Oh Christmas Tree...

As a kid, picking out the tree was always something important to me.

It mattered what it looked like…and that meant I was always alongside to pick it out.

Sometimes, it was just Mom and I.

This time around, just Mady and I.

We stayed close to the home front…

…and this fella spoke to us instantly.

I was so glad to have our (not so) little girl there with me.

Smells like Christmas Spirit...

Friday, post work/school.

December 1st.

We're all feeling the Christmas spirit... we roll out as a family to get our tree, with my mother in law in tow.

It's 4PMish. Sara and I are feeling sluggish after a long week so we opt for some coffee, then we're off on our adventure.

Just before 5PM we arrive at the Misty Valley farm stand in Hunt Valley -- a tradition that started prior to our kiddos.  Finding a tree this time around was quick, even though focusing on it was difficult with everyone heading in different directions, hiding...then chasing each other...then hiding again.

A few candy canes, a couple of wreaths and a safely secured tree atop our truck later...we knew our timing put us up against a hangry we quickly decided on Carrabba's. 10 minutes later we were rolling in, just before the dinner rush.

What appeared to be a low key, fairly empty restaurant turned into a frustrating wait...watching people arrive after us and get seated before us. Our kiddos were becoming restless. My mother in law was analyzing the situation. Sara and I were considering our alcohol options.

We walked out, swearing and thinking about the nastiest review in the world and opted to poke ours head in Outback to check on the wait. We were seated immediately and enjoyed great service and  a good meal.

Bellies full, we asked for the check as my mother in law was having a back and forth conversation with herself (out loud)...considering boxing the blooming onion leftovers....leaving them....oh who am I kidding?....she was gonna take them with us the whole time, as her unfinished salad sat in front of her. Apparently the blue cheese wasn't settling well.

Before heading home we decided to make a quick pass at the liquor store for some wine. I joked about the leftovers as we pulled into a parking space and the mention of the onions (and their smell) alongside the blue cheese curdling in my mother in law's stomach tapped something deep inside. The kids were amused and I have to admit that Sara and I may have smiled at each other. As Sara went for wine, her Mom stepped out for some fresh air and to dispose of the prized leftovers.

Homeward bound, all three kids spent the entire trip making puking sounds, enticing my poor mother in law to do the deed. After pulling into the driveway, she was one of the first to pop out...and within seconds, was leaning against the telephone pole, barfing like nobody's business.

We'll be talking about this one for years...