Elf on the Shelf 2017 – Days 9, 10, 11

I’d like to go on the record to say that I have NOT fallen off the elf train. The blogging train? Well, that’s a different story. But in all fairness, I’ve been sick, Henry has been teething, and well, life has gone on. So, I’m just gonna lump the last few days of elf shenanigans all together here and not even worry about whether or not someone is going to judge me.

December 9 – The kiddos woke up to discover the elves had left them a few coloring pages and were just hanging from one of the sconces in the living room where they could watch the beautiful creations being made.

Of course, Cadence jumped right in and made a work of art, complete with a few dozen added hearts to let the elves know just how much she loves them. (She’s been telling us at least 3-4 times a day how much she’s going to miss them when they’re gone, to which I promptly reply, “Oh yeah, I’m going to miss them too!” in a very convincing tone).

Henry sat down and gave gave a few obligatory scribbles before deciding he would much rather watch Boss Baby for the 117th time.


December 10 – After being sick for a few days and not having the energy to eat much more than soup and crackers and grilled cheese, I decided it was time to bust out my new KitchenAid mixer and make some chocolate chip cookies. Mom and Dad surprised me with a Happy Monday Gift! back in November, and I’ve been dying to try it out.

Somehow I’ve survived most of my adult life and all the mixing/baking I’ve ever done with good ol’ elbow grease and my trusty little hand mixers, so the KitchenAid is a serious game changer.

Hell, I might be able to make multiple batches of pizza dough without overheating Stevie’s Ninja blender! Score!

So, I rummaged through the cupboards and discovered that I had exactly enough chocolate chips to make one large batch of cookies. It was surely meant to be. And wouldn’t you know those darn elves were just waiting to scavenge some cookies as soon as they returned from the North Pole the next morning. Cadence kept swearing she saw them move, and took careful note of how both Cosette and Leo managed to polish off the last bites without leaving so much as a crumb behind.

Henry? Well…Henry wasn’t sure how he felt about the elves dipping into his stash of cookies.


December 11 – So yesterday we did manage to finally go out and buy our Christmas tree. And I’d like to take a moment to let everyone know that the tides have turned in the Romano house. I’ve always been a real tree person. Stevie has always been a fake tree person. Growing up, I remember always picking out a real tree. Stevie can tell stories of how they had a fake tree for so long that it finally looked so beat up and ragged, his Mom insisted they buy a new one.

The first Christmas I spent with Stevie’s family on Long Island when we were engaged, Richie had accidentally thrown out half of the new tree when he was trying to replace the old one. Neither he nor Diane noticed until it was time to pull the tree out of storage and decorate. Diane was mortified when she realized she had a mismatched collection of tree parts in various stages of deterioration, but in true Diane form, she decorated the tree anyway and apologized to me at least two dozen times for it’s frightful appearance. If she didn’t already love me, I think my non-judgement (and good-natured joking) of her Frankentree would have sealed the deal.

The first year Stevie and I were married and living in Arizona, we had the great tree debate. I insisted it just didn’t feel like Christmas (especially in the desert) without going out and picking a real tree with the real pine smell. Stevie tried to convince me that it was an incredible waste of money. He even tried to argue how ridiculous it was to kill a real tree just to stand it up in your house for a few weeks before throwing it away.

But I’m stubborn and he let me have my way, but only after I agreed that if I got my real tree, he gets to choose our tree topper. I still don’t know if he’d actually seen the Yoda tree toppers in Target before he made the deal, or if the universe just decided that Stevie deserved the tree topper of his dreams after letting his wife win the real tree/fake tree argument. (If you want to read a little more about how this all went down, CLICK HERE). Either way, I’ve gotten my real tree every year since we struck the deal, until this year.

This year, I finally decided I’d had enough of the annual expense and the sticky sap and the pine needles littering the floor. I’ve had enough of the tree drying out because I forget to water it, or overflowing the water because I tried to fill it not knowing that Stevie had already filled it. I’ve had enough of trying to figure out how many strings of lights we need and never being able to find one whole string where all the bulbs are still intact. And I’ve had enough of worrying about the damn tree catching fire in the middle of the night because, well, have I mentioned that I forget to water it?

