sometimes sarcastic sometimes sincere

The Elf on the Shelf is Driving Me Crazy!

The Elf on the Shelf story book and Elf were introduced to the public in 2005.  And since then, that innocent looking Elf has wreaked havoc around here!  He’s been (unwittingly) threatening the belief in Santa since 2005 in this house!

I hate to sound all Scrooge-y, and I know all of you probably love him, but that Elf is driving me crazy!

In 2005 I had a 7-year-old, a 5-year-old and a newborn.  We already had traditions, and the bigs were old enough to remember them.  I couldn’t have some Elf just show up out of nowhere.  That would have caused suspicion.  So what did I do when they saw that other kids had the Elf?  I told them that Santa only sent the Elf to the naughty kids!  It was a quick response – I didn’t think it through!  But it worked.  Then suddenly, everybody had the Elf and my kids still think he’s only for the naughty kids!

Now I have a 13-year-old who doesn’t believe, and 11-year-old who is on the fence and a 6-year-old who could really use an Elf.  I’m afraid if an Elf suddenly shows up, it’ll push the 11-year-old into the non-believer camp, and I’m afraid that if I wait until next year, the seven-year old will be suspicious!

Ugh!  That Elf has been a thorn in my side for 6 years!  I can’t be the only one.  How have you all handled the Elf with older kids in the house?

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Parents

I worry about my grandparents.  They’re old.  I’ve always worried about them.   I think of how lucky I am to still have them in my life – as an active part of my life.  I’m truly blessed. 

I never worried about my parents though.  They’re young.  In their 60’s.  Plus, they’re my parents.  They’ll always be here.  Well, over the past few months, I’ve realized how very wrong I’ve been. 

You see, age means nothing.  My grandparents are old.  But they’re healthy.  Health is everything.  My parents aren’t well.  And, they’re probably not ever going to be great-grandparents.  Not for lack of trying.  They both take good care of themselves, but both have had the misfortune of being stricken with diseases they never saw coming, and probably couldn’t have prevented anyway. 

I spent the morning with my mother, and the afternoon crying about her.  Then I received a call about my father and spent the evening at the hospital.  And now here I am, wide awake in the middle of the night, thinking about my parents and how much time I have left with them.  And how to make it count.

I always thought they’d be here, and now I now they won’t.  I’m trying to figure out how to balance it all out.  Caring for my family and my parents at the same time.  Making sure that I’m preserving memories for myself and my children.  Making the right choices – for everyone involved. 

It’s a lot.  A lot more than I ever imagined.  I just thought they’d be here forever.  Simple, right?  Wrong. 

Mirage at the Market

The minivan is getting to the point where it’s just sort of craptastic.  I had to have the battery replaced the other day, the automatic sliders seem to be losing some of their automatic-ness and there’s a small slit in the upholstery in the back – you know that never ends well..

But then today as I was leaving the market, it caught my eye in the parking lot.  The minivan looked good.  Like when you see someone and something’s different about them, maybe it’s their hair, or maybe they’ve lost weight, you can’t quite put your finger on it, but they look good.  Better.  That’s how it was when I saw my minivan.

Then the sliding door opened at the market and I walked out into the sunny parking lot and realized…

It wasn’t my minivan!  Mine was in the next aisle over.

Craptastic as ever. 

Bucket List

Every summer my kids create a “Summer Bucket List” of the things they’d like to do before going back to school.  Every summer I forget about the list until the last week of July and spend all of August trying to get it checked off! 

This year, all 3 of my kids will be going to school for the whole day.  I’d love to say that I’m like the mom in the Staples commercial (It’s the most wonderful time of the year…), but I’m just not.  It makes me so sad to be getting them ready to go back to school. 

To make myself feel better and take my mind off of it, I’ve decided to create my own bucket list – the “While the Kids are in School Bucket List.”  I’ve got 180 days to complete it.  Here’s what I’ve got so far:

1. Deep clean the house.  I know this one doesn’t sound like fun at all, but once accomplished, it will make all the other bucket list items that much funner!

2. Go to the beach.  Alone.  With a book.  And an adult beverage.  And possibly in a bikini.

3.  Shop!  Ikea, Garden City, the Outlets!  6 hours of shopping without ANYONE whining?  Heaven. 

4. Catch a matinee.  Of a grown-up movie.  Maybe with my husband.

5. Take a ski lesson(s).  Playing “Lodge Mom” sucks and I’m not doing that again this winter.

6. Paint the kitchen.  Then nag the crap out of my husband until he a.) puts in a new kitchen floor, or b.) pays someone to put in a new kitchen floor.

7. Learn how to use a crock pot.  Well.

And…that’s all I’ve come up with so far.    Any ideas?  And, please, don’t say “get a job!”

