Santa Who?

I'm just going to say it.
I don't let my kids "believe" in Santa Claus.

Now, before you inhale dramatically and prepare a care package full of "magic" for my poor, neglected children...

I'm not the Grinch, okay?
I don't shut down any inkling of wonder or mention of the big red man. I don't block all mention of Santa or forbid them from ANYTHING to do with him. They know who Santa is. They know he's a big part of the whole "Christmas Experience."

But they also know where their gifts come from. They know WHO they come from.
If you ask Jaxon who gave him his wooden farm house, he'll tell you, "Grandma and Grandpa gave me that."
If you ask him what Santa got him, he'll give you one of those, "oh honey" glances and start listing off every single thing he's ever gotten.
He's three, remember?

I'm not lazy. I don't have a vendetta.

I have 3 main reasons.

We all have them, and kids are no exception. Especially as they get older. By eliminating the "be good and you'll get all the gifts on your list" idea, I'm teaching Jaxon to appreciate what he gets and also who gifted him. I'm also saving him a LITTLE bit from the disappointment of having friends who got WAY more than you. He may not always be understanding, but at least he won't think he wasn't good enough. It doesn't really lift the pressure off me, but I'm hoping it will shift the focus from materialism to selflessness.

It's true. How can I expect my boys to trust my word and respect me enough to listen, if I'm feeding them lies about a man who flies through the night, a rabbit that drops off candy, or a tiny fairy that pays them to take their teeth? Jax already calls out my bullshit. I'm not "ruining his childhood" by sucking out the magic. I'm refusing to lie to him. He's got such a great imagination, and sees magic in all kinds of things, like baking cookies, petting a bunny or meeting Spiderman at Comicon. He's not missing out on anything, except disappointment and confusion...at least until he's older. I keep very little from him, to be honest. Of course, I keep certain truths for later. I'm not insensitive. But for the most part, I'm up front with him. Because he understands way more than he gets credit for. He remembers what I tell him, too!
Trust me, one of the first things you learn as a parent is that kids are listening even when you don't think they are. I'm still his mom, I still tell him what's up, but I'm more concerned with keeping a line of communication open than whether or not Christmas is "magical" enough for him.

I was not one of those kids that begged to sit on Santa's lap or stay up all night to catch a glimpse of him leaving me presents. I was the shy kid that avoided Santa at all costs. If he was at the mall, I'd walk behind my mom so he wouldn't see me. If I had to pee in the middle of the night, I'd hold it so I wouldn't have to leave my room and risk seeing a fat man in a red suit sneaking into my house. I was terrified of him.
And honestly...rightfully so. Think about it.
Let's tell our three year old that a strange old man (old as in like...centuries old) in a ridiculous red outfit keeps a record of them at all times (even when they're sleeping), and based on that, employs a bunch of tiny people to hand craft the toys they wrote on a list and mailed to him, where he lives...at the North Pole (which is under water, btw). He then puts all of the toys in a huge bag, loads onto his sleigh, which is then pulled by nine magical flying reindeer (one of which has an actual glowing red nose....like a headlight), ALL over the world leaving gifts, drinking milk and eating cookies...in ONE night.
Oh, and he tours the world by visiting malls so kids can sit on his lap and get their picture taken with him.
Doesn't sound shady at all. Totally healthy.

Yet I'M the one f*cking up my kids....okay sure.

Look, all I'm saying is I'd rather explain the history of St. Nick and attempt to avoid bratty demanding butt holes for kids, than force feed them the lies I was fed, just because I was fed lies. I'll hand him a Harry Potter book and show him a bunch of beautiful sunsets if he needs more magic. He'll be fine.

I am by no means saying you're the worst parent if you tell your kids Santa gave them their gifts. It probably just means you're less bitter and cynical than me. I don't think you'll "ruin" your kids. I'm in no way certified to make a claim like that, even if I wanted to.

 Just know that my kids will most likely "spoil" it for your kids at some point. You've been warned.


I Almost Made It!