Stevie was wary at first. He must have asked me three or four times if I was sure, really sure that I really wanted a fake tree. No going back. And after answering to the affirmative each time without pause, he decided that I was actually serious. He has been good about not lobbing any I-told-you-so’s my way, but even if he did, I think I’d be okay with it.

Real trees, it’s been real. But I’m really done chopping you down to decorate my den for a few weeks each year. It’s not you. It’s me. We can still be friends.

So, we hit Menards yesterday and found a really great-looking tree that is the perfect height, nice and full, already covered in lights, and that took us all of 5 minutes to get put up, lit up, and looking great.

And I’m not even going to argue about the Yoda tree topper. Truth be told, it wouldn’t be a Romano Christmas tree without him.

And of course Cosette and Leo made sure they got in on the initial stages of decorating….




Elf on the Shelf 2015 – Day 21

At this point, it’s probably getting a little old talking about Electra’s food-whoring ways. But we’re either off our game lately (which is quite possible seeing as everyone in the Romano house has been living in a perpetual state of sleep-deprivation since Henry was born), or Electra is getting a whole lot smarter and more devious in her middle-age.

Lately, it seems she’s hell-bent on total food domination.

She cracked the code on her plastic food storage container a few months ago, figuring out that if she licked the door of it long enough, and nudged it with her nose in just the right places, she could get the door to pop open and reveal the veritable Pandora’s Box of irresistible kibble inside.

Two weeks ago, she managed to stretch herself long enough to reach up over the top of the kitchen counter and snag a bag of chocolate peanut butter cookies that Cadence brought home from her Kindergarten class bake sale.

Last week I caught her trying to nose a box of Dunkin Donuts off the kitchen table, and later crunching away at a piece of gold spray-painted bowtie pasta that she apparently wanted so badly that she found a way to pull Cadence’s preschool ornament down off the Christmas tree to get at it.

Who the hell wants a piece of gold spray-painted uncooked bowtie pasta?



Electra, that’s who. Note the little ornament made with Fruit Loops all the way near the top of the tree (top left corner).

And just this weekend while I was upstairs feeding Henry and Stevie was down in the basement rotating the laundry, Cadence caught Electra munching away on a candy cane that Electra had stolen off the gift from Cadence’s Kindergarten teacher.

After a whole lot of yelling and a few tears, Cadence managed to wrestle the candy cane away from our hound, clean up the mess, and shoo Electra into the backyard before she came to find Stevie and I to report the crime.

So far, none of Electra’s scores have made her sick, but it’s clear that we need to step up our game if we’re going to keep our dog from eating her way into some serious trouble.

And Cosette and Leo must have felt sorry for Cadence after Electra stole her candy cane, because they showed up this morning bearing a whole bunch of candy cane gifts for Cadence to eat and help hang on the tree.









Up high. Way high. Where even our persistent basset-bodied hound dog can’t reach them.

Damn dog. If she wasn’t so sweet, she might be in more trouble.


Elf on the Shelf 2014 – Days 11, 12, & 13

Well, I haven’t been very good about finding time to post this year, but that doesn’t mean our little elf hasn’t been busy. Here’s what Cosette has been up to the past few days.

First, she played a little hide-and-seek with Cadence and found a good spot to hide in the Christmas tree…





Cadence was tickled when she found her. Tricky little Cosette!

Then, we woke up and found Cosette and Buzz Lightyear in the middle of a rowdy game of Uno…





It was a good game, but Buzz won.

And this morning, we came downstairs for breakfast to discover that Cosette had rounded up all her friends for a little party and a sing-a-long. Who knew Buzz Lightyear was such a great piano player? Looks like they all a lot of fun!





Elf on the Shelf – Day 13

When you get married, there are certain compromises you have to make. You learn to share the covers. You move all the way across the country and halfway back. One of you has to learn to be a little less anal retentive, while the other has to learn to put things away before they start collecting dust. You learn to appreciate each other’s taste in music. You watch (and make fun of) each other’s favorite movies. You deal with each other’s mood swings, lame jokes, strange obsessions, and flatulence (ahem, Steven!). And while I don’t believe that you should ever have to change yourself or your personality to be with someone, you do have to learn to find some sort of middle ground with your partner if you expect the relationship to last.

