The Magic of Santa

Despite my unwillingness to brave lengthy lines for the quads to see Santa, we’ve managed annual visits.  It helps that he makes an appearance at our local mothers of multiples Christmas party, which is where we’ve had our rendezvous the past two years.  This year, Sydney and Mason were willing to sit on Santa’s lap, but neither would chat.  I had to sit beside Santa for Harper and Rylin to approach him, and thankfully they obliged me for a picture.

At the ripe old age of three, Rylin is becoming a rather precocious sceptic.  When Bop, our Elf on the Shelf, appeared she informed everyone he was “Just a decoration.”  Sigh.  I haven’t gone out of my way to conjure up fantasies for her, but I’m not letting the magic slip away either.  I’ve been successful at turning all questions back on her, and in recent days she’s been weaving all sorts of magical stories about Santa and his North Pole cottage.  Yesterday I had to bite my lip when Rylin proclaimed that because Bop was facing away from her, he couldn’t see if she was naughty.  Today she was worried about the unseasonal warm weather we are having in Texas because, “Santa won’t come unless there’s snow, Mama.”  Despite my explanation that Santa lives where it snows and travels anywhere, poor girl is still worried he won’t come to Texas.


Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.
-Roald Dahl

Dearest Rylin, I hope you’ll always find a touch of magic in your days.  I promise, it makes life a bit sweeter.



The Reason for the Season

When my parents first got married, Mom worked at a Hallmark store.  While she worked there, she bought a small nativity set, which she used every Christmas while we were growing up.  When my sister and I were little, we had a grandiose Barbie Dream house, but Barbie found her home empty at Christmas.  At the time Mattel did not manufacture families for Barbie.  I think it was just Barbie, Ken, and Skipper.  At Christmastime we would take Baby Jesus from the nativity and he would serve as Barbie’s baby.   I guess he was sort of a foster child staying with Barbie and Ken for the month of December.  He did a beautiful job as Barbie’s baby and we generally got him back into his manger before Christmas.  However, at some point with all of our shenanigans, he went missing.  Of course, you can’t have a nativity without Baby Jesus so my mom removed the wings from the little cherub who resembled Baby Jesus and put him in the manger instead.  The cherub sort of looked like Baby Jesus, but he didn’t fit quite right in the manger and looked awkward.  Mom used the nativity with the cherub sitting in for Baby Jesus for years; I think always complaining about how we lost Baby Jesus.

One year Mom found a gorgeous jewel-toned nativity set at Bombay and Company and decided she didn’t need her incomplete nativity anymore.   By then I was in college and had my first apartment.  Mom gave me her old nativity since I didn’t have one, and I happily accepted it.   I soon discovered that Mom’s vintage nativity was actually a Fontanini set from Italy and they continued to make pieces for it.  I found a replacement Baby Jesus in a department store and added him to the nativity.  This new figurine was a Baby Jesus, but with his newness he didn’t fit in with the old nativity set quite right either.

When Dad was putting the Christmas decorations back into the attic that year, he saw something tiny glimmering between two rafters.  He shined a flashlight on the tiny object and discovered it was the original Baby Jesus.  As it turned out, we had not lost Baby Jesus after all.  He was in our house all along and right over head for all those years. I like to tell this story at this time of year because it is a reminder that He never leaves us alone even when we feel forgotten or forsaken.  It is also a message that I kept close to my heart during our struggles with infertility, and still do as we take on the everyday challenges of raising quadruplets.

Fontanini nativity set

This December has been joy filled with the quads learning about Christmas traditions and celebrating the season.  They’ve learned Christmas carols, watched holiday movies, and visited Santa.  We’ve crafted all sorts of festive decorations from gingerbread men to reindeer.  If you’ve been following us on Facebook or Twitter, you may have seen Bop’s (our scout elf) various locations in our house.

