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Category Archives: Traditions

Elf-capades

Last year I got sucked into the commercialism of the holiday and bought the latest and greatest must-have-Christmas tradition – The Elf on a Shelf. I was one of those parents who spend hours scouring Pinterest for new and creative ways to pose our Elf each night in hopes that they would ooh and aah in the morning.  Our Elf was posing doing the YMCA with his Barbie friends. He was building houses of Lego. He even made himself a cozy bed out of Kleenex.  This year, our Elf is just plain lazy. He basically moves a few feet every night. Mingling with some of our other Christmas decorations, in hopes that he will blend in and the kids will be somewhat challenged when looking for him in the morning. So far there have been no complaints from said children. In fact my son was telling me that the Elf is magic and flies around the house at night to find the best spot to hide. Awesome! Let’s go with that. Especially since I have to set a reminder on my phone just so I don’t forget to move the Elf. Last year I had several nights were I woke up around 3am in a cold sweat because I realized I had forgotten to move the Elf. I remember how fun and exciting it all seemed last year.  A new and exciting holiday tradition. This year…I’m just not that into him. But I’ll keep up the magic for the kids and be grateful that I didn’t buy more than one Elf as many of my friends did (“so each kid can have one when they are adults. They can share the Elf with their kids!!!”). Honestly, I’m thinking that when our kids are older they are going to look back and find the Elf a little creepy looking and laugh at what fools we were for buying in to such an weird tradition. But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe it will be the new ‘milk and cookies’ for Santa tradition that gets carried on for years to come.

Elf Conversations

Katie “Mommy, I really hope we get a girl Elf this year.

Me “Yeah, I’m pretty sure it’s going to be the same Elf that visited us last year…which was a boy”

(after the arrival of said Elf)

Katie “Mommy, did our Elf have eyelashes last year?”

Me (insert long pause) “Do YOU think our Elf had eyelashes last year?”

Katie “No. I knew it! We got a girl Elf this year!!!

(Naming of said “new” Elf)

Me “What are you going to name your Elf?

Jack “Shark!”

Katie “No it’s a girl. I am going to name her Emily”

Jack “Shark…Shark..Shark..Shark…Shark”

Katie “Jaaaack!”

Until I write again…

Shay

Letters To Santa

LETTERS TO SANTA. Who knew writing letters to Santa would be so complicated. Here’s how it went down.

Jack’s Letter (unedited)

Me “Ok Jack, what do you want to say in your letter to Santa?”
Jack “Dear Santa. Love Jack ”
Me “Don’t you want to ask Santa what you want for Christmas?”

Jack’s Version (2nd edition)

Jack “Dear Santa, I want a BIG truck. Love Jack”
Me “No, you don’t want a big truck. You want a Green Lantern Plane, right?!”

Jack’s Version (3rd edition)

Jack “Dear Santa, I want a Green Lantern Plane and a blue stuffy Angry Bird. Love Jack”
Me “I don’t think there is a blue Angry Bird. How about a green one?”
Katie “Yes, there is a blue Angry Bird, it’s small. I’ve seen it in the game”
Me “I don’t think Santa’s elves make a blue Angry Bird. I’m pretty sure they only make green and red ones”

Jack’s Version (4th edition)

Jack “Dear Santa, I want a Green Lantern plane and a green Angry Bird. Love Jack”
Me “Phewf! Ok Katie it’s your turn. Why don’t you print your own letter”.
Me “Wait, what are you doing to Jack’s letter to Santa?”
Katie “I’m fixing it. You did not print your letters very good.  You didn’t do a good job crossing the ‘t’, you didn’t close the loop on this ‘g’ and you forgot the ‘r’ in Angry”.
Me ” I didn’t know my crayon printing skills were under such tough scrutiny.”
Katie “What does scrutiny mean?”
Me “Um, it means I didn’t know you were going to pretend to be my teacher and correct my printing”.
Katie – big smile

Katie’s Letter

Dear Santa. For Christmas I want angry bird and zoo zoo pet. Love Katie. 

Me “Perfect!”

She even gave herself a check-mark for writing it well.

LOOK MOM, ANOTHER PENCIL!  That’s what my daughter says at least once a week. I really need to invest in one of those industrial power operated sharpeners because Katie and I seem to spending our life sharpening pencils these days and my dollar store sharpener really blows.

