Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Elf on the Shelf and His Japanese Grandfather

Yes, I know it has been awhile...

Once little man got mobile, 3 kids became well 3 kids and two really exhausted parents!  A friend back at the beginning of the year had joked how she got pregnant with number 3 after we made it seem so easy with 3 little ones four and under.  That was only because he started sleeping through the night at 8 weeks.  She also brought up how she remembered me saying that 3 was really no more work than 2.  Yeah, well that was before little man got mobile and then things got really interesting around here.  I should probably mention said friend also mentioned she was going to hate me if I had lied.  I hadn't lied when I said but it isn't exactly true now.

For anyone who knows me, they know I enjoy the past and that I was a history teacher in my former life (aka B.K. Before Kids).  That said it seems natural that I should love vintage anything and antiques. 

I have been in love with the Elf on the Shelf since I first heard about it.  In fact, he/she was on my Christmas List this year.

Last year we had a little figurine who was a faux Elf on the Shelf.  Yes, Virginia, I am to cheap to spend $30 for the real Elf on the Shelf unless of course he is a gift and that is a whole other story.  And, no, for those of your who are wondering, he didn't do "cool" things. He basically sat, well, on the shelf.  Occasionally he moved around the room. 

Remember the saying, imitation is the best form of flattery. 

 Photo Credit: Ebay 

Photo Credit: Ebay

Photo Credit: Ebay
All over eBay are these little knee hugger elves that were manufactured in Japan from the 1960s and 1970s.  Look familiar? These little guys have totally ruined my obsession with the Elf on the Shelf doll.  Mind you, I love the story behind it but now I want one of these vintage dolls more than the modern version.  How could I not want the grandfather of the modern Elf on the Shelf?

Now don't go over to eBay and start bidding crazy moms, because you might be bidding against me and that just won't do!

Friday, June 15, 2012

A Messy House From a Man's Point of View

While I was a control freak after my second child's birth and a bit after my third child's birth I am finding that with three kids, being a control freak just isn't possible if I want to keep my sanity. I think I've had these moments of clarity before and yet I still somehow manage to find those old tendencies come back after awhile.

Since our little man is cruising and into EVERYTHING, I am finding it difficult to get anything done.  Mr. Explorer's favorite thing to do in the office is to turn off the computer tower which sits on the floor or open the filing cabinet and start pulling out our old tax returns and showering their contents onto the floor.  Of course this gets giggles from him every time. The girls are normally trying to open a childproofed bathroom cabinet to get band-aids for invisible boo-boos.  Hence, why I am writing this while all three kiddos are sleeping soundly.

My husband and I were having a conversation the one night while the kids were sleeping (since this is when most of our conversations happen).  As much as I would love for him to be a neat freak and pick up his clothes (or actually put them in the laundry) and put his dirty glasses in the dishwasher, he doesn't.  If he starts a project, usually I am the one who cleans it up.  For the first time I was glad he wasn't a neat freak after seeing things through his eyes.

"You are so not going to like what I have to say but you need to hear it."  This is how our conversation started.

"Do I EVER get on you when there are dirty dishes in the sink," he asked.


"Do I ever get on you about the mountain of laundry at the foot of our bed to be folded which I often have to move off the bed to the floor to sleep?"

"No," I replied, "I'll get to it.  At least you have clean underwear."

"Will you listen!"  And yes, he did roll his eyes at me which I promptly pointed out to him since he HATES when I do that.  "Do I ever get on you if the entire first floor of the house is strewn with toys or if there are dirty dishes in the sink?"

"Uh, no and why is that?  Doesn't it ever bother you?"  I can tell you it drives me crazy and why when the kids are in bed I sluggishly move through the house trying to restore order even though I want nothing more than to curl up in bed. In truth, lately, I have been laying on the couch with the "I'll do it in a few minutes excuse" and I fall asleep on the couch within minutes.

"It isn't important."

"Easy for you to say.  I just feel if someone saw our house in the messy state it normally is in they would think 'What does she do all day'?  I know you help but it drives me crazy how you grumble when I ask you to do things."

"Do I do them?"


"Exactly.  DO I smile while I take out the trash.  No! You are never going to hear me say I like to do those things but I do them."  He has a point.  "These things are all in your mind.  You are running around with three kids all day taking them to swim class, changing diapers, cooking, and everything else.  They would understand and if they didn't, who cares.  These things are not important.  Spending time together, talking, these things are important.  Whether the dishes are done, is not.  Are our kids happy and taken care of? Of course.  This is what is important."

"Why didn't we have this conversation before?"

