belly HURTS!" Del informs us.
"You know why?" I ask.
"Why?" she asks innocently.
"All that yelling," I reply knowingly. She looks at me disbelieving, as she should.
The man from the tree farm has arrived by the car.
"Do you think a candy cane would help your belly feel better?" he asks Del.
She nods.
"My belly hurts," pipes up Child F.

Minutes later we're on our way in the dark, headed for home, mission accomplished.


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