The Great Tree Hunt of 2012

This past weekend we went to a local tree lot to select our perfect Christmas tree. I was really excited about the whole experience, especially because I grew up with real Christmas trees and remember so vividly the sweet crisp scent wafting through our home during the holiday season. However, it had been a few years since I'd been able to experience this due to an assortment of restrictions in various living situations. But this year is different and we can have a real tree again!

Here are a few photos of our fun adventure. So glad that Benji gets to celebrate his first ever Christmas with a real tree the way I did as a kid!

We had lots of fun wandering through the lot and getting a feel for all the different varieties that were available to us. Ben, of course, was the main product tester.

Fortunately it wasn't too cold out so we could enjoy some family time together.

Tromping through the snow in his 'big boy' boots.

Looking forward to celebrating the season with this little guy.

And here she is! Not too big, not too small, not too prickly and a great addition to our home. I think this day will become a tradition in our home from now on.

Let the festivities begin!


Little Family Holiday

We were fortunate to get away for a few days this past month and escape from the fairly chaotic pace that has been our lives as of late. Friends of ours are living in Phoenix, AZ at the moment (completing a Neuroradiology Fellowship and a Masters Education Program) and we've been meaning to visit them for months now. It worked out that Danny could get a bit of vacation time in before the holidays so off we went.

Neither of us had been before so weren't exactly sure what to expect other than cactuses (cacti if you prefer), desert, sun and some spicy food. I'm pleased that we were able to cross all those things off our list. It was warm, but not stifling, so we spent quite a bit of time comfortably on patios, by the pool, and just wandering around. We visited a few different shopping centres and spent an entire day touring the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM). My Aunt and Uncle snowbird there every year so we made a special trip to visit with them in their 'Desert Oasis' - it was great all around.

Here we are, our first little family vacation photo.

After Phoenix we took a quick flight to Vegas. It had been a few years since I was there last but obviously the circumstances were much different this time around with a little one in tow. We aren't huge gamblers or nightclub type of people (shocking!) so we opted to stay somewhere a little more tucked away. For us, the Mandarin Oriental fit the bill. We were thoroughly impressed with the beautiful finishings and exceptional service. Would definitely recommend it.

One thing that was a real treat for us was 'turn down service'. I had never experienced that before so really soaked up every detail. Unfortunately, I now expect someone to magically refresh my bed before turning in for the night as well as a bowl of flower petals and bottled water by my nightstand. Spoiled!

We took a very laid back approach to this vacation and I think it paid off in dividends. By not over-scheduling ourselves it really kept our expectations in check. When we wanted to go out we went out, when Ben was tired we relaxed, we had no 'must see' or 'must do' list. This was a really successful strategy that I hope to apply to future trips.

But of course there was still plenty of eating... and shopping... and taking in the sights.

It was so nice to get away, just the three of us, and spend some quality time together. Plus, in the future when Ben complains that we're such un-cool parents who never let him do anything fun, we'll always be able to say, 'Hey, we took you to Vegas Baby!'