Not A Bah Humbug Month

We aren’t decorating for Christmas this year. With the house for sale, the impending move, ornaments deep in storage somewhere, and just a general feeling of discontent, different priorities, and overwhelming to-do lists – well the decorations can hide in a box in their unknown location this year. The girls have been told to expect little to open this year – the house, their new rooms, and the new space will be present enough. Sure, I plan to dig out the stockings for some Christmas morning surprises. But there won’t be packages stacked in front of a tree or toys to play with after breakfast. We will pretend that we are traveling. But without the traveling. Christmas day this year will be a day perhaps of skiing and Chinese food and time together. Present enough.

 

We’ve started talking more about “experiences” rather than “things” – and how we’d rather save for vacations, ski days, parties, concerts, volunteering days, and giving to others than making lists of things that will just end of packed up again one day so we can move, or de-clutter, or dig out of the daily madness of the collections we all manage to build. How do we teach them to focus on people and feelings and experiences over owning more.

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It’s an easy conversation though really – our kids hadn’t even made a list yet this year. And when Astrid talked to Santa this weekend she told him that she wanted food for everyone, but maybe a few new jars of Play-Doh because hers dried up. Esther asked for more friends. And Eloise just smiled and told him she was “all good” and was just standing up there to make her baby sister happy.

 

“All good.”

 

I want to say that more. I want to teach that more. How to make sure everyone is “all good” this year in whatever that means – economically, in their relationships, mental states.

 

December is hard. Memories of lost loved ones come back hard in too many reminders. Family so far away missed just a smidge more. Financial hard-aches grow. People are rushed and busy.

 

I’ve asked the girls that instead of gifts maybe we can do some simple parties or crafts with some friends this year. Have some girls over for tea or a movie or to make blankets for the animal shelter or to shop for Toys For Tots.

 

Experiences making memories for a lifetime. We don’t need a tree and ornaments to make that happen or to help us produce Christmas joy.

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We were invited to a friend’s house for Thanksgiving. We were sitting and eating and laughing in the mix of 20+ people – grandparents, friends, neighbors, in-laws, cousins, and strangers. No one needed a “card” to belong. No one worried that they were spending the day with “this” family vs. “that” family. No one was excluded. Everyone – not related – or related just enjoyed a day of Thanksgiving and holiday.

 

I talked to my kids after that day and told them that no matter what – NEVER exclude anyone in their lives. NEVER think well we can’t invite them because we are invited them instead. NEVER let anyone sit home alone on a holiday. NEVER play favorites. And NEVER be selfish enough to think that a holiday is an invite only occasion.

 

I learn daily from the lessons I try to model and teach my own kids. And our friend’s Thanksgiving was no exception of a lesson teaching me that I can do so much better too.

 

And when one day we leave this life, it won’t be the things we own or the tree we put up that will mean something – it will be the people we loved and loved us back, the hands we touched, and experiences we shared, and the life that was lived well. It will be the conversation with Santa, and not that the damn Elf on the Shelf was moved every morning.

 

December can be hard. I say we stop making it hard and just think about how we can make it easier and more joyful for everyone. Lovers and strangers alike.

 

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It’s The Holiday Season

I started wrapping presents last night and found that most of my paper has water damage. It’s hard to believe since I store it about a foot away from the basement drain and right next to the wash machine tub in our 105 year old basement.

 

So today I need to buy paper. Or just not wrap anything – which is starting to seem like a brilliant plan. But I will probably take my chances and head to Target with all of my credit cards because I like living on the edge of financial ruin.

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I had to laugh when they said “Check your credit card history if you’ve shopped at Target between Black Friday and 12/16..” Because I shopped at Target approximately 436,000 times during those few weeks. So they already had all of my money, credit availability and my last platelet draw.

 

When I wasn’t shopping at Target, I was dressing up our cat, Truffle. Now I know for sure how people become crazy-old-cat-ladies – because dressing up your cat is FUN! And Truffle is such a willing participant. He doesn’t look like he might murder me in my sleep, right?

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And Astrid now only sits on the couch like this….

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This habit might be awkward for her when she’s 16 and goes to meet her boyfriend’s parents. Unless of course she is still wearing reindeer-footy pajamas.

 

We were in Duluth over the weekend because we like to walk around and look at lights when it’s 20 below zero with a wind off the lake so we can hear complaints(MINE!) about the cold.

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But it’s nice to see a tree that looks better than ours does. Does your Christmas tree look like this?