All of those secular traditions are fun, but we haven’t let them overshadow the true reason for the season.  This year, we spent time reading toddler books about the first Christmas and showed the quads our Fontanini nativity set.  They’ve rearranged the nativity a few times, but have been good about leaving it on the burlap, which helps me keep tabs on Baby Jesus.

toddler nativity books

Fontani nativity

It was Harper’s idea to move the kitchen footstool to the den so he could get a better view of the nativity.  I thought it was clever, and I’ve been proud of his self-restraint in looking at the nativity.  Sometimes two of the quads will share the stool and look at the nativity together.

toddlers looking at nativity

Fontanini nativity

Since I’m not exactly encouraging the quads to play with our family nativity, I was happy when I found a Melissa & Doug toddler’s nativity set.  This one is wooden and durable so they can manipulate and arrange as they like.

Melissa & Doug toddler nativity

Despite making several Christmas crafts, I kept coming up short when it came to an age-appropriate nativity craft until my friend, Amber shared hers last week.  (Don’t forget to stop by her blog, Texas Tales for a more detailed description of the craft and other toddler nativity books).  It’s very simple and ideal for toddlers.  I printed Baby Jesus coloring pages and let the quads color them.  Then, I dotted glue onto the manger and asked the quads to place snips of rafia over the dots.  For a special touch, we also glued a star on the top of the page.

toddler nativity craft

May you find love, peace, and hope this year.  Merry Christmas!




Bass Pro Shops {A Spot to Visit with Tots}

Lists of places to take toddlers in Dallas Fort Worth

Over the course of the week a pesky cold was passed from one family member to another, and successfully kept us confined indoors.  In fact, Mason missed his dental visit due to said cold.  Yesterday as everyone was on the mend, a thunderstorm rolled successfully holding us hostage.  Everyone (including me) was cranky and unpleasant.  We needed to go somewhere to restore our spirits.  There don’t seem to be many Thanksgiving family activities, but Christmas festivities are already in full force.  After cruising the Fort Worth Mom’s Blog for places to visit, I found a thorough listing of holiday venues.  Since Thanksgiving has not yet been celebrated, I could not bring myself to go all in on the Christmas cheer, but settled on taking the kids to the Bass Pro Shops.


Bass Pro Shops are available nationwide, check here for the location nearest to you


November 15 – December 24 during normal store hours


All activities are FREE!  Santa’s wonderland includes kid friendly crafts, games, a carousel ride, and a visit from the jolly old man himself.  Bass Pro Shops provide a complimentary 4 x 6 photo with Santa.  You may choose to purchase a complete package of photos with Santa or you can take snap shots with your own camera as well.

Favorite Features:

What’s not to love about FREE family entertainment?

The quads enjoyed taking a spin on the carousel.  Since all children under 42″ must be accompanied by an adult, three of our littles enjoyed their ride from Santa’s sleigh allowing me to supervise all of them.

Free Carousel at the Bass Pro Shops

Harper apparently felt slightly intimidated by the ride, but once it was in motion he settled down.  The fear of the unknown tends to get the better of him.

Free Carousel at the Bass Pro Shops

Free Carousel at the Bass Pro Shops

After taking a spin on the carousel, George demonstrated how to drive a remote control monster truck in the toy testing area.

Bass Pro Shop Monster truck

We weren’t willing to brave the line to visit Santa (and I just don’t like the idea of seeing Santa before Thanksgiving), but we did check out the aquarium.

Bass Pro Shop aquarium

Bass Pro Shop aquarium


If you plan on visiting Santa, see one of his elves first.  They have passes to get into the line at specific times, which will reduce your wait time.

Don’t forget to bring your own camera in case you’d like to snap pictures with Santa yourself.

Our trip to the Bass Pro Shops was a success in decreasing the tension and brightening our day.

After we celebrate Thanksgiving, I’d like to enjoy several of the local holiday scenes around town.  I’m really looking forward to celebrating our Christmas traditions with the quads since they can understand them now.

What are you hoping to do or see this season?