Upon opening the door we found this...
I'm not sure why this little guy showed up now and not years ago when Ren was small, but I guess it's better late than never and we won't hold it against Santa.
If you're not familiar with the story of the Elf on the Shelf, let me give you a quick overview.
Santa, being so very busy, needs extra eyes and ears all over the world. So he sends out his helpers, his elf scouts (or spies as I call them), to keep tabs on children everywhere. Since the little guy is to become part of the family Santa allows the recipient child(ren) to give him (or her) a new name. John-Heath chose Pepper, the name of our former cat. So, Pepper it is. I was leaning toward something like Wallace or Monroe. Oh, well.
According to legend, each night the elf, who arrives in a sealed box, flies back to the North Pole to report on the behavior and character of his new owners and returns to his new home by morning, always positioning himself in a new place.
The only rule that comes with having an elf scout is that you may not touch him, as this could diminish his magical powers.
For his first night in his new home John-Heath wanted to set him atop his shelf next to his little Christmas tree (a tree he decorated all by himself, I must add).
And what should we find this morning? He had escaped, just as predicted. When he returned he chose the kitchen as his new lookout. He and my son must surely be kindred spirits, as the kitchen is one of John-Heath's favorite rooms in the house, too.
Our new friend is proving himself useful. On the night he arrived, John-Heath, shortly after placing Pepper on the shelf in his room, began playing with some toy cars when I called him to the kitchen table to finish up his homework. He instinctively answered, "Just a minute"... followed by a very quick, "Nevermind, I'm coming."