Oh Christmas Tree…

We always get our Christmas tree on the Saturday or Sunday after Thanksgiving.  I would probably put it up the first week of November if tree lots opened that early!  We tried doing the “cut your own” thing for a couple years, but I hate that you are not able to go out (if you are going the permit route) till the first week in December.  Once I learned that, it was decided that if and when we went out to cut down our tree, it would have to be for a second tree, because I needed one in the house before that!

We went out on Saturday to look for a tree.  We went somewhere new and abandoned our normal tradition of driving up into Denver to go to a specific tree lot up that way.  We looked and looked, and could not find a tree that “fit” with what we were looking for.  So, after walking around a few more times (thinking there had to be something), we left… tree-less.

Now, I’m sure it had nothing to do with the place we went, but more so with a few other facts…
First, we have had vaulted ceilings for the past 9 years, so we have always gotten a HUGE tree.  This probably stems from my childhood memories of always having the largest tree brought in – something my dad always made a big deal out of.  So… we choose to carry on that tradition the last number of years.
Second, we went during the day.  I don’t know why, but I’m super picky about the fact that you go to pick out Christmas trees at night (well, at least when it is dark out, which is pretty early these days).  Maybe we always picked out trees at night when I was little, or maybe not – for some reason, it is just something ingrained in me.

So… we discuss heading up to Denver to the traditional tree lot to pick out a tree – that night (Saturday), and then on Sunday, and then on Monday… and it keeps not happening.  Finally, on Wednesday, Kevin declared, “I don’t care what is on the schedule, we need to go get a tree today or else it might not ever happen.”  So, we cleared the evening schedule and headed up north.  Eyeing Delilah as we walked out the door, and praying that she didn’t whelp while we were gone.

Picking out the tree was a fun experience… Every year we go to the same place, and every year I tell Kevin that I don’t like it.  It feels scummy to me – they don’t have prices on their trees, and the salesmen work on commission – so their goal is to get as much money out of you as possible.  It feels very “used car salesmen”-esque to me. (sorry if you’re a used car salesmen – no offense intended!)  So, I, once again, had a hard time finding the “right” tree and probably drove the salesmen nutz.  By the time we found one, he was willing to give us what he claimed to be “an amazing deal”.  It was a good deal compared to where his price started, but relative to what?…

{Side Note: The best part of all this is that we don’t have to worry about picking a place to go get a tree next year since we will be selling them ourselves!  Of course, we will be picking ours out at night. 😉  Our 2016 events are listed here if you have not seen them yet: 2016 Events}

We finally get the tree home after 8pm and leave it on top of the car because all the kids are asleep and need to be carried into the house (which hubby does… one by one) so I can get ready for bed and take anyone who gets upset in the process.

As I write this, our tree is not decorated and sadly, took a couple days to even make it into the house!  So much for my early Christmas tradition…

and Puppies!

2015-12-03 16.31.19The very next morning at 5am, Delilah had her first pup.  She was going crazy to get out of the house, so Kevin took her down to the barn with him to do chores and locked her in a stall to make sure she didn’t bury herself somewhere (what she tried to do last time).  Sure enough, she had her first pup down there.  Kevin came running up with the pup, gave it to me, and then went back for Delilah.  For some reason, the three youngest kiddos were all awake for this event – yes, at 5am!

The first few pups came slowly, probably due to us moving her around trying to get her to stay situated (and out of the corner!).  And then they kept coming.  I try not to get my hopes up for a lot of puppies – I prepare myself to be happy with just a couple just in case that is all we get.  This time around, we were blessed with 13 little fluff balls.

I just love how different each one of them is already… they all look a little different and each one of them already starting to show their own personality.  I am noticing it even more this time around.

With her last litter, we had just moved into our new place and life was CRAZY (as if it isn’t now)… But, with it also being our first litter – there was a lot of anxiety that came along with the whole scenario.  This time around, I’m finding that I am actually able to enjoy the pups and relax through the whole process.

Some lessons from the last litter…

DSC_7974We did end up loosing two out of the last litter (she had 10) when they were just under two weeks old.  I think that for some reason I let my guard down once they hit 10 days thinking they were all good to go from that point… But apparently (and obviously), when you have more puppies than the mom has nipples, you need to be very careful to make sure they are all gaining weight at a similar rate.  At the point in time we lost them, I was making sure everyone was gaining, but I don’t think I was looking close enough at the ratios.

We have learned from that experience and I’m now looking at each one individually (total weight gain, ratio to their current weight, and ratio to the other pups) on a daily basis.  I pick 2-3 at each weigh in that need to be “focused” on for that day – meaning that they need to be put on mom to eat as often as possible and clear out some of the other pups so they don’t sneak in and steal from them.  It’s amazing how fast the little guys can get pushed out of the way – and if we’re not watching and assisting, how fast they can start growing slower, which gives them even less energy to fight for food – it is a fast downward spiral!

We may turn to splitting the litter in two and keeping any slow gainers with mom at all times as they get a little bigger.  Right now, she seems to be doing a great job with them all, and they each seem to be thriving well.  Praying they continue to do so!

 

Watch the puppies grow here

 

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