“Mommy I finished my word packs – look what I got. A new pencil!”
“Mommy it was my birthday – look what I got! A new pencil!!”
“Mommy, we survived in the Mayan apocalypse – look what I got! A new pencil!!!”

A BIT OF GRATITUDE. Happy Jack has returned! It’s been so long since I’ve seen him I nearly forgot what he looked like. You see my normally sweet, goofy, giggly little (well maybe not so little) two-year old boy has been nothing but whining, miserable, crying, complaining, tired, cranky – ok you get the picture – for the last few days, weeks, months. I can’t even remember. It’s all just a big long miserable blur. One unknown illness after the next. Too many abnormal blood tests. Countless trips to see doctors and specialists and emergency room. On and on. But today he is happy. And not just happy. He’s truly returned to Happy Jack. He’s laughing, running all over the house. Being silly. Oh how I’ve missed this little man. I hope his return in permanent but even if it’s not I’m so very grateful to have it today.

Until I write again…

Shay

Where’s My Truck?

Where’s My Truck?  Yesterday we went to the local fire hall for a breakfast with Santa.We met up with former preschool mom friends and their families. I really hope that we all continue to do this every year. We almost didn’t make it – just too many things going on, but I’m so glad we did. It was so fun to see everyone and great to have pictures to compare from last year’s event. During our visit Santa asked my two year old son Jack what he wanted Santa to bring him for Christmas.  Jack replied “a big truck!” When we walked away, Jack said “where’s my truck?’ He was not impressed with my explanation. I guess when you’re two and someone asks you what you want, you pretty much expect them to give it to you right then. Santa’s helpers offered him an orange and candy cane and he reluctantly took them but I’m not too sure what he thinks of Santa anymore.

Elf on the Shelf. So we are on day 3 of our new Elf on the Shelf tradition. Jack definitely believes our Elf is real. In fact he was quite upset the other night when he said goodnight to the Elf and the Elf did not reply.

O Christmas Tree. Last year was the first year I’ve ever had a real Christmas tree.  We found a local family tree farm and where we picked out and cut down our own tree. It was a really fun experience. Today we set out to get a Christmas tree. Weather was great. We as always overdressed (hats, scarves, the whole nine yards) but were pleasantly surprised to find the sun shining and quickly removed the extra articles of clothing. We found a great tree in about 10 minutes. Steve cut it down and carried it to the car and my kids found random tree branches on the ground that they have adopted as their own personal trees. The drive home is always a challenge. Although we only live about 10 minutes away there is always the worry that we have not quite secured said tree to our roof. Such was the case today. The tree slid forward and almost off the right side of the car but we managed to get it home safe and sound with only two stops along the way. The kids were so excited to get the tree in the house and decorated. We gave them their new ornaments (one new ornament each year) and they waited patiently while we attempted to set up our tree.  The tree stand we own has 3 pictures with instructions. It claims to be very simple and take less than 1 minute to set up your tree. It took us 45 minutes by which time Katie had gone upstairs to play in her room and Jack had wrapped himself in a blanket and fallen asleep on the couch. The assembly is actual quite simple and does in fact take about a minute – the trick is actually doing it correctly in the first place. With the tree finally ready to be decorated I soon discovered that we had no lights for the tree. A vague memory of all our lights burning out last year came to mind so off to Wal-Mart I went as my daughter went back to playing and my son continued to sleep. By the time the tree was finally done, Jack was in his pjs and Steve had run out to grab us dinner. It was an adventure if nothing else.

Until I write again…

Shay

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

Tis the Season.  We have officially launched operation “Get ready for Christmas” at the “M” household. This morning we introduced our children to a new holiday tradition – Elf on the Shelf. When my five year old spotted the Elf her first words were “I thought it was going to be real”.  She wasn’t buying it at all. I really thought we were in trouble when I heard my son say this:

Jack “Katie, Mommy bought the Elf at the book store”.
Me (under my breath) “Oh crap!”
Katie “No she didn’t, he’s real, Santa sent him!”

Hmmm, apparently my two year old is much more observant than I realized.  I’m just happy that she is still believing in a little magic.

