Friday, December 30, 2005

Bedroom Makeovers on a Budget

This is what I've been doing this week:

I decided a month or so ago that I wanted to switch Dani's and the boys' rooms. For many logistical reasons, it just made better sense for Dani to move into their room, and vice versa.

1. Dani's old room had a tiny closet, and a teenaged girl NEEDS closet space. The boys' bedroom has a huge one.
2. The boys' old room is wall-to-wall windows - not such a good thing for boys who are heavily into swordplay and general rough-and-tumble play.

So we scheduled this week to do it (since Habitat didn't need us yet in the Gulf Coast region - that's where I'd have RATHER been).

The boys' room was painted blue, but it wasn't a shade of blue that would work for Dani's stuff. (We could've MADE it work, but she hated the color, so we painted.) We sort of inherited an antique brown iron bed a year or so ago, (actually, a friend has been storing it in our garage, and after several failed attempts to get her to move it out, we decided to put it to good use! lol!)and we decided to build the room's theme around that. We bought a quilted throw before Christmas for $20, and I won a Pottery Barn Teen canopy on eBay for next to nothing. So, using those three colors - brown, blue and green, we picked paint colors and got to painting! At the last minute, we decided to add some pink. Dani is in love with the results! Her friends keep saying, "BROWN? You painted your room BROWN?" I can't wait 'til they actually see it. It's gorgeous, I tell you! The whole time I was painting, I SWEAR, I smelled chocolate!



We decided to put Dani's desk inside the closet. It fits perfectly in one half of it and makes a perfect secluded nook for her to study in!

Paint and Supplies: $60
Brown sheets on clearance at Mervyn's: $12.50
Green Quilt: $20 at Marshall's
Blue Canopy: $35 on eBay
Vintage-looking hanging light on clearance at Bed, Bath and Beyond: $5
Brown Canvas Totes for under-bed clothes storage: $20
TOTAL: $152.50

Dani's old room was painted a deep red with crazy stripes that matched her duvet cover. At first I planned to repaint it for the boys, but I ran out of time this week and changed my plans today at about 3 o'clock. Instead, I used the brown paint from Dani's new room and covered the stripes. I wasn't thrilled with the look, so I decided to hot glue some rope to the edges of the brown border to set it apart. But when I got home from Home Depot with the rope, a lightning bolt went off in my head and I used it to spell the boys' names instead.



Yes, there are three beds in here, counting the bunks. The chest-of-drawers bed used to be Dani's, and it has a hidden compartment underneath that the boys love to hide in and play in. They'll be ecsatic to have that bed in their room!

paint: $0 (leftovers from Dani's)
comforters: $25 apeice on clearance at Mervyn's
brown sheets: $37.50 for 3 beds' worth - clearance at Mervyn's
rope: 100 feet for $6.50 at Home Depot (I used every inch!)
hot glue: $0 (already had on hand)
TOTAL: $94.00

I'll take more pics once I get the rooms cleaned and fully put back together. But right now, I'm so excited that the hard part's DONE! The boys have no idea we've done this. They've been at Grandma's all week. I'll go to Oklahoma and pick them up tomorrow, and they'll be surprised tomorrow night! :D

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Christmas Day

I woke up the morning after my last post, saw the fabric lying on the kitchen table, and thought, "Am I a FREAK? Did I really consider giving my 5-year old a box of FABRIC in the wee hours of last night?" And right then and there, I dragged out my sewing machine and whipped up a blankie with said material. Aidan loved it. :-)

The gifts I made for my sister were received with shouts of joy, but were quickly followed by tears. First, she opened the purse. It was a complete surprise to her, and it's safe to say that she loved it. :-)

Next, she opened the scrapbook pages. These weren't exactly a surprise, as she had specifically requested pages and had even provided the pictures - a mishmash of photos from our dad's childhood and ours. But the way I put them together surprised her. I watched with pride and love as the tears slipped down her cheeks. It was the best part of the entire day. :-) You can see the purse and the scrapbook pages HERE.

I gave Darren and Dani tickets to a "hobbit feast". They'll watch all three LOTR movies in succession - a 12-hour marathon. They'll be served 7 hobbit meals throughout the day. The whole thing takes place at a theater in Austin, so they'll make a weekend of it- a Daddy/Daughter date! They were both thrilled. :-)

Ian's favorite gift was the coveted Spiderman webshooter and light-up mask that Santa brought. And an 88-cent sword that Grandma put in his stocking.

