Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Our Elf on the Shelf 2014 Adventures: Day 17

Let the holiday baking commence! T couldn't believe Eli was on my mixer! She thought he was going to be covered with dough! So much fun! Plus, this location meant no baking for me today! Bonus!

Our Elf on the Shelf 2014 Adventures: Day 18

I am really proud of Hubby for this one!  He had mentioned wanting Eli to go fishing, but we didn't quite know how to stage it. I fell asleep with Mad Man so it was all on Hubby, and he came through! This scene looks great!

Our Elf on the Shelf 2014 Adventures: Day 19

Hubby had to take care of Eli's location again. I like this one. Kiddos liked it too. Eli in the kitchen with some of their cups, "drinking" some liquid delight!

Our Elf on the Shelf 2014 Adventures: Day 20

Last night T Bear wanted to leave Eli a treat. So sweet. She left out some Hershey Kisses and a little cake. For this spot I had to make sure Eli was appreciative. So, he wrote a little note and was planted on top of the wrapping paper. T loved the note!  Success!

Our Elf on the Shelf 2014 Adventures: Day 21

This is a must every year. Hubby hates these big Christmas balls that I hang; I adore them. Apparently, Eli loves them too! T said she knew he would be on one!

Our Elf on the Shelf 2014 Adventures: Day 22

Eli is really getting into the toys now! T couldn't believed he had strapped himself in! M thought it was hilarious (plus, he was able to spot him first this time!). 

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Our Elf on the Shelf 2014 Adventures: Day 26

This was our last day with Eli this year. I feel sad. I had the kiddos say good bye to him and wish him a great year. To think that the next time they see him they will be a year older is sad to me. Rationally, I know I cannot keep them babies forever, but I wish I could. I wish I could bottle up their innocence and the sweet way they talk to this little elf doll. I wish I could make them believe in the magic of the season forever. I was watching The Polar Express with the kiddos the other day, and realized I relate to the main character. I still believe in the magic of Christmas and want to instill that belief in my kiddos. Hopefully I am. 

For Eli's last location I really stumped the kiddos. I put him in Sophia the First's castle. It is near out pellet stove and the kiddos really had a hard time finding him. Mad thought he already flew back to the North Pole! With a little help they found him. Another successful year. I really love this time of the year. 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Our Elf on the Shelf 2014 Adventures: Day 23

I love this one! Eli needed some fun in his life so I set him up playing Old Maid with a few of his friends! Both kiddos thought this was funny!

Our Elf on the Shelf 2014 Adventures: Day 24

Who wouldn't want to cuddle up with their holiday stuffed animals? Eli looked super snuggly "reading" a book to his new friends. The kiddos had a really hard time finding him today!

Our Elf on the Shelf 2014 Adventures: Day 25

I'm such a sap. I became very sad today when I realized that there were only couple of opportunities to hide Eli this year. Seriously, this holiday season is makings so emotional! I decided that it was time to trust the kiddos and place Eli in a reachable location. Not only did I place him low enough for them to reach, but he was in their playroom where they are often unsupervised. I'm really stepping out of my comfort zone on this one! He needed some boy time...enter Aladdin, Prince Naveen, and the Beast (sans Beast wardrobe). 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Our Elf on the Shelf 2014 Adventures: Day 11

I try to have Eli move around the main level of the house, and I will admit that I'm running out of ideas! I'm still afraid Ma Man will touch him if he is in reaching distance, so that greatly limits my options. T Bear liked this one because she found him first (as she ALWAYS does), an said "Mommy, you're not going to like this. Eli moved your decoration!"  Too funny!

Our Elf on the Shelf 2014 Adventures: Day 10

Eli was ready to take flight this morning. T got a kick out of this one, especially since it took her a little while to find him. He was in the office, or as Mad Man calls it "Daddy's Office". 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Our Elf on the Shelf 2014 Adventures: Day 9

This one took a little thought. I knew I wanted to attach Eli to this little holiday parachute toy, but I wasn't sure how to rig him perfectly. He wasn't very easy to position, but it worked...more or less. Of course, because he was hanging so low, on one of my many clean up sessions my hair brushed him and moved him! T saw the whole thing and accused me of touching him! She was shocked. I explained that I thought I would be fine since I didn't really touch him skin to skin and that hair probably didn't count! She believed me after many additional questions! There sure is a lot to this thing! Who I am trying to fool? I love every second of it!

