Christmas Carnage



(Photo from 2010, and all the years that done come before that.)

While waiting in an absolutely-ridiculous-for-a-Wednesday-night-are-you-kidding-me-with-this-nonsense line for Mall Santa, I realized that I am officially becoming That Mom: Things that were once a magical part of parenthood that I was so excited to participate in are now mostly just a colossal pain in my butt. Like taking the kids to see Mall Santa. 

Can you believe we've been doing this for six straight Christmases now? That we used to do it completely voluntarily and unnecessarily when Noah was a baby and didn't give a rats' ass about seeing Mall Santa?But no matter! You are seeing Mall Santa, small turtle-like infant! MAMA WINS AT MEMORIES.

Now, of course, there's no getting out of it. Traditions have been established! Myths have been perpetrated! Lists have been written!

Noah's santa list 2011

Well, okay. That right there warms my grinchy heart a little. (ALSO A LOT.) After close to four years of fine-motor occupational therapy and handwriting help, plus six months of "Noah is demonstrating some red flags for dyslexia, let's keep our eyes on that" (BECAUSE THE FUN JUST NEVER STOPS), it completely thrills me to see him pick up a crayon and just...write, sounding out letter after letter, making the more non-phonetic aspects of the English language his adorable, chicken-scratchy bitch.

(Thing #1 is a "SHUTTLECRAFT." From Star Trek, of course. But those are not actually readily available these days, since the cool kids are all into...I don't even know. Battle hamsters? Isn't that an actual thing? I also bought my nephew some of those Beyblade whatevers, which was a frightening and disorienting experience because I STILL HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I JUST PURCHASED. AM OLD AND EASILY STARTLED. But Jason was able to track down an acceptable die-cast shuttlecraft that's actually older than Noah himself, so now we just have to shake the guilt we feel over purchasing some collector's beloved mint-in-original-packaging life's work in order to indulge our six-year-old's current obsession du jour.)

(Things #2 and #3 are both Lego sets. Because we have 4,593,029 Legos in our house, which is not! enough! Legos! Even though my College Anxiety Dream [I have a final for a class I never attended and don't even know for sure where it is] and my Waitress Anxiety Dream [my section suddenly fills up with dozens of tables and no one is ordering from the menu and my pen doesn't work and the manager tells me I also have tables at the restaurant's other location so quick get on this bike and pedal on over before people get mad and leave] have both been replaced with the Lego Anxiety Dream [I'm trying to board a flight at the airport and Legos start falling out of my luggage, and as I frantically pick those up I realize there are actually hundreds of Legos scattered everywhere and I can never get them all and I wake up in a panic because DON'T TELL NOAH I LOST THE HARRY POTTER LEGO FIGURE'S HAIR OMG.])

Ezra has no such list, or even any specific requests besides "PWESENTS!" Sometimes he'll say "ZOMBIE PWESENTS!" but most of the time I sense he'd be thrilled to unwrap a giant box of those air-filled packing pillows that Amazon uses. Those are a good foot-stompin' poppin' time, you know. He's getting a baseball glove, a karate uniform and a first aid kit. 

And Baby Ike? Well, he's getting a couple hand-me-down baby toys that I plan to lovingly dab at with an antibacterial wipe and then wrap up nice for the photos. Sorry, kiddo. But this is ain't my first rodeo. I put you in a ridiculous vest and dragged you through dirty, contagious crowds of strangers and plopped you on some random old dude's lap while a woman in an elf costume waved bells and squeaky toys in front of your face. Clearly, I have more than fulfilled my holiday duties to overwhelm and bewilder you at every possible occasion. 



Sarah @

I'll bet The Bloggess could help you out with Zombie Pwesents =)

Also, SUCH A CUTE STINKING LIST! I love seeing kiddo handwriting!


Small, turtle-like infant FTW!