Darren gave me a glass ornament of Bass Hall - our beloved "angel building" in downtown Fort Worth. He also gave me a slinky black nightie, the complete collection of Hemingway's short stories, and computer Scrabble, which we've been playing on his laptop at night in bed. Just like the early days of our marriage, except back then, we used an actual game board, with tiles that slid around with every hint of movement on the bed. We are Scrabble NERDS, baby! :-)

On Christmas Day, I had the most wonderful blessing of getting to hold my brand-new nephew! He was born 8 weeks premature and was 2 weeks old on Christmas day, weighing in at a whopping 4 pounds, 13 ounces. His little head fit perfectly in the palm of my hand. SO TINY!! He was bright-eyed and perfectly beautiful. He's having problems with apnea and eating, but as soon as he can remember to breathe on a regular basis, he'll be cleared to go home. His name is Dawson. He's my first nephew on my side of the family, and I can't wait to spoil him rotten! :-)

Friday, December 23, 2005


Hoo BOY! This is my favorite thing in the whole wide WORLD!!

I've picked the perfect gift for Darren, and I'm busting at the seams to give it to him.

I've found the PERFECT book for Dani, and I want her to open it now!

I found the perfect fabric for Aidan's blankie. It'll be an exact replica (only bigger) of his beloved baby blankie... black satin on one side and furry leopard print on the other. He LOVES that thing, and is constantly bemoaning the fact that he's too tall for it now. So I'm making him a BIGGER one. 'Cept about 2 minutes ago, I gave myself permission to just wrap up the fabric and sew it next week. He'll get to drag the two big chunks of fabric around for a few days, and I think he'll enjoy that. And seeing as how I leave town in 9 hours, I'm likin' the idea a LOT. Even so, I can't wait to give it to him.

Santa scored THE dream gifts for the boys (yes, I finally found out what they wanted. I think I wore them down until they caved and TOLD me, lol).

But what I'm most excited about giving this year are the two gifts for my sister. I can not WAIT for her to open them!! I'd post about 'em here, but she reads this thing faithfully, silly girl that she is.

I feel like the lady on those old Mervyn's commercials, standing at the door saying "Open Open Open". That's how I feel about Christmas morning. "Open Open Open Open!!" I can't wait to give my gifts! :-)

Merry Christmas to you all!


I am so BLESSED.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


Darren and I went walking tonight. Yah, I know. Most of you are saying, "Huh. Big deal."

But it IS a big deal! We walked for about 45 minutes, some of it hand-in-hand, some of it not. We criss-crossed our neighborhood, slowing to gaze at extraordinary Christmas displays, but mostly keeping a brisk pace. We saw details on houses that we've never noticed just driving by. We inspected a tree that got taken out by an out-of-control-car-on-ice last week. We picked out the houses on the bluff that we'd love to buy someday (when that unexpected bag o' money lands on our doorstep).

We enjoyed it so much that we decided to make it a quasi-nightly thing. Just us. A date that doesn't include dinner out - that saves us money AND calories. YAY! :-)


1 MINUTE AGO: checking blogs and copying Sue's
1 HOUR AGO: cleaning up Chinese-food puke that Aidan spattered all over my feet. Thank the good Lord for wood floors.
1 DAY AGO: getting 2 inches chopped off of my hair. (kept the growing-out bangs, though)
1 WEEK AGO: working my hiney off on the Coleman job, listening to Christmas music in my scraproom. Was gonna work all night, but turned in at 3:30 instead.
1 MONTH AGO: I can't remember, and I didn't blog on that day, so I can't even cheat. But I was probably cleaning my house in preparation for Thanksgiving. OH WAIT! I think that's the day Angela came over and I created a banner for her blog.
1 YEAR AGO: it snowed around this time last year. We took photos of our house in lights. It was beautiful.
1 DECADE AGO: Dani was four and an only child, Darren and I been married almost 5 years, we were living in a rented duplex in Lake Worth, and I decorated with reindeers that my Aunt Carolyn had spent all year collecting for me.
1 SCORE AGO: I was a junior in high school, dating a great guy named Keith. My Mom liked him a LOT, so figuring that there must be something wrong with him, we broke up over the holidays.
1 QUARTER CENTURY AGO: I was 11 years old. I probably had my heart set on a Crayola turn-around thingy that housed all the crayons with their perfect points up. It was in the Sears catalog. I asked for that thing for YEARS, and never got it. Funny thing... my Pampered Chef tool caddy thing has always reminded me of the Crayola one. Maybe that's why I haven't gotten rid of it, even though it's SO not cute on my kitchen counter. :-)

Monday, December 19, 2005

Magic Time

I don't recall the moment that I stopped believing. I think it was a gradual awakening, rather than a sudden burst of clarification. But I do remember the first Christmas that I didn't believe.

