Elf on the Shelf 2013 – Day 25

Somehow, today just didn’t seem like Christmas Eve. Maybe because the holidays just sort of snuck up on us this year. Maybe because it’s the first holiday we’ve celebrated since I’ve been back to work and we’ve all been so busy. And maybe because it’s the first holiday that it will be just us. Whatever the reason, I was having a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that tomorrow is Christmas, and that we’re just a few days shy of welcoming 2014.

Time is flying, and I’m not sure I like it.

Today we spent making our last minute preparations for Christmas, which was mainly making sure we had some homemade cookies to leave out for Santa. Steven and I were thinking chocolate chip, the time-tested favorite, but Cadence requested frosted sugar cookies, the kind she could decorate with sprinkles. So, we made both.

In the midst of the cookie making, the doorbell rang. Steven had run out to the bank and I was still in my pajama pants, but at least I’d had a cup of coffee and combed my hair, or I might have scared the mailman right off the porch. He had two boxes and a pile of mail. I thanked him and wished him a Merry Christmas as he went on his way.

Now, had I not been so preoccupied with wondering what Cadence was up to, left in the kitchen alone with a counter full of cookie ingredients, I might have noticed Electra taking more than just a passing interest in the box that Stevie’s sister Michele sent. Thinking that it was likely just some Christmas gifts that needed to be placed under the tree, I set both boxes aside and hurried back to the kitchen to finish the cookies.

Ten minutes later, I sent Cadence to the bathroom to wash her hands for the 17th time (kid has a bad habit of licking her fingers when she bakes). I heard her stop in the hallway, and then she hollered…

“Mom! Electra’s eating a box!”

I dropped the spatula in the bowl of cookie dough and ran. The hallway was littered with bits of blue plastic and wet, half-chewed cardboard. When I rounded the corner to the living room, I saw that one whole corner of a box had been chewed out, and what appeared to be a large, blue plastic bag protruding from the gaping hole. Then, I saw Electra, the food whore, with  an entire egg bagel in her mouth. And now that she knew she was caught, she was apparently attempting to swallow the damn thing whole.

“Hey!” I yelled, grabbing her by the scruff of the neck with one hand and grabbing the bagel with the other. She gave a disgusted sigh and tried to pull away. I caught her in a headlock, pried her jaw open just enough to wrench the soggy bagel free…well 2/3 of the bagel anyway. She promptly swallowed the other 1/3 and made a mad dash to the box for more, but I got there first, grabbed the box, and took it to the kitchen to assess the damage.

Inside, I found a Christmas gift for Cadence, two boxes of Dunkin’ Donuts K-cups coffee (score!!) and five fresh egg bagels wrapped in blue Ziploc baggies.

“Ooooh, Electra! Stevie is either going to be super impressed with the fact that you have a taste for New York egg bagels, or he’s going to be super pissed that you stole one of ’em!” I said. Electra just licked her chops and stared up me, looking forlorn that she didn’t get a chance to finish her breakfast.

A few minutes later, Steven returned. He shook his head sadly when he saw the damage, and didn’t waste anytime toasting one of the remaining bagels and having himself a little breakfast. Electra sat at his feet, waiting for him to drop a bit.

After the excitement wound down, it was time to finish some cookies. Cadence and I spent the afternoon and part of the evening baking and decorating. We took a break to head to church for the Christmas Eve service, and then Steven ran out to get us some Chinese food for dinner. We wound down the evening watching some Christmas cartoons and talking about Santa. Cadence picked out cookies for his plate and I poured him a glass of milk, and then we tucked a very excited kiddo in bed and called it a night.

We’re just hoping she sleeps past 6:00. 😉

Here are a few photos from our chaotic day:

Cosette gets us motivated to do some baking by making sure the supplies are all gathered and ready first thing in the morning…

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And then this short break is brought to you by our dog, the food whore…

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And I know most people would agree that Cadence is my Mini-Me. Our baby and early childhood photos are nearly indistinguishable. But, I tell you, this girl is her daddy’s personality clone. And obviously the ability to make such stellar goofy faces is genetic…

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And Cadence showed off some artistic flair putting the finishing touches on the cookies tonight. And after a short sugar rush, it was time to leave Santa a plate and head to bed.

