Black Friday, Christmas Trees and A Trip Down Memory Lane

WAY back when I was in middle school, a time when scrunchies were cool and we all had AOL messenger, my mom starting the tradition of us going Black Friday shopping together. Now before you judge I have never pushed, shoved nor been cuffed on Black Friday. We are rational and avoid the crazy stores (i.e. Walmart, Best Buy). 

These adventures have led to many memories. Both of triumph and tears. I figured it was time to share a story that contained both. 

Nearly 10 years ago RKO (Rural King Ohio) was running a door buster deal that involved the first 50 people to cash out in the store getting a FREE live Christmas tree. My dad has always drug his feet on putting up a tree early. My mom and I saw this as our shining oppurtunity to secure a tree before December 23rd. 

The store opened at 5 if I remember correctly. In our game plan we needed to leave about 45 minutes prior to that because I needed to get gas. At the time I drove a Ford Ranger. Small enough to park in a crowded lot, but still having a bed to stash our prospective tree. 

We set out. Thinking the gas station was open the next town over. Wrong. I think no big deal we can make it to the next station about 10 miles up the road. Wrong. We run out of gas. In a swamp. In the dark. 

A May Day call was put in to my father and then fiancé (I gotta give him credit for staying with me after living this story out) who were milking cows at the time. They laughed, they grumbled, my dad started our way with a gas can. 

Up pulls head lights. Not my dads truck. My mom and I start discussing the possibile escape routes in case it was a murderer. Good news, it wasn’t. It was the kid who worked the deli counter at the local grocery store. He was nice and checked to make sure we had help coming before driving off. 

My dad arrives. He puts gas in my truck that came with a lecture about having enough gas, serial killers and how ridiculous this whole adventure was. 

My mom and I collected our thoughts and continued on our quest. We were women on a mission. We arrived at RKO and hustled in to the store. After all of this it was like 5:15. We rush thru and cash out. Success, we still got FREE tree!!! This effort was not in vain. 

We shopped til we dropped, then returned victorious with our pine in tow. Grudgingly the next day my dad put up the tree. We all decorated and got in the holiday spirit. 

Now it’s important to note that deer season is next to a holiday around these parts. The male farmers at our place become very scarce and they only have priorities involving white tails. 

My brother also had a cat at this time with questionable mental stability. At some point in time during the day, towards the end of the week when everyone gets cranky from pursuing Bambi, the cat knocked the tree over. This happens sometimes with cats. Except when the tree fell it hit the entertainment center in the living room. No big deal, it broke the fall right? Well in breaking the fall it knocked EVERY needle (or so it seemed) off the tree… It seems as though our tree may not have been freshly cut. 

The conversation that occurred next was one of personal victory for my father and defeat for my mom and I. To add insult to injury he left the tree. Naked with dangling ornaments and all. 

Hanging our heads low, we un-decorated our prize tree. What had once brought us so much pride and joy quickly became an embarrassment. 

The following week we bought a new tree. Which we cut ourselves, ensuring the freshness. Then we redecorated it. Twice the holiday cheer! 

Nearly 10 years later and this story is still brought up on Black Friday and when we decorate our trees. Occasionally when we walk past the rows of trees at RKO. 

Holiday traditions. They’re never short on memories! 

Being A Good Mom

I’m a good mom. It’s a hard statement to type. It’s probably even harder for me to say out loud. But the truth is we need to tell ourselves this. 

I frequently feel like the candle is burning from both ends. But really the candle doesn’t only have two ends, it has wicks every where. Some days that flicker of a candle is more easily envisioned as a bonfire blazing out of control. 

There are days I pray that my kindergartener feels like I’m giving him enough attention while he works on spelling as I’m doing dishes and tending to dinner. 

My first grader reads and colors with my toddler while I get lunches packed for school. She’s my go to to occupy him when I need a diversion for him so I can shower. 

I think the hectic life of farming has made me stop to appreciate the small actions that are turning them in to great little humans. They have learned it takes a team to get everything done in a day. 

I’ve begun to focus more on the quality of the time we spend together. We have fun even when doing everyday things. Telling jokes in the tractor. Singing pre school songs (possibly loudly and off key) while we scrape manure. Our time together may be crazy, but it’s still time together. 

Days I feel like the candle is starting to go a blaze I stop and think. Did the kids leave for school happy? Did everyone eat a semi nutritious meal today? Is everyone fairly clean? Did we all survive until bed time? It may sound corny, but some days just reminding myself this helps. 

Life’s not perfect. Some days it’s an absolute mess, with glue stick in your hair and all. There are nights I run to dance class a little “aromatic” yet from the barn. But I’m giving it my all. And that is what makes us all good moms. 

Thankful November and Parenting

November is here and it brings with it the urge to share everything we are thankful for. There are the obvious family, health, friends… But I think when you’re a parent you enter a new season of thankfulness. One where you appreciate smaller things. 

  • Everyone knowing the location of their shoes when you need to walk out the door. 

    Shoes, shoes anyone?

  • No hostage type negotiations over eating, getting dressed, basically acting human.
  • No one proudly announcing a bodily function in a public setting.

    Toddlers fart a LOT. For which they are very proud.

  • All outside type creatures (bugs,slugs, amphibians) remaining outside. 

    This list should include ducks.

  • Good weather that allows your kids to burn off energy outside for hours. 
  • Successfully completing potty training.
  • Everyone cooperating for a family photo.

    I’m not sure this qualifies as that.

  • Avoiding cold/flu in the winter.
  • The bank teller giving you the correct number of suckers when you go to the drive up window. 
  • Mickey Mouse Clubhouse marathons so you can accomplish something on a rainy day. 
  • Cause nothing is more destructive than a bored toddler.

  •  That glorious moment in the evening when everyone falls asleep

    Snuggled in Mom and Dads bed because thats where they sleep best.