Thursday, December 27, 2012

Come and Gone

Well, Christmas has come and gone--which sounds easy enough NOW.   Getting ready for the big day seemed to be business as usual.  We decorated ginger bread,

attended the school concert (Janae's first time as an actual student at the school!),

Jason and I celebrated our 10th anniversary on the 19th--as you can see, the dress still fit (by some miracle it is even zipped up at the back . . . I swear, it is!),

and on Christmas Eve we went out to look at lights.

Yes, for the kids it was business as usual. 

For the mom it was a little different.

Early in the season, my three munchkins made their lists.  Ben wanted a certain Lego set, Janae asked for a particular princess dress, and Alaina wanted paper dolls . . . and snow. 

The kids had complete confidence that their wishes would be granted,

and I got to work on the behind-the-scenes magic (aka shopping).  It was still six weeks before Christmas, and I had complete confidence that these gifts would be easy to buy (well . . . everything except the snow).

My first clue that something was wrong came as I went to get the Lego Ninjago Epic Dragon Battle, which had been advertised at a slightly reduced price at our local Walmart.  The set had sold out, so I went to the customer service desk and asked for a rain cheque. 

This was something I'd never done before, and as I asked how the store would contact me when the set came in, the person helping me said, "Oh, we don't usually call--we have so many of these--you just have to keep checking the shelves."  Since Alaina and I visit Walmart from time to time, I thought this would not be a problem.

As the weeks passed, though, and the Lego shelf got more and more empty, rather than full, I thought, "Maybe I'll just order it from ToysRUs."  By this time, though, not only ToysRUs but also the Lego store had sold out of the enormous set of snakes and ninjas.  The estimated date that the set would again be available?  December 28.  (Seriously, who was buying this stuff?!)

Now, anyone who knows our Ben knows that he had been GOOD all year and that if anyone deserved the #1 item on his list it was HIM (and add to this the fact that all of his favorite Lego minifigures had been STOLEN from his backpack at school during this time), but I had no choice but to order his #2 request (a big Star Wars Lego set) and his #3 (a Skylanders game).

Then we come to Janae.  Janae had dressed up as her favorite Disney character, Merida, for Halloween and had the princess's light blue dress.  For Christmas, though, her heart's desire was Merida's OTHER dress--the dark green one from the Disney Store.  Five weeks before Christmas we made our trek out to the only Disney Store within driving distance, and after deliberating back and forth for half an hour or so, I decided to buy the dress. 

But when I went to pick out Janae's size from the display, I found they only had size 2/3.  We needed a 5/6.  When I asked when they would get in more stock, the "cast member" told me she didn't know.  But she handed me a flyer for Disney's Black Friday event and in a confidential whisper, she told me to wait until then because the dress would be on sale. 

I clutched onto my flyer that night as I checked the price of the dress online.  It was the same as at the store, but to ship it to Canada would add $40 to the already high price.  I decided to wait until the Black Friday sale.  This was my second fatal decision of the season.

Two days later, on the Monday before Black Friday, I checked Disney's website again only to find the dress was sold out in Janae's size. 

Anyone ever been to Disneyland? Or a Disney Store for that matter? They have HUNDREDS of dresses--I didn't think it was possible that they could ever sell out.  My plan was to keep checking back--I still had almost five weeks, after all.

But during the two more days it took to decide whether I should just order a size 4 or size 7/8, the dress sold out in both of those sizes as well. 

I made daily calls to our local Disney Store, only to find that they did not get any more Merida dresses in.

At just over three weeks before Christmas I decided to order a knock-off Merida dress from another source.  It wouldn't ship to Canada, so I had it sent to my sister in the US.

When it finally arrived, Anita sent it off, but only a few days before Christmas it still hadn't been delivered.  We were running out of time.

I'd bought a bunch of other Merida and non-Merida stuff for Janae, but it was little comfort as my 5-year-old daughter talked about the dress as if she already owned it. 

There were going to be some disappointments Christmas morning--that much was clear.

Then the unimaginable happened.  Less than a week before Christmas, Walmart CALLED to tell me Ben's Lego set had come in--they wondered if I was still interested. . . .

And two days before Christmas Eve, Anita's package arrived.

Notice the Ninjago set on the floor behind him!  It WAS the first one he started building :)

Now, we all know that Christmas doesn't come from a store, and that perhaps it means a little bit more--which brings us to Alaina.  She woke up Christmas morning and before she could even stand up she said, "Santa has already come!!"  She woke up Ben and Janae, ran into the living room, and opened her presents.  Still, we knew what she was thinking--where was the snow?

Before they'd finished opening their presents, though, it had started to snow--lightly at first, but then it picked up a bit and became a full-out snowfall.  We walked IN THE SNOW--Janae in her Merida dress (and hair, as you can see), and Ben leaving behind a half-built dragon--to grandma and grandpa's house for Christmas dinner with our kids' cousins, aunts and uncles.

It's so nice when everything works out, isn't it? 

We hope all of you had the Christmas you were dreaming of, too!!