The wee one is still too young for such Santa candor, so she indulges a bit more in the naughty list. Here are a few fine examples of what our naughty and nice list looked like this year.
Naughty: Breaking the head of the Raggedy Ann ornament. When asked who did it, everybody blamed somebody and nobody said he did it. Home surveillance tape shows the perp to be about 2 feet tall.
Nice: The kids made a few ornaments this year to add to the homemade tree. There is something very special about unwrapping these ornaments year after year and hanging them on the tree. There is a bell that sits near the top of our tree that my great grandmother made.
Naughty: Standing in the kitchen for 6 hours baking pecan sandies, sugar cookies, and seven layer bars, only to have Reagan lick 75 percent of the decorations before any of us could actually decorate the cookies.
Nice: The tradition of sugar cookies in our home. Every year I bake all 80 of them and the kids decorate them. They then pick their favorites to put on a special plate for Santa. I love that they will have this memory.
Naughty: The flu. Does anything more really need to be said. The most classic flu moment occurred at Christmas dinner when Logan quite calmly stood up from the table and proclaimed "Well I guess I will go to the bathroom since I just dropped a load in my shorts." He hasn't quite mastered the whole social filter thing yet.Nice: I have had to clean out relatively few puke bowls since my mom is in town. My gag reflex is far too quick on the trigger for vomit. Pus, blood, guts, and poo are totally fine and within my capacities. Vomit, not so much.
Naughty: Santa kind of jipped the oldest. It occurred when in those few days before Christmas I dragged out all of the things that had been squirreled away for months. The neglected middle child was over compensated for, the wee one still isn't really into the whole present thing, and the oldest, who savors everything Santa, had a pile of 3 things.
Nice: Everyone thinks Santa is this really great guy because he sacrifices all of his time one day of the year to take toys to kids all over the world. His reward is countless homemade cookies of all varieties and a glass of milk with each one. You don't hear much about Mrs. Clause. Well, it's Mrs. Clause that does all of the toy making, and ensures that each child is well taken care of. She's the one looking for a parking spot at Target the day before Christmas Eve at 10:00pm to get the most desired item of the eldest child. Her reward? Rockband!! Total score, I am so almost ready to start touring with my mad skills.
Naughty: 5:00am. That's the time we finally let the kids get up. Actual time they woke up 2:00am.
Nice: 5:00am any other day of the year is appalling! But on Christmas day, it is pure magic. Santa always leaves the Christmas tree lights on, that's how you know he's been there. When you are up in the wee hours of morning, before the rooster crows, and the sun peaks over the horizon, those tiny colored twinkle lights of the tree faintly light up the haul below, and the kids squeal with excitement. That is the magic of Christmas.
Naughty: It has been a rather tumultuous year for us. I can say with a fair amount of certainty that 2008 was so NOT my favorite year.
Nice: But it was a year of tremendous growth and learning. The refiners fire has taught me more than I believed I was capable of. I have learned during this season of Christ's birth more about the power of his atonement. I have learned that asking for help is not a sign of weakness, but rather an opportunity to learn great depths of humility. I have learned that friends are a source of strength that I believed only families held. So to "Santa's Helpers" thank you. We couldn't discern your scampering feet, but the gratitude I have is unparalleled to anything I have been grateful for before.
With a house full of kids and dogs the naughty list seems to grow faster than a weed in spring rain. Good thing we have so many nice things to be thankful for!