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The Elf…

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Ok- raise your hand if you, too, thought this elf would be such a fun tradition for the holidays and now you are dreading pulling it out yet another time and coming up with 32+ “activities” or hiding places for your elf?  Seriously- kudos to the person that thought of this idea and was able to convince all of us naive parents that it would be a super great tradition.  Lies.

Or maybe you are one of the few that love the Elf and all the “fun” it has to offer.  Do you really exist?

At our house- we forget to move him.  (Buddy- our elf’s name is Buddy #creative).  We really just move him around and it’s a fun “where is Buddy” game every day.  But we haven’t had any reprieve.  We have had the elf since Aiden and Lu were little… and the way it’s worked out- it has rolled right into the Knox and the twins.  I seriously think we are on year 8 or 9 of this thing.  No joke. (It was created in 2005).  Let me tell you how fun it was on those sleepless nights with the twins realizing the damn elf didn’t move.  Enter Aiden.  That kid has saved us SO many times.  And yes- this year Lucy was on the mad hunt for Buddy when we realized we didn’t know what box he was in from the move. “Hey Lu- not sure if you know or not, but Buddy isn’t real and we need your help finding him.”  Her: “duh”.  After two days of hunting, Jeremy headed to Kohls and we now have a Buddy #3.

(Buddy #1 met his unfortunate death when we had him eating popcorn and watching the movie ELF when Lucy was little and Rockne ate his face off.  Seriously picture our faces… we left Buddy face down in the bowl of popcorn all day- went up to tuck them in for bed and come down and the elf has no face… the popcorn was also gone.  I can not even begin to tell you the middle of the night panic trying to replace the elf without a face… Jeremy going to every store was open and sending me pictures on our Razors (did they even take pictures??) and trying to find the one with exactly the right hair color.  Thankfully our secret was safe for many years… we finally just broke the news to her this year.  She was slightly devastated.)

But here we go again… another year of hiding the elf every night until the glorious morning of Christmas when most people are excited about presents and time together with family- we’re holding up our Christmas mimosas in the air to a break from having to scramble to hide the elf.

For total selfish reasons- I created a Virtual Elf Planning party on Facebook this year.  100% selfish.  I need all the ideas.  Although- one of my amazing neighbors ordered Reindeer from their elf last year!!  Seriously!! Real Reindeer!  In their front yard!  Amazing!  And another had their elf break their leg, and therefore be in a cast so they couldn’t move for a few weeks #genius.

Buddy is back though- and he will be back for at least a few years.  (or if the little ones are anything like Lucy- we have 8 more years of the Elf. *insert favorite cuss word*)

I have included my Elf on the Shelf Calendar for you all. #yourewelcome. Nothing fancy- but each day is split in half so the top half is for the idea and the second half is for supplies needed.  This way, if you are lucky enough to have helpers like me- you can all be on the same page and not have to guess what the elf does next.  Because it’s all about taking the stress out of the holidays, right? *insert spontaneous laughter*

Elf on the Shelf Planning CalendarElf on the Shelf Planning Calendar

If you forget to move your elf, someone else (probably just like me) has created a list as to why the elf didn’t move.  Check it out HERE

And for those of you that were smart enough to have never introduced the elf into your house- I raise my mimosa to you.

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My Teenager

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It hit me today…  I’m almost the mom of an adult.

By the time the twins are in kindergarten, I will be the mom of an adult.

Want to know how I figured that one out?  When I was sitting in the passenger seat of MY CAR while he drove us to his school.  Did you read that?  He DROVE me.

Sh**

And now that I’m a little more into my day, and the coffee has kicked in, I realized that my sleepless nights ahead will no longer come from the babies, but from my oldest.  I love that I have kids at all stages of life.  It allows me to relate to so many more moms and stories they tell, but it also allows me to be a little humble and gracious to the stages my kids are each going through because they are all so uniquely different.  Life lessons as a teenager are HARD.  They are beyond potty training accidents and sleep training and positive discipline (or not so positive in my case some days).  And they are not going to get easier.

These are legit life lessons.  I can’t grab his hand and pull him back out of the path of a car or hold him in the deep end.  I can’t kiss an owie to make it better or find his favorite blanket to cuddle.  (Well, I could, but… I’d lose the cool-mom points that I have still remaining).

My child is driving a huge metal object that weighs a ton (especially Betty… yeah, he drove Betty… that should be extra credit).  Mistakes mean potentially a lot of damage.  He did great- he’s so cautious.  My dad always told me to be on the defense, don’t assume anyone around you is a great driver.  I get it.  Aiden will be a great driver and he won’t be the kid that does a lot of stupid stuff (he probably will, but I’m going to play naive for now)- but it’s everyone else around him that worries me.  (Like the lady who was tailgating us through our neighborhood this morning as he was following the speed limit… man, did I want to get out of the car.  I didn’t.  I also only went to grab the wheel once… which I think is pretty good for a 5 minute drive!)

It’s not just physical mistakes.  The heart and brain life-lessons are hard, too.  He had a coach yesterday tell him some not great things (when I thought he played a freaking fantastic game and had two tricky corner kicks get past him… and all the other members on the team).  That hurts.  That stings.  And it’s hard to teach them that sometimes ADULTS forget they are dealing teenagers and that they shouldn’t take their frustrations of a tied game out on them.  On the flip side, he’s old enough to handle that now and we’re beyond everyone getting a trophy or medal for participation, or making a team because they will cash your check you write them (yeah, I said it- if you haven’t entered the world of club sports yet, just have your check book ready.)

And love… We’re not into dating yet (at least I don’t think he is).  And maybe the first broken heart will be his sister’s, and not his, but I’m not looking forward to that day.  What if he’s the one doing the heart breaking?  Lesson too, right?

So I have these toddlers learning life lessons through “yes”, “no”, “that hurts”, “that doesn’t hurt”, etc.  The “lessons” seem so small compared to what I’m dealing with in regards to the big kids.  (even though in that moment with the littles, I totally admit I often overreact and make them really a big deal).  And now I have this teenager, and another almost teenager, that are learning some really big stuff.  And unlike the littles, most of the bigs’ lessons, I just have to sit back and offer support.  I can’t take the lead.  I shouldn’t take the lead … if I did … they wouldn’t learn the lesson, right?  I have no control.  (There it is- my control issues).  I can’t be there to “fix” it like I do with the littles.  The bigs have ground they have to uncover themselves.  I can only hope I did lay their foundation right, and that I did everything I could during those small life lessons to create success (whatever that definition is) in the big life lessons that are about to come.  It also made me realize how important the littles’ life lessons really are.  They lay the foundation.

However, if Aiden and Lucy come to me one day looking for their blanket for comfort, or to kiss an owie, or pull them out of oncoming traffic.  You best believe I will be right there, cool mom points or not.