And all of the three little ducks came back
Yesterday, I decided enough was enough was enough. I needed to check the "get tree" item off my list. Since my husband was home from work in the afternoon, I took a lunch break, grabbed the kids at school pickup time and headed for Costco, where it was rumored that they had great trees.
Nope. No trees.
We headed up the road to Home Depot, and found a fenced in pen full of the most lush, fragrant, gorgeous trees, just awaiting our pleasure.
Confession time: I've always felt like I owed it to my kids to give them the experience of visiting a tree farm, and hunting high and low through a forest of trees for "The One." So every year, we load up the kids, and head to one of the bazillion tree farms around here, and spend at least an hour fighting over who gets to pick the tree, and who gets to carry the saw and who gets to pull the wagon and who gets to sit on which hay bale and who gets to be left behind if they run away and don't answer one more time. Actually, we don't fight over that last one. That's just one of the many threats we deliver.
Now, year after year, the photos tell a different story, but the truth remains. The tree farm is pretty much torture.
Yesterday, we were in and out of Home Depot in 20 minutes flat. There was no time to argue about anything. It was bliss, I tell you. And we spent $40, instead of the usual $80 + for a tree at a farm. Now, I'm all about supporting our local agriculture, and in future years, we'll totally go back to the farms. But for this year, I couldn't be more pleased.
Tonight, we dragged our shiny new tree into the living room. Normally, I reserve an hour and about $4.75 for the swear jar for the task of putting the lights on the tree. This year, with my oldest kid almost as tall as me and a fairly laissez-faire attitude about the whole process, we worked as a team, and got the lights up in about 10 minutes, with no foul language.
Granted, the lights aren't cleverly wrapped into the branches, and the tree really could have done with another two strands of lights to really cover our bases, but the girls had a blast helping. Could it be that I'm unclenching a bit?
Then came the first two giant boxes of ornaments. I've got another box full to unearth tomorrow, mostly of precious ornaments that are still a little fragile for a household filled with rampaging rhinos, or that need a little superglue triage before making their debut on the tree. That said, I pretty much think we have it covered, even without the other 50 or so ornaments that are still packed.
I totally let the kids have at it this year, and as in years past, we once again have ethnic neighborhoods all over the tree. The snowmen are all clustered, and so are the reindeer. We've got Dino Hollow again this year.
The angels have spread out a bit, but the robots are all together.
After my single girl days where a Day-Glo Party Dress Barbie straddled the top of my trees, we've always had a tiny little angel on the tree from our early couple days. I got sick of her sometimes-working, sometimes-not lights, and decided to replace her. But with what? Peacocks. That's what.
Birds of a feather flock together. Even the ducks, on our tree.
Probably the sweetest thing this year was the kids spontaneously breaking into song while we decorated the tree. We sang a few carols, and then my son rushed to the piano to accompany us on Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. We took a brief pause, and then my youngest girl started in on Raffi's song "Five Little Ducks" for some reason. All three kids joined in, and hearing their young, sweet voices singing away together made me tear up.
It has been challenging around here lately. My oldest is often sullen and not very kind to her siblings. My son has been very emotional and quick to anger, and my youngest, while generally pretty happy, has been having meltdowns triggered by the older two kids - or sometimes by my inability to give her whatever her heart desires, right at that second.
I'll admit, I've sent them quacking away from me on school days, and have had to brace myself for the naughty onslaught after school. Bedtime hasn't come soon enough most days, and in many cases, the last thing my kids heard before falling asleep at thing has been me hissing "I love you, now go to sleep" through clenched teeth.
Tonight, with no homework, and two weeks off of school ahead, it felt like everyone shook out their feathers and settled down to roost. It took a lot of quacking, but all of my little ducks are back.