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And finally, I ran out of Holiday cards. I apologize  – so if you are one of those that did not receive one from us this year…it’s not that we don’t love you. We just love you a little less than someone else who actually received our card this year.

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So this is for you – the ones we love just a little less – or the ones who don’t share their address with me because they know I would probably stalk them.

 

Happy Holidays my friends. May you stay warm and enjoy some quality time with family this season!

 

Love yous. xo

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Holiday Hosting Tips By Hampton And A Giveaway! #HamptonHoliday

The holiday season is HERE. Oh my gosh – did I say that too loudly? I have so much to do it seems between school parties and activities, shopping, cooking. cleaning, wrapping and just making sure it all gets done! Not to mention guests and the actual holiday!

 

I remember being little and going to Christmas at my grandparent’s house and having dozens and dozens of people in their home. And not enough bathrooms… And now when we visit relatives for the holidays I admit I like my own space – and with three kids let’s be honest, sometimes it’s nice to have a good nights sleep somewhere else besides on a blow-up air mattress in the living room. I love my relatives – but seeing them at 5:30am in their robes a few days in a row just doesn’t say Happy Holidays to me.

 

So, we typically book a hotel when we travel now for the Holidays. And a simple night in a hotel room feels like a HUGE vacation for a little kid – so it’s really a win/win for all of us.

 

This year, Hampton has partnered with Jenny Steffens Hobick to give some amazing Holiday Hosting Tips!

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Letting Go

I’m writing this at 11pm because we got home so late from Starbucks. I brought all three kids to Starbucks at 9:30pm for hot cocoa and croissants. And maybe a Cranberry Bliss Bar for me to go with my non-fat latte with an extra shot of espresso. Does anyone else want to spell ‘espresso’ with an ‘x’ – ‘expresso!’

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This may also explain why I’m not tired.

 

I wondered how many people looked at us and thought “WTF” as we entered the coffee shop. This mom taking her kids…including a FOUR YEAR OLD…out for cocoa this late. Two hours past their bedtime. And trust me, not too many years ago I’d be giving you the nasty glance over my grande latte for doing something like this with your kids.

 

But now I say COCOA FOR EVERYONE AT ANYTIME!

 

Because I need to let things go.

 

We’re having a crazy weekend as are you I’m sure. From plays to programs to shopping to parties to baking to wrapping to trying to shovel up and out all of the stuff that accumulates with the holiday season. So I’m doing things that I’d never do – like taking kids for cocoa at 9:30pm and last night at 10:30pm you would’ve seen me at the grocery store buying cupcake ingredients with Eloise. Eloise even said “Whoa grocery stores are kind of spooky this late at time!”

 

Then I had to stay up late dealing with an issue over some panda stuffed animals that arrived wrong for Eloise’s birthday party this weekend…which of course cannot be fixed at midnight or within 24 hours…so I woke the kids by 6:30 this morning so we could run to the mall by 8am to buy PANDAS. ALLTHEPANDAS. Even though we probably could’ve just skipped the pandas.

 

BUT WE CANNOT SKIP THE PANDAS! The birthday party would suck without pandas(in my mind).

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And we still haven’t gotten our tree. I played a joke on the kids and bought a $4 tabletop pink tree and told them that this was really our tree this year and I think I made them cry. And I was totally kidding. So we must get a tree this week. Kids crying over a tree does not smell of Christmas cheer. We tried today – but somehow a time never stuck for all five of us to go. Maybe we are reaching the point in our lives that it’s okay to just go with three or four people to grab a tree. Tomorrow maybe? But first we have to frost the cupcakes and have Eloise’s birthday party. And I like to clean before the tree comes in.

 

Do I have time to clean tomorrow?

 

I’m finding right now that I cannot plan for anything. Maybe I just need to let go and breathe in and let things fall as they will.

 

Like seeing Santa without planning on it. We walked by the Jolly Old Elf at the mall on Friday. We were at the mall because we needed so many things for this weekend and for gifts that needed to be shipped to arrive before Christmas. When we saw him Astrid immediately said “I’d like to talk to him.” So she did. She gave him a hug and chatted with him for quite awhile.

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Astrid is interesting that way – last year she would not even step in the room where Santa sat. This year she needed to talk to him. That’s the thing about Astrid – the girl knows what she wants and when she wants and when she makes up her mind about something – it will not be changed.

 

Also she still wants a talking scale.

 

And we’ve crossed something off our lists.

 

Our holiday cards have arrived. Need to buy stamps – now on my to-do list.