Our Elf on the Shelf 2014 Adventures: Day 8

Hubby was back on duty since T and I got home so late from NYC and both kiddos wanted snuggle time with Mommy. Shocking where he placed him...

Our Elf on the Shelf 2014 Adventures: Day 7

This was an easy one because T Bear and I had an early morning departure for NYC to see the Rockettes. I simply placed Eli in a somewhat conspicuous spot and called it a day! I didn't take a picture - rushing too much to get out the door by 5:30 AM!! He was sitting in the bathroom on top of a little snowman that holds hand towels. Even in Ts sleepy state she spotted him before we left!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Our Elf on the Shelf 2014 Adventures: Day 6

Hubby had to ensure Eli's next location, since Mad Man is still not sleeping well! Poor little stuffy man. I love it that Hubby has to ask me for ideas of where to place him! He decided on our Disney inspired play room high on the shelf: kiddos were stumped! Good job, Hubby!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Our Elf on the Shelf 2014 Adventures: Day 5

This morning was a close call!  Mad Man is still not sleeping well, so I fell asleep with him before moving the Elf. When I woke up, I jumped right in the shower. I suddenly remembered that Eli hadn't been moved when I heard footsteps coming down the stairs - Mad Man. Then I heard more footsteps - T Bear! Shoot! I quickly finished my shower, and rushed out to turn off the living room lights. T wanted to search for Eli, but luckily I was able to convince her to go back to sleep! No such luck with M! I kept the lights off, scooped him up in my arms laying his head on my right shoulder. Slyly, I strolled through the dining room and grabbed Eli with my left hand, keeping M's head down the whole time. I told M we were just finding Mommy some clothes in the laundry room and I quickly placed Eli on the wreath hanger! Close one. Poor little guy was so tired it didn't phase him and he was unaware of my antics!

Our Elf on the Shelf 2014 Adventures: Day 4

Well, Mad Man hasn't been falling asleep easily which had made replacing Eli problematic! Hubby has had to step in. The kiddos are so excited to look for Eli each morning - it doesn't quite matter where he is!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Our Elf on the Shelf 2014 Adventures: Day 3

My TT is so good at spying Eli...it's crazy!  This morning I brought Mad Man down and T said she was staying upstairs. So I finished changing Mad Man's diaper and was coming out of the bathroom to be startled by T, still on the stairs excitedly pointing out where Eli was! She scared the life out of me! I had Eli holding a newly broken Olaf in a Frozen sled. T got a kick out of it. M was mad because he wanted his Olaf back!  I am going to super glue Olaf tonight and pretend that Eli fixed him...I will leave a little note!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Mad Man's Potty Mouth

It is common knowledge that I am not a sailor. I do however, on occasion, speak like one. For the most part I have been able to keep my obscene language a secret from my kiddos. Instead I say silly things like "holy moly guacamole" or "WT". It has been pretty effective. That is until my buttons are pushed to their limit and "dammit" comes out of my mouth. I didn't realize that I uttered it at all, but I'm guessing I say it more than I think because my Mad Man has mastered its use. One night a few months ago I was getting his bath ready and I heard him struggling with something in the living room. Lo and behold upon my entrance to the living room he was stamping his little yarn tangled foot repeating "dammit" over and over. Oops. While it was quite amusing to witness I decided I didn't want my two year old using such explicative words!  He continued to use his new phrase on a pretty consistent basis. Slowly I was able to phase it out by getting him to say "oh pickle juice" instead. Thank you Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. 