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Elf on the Shelf 2013 – Day 24

Somewhere, deep down, I think we all have a little superhero in us. It’s the part that starts to whisper and nudge when something isn’t right. It’s that part that takes over when something happens and shit suddenly gets real. It’s that part that keeps us going, even when we’re certain that we can’t.

Once, my adventurous daughter (then age 2) decided to dive right in the swimming pool, and promptly sank straight to the bottom. I managed to hurdle a chair, jump in the water, and pull her out before she even had a chance to swallow a mouthful.

And just a few short weeks ago, I was driving down a dark Kansas highway when the headlights suddenly illuminated a large deer standing directly in the middle of my lane. I’d been cruising along for almost an hour with no cars in sight, yet my brain and my body seemed to immediately shift to auto-pilot the minute I saw those hooves in the headlights. My foot came off the gas and eased onto the brake. My eyes momentarily darted to the rearview mirror. My hands tightened as I gave the steering wheel a quick flick left, then right, and the car responded with precision, jumping into the left lane and missing the big buck by a few bare inches. It took several moments for my heart to stop pounding, and in those few moments I felt both vulnerable and invincible.

I think, sometimes, that superhero in us (that instinct or intuition, if you will) gets drowned out by all the noise we allow to cloud our brains. We tell ourselves we’re not good enough or not smart enough. We tell ourselves we don’t deserve any better. We tell ourselves it’s not worth it to take a stand, that it’s never going to change. We tell ourselves that we can’t, and then we don’t. We tell ourselves we shouldn’t, and then we won’t. We tell ourselves a whole line of bullshit just because it’s easier not to care than to actually give a damn.

If you ask me, we all need to tap into that superhero a little more often. We need to speak out when we know something is wrong. We need to support others who are too afraid to stand up for themselves. We need to do the things we know are right, even if those things are scary or difficult. We need to do the things we know are right, simply because they are the right things to do.

Last night, Cosette tapped into her inner superhero. And even though we don’t quite know what demons she was fighting, we woke this morning and we were impressed all the same.

Go get ’em, girl.

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Elf on the Shelf 2013 – Day 23

Life is all about what you do with the hand you’re dealt. Let’s face it, sometimes you manage to draw some really shitty cards, but you just never knew what’s coming next. So, you gotta keep playing. And if you’ve got some good friends beside you, you might even have a little fun.

Both Cadence and Cosette woke this morning, feeling a little better so what better way to celebrate and spend a Sunday than learning to play a little UNO?

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And wouldn’t you know, our little card shark caught on quick and kicked Daddy’s butt in her very first game. Yeah, that’s our girl. 🙂

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Elf on the Shelf 2013 – Day 22

Cadence came home from school yesterday coughing and sneezing and feeling like crap, and it appears poor Cosette was in the line of fire. Poor little elf needed a little rest and relaxation today. Here’s hoping everyone is feeling better tomorrow.

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Elf on the Shelf 2013 – Day 21

The best thing in life–better than money, better than chocolate, better than just about anything you can imagine–is spending time with the people you care about.  Friends, family, spouses, kids. People who “get” you. People who make you laugh. People who put up with (and call you on) your bullshit. People who think about you, and miss you when you’re not around. People who love you, no matter what.

Those are the people and the moments you live for. Those are the ones you do your best to hold onto–in your memory or in a photograph, something you can pull out of a box 10 years from now and it still makes you laugh.

In the end, those are the only people and the only moments that really matter.

And the bad ones? The frustrating ones? The ones that threaten to drive you to the very brink of insanity? Those are stones in the road, lessons to be learned. It’s okay to face them, to study them, and to put a little effort into moving them out of the way. But that’s where it ends. Don’t carry them with you. Don’t let them weigh you down. Respect them for what they are–a necessary step in your soul’s evolution–and then kiss them goodbye and let them go.

As the time draws near for Cosette to say her goodbyes for yet another year (less than 5 days to Christmas people!), it’s apparent that our little elf is not quite ready to say goodbye to the friends she made. So, last night, while Cadence slept, she gathered the gang together for a picture–something she can look at , maybe hang on the wall of her little elf house when she returns home to the North Pole, something that will bring a smile to her face when she remembers all the fun she had this year with the Romanos.

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Elf on the Shelf 2013 – Day 20

Paaaaaaaaarty!!!

This is sort of the reaction I expect Steven and I will have if we ever walk in on Cadence throwing a crazy party with her friends…

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