Our weather has been pretty bad lately. We usually have pretty mild weather, but the last few days have been in the low 20's and windy like we haven't seen in years. Icy roads and strong wind gusts make the roads horrid, and the wind blowing the snow around stings your cheeks like icy needles.
So, what do we, as wonderfully brilliant people do on a night like last night? We decided to go get a Christmas tree. I know, our high IQ's are showing. This is reason number one why we are stupid.
Our original plan was to go out at 3:30 when the kids woke up from their naps, while it was still light out and the wind hadn't picked up yet. But alas, packing up three children takes time. By 4:30, we were still not ready to go, and we decided to eat a quick dinner before we headed out to save ourselves from the horrors of the fast food drive-thru. I made sandwiches, and we had dinner quickly. Well, most of us had dinner quickly. Emma took an hour to eat. That's right, an hour to eat a half a BLT and a few crackers. We finally got out the door a little after six, and headed to Haggen since we were running short on time.
I am pretty particular about Christmas trees. I used to manage a tree lot, I know the differences between the kinds of trees, and I love the Grand Fir. The needles are longer, lacier, and that is the variety that has the most wonderful smell in the world. It's lovely. At Haggen the wind was so bad my eyes were watering and I could not see. All the trees had been knocked over by the wind and the signs were missing telling you where the different trees were. It's awfully hard to pick out a tree while holding a small child who is refusing to hide his face from the wind, but instead facing it like a dog with his head out a window going down the freeway, and you cannot see anything but a large mass of green. We gave up.
We went inside and got some groceries in hopes that the wind would die down in the time we were there. It did a little, but not much. I was able to discern the difference between the trees, and found that they only had one Grand Fir and it was short and ugly. Drat.
We loaded the kids up and decided to give it one more shot. We have stuff going on every evening this week, so the next chance we would have to get a tree would be the 20th, and that's not OK with me. We really had to do it last night. I gave the kids some cookies to shut them up-er, make the drive more pleasant, and we headed to an actual tree lot. The guys there were great, we found a beautiful tree in very little time, and they tied it to the top of our van for us. I felt so bad for them, the tree was frozen and not really doing what it needed to, and the wind was so strong it made it hard to get the twine over the van. Those guys must've been frozen solid by the time they were done.
We got home a little after eight, and brought the tree in because everybody knows that you have to play ring-around-the-rosie around the tree before you decorate it. Wait, you didn't know that? Neither did I! We are learning things together!
Marty and I got the kids to bed, put the lights on the tree, and collapsed exhausted onto the couches to watch the Survivor finale. After doing dishes and cleaning up enough to make the place safe for the kids come morning, we headed off to bed about a quarter to one.
Mondays are Marty's early mornings, he belongs to a group that meets in town before work, so he is out the door before seven. He grumbled last night about how little time there was until the alarm went off, and we joked about how this would be a night the kids had us up all night. Reason number two why we are stupid. We were woken at 4:30 by beeping. That's right, beeping. I have no idea why, but the microwave was beeping loudly and giving the code F4. I still have to figure out what that means. In the midst of the beeping, Emma woke and we heard the sound that all parents dread. "Mommy! Daddy! Mommy! Da(hurl)."
Amazingly, for the child who sleeps with 84 stuffed animals and twelve blankets, she managed to keep her throw-up on just her bedspread and sheet. We got her cleaned up and threw the dirty bedding in the laundry, and brought her into bed with us. We had done this once before when she was sick, since if she's going to puke again, it's faster to get her into the bathroom and keep the mess contained. She was so happy cuddled up between us, at one point she looked at me and said, "Mommy, this is a very special thing."
That's when it hit me. Is this one of those fond memories that she will have for the rest of her life? Is this one of those things she will savor from her childhood, and we will never realize how much she felt loved and cherished? More than the memory of getting the tree, or ring around the rosie, or the hot chocolate that we had afterwards, snuggled up, sick in bed with her parents is what she might hold onto as her favorite memory of this time in her life.
We tried to settle down and get some sleep. Between Little Miss Cold Toes and Grant coughing, making us sit up and listen- is he coughing or puking? We did not get back to sleep. Finally, Emma said, "Mommy, I think I have to throw up again." I looked at the clock. Knowing full well that we had not slept yet and Marty's alarm was set to go off in twenty minutes, I took her into the bathroom and stalled for a while, trying to let Marty get at least a little bit of slumber-time. I held her on my lap, thinking about how she might be cherishing this time together. I rubbed her back and rocked her, wanting desperately to show her how much she was loved. She looked up at me, those big, brown eyes so trusting and content, and said, "Mom?" I pushed her hair back and kissed her forehead, sure that this was going to be a revelation into her little soul. "Yes, sweetheart?" "Mom, I have a wedgie." Okey dokey then.
We finally went back to bed, Marty left for work, and Emma and I slept for another hour before Ben woke up ready to play. I am really looking forward to nap time, so I can get a nap, too. I hope the puking is over and does not spread to the other kiddos. The good news is, the tree is up. It might not get decorated for a while, but that's OK. Hopefully, the kids will have other memories this Christmas.