I had a few weeks with no shocking words emerging from those sweet innocent lips. Until last week. At the dinner table Mad Man dropped the F -bomb. Not once or twice, but several times, and he used it correctly.  How? How did he learn to use that word to express his anger, his frustration? I was shocked and certainly didn't know what to say. I didn't want to make a big deal out of it for fear that he would enjoy the attention and cherish his new found obscene word. I responded with something like, "we don't say that word in our family"; lies,lies,lies. The question remains "where did he pick up his new favorite word?" Was it Hubby? Poppi man (whom I questioned because he ha spent the day with the little man; he was mortified that I even asked)? I may never know where he picked up his new word, and really does it matter? It is my job now to erase this word from his current vocabulary. Wish me luck; I think I'm going to need it. Dammit. 

High: The skills my Mad Man has with the complicated English language...I'm really stretching here!
Low: The shattered innocence when my little man curses. 

No Whine November

I needed a catch phrase. The whining in my house has reached new levels since T's entrance into kindergarten. I know she is tired. I know she has to be good all day. I know that she acts out at home because that is her safe place. However, all of these things put together really don't alleviate the frustration I experience when the incessant whining begins. Mad Man certainly has picked up on the power of the whine. So, now it is multiplied. That certainly doesn't help the situation. Neither does yelling. Neither do time outs. Enter my catchphrase. I used it on a daily basis as a means to quell the oncoming barrage of whines. For the most part it worked. If nothing else it kept me from losing my cool (99% of the time!). I relied on the phrase and using it provided me with the opportunity to take a breath and collect myself. Now it hasn't cured my kiddos of the use of the whine but it has helped to abate it...somewhat. 

High: Feeling like I conquered a feat (however minuscule it may be!). 
Low: Listening to the sound of whine after whine with no visible end in sight. 

Our Elf on the Shelf 2014 Adventures: Day 2

There are so many reasons to love this thing! Tonight I overheard Tare Bear talking to Eli, sharing her Christmas wish list with him. It was so cute and reaffirmed in me how important it is to make each day as magical as can be. They won't believe in this forever, and I am really going to try to stay cognizant of this harsh reality and embrace every opportunity to bring the magic of the season (and really of life) to them. Thank you Elf on the Shelf!

Our Elf on the Shelf 2014 Adventures: Day 1

It's that time of year again. Sadly, it seems that since my return to teaching last September my blog has certainly lost momentum. This is not due to a lack of fodder but merely a lack of time to write. Anyway, I love the whole Elf on the Shelf concept and process so I will MAKE myself post. 

This year I knew right where Eli was packed. We are storing many totes and boxes at my parent's house because we have our house on the market. Inevitably this fall whenever I went to look for something in our "storage" room I found the Elf on the Shelf box. Luckily, I was somehow able to keep it hidden from the kiddos. So, Eli was able to make his debut this year unscathed! The one issue I am having is that I can't seem to find the Elf on the Shelf movie on TV, and the book is yet to be unpacked, so Mad Man really has no clue about it (specifically the not touching him aspect). For now I will have to keep Eli well out of reach! I am going to buy the movie tomorrow just to aid in this endeavor!

T found him right away this morning and was so excited!  And so it begins...

Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Beauty of Sibling Play

I always feel so blessed when I am able to be a voyer and watch my little ones play together. Of course, the beautiful moment is eventually ruined by "he's not playing nice" or "that's mine," but while the moment is present I savor it and cherish it for all that it's worth. This morning I had one of these moments. Tare Bear is really good at engaging Mad Man in play so I can take a quick shower. This morning I was finishing breakfast and was able to just sit and watch them interact. T, of course, takes the lead and M follows along compliantly for the most part. They were playing with their "Sofia The First" dolls and a Little People car ramp. It was adorable. They were pretending that the ramps were slides and each of the dolls had to stand in line and wait for their turn. M mimicked every aspect of T's play, which was awesome. He is so lucky to have her; he adores her and gets so much out of playing with her. It is In these moments that I take a breath and think, okay, I'm doing somethig right raising these little people. They truly fill me with so much love.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Another ER Visit

My Mad Man is something else. We were having dinner the other night - all four of us, when Mad Man decided to entertain us, so to speak. He and T were making each other laugh. She put extra noodles in her mouth and was being a little sloppy which made M laugh out loud. So, M had to up the ante. He decided to put a Craisin up his nostril. It came right out, but he devoured the reaction he received. So, up went another Craisin. This one he managed to lodge up in his left nostril. Eew. 

