Letters To My Sons | December

Dear boys,

It was early November when Cash asked, “Mommy, is Santa real because Thomas doesn’t believe in him.” I responded like many times before that Santa exists only if you believe; once you stop believing he stops coming to see you on Christmas morning.

So do you believe Cash?

I do! I do!

Then…Santa is real!

Another Christmas season means another visit to the most legit Santa Claus in the New York Metro area — perhaps the world! — and Grey, you were nominated to sit first on Santa’s lap, asking him for “Rollie The Kissing Puppy”. Pretty much all the toys on your list are dog or puppy related since that’s the next best thing to a real one. Daddy and I agreed that when you are ten years old we will consider getting a dog — a soft “maybe” rather than a hard “no” which you seemed to accept. In the meantime, dog robots and kissing puppies will do.

Hey Grey, when Santa asks if you’ve been a good boy this year what are you gonna say?

Ummmm…(very long pause)…can I just say ‘yes’?

Another Christmas wish of yours Grey — and probably the most adorable one — is a playdate with your girl friend. “I just want a playdate with Emma Lucia for Christmas. That’s all…‘cause I love her.” When I told Emma Lucia’s mother this was your Christmas wish, she responded with, “Well then, let’s make it happen!”

Cash, earlier this month, following a long day of fighting with Grey you asked, “Do you think we are going to get coal this year Mommy??”

I don’t know? Maybe? I mean, as a mother, you never want to surrender your power completely, especially when you have to get through a grueling month of uncontainable holiday frenzy, but I didn’t leave you entirely hopeless. “You still have time to turn things around. Just be nice to each other from now until Christmas and you should be fine.”

Cash, you are always so nervous when you sit on Santa’s lap that each time you nearly forget to tell him what you want and I have to whisper you a reminder. And the reason you gave me for how you decided what to ask Santa for this year was quite clever.

Mommy I’m going to ask Santa for a Nintendo 2DS XL and a new Pikachu Switch game because they are expensive and I know you can’t afford them.

Every year we get a little better with our “Santa line” game, this time showing up with folding chairs. As Daddy was setting them up a few people said, “We remember you from last year. You guys are professionals!”

With mild temperatures and comfy seating, the ninety-minute wait went by quicker than ever as Daddy and I mingled with some familiar faces. It’s become one of my favorite New York traditions which makes me so grateful for another year with Santa believers. And for Santa himself that he hasn’t retired yet, even though the rumor mill swirls about every season that it will be his last.

Seeing you both get so excited (and nervous!) to see Santa is such a special gift that I know is all too fleeting. And before leaving the store, I always buy a small Christmas decoration to go under our tiny tree in the apartment —just one more way to preserve these memories and archive the magic.

Merry Christmas sweet boys!

I love you,

Always and forever, Mom

Letters To My Sons | Christmas Edition

Rookies no more! This was our second year going to see Santa at ABC Carpet & Home and we made no mistakes this time. The key is to go the first weekend Santa arrives to the fancy furnishings store, also the first weekend after Thanksgiving. It's quite simple: more people out of town = less line. We chose Sunday because not only can you can park right in front, but it's also free.  And so, with our vast experience to draw on my boys, this year the Davis family was first in line! 

Parked right outside the entrance with an hour and 15 minutes to kill, we played music and I-Spy, took turns going for coffee, and ate lots of goldfish crackers. Grey's car seat held our place in line which, I have to say, is much better than standing in the cold ourselves (I think it was the one cold day this month!). 

When Santa finally arrived and the doors opened, I didn't have time to fiddle with my camera settings - perhaps the only downside to being first. I scrambled to capture your moment with Santa, to capture anything for that matter in that dimly lit room. And then, there you were on his lap....and it was magic.

Grey, you were up next and immediately started crying and clutched onto Daddy. We just assumed since you do everything your brother does, mimicking his every move, that you'd do the same in this case. Boy were we wrong! Daddy had to sit next to Santa and hold you while you craned your neck as far away as possible from the guy in the red suit. But it was still priceless. 

Maybe next year you'll cozy up and share your Christmas wish with him? That is, if Santa hasn't retired. Word on the street is this may be his last year at ABC Carpet, having been the realest Santa (go ahead, tug his beard!) in NYC for 25 years. Oh how I hope he decides to stay through the rest of your believing years.