Love this! My kid, 3 years old in March, alternates between "pink present" and "cowboy present" as her requests. Mmm hmm. So she's getting Jessie and Woody from Toy Story wrapped in pink paper. That's it kid, take it or leave it. ;-)

I especially love Noah's letter, it's fantastic.


If all the Lego bricks ever produced were to be divided equally among the world's population, each person would have 62 Lego bricks.

Scary but true wikipedia FACT.


"I have a final for a class I never attended and don't even know for sure where it is"
So is this is one of those dreams everyone has? I just thought it was my sub-conscience beating me up (still - at 38) for flushing my post secondary education opportunities down the toilet by skipping classes to hang out in the pub.

Oooh I hope everyone else has that dream too. I love feeling somewhat normal.


I love your Lego anxiety dream - that's hilarious. Also loving Noah's writing, and I totally almost read item no. 1 - I thought it might be Subtle Craft, maybe... hmmm. Yours is better.
My three-year-old wants another baby. Because 16 or whatever she has now is not enough.


You have the best looking Mall Santa EVER! And some pretty cute kiddies, too.

Angela (@Aferg22)

Your children are adorable! We got lucky this year with our visit to Santa- we found the time "sweet spot" at Bass Pro Shop and only had to wait in line 10 minutes. But the picture with Santa has some deer in the background, so there's that. At least they haven't been hunted yet!

I have never had the nightmare about a final exam, but I TOTALLY had the waitressing nightmares! I still have them, and I haven't waited tables in 13 years. So now, not only do I have a full restaurant of tables that all were seated at the same time with no one to help me, but they have changed the menu and I don't know what all the side choices are. I wake up exhausted every time.


My mother-in-law sent us not one, not two, not three, but FOUR sweater vests for my son (he's two). My prediction is that he wears none of them.

bethany actually

Noah's list is AWESOME. Go, Noah! Merry Christmas to you all. :-)


LOVES it!!! I too have 3 kiddos (they somehow managed to become ages 11, 9 and almost 6 somehow already) and we still do the trek to see Mall Santa every year JUST so I can add another one to my fancy accordian stand-up thingy-that frames about 15 pictures...every year I confess when I drag this thing out and set it up in our dining room I marvel at who they were compared to who they are now and get misty-eyed for the days when there was plenty of room on Santa's lap. Doing the pilgrimage tonight actually....


Now all you need is a GIRL on his lap! Get to that!


I am mom of the universe. Never done Mall Santa. Never plan to do Mall Santa. Always want to do Mall Santa. The list makes me grin so hard, especially b/c of your comment of all the tests and the developmental fun. Kid's gonna be fine (is fine). Also, I threw the motherfucking legos away once I stepped on one for the 15th time in 15 different locations in ONE DAY. Noooooooooooow I get why my evil mother got rid of mah weeble wobbles. (They made HER fall down).


for Ezra..1st aide kit..good choice!!

I only have 1 child so..i still love doing the holiday Santa Mall thingy..& guess what..we live by the Mall Of America!! so imagine standing in that line!!

Jen W

My twins, just turned two, keep asking for cheese when we inquire what they'd like Santa to bring. Cheese.


I thought the paper Noah is holding in his hands was his list and I thought his was quite an impressive wish list.

That is a great picture. You have such beautiful boys.


It looks like Ike is wishing his milk machine were not so far away.


I too have the "I have a final for a class I never attended and don't even know for sure where it is" dream. At the end of the dream I'm relieved to remember that I passed high school the first time but just wanted to go another 4 years for fun so this exam really doesn't matter after all. Weird!

Also, my 2 year old girl requested a baby doll (check), animal toys (check) and red cars (?). Guess who went out and bought Hot Wheels for her? I never thought I'd be buying Hot Wheels for a daughter!


What? No one is screaming? Win.


Great Christmas list and even better Christmas picture. :)


Not to be picky or anything, but why are there two different Santa lists? One is in multi-color, but the other is all red. Did Noah write several?