I was the oldest of 5 siblings, all of whom still believed. Our Christmas Eve ritual was that we all five slept in my room, since it was the furthest from the Christmas tree. We were under strict orders to NOT open the bedroom door, under any circumstances, lest Santa look down from his sleigh and see us peeking. If that were to happen, he'd skip right past our house, and there was no way we were gonna risk THAT fate. For years, we all spent that night gazing out my bedroom window, watching the night grow darker above the big pecan tree, its bare branches silhoutted against the East Texas sky. For years, we'd watch and wonder, wishing we knew where Santa was at that very moment, afraid that if we blinked too long or turned away at the wrong second, we'd miss him flying by.

But THAT Christmas, I didn't bother looking out the window. Instead, I sat on my bed in the dark, listening with every bone in my body for clues as to what was happening down the hall. For I knew the truth: Santa had nothing to do with a fat man in a red suit. There was no sleigh. There were no elves. Instead, there was a rickety shed in the backyard with a padlock, a crawlspace in the ceiling of the carport, and the toolbox on the back of Dad's truck. I listened for the squeaky screen door hinges to open and close. I listened for the rustle of wrapping paper. I strained to hear the sounds of screws being tightened, of tape being torn from the dispenser, of hushed whispers between Mom and Dad.

Long after my siblings had fallen asleep, I laid there. And listened. The house was still and quiet. The pecan branches cast dancing shadows on my bedroom wall as they Christmas Waltzed in the winter breeze. The breathing in the room slowed and became background music to the scenarios that played in my head. I couldn't WAIT for morning. It was torture to lie there knowing that Christmas was already spread out across the living room like game pieces on a checkerboard. In this corner, Bobbie's pile. David's loot would be on one end of the couch, Rodney's on the other. Clay's would be on the coffee table, and mine would be piled on the recliner. The gifts from Santa would be unwrapped. The gifts under the tree, which all month had remained a mystery, would be piled up behind the Santa stuff. (Mom never put names on the gifts - instead, she designated a secret wrapping paper design to each of us, and we didn't learn which one was ours until Christmas morning.)

I waited and waited for sunrise, so that at last, we could bound from our prison room and into a world of wonder. I waited for hours. I finally determined that the sun would NEVER rise, and after a good half-hour of self-coaching, I finally worked up the nerve....

to tiptoe from the bed, gingerly stepping over the bodies of my sleeping brothers. I stood at the door, my ear to the hollow wood, until I felt brave enough to turn the handle. Slowly, so slowly. When it would turn no more, I eased the door open. Carefully, so carefully, so as not to make a sound, I crept in to the hallway. The carpet crunched beneath my bare feet. My shiny gown swished with every step. From around the corner, I could see the glow of the Christmas tree lights, and I was drawn to them, moving forward stealthily without taking a breath.

It was my magic time. I'd never experienced it alone before. I'd never seen it so calm and serene. All my life, Christmas morning had been a rush of kids, yelling, laughing, squealing, ripping into paper, climbing over each other, Mona yapping and jumping at all the commotion. But this morning, it was just me. I walked from pile to pile, bending down to see up close, but not daring to touch, everyone's gifts. I was giddy with excitement. I couldn't WAIT. I just couldn't wait.

And so I ran back to my bedroom, threw open the door, flipped on the light, and exclaimed, "SANTA CAME! Y'ALL GET UP, SANTA CAME!"

In a flash, all five of us were flying down the hall. Within a minute, the magic was gone, as the room filled with gales of laughter, squeals of delight, and Mona yapping at all the excitement.

Within a minute and a half, Mom and Dad came stumbling bleary-eyed into the room, rubbing their eyes and trying to make sense of it all.

"What in the WORLD!" exclaimed Mom. "It's 1:30 in the morning!"

