We knew it would happen, but we did it anyway. You know the parents who torture their too young kids to sit in Santa's lap so they can get a picture of them screaming in his lap? Yep, we were those parents. But I figured I lost the mother of the century award a long time ago the first time I screamed at her when she was a newborn only because SHE wouldn't stop screaming (I know you are completely shocked that I have lost my cool before!)! So, as cruel as it may seem, we just had to have the screaming child in Santa's lap picture on Christmas Eve morning. Here it is below...definitely a classic!I forgot to mention that my sister and her beautiful girls joined us for our Santa visit. Afterwards, we all chowed down on an Italian Feast at Johnny Carino's for lunch. During lunch, my sisters youngest daughter gave me quite a laugh. I think my sister felt embarrassed, but there is nothing I love more than how honest a child can be. Here was our conversation (we'll call her "Em").
Em: "Aunt Sarah, did you have a baby die inside your stomach."
Me: "Yes, unfortunately I did." (At this point, I wasn't sure how heavy this was going to get and I prayed for God to give me the right words to explain this to a 5 year old)
Em: "But why did it die?"
Me: (Knowing that a simple "I don't know" wouldn't suffice this very smart little girl, I stuttered for a moment) "Well, sometimes babies are so sick that God decides to just go ahead and take them to heaven to live with Him."
At this point, I'm praying that she doesn't ask me why God didn't make the baby better, because I really didn't know what I would say to that.
Em: "Oh..." Then without even a pause she says, "well, I just saw a dead fish floating at the top of the water at Bass Pro shop! It was really gross."
I got so tickled at that. I actually admire her innocence and how she didn't feel awkward about talking to me about it. It made me feel so loved that she acknowledged that something very sad happened to her Aunt Sarah. To me, that was love. It was her way of showing compassion. I hope none of our girls lose that sweet innocence.
Later that evening we attended our Christmas Eve service at church. There wasn't child care, so Ella had to sit with us. Unfortunately we were so late, the only seats left were up front. Normally, front row seats at church are great...but, not so desirable with a 19 month old. All things considered, she was great. There were no meltdowns, but there was lots of talking really loud and singing "row, row" (aka-row, row, row your boat). Later, we arrived at my sisters house to a home cooked meal provided by my big brother. The highlight of the evening was our gingerbread making contest. My sister and I were on one team, my brother and oldest niece "A" (age 9) on another team, and then my dad and "Em" (age 5) on another. Check out the masterpiece my sister and I created below.
Here's a picture of all three teams final creations. My brother and A's on the far left, my sister and mine is in the middle, and my dad and Em's is on the far right. Ok, so you might be saying..."Uh, what in the world happened to the house on the far right"...
Well, my dad and Em kept having trouble getting their walls and ceiling to stick. Needless to say, this resulted in lots of laughter as the roof of their house caved in and it completely fell apart. They ended up having a "roofless" gingerbread house and stuffed it full of candy.
It was so much fun that we decided this is going to be our Christmas Eve tradition. This absolutely thrills me because I want to have some holiday traditions to pass on to Ella. I want her to have fun memories of the holidays to share with her own children one day.
The children were then nestled into bed and the stockings were hung by the chimney with care.
And then, at about 11pm on Christmas Eve, it dawned on me...
I COMPLETELY forgot about getting things for Ella's stocking.
Thank goodness I have a sister who is a seasoned parent and she had it covered for me!