At first we didn't take it that seriously, but his nose was bleeding a little. Then we realized that we couldn't get it out. Panic. We could see it (or at least a part of it), but we couldn't get it out. We tried everything we could think of. Massaging his nose. Having him try to blow it out. I got out the baby nose suction tool (which I never used on my babies). Nothing was working. At this point I turned to Google. Mad Man was being a good sport about it. Google advised us to plug the over nostril, cover his mouth with our mouth and blow in. YouTube even had a video of this technique in its grandeur. So, we tried, and we tried. Mad did not care for this technique, plus he had been enduring our efforts for about forty-five minutes. Google also informed us that we needed to get our little man to the doctor ASAP to get this thing out. Luckily, Poppi Man had stopped by, so he took T Bear with him. Off we went. 

M was fairly unbothered by the whole thing. We arrived at the ER, checked in and began the waiting game. Of course, the waiting room was pretty crowded. Let's see: there was a young guy in a wheel chair, who must have injured some part of his leg and kept wheeling toward the receptionist and trying to stand up; there was a young mother of two little ones, with the little boy seemingly sick; a middle aged woman with a mask over her nose and mouth; and a middle aged man with no noticeable symptoms. I figured by the time we left we would all have been infected by something. Mad Man sat on my lap, snacking away, reluctantly watching "America's Funniest Home Videos". Hubby leaned over to me and said that we should probably be trying to work that Craisin out. I laughingly agreed, and mouthed "we are going to be here all night!"  About two seconds later, M started sneezing. One sneeze. Two sneezes. On the third sneeze out flew the Craisin into my hand. Triumph!  M said, "Mommy, I got it out! I got the Craisin out myself!"  So cute. We reported the victory to the receptionist, who checked with the nurse, and allowed us to go on our way. Phew. Crisis averted. Knowing my Mad Man this will not be our last trip to the ER, but thankfully this visit was pretty innocuous. 

Note: this trip to the Emergency Room occurred almost exactly one year to the day of his last trip to the ER. Note to self: put M in a bubble the last week in July. 

High:  Catching that nasty Craisin and realizing M would not have to endure any invasive procedures!
Low:  The fear of what M would have to experience trying to get that little thing out. 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

More Thunderstorms...Really?

I love summer. What's not to love?  Sun shining. Swimming. The smell of sun tan lotion. BBQ's. Eating outside. Swing sets. The park. Vacation. The list goes on and on. But wait, what has been putting a serious damper on our afternoons and evenings?  Yup. Good old Mother Nature and her thunderstorms. Really, every day at nap time and bed time?  Could we just pick one?  Or how about a reprieve...one per week instead of multiple times in a day?  I realize this sounds selfish, but I have two little ones who are petrified by thunder and lightning. It is the hottest topic of conversation all day every day since we heard the first crack of thunder. Every loud sound Mad Man asks if it is thunder. T checks the weather app on my phone several times every day. Perhaps I could have prevented this fear more effectively, but obviously I didn't. I tried the understanding and acknowledging fear approach. I tried the distracting approach. I tried the explaining the science behind this phenomenon approach. What am I left with?  I will tell you: a two year old and a five year old who panic and scream at the first rumble of thunder; children who cling to me like I am the big thunder warrior; little ones who beg to sleep with me.  Thank you Mother Nature for this extra emotional stress, but seriously can you chill with all the storms?

High: The extra snuggle time their fear brings me. 
Low: Seeing and hearing their fear manifest itself every day and being unable to "cure" their fear. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A Frozen Birthday

Disclaimer: I started this post prior to T's fifth birthday...almost five months ago!

T Bear is turning five! This cannot be possible. I am so proud of the little lady she is becoming. Her newest obsession is Disney's Frozen (along with the majority of children in this age group!). I had planned on her having a Sofia the First birthday party, since she has been enamored by her for about a year. When she switched gears (after seeing Frozen) I was a little heartbroken. Maybe it's because I realize that I won't always have my finger on the pulse of what she likes and wants, or maybe it is because she is constantly growing and changing; either way I had a hard time switching gears. So, Frozen it is.