Rocky Start

I have to confess.  The ensuing start of the school year is getting to me.  I am more scatter brained than ever!  As some of you know and many do not, I am adding one more to my list of job titles.  Teacher.  After almost 10 years at home, I am returning to work.  Today was my first indication that I- might- not –be –ready.  I got a call from the “GOD OF ALL PAPER WORK” in central office asking if I had turned in some forms.

Me: “Yes, of course I did.  I dropped them off almost two weeks ago to the office.”

GOD OF ALL PAPER WORK: “Are you sure?  You filled out all the tax forms?”

Me: “Oh, No. There are tax forms?”

GOD OF ALL PAPER WORK: ”Do you think you could come in and take care of that today?”

Me: “Sure, no problem.”

So off I go to take care of the gaggle of papers I thought I already filled out……but didn’t.  Nice move.  I’m lookin’ real smart right about now.  When I got to the office I asked for the GOD OF ALL PAPER WORK and they told me to have a seat and she would be right with me.  I waited patiently.  She came out and sat down right next to me and spoke to me veeeerrrry sloooowly using piercing eye contact.  I didn’t take this as a good sign.  She then explained what had to be filled out and then asked if she could take a copy of my license.

Ok, I can handle this.  Just fill out the forms and give her my license to copy.  As I  glanced at the pages before me, I have to say, they may as well have been written in Latin.  I had not a clue what to do.  Now don’t judge!  Some of you are thinking that there must be something wrong with me, but the truth is I haven’t filled out forms like these in over 15 years!  So what did I do?

I called my husband.

After I got over the fact that I had to call the hubby, and he proceeded to tell me he was in a meeting and couldn’t help me right now, but would call me back, I gathered my things and politely told the woman at the desk with all the dignity I had left that I needed time to look over the paper work and would return them tomorrow.  She told me that they would also need a copy of my SS card.  I have been home now for 5 hours and I can’t find that damn card.  I am in trouble people!

I am in dire need of some organization!  I need to start making lists and keep a calendar of sorts or maybe I need an assistant!  Yes, that’s it!  I need an assistant.  Any takers out there?

I was really looking forward to my new job.  I just need to make sure I don’t mess it up before I begin.  I read a quote that said simply, “If you don’t start then you can’t finish.  So get started!”  I am off to a rocky start, but at least it is a start.  Right?

The First One

Then...

My oldest turns 13 this weekend.  He’s my first, the one who made me a mommy.  Thirteen!  I just can’t believe it.  It makes me so emotional.  We are so blessed to have him.  He had a rocky start in this world, but now he’s strong, healthy and turning 13!

He’s my guy, my pal.  I love to be with him.  And, he’s a great kid.  He works hard in school, is good to his brother and sister and totally idolizes his dad.  Sure, he’s starting to have that moody teenager way about him, and he grumbles about doing anything that’s not of interest to him, but he’s still mine

There’s just something about your first, don’t you think?  Maybe because they are the ones who made us mommies.  Maybe because they’re the first to go through everything.  Or that we go through everything with them first!  Whatever it is, my guy is pretty special.  And now, he’s going to be a teenager!  Yikes!

Now...

Follow Up

As a follow up to the post about fear and anxiety, I wanted to share a bigger picture of having a child with anxiety.  I have spoken to several people that have children with anxiety since that post and there are many similarities even though circumstances may be slightly different.  The moms (mostly moms) I have spoken with have shared how they sometimes feel helpless and/or anxious themselves because they are at a loss for what to do to help their child.  We have discussed how, at times, it affects the whole family dynamic, which puts a strain on everyone.  We talked about coping skills and how to get help when you need it.

When I wrote that post we were having a great day and we are generally in a good place, but I am not fooled by this.  I know that it can, and probably will, come up again and again throughout her life.  The only difference now is that we are more equipped and we are all more aware of how to handle the anxiety.  Many times I am already thinking before hand that something is going to trigger it like a check up at the doctors or an overnight visit to a new place or even just to grandma’s.  When I can be prepared I am and I prepare her as well to try to disperse some of the anxiety before it has a chance to get out of control and before her irrational thoughts take hold.  But when things come up that I am not prepared for, then I try to calmly answer ALL of her questions the best I can and if I don’t know the answer I try to find out.  We do breathing exercises and positive imagery too.  Hey, it won’t hurt, right?  And of course we celebrate the extraordinary times like winning a swim race or having a great horse show!  Those are the times that I want to shout out from the rooftop!  I love seeing a proud smile on her face.  Even though we are always proud, sometimes it doesn’t matter what we think.  It matters how she feels about herself.

We didn’t get to the place where we are at now without help.  Not to be corny, but sometimes you have to ask for help.  Believe me, I know it isn’t easy and not something that comes natural to most moms.  At least it didn’t for me.  But I am so glad we did.  It helped me as much as it helped her and that can be as big of a piece as any of it.  I am not an expert, but I hope by sharing information about my family, that it can help another family.  Please comment and share your thoughts and feelings if you have a child with anxiety and hopefully we can help each other.