 

Jed is home and is okay. Tired. Concerned. But okay. Thank you for your kind words from the interwebs.

 

Life is uncertain – from wanting to see Santa, a visit to the ER, an impromptu trip to Starbucks, or whether your kids will get your jokes. I need to remember this lesson of living with the beauty of an uncertain yet still very blessed life. Because while I cannot control what will happen each day, I can remember to just let the moments take us where they may.

 

And be comforted by the small moments of each crazy day that make cocoa at 9:30pm sometimes feel like the most normal thing we can do at the time.

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In The Nick Of Time

It’s December 10th really and we haven’t even put our tree up. I was at Target today and saw a pinkish fake tree on one sale for $69 and I was ‘this’ close to buying it but pictured Jed giving me a ‘whatthewhat’ look when he came home to the homage to Avon sitting in the middle of our living room. Living with four women is pink enough.

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But my dream is to own a true vintage pink flocked tree. Let me know if you’re getting rid of one.

 

In the meantime we will still buy a real tree – typically we go out and cut down a Christmas tree when it’s about 25 below zero – because that’s a fun holiday tradition with three kids.

 

But no matter if we cut down a tree or talk Jed into a pink one – a tree has yet to enter our living room. Nor any decorations and the elf will not move this year…because he’s tired of this job.

 

I also haven’t started Christmas shopping and honestly just realized that Christmas is just two weeks away.

 

And it’s not like I’m not in the Holiday Spirit. I am. I just don’t have time for the extra things – decorating, shopping, baking cookies, hanging mistletoe. And I wonder if we could push it all out until January.

 

The weird thing though is that my kids haven’t even asked about the tree – if or when we are getting one – or even about decorating and baking.

 

It’s strange when your kids get bigger and they have other things going on  – school, dance, sports, friends, homework, etc…and they don’t just sit at home begging for Christmas crafts and activities(thank god).

 

Their Christmas lists remain empty(except for the talking scale). So daily I pester them to give me ideas..to which they reply “Meh, I’m good.”

 

So instead I’m planning a shopping trip for all of us for Toys For Tots this weekend and I’m thankful this season that there’s not one thing in a catalog they are asking for this year.

 

I think of simple days – of one or two gifts – not the tens that kids can get today – or the hundreds of dollars spent.

 

I love my friends who do four gifts for each child – “Something she wants, something she needs, something to wear and something to read” – and I know my girls would love this idea.

 

Simple.

 

Simple like a pink aluminum tree on sale at Target right now.

 

Now I just need to convince Jed that I haven’t lost my mind.

 

Just write.

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I Believe In Magic

“Mommy, I think I’m ready to talk to Santa this year.” Astrid says very quietly one evening after dinner when all of us still gather around the dining room table doing homework, writing, paying bills, and if you are only four years old – coloring.

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“I mean, I will talk to him – but I’ll be standing next to him. Not on his lap. I don’t want to touch him. But I’ll say hi maybe and tell him my name. I want to tell him that I only want a talking scale this year just like the one in Costa Rica so it will yell out “31.2 pounds” all day every day if I want it to. I need to tell him about the scale so I get it. That’s the only thing on my list.”

 

“Maybe it’s a good idea for all three of you to get your Santa lists ready!” I suggest after Astrid’s announcement that she is “Santa-talk ready” this year. “I’ll make reservations for us to visit him this Saturday.

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Eloise looks up from her algebra – stopping mid-problem that has something to do with coefficients and rises and runs and things I no longer understand – and says “Yeah okay Mom, let me get right on that. Ha!”

 

“Ha!?!” I stand and hold my hands up to my heart as if shot and take a deep breath in before responding with a “Santa is watching and he heard what you just said!”

 

“Oh, okay Mom. Let me just get right to that list after I finish my algebra and type-up my endangered animal study paper….”

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I look to Astrid and Esther who have already gotten out plain paper, red markers and stickers and are happily making Santa Lists.

 

And I sit back down hard as I realize she no longer believes. And the hurt takes me by surprise.

 

I mean she’s 11 and all – and maybe you’re thinking “Geesh, it’s about time!” Because maybe that’s what I was thinking a few years back when at eight and nine she still did believe while I figured the whole ‘Santa’ thing out by the time I was five.

 

I continue to sit quietly at the table and glance over my coffee and then I meet Eloise’s eyes. She gives me a quick, small knowing smile and wink before getting back to her work.

 

And I cannot help from almost crying as our eyes meet because I know she gets it. Because even though she may no longer believe in the actual Big Man himself, she still gets the magic of the season and the importance to not give her new found knowledge away to her little sisters.