The plan for the party was the same as last year: kids party during the day, family party at night. It worked well last year. So, I told T she could invite any eight friends, which apparently was too hard to narrow down so we made it eleven friends. I ordered some Frozen party supplies and started Googling Frozen birthday parties! Thank God for the Internet! I found some cool printable coloring pages, and some images for Frozen inspired cakes (I really need to practice using fondant so I can create some serious birthday cakes! Maybe next year!).

Luckily, T had received the Frozen castle am some figurines as Christmas gifts, so we had plenty of things to display! With T's picky eating I had to plan the menu kind of around her, but also around the other little ones who would be there! We decided on just snacks since the party was mid afternoon! We had to postpone the party a week because T Bear was sick on her actual birthday (and the whole week), mostly all of the original guests could still make it! We actually nixed the family party! I always dream big in terms of what I envision for the party, but in actuality we pare it down so, the Christmas lights I had wanted to hang did not get hung...we survived. T dressed up in her Anna costume with braids in her hair and looked absolutely adorable (if I do say so myself)!

Here is the rundown of how it went:
1:00 - guests arrived
All the kiddos played - so fun to watch!
1:15 - scavenger hunt. We hid about one hundred pieces of paper with either carrots or chocolate pictures on them. The goal was to find food for Sven (so only take the carrots). Basically, it was a free for all!  T found the most, but I gave Frozen stickers to the top few!
1:30 - arts and crafts: I had cut out pieces of Olaf for the kiddos to color, decorate, and glue onto paper; I also had  Frozen mazes for them to do and color. They seemed to have fun (except for the birthday girl who didn't feel like she was getting enough attention at the time!). 
2:00 - snacks. On the menu: cheese, crackers, pepperoni, pretzels, fresh fruit with cream cheese dip dyed teal (I loved it, mostly everyone else was quite skeptical of it!), blue meringue cookies, marshmallows dipped in pink and blue sprinkles, and blue punch!
2:30 - pin the nose on Olaf!  Loved this game!
2:45 - snow ball throwing game through a snow hoop (I used styrofoam balls and a styrofoam hoop). Mad Man especially loved this game
3:00 - dress up time. All of the kiddos dressed up in T's costumes...it was so cute to see them all!
Lots of running around and playing!
3:30 - cake and ice cream
4:00 - kiddos got picked up (some parents stayed the whole time - totally fine by me - the more eyes available the better in my book!)

Overall, it was a great party!  I'm already looking forward to next year's party!

High: Seeing T enjoy her friends and her party. 
Low: The stress I put on myself while planning and setting up a party!  

Bicycle Riding: Stifling My Fears

Learning to ride a bicycle is a rite of passage, right? Well, not for me. I am, however, attempting to squelch my own fears so that my children (specifically T Bear at the moment) will experience the childhood bliss of bike riding.

When I was little my parents tried to teach me how to ride a bicycle many times. Honestly, I wasn't overly interested in it, but I tried. Early in the training process I lost control of my bike, flipped over the handle bars, and landed on the ground in dirt. That was it for me. I vowed I was done trying and essentially quit. I even attended a bicycle birthday party and jogged alongside of all of the other party goers.  Ridiculous - but I dare to say I have a stubborn streak. Some time later I won a bicycle at a local minor league baseball game. Of all the prizes I could have acquired - a bicycle. Really?  So, my dad pushed the issue and I had to show him that I could ride. I did. I rode my new bicycle about one hundred feet and got off. "See Dad I can ride!"  This was my response. Flash forward to my early married life when Hubby wanted to teach me to ride. Lesson one, about three minutes in I jumped off of the bike. Lesson over. 