Another eye roll.  "We have!  You don't listen."

"You get grumpy at night when your to-do list isn't done but your to-do list is never realistic," he finishes.

He's right.  About it all.  It was difficult to hear but something I needed to hear. I was putting my to-do list above my husband and the chance to relax and recharge and we were all suffering for it.

Maybe I can have him stop calling me Grumpy Mommy now.

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And yes, I did end up doing the dishes right after this conversation since he had mentioned them twice.  He helped load the dishwasher though!

Monday, April 9, 2012

We've Been Egged & One Use For Leftover Easter Candy

We were egged.  Not the messy, stinky egged by little hoodlums but the basket on the doorstep filled with treat filled eggs "egged" (in other words, the good kind of egged).

The girls opened the door Easter morning to find a paper egg reading "You've Been Egged" taped to the door along with a paper bunny rabbit flapping in the wind.  A colorful bucket filled with plastic eggs filled with all kinds of goodies including Reese's peanut butter eggs, little smiley face maracas, (did I mention the Reese's Peanut butter eggs?!?!) sat on the doorstep.

It seemed someone (definitely not me) had actually done their Easter goody shopping more than a day before Easter when nary a pack of Reese's peanut butter filled eggs could be found on store shelves.  Whoever egged us, I love you.

From the front doorstep, the girls were off grabbing the eggs the "Easter Bunny" *wink, wink* had hidden throughout the first floor. The egg trail led to the family room where the kids' Easter baskets sat in front of a plate of nibbled carrots that the Easter Bunny never finished.  Each kid got a book, a small toy, a small game, a video (the girls got Barbie videos and Ry got a Dr. Seuss one), and a chocolate bunny. Of course the eggs had candy in them to.

An action shot:

We always let the kids have three pieces of candy if they are mini pieces or one big piece before breakfast.  Maybe that sugar high could explain the field of grass that was sown by two mischievous little devils after breakfast.

Of course, you know I love Peep art.  You can see some our past creations here and here.  This year thanks to a nasty little virus, the week leading up to Easter was a bit anticlimactic in our house since the baby was sick and then me (thanks to drool boy who shared his germs with me).  Our Peep fun was today.  We took all of the leftover Peeps and made works of art with them using paper shaped like an egg, glue, and jelly beans.  This was a good way to use up some of the candy that will usually end up in the garbage anyway.  Our designs were supposed to look like flowers.

How did you celebrate Easter?

Monday, February 13, 2012

My Offline Life: To Many Hobbies To Little Time

In the last month and a half after the craziness of the holidays, I've suddenly developed this insatiable urge to take up new hobbies.  Maybe it is because I've tried to detach myself somewhat from this online world in which I was spending to much time and needed something to do besides cleaning.  Who doesn't have something better to do than cleaning? If you have been reading for awhile you have probably realized I have a love, hate relationship with cleaning.  Sometimes I find it therapeutic and other times, I try to avoid it all costs.

Last year if anyone had asked me what my hobby was, I would say blogging. Suddenly I've been inundated with messages about Blogger Friend Connect going away for non-Blogger blogs and Pinterest (which I haven't even let myself delve into because hello new online addiction) and I've realized how way behind on the latest news I really am. 

Suddenly, I've developed a crafting streak.  Barrettes, photography, handmade bracelets, sewing...things I never made time for before, I'm suddenly making time for.

My writing has gotten a bit more sporadic, my house isn't as clean as I normally try to keep it, and projects get started and get left laying around for days at a time but I am slowly becoming a bit more mellower with the chaos.  I was so excited to get my organic muslin for produce bags that I tore open the package while I was still in the driveway. Note to our houseguests this weekend: please don't be offended by the boxes of kiddie toys and clothes waiting to find homes sitting in the hallway. I needed to clear out the guest room so you had a place to sleep.
Did I mention my husband has agreed to remodel our kitchen? What had started as a painting project has turned into a complete remodel.  Stacks of granite samples are sitting on the counter. We even had flooring samples strewn on the floor at one point as we tried to imagine what the finished product would look like. My file folder is about two inches thick with quotes and ideas of what "I" want.

Apparently my husband has been feeling the need for a project to.  Originally, we were hiring people to do the whole project.  Now, my husband is thinking about installing a tile floor and backsplash himself

At least I've found lots of new material to write about!

Have you found yourself taking up new hobbies?

Friday, January 13, 2012


The title sounds a little risque but I assure you this is a family friendly post.

We had lots of options for New Year's Eve-see a giant Peeps chicken drop or a crayon.  Not many people could say that.

