The tires on our car are pretty bald and need to be replaced. We turned to go up a steep, dirt road and thought we could possibly make it because it was dry and had no snow on it. Then we turned the corner, into the shade, and the entire road was covered in snow. We stopped as the car in front of us took the snowy corner. It was Jeremy's aunt Geri and she was driving a 4-wheel drive vehicle. As she turned the corner, the car slid in the direction of the cliff. We watched as Geri put the car into 4-wheel drive and get out of her predicament, but her car just slid further to the edge. Finally a bunch of the men in our line-up of cars jumped out and pushed her to safety. After that I told Jeremy NO WAY are we attempting that road in our VAN. We stopped right there on the steep, narrow road, unpacked the kids and all of our stuff for lunch, snow, chairs, and whatever else we needed, and shifted to other cars. Jeremy parked our car on a wider part of one of the switchbacks.
Once we got to the top of the mountain, the ground flattened out and it was time to go on a tree hunt. This year was a little easier because Alexandra isn't a new baby anymore, and Athena and Samantha are old enough to actually find enjoyment in the activity of hiking all around in the snow. Jeremy and I worked quickly to bundle up all the kids, and ourselves, so we could set out to find that PERFECT tree.
Here is Nathan all bundled and ready to go.
All of us together.
Jeremy and I broke down and bought new snow bibs for all the kids this year. They were all very excited to get to break them in. The snow ended up being very hard and packed down because it hasn't stormed for awhile and has been sunny. Nathan was the funniest to watch when we were hiking. He was reveling in the novelty of wearing "puffy clothes". As we hiked, he kept falling (on purpose) and diving all over the place, even though the snow wasn't soft. I would laugh at him and ask if he fell on purpose. Then he would just lay there and giggle.
We hiked the opposite direction of the rest of our party because we wanted to get good pickings for a tree. Turns out everyone else went the other way because there were actually trees to choose from! LOL We hiked and hiked and hiked before we came upon any trees that would even close to qualify for being cut down and placed in our front room. Finally our direction panned out and we came upon what seemed to be the perfect tree. We stayed by that tree for a good 5 minutes (it feels longer than it sounds) stewing over whether or not this one should be chopped.
Jeremy took this picture of Alexandra while we were discussing the first tree. She was being cute just standing there in her own little world being puffy and warm. She is looking at me and refused to look at Jeremy, who was holding the camera. I kept telling her to look at Dad and she just wouldn't.
Jeremy decided against the first tree because he thought the boughs at the bottom weren't wide enough. We had to move on. We hiked and hiked and hiked some more. After about a total of 25 or 30 minutes of walking seemingly aimlessly through the snowy forest we found "IT". The tree that will be honored in our home for this Christmas season. Hooray! Actually, we did stand around and analyze this tree too. Here is what the kids did while they waited for us to come to an agreement.
Once it was decided upon, Jeremy left to go back to the group and hunt down the chainsaw. He took Athena and Samantha with him and I stayed by our tree in the forest with Nathan and Alexandra. Nathan was being really cute while we were together. He fell several more times (on purpose) and then found a poky branch on a quaking aspen that was really good for breaking hard pieces of snow. He went about finding crunchy pieces of snow to stab through with that poky branch. It was quite entertaining for him. I could see that Alexandra was tired. I held her and rocked her while listening to Nathan humming and the wind rustling through the trees. She finally relaxed enough to give in and close her eyes. No more than 10 minutes later, Jeremy and the girls returned with the chainsaw and he revved it up. That was the end of our peaceful alone time. Alexandra woke up with a start and started crying because she was scared of the chainsaw.
I put her down, held onto the trunk of the tree, and Jeremy ran the saw through the trunk. Athena and Samantha took great joy in yelling, "TIMBER!" as our beloved tree fell to the ground and bounced a little.
This is it! Our tree for this Christmas season. It's kind of hard to see because of the lighting, so if you want a better look, feel free to visit us anytime between the day after Thanksgiving and New Year's.
Jeremy hauled the tree back. Athena and Samantha helped him carry it too! Jeremy really appreciated the help. He held the heaviest part, the bottom, and they helped by holding the top of the tree together.
When we got back to our group we all enjoyed a hot bowl of soup with crackers. We also ate chips, doughnuts, hot chocolate, and cookies. We ended up sitting around for a very long time because some people in the group had a harder time finding their perfect tree.
We couldn't leave until everyone's tree was cut down and secured on the trailer. The weather turned out to be perfect for me. It was near 50 degrees and sunny. In years past it has been snowing or below freezing. I stayed bundled up and was able to be comfortable and not shivering for 4 hours straight. That part was nice. It also kept the kids happier because they could play instead of whining that they were freezing.
Here is a picture of Athena enjoying some time with her friend, Adrianna.
I think everyone ended up having a good time going to get the Christmas tree. To be honest, this isn't my favorite tradition of the year because I detest the cold and don't enjoy listening to kids whine for several hours straight without a break. However, given the fact that a couple of our kids are older now, and the weather was nice, it didn't turn out to be that bad and it will make a fun memory for the kids. We also had the privilege of seeing a bald eagle flying high above us. That was a real treat for me!
There were a lot more things that I wanted to take pictures of, like Alexandra making friends with Sid (Mike's yellow labrador dog) who is almost as tall as she is. I also would have liked to have a picture of Athena and Samantha playing on the little slippery hill they made out of snow. I wouldn't have minded having a picture of Nathan trying to enjoy a doughnut that was almost as big as his face, so Jeremy had to cut it into little pieces for him. My camera ran out of batteries, so I had to cut the picture-taking short. Thankfully we did get a few pictures to document this occasion. :)