A Holiday Roundup

Let’s just say that this year the holidays were, well, different than most.

I may have already mentioned the fact that we now have two children (TWO CHILDREN?!), making any thought of travel during a flu-ebola season seem insane (to be clear, I’m much more terrified of the flu – and the travel). However, this wasn’t our first year not traveling, so we were thankful for the many video options to connect with our families.

But I’m moving too fast.

Let’s start with the lead-in to Christmas:

Every year I obsess over our holiday card, wanting the perfect picture on the perfect card. I wrote about this last year as well, and while you’d think I’d learn that hoping the Santa pic is great could be disastrous, I haven’t. I mean, how cute would it be to have TWO cute little girls on Santa’s lap?!

You’ve already seen Zoe’s beautiful (read: FANCY) red dress, and believe it or not, I still had Zoe’s Santa dress from her first Christmas, when I learned a lesson that I apparently had to learn twice:

A Dumb Hat Will Just Look Dumb (even on a cute kid).


This year I thought I had a BETTER hat, one that couldn’t go wrong, so we headed to the mall early to see Jolly Old St Nick. There was a tiny line (woo hoo!), and while the parents ahead of us worried about how much their kids were going to cry on his lap, I knew that MY kids would be absolute angels, as Zoe has always been, with Santa.

And they were. But the hat, not so much:


In my defense, Santa’s Helpers were not so great this year, and the more I tried to get both kids to look at the camera at once, the more that hat slid up on Ella’s head like a mushroom… It was SUPPOSED to fit on back, like the kids wear. Oh well. Thankfully, they took 5 shots – 3 with the hat, 2 without (at my husband’s insistence). Unfortunately, in the 2 without the hat Zoe was looking at who the heck knows what, so I chose a hat picture (they only let me pick one anyway), where at least Zoe looked awesome.

Then we headed to the big Christmas tree in the middle of the mall to take some “just in case the Santa picture doesn’t work out” shots, as we’ve done the past two years. I took a lot of shots, but none (from the camera view) looked amazing. Getting two little girls to take a great shot simultaneously may just be the death of me.

As we walked around the mall, I couldn’t stop thinking about how washed out the Santa picture was, how silly that hat was, and how I hadn’t really gotten what I thought was THE shot for the holiday card by the tree.

You guessed it. I begged Bart to go BACK to Santa for another try:


Still, no luck. And look how washed out it is! There was even a reflection in the background (which I had pointed out to Santa’s Helpers as a problem before we took – and paid for – round two). In true Christmas spirit they said, “Yeah, we had another backdrop but it was worse.” Wow.

Oh well. Going through the tons of pictures I had taken at the tree, I found a winner:


In fact, I found a FEW winners:

santaline5 santaline4 santaline3 santaline2

Even one I took while we were IN LINE for Santa was better than the Santa pics:


So don’t be surprised if next year you see ME at your local mall, the best Santa’s Helper of them all ;)

Looks like this Holiday Roundup needs a roundup of its own… In brief I’ll say that Christmas was a little chaotic, between a 4-year-old Tasmanian Devil present opener and a sporadically fussy newborn we hobbled through that holiday, thankful for our amazing friends and family but, let’s face it, tired.

There were two pretty neat things about Christmas Day:

  1. Instead of the wrapped presents Santa left, Zoe went straight for the stocking, and upon taking every single tiny thing out of there she cheered, “This was exactly what I wanted!” and “This is the Best Christmas Ever!” Next year, we may just get her a stocking ;)
  2. We’re trying to create some family traditions (and I don’t mean the Elf), like Zoe putting the star up on the tree, which she’s done every year. This year was no exception, but we also decided it would be cute to wrap her doorway with streamers (I found it online), so she’d know Santa had come. While we were worried she’d get up too early (she didn’t), we risked it. When she saw the streamers, she stopped short and said “Daddy! I’m trapped!”, but when he told her to run through them, she LOVED IT and kept them up through the new year ;)

Here’s this year’s Tree Topping Treat:


I’ll share the New Year story separately, since I’ve worn out my welcome here but, for what it’s worth, hope you had a very Merry Christmas!

3 thoughts on “A Holiday Roundup

  1. Yes. Of course the solution is for you to become a Santa’s Helper. BTW – LOVE how Zoe’s personality comes right through the camera in every shot. So cute!

    1. Of course! How else can I get these people to “hurry up”? ;) And YES, her personality is all Zoe, all the time (she’s a 24/7 kind of gal) – come visit and you can see for yourself!

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