Before we hurried upstairs on Christmas eve, we set out our usual plate of treats for Santa and his reindeer: a glass of milk, cookies (or in this case, a cookie and a buckeye), and an apple. (Now, after Christmas, the kids have talked of switching it up for Christmas 2014 and putting out a carrot for the reindeer instead of the apple, just to give them a little variety, I guess.) As we tucked them into bed, all their thoughts and wonderings were on the man in red. Mollie even asked me, "What if he doesn't come?" I reassured her that he would, and, seeming satisfied with that answer, she slipped into an uninterrupted sleep.
All through the Christmas season, I was forced to keep all the gifts, wrapped and unwrapped, in the basement. Mollie was the first to finish her shopping - she only had to shop for Baylor, so it was pretty easy - and her wrapping, and after she was set she placed it gently under the tree. Baylor, upon arriving home from school, saw the gift waiting for him and picked it up to shake it. I told him that under no circumstances was he to open any of the gifts under the tree; if he did open a gift, it would promptly be returned to the store, no ifs, ands, or buts about it. I then asked him if he would be able to keep his hands off the presents; when he replied in the negative, I asked him if he'd like me to keep them in the basement until Christmas day when he was allowed to open them and he said, "Yes." So that's what I did; all presents, including the one Mollie had bought for Baylor, were stored in the basement. After the kiddos went to bed on Christmas eve, though, I bounded down the stairs and started bringing up all the gifts, so lovingly purchased and wrapped. I managed to keep it to two gifts per kid, though Mollie's were considerably larger than Baylor's.
Santa did his part and ate the cookies, drank the milk, and made sure the core of the apple his reindeer ate made it back on the plate. He filled the stockings with all sorts of goodies and left one present for each kid, again Mollie's towering over Baylor's.
And, like he does every year, he left a note:
This year it read:
Dear Baylor and Amalia,
I am so proud of you for being so good this year! Be kind, loving, and responsible and there will always be room for you both on the nice list!
I hope you enjoy the gifts I left for you!
I woke up early Christmas morning and got showered and dressed so I could be ready for whomever woke up next. That person turned out to be Baylor, and he was more than happy to help me go wake up his dad and then his sister so we could get downstairs. As soon as their little feet hit the first floor, they made a beeline for the fireplace to see what Santa had left them.
They then plopped down on the couch with their stockings and set to work emptying them and ooh-ing and ahh-ing over the contents: whoopie cushions, multicolored multi-tipped crayons, lighted personal fans, and a mini Lego set for each kid, and a Cinderella tiara for Mollie and a pocket volcano for Baylor.
They were both excited to try out the light up personal fans Santa had left for them.
After watching us open our stockings as patiently as they could, the kids ran over to tear into their gifts. Baylor shrieked in delight when he found the treehouse Lego set he had been wanting.
Mollie needed help getting hers open, but she was thrilled to see her colorful rolling luggage waiting for her inside the big bag.
I then had Baylor grab the gifts he got for each of us at Santa's Secret Shop at school, and we opened them one by one. Bryson got two flashlights, and Baylor was not too subtle in his hints that he was hoping to share that gift with his dad.
Mollie went next. Baylor bought her the game Perfection, and she was pretty excited about it.
I went last. I had felt the gift before when I put it in the car and then again in the basement and was certain he had just bought me the first bottle of Bath and Body Works lotion he could find. While I wasn't too far off on the actual gift, I don't think he just grabbed the first girly thing he came upon.
Just look what it's called.
Isn't that just the sweetest thing?!
Mollie then opened a double stroller for her dolls and a pretend hair styling set from Mommy and Daddy, ...
... and an outdoor patio set for her dollhouse and a Frozen book from her brother.
Baylor opened up two new Lego sets from Mommy and Daddy, including one I put together myself from instructions in a Lego book I found for him, and another new Lego set from Mollie.
As soon as all the gifts were unwrapped and I was able to free the pieces of the hair styling set, Mollie set to to work giving Colin a little trim.
As the kids played, I cleaned up the mess and we started getting ready for breakfast. After a quick breakfast, we got dressed and cleaned up, packed up the car, and headed over to my parents' house for Christmas day festivities. It's always tough for the kids to leave all their new toys, but we let them bring one with us to Oma's house this year and that made the transition a little easier.