Friday, October 22, 2010

Halloween Tree

If you have been keeping up with the Year In the Life of a Christmas Tree blog, you are well aware that I lost my tree mojo sometime between the Easter tree and August. It had grown in to another to-do in an already hectic life of too many to-do's. Just at the point when I was ready to admit defeat and dismantle the tree for the final time, I happened upon some Halloween tree decorations in a craft store. They were meant for one of those little table top trees that are so popular now and way to small for a full size tree, but their inspiration was huge. In first deciding to do this year long event the one thing that truly excited me was the idea of creating a Halloween tree. Of course, back then Halloween seemed so far away but before I knew it I was steering down October 1 on the calendar.

Halloween has long been one of my favorite holidays. At our home in Florida we had a good size front porch that allowed me the opportunity for a very theatrical display. I spent the entire day preparing it for the evening's festivities. Some years, I obviously spent a little too much time in my creativity causing the youngest children to be frightened to come forth and ring the bell. ( note to readers...this is a great way to save on candy expenses) Over the years the displays increased and we were thrilled to find return visitors year after year who made the journey to enjoy the decorations; often times opening the door to find people with video cameras. I should explain that we lived in a fairly rural area outside of Orlando and although our housing development was small the folks out in the country would load up pick up trucks with children to bring them in to town for the ability to trick or treat. One year, I opened the door to find a costumed cowboy...ON A PONY...there...on my front porch!

We moved to our new house in Ga. two days before Halloween nearly 11 years ago. What a fabulous way to quickly meet our new neighbors! Unfortunately, our new home had no porch and my yearly Halloween display that brought me so much enjoyment was now a memory. I did get to use my skills in another way...participating in our new housing development's Haunted Trail event, but sadly that too has gone in to the memory books. Fortunately for me...I had a whole new way to experience the fun of Halloween decorating in transforming the tree. Going up in to the crawl space in search of long forgotten Halloween items proved to be a wonderful walk down memory lane.

There is no doubt in my mind that once this year is over...I will definitely be packing up the Christmas tree. It was a fun experience, but one I don't feel the need to repeat. I will however admit, chances are another Halloween tree will be in my future. As the days are turning darker earlier and the night air is becoming crisper...the glowing orange lights are a warm reminder of wonderful memories. I can't help but smile every time I look at the tree. I wonder however if I will still be smiling when it comes time to try and get those cob webs off....

To be continued....

Saturday, October 2, 2010

My Gator Girl

I'm a little behind in getting this post updated. I had promised to share something about my Gator Girl last month with the launching of the Gator tree as it brought back so many funny memories of my daughter and her love of ALL things Gator football.

Meet Kristyn, or Miss Priss as she is affectionately known in our household. Not quite certain when the nick name took hold, but I think it may have been started by her youngest brother who had difficulty saying her name as a baby. He called her Hiss which somehow led to Priss. Comes to think of it, I think he still calls her Hiss. Thank goodness her nickname for her second to youngest brother is nothing more than a memory as I think he would have had a difficult time especially during middle school being known as Fluffy. Sorry...I digress.

The one thing I do remember is her obsession with Gator football took hold in elementary school. Openly encouraged and celebrated by her Kindergarten teacher, a former Gator Alumni. Being raised in the South, it is understood that college football ranks right up there with Religion. There are two questions you can almost guarantee in the meeting of a new person...what Church do you attend and what team do you root for and not necessarily in that order.

Although Priss no longer lives at home, her bedroom continues to serve as a shrine to the
Florida Gators. One trip to her room was all it took for me to gather up all the necessary items for the tree design being careful to not attach to the tree any of the sacred Gator Chi items needed for game day. (Gator Chi Items are those items that MUST be present at every game and MUST be placed in the exact same spot to satisfy the Gator Gods and assure a winning game) Yes, I know...we take this very seriously.

Some time in middle school Priss informed her father and I that she wanted to be the world's first college football coach. I for one could not have been prouder and encouraged her to go forth with her dreams. Sure, I realized the uphill battle she would have to climb. I worried how she would handle the locker room situation and warned that patting her players on the butt could open her up to a sexual harassment suit. Then there was the whole concern of how her hair would look after it was doused with a bucket of Gatorade...not to mention what that would do to her mascara...but had she wanted to go for it...I'm sure we could have worked out the logistics.

Once in high school she came busting through the front door as happy as someone who had just won the lottery. She excitedly told me she had made the high school Powder Puff football team. She spent the entire weekend drawing up football plays. After their first practice I went to pick her up from school and could tell immediately by the look on her face that things had not gone well. "How was practice, did your plays work?" "Plays MOM...PLAYS?" Then with total disgust she proceeded to tell me that the only thing they'd "practiced" was how they were going to wear their hair during the games. "These girls know nothing about football Mom, they only want to dress in short shorts and tie ribbons in their hair." Looking back, I remember with pride that she did look pretty cute and was without a doubt the most aggressive, determined player on the field.

Priss's knowledge of football is amazing. The girl can call the penalty before the Refs have had the opportunity to throw down their flags. She is well versed in plays and knows a tight end from a running back. She's a Guy's Girl when it comes to talking football and often blows men away because they don't expect it.

One of my all time favorite memories of her is the time she and I attended the SEC championship game a few years back. Her Dad had surprised us both with 2 tickets on the 50 yard line and about 16 rows up from the field. He booked us a hotel room in downtown so we wouldn't have to worry about driving home late and sent a limo to take us round trip to the game. While we were certainly no where near the only females in attendance, Kristyn became quite popular in our section. The man sitting next to her begged to adopt her as his own as he was completely taken back by her enthusiasm. Surrounded in a sea of gorgeous college Frat boys she only had eyes for one man and that was our QB Chris Leak. I swear to you he spent more time looking up in her direction than the direction of his coaches on the sideline looking for instructions on the next needed play as she was surely shouting them out there.

How appropriate that she would find the love of her life at the infamous World's Largest Cocktail party or in other words, the Georgia/Florida game that takes place every year in Jacksonville Florida. Proving that love is least blind to team colors, my daughter brought home a DAWG. His team lost the game, but he scored a win in his future bride. I'll be honest, I am a little concerned about this mixed marriage...especially where future grandchildren are concerned. Will he or she be raised a Gator or a Dawg? Only time will tell. Shhhh...don't tell anyone but I've pre-ordered tapes for the womb. Not Beethoven or Bach...The Gator Theme Song. Alls fear in love, war and football!

Miss Priss by the way is not very happy that the Gator tree is now but a memory. A GREAT memory for sure. Love you my Gator Girl!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Another Month...Another Tree Design

I must excited as I was about the idea of a Halloween tree and still am, the thought of having to say goodbye to The Gator tree is difficult. My family has really enjoyed lighting the tree these past few Saturdays in honor of our beloved football team. This tree has brought so much enjoyment to my children and I especially. BUT...this is after all A Year in the Life of a Christmas Tree and just as the leaves on the trees around us are about to CHANGE, it's time for the decorations on the tree to do so as well.
I hope you will check back in to see the newest design. If you don't hear from me any time soon, please send help. I am off to the darkest regions of our crawl space in hopes of finding Halloween decorations. Many have been boxed up for at least 11 years as we had no use for them when we moved into our new house. Surely hoping I can find them. Looking forward to another walk down memory lane...hoping for more treats than tricks.
Until next time....