 

Later that night she hands me her Santa List – which even starts with “Dear, Santa” and ends with “Love, Eloise” – and as she hands it over to me she says “You know just in case you’d like to know what’s on my list too.”

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I smile as she walks away and heads up to bed.  I carefully unfold her letter and read the first two items on her list…

 

-I would like to raise at least $100 to adopt a Panda from WWF to help stop their endangerment.

-I would like Astrid to get the talking scale she wants

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And I know that she still believes in magic because she continues to wish for very good things.

*******

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Do you have a Holiday outfit planned for your little girl for Christmas? I was thrilled to receive the Twinkle Party Dress and matching dress for Bitty Baby from American Girl to review.  Astrid pretty much doesn’t go anywhere without her ‘Baby Anna’ and now they can match when we have breakfast with Santa this weekend. And they can ask for the scale together! In fact Astrid has refused to take her party dress off for the past three days because she feels like a ‘special princess’ and has told me that ‘Baby Anna’ will never wear anything BUT her fancy red dress. So there you go. They love their matching dresses and I about died from the cute. I think Santa will be equally impressed this weekend and now we don’t have to stress about what to wear on Christmas eve.

 

If you haven’t purchased your Holiday Dress yet and you have a little one who loves AG – I for sure recommend these cute sets! I am a HUGE fan of American Girl as you know – for celebrating girls and sending a positive message to our kids…so having these special dresses for Astrid and ‘Baby Anna’ is just a bit of sweet icing on the cake for us.

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I Believe

I’ve been quiet this week as I struggle with what to write. We’re busy. Busy with school and music and friends and activities and shopping and general prepping.

 

Maybe busier than we need to be just so my mind can’t stop and think of the sad.

 

And I’ve been looking for little miracles that I can grab hold of and hang on to as the world seems to cruel to me right now.

I find even watching the news about the fiscal cliff makes me angry for the posturing on politics versus just doing what’s right for the people. And Lord knows we’ve had enough politic discussions this year to last us until 3245.

 

And the big and sad of everything just continues to get me down. So I need to stop looking at the bigs and the leaders for those miracles, and maybe just start with what’s inside these four walls.

Because children still believe. They believe in magic and miracles and simple goodness. They believe that the good guys always beat the bad guys and that love is so very easy.

 

A kiss heals a boo-boo and a hug wipes away tears. A cookie makes the day better and holding a friend’s hand makes the playground almost as good as Disney World.

 

My kids still believe that the Elf moves itself each night. They write notes to Santa that Sophie takes back to him. They ask to all sleep in Esther’s room so they can hear Santa’s Jingle Bells as he goes down the chimney. Even my 10 year old. She believes. She believes.

 

They believe in the good. The miracles. The magic. The good guys.

So maybe I need to take my cues for the little ones. Who make the little things more important than the big things. And the big things not so scary. And the spirit of the season alive in our hearts.

 

I so want to still believe in miracles.

And sometimes when I close my eyes and hug my children tight…I see them all right there…

 

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Elf On The Shelf Rides Santa Cat – Because He Can

We’ve had our elf (Her name is Sophie. I have no idea why they named her Sophie) for several years now. Two years ago I wrote a poem about our Elf on The Shelf – of course this was after she received third degree burns for sitting on a light bulb. And the poem was written before she was a she. Sometime in mid-2011 Sophie had a sex change as before that she was a guy and then all of a sudden when she appeared in 2011 my kids declared that Sophie was now a girl.

 

So I bought her a skirt because girls wear skirts. duh.

The best part of writing that poem was freeing me and my mind from caring about the damn elf. I now have no guilt about our elf who now just SITS ON THE SHELF like she is suppose to do and watch the kids doing nice things all day. She’s not mischievous or silly and she doesn’t leave presents. She just sits there and we are all quite happy.

But then our orange tabby cat,Truffle really ticked me off last week so I bought him a Santa outfit that I forced him into so I could shame him with pictures or saying ‘OMG you are so damn cute’ before he ripped it off and perhaps crapped in my shoe overnight. And once I got him into the suit and applied band-aids to my hands I had a brilliant idea to make Sophie ride the Santa Cat. Please note that all of this happened while the kids were at school because these are the things that moms do when we are trying to create a special holiday moment.

Needless to say Truffle was not thrilled and his brother Tyko kept making fun of him, which did not help matters at all. Also Sophie kept falling off so I had to use duct-tape on her butt which then actually removed more of her felt. She’s had a rough life. I’m more shocked every year that Santa still shows up here.

