I Did NOT Put This on My List

Christmas morning.  It’s a morning of exhaustion, for those elves who’ve stayed up well past their near geriatric bedtimes to put together all of Santa’s toys.   It’s a morning of anticipation for little ones as they try to contain themselves inside their rooms until the appropriate hour to awaken mom and dad, aka the elves.   For our house, appropriate time is when the digital clock in the bedroom reads 7:00.

Christmas morning.  It’s a morning of overwhelming excitement as children tear into their gifts, eager to see if the Santa at the mall, or the Elf on the Shelf, really does communicate with the “real” bearded fat man.

Christmas morning.  It’s a morning of reflection on our lives, who we are, what we’ve been, and Who was born on this day to save us all.

Christmas morning for me?   Well, that’s a whole different story, at least for this year.   This Christmas, I spent it wrapped up under four blankets, while everyone else walked around in shorts and flip flops with the A/C blaring.  It was 70 degrees and humid.   And as the sweat dripped down my forehead, over my arms and down my chest, I shivered and ached away.   For Christmas this year, the old fat man brought me a 102 degree fever and a case of strep throat.

My boys opened their gifts.   Did I get to play with them?  No.   My family opened their gifts.  I opened my gifts, although my fever had me a bit on the dopey side so I didn’t realize how wonderful my gifts were until Sunday.   My husband made a fabulous French toast and sausage breakfast.   It smelled good at least.   My family (parents, aunt, cousins) came to enjoy Christmas dinner at my house.   Me?  I was quarantined upstairs.   There was no fine China this year, no drinking from my grandmother’s crystal, no eating in the dining room, while listening to Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole croon.   Instead they crowded around the kitchen table, but still enjoyed themselves all the same.

Today as I began taking down my Christmas decorations, an overwhelming sadness washed over me.   I missed Christmas.   In my 40 years on this earth, I’ve never missed Christmas.   It saddened me, almost as much as it saddened me when we realized we would no longer have Christmases with my brother nearly 10 years ago.

The days flew by, the weeks were inundated with parties, gatherings, socializations, but I still felt empty and I was hoping for that Christmas magic on Christmas morning.   I’m saddened over not enjoying a dinner with my family, it’s not every day when we’re able to get together like this.   I’m saddened over no family pictures in front of the Christmas tree.  We’re not guaranteed another day.   Which one of us may not be here next year?

My boys were clueless to mommy’s absence, thanks to Santa and my family.   I’m grateful for that.   Truly, I am.   I’m grateful for a family who gets along together so well that there was harmony between them and my husband in the kitchen.   They were apparently like a well-oiled machine.   “We just seemed to fit together,” my husband said.  “Least amount of stress I’ve ever had in the kitchen.”

I suppose I should look at this bout of strep throat in a different light.   At least it happened when my husband was home and didn’t have to work the next day.  He was up every 3 hours trying to get my fever to break.   At least I was able to actually get some rest while being sick, an anomaly in itself.   In the end; however, I keep going back to one thought over this horrible Christmas…what did I do so wrong this past year for Santa to feel like I deserved strep throat as a present?   How about just keeping me off your list altogether, Santa, if this is how it’s to be.

I hope you all had a wonderful, family-filled, waistline bulging, ugly sweater wearing, Christmas Story watching, action packed, and most of all BLESSED Christmas.

Welcome Back, Jasper

My father in law has a “thing”, I suppose you can say, about nicknames for his grandsons.   When Davey was born, he nicknamed him Jasper.   When Henry was born he nicknamed him Higgins.   Now, I know where Higgins comes from…My Fair Lady, Professor Henry Higgins.   Jasper?  Not quite so sure.

So, when Davey became old enough to start speaking, he referred to himself as Jasper when around his Guh Guh (my father-in-law).  It’s endearing for Davey and truthfully I enjoy it.   When my sister-in-law purchased an Elf on the Shelf for Davey years ago, we needed a name for the Elf and Davey immediately jumped on the name Jasper.

Jasper resting atop the miniature Elf tree.
Jasper resting atop the miniature Elf tree.

With the onset of the holiday season and my decorating, Jasper was pulled out of storage and found his way onto the top of our Christmas tree.  Last night, when the boys got back home from church, I pointed Jasper out and explained his importance.  I suppose since Davey is older, he grasps the concept and I now find myself falling prey to the whole “Elf on the Shelf” ideas for this Christmas season.

