‘Twas the Night Before the Night Before Christmas 2011

by Cate on December 24, 2011

Madeline and Santa 2011
Have you ever seen a cuter reindeer? I haven’t. Madeline had her Christmas concert today, and I knew Santa was coming for a visit. As he reached into his big sack and pulled out a present with her name on it, I held my breath. We visited our favorite town Santa a few weeks ago, and she wanted no part of it. No picture on his lap, smiling, crying or otherwise.

Today, she went right up to him, let him put her on his lap and told him what she wanted.  I have no idea where the change of heart came from.  It must be the dress.  (The dress is circa J. Crew’s Crew Cuts 2010.  She wore it for Easter, and I adore it, so was super excited that I got to eek one last wearing out of it before it goes to the consignment shop)

And this next bit … this is exactly why, although I love the trappings of the city life, I will forever want to live in a small town. Where although people like to gossip, sometimes people knowing things is a good thing. I swear I teared up. Someone there knew that I didn’t have a picture of the two kids with Santa yet this year.

And knew that I wanted one.

If you know me, whether in real life or through visiting here, you know I kind of like to document things. Photographically. And Santa? The holidays? My kids? Huge. So Nick had a half day today. It was a nothing day. They have done no work at all all week. They had their holiday party yesterday. He knew Madeline’s concert was today and asked if he could go. I said yes.

When someone at Madeline’s school saw Madeline on Santa’s lap, willingly, happily, and noticed that Nick was with me, there was a quick scrambling and beckoning to get Nick up there too.

Because they knew I didn’t have the picture I wanted.

And they wanted to help me get that.

My heart melts for moments like these.

And so I got it.

Nick and Madeline Sanra 2011

It’s a simple thing really. Something small. But when the kids are grown-up with families of their own, I want them to look back at the pictures with their own children, and be able to say, “This. This is my life. This is when I was your age.  My childhood.”

December 23, 2011 – Bonus Photos
Me and Madeline Xmas 2011

Digging In


Camuso Light Display
Many moons ago, when I was in high school, there was a home in Livingston that had a ridiculous light display. Ridiculous as in good. The family matriarch died. The house sold. The display gone. But this year? It came back and is now displayed by the town. Which is such an awesome thing in and of itself. And even more awesome that I got to show my kids a light display that I saw as a kid. (For those in the area, you can check out their facebook page right here for more details)

Madeline’s shot of me and Nick. Not too shabby.


Alright, folks, I’m done for the night. I can’t promise I will be back tomorrow night. There have been rumblings of “I’m staying up until Santa comes,” and well, let’s just hope that doesn’t happen ’cause I’m not sure Mama can outlast the Santa watchers. If I don’t pop in here tomorrow, have a fantabulous holiday, and as Madeline loudly and frequently proclaimed pretty much to anybody within ear shot today, “Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”


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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Cathy December 24, 2011 at 12:31 am

where was the house in livingston, near the mall? I remember going over there and getting out of the car to see all the lights!


Cate O'Malley December 25, 2011 at 6:08 pm

Yup, it was down the street from the mall. Good times!


Mandi December 24, 2011 at 4:08 am

And that photo of your kids with Santa? That someone knew you wanted? That’s the exact same reason that I choose to live where I do too – yes to the gossip but also to the neighbourly spirit where people know each other and watch out for each other and show they care with little things like taking a photo of your kids with Santa


Cate O'Malley December 25, 2011 at 6:08 pm



Joanne December 24, 2011 at 7:25 am

Hmmm I think you might need to give those kids some benadryl to ensure that they fall asleep. It’s totally safe, I swear. My mom used to do it all the time. :)

I’m so glad you got your picture! It really is adorable. If I don’t hear from you, Merry Christmas love! Give the kids about twenty hugs and kisses for me!


Susan in England December 24, 2011 at 8:02 am

Merry Christmas to all of you!


Joanie from CLBB December 24, 2011 at 10:27 am

What a wonderful gift to fans & followers of Sweetnicks, too, that photo of those 2 beautiful, healthy kids!! Keep ’em moving, Cate, that’ll wear the lil darlings out and get them in the sack to wait for Santa. Healthy holiday wishes to your family from us here in NC–or, as I like to put it–HAPPY HEEL-O-DAYS!


Cate O'Malley December 25, 2011 at 6:09 pm

Aw shucks, ma’am, you’re very sweet. Hope the holidays were good to you!


Debbie December 24, 2011 at 5:57 pm

Hope you all have a very Merry Christmas! Beautiful pictures!


Kris #40 December 25, 2011 at 12:08 am

Great pictures!!

Loved that house in Livingston. The Star-Ledger just had an article on how the collection was donated to the town and restored by volunteers.

Have a Merry Christmas!


Claire December 25, 2011 at 5:13 pm

Wow…still in school?! Schools around here were out all week. Love lights but didn’t find any this year. Love that picture of Madeline…too cute! Hope you have a very Merry Christmas!


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