Well....I was SO CLOSE to completing my streak of at least one blog post a month for a YEAR...
but I never made time to knock one out before November ended...
I'm actually incredibly sad about it. I had a plan and an idea and then Thanksgiving/Black Friday week/weekend happened and my work schedule turned insane and I forgot how to function like a sane human for a minute.

I'll get over it. In the meantime, let's do a very late recap.

I did manage to ALMOST accomplish one pretty impressive goal. That was to take family Christmas photos, order cards and send them out by the BEGINNING of December.
We actually bought "ugly" sweaters from Walmart, took photos using the tripod Josh got me for Christmas last year, in our bedroom in front of the only well lit, empty wall in our tiny house. I hung up a $1 Merry Christmas banner over our heads, dressed the kids and set the timer on my Nikon. It took us about an hour total, getting just enough good shots that we needed. The kids handled it amazingly, the lighting was perfect, I edited the photos and ordered the cards that night, and we returned the sweaters the next day.

Did I mention we accomplished this within the FIRST WEEK of NOVEMBER??
Yeah, I was pumping my mom fists so high that week. 

Well, almost.
I'm still working on practicing my hand lettering/calligraphy skills addressing them all, so they haven't actually been SENT OUT yet....but I started them and now that I have all the addresses I need, it's just a matter of knocking them out, finding stamps and stuffing the mailbox.
Yeah, I know....don't count my ducks before they hatch.

Either way, we look awesome.

Both my kids love the camera, but they were extra hammin it up that day. I will honestly cherish these photos forever. I adore my perfect little family.

Speaking of family...
I may or may not have WILLED this newest addition to the Markle household with all my wishful thinking, dreaming, longing and straight up WHINING about missing having a feline in the family for 2 years.


Here's the whole story...
It all started on a freezing cold Saturday night. I had just gotten off work at what I thought was a really good time. 10:15pm. I was in my car just one street over from where I work when...
My car broke down.
I had no choice but to call Josh, who I knew had probably just put the kids to bed, to drive 45 minutes with tired, screaming children, to come rescue me.
We had to leave my car there until we had daylight, rest and a gameplan.
We managed to be able to get it to a mechanic that was located just 20 minutes from there. We had to use back farm roads to get there and all I could think about was "how are we going to afford Christmas gifts, a down payment for a house we were hoping to find come spring, and NOW possibly a new car??"

This is all vital information. Trust me.
I explained all of that because when we were on our way home from picking up the car from the mechanic, we were driving along one of the back roads, surrounded by fields and trees. Josh was in front in my car and I was in his car with the boys. 
Suddenly he stops and I watch as this TINY creature runs off the road in front of him and between a bush and tree nearby. I thought it looked like a baby rabbit at first, but it had a longer tail.
Josh immediately gets out and gently coaxes the creature out and into his arms.
He then walks over to my side of the car, opens his jacket, and there I see it.

The TINIEST little grey kitten I have ever seen. Shivering and purring and clinging to Josh.
"I found him." Was all he said.

There is no doubt in my mind that our baby Goblin {name and gender still pending} was the product of local barn cats not being spayed/neutered like they should. This baby was all alone, laying on the road in the sun trying to soak up any warmth he/she could find. Starving too. I've never seen a kitten so small eat so ferociously. 

I mention my car dilemma because, as stressful and chaotic as it always is, IF MY CAR HADN'T BROKEN DOWN, WE WOULD HAVE NEVER BEEN ON THAT ROAD AT THAT MOMENT TO MEET THIS CAT.

I refuse to think about the alternatives. There are none.
We were MEANT to find him/her.
He/She needed us. 

And now our family is complete with the best kitten anyone could ever ask for.
It's been two weeks and I can't imagine our life without this perfect little creature.

So yeah, I've been a little preoccupied with reflecting on life, purpose and the universe's way of keeping everything balanced. I'm in awe. 

I'll end this with a quote from one of my favorite movies, one that has become unexpectedly relevant a lot in my life,

"When God throws a curve ball, don't duck.
You just might miss something.."