When putting the boys to bed last night, I read the story about the Elf on the Shelf, substituting in Jasper’s name where relevant.  Davey became extremely excited.  He wanted to know if Jasper would really magically fly away and come back in the morning.   I told him, “of course,” and that Jasper’s sole responsibility is to tell Santa all about how well he’s behaved.

This morning when Davey awoke, he darted off to the bathroom and while on his way excitedly asked if Jasper was in a different place.   My first thought was, “oh crap!  I was supposed to move Jasper!   Crap!  Crap! Crap!”   I told Davey that Jasper was in a new place and that he could find him AFTER he brushed his teeth and put on his clothes, thereby buying me some time to unimaginatively move Jasper.

Where did Jasper end up?  On the elf tree in the kitchen.  I know, very lackluster on my part, but I can already tell I will fail miserably at this.   When the boys came downstairs, Davey immediately found Jasper, and heeding the words from the story, kept his hands behind his back, lest he be tempted to touch Jasper and force him to lose his magical abilities.   As I made breakfast, both boys sat in the floor looking at Jasper on the elf tree.  I asked what they were doing and Davey exclaimed, “seeing if we can watch some of his magic.”

Trying to spy some of Jasper's magic.
Trying to spy some of Jasper’s magic.

After school today, Davey asked me if Jasper saw how nice he was to his classmates and if Jasper would tell Santa.  Once again, I replied, “of course,” but secretly I’m already not liking Jasper.   We’re roughly six weeks away from Christmas.  That’s 42 days in which I will be required to remember to move Jasper each night when the boys go to bed.   That’s 42 days that I’ll have to despise all of you creative moms with your cute Elf on the Shelf pictures and your ability to actually remember to do this.   That’s 42 days of me constantly reassuring Davey that Jasper will not do him wrong.   That’s 42 days of pure hell as I’m frantically trying to remember and come up with great places for Jasper.

I’m only one day into our Elf on the Shelf.  One day, and I’m already despising the little flying pixie.   Stay tuned to see if I can manage to keep up the fiasco.

Goodbye, Christmas.

I am sad, truly sad. I hate when Christmas is over. I adore the feeling of love, hope, and celebration. It is truly the most wonderful time of the year. Alas, all good things must come to an end and with that here’s a quick glimpse of how we spent our Christmas.

I expected Davey to be difficult. He is, of course, at that age where he wants to open EVERY present, but thankfully he asked everyone’s permission to help them. In most cases, his “help” was really just him devouring the paper all by his lonesome. This year; however, was truly different and my oldest made me beam with pride. For every gift he received, BEFORE he opened them, he thanked every one with huge hugs for getting him a gift! How crazy is that? He didn’t even know what was in the gift, but yet he was so ecstatic to receive one he immediately had to thank the recipient. And what’s better than that? When he opened a box full of clothes, he didn’t once complain about the clothes not being a toy. He gave even bigger hugs! What’s wrong with my child?

Decorating trees
Decorating trees

Henry wasn’t interested in any gift. Surprise, surprise! He wasn’t even interested in tearing apart the wrapping. This worked well with Davey as it gave him more gifts to open. I guess what surprised me the most; however, was Davey sheer excitement over one particular gift…SOCKS! Yes, I just typed that word. My three year old was excited over socks, but here’s the kicker, they were not just ordinary socks. These socks had Lightning McQueen on them. You can never go wrong with anything Cars or Planes. Those Disney movies, and their spinoffs, are winners in my household.

Decorating Trees
Decorating Trees

The funniest and almost most mortifying (at least for me) part of Christmas Eve was the moment I opened a gift with Davey’s help. Inside the gift were two new bras to which my son exclaimed, “Mama, look, these hold your nipples. Aren’t you excited?” Yes, my three year old blurted out those words. If I hadn’t been surrounded by family I would have been mortified.

Decorating cookies
Decorating cookies

All in all, Christmas did not disappoint. We continued with old traditions, started new ones, and celebrated our lives and the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. This year, Davey new more about the Christmas story and could practically repeat it himself. He was eager to tell everyone the true meaning of Christmas and that Jesus was born in Bethlehem. We baked cookies together, decorated trees, and gave each other love.

