"We sure do, Jared."
Realizing how many "must-do's" we have at this time of year, I decided I should jot them down over the next few days for future reference and memory jogging.
This morning started off in the same way that every other December morning begins...with the search for Cocoa. No, not hot cocoa. Cocoa, the Elf. On Christmas Eve of 2006, Cocoa came to join our family. He was given to our by our dear friends, the Geist's. He was the cutest little "Elf on a Shelf" and he returns every year at the beginning of December. He came with a story book, it reads like this:
"Have you ever wondered how Santa could know
if you're naughty or nice each year as you grow?
For hundreds of years it's been a big secret
It now can be shared if you promise to keep it.
At holiday time
Santa sends me to you.
I watch and report
on all that you do.
My job's an assignment
from Santa himself.
I am his helper,
a friendly scout elf.
The first time I come to the place you call home
you quickly must give me a name of my own.
Once you are finished my mission can start.
What will you call me-Markle or Zart?
Will it be Foddle, Criddle or Clyde?
Fisbee's cute, too, but you must decide.
Each night while you're sleeping
to Santa I'll fly
to the North Pole
right through the dark sky.
Of course Christmas magic
helps me be quick.
I laugh with my friends
and report to Saint Nick.
I tell him if you have been good or been bad.
The news of the day makes him happy or sad.
A push or a shove I'll report to "the Boss, "
but small acts of kindness will not be a loss.
In the car, at the park,
or even at school
the word will get out
if you broke a rule.
I'll be back at your home before you awake,
and then you must find the new spot I will take.
You'll jump out of bed and come running to see:
who'll be the first to spy little old me?
Maybe the kitchen, the bathroom, or den
is where you will find me, your special elf friend.
I can hide on a plant, a shelf or a frame.
Where will I be? Let's make it a game.
There's only one rule that you have to follow
so I will come back and be here tomorrow:
Please do not touch me. My magic might go,
and Santa won't hear all I've seen or I know.
I won't get to tell him that you've said your prayers,
or helped to bake cookies,
or cleaned off the stairs.
How will he know how good you have been?
He might start to think you forgot about him.
I can't speak to you, so says Santa Claus.
All of us elves have to follow his laws.
I'll listen to you. Tell me your wishes.
Would you like a game or some tiny toy dishes?
The gleam in my eye and my bright little smile
shows you I'm listening and noting your file.
The final decision with Santa now rests.
What do you think?
Will you get your request?
The night before Christmas my job's at an end.
The rest of the year with Santa I'll spend.
So blow me a kiss and bid me farewell.
I'll fly away when I hear Santa's bell.
Of course I will miss you,
but wait 'til next year.
When the holidays come I'll again reappear.
Until then I wish every girl and each boy
a Christmas of peace and a year full of joy."
So today began with Malia running down the hall and searching for Cocoa. She wakes up much earlier in December...she MUST be the first one to find Cocoa. She's quite competitive, that silly girl of mine. Today, Cocoa dared to venture onto uncharted territory...this is where she found him...
Yes, that's my village and Cocoa is hiding amongst it. He's sneaky, that little elf...
When Kassia saw him, a bit of panic spread across her face...
The kids take Cocoa very seriously. Yesterday, when Malia upset her sister by whacking her on the head, Kassia bolted over to where Cocoa was hiding. Malia was hot on her heels behind her.
Kasi was more than happy to report the naughty news:
As soon as Kasi walked away, Malia could be heard whispering in Cocoa's ear...