For Easter, Mima and Poppi gave T her first bicycle with training wheels. I really don't think I am ready for this. She has gone out a few times and has done great. She looks like a natural. I am a nervous wreck. Tonight we took her through a neighborhood with Hubby riding his bike alongside hers. My stomach was in knots. What if the bike tipped over? What if she couldn't stop? What if a car came? Ugh. Too many what ifs. Our plan was to go through the neighborhood and venture across a fairly busy street to Dairy Queen. I chickened out. We got through the first stop sign and I was done! T did awesome. My fears were not needed. I tried to hide my fears by continuously reassuring her that she was doing amazing, but she saw through it. When we arrived back at the van she asked me why I was so nervous. My only reply was that I'm a mommy and you know mommy's get nervous. Lame. She looked so grown up dismounting from her bike and thoughtfully placing her helmet just so on her handle bars. I felt such pride for her at that moment.

Maybe it is because I don't know anything about bicycle riding. Maybe it's because when T is on her bike I feel like I have no control. Maybe it's seeing her take great strides toward independence. I don't know. What I do know is that watching her take off on her Little Mermaid bicycle filled me with angst, fear, excitement, and pride. It is truly amazing to be a part of this little person creating her own memories and embarking on her own journey. Aah. 

High: The look of determination, focus, and joy as T peddled her little legs on her bike for the first time. 
Low: The utter realization that T is no longer my baby and she will have experiences (such as bike riding, gasp!) that scare me to death!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Sledding 101

By no means is this a tutorial on sledding. It is in fact a what not to do while sledding with a timid two year old and a dare devil five year old. I am not the out doorsy type, but I will venture out for my kiddos. We didn't have many decent days weather wise this winter, but there were two consecutive days that were pretty decent. They followed a storm which blanketed everything with white billowy snow. So, I decided to bundle the kiddos up and venture out. Now our yard is not ideal for sledding so we got in the van and drove to the high school. Once we arrived, I got the kiddos completely bundled head to toe as well as myself. The hill was much steeper than I realized, but Hubby assured me it would be fine. T insisted on going by herself and she did fine. Mad on the other hand is much more trepidatious and wanted me to go with him. The first run down was dicey as we toppled off of the sled once at the bottom, but then we got the hang of it. We spent a good hour sledding down and trekking back up the hill. Each run down T became braver and therefore faster. M was definitely getting more comfortable too. So, when T insisted on riding down with T, Hubby set them up. For the record I was not comfortable at all with it, but before I knew it down they went. They had a blast! They were both giggling. After a few more runs I announced that the next one would be the last. T hopped on the sled and M climbed in behind her and just like that they were flying down the hill. They landed at the bottom one flying over the other and M skidding across the snow/ice with his little face. I ran down the hill and scooped him up. Poor little guy had cuts and scrapes all over his sweet little face. With that we were done. 

Luckily M is resilient and stopped crying within a few minutes of comforting. I on the other hand am not nearly as resilient. I felt so guilty that I had allowed them go down together when I knew it wasnt safe. I know that I am over protective and hover, but hey they are generally safe and sound on my watch! It always has to be the last run doesn't it? Of course, an accident generally determines what will in fact be the last one. We will try again next year!

High: Experiencing the utter joy of sledding with my little ones. Hearing the laughter and squeals of delight. 
Low: M's poor little beat up face. 

Sibling Sympathy Pains?

Mad Man recently had his two year well check and then had to have his finger pricked for the lead test. Unfortunately, I had to take T with me to that appointment. I warned her ahead of time regarding the procedure. I told her that Mad might scream, but that it would be short lived. She asked me a slew of questions; I was confident in my answers. We had to wait for about ten minutes and then we were called in. Almost immediately T got a look of panic on her face. She was visibly nervous. Once the technician asked me to hold Mad Man's arm out that was it. T freaked out and ran behind the curtain. Mind you I couldn't get up to get her because I had Mad Man on my lap and the technician  was cleaning his finger. I called T back and she came, but was now starting to cry. I tried to reassure her, but she wasn't having it. She essentially had a panic attack. She kept uttering the statement "I don't think I can do this." At this point I reassured her that M was fine and that the finger prick was not happening to her!  Thanks to all of T's dramatics Mad did not even notice that his finger was being pricked. He sat on my lap calm and stoic as the technician finished the procedure. Such a tough little dude. T somewhat calmed down, but then became frustrated that she couldn't see his blood. I can't keep up!  

