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!