Now, I’m not saying Steven and I have the perfect relationship by any means–we’ve had our share of issues and hardships along the way–but I do think we’ve got a pretty damn good thing going here. We enjoy each other’s company. We like to talk and banter and debate important things like religion, philosophy, education, and whether Real Becky ever returned to the cast of Roseanne after Replacement Becky took over, or if Replacement Becky settled into the part and finished the show. We love each other, even in those fleeting moments when we don’t quite like each other. We understand each other in a way no one else ever has and probably ever will. We are each other’s best friends, and I tell ya, I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Steven and I have done a lot of compromising in our five years of marriage, and the one bargain we struck that always makes me smile is the Christmas tree. See, growing up, I always had a real Christmas tree. It was always a big deal to pick it out each year. One year, we even went full National Lampoon’s Christmas and went out to cut one down. I remember a few times when I was off at college, Dad threatened to cave in and just get a fake tree. And I promptly told him that I would cancel my trip home for the holidays if he did. Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without our tree, decorated with all the old ornaments Mom had been collecting since Lindy and I were babies.

My hubby, on the other had, grew up with an artificial tree. It was put up each year, decorated, taken down again, and stored away. It was routine, and looked the same every year, until it finally began to show it’s age and his Mom decided it was time to buy a new one. Knowing that my husband is such a creature of habit, it’s easy to see why he prefers a fake tree to a real one, and why he argued adamantly that we buy one for ourselves when we started celebrating Christmases together.

It wasn’t until 2009 (two years after we were married) that we got a chance to really celebrate our first Christmas together in our own home, and we were firmly divided on the tree issue. Steven argued that a fake tree just made more sense. We only have to buy it once. We put it up and take it down the same way each year. After only a few years, it pays for itself. On and on. I argued that Christmas just wasn’t Christmas if we didn’t pick out a real tree to decorate, a tree that would make our house smell deliciously festive for the holiday.

Maybe it was the fact that I was 8 months pregnant, and it’s just harder to argue with a pregnant woman, but Steven caved in without much of a fight…on one condition. I get my real tree, but he gets to pick out the tree topper.

Deal. I was sold.

The only thing I still wonder about is whether Steven had already seen the little Yoda tree topper with the light up light saber, or if he just got lucky. Either way, we both win. And even though we’ll probably spend a few moments arguing every year when we try to get a crooked live tree to stand up straight enough to hang lights and ornaments on it without it toppling over, as soon as Master Yoda takes his place of honor at the top, all is forgiven and forgotten and it starts to feel like Christmas in the Romano house once again.

And Miss Cosette is obviously just as in love with our little Yoda as we are. After returning from her nightly visit to see Santa, she fashioned herself a little Jedi robe out of a paper towel, grabbed a pencil, and took a few light saber lessons from Master Yoda himself.



When Cadence woke, she enlisted the help of Woody and Jessie to help her search for Cosette. It took a few minutes of looking before she finally spotted Cosette in her lofty perch.





What can we say? The Force is strong in Romano house.

Elf on the Shelf – Day 9

Why is it that time speeds up during the holidays? Does the earth start spinning a little faster this time of year? Is it just the trick of light? The shorter days? Some sort of deeply ingrained instinct to want to hibernate when the weather turns cold? Whatever the cause, the effect is always the same…Christmas has a way of sneaking up on me.

Doesn’t matter how much I plan, how early I make my lists, how hard I try to keep it all straight, something just sort of shuts down in my brain when the holidays roll around. Add any sort of stress or obligations on top of it, and I’m easily derailed.

With my Dad’s cancer diagnosis and surgery this year, it’s no surprise that we’ve fallen a little behind in the decorating department. Mom and Dad brought us some lights from their collection (since Dad has been harassing Steven to get in on the Clark Griswold-style holiday light competition since we were married five years ago), and a new 4-foot tall lighted giraffe to put in the yard, just for Cadence.

So far, the lights haven’t made it on the house, and the giraffe is still sitting (fully assembled and beautifully lit) in the living room. But, we’ve got big plans to finally do things up right this weekend.

We’ll see what happens.

Apparently, Cosette is a little concerned that we haven’t yet put up the Christmas tree…


Sweet little elf. Don’t worry, Cosette, the tree is on the list for this weekend too. 🙂 Especially now that Miss Cadence  has been notified that our lack of tree is an issue.







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