Elf on the Shelf 2015 – Day 7

Anyone who knows Stevie and I knows that we’re a bit…uh…let’s say eclectic. We’re obsessed with movies that most people haven’t even heard of (Southland Tales). We wore lampshades on our heads when we were introduced as bride and groom at our wedding reception (we wanted to match the lampshade wearing couple that adorned the front of our wedding invitations). Our dinner plates have aliens and hitchhiking angels on them. And we once sent out Christmas cards with a family photo featuring Electra trying to jump over my head to chase a rabbit, Cadence looking horrified, and Stevie flashing his classic, open mouth goofball grin straight at the camera.


Yeah, we’re a little strange, and we embrace it.

Last winter, when we put our old house up for sale here in Lincoln, we almost had a chance to appear on an episode of HGTV’s House Hunters. We interviewed over the phone with one of the producers of the show. I always knew Stevie and I were a little different, but it wasn’t until we were asked to describe our “style” that I realized just how unique our tastes really are.

“So, is it like more Crate & Barrel, or Pottery Barn?” she asked.

“Uhhhh….” I stuttered.

“Well…” Stevie said.

Neither of us could quite figure out how to tell this woman that our “style” wasn’t really something that could be summed up quite that simply. We’ve got books (everything from our childhood favorites to vintage collections to our old college textbooks) stacked in crates in just about every room in our house. Our walls are decorated with family photos, movie posters, and a life-size canvas of our buddy Foerth giving his speech at our wedding. And as far as knick knacks go, we’ve got Stevie’s Star Wars and X-Files toys, an antique lantern, and an urn with the ashes of my old Shih Tzu, Angel (aka Stinky), who lived to the ripe old age of 13 and who now sits in her final resting place on the mantle of our fireplace.

We ended up buying our new home so quickly that we never even had a chance to submit an application or audition tape, but I imagine had we been able to appear on the show, we might have been one of those couples that the audience is torn between falling in love with and wondering if we are even real.

I assure you folks, we’re very real. And we think our home and our family and all are quirks are pretty awesome, right down to our animated, Christmas-light parrot Pedro.

See, Pedro was a wedding gift from our friends Jenny and Leland. Story goes, Pedro was actually given to them as a gift by a couple who’d received him as a gift from a couple who’d received him as a gift, and on back a few more giftings. Apparently, Pedro was quite the prank for awhile, right up until the moment where Stevie and I unwrapped him, plugged him in, and simultaneously decided that he was, quite possibly, the most fabulous thing we had ever seen. We promptly named him Pedro and from that moment on, he’d found his forever home.

That was almost nine years ago, and we don’t plan on getting rid of our little friend anytime soon.

He’s been down in the basement since we moved in February because we just haven’t had a chance to find a good place for him yet. Apparently Cosette and Leo didn’t think the accommodations in the basement were quite good enough for dear old Pedro, so they hauled him upstairs while we slept, and hung him near the Christmas tree where he could be admired in all his glory. And that’s where Cadence found the three of them this morning when she woke.

“Oh Cosette!” she sighed when she saw them. “What did you do now you silly elf!?”

Silly elves indeed. Cosette and Leo definitely fit in well in the Romano house.





Elf on the Shelf – Day 21

Sorry it took so long, but between the dozens upon dozens of photos I took, and then yesterday’s snowstorm knocking out our power, it took me forever to get these done and uploaded. So, without, further ado, I give you Gingerbread House Mayem!

Cadence woke up in the morning to find a very special surprise. Cosette had brought a note from Santa. In the letter, Santa told Cadence how proud he was that she did such a wonderful job in her school program, and that she was doing such an amazing job with her potty training and no longer wearing pull-ups to school. Because of all this, Santa thought Cadence deserved a little something special, and sent Cosette back from her nightly North Pole visit with a gingerbread house kit for Cadence to build and decorate.


We had a quick breakfast, and got ready. I made sure I set the camera up so I could follow Santa’s instructions and take lots of pictures. Cadence just wanted to get started already.


But the best surprise of the day was Cadence’s godmother Tammy dropping by for a visit. Now, we were ready to begin!






At first, I thought it was going to be a struggle to keep Cadence from eating all the candy and frosting, but she was all business. She didn’t even sneak a taste! She was far too busy helping Tammy squeeze the frosting into place and placing the candies just so.




Of course, when we were finally done and told her it was okay to take a little taste, she went whole hog and started squeezing leftover frosting onto her finger and one of the little plates from her kitchen. At one point, she even begged me to squeeze it directly into her mouth, but that was where I drew the line.





Thanks for the fun gift Santa and Cosette! We had a blast!

Excavation 2012 – Day #40 – The Keeper of the Flame

I’ll be the first to admit, I have a strange love/hate relationship with candles. I love the way some candles can leave a room smelling so sweet and fresh. You have to choose wisely though. Otherwise, your house ends up smelling like like a mix of smoke, citrus, and old lady floral perfume. I love the way candles seem to suggest a level of sophistication, but perhaps that notion comes from watching too many romantic comedies. Most of all, I love candlelight because, let’s face it, who doesn’t look good in candlelight?

In reality though, I haven’t actually burned a candle since…oh, around 2003 because, as much as I love the idea of candles, I really hate the thought of burning down my house, and me burning to death inside it. I mean, I don’t really consider myself an airhead, but I’ve been known to get distracted and forget about things…

What’s that? Oh yeah, I was blogging.

In spite of my growing candle burning phobia (which, I will say, increased tenfold when my daughter was born), I still have a hard time getting rid of candles, especially candles that smell really good. Like the lemon lavender soy candle I’ve been holding onto (and not burning) for nearly 10 years. Or the Entenmann’s cake candle my mother-in-law gave me as a gift a couple years ago. Seriously, who can say no to a candle that smells like Entenmann’s cake?

So, I’ll keep holding onto those a little while longer, until I can either formulate a foolproof plan to burn them safely and without threat of igniting myself or my belongings, or until the yummy scent finally wears off. Either way, they will have served their purpose.

The candles I refuse to keep around, though, are these…

The former homeowners left behind a set of four of these iron candle sconces hanging in the dining room, and I can’t say that they have ever really been my thing. First of all, this is just a house fire waiting to happen. This isn’t some medieval stone castle people. In a house that has a perfectly good electrical system, there is no reason to go hanging torches on the wall and igniting them. No reason at all.

I understand some people like to use these types of things as decoration, but I would much rather adorn my walls with pictures and posters and shelves filled with items that mean something to me. So, after moving in and staring at these iron candle sconces for over two months now, it’s time for them to go.

And now that they are out of the way, we’ve already begun replacing them with things that, in my opinion, are a whole lot more interesting. Like this…

This old Roden family photo was taken in 1919, and I inherited it when my Grandma Luethje passed last year. I think it looks great hanging on the wall now that we have moved the old kitchen cupboard (also from Grandma Luethje’s estate) into the dining room as well.

We’re thinking we might put some of our fine china in the cupboard (if it fits, and if our 2-year-old can keep her hands off of it). In the meantime, I pulled out some of Grandma Luethje’s other old collectibles now that we finally have a good place to display them.

I gotta say, I like the look of this a whole lot better than the candle sconces. And seeing the old family photo and some of Grandma and Grandpa’s old stuff makes me feel like I’ve been able to hold onto some of their favorite things even though they’re gone.

Plus, in a house that’s over 120 years old, old stuff as decoration just looks really freakin’ cool.

All of a sudden, I am seriously motivated to do some more unpacking and decorating. Let’s see what we find next!

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