Well boys, in this last letter of the year 2015, I would just like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a new year filled with many magical pursuits!

Always & forever, Mom  

A Christmas Tradition

Every year around Christmas time my oldest son and I go to Grand Central to see the Lionel holiday train show, riding as many different subway trains as possible to get there. We arrived just as they opened this year and practically had the whole exhibit to ourselves. He ran in circles watching the trains go in and out of tunnels, over bridges and along the elevated tracks.

"There's the MetroNorth train! ... The 1 train! ... Look Mom! There's the Polar Express!"  

Right across from the train show is Zaro's bakery where we get our favorite New York classic - the black and white cookie. We always get the mini 2-pack to share before heading to our next destination, the real tracks of Grand Central.  

A very favorite things to do is go from track to track, finding out where the next train is going and when it is leaving. Will it take people to New Haven, Connecticut?  Upstate New York?

We hang around as a couple of trains pull into Grand Central, opening its doors and delivering its cheery passengers into the heart of the city. 

After watching the trains and strolling through the holiday market in the terminal, we head out onto 42nd street to begin making our way over to Rockefeller Center.  

Once there we brave the mighty crowds, but still manage to snag a prime view of the big tree and the skaters below. Even Santa was doing a few laps on the ice. 

Our last stop is Magnolia Bakery for some of their amazing hot chocolate topped with big homemade marshmallow squares. There's no better way to cap off our day. With tired feet and happy hearts, we wait for the D train to take us back up to Harlem.  

It's no secret that New York City does Christmas better than anywhere else.  And lucky for us, it happens to be the place we call home.    


Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!  Wherever you are, may your season be merry and bright.

Letters to our sons | January

***I am so thankful to be a part of this blog circle "Letters to our Sons", with so many amazing photographers and moms.  In honor of our love for our little boys, we are posting a monthly image(s) along with a corresponding, heartfelt letter.  After reading my post please click HERE to continue around the circle, starting with the very talented Jojo Pedri Clark.

Dear Cash and Grey, 

Well this past Christmas was your first Christmas together as brothers.  As usual we spent the holiday in Wilmette at Aunt Gail and Uncle Elio's house.  Grandma and Pow Pow drove in from Pittsburgh, Uncle Jim flew in from Oregon, and your cousins Alex, Laura and Nicki worked hard to have everything ready for your arrival.  Even Rocky and Penny, the family's two four legged pals, were excited that you were coming to visit.  But we all knew Cash, that there was one visitor who you were especially hoping would arrive, traveling all the way from the North Pole!


For weeks you'd been anticipating his arrival, maintaining your best behavior in the hopes that that might help - and that maybe, just maybe, because you'd been such a good boy, he would bring you a "B" subway train car to add to your collection.  Your biggest concern was how Santa would know you were in Chicago and not New York City, but Dad and I assured you that Santa knew where each little boy and girl would be on Christmas morning.  

During our stay for the holiday, cousin Alex generously gave up his room for us.  We took it over with all of our luggage strewn about - a blow up mattress, crib, books, toys and enough clothes for a week long stay.  After our Christmas Eve dinner with the family, the two of you dressed in your matching festive pajamas and put out the Christmas cookies & milk for Santa & the carrots for Rudolph.  You said goodnight to all of the family and were off to bed for it would surely be an early morning.  And that it was!  During the predawn of Christmas, the four of us hung out in Alex's room, waiting for a decent hour to gather the other family members and descend downstairs.  It was during this time that I took some of my favorite photos of the day.  Candid, playful and imperfect.  What fun watching the two of you in your bare feet on a messy bed, cracking each other up in contagious excitement.  Your first Christmas morning together is captured in this series of photos, silly and unposed - just brothers in their natural and playful state on a very special morning.    

[Click photo to advance slideshow and continue reading]

Christmas morning was truly magical.  The family went downstairs to discover that Santa had indeed arrived and presents were everywhere - one of which was the coveted "B" train.  You were over the moon Cash.  And Grey, Santa knew you needed socks!  How on earth he knew that is a big mystery!  

It was such a beautiful Christmas morning spent with family, filled with love, laughter and joy.  Of course we managed to take a few formal Christmas photos like the ones below, but it was the time we shared together upstairs as a family, playing on the bed, that I will remember most.  

Always & forever,



[Click photo to enlarge]