So, here is the situation: I've tried to perfect the best time to get to the mall to get the girls' on Santa's lap for three years straight. Our first year here, we went after afternoon naps-- by the time that the girls were up, dressed, and through the mall parking lot, we got to the magical Santa photo-op kingdom just as they were putting the chains up with the woman saying, "sorry! We have to stop here for Santa to get dinner." What?! It was only 4:30!! But the line in front of us was forever long and I guess that ol' Saint Nick would need a break by the time that the end got to him. So I pleaded with the elf-dressed-lady, and I guess that she had some pity for me- this woman who was still trying to figure out how to balance life with a toddler and a newborn. So we stood in the long line, got the picture, and left around (they were right!) dinnertime.
Last year, I opted to go one weekday morning after Caroline's morning nap. There were LOTS of kids there on field trips (I don't remember ever taking a field trip to the mall to visit Santa!), but the girls were older, and handled it well.
So, I wanted to repeat the same thing this year. I guess I didn't factor in the fact that Caroline no longer takes morning naps. We got there right at 10:00 and nuzzled in line right behind about 50 kids in matching t-shirts (another field trip). Suddenly, another elf-dressed-lady was tapping my back saying, "Sorry, ma'am. This is a special group with an appointment. Santa doesn't do pictures until 11:00." I guess I didn't seem as desperate this year, because I was sent away with an hour to kill with two girls who really didn't understand why 50 other kids could see Santa, but they couldn't. After riding the carasol and playing at the fountain for about half an hour, we finally just sat ourselves down outside the chain to ensure our place in line. When we were finally granted entrance into that magical Santa photo-op kingdom, there was indeed quite a line already forming behind us. The girls were giddy with excitement. They were practicing what they would say to Santa. They were laughing and I was feeling the Christmas spirit. Then we turned the corner and saw Santa, and they lost it. Aly was pulling on and hiding behind my pants, Caroline was screaming bloody-murder and burying her head in my shoulder. I let another family ahead of us so the girls could see that the old man really was safe. Finally, Aly went over and sat on his lap and started shyly listing what she hoped to get for Christmas. And this was where I made my fatal mistake: I took out my camera to take a picture of the moment. I snapped one really cute one, then Caroline started going crazy again. I could feel myself sweating. People behind us were getting frustrated. The elf-dressed-lady was trying to hurry us along and even Santa seemed a little impatient. So I did the only thing I could think to do: I threw my camera over to the stroller and sat down (for the second year in a row) next to Santa, my hair unwashed, my outfit not so cute, and my crying child. There, got the picture. The only problem is that I do not have the same basketball skills as my husband so the camera that I tried to throw into the stroller landed about a foot shy on the hard, mall floor.
So, again, for the third time this year, my camera is broken and unable to download pictures to my computer. Perfect timing: who needs a camera around Christmas?!? Chad's been on a roadtrip for several days, so he has yet to hear the disappointing, yet somehow unsuprising news that our family is again camera-less. Who'da thought motherhood could be such a contact sport?!