Annabel is even more into Santa this year than she was in past years. She has asked me – begged me! – to take her to see Santa every day since Thanksgiving. I tried to find a day that worked for everyone, but Mike finally said, “Just take them, it’s fine,” so we went on a Thursday while the rest of humanity was at work and school.

Before we left, Annabel drew Santa a picture. She was SO proud of it.


I was like, “…is Santa…eating…children?” and she laughed at me and then took several minutes to explain who was in the picture. I told her to make sure to bring it along to her audience with Santa (although I secretly wanted to keep it).

Santa’s elves set up a new feature this year – the family photo. As we walked through the line, a worker stopped me and said, “Would you like a nice family photo?” Um, the kids look nice but I am wearing a ratty sweatshirt and I didn’t brush my hair. Maybe next year. I set the kids down for a picture of the two of them.

Santa 2014

(I had to take screengrabs of the images because digital downloads are NINETEEN DOLLARS and NINETY NINE CENTS. And that’s on top of the $29.99 we had to spend to buy the ONLY package available. Tis the season for price gouging.)

James is in the “I don’t want to be held, I just want to run,” phase, and setting him in this chair gave him a taste of freedom. He sat here for about seven seconds, and then he was immediately down and running. While my mom chased after him, I grabbed a picture of Annabel with her drawing for Santa.

with her picture for Santa

And then, because James was attempting to run to Mexico, Annabel got some private time with the big man.

Santa 2014

She was so happy to talk to him, and he was incredibly patient listening to her explain everything in her drawing. When she was done, he tucked the picture away in his jacket and said, “I’m going to take this back to the North Pole to show Mrs. Claus.” I thought Annabel’s eyes would bug out of her head.

At this point, James was back. I had reasonable expectations. I mean, nothing is ever going to top last year’s masterpiece:

santa 2013 3

I didn’t think James would cry this year, but I knew he wouldn’t love it simply because it involved being held, and he prefers running to being held/restrained 100% of the time.

As soon as James was set on Santa’s lap he sized-up the restraint system:

Santa 2014

He looked at us like, “Seriously guys?”


The photographer announced, “I got a good one!” And that was all I needed to hear. It came just in time, because James was like, “Byyyyyyye guys,”

Santa 2014

The final photo perfectly sums up these two kids of mine:

santa 2014

One looks like she’s up to something, one looks like he’s about to jump off Santa’s lap head-first.

When I grabbed James after the photos were over, Annabel had a few more moments with Santa. She spoke with him quietly, and when it was time to get up she hugged him goodbye, then ran over to me and shouted, “That was amazing! Santa is so nice!” In my mind I thought, “For these prices he’d better be nice,” but instead I said, “Oh, that’s so great, honey!” Santa 2014 in the books!

Don’t forget to enter our giveaway for $250! You can enter today and tomorrow!