When it was finished we had to wait for one result for just a few minutes. M said quirtly "ow...finger hurt". T insisted on removing her jacket because she was sweating from all of the drama!  On the way out M wanted a sticker, T asked if she could have one for being so brave during M's appointment!  I stood my ground and said no since it wasn't actually her appointment!  I'm convinced she was experiencing sympathy pains for her little brother. After all, she is quite the protective big sis!  I realize, of course that she has a flair for the dramatics, but in this instance I am choosing to believe the former. 

High: Witnessing how brave my little man can be. 
Low:  Feeling helpless when T was panicking. 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

My Sweet Little Man

The bond between mother and son is palpable. There is an indescribable sweetness to the bond between my little Mad Man and myself. He surprises me every single day with his capacity to care. Don't get me wrong he's a wild man, but God is he sweet. I had the stomach bug last week. I left work early and thankfully Mima kept the kiddos through dinner. This was the longest I had ever gone without seeing my Mad Man. He came in and walked gingerly toward me and said "hi" in the sweetest, most caring little voice. Then he climbed onto the couch, caressed my face, and said "Mommy, puke?  Okay?"  Aah. Melts me heart. He was so concerned. It brought true tears to my eyes. Then he snuggled into me and was so gentle.   He's only two years old and I cannot wait to see how his sweet nature will continue to blossom. 

High: The honest love that could be felt emanating from this little man. 
Low: Having to go all day long without seeing my precious babies. 

Monday, January 20, 2014

2013: A Look Back

As I sit here rocking my little Mad Man I know I have so much to be grateful for.  I am however not sad to see 2013 pass. On the whole - not a great year.  There were of course magical moments, but overall not a very joyous year.  So, it seems appropriate that I should see 2013 out fighting a virus as well as pink eye, courtesy of my Mad Man. 

Let's look back.  The new year started off alright.  I was home with my babies and we had created quite a lovely routine.  Of course both kiddos were sick all through the holidays so we were recovering for most of winter!  Life with Hubby was getting increasingly strained, if I'm being totally honest.  After some serious heart to hearts things looked up.  We went to Disney World.  We went to Dutch Wonderland.  The kiddos and Mima and Poppi and I took some day trips.  Life was full of adventure!  

Then the news came that my position was being terminated (the position I was on an extended maternity from).  We were not surprised, in fact we would have been shocked if it wasn't eliminated due to increasing budget constraints in the school district.  I was actually quite happy with the news that I would be home for at least one more year guilt free, as it wasn't my decision.  However, reality sank in and we knew we had to increase our income.  So, I decided to try at home day care.  Luckily, our good friends knew I was considering it and I ended up watching their 11 month old niece.  Long story short it was a long summer.  I tried to make the best of it, but it was challenging meeting the vastly different needs of three little ones.  I cannot imagine how the parents of multiples do it!  

Late in August I was notified that my position was available due to another teacher in the department moving. Ugh.  I was not happy with the news.  In fact I was devastated.  Although the daycare thing was hard I felt like I was getting in a rhythm with the kiddos and I was so looking forward to the fall and bringing T to preschool for the first time.  I felt like it had all been ripped away.  I will admit I do not adjust easily to change and this really threw me for a loop.  Now, of course I could have turned down the offer, but that would have meant losing any right to a position in the future, as well as losing my stature in the district.  So, really I couldn't say no.

I returned to work in September and have tried to accept my new reality.  It has not been easy, but it is what it is.  I try to make the most of the evenings and especially the weekends.  I try not to think of all that I am missing out on.  I hope that my children will continue to thrive.  I wish I could have figured out a way to stay home, but I didn't.  Now I just have to keep moving forward.  Just keep swimming, as Dory from Finding Nemo says. 

As I said there was also some magic this year.  Mad Man is changing by leaps and bounds.  He is developing an adorable sense of humor and I could listen to him talk for hours.  His voice is sweet and high pitched when he is really trying to communicate.  He is my little love man.  T is amazing. She is maturing into such a sweet, talented, intelligent little lady.  She tells the most elaborate stories which I adore.  I love watching her play; she is so creative.  I live for my moments with these two. 

