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I don’t wanna take the tree down. Even though we’re almost two weeks past Christmas our tree is still up, still decorated and still lit. And even though she’s a fake, she is starting to look a bit past her prime. As much as I want to cling to the Christmas cheer, I have to face the fact that it’s time. The season is over.

Lucky for me, I love the season that is now upon us: the one whose recipe consists of equal parts reflection and organization. Tax season. And it comes with its own decorations. Time to wrap up the tree, the ornaments, the lights and in the space left, pile the bankers’ boxes, manila folders and alphabetized labels.

I love reflecting, but I think I do it too much. I get so wrapped up in wistful retrospection, I become distracted from the present. I’m such a romantic about it, it actually bleeds into the business to the point where I actually like the tedious end-of-year tasks that owning a business brings. Running reports, filing W2s, 1099s, balance sheets; I kind of get a kick out of it. Good or bad, those numbers are there to guide you.

In that sense running a business is a lot like raising kids. Even though kids don’t come with spreadsheets and bar graphs, there are measurable moments and the accolades that accompany them.

Growth charts, first steps, first words, potty training, the first home run, first medals – the list goes on and on and, quite frankly, can be far more encouraging than what we see on the business side of things. But when you’re running a family business, in much the same way as the moniker suggests, the two types of growth charts become fused. Even though the first “I love you” coherently articulated by your two year old is far more valuable than your first dividend payout, both chart an upswing in production.

And both should be celebrated.

So we are, and we continue to celebrate and to give thanks to those of you who make both of those graphs tick in the upward position: our customers and our friends.

Thank you for a blessed 2011. We look forward to continuing to serve you in 2012.

Okay, okay. I admit defeat. I've tried for awhile now to perfect photography (although, I obviously did not take this one). Even though it is grainy and out of focus, it does have artistic value ... the blur of children and wrapping paper is a true representation of what our living room looked like on Christmas Day.

And check it out, Joey is trying to bring back The Sprinkler. All the way from 1977.