I have to admit it is hard to get into the Christmas spirit around here when its still warm enough to wear shorts and t-shirts. I got a jump start this year though! I was driving to work November 30th and had the radio on in the car for my nearly 1 hour commute. Near the end of my drive, I heard that the station I was listening to was going to give away 10 live Christmas trees in 10 days. That day was the first day. They were asking a trivia question and the first right answer was the winner.
I grabbed my phone just in case I would know the answer and listened very closely (much easier when you're alone in the car!!) to the question: "What is a round, hard candy filled with jelly and covered in sugar?" I pushed send on my phone thinking to myself that I didn't know the answer, but maybe someone will guess wrong and it will give me a clue so I can answer. As the phone is actually ringing (unbelievable), Laura (the DJ) gave a clue, "They are in a Chritmas story and they dance." I instantly knew the answer. The phone continued to ring and ring and I was just thinking I had dialed too soon and they were going to be ignoring that line until the contest was over and maybe I should hang up and try again. I let it ring a few more times and to my amazement, the DJ came on the line and asked my name.
Now, I would love to know why my heart rate shot up over 200 beats per minute and I was as nervous as if I was about to address the nation on some podium or TV show! Somehow, I managed to giver her my name (which she didn't stumble over, or suddenly lose her hearing, or have any questions about) and she told me I was the first caller and got the first guess. I guessed sugarplums and was right! I had won the tree!
Two days later, the gift certificate arrived in the mail. Coincidentally, Holden was sick with a fever Tuesday night and I had stayed home from work on Wednesday to keep an eye on him (Paul was in Colorado Springs), so after school, we picked up the rest of the kids and Holden and Alayna were the only ones who wanted to come to the tree lot to pick out our free tree. This was very special because last year we decided not to have a Christmas tree since they were $60 and way out of our budget. The kids agreed, they would rather have a Christmas present than a tree. Here we are at the tree lot:
Ummmm, yes, someone did have to go to the bathroom, thanks for noticing!! That was the only picture I took in front of the sign and didn't notice what she was doing in it. Now, I do not have a truck, so we laid down the back seat of the van and planned to buy a tree that is still wrapped up tight and slide it up between the two middle seats. The tricky part was finding a skinny, pretty tree without prickly needles (they make me break out). I just asked the gentleman working there to find me a tree like that. He showed me this tree and I took it! I had no idea what it would actually look like. As a control freak, this was a big step!
I can't believe I can't remember his name, but he was very kind and cut off the bottom branches for me so there would be enough trunk to slide into the stand. The branches just stayed in place and I decided I could use them for something at home.
I snapped a quick picture of us since the photographer doesn't seem to get into any of the pictures. He shared his story with me about how God got his attention and redeemed him from his life of sin and addiction and has led him to serve the ministry that the tree stand was raising money for (Loving Hands Ministry). Plus, he had a really cool shirt on!
The tree fit perfectly!
It also fit perfectly behind the couch, right in the middle of the living/dining room at the house. We moved the table that usually lives there to the entryway for the time being. I put some more decorations on it and the kids put the train together after this picture, but you can easily see that I got a skinny, pretty tree! As a bonus, the needles weren't prickly!
The bottom branches that got cut off got put to use on the front doors. I was very happy with how that looked. The double front doors are one of my favorite things about the house we are living in right now. Very handy for moving too!
There was already a nail on the wall for this decoration.
I *might* have had to drill a couple holes in the house to hang decorations outside...lets just keep that between us, okay?? They were very small, close to the top, under the eves.
JoDee was staying with us while Paul was in Colorado Springs and she and mom came over to help us get the Christmas decor all up. We had done the same at her house the weekend before. We had a horrible time trying to get the tree to stay straight in the stand. We usually get a really big tree and this tree was small and had a skinny trunk. So, when the screws were screwed all the way out, the tree was not secure yet. I eneded up finding some scrap pieces of 2 x 4 in the garage and we put pieces on 2 of the sides so that the tree stayed up straight when the screws were pushed up against it. It was a major struggle but I did emerge victorious, sweating, and highly irritable!!
I must say, it did start looking more like Christmas. I did not manage to get a picture of the palm trees in the front yard. I am very sad about that. We have seven (count them, seven) palm trees in our postage stamp size front yard. Gabriel and JoDee wrapped white lights around the bases of each of them and they looked beautiful! It was Riley's job to water the tree each day and he did a really good job! When we took the tree out after New Years Day, it was still holding its needles pretty well. The house always looks so bare after taking the Christmas decorations down, so we are getting used to that all over again!