Wednesday, December 18, 2013

We visited Santa!

We visited our favorite Santa last Friday when I got off work.  As far as Leah and I are concerned, the Santa at Jordan Creek Town Center is the best there is.  Rather than rushing kids through like they're on an assembly line he takes time to connect with them, work with the ones that are a little hesitant as much as possible, and helps to create a picture that will be a lasting memory for the families rather than just a standard snapshot of a kid on a knee.  The pictures of him laying down with a sleeping baby on his stomach and a book laying by their side as if both had fallen asleep during story time are fantastic (and have made me a little jealous that neither of the boys were ever asleep when they were babies and went to see Santa!).

Maddux had been bouncing off the walls with excitement over seeing Santa, or in Maddux speak, "Ho Ho" all day.  Once we arrived and got in line he made us think that we might have our first kid who would freak out at the thought of sitting with Santa when he grabbed on to Leah's shoulders and tried to hide his face.  We quickly decided that we'd transfer Maddux over to me as he tends to be a little braver with Dad than he does with Mom.  He and I looked at Santa from in line, talked about going up to see him, and talked to big brother Holden about how awesome it is.  By the time we were next in line it became nearly impossible to hang on to him because he wanted to get down to go see Ho Ho.

When it was our turn, Holden made a beeline for Santa while I asked Maddux if he wanted to walk or have me carry him.  He indicated he wanted to walk so I put him down, keeping a close eye out to see if he'd change his mind and make a break for it.  No need to worry though as he headed straight for Santa's big green chair, climbed up by himself and immediately launched in to a long speech about...ummm....well, something.  There was some pointing at nearby Christmas lights, at a reindeer, and a mention of Elmo made but clearly speaking English is something we'll work on in the coming year so I can't really say for sure what the gist of the discussion was.

Santa noted to me that he was quite impressed and wished more two year olds were as excited to see him and to talk to him as Maddux.

Once Holden and Maddux both had their turn chatting with Santa, we had a picture taken, they each received a coloring book and we were on our way.  Instead of having to fight to get Maddux to see Santa, we almost had to fight to get him to leave.  He was determined to finish telling Ho Ho a story.  Santa was kind enough to give him a little extra time so they could finish their conversation.  A quick hug from both of the boys and a "Bye Santa!" from Holden (and "Bye Ho Ho!" from Maddux) found us on our way with another successful visit to the best Santa out there in the books.

Holden, Maddux, and Santa/Ho Ho.  We won't talk about the fact that upon seeing this picture my first observation was that Leah has Maddux's shoes on the wrong feet.  We'll practice dressing him in the coming year.

As an almost unbelievable side note, this was the second consecutive year that we visited Santa on the day that there was a school shooting in this country.  This is definitely a streak that I hope is broken in 2014.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Santa's video messages for the boys

Let's start this post with remembering how much Santa Claus has to do at this time of year.  Gifts for all the good boys and girls of the world that believe in him?  I can't even start to imagine how stressful that is.  Then, on top of preparing for that, he takes time out of his incredibly busy schedule to create video greetings for some very special kids too?  Simply amazing.  Let's cut him a little slack then that his message to Holden and his message to Maddux seem to be a little similar.  The bottom line is that both boys made the nice list.  That, ladies and gentlemen, is a victory.

Santa's message for Holden

Santa's message for Maddux

Holden, still a true believer by the way, had a little panic set in when he heard Santa mention trying not to lie this past year (the lad's a bit of a story teller at times) but, once he saw the needle bury itself on the nice side of this video, let out a "Yes!" accompanied by a fist pump.

I will forever regret not making a video of Maddux as he watched his message later in the evening for the first time.  A deep breath in followed by "Dad! Look! Dad! Look!" in a voice filled with awe and wonder as Santa came on the screen and addressed him by name will be a memory that lasts for the rest of my life.  Maddux typically refers to himself as "baby" (whereas Gillian is "Dodo" and Holden is "Appi" for some reason) so the first time his picture came up in the video the joyous cry of "Dad! Look - baby!" did a fine job of melting his Daddy and Mommy's hearts.
While I didn't think to take a video of Maddux watching his Santa greeting, I did get a picture.  It shows the deep concentration (with, dare I say, pure contentment) that was happening at the moment more than the wonderment previously mentioned but it's still a pretty good shot.
Maddux watching his video message from Santa
Congratulations to both of you gentlemen for making the nice list.  Keep up the good work.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

The tree is decorated, our scout elf Jovie (from The Elf on the Shelf) has arrived, and Christmas songs are dominating the playlist at home.  Now let's get some snow....not just because it's festive but because it will cover up all the leaves that I didn't get raked.
Applying the finishing touch to the tree

There's no better way to test lights than to decorate the resident first grader
Jovie has to be careful that his daily landing place is well out of reach of a certain two year old

Jovie has started telling jokes or quoting Christmas movies this year.  Thanks for setting a precedent of requiring even more creativity than where to be located each day elf.
A side note - all of the images above come from my Instagram feed which can be found here.  Santa said he wants you to follow it.