"Santa came!", we all exclaimed. I knew at that moment that Mom and Dad couldn't have possibly been in bed for more than an hour and a half. And I suppose I felt a little bit sorry for them, having to wake up so soon and face the day with a mob of greedy, toy-crazed, Christmas-morning-drunk kids. I'm sure I felt a tinge of guilt for being the cause of it all, but only a tinge. It was magical.

I knew, but no one else did, what Christmas morning looked like in quiet stillness. And 26 years later, that magic time is still my favorite part of Christmas day.

Saturday, December 17, 2005


Birthday party for the boys, which Aidan still says "was the best day of my life!" - done.

Beth Moore Bible Study, which Cara and I hosted in our homes on alternating weeks, which was good 'cause it made us keep our houses clean, but was bad 'cause it made us keep our houses clean - done.

Coleman job, all 168 pages of it, scrapbooked, proofed, invoiced - done! (still need to photograph it and deliver it, though. Was due Friday. Oops.)

Christmas shopping (mine) - done.

Christmas shopping (Mom's, 'cause she says SHE doesn't have time?) - done.

Christmas cards designed and created and mailed (42 of them, at least - still 30 or so to go) - done. (This after having to change plans completely at the very last second after the post office lost the package from the online store I ordered from. Bah Humbug.)

10-hour round trip to pick up my neices, who are spending a week with us - done.

All of my big obligations are behind me. My neices are here, school is out, the kids are happy, Darren is home - let the fun begin! :-)

Saturday, December 10, 2005


Shopped from noon 'til nine today. I'm WIPED!

Found the perfect pirate cake, which I'll pick up tomorrow just before the party.

Heard from online store - my package is in transit - should've been here yesterday. Maybe Monday. :)

Must clean house for party now.

So, I'll let Dani tell you the stories of the day.
Dani's Blog

In the meantime, I'll clean, unload the car after Darren and the boys are fast asleep, wrap their presents so I don't have to worry about hiding them, and then I'll sleep fast. 'Cause tomorrow is another day! :)


I always have my Christmas cards made and mailed by now. ALWAYS.
Even when Aidan was born 5 weeks early, I had birth announcement-Christmas cards in the mail 6 days after his arrival. I worked on 'em in the hospital, I kid you not. (Ok, so I am a nerd.)

This year, I designed my card with products I'd only seen online but hadn't actually felt up. I ordered the products for said cards on November 23 from a new online store. I still don't have them. I can't seem to get answers from the company about when they WILL be here. I was told that getting them by Dec 5 or 6 wouldn't be a problem. Here it is December TENTH, and I'm stressed. Maybe a box will show up tomorrow. 'Course, I won't have time between now and next Wednesday to even work on 'em. Stress.

AIDAN is FIVE!! When he woke up, I said, "Aidan! You're five years old now!" He said, "I know! I get to go to KINDERGARTEN!!!!" He cried his head off when I broke the news - Kindergarten doesn't start until next fall. I've always told him that he gets to go to Kindergarten when he's five. I never realized he took me completely literally. Lesson learned. Aidan is a literal kid.

Shopping day with Dani tomorrow. YAY! We'll have lots of fun and spend too much money. And since I'll be dragged into the mall by my mall-loving teenager, I'll compensate by having a Cinnabon and a Blue Moose coffee. And as I live and breathe, if those Sea Salt people try to get their hands on my hands again, I'm gonna tell them that shiny nails are against my religion.

Boys birthday party is Sunday. Tristan, Kristopher and Aidan all turned 5 this fall, and Ian turned 4. So for the second year in a row, we're having a group birthday party. This year's theme is PIRATES. Argh, ye mateys. Don't let me forget to find and order the perfect cake tomorrow. Stress.

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

I am not a nerd matter WHAT my friends might say. HMPF. But I'll probably never live this entry down, and will be forevermore branded Nerd Of All Time, 'cause I'm about to wax antarctic about the weather.

It's COLD. Oh, my friends, the weather outside is indeed frightful. But there's no delightful fire to speak of, although the electric heater aiming into my scrap room sure is doin' a good job. Too bad I'm sitting in the other room cursing the draft that's coming in through the front door. As I type, it's 17 (yes, SEVENTEEN) degrees outside. Inside, judging by the T.H.O. factor, it's hovering somewhere around 46. Yowza.

Some of you - the ones who live in uninhabitable places like Minnesota and Michigan and Wisconsin - are no doubt shaking your heads and calling me a crybaby. Go ahead. I hope your tears freeze to your eyelashes. See? I'm so cold I can't even make sense. Who's crying now?

