This year's tree. Fancy photo editing by Mark.
In early December we made our annual visit to see Santa at Tiny Tots. Last year Julia tolerated Santa and James lasted about 10 seconds on Santa’s lap before bawling. This year, well, as soon as they saw Santa they started to howl. Beforehand I told other moms how sometimes the best Santa pictures are the ones where they’re crying. But then after seeing the tears on my own kids' faces I felt horrible. Thankfully they seem to have emerged unscathed. When we show them the picture they both point at it and excitedly exclaim, "Santa!" It's funny that they recognize themselves in the picture but it doesn't seem to register with them at all how unhappy they are in that moment.
For the first time I helped my mom make the traditional Mikulis family Christmas morning breakfast. I countered her pork-heavy part of the proceedings with a line-up of Hanukkah-friendly Trader Joe’s foods, including potato latkes and powdered sugar-dusted Danish pancakes (a.k.a. sufganiyot).
Before breakfast, Julia makes Uncle Michael ride the horsey while she rides the zebra.
Papa toasts with a slice of bacon.
Mommy steals a kiss from James in the kitchen.
James and Julia wore their matching reindeer pajamas with reindeer feet ($1 each at a garage sale) and opened their gifts.
Julia opens Sesame Street figurines and then has to smell each one.
"Mmm... Cookie Monster-scented!"
Since the babies, particularly James, are obsessed with getting the mail each day Mommy and Daddy got them their own mailbox.
Daddy reads over a wooden postcard and sends it via toddler mail.
James has always been fascinated by pictures on the wall...
In fact, here he is at one month looking at pictures over Mommy's shoulder.
This is the only photo I got of the babies in their matching pajamas where they're actually sitting on the couch...
In the afternoon the babies wore their dress-up clothes and we put a bunch of wrapped presents in front of them to play with. I held my breath hoping nothing inside was TOO breakable.
Julia's not happy about waking from her nap... or Mommy taking her picture.
I sure hope there's nothing breakable in that one.
Julia does her best Spanish dancer impression.
"Darling, make sure they pull the car around, IMMEDIATELY... I shan't be late to the opera!"
Daddy helps the babies ride their new PlasmaCar.
Then Daddy rides
Papa pretends to eat James.
We planned to have the adults open their gifts after the babies were asleep like we did last year, because we didn’t think James and Julia's attention spans would last the two hour gift onslaught. But Julia, possibly keyed up after a day of activities or having heard us in the living room, decided that tonight she’s not going to sleep. After an hour and a half of trying to get her down, we gave up and let her open gifts with us until midnight. She had a ball helping us rip open paper and needed help crossing the river of gift-related refuse. We regretted not opening gifts earlier in the day so James could have joined us too.
Julia helps Papa open his gift.
The gift of Julia is the gift that keeps on giving.
Mommy helps transport Julia over the river of gift wrap.
Here's our 2011 holiday letter.