Tornado was pretty agreeable about sitting with Santa. Dash went along with it because he knew there was a candy cane in his future if he did. This is as close as he would get.
And this was as close as Sissy would get. Why are kids so afraid of a jolly man who's going to stuff their stockings with presents? He does have a whole lot of hair on his face.
There was also a craft table set up, and the boys made snowmen. Tornado wanted to keep his, but Dash was very adamant about going back in and giving his to Santa. There's a sweet, kind heart lurking under that tough exterior after all.
I got my pictures out of order. Here is our midday snack on Christmas. I got the idea from veganlunchbox. I mixed Simply Organic French Onion Dip mix with Tofutti sour cream for the dip. We ate the whole thing.
We left Santa a glass of soy milk and vegan snickerdoodles and lemon wafers. He loved them, of course.
Tornado was talking about the scavenger hunt all day...actually for weeks. "It's time for the scavenger hunt yet?" I was just having a conversation with my friend Lori the other day about how hard it is for me to withhold information. She said she won't tell her kids about fun activities until the moment they are going to begin. I know this is wise. I know it. I know it. I just can't help myself, though. I can't help talking about all the exciting things we're going to do the week before. I can't help showing them projects. Then, of course, they won't stop talking about it and begging me to do it immediately, and then that drives me batty having to say "not yet" all the time. Why won't I learn my lesson? I'm a child; one day, I'll grow up. It wouldn't really matter in the case of the scavenger hunt, though. It's one of Tornado's favorite activities of the year. It is right up his alley. I had about 30 clues this year, the biggest yet. He's usually so disappointed when it's over, but I think this year satisfied him. I wrote the clues on the back of photos that are like the ones in Highlights magazine - the ones you have to look closely to figure out what they are. It was fun to watch them run up and down the stairs, all over the house. Even Sissy led us to one I made a lot easier for her. It was a picture of her shoe basket. Of course, she knew where that was. I scribbled out the rhyming clues only a couple of hours ahead of time so I admit, they were pretty lame and cheesey. For example, one picture, close-up of a child on a Christmas picture that's hanging on the pantry door, read, "This is something close-up on something a bit bigger...if you eat a lot of what's behind the door, you'll be a pigger!" Yeah, seriously, I was in a rush to finish them this year; I never said they were award-winning. The good thing about my kids, though - the cheesier, the better. They think it's funny. Their new matching pajamas and house shoes were found at the end of the hunt - along with baby Jesus and the angel. Tornado was insistent that the angel also be hidden. He always does that - one year, it was the cow. I said it was okay; the angel could be watching over Jesus. I make the last clue say something about the real meaning of Christmas.
Here are the boys, finding a clue under one of the decorative trees...after the kids got into their pajamas, we cuddled on the couch and read Christmas books. When I offered them a snack before bed, they immediately declined and went to bed ON THEIR OWN. They always want a snack before bed. They always delay bedtime as much as possible. It was amazing. They knew the quicker they went to bed, the quicker it would be time for presents. Ryan and I stayed up until about 1:30. He had to put together the boys' four wheelers that day, then finish up with Sissy's kitchen set that night. I had to wrap stocking stuffers and put them in the stockings. My parents asked him why he waited until the last minute to undertake such a project (as if they never procrastinate, ha). He told them I wouldn't let him put it together yet. For the record, I never said that. He had asked once if he could put it together and lock it in her bedroom. All I said was he'd have to put it in the attic or something; I couldn't have her room locked all week. When he was grumbling about all the many pieces - and yes, there were A LOT of pieces, I reminded him that I had waited all my life to give my daughter a kitchen set and all the grumbling was taking away from that joy. Okay, actually I might have said I'd waited all my life for another kitchen set, but that's what I really meant.
And the morning arrives! We had great fun. Of course. It took us hours, and we left the mess strewn across the living room and kitchen for days. It wasn't pretty. Sissy was very territorial of her kitchen set, and we're working with her on that because the boys always want to play with it, too. She crawled right into her doll cradle like it was meant for her. They loved trying on their new dress-up clothes, and they immediately wanted to get dressed and try out their 4 wheelers. Those 4 wheelers deserve a later post of their own; they've had such a good time with them. I prepared our gingerbread house pancakes while they were outside. Googie, Papaw, and Tracy came over to visit and bring extra treats. The kids and I made gingerbread houses out of graham crackers and frosting. We decorated them with pretzels, sprinkles, and leftover Halloween candy that I'd stuck in the freezer. That night we all snuggled on the couch together and watched Jim Carrey's "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," because we had never seen it. It was cute. Did I mention what amazing gifts my husband surprised me with? A dressing table like I've wanted all my life, a PINK iPod, a box of chocolates, scarves, boots, etc. I have the greatest husband, I'm pretty sure.