Saturday, November 24, 2007

How Memories Are Made

This year we decide to cut down our own Christmas Tree. A couple of years ago we went to a Christmas Tree Farm where an employee cut down the tree that we selected. Today marks the first time we paid $5 to the USDA Forest Service for the privilege of finding and cutting down our own tree.

We started off the day by gathering everything we would need to take two girls and two dogs into the forest for a tree hunt. We packed a saw, food, hats, gloves and scarves to name a few. By 10:00 we were ready to leave on our hour and a half drive towards Mount Hood. Since it was a long drive I decided to put the kids in the car without their jacks and boots so they'd be more comfortable.

When we reach the end of our street Jeff realized he forgot a water dish for the dogs. We quickly turned around to get the water dish. Fifteen minutes later we were on the freeway. Jeff turned to me and said, "You made the sandwiches, right?"

"Ha, Ha, very funny," I replied. "I watched you make them, remember?"

Why do guys think it is so funny to scare us like this.

An hour later we had another conversation.
Jeff: You got Ariel's boots right?
Me: No, I thought you got them.
Jeff: I didn't get them, I thought you did!
Me: Your kidding, right?
He wasn't kidding.

We were able to find a snowboard rental shop that had boots. Unfortunately the smallest size they had was a 13. Ariel wears a size 8. Since Belle wears a size 10, we rented Burton boots for Belle and Ariel wore Belles boots. Both kids left the shop wearing boots several sizes too big for them, but at least they had something on their feet.

Our next stop was the Forest Station to get our permit to cut down a Christmas tree. They also gave us a map showing the approved areas to find a tree. The map lead us to a lovely location.

The girls and dogs had a great time playing in the snow while Jeff scouted out the tree situation. The great thing about the forest, is there are plenty of trees. But, we soon found out that Christmas trees don't grow in the forest. Forest trees are built for survival, not hanging cute ornaments on. Forest trees are crooked, not easily accessible and they tend to be covered with moss.

After a lot of hunting, changing our expectations, driving to a new location and hunting again, we found it. A perfectly strait tree growing out of an old stump right by a river. The timing couldn't have been better. The kids and I were tired and cold. Ariel wanted to go home and was refusing to walk.

Jeff asked me to take a picture of our tree in its natural habitat. He was perched on the stump next to the tree when he lost his balance. He fell off the stump and rolled towards the river. Luckily some other trees broke his momentum. The girls and I were a little freaked out. Jeff took a couple of minutes to catch his breath and build up the courage to climb on the stump again. I tried to help Jeff when Ariel yelled at me, "Mommy, DO NOT push my Dad into the river!" I took a minute to explain to Ariel that I love her dad and would never push him into the river.

Jeff got the tree cut down without further incident. We began our long trek back to the car. Jeff carried (actually dragged) the tree, while I carried Ariel and made sure we didn't leave Belle in the forest. Why a child walks so slow when you are carrying their 32 pound sister through the snowy forest, I will never know.

We got the tree home. We even had enough gumption to set it up and decorate it. So here is our Christmas tree. Lovingly selected from the forest and allowed to reside in our house until Christmas is over.


Liz said...

lovely tribute to nature! I love your tree.

Rachel said...

How beautiful!! The story that goes with it, precious!!!
We cut down our own tree one year, it was something to remember! :-)
Thanks for sharing.

Lisa said...

we cut one down every year. Glad you didn't push him in the river! LOL

lattemommy said...

Great tree! It's even better because you worked so hard to make it happen. The girls will always remember that kind of an adventure!