Tonight we are watching our first Christmas movie – Arthur’s Christmas. There’s a character in the movie with a Christmas tree shaped goatee – more men should try and pull that off!  I love Christmas movies. My favourite as a child was Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer. I loved the Island of Misfit Toys. And I love sharing that movie with my own kids and seeing them enjoy it as much as I did.  When I was older we always watched Home Alone on Christmas Eve. I also really enjoyed Christmas Vacation as an adult. Nothing like Christmas movies during December.

One Thing. Earlier this week my daughter informed me that she REALLY wanted to take a dance class.  Most dance classes run from September to June so I thought we were out of luck.  But I just happened to find a studio with an opening and she started this afternoon. As it turned out, parents were permitted to watch the last 15 minutes of today’s class.  Not much cuter than watching 5 and 6 year old girls do a little routine to One Thing by One Direction.

Parenting Lessons.  One of the things I’ve learned as a parent is that most of the time you just have to go with it.  Before you have kids, you have all the ideas of the type of parent you will be. You might be very judgmental of that parent whose 2 year old is screaming at the top of their lungs while grocery shopping (that was me last week by the way). But the reality is now matter how prepared you are, kids will surprise, shock and embarrass you and you just have to go with it. I never would have guessed that I’d say things like “Jack please don’t lick the couch” or “Jack stop putting your hands over your ears and shouting to see how loud you can be”.  I definitely never would have imagined letting my kids watch movies in the car – I survived 9 hour car trips without a dvd player so why couldn’t my kids? We now have a built-in dvd player and wireless headsets. I should also point out that this dvd player is in my minivan which I swore I would NEVER own. Now it’s basically my dream vehicle, and while I do find it hard to park, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.  And it doesn’t get easier when you have a second child.  You think it will because you’ve done it before right? So you are clearly an expert now. Only problem is your second child will be nothing like your first so you will be completely thrown off your game. Nevermind the fact that as soon as you think you’ve got a handle on things, your kids will throw you a curve ball.

Conversations with a 2 year old:

Jack “Mommy I want to watch a movie in the car”.
Me: “We only watch movies on long trips”.
Jack “Mommy I want to go on a long trip”

Jack “Mommy, I’m all done my supper”
Me “Ok, please go wash your hands”
Jack “NO! I already washed my hands”
Me “That was before supper, your hands are dirty so you need to wash them again”
Jack “NOOOOO I DON’T WANT TO WASH MY HANDS”

This goes on until he washes his hands. It also happens after every meal. Every day. I’m not sure why it bothers him so much or why he thinks I will suddenly have a change of heart but it’s literally become a part of our mealtime routine.

Until I write again…

Shay

Family Traditions

Family Traditions.  My favourite memories when I think back to my childhood often involve our family’s traditions. My mom was the best when it came to making holidays extra special.  She always made a special heart-shaped cake for Valentine’s.  We dyed eggs at Easter and went searching for our hidden Easter baskets.  For Halloween she made ghost cookies which we got to decorate and baked pumpkin seeds.  Each holiday was full of delightful fun for the family. Traditions are fun. As children, we look forward to repeating them each year. My mom once made an omlet type dish for Christmas morning , instead of her traditional eggs benedict. We were devastated!  We still give her a hard time about that one!

Now that I’m grown up, I love to passing on these traditions to my own children as well as starting new ones.  My friend Tracey once shared how her and her sister always received new pajamas on Christmas Eve and now she does this with her kids. I love this idea and have added this as one of our Christmas traditions. Last year my husband and I joined in on the new pajamas and I got us all one-piece pajamas with the feet and all.

My brother’s family plays a game called “hide the pickle” where everyone frantically searches the tree on Christmas morning in search of the prized “pickle” ornament. The winner gets a prize and of course bragging rights. We’ve also adopted this tradition and a few more that I’ve picked up over the years.  This year I am going to start a new tradition – Elf on a Shelf. A friend of mine told me about it a few years back and see that it’s now growing in popularity on Pinterest. It’s funny how excited I get at sharing these traditions with my kids. I hope that they enjoy them as much as I do and will pass them on to their own families some day.  Do you have any holiday traditions that you love? If so, I’d love to hear them.

Until I write again…

Shay

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