I love Noah's Christmas list. I thought I'd be all clever and figure it out but I was trying to sound out the wrong syllables (ie "shuttlec" "raft"). That is some extremely good sounding-out he did there.

I also totally love that you're wrapping up toys you already have for ike :).

This year I bought my kids some Gerber silverware (so the big boy could practice cutting with a knife, and the little one has spoons that are not baby spoons holding exactly 1/16 of a teaspoon and also not an adult spoon) and figured, what the hey, I'll put it in their stockings. I then proceeded to talk up how exciting it would be to have some new spoons that match our forks. Fast forward a week: my 2yo decided on her own to ask Santa for a candy cane and a spoon [although she froze up when it was actually time to talk to him, robbing me of all my fun]. The 3yo stuck with just the candy cane. Easiest Christmas ever!


Overwhelm and bewilder! Bwahhaha!


Love, love, LOVE the Santa pic!! Your boys are handsome. (And no one is crying, so this must be miracle Santa. No wonder there was a line.)


I must congratulate you on having 3 not-crying children on Santa's lap, simultaneously nonetheless. If not for the photographic evidence in front of my very eyes, I would never believe such a thing to be possible!


This is what I love about living in the middle of nowhere. We've seen Mall Santa THREE TIMES this year, and have never waited behind more than one kid.

Also, my three-year-old daughter who has recently fallen in LURVE with The Nutcracker and ballet in general has asked for exactly three things from Santa:
1 - Candy
2 - Candy canes
3 - Trucks



He will also be bringing her some ballerina panties. Which "he" purchased at the same time as the set of mini Tonka trucks.

Erica Hettwer

I had the college dream last night!!! Ack!!!


Such a cute photo! I am also heading out to mall Santa this weekend, and all I'm hoping is that they ask him for things that (a) exist, and (b) I can afford.


What a great photo! What are the odds of all three kids looking at the camera, not crying, and actually looking cute? I don't know if I've ever seen it done before. Well done.


Holy cow - I have that haven't studied and have to take the final dream ALL the time. And I graduated from college kind of a long time ago. Make it stop!!! Maybe when my boys are a few years older they'll get Legos and my college dream will finally be replaced by a variation of your Lego dream. I'm not sure that's an improvement, but at least it'll be something different.


@mel: The multicolor one was the "original" list, that after I lovingly photographed and Instragramed and swore I would keep it forever and ever AMEN...we could not find ANYWHERE on the day we planned to go see Santa. I don't know what happened to it.

I was actually more upset than Noah was, and he cheerfully sat down and re-wrote all three things on a new list, which is the one he showed Mall Santa. (Though I think "Shuttlecraft" got even more butchered the second time around.)

Nancy Gould


SO funny - I also have horrible waitressing nightmares even though it's been awhile, and the WORST one was having tables at two restaurants across town from each other. hysterical!!!!


I'm sorry, but this post is hilarious and I just had to say so. I have 3 kids this year, and there was absolutely NO WAY I was going to take them to get a Santa photo. Good going to you. You made it happen. I figured I'd put a stop to the tradition before it started. Hope you and your family have a great Christmas.

Helen Spencer

Santa: What would u like for Xmas?
Ollie(4): A power ranger
Mummy(silently): Check
Ollie: And some Lego Star Wars stuff
Mummy: Check
Ollie: Oh, and a Wii
Mummy: Whaaaaat? WTF did that come from?!!!!


Yes, battle hamsters are a real thing. They're called Zhu Zhu pets, they are kind of cute, they can be purchased at Bartell's, and my kids played with them for about 4 minutes over the past year.


I just took my 6.5 month old to see Santa..she looked at him like "Who's THIS asshole?" and refused to smile..until his good looking, teenage "Santa's Helper" dude came along and she was all gums and happiness. Yes, she's trampish already..sigh..I was sweating like a pig from the nervousness - rookie. Hopefully next year will be better.

Printable bingo cards

LOVE the Santa pic!! Your boys are handsome. And no one is crying.
I love this sharing.

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