But what this post is really about is this…don’t dress your cat in a Santa suit because….

 

…do you see this face…

Yeah, when we woke up this morning the Christmas tree was on the floor and most of my precious ornaments were smashed beyond recognition.

And while I was sweeping up the mess, the damn orange tabby cat just strutted by me like he owned the place.

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Linking up with Memories CapturedWordful Wednesday and Inappropriate Elf!

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If you liked this post – Like Sellabit Mum on Facebook for more daily fun! (Christmas cookies might be involved. Or not).

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A Hunger Games Halloween

I never used to like Halloween. From bad experiences as a child working in haunted houses, to nightmares from horror movies, dressing up as Bob Marley and going dateless, and being mugged one year…yeah, not my favorite memories.

 

Having children though is slowly changing me because it turns out that most kids love this holiday…mainly for the chocolate but hopefully also for the fun. Also, I want more chocolate.

 

In fact I actually dressed up for the first time last year – and I’m not one of those adults who typically dress up for Halloween. (And if you ever need a Pioneer Woman costume – call me!).

Astrid was suppose to be a cupcake. On Halloween morning she decided that cupcakes were overrated and demanded a new costume. So I opened the dress-up chest. Our dress-up chest is now almost big enough to take up a whole bedroom as I never get rid of any Halloween costumes or dance recital costumes. So we dug through and found Esther’s Lion costume from when she was two. So voila. Astrid was a lion which worked out perfectly because Esther was a leopard so we had a wild animal theme going on. And Esther was all leopard all the time. Like fabulous leopard head to toe.

This year Eloise wanted a Katniss Everdeen costume from the Hunger Games. Like obsessed about it because I was a horrible mother and blah blah blah let her read the Hunger Games and blah blah blah even see the movie when she was 9. And guess what, she loved it. Please go to my YouTube video about making your own Katniss Costume and judge me more though. It really makes my day to be judged. Like OMG take the time out of your busy day and judge me. Bring it. Also, if you think the Hunger Games trilogy is about kids killing kids YOU DID NOT UNDERSTAND THE BOOK.(Also note the homemade quiver and arrows I made for her – take that pinterest!)

Anyway, I decided that Eloise was having way too much fun getting her Katniss going on that I needed a brilliant idea for myself. Because why oh why do these kids have all of the fun. I took a quick trip to Savers and found a few things that I hoped would work and somehow created an Effie Trinket Costume.

I picked up my kids from school looking like this. Now THAT is what is awesome about parenting. Embarrassing your kids just gets better everyday. And it really brings more meaning to why parents all need the Halloween Spirit. It’s to bother our children.

So do you dress-up for Halloween? What were you this year?

 

Here’s what Effie thinks about adults dressing up for Halloween…

 

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Dreaming of a Vacation – Let’s Plan a Trip With Room 77

Thank you to Room 77 for sponsoring my post.

Room 77 is an intelligent and easy to use hotel search engine that allows travelers to find and book the best rates from across the Web in one fast and simple search.


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Jed and I were just talking about the fact that it’s been nearly four years since we took a family vacation. Yes, since before Astrid was born. As you know we were discussing and planning for Disney this year, but that is not going to happen. Someday though I hope it will.

 

There are a lot of sacrifices we make as families. I have chosen to stay at home with the kids which I would not trade for the world or any vacation at anytime or anyway – this is the right thing to do for our family. But it makes finances tight and vacations sparse. Sure we do little trips and visit family…but it’s still not the same.

 

Jed and I met through traveling the world and I know we both still have the wanderlust inside to continue our travels…and now to show our children the world.

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The New Egg Hunt Rules for 2012

Dear Parents who evidently still wipe their 12 year old’s asses,

 

We need to change our Easter Egg Hunt rules due to unforeseen issues with parents during our egg hunt intended FOR CHILDREN last year.

If you feel, AS A PARENT AND ADULT, that you cannot follow these rules then we kindly ask you to either withdraw your child from the hunt or perhaps find your child a more suitable parent who will LET THE CHILD HUNT FOR THEIR OWN EGGS.  We will be glad to find a suitable parental replacement for your child.

 

The new Egg Hunt rules starting with the 2012 official hunt are:

1. THE HUNT IS FOR CHILDREN ONLY – only human beings under the age of 10 will be allowed to take part of hunting for plastic eggs filled with candy – BECAUSE THEY ARE CHILDREN and this is fun for them.

