Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Look what we woke up to this morning! It was a rough night...we had bad storms and the weather radio went off about 12 times. There were tornado watches (and even a warning!) all around us but thankfully we "only" had thunderstorm warnings for this area. The creek behind the house flooded its banks and TWO big trees fell down across our driveway. The kids had a ball climbing on the downed just to figure out a way to get them out of our driveway!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The other day we went on our annual pilgrimage for a tree. Growing up I was very against using real trees for our holiday tree. I felt that it was wrong to take the life of a tree for our own superficial pleasure and then just discard it when we were finished. Then a few years ago I read about the impact of artificial trees on our environment. Now it seems so obvious but until I started reading more about it, it had never occurred to me.
Here are some things to think about:

  • Real trees are a renewable, recyclable resource.
  • Growing Christmas trees provide a habitat for wildlife.
  • There are many ways to recycle a real tree. It can be put into a wood chipper and used as mulch, playground material, etc.
  • Or you can do as we do and put it back onto the land from which it came to be used as a wildlife habitat. We have certified our yard as a Certified Backyard Wildlife Habitat ( so putting our used tree back out into nature is a wonderful way to create more spaces for wildlife.
  • If you choose to buy from a tree farm rather than finding a tree yourself, you are usually supporting a local, family owned business.
  • Real trees provide oxygen and help rid the environment of carbon dioxide.
  • For every tree cut down on a tree farm, up to three seedlings are planted to replace it.
Now some facts about artificial trees:
  • Artificial trees - which most people keep for only six years – remain in landfill sites for centuries. Artificial trees are made from non-renewable plastics, PVC and other petroleum based products.
  • For every real tree cut down, up to three seedlings are planted to ensure a steady supply each year.
  • Artificial trees were recently added to the Center of Health, Environment & Justice’s list of household products containing PVC.
  • 85% of the artificial Christmas trees sold in the U. S. come from China.
  • Upon their disposal, artificial Christmas trees pollute our landfill sites for centuries to come as they are not biodegradable and cannot be broken down naturally.

So with all of that in mind, we have started cutting down a tree from our property each year. It is a fun family event with us all going out for a walk to search for the perfect tree. Last year we greatly overestimated the size of our home and ended up getting a tree more fit for a theater with thirty foot celeings! The trees look so much smaller in the field than in the house. This year we did a bit better and only a bit had to be trimmed off.

We found the perfect tree in the thicket beside the house. We all thanked the tree for giving its life to be our holiday tree and then daddy cut it down and brought it to the house where we decorated it together. No photos of us decorating it as the camera battery went dead, but I have some good ones of us finding the tree.

We have started another tradition that each child gets to open an early present on the day we put up the tree (I try to find reasons to give early presents because I feel that getting so many on one day is pretty overwhelming). Natalie was upset that we were "taking so long" to find the tree because she wanted to go open her present. That is why she looks so angry in the photos!

Finding the tree

The family standing in front of the tree (Natalie mad)

Zoe is four months old!

I cannot believe how quickly she is growing up! She is close to sitting up on her own. She weighs 15lbs 12oz now. She is reaching for toys (and they go right into her mouth). She is very social and happy. She is ready with a big smile anytime you look her way.