Let it Go, Folks

 

The Frozen Trinity

The Frozen Trinity

During the past few weeks, I’ve noticed an increasing number of FB posts from my friends who are parents of young girls, looking for the dresses and dolls from the movie “Frozen.” Over the past few days, the posts have become down right desperate. People are getting crazy about finding this stuff. Anyone who does find a store that actually has dolls or dresses left is buying them all, to resell to friends in other areas. Not to make a profit, but just to share their luck. (Mostly.)

$1,000 on Ebay, and this sucker could be yours.

$1,000 on Ebay, and this sucker could be yours.

And the whole situation leaves me somewhat mind-boggled. Most of these kids are the same age as mine: three and a half. How badly do they really need this stuff, that you are stressing out this much about finding it? It’s just STUFF. More stuff to fill your house, which most of you have complained about being too cluttered already.

Seriously, why are you making yourself crazy about this? What will happen if little Jenny wakes up on Easter morning and “all” the Bunny brought her is a basket full of candy, bubbles, toys, books, DVDs, and whatever other nonsense you put in there? (And please, don’t get me started on the crazy amount of stuff kids get in their Easter baskets.) Do you really think that she’s going to be scared in some way by NOT getting Elsa and Anna dolls, dresses, stuffed animals, and accessories? She’s THREE. She’s going to stuff her face full of Peeps, spill bubble stuff on the living room floor, and spend the rest of the morning playing with the plastic eggs.

Ok, I admit, these are really cute.

Ok, I admit, these are really cute.

I know that some of you are sitting there, thinking, “But I want to get it for her, because it’s special and I know she’ll love it!” Bull. It’s not special if ever other kid is getting it. It is mass-produced crap that Disney is hoping will instill a deep sense of commercialism in our kids.  And yeah, she’ll love it. Of course she will. But you know what? If you don’t get it for her, SHE WILL NEVER KNOW. Because she’s three. Unless you have made some big deal about finding this stuff for her, she’ll never know that she is missing it.

Usually frozen eggs explode.  These just sparkle.

Usually frozen eggs explode. These just sparkle.

Our kids are still little. They don’t have peer pressure yet to get the newest, coolest toy.  At this age, they are just as happy playing Elsa by wearing a piece of blue cloth like a cape and a pair of your old gloves, pulled up to their elbows.  So stop making yourself crazy.  There will be plenty of time for that later.  Save crazy for the day that they are old enough for their first cell phone, or their first car.  Then, by all means, stress out.  But for now?

Just…. Let it Go.

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Elfing Around

The Elf on the Shelf.  You’ve seen them in the stores, on Facebook, and all over Pinterest.  They are everywhere, and they are watching you.  Well, not you exactly, but they are watching your kids, taking mental notes on their behavior so they can report back to the big guy at the North Pole.  Because that’s what they do, in case you haven’t been sucked into EotS culture yet.  They are basically creepy little tattletales, sent to your house to spy on your kids for Santa Claus.  Every night they fly back to the North Pole to hang out with other elves and give their reports to Saint Nick, then they fly back to your house before morning.  Some elves just hang out on the same shelf every day.  Some hide, so the kids can find them.  Some get into all sort of mischief.  The only rule is that the kids can’t touch their elves, or they lose their magic and can’t fly to and from the North Pole.

So creepy its cute.

So creepy its cute.

Meet Fjord, our Elf on the Shelf.  He falls into the mischievous catagory.  He gets up to all sorts of hijinks.  The girls love him, and I have to admit I take great joy in coming up with stuff for him to do.  I can’t wait until they are old enough to really understand the no-touching rule, so I’ll have more options on where to put him.  But I think I do pretty well for having to keep him out of reach.

If you are looking for some ideas for what to do with your EotS, here is what Fjord did last year, when the girls were two.

Checking out the star lights on the ceiling fan, and adding one of his own.

Checking out the star lights on the ceiling fan, and adding one of his own.

Fjord decorated the Christmas tree in the girls' room with mini paper ornaments.

Fjord decorated the Christmas tree in the girls’ room with mini paper ornaments.

Just hanging out!

Just hanging out!

Gone fishing

Gone fishing

Baking cookies

Baking cookies

Fjord turned our refrigerator into a snowman!

Fjord turned our refrigerator into a snowman!

Chillin' in the freezer because he was homesick.

Chillin’ in the freezer because he was homesick.