 

2.  There will be taped off areas to divide age groups appropriately – ages 2-3, 4-5, 6-7, and 8-10.  THERE WILL NOT BE AN ADULT AGE GROUP AND NO, YOU DO NOT LOOK 10 BECAUSE YOU ACTUALLY HAVE A BEARD.

 

3.  Parents are not allowed in the hunt area.  If you are found in the grassy area you will be removed from the hunt and a suitable parental replacement will immediately be found for your child.  If you are well-behaved your child will be returned to you by Halloween. BUT YOU STILL DO NOT GET THEIR CANDY.

 

4.  Parents are not allowed to touch the eggs until your child has finished the hunt and has approached you off of the grassy area.  If you are found at anytime picking up an egg off the ground to give to your child you must then go pick up an egg for ALL other children in your child’s age group and give those children eggs too.  (A suitable parental replacement will also be found.)

 

5.  If you child(Susie) does not get as many eggs as another child (Mary) you will say “Great job, Susie! You got a fabulous blue egg and HAD SO MUCH FUN!” …and then maybe even turn to Mary and ask if she had a good time also.  Egg Hunting is not a competitive sport nor is it a paid activity and guess what – OUR EGG HUNT FOR YOU IS ACTUALLY FREE.

 

6.  If the parent cannot stay off the egg hunt grassy area then MAYBE DON’T COME TO OUR EGG HUNT.  Have your own egg hunt in your backyard so your child can get ALL OF THE EGGS and be QUEEN OF ALL EGG HUNTS and you can hoist her over your shoulders and proclaim that she conquered the damn Easter Bunny and take cute pictures of her to post of Facebook and tell all of your friends how flipping awesome your egg hunter is because THAT is the Easter spirit.

 

Then just go ahead and wipe her butt and do her homework and clear her plate from the table and make her bed and go on her first date with her and maybe share a room at college and don’t forget to put that “take your parent to work day” on your calendar for 2032. I know I’m pretty excited about it, but I know that you might be busy catching the baby coming out of your daughter’s vagina as you push her husband out of the way because YOU ARE THE PARENT AND NO WAY CAN SHE DO THIS ON HER OWN.

 

BECAUSE YOU DIDN’T LET HER PICK-UP HER OWN EGGS.

 

Thank you for your time,

 

Kisses,

The Easter Bunny

*****

Pouring my heart out against helicopter parents for Shell this week.

 

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Play-Doh Is Only Fun If Someone Else Makes It

I ran into a friend today. She is in the midst of it all – three kids under four years old.

 

She ran out for an hour to grab some groceries and a coffee by herself.

 

She looked at my kids as we chatted.   Eloise was pushing Astrid in the grocery cart and giving her goldfish crackers. Esther was checking off the grocery list and picking out the best looking apples and oranges and placing them in the cart.  I heard Eloise say “excuse me” to another shopper as she made her way down the aisle.

 

May I stop and just say that dragging my kids to the store is no longer dragging my kids to the store.

 

And my friend said to me “Don’t you just want to freeze time right here, right now? Just look at your kids. You have two that can make their own sandwiches – and clean up their mess yet they are at the ages where they still want to be with you more than their friends.  And you can have meaningful conversations and see movies that aren’t stupid. It’s like that perfect in-between of them needing you constantly and before you rarely see them because of sports or friends or when they just want to hang in their room.”

 

I hugged her tight because I needed to hear those words. Also because she was going home to three that needed every little thing about her…which is amazing yet exhausting.   And I told her that her time is coming.

 

That in a blink of an eye she will have three that are seven and eight and nine and she will wonder why the house has been so quiet for the past two hours and then she will find these kids in different corners of the house reading a book. These kids will walk past her to open the fridge and pour their own milk and grab some crackers.

 

And the next thing she knows, one of them will plop on her lap with legs hanging down as long as hers and want to talk about what they are reading. Or maybe to borrow her Mac. Which she will of course say no to because she needs to blog.

 

Anyway, my point of this whole story is that I hate Play-Doh. Hate it. I don’t buy it nor make it.

 

But I have this two year old who saw it somewhere and is obsessed with it. So we made it this week. It pretty much pissed her off though because we made it and I let her play with it for about 15 minutes and then we rolled it and cut it out and I baked it all so it really wasn’t any fun anymore.

 

But it did look like a yummy cookie and while I wasn’t looking she took a bite. Which kind of sucked since it tastes REALLY bad.  So she spit it out and then got really mad that she could neither play with this stuff nor eat this stuff.

