Trim the tree.
Um, almost. Why does this happen every year?! The kids get all excited, we dig out the decorations, set up the tree, and more than half the lights don't work, resulting in the pathetic image above! So I'm left with a messy house, tacky decor I'm not planning to display strewn about the house (thanks to the kids digging through all the boxes while I set up the tree and Ben tests the lights), a half-lit tree, irritable kids because it's too late to run to Walmart to get more lights and they don't get to put a single ornament on the tree. We ended up decorating the next day after school which probably was a better idea in the end as dear Daddy gets a wee bit irritable during our "trim the tree" sessions every year. No pic of the final result. Maybe in Christmas, take 2?
Pictures with Santa . . . check (and we didn't even have to wait in line at the mall! Hooray!)
Santa was our good friend Aaron which was really fun because he knows our kids well and the experience was a little more personal. Liam had a good chat with the big guy. He keeps requesting some kind of light up big boy toy. No idea what he's talking about!
Sariah putting in her orders.
Meilani said she knew it was Aaron by his accent, which is funny, because he's from here, like here here. No exotic accent to speak of.
Sadly, Meilani threw me for a loop last week when, at a very inopportune moment, she announced that she knew that the tooth fairy wasn't real because she recently had seen Dad put the tooth fairy money on her shelf. Luckily none of the younger kids heard her comment and I quickly, smirk in tact, said we needed to discuss the issue at a later time. That night she confronted me, and while I didn't confirm or deny anything, in Meilani's words, she learned that, "the fairy tales aren't real." At first she was a bit giddy, feeling like she'd been let in on a secret, then she cried a bit, lamenting that the fun was somehow now lost. I tried to comfort and reassure her that the memories and excitement are still alive. Then a light bulb went off and she said "you guys bought the American Girl stuff (actually knock off brand, wink wink) last year. That's so expensive!" I asked her if it made her realize how much we love her. She said "yes, you have to save all year to buy us presents! That's why I make my presents." I asked her if I should make her presents from now on. She laughed, we hugged, had a tender moment together, and then I threatened her within an inch of her life that she better not ruin the fantasy for her siblings! She seemed to understand and said that the other kids would be even more disappointed than she was if they found out. She's such a mature loving girl. I know I shouldn't be writing about this on the blog, because of the potential for children to read this, but I really want to remember this special moment. It was a biggie for me. As a child, my mother went to extreme, I mean supernal, measures to encourage us to believe. Until I was in 7th (yep, seventh!!!) grade, I whole-heartedly believed in Santa. None of my friends did, and I felt embarrassed that I still did, but it was kind of like a private, sacred secret I was protecting. So when my younger brother broke the news, I was incredibly devastated, to say the least, and somewhat angry with my mom for lying to me. She thought I had known for sometime and was shocked that I was so upset. Alas, I've never ever given my kids a straight up answer when they ask me if it's all real. I usually say "What do you think?" So, while I'm sad that we're at this new chapter in raising children, I'm glad that Meilani discovered the truth on her own, and that the fairytales have been fun and magical for an appropriate amount of her lifetime. When Meilani asked me "what am I going to do now," I replied "be an elf." Because after all, if you don't believe, you don't receive!
I LOVE Santa pictures. They are never good. That's what makes them so great! Seth wanted absolutely no part of the Santa business. He was calm and quiet watching the other kids go up to sit on Santa's lap, but when Ben plopped him down for the group shot, it was like we flipped a switch, and the screaming commenced, then ceased as soon as I picked him up.
The kids and some of their friends sang a song and acted out the Nativity at the ward Christmas party at church. It was bad. Yet oh so good! I love Christmas! I can't wait to remember all this when I'm an old lady!