I am a TEXAN. My warm blood is not accustomed to this. Just this past Saturday, a mere FIVE days ago, I was out stringing lights on the house, wearin' a t-shirt and no shoes. I was sweaty. We broke a record that day for high temperature on December 3 - ninety degrees. I'm not a big fan of math, but even *I* can tell you that's a difference of - wait. Hold on. Gotta activate the computer's calculator - a difference of 73 degrees. That can't be normal. What happened to global warming??

I discovered an amazing phenomenon today. Did you know that when it's THIS COLD out, even if you feel warm, some of you is not? Did you know that when you touch the fatty parts of your body - say, your THIGH, or the cottage cheese on your butt cheek - that they're COLD to the touch? Yup. My arms, though exposed to the frigid air, feel room temperature. But my THIGH, snuggled up inside paint-splattered green sweatpants, feels cold. Amazing.

Tonight, I'm sleeping in socks. THAT is nerdy.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Happy Holidays!


I've been getting emails urging me to boycott Target and Home Depot and every other store that has defiled this season by not recognizing Christ as the reason for it. It seems that these businesses are wishing everyone "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas". Apparently, as a Christian, I'm supposed to be all bent out of shape about it.

But hold on to yourself: I'm not.

In fact, two years ago, my Christmas card didn't even mention Christmas. It said, "May this holiday season be filled with your favorite things."

I'm not offended by the new "trendy" greeting "Merry ChristmaHannuKwanzakuh". I do think it's silly. The first time I actually heard it was out of my SIL's mouth at Thanksgiving, and I thought, "Wow. I can't believe you just made your tongue SAY that. It's a mouthful!" I think whoever came up with it was trying to be cute - and failed. Happy Holidays works just fine for me.

I'm not offended that the Politically Correct have "taken Christ out of Christmas". My faith is MY faith, and however much I wish it were the world's faith, it's not. And I respect that. Christmas is still Christmas to me, no matter how Target advertises or what the White House says. My faith is strong. It can't be swayed by CNN or even the AFA.

I have a Christmas tree in my house, and Christmas lights hanging outside, and I send Christmas cards, even to my best friend, who is an atheist. She doesn't celebrate Christmas, but I don't exclude her from the good wishes that I send out. She knows the spirit in which I'm sending the card and doesn't take offense.

I wear my faith loudly. Everyone who knows anything about me knows that I'm a devout Christian. And those who know me REALLY well know that I pray for the world to know the same Christ that I know and serve. Sherilyn knows that I pray for her. She thinks it's silly and a waste of time, but she knows that I don't.

I do believe that Jesus is the reason for the season (although that cutesy ryhme-y phrase has always annoyed me), but I don't reserve December as the only time I fall to my knees in worship. I celebrate his birth, his life and his death all year long. I don't have to see "Merry Christmas" plastered all over everything to remember why I celebrate.

And I'm cognizant of the fact that everyone around me DOESN'T celebrate for the reason I do. I don't cram my faith down peoples' throats. I think that's a pretty good way to turn them off, actually. So why would I want to insist that the whole world recognize Christmas in the same way that I do? This world is diverse. This city is diverse. My BLOCK is diverse. I'm not offended by "Happy Holidays".

Stop telling me I should be.


Mike Straka says it better than I did...

Monday, December 05, 2005

College Bound

Dani's PSAT scores are in, and we received them tonight at a meeting for "high school freshman who are college bound". It would be a gross understatement to say that we're proud parents. We are GUSHING proud parents.

Dani scored in the top 20 out of a class of 600+ freshmen. Her Writing score was the highest in the school (she missed 4 out of 39 questions).

Before the meeting, Dani asked if we could go out and eat afterward. Darren and I both said no. We've been eating out WAY too much lately, and our checking account balance is choking because of it. But during the meeting, sometime after receiving her scores and listening to the Academic Advisor talk about the national average for juniors taking the SAT (which is more than 400 points below Dani's score), Darren leaned over and whispered, "I think we should take Dani out for a celebratory dinner." So we did. And we even let her order dessert. Which she then graciously shared with all of us.

"Dani, I'd just like to thank you for being so smart and making it look like we actually TAUGHT you something during those 3 years of homeschool." Much laughter ensued after that comment.