 

Which brings me back to my original point that Play-Doh is BAD!

 

However – you can make cute Valentines with it.  We made cute conversation hearts, bookmark pendants/ornaments and if you use a smaller cookie cutter you can make cute little necklaces.

Homemade Play Dough Valentine’s Day Ornaments:

Mix together :

– 1 cup flour

-1/2 cup salt

– 3/4 cup water(add/subtract to make dough similar to roll-able sugar cookie dough)

– food coloring and glitter as you wish

Mix and roll and use a cookie cutter to shape.  If you are making a pendant/ornament also poke a hold through before baking.

Bake at 350 for about 35-45 minutes

After they cool you can use them as is or you can paint and decorate as you wish. Such a fun craft for kids or for you if your kids are at school. Or a cool way to infuriate your two year old.

 

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Time…

I cooked a full meal tonight. Pecan crusted chicken with yogurt sauce, homemade mac-n-cheese to make the kids happy, a nice salad. I spent an hour in the kitchen without interruption.

 

In the other room I could hear laughter during a very competitive round of Apples to Apples Junior. Papa was trying to convince the judge that ‘salt’ was the best match for the word ‘rich’ while Esther thought that ‘hot tub’ was a given.  Astrid sat on Grammy’s lap and  just kept yelling ‘I want a green card next’ while Eloise made sure that everyone was playing fair.

 

I could hear Jed upstairs moving furniture as he prepared to finish the painting in the girl’s redecorated rooms.(pictures coming..)

 

My mom and step-dad surprised us with a visit last night. After our Skype chat on Christmas they said that they could not believe how the girls have changed since their last visit in July and didn’t think they could go another six months before seeing them again so they got in their car and drove the 11 hours because they wanted some hugs.

Watching how Astrid immediately hugged and kissed them when they walked in showed me the power of Skype.

 

Watching Esther randomly just hug my mom during the day and then not wanting to let her go brings me to tears.

 

Eloise is having a hard time trying not to hug. She’s not my affectionate one.

 

And my phone sits in the other room.  I’m checking email maybe twice a day. I’m not on twitter. Facebook?

 

I’m thankful to all of you for not writing blogposts this week. And if you are…stop it. ;)

 

I’m loving this downtime and the comfort of family and the time to reflect on what’s really important and why I write.

 

And remembering that it’s been really hard to cook with a phone in my hand.

 

And making my children laugh is better than any witty blogpost I will ever write.

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When It’s Not a Wonderful Life…How to cut down your own Christmas tree..

I had this romantic idea to go out to the woods and cut down our own Christmas tree this year. Usually we wisely go to the Ace Hardware down the block and pay $24.99.  Now I know why.

 

I cannot sing.

 

So we drove and drove and kids were asking why we were driving so far. Then they started asking where all of the houses were. Then they spotted cows. Then they knew we had left the city and began to worry.

 

We got out of the truck and grabbed our sleds and saw, and of course as the good mother I kept saying “isn’t this fun” “isn’t it beautiful out here” “the snow is so pretty” “we will find our perfect tree out here!”

 

I started singing “Walking in a Winter Wonderland.”

 

And as we walked I kept hearing my least favorite Christmas Carols of Whine  “how much farther” “I’m cold” “can’t we just buy one that somebody else just cut” “can I just ride in the sled” “do you have cocoa” “are we there yet” and perhaps my favorite carol “why are we doing this.”

So I started singing louder “Jingle Bells Jingle Bells!”

 

Which was met with the old Holiday favorite “Mom, you’re embarrassing us.”

 

I broke out in “Oh Come all ye faithful.”

 

Which brought on an encore of “stop touching me!”

 

So I mustered up an “Oh Christmas tree” with the German versus.

 

Which was muffled quickly by one of the old Holiday Classics “Mom has lost her mind.”

So we found a tree – after walking for an hour and finally turning back for the truck – a tree that was 20 feet from our truck.

 

A true Christmas miracle.

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Elf on the Shelf Poem

Oh yay – Thanksgiving is over and it’s time to bring out the Elf on the Shelf. Dammit.

 

Our Elf is on year four – or maybe five I believe. I get the concept and I thought it would be fun to do – but here’s the thing..

 

1. It’s a pain in the ass to play this game.

2. If I may, my kids don’t ever misbehave..because they are weird. I  know. So the elf is pretty much not required except as a game..so please refer back to #1

and 3. When we bought the Elf – it was a hard to find item at small gift shops and online….NOW it is at the Wal-Mart check-out lane. WTF? My kids are like – why are there Elves at Target! I thought Santa sent him.  And I’m like – those are FAKE ELVES TRYING TO STEAL CHRISTMAS WITH THE ZOMBIES!