When I lived in Pottsville (yes, the birthplace of Yuengling beer) they had a ball drop at the square.  Actually, I don't remember if it was a ball or if it was something else.  According to Wikipedia, they drop a bottle of Yuengling beer.  I guess that's better than a 100-pound stick of Lebanon bologna like in Lebanon, PA.  My first apartment was right below the square so I hosted a New Year's party for my family one year. That was the only time I ever braved the cold to see any type of countdown. Like most people, I do have embarrassing photos from New Year's parties I've attended.  As you've probably guessed that was BK (before kids) and yes, there was usually alcohol involved.

I usually find New Year's anticlimactic anyway, at least that is how I've felt the last few years.  Maybe it is a sign that I am starting to accept what is and am not worrying so much about everything.  

Since my sister-in-law was in town we decided to check out Peeps Fest with the kids.  What kid wouldn't want to see a big yellow fiberglass chicken drop from the sky? The Peep drop was also at 6:15 pm so it wasn't past any of our bedtimes.  Why were they dropping a Peep?  Just Born, the maker of Peeps is based in Bethlehem.

There was something oddly beautiful about being amid the old rusting former Bethlehem Steel plant where SteelStacks (the arts & cultural campus) is located. 

We were to late to see any of the free events inside.  We didn't want to arrive to early since we had 5 kids to corral and if they had gotten to restless we would have had to leave. We did get to walk around inside the ArtsQuest building though.  This was no easy feat with a sit-n-stand stroller that isn't the most maneuverable thing to begin with amidst all of the people milling around. 

People were looking at me a little odd when I climbed up on the small ladder to take a picture of the chalk drawing (the center pic).  I assumed that was why it was there since the picture looked three-dimensional from the top.  The PEEPS tree looked good enough to eat (even though I am not a fan of the confection that tree almost convinced me to try one again).

According to Emmy, the best part of the PEEPS drop was getting a pack of marshmallow trees after the PEEPs chicken dropped.

Oh, and we did attempt to stay up anyway.  We managed, barely.  The kids didn't make it of course.  We did have a dance party in the basement until bedtime though. 

As far as embarrassing New Year's photos, there is one of me dancing with Emmy wiggling our butts doing one of the songs from Just Dance For Kids on the Wii. Some things never change...

How did you ring in the New Year?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

New Year's Resolutions and Motherhood

When you are pregnant, people will tell you how you will worry about everything regarding your children but they omit the part about how much you will worry about yourself to.

I can't think of anything worse than my children not having the one thing they need.  Me.  I know what it is like to lose a parent.  My father died when I was 13.

I was a worrier as a child.  I would worry that the tickle in my throat was something more sinister when in fact it was just that-a tickle.  When my father was diagnosed with cancer when I was 12, I worried that I would be stricken with the disease.

Eventually, I seemed to outgrow my hypochondria.  I went to college, and for the first time became totally independent. After college,  between substituting two days a week, working in a clothing store full-time, searching for a full-time teaching job, and attempting to have what resembled a social life, I didn't have time to worry about my health.  I wasn't dependent on anyone and no one was dependent on me.  Maybe that was why I stopped worrying so much.

Then, I met my husband.  He was always worried about his health and I would even tease him about it.  Then we had children.

All those worries came back in full force for me to.  We do try to eat healthy, exercise (well I at least try to) but there are no guarantees in this world.  Is everything we do enough?

Have you ever heard the song "If I Die Young"?

The first time I heard the lyrics I thought what if?

We would all like our words and whatever wisdom we have to live on.  This blog has become my journal of sorts since I stink at actually keeping a journal.  Remember my last New Year's resolution?  I wanted to write 34 words a day in my journal.  How did I do?  I made it to the middle of January and the rest of the journal is blank.  Defeated by 34 words.

I know I am a good mom.  I screw up a lot (like the one night when I took Emmy to dance class on the wrong night) but I love my children fiercely.  I want them to know that through their memories but also through my own words. We can't always control what fate has in store for us.

How often do we reflect on our lives and how we live them?  Having children makes us do that every day. I want them to know that they have changed me for the better.

There are no guarantees.

My New Year's resolution this year?  Not to make a resolution. Every day is a chance to start over.

I know a little bit of worry is good and I may even make another attempt at writing in my journal.  I'm going to continue blogging of course. 

Tomorrow Bob goes back to work after being on vacation for almost two weeks and back to the gym I go.  Out of the pantry will go all of the goodies that we stocked over the holidays for entertaining except for the cookies I just made.  Hey, a little indulgence is good, remember.

Did you make a New Year's resolution? If so, I'd love to know what your resolution is!

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