First and foremost, thank you to everyone that donated and shared the link to help my family in the Philippines. I can’t tell you how moved they were to know that people that they have never met cared about them and what they are going through. Seriously, I’m crying. I’m also procrastinating on sending you all your thank you gift, so just know that something is coming soon 🙂 (I just finished Christmas shopping this afternoon…)
Also, another update so that you guys know how your money will be spent. They are going to be obviously rebuilding their homes, but we are very aware that our family is blessed to have a connection to the States. They are able to call my mom and ask for help. Many of their neighbors don’t have this luxury. So, not only is the money going to help rebuild, some of it will go to a widow that lives across the street from my grandmother. She has herself and her children. That’s it. And they lost their entire home. So thank YOU for easing the burdens of a widow on the other side of the world. I know some of you may not consider yourselves Christians, but I’m thankful that you’re being the kind of Christ followers God looks for:
Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you. James 1:27
Seriously. I can’t stop crying. Thank you.
Ok. On to the funny.
We went to get our picture taken with Santa this afternoon. Yes, we went to Opry Mills on Christmas Eve Eve.
Here’s the kicker. We were at Opryland Hotel a couple of weeks ago just walking around doing our Sunday morning thing. They have a beautiful Santa setup. There was little to no line. I even commented that, “Wow! When you do popular activities early you really beat the crowds! There is barely anyone here. How nice!”
But that would make too much sense wouldn’t it? To go ahead and get a picture done while you are ALREADY THERE WITH NOTHING ELSE TO DO.
But I’m not completely dumb. I did take what I am calling a Periphery Santa Picture. Yes, a picture with Santa from the periphery. Because who seriously wants to sit on a fat old man’s lap?
So I took this picture because I know myself and I know that the likelihood of me getting close to a Santa setup again was, well, not very good.
I am not going to lie to you. Every day this seemed more and more like a decent enough attempt at a Santa picture. I even rehearsed how I would tell Otis’s children, “Here’s your daddy when he saw Santa from about 30 feet away. That’s how we did things back then. #GoodOleDays.”
But Mark was having none of it. Y’all. He looked up where the Santas were. He researched time and prices and ability to take your own cell phone pics. He called Outdoor World to see how long the wait would be on Christmas Eve Eve.
No, seriously. He called them. And they were like, “It’s long. The lines are long. Please don’t come here. We hate you.”
We pack up and head to Outdoor World, and I just have to say they have a pretty impressive operation. The line was super fast. The decor is superb. And there are elves all over the place. WONDERFUL EXPERIENCE.
And Otis? Otis is eating this up.
He’s playing with trains and race car tracks. He’s petting fake reindeer. He is screaming “Hi, SANTA!!!” every single time we catch a peek of him through the evergreen trees.
This. kid. is. ready.
See, here he is in line:
And all of that excitement and cheese and joy? It all looked like this by the time it was our turn:
And that Santa. He was a sweetheart. I was actually going to just keep walking, and he suggested that I hold him so that we at least got a picture. My smile lets you know that I think this is a brilliant idea.
And in case anyone is wondering, if I’ve ever not shown up to an event because Otis was being a leetle clingy THIS is what I’m talking about. Times ten
We finish up and Santa hands him a candy cane and this kid calms down immediately.
We move on and do a little decompress interview (most of the interview is a waste, but his face when I ask if Santa was nice kills me).
I mean, that interview is literally 3 minutes after this face:
And that, friends and family, is how we spent Christmas Eve Eve.