"How many days until I can go to this school?" asked Aidan, who was enthralled by the sea of purple lockers.

"Ten years," answered Dani. "Does that scare you, Mom?"

"No. What scares me is that in ten years, I'll be pushing 50."

Dani responded, "In ten years, I'll be 2 years into my post-college job."

So. She's planning on college, but it looks like she hasn't thought as far as grad school yet.

S'okay. There's plenty of time to think about that. I just wish the clock would SLOW DOWN.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

"And wuv, tru wuv, will fowow you foweva"

Often, I get asked how it is that Darren and I are so happy. Sometimes I'm the one asking! After all, he didn't plan to be married to a 100+ pounds-overweight woman when he said "I do." I marvel that he still thinks I'm beautiful. But I suppose that's the secret, really. He loves me so unconditionally, and I love him the same way.

Many years ago, things were not so blissful. The Depression Demon has his grips in me, and I could not be loved. Darren never gave up, even when I pushed him to...even when I pleaded with him to go...even when I was horrid and ugly and maniacal and mean. He saved my life, and I don't say that lightly.

Just this second, he noticed from across the room that I was scratching my back with a pencil. He jumped up from the couch and exclaimed, "Hweese! You should TELL me when you have an itch and I'll come over and scratch it for you." Then he took the pencil from my hand and scratched my back from top to bottom.

Friday morning, I went to bed at 7:00 after working all night. Darren and I talked before I dozed off, and he told me I was nuts for pulling an all-nighter. At noon, he called and said he was coming home for lunch. Usually when he says that (which isn't often, actually), I'm too lazy or busy or scheduled to make him anything; he slaps his peanut butter sandwich together by himself. But on Friday, I decided to make his favorite lunch of all time: macaroni and cheese. It took him forever to get home. The macaroni was getting gooey on the stove. Finally, he blew through the back door, beaming from ear to ear, carrying in his hands a Route 44 Diet Vanilla Coke from Sonic and an order of Cheddar Peppers. "I figured you'd need the caffeine today." He'd already eaten.

And THAT's what makes our marriage happy. Little things. We give selflessly every day. Sometimes it's as small as making macaroni and cheese when we're dead on our feet. Sometimes it's as insignificant as walking across the room to scratch an itchy back. Sometimes it's a random compliment, or a wink across the room, or eating at a restaurant that you don't even like.

It's the little things.
They never fail to add up.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Dad of the Year

It's like this. When I refer to myself as Mom of the Year, I'm being facetious and everyone knows it. It's laughable. But when I refer to Darren as Dad of the Year, it's with complete sincerity.

He's been working for months on a playhouse for the boys. He designed it, drew plans in his head ('cause he's smart that way), and built it from the ground up. Last week he put cedar shingles on it, and today he built the door. It still needs to be painted and have shutters installed, but other than that, it's finished. So tonight, he and the boys are breaking it in. They're having a camp-out in the backyard.

While Dani and I had Girls' Night Out (saw Pride and Prejudice... excellent movie), the boys were out back roasting hot dogs, eating Little Debbie Christmas Tree cakes, and playing cowboys. Now they're sleeping peacefully inside their newly built playhouse, rolled up like burritos in their sleeping bags. *sigh*

Thursday, December 01, 2005


On Saturday, as soon as my sister and her family walked through the door, Aidan told his cousin Brianna what we got her for Christmas.

"A Barbie car!" he exclaimed. "We bought you a Barbie car for Christmas!"

We actually haven't bought it yet, so I wasn't lying when I said, "No, we didn't. We did not buy you a Barbie car, Brianna. And AIDAN. Christmas presents are a secret that you're supposed to keep! If you can't keep the secrets, then you can't help buy the presents." I never know if those types of lectures sink in or not.

Flash forward to that afternoon. We took the kids to see Santa. I was too busy taking photos to be able to eavesdrop on the conversation Aidan was having with Old Saint Nick. When I asked him later, he refused to tell me. "It's a SECRET, Mom. I can't tell you!"

I've been trying for days. Aidan, PLEASE tell me what you asked for from Santa. I need to know so I won't buy you the same thing.

He's had several replies, including,
"If I tell you, the magic won't work."
"I can't tell you, 'cause it's a secret."
"I'm not telling you, 'cause you don't need to know. Only SANTA does."

Great. What a dilemma.
The kid's gonna be sorely disappointed on Christmas morning if this Santa can't get into his head between now and then.