That's life on the Mommy Coaster, right?  Ups and downs.  Highs and lows.  That's life...period.  My hope is for a brighter 2014 with more highs than lows.  More peaks than pits.  Less turbulence.   Either way I wouldn't change it for the world.  I love my precious babies and am truly thankful to experience this ride with them. 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Our Elf on the Shelf 2013 Adventures: The End

Although it took a few days to get into the whole Elf on the Shelf thing this year it turned out great.  I love the sense of wonder and excitement it helps to create.  Every morning is filled with joy as the kiddos search for and discover Eli.  I'm not sure how I feel about using the elf to foster good behavior, but I won't think about that again until next year!  I love that it is a family tradition.  I love seeing the looks on the faces of my little angels when they feel triumph for finding Eli.  I will miss thinking of a place for him.  I know they will not believe in him forever, so I will cherish the magic that he helps to create during the holiday season.  Thank you Eli...see you next year. 

Our Elf on the Shelf 2013 Adventures: Day 24

I am definitely most proud of this one.  I figured Eli should go out with a bang.  So, I created a party for him.  He and his "friends" were playing Candy Land on the dining room table.  Minnie Mouse, Rapunzel, Tiana, and Anna were all in attendance.  They had popcorn, Lucky Charms, and Hershey Kisses!  T couldn't believe it when she saw it!  Mad Man was thoroughly amused.  As the day progressed, the dolls were stolen away, as were the treats.  Eli actually ended up laying on his side (presumably after Mad Man moved the game box he was leaning on).  Party animal.  Needless to say I didn't catch a photo of this one since the kiddos dismantled it before I had a chance!

Our Elf on the Shelf 2013 Adventures: Day 23

I felt my creativity waning on this one.  Truly there are only so many places to put this little guy!  Eli sat on a shelf in the living room holding a fish.  It worked out well because he was so visible and T was having a day, so we continuously reminded Eli of her behavior!  Shameless. 

Our Elf on the Shelf 2013 Adventures: Day 22

Most of the time I kept Eli downstairs, but seeing a friends creativity with their elf I was inspired!   Eli floated all day and all night on one of our bath toys in the upstairs sink.  Mad Man particularly enjoyed this one!  T thought it was funny!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Our Elf on the Shelf 2013 Adventures: Day 21

I didn't get a pic of this one, but it was pretty cute.  This was all Hubby's doing.  He placed Eli in the fridge right next to one of Mrs. Prindables chocolate caramel apples (seriously, how delicious are those things?  I don't blame Eli one bit for getting in on the gooey action!)   I had T help me get the milk out in the morning to ensure that she would see him.  Her response was underwhelming, "Oh, that Eli..."

Our Elf on the Shelf 2013 Adventures: Day 20

I had been planning this spot for a while, but it had to be done carefully.  Eli decided to find his way to the shower.  It actually came out pretty great.  It took the kiddos quite a while to find him and when they did they thought it was hilarious!  T was very concerned about Eli during her bath; I assured her he would be fine. Then it dawned on her (as well as myself) that Eli would be in the shower when I took my nightly shower. T said, "Mommy is Eli going to see you naked?"  My response, "Well...I guess he is.  Poor thing!"  Overall, definitely a successful location. 

Our Elf on the Shelf 2013 Adventures: Day 19

The theme of Eli and candy has certainly been running strong this season.  Today's location was no exception.  Eli hopped in the cookie jar with a bunch of candy canes.  Now, my original plan was to have his legs sticking out of the jar, but it didn't look very good.  So, instead I put the candy canes in with him.  T thought this was really something because she believed that Eli brought her the candy canes.  Too cute. 

Our Elf on the Shelf 2013 Adventures: Day 18

The kiddos seem to really enjoy when Eli is "interacting" with their toys so I decided to spotlight Mickey Mouse - both kiddos have quite the affinity toward him (I can't imagine where they get that from...wink!).  Eli joined Mickey in the kitchen on our portable stand playing with a Mickey Mouse shape sorter.  Mad Man spotted him first and just wanted his Mickey back!  I think he was afraid Eli was going to leave with him!