Playing dreidel on the first day of Hanukkah

Playing dreidel on the first day of Hanukkah

Even elves need a spa day every now and then

Even elves need a spa day every now and then

Pretending to be a reindeer

Pretending to be a reindeer

Uh-oh!  Someone touched Fjord and now he's sick.

Uh-oh! Someone touched Fjord and now he’s sick.

He made it snow!

He made it snow!

Wrapping presents for all his friends

Wrapping presents for all his friends

Zip-lining across the dining room!

Zip-lining across the dining room!

Fjord feels pretty, oh so pretty!

Fjord feels pretty, oh so pretty!

Little bugger got into my sewing box

Little bugger got into my sewing box

He wanted to go with us to the Christmas party

He wanted to go with us to the Christmas party

Even little elves know the reason for the season!

Even little elves know the reason for the season!

There you go.  Consider yourself inspired. Now go buy an elf and have at it.  Start making memories while terrifying your children into good behavior.  You can even buy snugly elves for the kids to play with, if they just can’t keep their hands off of you EotS.  And changes of clothing, if you are so inclined.  But don’t buy the movie.  Seriously.  We paid $15 for “An Elf Story,” thinking it was a real movie.  It’s not.  It is a 30 minute made for TV special.  That’s right.  $15 for 30 minutes.  Waste. Of. Money.  Not to mention that it is complete drivel.  Spend the $15 on something else.  Or just mail it to me.  At least I won’t insult your intelligence for half and hour.  Unless you want me to.  Your choice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Baking Up Some Fun

Oh so salty

Oh so salty

Today I decided to make salt dough ornaments with the girls, because that would be a fun, easy project which would result in lovely Christmas gifts for their grandparents and great grandparents.  Just think of the nice family bonding we can do; sitting around the table, listening to Christmas music, painting our ornaments!  It will be heartwarming and memory building!

Ha. Ha. Ha.

I start off the project by mixing 2 cups of gluten free flour with 1 cup of salt, then slowly adding 1 cup of warm water a little at a time.  That makes the dough a little too sticky, so I add a bit more flour.  Perfect.  So far, so good.  This is when I remember that we had to get rid of our rolling pin when we de-glutened the kitchen back in July.  I remember that a friend had posted about using a wine bottle in place of a rolling pin once, but we don’t drink, so that wouldn’t help.  Oh, wait!  Chev brought home an empty wine bottle from work a while back, because she wanted to try that thing where you turn a bottle into a glass.  (Yeah, that’s never going to happen, but I don’t like to smash her dreams.)  So I dig out the wine bottle and we are in business.  I flour the counter and roll out the first ball of dough.

This is when all hell breaks loose.

Ellie sees the dough and thinks “COOKIES,” and freaks out when I won’t let her eat any.  Laurel, the little sneak, takes advantage of my distraction to steal a bit of the dough.  Amazingly it doesn’t taste very good.  Which she lets us know in no uncertain terms.  Much to our entertainment.  Ellie, however, is not convinced, so we let her taste a bit as well.  You would think the dough made of fire for the way she spits it out and runs screaming from the room.

Once the tasting of the terrible dough is finished, the fighting over who gets to pick out the next cookie cutter commences.  “I want Frosty!”  Ellie tries to grab the reindeer.  “No! No Rudolph!  Frosty!”  Ellie tries to grab the Santa.  “I WANT FROSTY THE SNOWMAN RIGHT NOW!!!!!!!”

I finally manage to get all of the ornaments cut out and put on trays.  Laurel excitedly runs over to the table, asking for her sprinkle sugars.  I explaine that the ornaments don’t get sprinkles, they get painted, which only excites her more.  There is nothing Laurel loves more than painting.  Then I dropp the bomb.  The ornaments have to bake for two hours.  That’s right, folks, I have the pleasure of explaining to two three year olds that they have to wait TWO HOURS until they can decorate the ornaments.  And of course, being the sweet and level headed angels they are, they accept that fact and go off to play patiently for two hours.

Ha.  Ha.  Ha.

I wish.  No, instead I have a double tantrum on my hands.  Laurel throws herself down on the floor, sobbing that I am a mean momma.  Ellie starts throwing everything she can get her hands on.  In a desperate act to distract them I put in Polar Express for the umpteenth time.  Mission accomplished.  Thank God.