Helping in the kitchen.
Helping in the kitchen.

And all though this mama slacked with her Elf on the Shelf responsibilities, all of your posts and pictures have encouraged me for next year.

putting out reindeer food.
putting out reindeer food.

Now it’s onto the tedious and saddening task of undecorating my trees and placing them into hibernation until next year.

So, from my family to yours, we hope you’ve had a very Merry Christmas. I pray that you’ve all remember the true meaning, and you celebrated it. For the New Year, I hope it is a blessed one and that if you’ve never experienced our Lord’s magic and gifts that you find a way to Him.

Santa Elf Davey

Well before my first child was ever born, I’d already jumped on the “Elf on the Shelf” bandwagon. I’d seen a co-worker bring one in and I thought, “what a marvelous idea! I wish we’d had something like this when I was a kid.” I wanted to purchase one terribly, but I didn’t have a child to give one to.

When I became pregnant with Davey, Elf on the Shelf was one of the first things I wanted to purchase. My sister-in-law beat me to the punch, having purchased one for me, her mom, and herself (in order for Davey to really buy into this, we had to prove that the elf really was everywhere he would be). Davey was 3 months old for his first Christmas, so I packed up the Elf on the Shelf and decided I would wait a few years to pull him back out.

Santa Elf Davey hanging out in the lamp.
Santa Elf Davey hanging out in the lamp.

Davey is now 3 and in preschool. He’s a lover of books, all books, any books, every book (makes this book loving mama happy), so I thought why not dust off the Elf on the Shelf and read the story. Plus, with the addition of a walking Henry, Davey is becoming a little naughty and territorial. I needed something to help keep him in line.

I told Davey a little bit about the elf, I read him the book, and told him we needed to come up with a name. I assumed the name would be Jasper, just because Davey’s grandfather calls him that (no clue why) and Davey must name everything else “Jasper”. This didn’t happen. Davey wanted to name him “Santa Elf Davey”, not just “Davey”, but we MUST say the entire name, otherwise he starts having a stage 5 meltdown and the toxic radiation from one of those could compete with Chernobyl.

That first day, Santa Elf Davey hung out in our Christmas tree. He was high enough up for Davey not to touch him, after all Santa Elf Davey could lose his “magic” if Davey touches him, and Santa Elf Davey had the perfect view of the room. All the better to see you with, my dear. Which leads me to the “creepy” factor of this elf “watching” my child. Truthfully, the elf creeps me out more than he does Davey.

Santa Elf Davey on the mantle.
Santa Elf Davey on the mantle.

For years, I’ve watched Pinterest and Facebook feeds. I’ve seen pictures and read blogs about how all these wonderful moms (not me) find creative ways to place their elves. Some of them are ridiculous. For example, I’ve seen pictures of some elves who’ve left messes with flour, sugar, and even toothpaste and I’m led to question some of these moms. Don’t you want your child to behave and doesn’t the mess just encourage the same from your child?

This morning I read a blog from another mother about her Elf on the Shelf experience and it pushed me to write about my own. Much like Tabatha Kammann from the blog http://kooperscoop.blogspot.com/, I’ve felt the guilt of being a not so clever mom bearing down on my shoulders. I pulled out Santa Elf Davey a week and a half ago. That’s 11 days. And in those 11 days, Santa Elf Davey has only moved from his spot 5 times and they haven’t exactly been clever. This has prompted Davey to inquire about just how authentic Santa Elf Davey really is, after all the story does state that he will be in a different spot each morning. I haven’t exactly been following through on my end.

Santa Elf Davey in his original spot.
Santa Elf Davey in his original spot.

There’s a lot of unnecessary pressure with Elf on the Shelf, thanks to all you Overachieving Moms. I struggle just to remember to brush my teeth in the mornings, so how could you possibly expect me to remember to move Santa Elf Davey?

Thanks to Tabatha’s wonderful blog this morning, I was reminded that Santa Elf Davey has sat atop that surround sound speaker for 3 days (and the speaker idea was thanks to my husband remembering to move the darn elf). Davey’s already asked me once if Santa Elf Davey perhaps didn’t go see Santa on Sunday, the day Davey was his naughtiest. No, Davey, he told Santa. And Davey responds, “Mama, is he for real? He hasn’t moved in days.”

When you have a moment, check out Tabatha’s blog.