Yesterday, we carried out our annual Christmas tree search. It didn't feel like winter or look like winter, but none of us minded.
I stuffed the girls' hats and mittens in my pockets and we hiked up a forest service trail in snow boots, just in case. We hiked up and up alongside a river and all the evergreens were small and crowded. I was thankful for the walk, though, as I ran 10 miles in the morning and didn't stretch afterwards.
Before long Tom and Ava were out of sight up ahead and I could only hope that Tom wouldn't find a tree and cut it down before I could weigh in on his choice. I tried to explain this predicament to slow-moving Julia, but she was more interested in the bow and arrow she had created by crossing two sticks.
My worries were eased when Ava and Daddy and our dog, Abby, came into sight heading down the trail treeless. Then, we had a new worry of not yet having a tree. Should we get in the car and head to another national forest location or would that use up too much time since it was afternoon and we only had so much daylight?
To Ava's delight, Daddy decided that the potential Christmas trees looked better across the river. When we got down near our car, Ava joined him for a river crossing. Luckily for me, they were in view of where we had parked the car as Julia decided to park herself in the car with the graham cracker bag and with her boots and socks off.
Eventually, Tom hollered for me to check out a tree and luck would have it that it was a good one -- "the best one we've had in a long time," we both declared. He was able to drag it through the woods a bit and then across the road where there were culverts, avoiding a river crossing and a wet tree. Ava joined Julia for graham crackers while Tom and I tied the tree to the roof. Then I put our bright orange national forest service tree permit around the base -- proof that (for five bucks) we could legally cut and drag this tree from the forest.
I did forget to bring the camera for our tree excursion, but here's our good 'ole Charlie Brown tree in the living room. The girls helped decorate this year, but they were in their underwear so that picture will be saved for the family photo album.