 

Seriously how can we fool our kids into believing this Elf was sent by Santa to watch them if we put him first on the conveyor at Target. It’s like lying to your kids isn’t even sacred anymore! I believe the Elves should be kept behind the counter with the cigarettes, condoms and sudafed. Right?

 

Anyway, since I cannot even remember my children’s names there is no way I can remember to move and care for a plastic elf each season. Last year I lost it after FOUR days he sat in one spot and the total gig was up.

The Elf’s days are numbered. In the meantime I’ve resurrected the poem I wrote last year about our Elf on the Shelf.

 

Dear Santa I failed

I have to admit

I can’t care for another

Even one that just sits

 

 

I have set him on fire

I have dropped him on his head

But he keeps coming back

It seems each year from the dead

 

 

My girls wait for his coming

How he moves through the air

And each morning I say

“Ah f*ck” he’s still there

 

 

See all part of the game

Is finding him each day

In his brand new spot

To watch  my girls play

 

 

But because I am lazy and

I suck at this game

I forget to move him

Now my kids think he’s lame

 

So I move him when I can

When they all turn their backs

I am so magical that way

They think I am whacked

 

 

Or perhaps while

They were at school he did walk

And though Astrid did see me do it

I thank god she can’t talk

 

 

So dear Santa I say

I don’t care whose been good

The elf  needs to stop haunting

My quiet neighborhood

 

 

I have too much to do

This game is quite dumb

My kids are too smart

My brain old and numb

 

 

I know people are rich

From this stupid charade

You have nothing to do with it

The parents this elf has played

 

 

But please end the madness

Can we all kill our elves?

And take Christmas back

and rely on goodness ourselves

 

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Hi, It’s Ree Drummond The Pioneer Woman

So I was racking my brain for the perfect costume this year and at first I was like OMG I should be Kate Middleton – but realized that would be a real stretch as we only have shopping and brown hair in common and I’m not sure I could get in complete character or sleep with Price William. Ever.  Harry. For sure. But if I went as Harry’s girlfriend, no one would know who I was. Not even Harry.

And Kim Kardashian announced her divorce too late today for me to whip up a costume of the “happy” couple.. So then I was like – well I’m a blogger and a mom – I should go as a mom blogger – which basically meant dressing up as myself..which I do every year and every year my kids know exactly who I am. They are brilliant like that. So I thought – no, a famous mom blogger like maybe The Bloggess! but that would be a huge stretch because I don’t have any taxidermy animals and I’ve never formed a cause to help kittens and I cannot stand bathrooms, so I thought DOOCE – yes – but to like grow 10″ in one day and get a cute haircut and buy a huge cool house would take a lot of doing and my kids would totally not know who I was and they would be concerned…

So then I thought some more and I was like “OMG I am pretty much JUST like the Pioneer Woman!” And I’ve been reading PW since 2007 AND we’ve met – it’s like we’re besties or something, right?

 

I mean Ree has four bazillion page views per month –  I have slightly less than four bazillion page views per month.

 

Ree has written a cookbook – I have cooked recipes from her cookbook.

 

She lives on a sprawling ranch in Oklahoma – OMG I have driven by ranches in Oklahoma.

 

She homeschools her children – I’ve met people here who homeschool.

 

And then it got really freaky when I realized that Ree is 42 and I am 42 AND we both own Lucchese boots AND we both do laundry – I mean we have so much in common it’s almost like we are twinsies.

 

Do you think she would be my twinsie? I was mistaken for her one time..that time The Pioneer Woman signed my boobs boots.

 

And so I went home and set-up drove around my Fisher Price Little People Collection Ranch, put on my best peasant blouse and rounded up my stuffed real basset hounds and looked in the mirror and said “OMG yes – I really am almost, sort of, kind of, in a round about, strange stalker way because I really love her more than my butter…JUST LIKE REE The Pioneer Woman?

Don’t you agree?

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Don’t forget to link-up your Halloween costume pics – of you, your kids, your pets, your silverware for BOO! In the Blogosphere! It’s the biggest Halloween Link-up around! Tons of Halloween Treats up for grabs.

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Speaking of dress-up – did you see my girls all dressed up for The Chick Mom Life on Moments that Define Life today? Love this new series..and you must check-out the pearls…

Happy Halloween!

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