Fast forward to the one hour baking mark:  Oh shit!  I forgot to put the holes in the ornaments, for the strings to go through!  The good news is that you can, in fact, still stick a straw through the ornaments at the one hour mark.  The bad news is that you are going to burn you fingers doing it.  The worse news is that your toddlers are going to think that the ornaments are finished because you have taken them out of the oven, and then throw yet another tantrum when you tell them that they still have another hour to bake.  But, the holes are in the ornaments, so the crisis has been averted.

Finally, the oven beeps and I can put the ornaments on the cooling rack while I get the paints ready.  Now, you can paint them with kid paint, but I’ve seen the comparison pictures, and acrylic looks WAY better.  So I break out my good paint and put little blobs on paper plates for everyone to use as pallets.  I only have black, white, and the primary colors, however, so I have to mix the secondary colors.  Holy shit.  You would think that I was murdering puppies from the way Laurel freaked out about me mixing the colors on her paper plate.  “NO MOMMA!  DAT’S MY PAINT!”  For the love of God, kid, do you want green?  Yes?  Then shut it and let me work my color-mixing magic.

I divvy up the ornaments, set out all of our supplies, and we start to paint.  I put Chev in charge of helping Ellie, which basically means that it is her job to make sure that Ellie doesn’t eat the paint since I’m not sure if it’s non-toxic.  And to keep her from painting herself (a task which Chev failed at miserably) while trying to get at least a couple ornaments painted before she loses interest.  Laurel is fairly self sufficient and really just needs supervision to make sure that she doesn’t start painting herself or the table.  I get to paint some of the nicer ornaments.  Everything is finally going well.  Well, for me and Laurel it is.  Chev is fairly OCD about things, so helping Ellie is somewhat akin to water boarding for her.  Which is why I make her do it.  Its good for her to deal with messiness and chaos.  But all in all, this is the point where everything calms down and it starts to feel like a Hallmark commercial.  I can even feel the cockles of my heart warming up.

Everything is so serious when you are three

Everything is so serious when you are three

Alas, all too soon Ellie is done.  Oh so done.  Done enough to dump the dirty dish of water that she and Chev have been rinsing brushes in all over the floor and herself.  On the plus side, it helped to rinse some of the paint off of her stomach and legs (because painting is a diaper-only event in our house.)  After Chev cleans her up and sends her on her way, things settle down again.  Chev is happy because she gets to paint a few ornaments.  Laurel is banging them out like a champ, even if she is a bit pissed that I won’t let her paint them all black.  (Nothing says “Merry Christmas” like black ornaments for your tree.)  I finish up my ornaments and start cleaning up.

Masterpieces, every one of them.

Masterpieces, every one of them.

I notice that Ellie is being very quiet.  Where is she?  Oh no, she’s in the kitchen.  With the ornaments.  Please don’t let her be breaking them!

And you know what?  She wasn’t breaking the ornaments.

She was hugging Santa

She was hugging Santa

And I actually felt my heart grow three sizes.  ❤ ❤ ❤

 

Thankful

Tis the season to be thankful.  A lot of people (myself included) do the whole 30 days of thankfulness on Facebook, and most of the posts look like this: “Day 22 – Today I’m thankful for my wonderful partner/children/parents/friends/family/ect.  They are the wind beneath my wings!  Love you guys!!  xoxoxxox”  And while I am in fact very thankful for all of those people, it’s kind of a given.  The things we normally think of to be thankful for are pretty basic:  our families, our friends, our homes, our jobs, our faith, our lives, our health.  That’s the go-to list of stuff people are generally thankful for.  Or they are thankful for something going right in their lives, like getting a new job or their kids getting good grades.  And that stuff is awesome.  But that’s not what this post is about.  Today I’m going to give thanks for things most people may not think are “thank worthy,” but that are things I am thankful for nonetheless.

1. I am thankful for being poor.
Yes, that’s right.  I’m thankful for our lack of money, for our penny pinching, for our barely scraping by, for our “oh shit we bounced the account again” lives.  Why?  Because it has taught us how to live with less, and how to appreciate what we have even more.  We don’t have cable, so we don’t get sucked into the 30 different TV shows we use to watch religiously.  Instead, I follow a handful of shows on Hulu Plus.  (Gleeks of the world unite!!)  The girls aren’t inundated with commercials and cartoons telling them that the only thing girls can be is pretty pretty princesses.  We can’t afford to eat at restaurants very often, so when we do it is special.  We can’t afford to buy pre-made anything, so I have become a kick ass cook.  We can’t afford to buy a lot of clothing or toys for the girls, so I have learned to sew, and found my new passion.  We can’t afford to take cool vacations to theme parks, so we take the girls camping and instill in them a love of nature.  Being poor has helped us see what really matters, and what doesn’t.  Of course, I wouldn’t turn my back on winning the lottery, either.

2.  I am thankful for never finishing college.
My mother will kill me for this, but I’m glad I never finished college. I wish I had never gone at all.  Think of the money I could have saved everyone.  I never really had huge ambitions like some of my friends.  And heaven knows I’m terrible at finishing the things I start.  (My mother can wax poetic about this for hours.  Hours, I tell you.)  Some people feel they are destined for great things.  I’ve never really been one of them.  I had great idea of what I wanted to be when I grew up, but in all honesty, I never really saw them working out.  However much I’ve bitched about working retail or as a secretary, I really do like it.  I like not having to take my job home with me at night.  I like not having to deal with deadlines, crazy bosses, and mass quantities of stress.  I like my quiet, simply life.

3.  I am thankful for my crappy little house.
Chev would disagree with this one, but I like the quirks that came along with this house.  So, the water in the bathtub is always set to shower.  Its annoying, but it is ours.  So the windows in the living room leak cold air.  Our first place together (fondly referred to as “The Hovel”) was WAY worse.  So the floors are creaky and old.  At least the girls will never be able to sneak out without me hearing them.  So our neighbors are kind of dicks.  We don’t really ever need to talk to them.  I love our little house because it is ours.  Not some crappy rental.  Not something that belongs to one of our parents.  Ours.  Our little piece of creaky, leaky, crazy showered heaven.

4.  I am thankful for the girls’ craziness.Yes, every scream, cry, shriek, and growl.  Every toy thrown, every shin kicked, every hair pulled.  Every jump off of the couch, every jump on the bed, every climbing of the cabinets.  Every time out, every hug, every kiss to make it better.  Because even when they drive me crazy, I know that this is just a phase, and that one day I’ll look back and laugh fondly at what little imps they are.  And when they are oh-so-cool teenagers, I will miss this.  I will miss the time when their worst troubles were not wanting to share or eat their peas.  I will miss the time when a hug mended a broken heart and a kiss healed all wounds.  I will miss being able to make things better just by holding on to them tightly.

5.  I am thankful for the sleepless nights.
Ellie still sleeps with us.  We don’t even bother putting her in her own bed anymore, because who wants to get up in the middle of the night?  Some people will scoff and roll their eyes and talk about how we should sleep train her.  How she’ll never want to sleep in her own bed.  But you know what?  One day she will want to sleep in her own bed.  One day she’ll outgrow us.  And I will miss this.  I will miss having a little head snuggled up on my shoulder.  I will miss her little baby snores and her sweet toddler smell.  I will miss Laurel climbing into bed after having a bad dream, and only Chev can make it better.  I will miss the crazy tangle of arms and legs and heads that pushes Chev and I out to the edges of the bed, hanging on in silence because we don’t want to wake our slumbering angels.

6.  I am thankful for the mess.
There are toys everywhere in my house.  In the girls’ room, our room, the kitchen, the dining room, the living room, the bathroom, the hallway, the yard, and even the car.  There are paper chains and painted pumpkins and toilet paper turkeys in my living room.  There are dinosaurs protecting the pantry door.  There are naked dolls (why are they always naked?) lined up in my hallway, having a parade.  There are stuffed animals everywhere.  Seriously, everywhere.  I found one in my coat pocket the other day.  No idea where it came from.  But there it was, inside my glove in my coat pocket, keeping warm.  My mother comes over and talks about clutter and how can I stand it?  But I don’t see clutter.  I see imagination taking wing.  The blocks all over the dining room floor aren’t really blocks.  They are lily pads, and Laurel was making her toy animals jump from one to the other.  She asked me about frogs and how they lived the other day, and BAM!  today there is a swamp in my dining room that her toys have to navigate.  I told Ellie about reindeer last week, and today she found every single reindeer toy, book, and picture in the house and put them all on the coffee table.  Then she showed them to me, signing “reindeer.”  She was so proud of herself.  But I was prouder.  So don’t look at the mess when you come to my house.  Look at the ways the girls are learning.  Unless you are offering to clean it up.  Then you can call it a mess all you want.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours from me and mine!