Elf on the Shelf 2016 – Days 16-24

I’m not even sure how Stevie and I have managed to survive the 2016 Season of the Elves. I’m not gonna lie, folks, when it comes to being creative and remembering to move the elves every night, we are big ol’ failures this year.

Twice, TWICE, we completely spaced and just plain forgot to move the elves. The first time, they were on the kitchen counter chowing down on a bag of candy corn. Nonna and Grandma Kay came to town for a visit, and we were having too much fun and staying up to late hanging out with them that we totally forgot to reposition Cosette and Leo before we went to bed. Of course, Cadence found them immediately the next morning, and we were saved by the fact that our kid has an amazing imagination and swore the elves had spent two whole nights eating candy corn because she was sure the bag looked even emptier.

“Cosette and Leo have been eating candy corn for two days straight! Geez!”Cadence proclaimed. “I guess they like it as much as me and Daddy do.”

Why yes, Cadence, yes they do.

Elf Fail #2 happened just this morning. It hit me around 6:30 a.m., just about the time I was ready to hop in the shower, that we had forgotten to move the elves again (and I only remembered because I heard Cadence downstairs talking to Stevie). I said a silent prayer that he’d managed to get downstairs and notice the elves were in the exact same spot and move them quickly before Cadence had a chance to wander downstairs. (And it would really help if Cadence was one of those regular kids who actually sleeps in past 7:00 a.m. on stay-home days).

No such luck.

When Stevie came upstairs a few minutes later, I asked if he’d moved the elves, and I watched his eyes widen in horror when he realized we’d forgotten the damn elves…again.

“Crap! No, I didn’t,” Stevie said, but he was hopeful. “You know, I don’t think she saw them yet this morning. She’s down there playing video games in the living room. I bet we can move them quick.

And suddenly I was hopeful too.

“Yeah, let’s do it. I’ll distract her, you move them.”

“What am I supposed to do with them?”

“I don’t know. Shove them in the Christmas tree or something.”

And so we did. I pretended like I’d come downstairs to turn the volume down on the TV while Stevie crept into the den to sneak the elves onto the Christmas tree.

Crisis averted…

Or so we thought, right up until my mom arrived to watch the kids and I was getting ready to leave for work and Mom asked Cadence where the elves were.

“Oh, they’re still by the fireplace. They didn’t move last night,” she called from the living room.

Mom looked at the empty spot in the front of the fireplace and then at me.

“We forgot. We moved them this morning,” I whispered.

“Uh…no they’re not,” I called out to Cadence. “Are you sure they didn’t move?”

Cadence hopped up out of the chair and came running.

“What?!” she hollered. “What the heck? I just saw them! I swear!”

She ran around the room, looking for the elves, until she finally spied Leo perched in her Christmas tree.

“Hey!” she cried. Then she pointed to the top of the big tree. “There’s Cosette too! What the heck?”

“That’s crazy, Cadence,” I said, shaking my head. “They must be tricking you.”

“Yeah!” she said. “Cosette and Leo are really tricking me! They snuck and moved while I was in the other room! I wish I could have seen them move. Wait until Henry sees!”

And just like that, the little bubble of relief that had been building as I thought to myself that we only have two nights of this elf business left burst wide open as I realized that we likely have another five or six years of it ahead of us. Because Cadence is still more excited about the elves’ antics than she is just about anything else at Christmas time, and Henry is already showing signs of being an elf fanatic. He looks for them every morning as soon as he gets up, and he points and laughs at the silly things he finds them doing. And even when they are sitting on the floor or perched in a spot low enough for him to reach them, he knows not to touch them for fear he will ruin their magic. So he just points and turns to look at us and he smiles and waits to see what these crazy elves will do next.

And all I know is that next year, we’re going to have to seriously up our game.

We should start planning now.

And since I’ve been so very bad about blogging the elf adventures each day, here is a recap of what they’ve been up to this past week…

Merry Christmas everyone!

























Elf on the Shelf 2016 – Days 13-15

I can’t believe I missed a day of photos, and such a good day too! We woke Tuesday morning and found the crazy elves had wrapped toilet paper around themselves and around the ceiling fan in our upstairs hallway, and they were swinging around on the fan like a carnival ride. Here’s a terrible sketch to help you visualize (take note of Cadence’s epic bedhead–I don’t know what that girl does in her sleep but her hair looks like it has been tied in knots by a legion of demons during the night).


Wednesday morning, Cadence woke to find Cosette and Leo just hanging out on the kitchen counter. We thought maybe they’d taken a night off from their shenanigans, but then Cadence fired up her Daddy’s iPad and we we quickly discovered that our sneaky little elves had been having way too much fun taking selfies. They even set their favorite as the screensaver.


This morning, we don’t know exactly what happened to make Buzz Lightyear decide these elves needed to be disciplined, but we woke to find Buzz had taken matters into his own hands and put the elves in a serious timeout.

Well done, Buzz. Keep those two in line.







Elf on the Shelf 2016 – Days 6-12

Just because I’ve gotten too busy to post, it doesn’t mean the elves’ shenanigans have let up at all. In fact, Cosette and Leo have been in rare form recently. Here are the latest happenings around here…

First, Cosette and Leo decided it was time for Cadence and Henry to write down their Christmas lists for Santa. Cadence asked for a locket necklace and a princess coloring book. Henry…well the kid is currently in love with R2D2 and Mickey Mouse, so we’ll see what Santa brings him.





After jetting off to the North Pole to deliver the lists to Santa, Cosette and Leo decided to stay an extra night and get rested up before heading back here to Nebraska to spend the final few weeks before Christmas keeping an eye on the crazy Romano kids. And after they returned, they were right back up to their silly antics. They’ve been playing with Henry’s toys…




They polished off a bag of Oreos after everyone went to bed…





They took a ride around the living room on the Roomba…




They made themselves a midnight popcorn snack…




And they had a little fun this morning after I ran out of time and didn’t get a picture drawn for Cadence’s daily lunch note…






There’s no rest for the wicked, folks. How many more days ’til Christmas?

Elf on the Shelf 2016 – Day 5

So maybe we should have expected a little crankiness after such a long day…I mean, Cadence spent most of the afternoon, at least 5 hours, running up the hill, sledding down, making snow angels, running up the hill, sledding down, sneaking bites of snow when she thought Stevie and I weren’t looking, running up the hill, sledding down. By the time she finally gave up, coming to terms with the fact that most of the snow had already melted and she was sledding more on grass than anything, she’d come damn close to running a marathon in short bursts up a very steep hill.

So yeah, we were probably playing with fire not making her go to bed early, but she was having fun, playing a little MarioKart, and Stevie and I were in the middle of our nightly clean-up-the-kitchen-and-relax routine. By the time we finally sent Miss C upstairs to get ready for bed, we could tell she was exhausted. And she and Stevie were just two sentences into reading a chapter before bed when Cadence started flipping her Dad some serious attitude and told him defiantly that she didn’t want to read. So, Stevie told her that was fine, it was time for bed, turned off her light, and came back downstairs.

Not five minutes later, Cadence bursts into the living room like she’s auditioning for Days of Lives–tears streaming, begging for a second chance. So we had a little talk about how sometimes we don’t think straight when we’re tired, and how sometimes we make bad choices and have to deal with the consequences, but that tomorrow is a new day and a new chance to make better choices.

And she understood.

She was in bed and asleep soon after, and woke her usual, good-natured self this morning, giving Stevie and I good morning hugs and bounding down the stairs to see what the elves had in store. And this is what she found…





So, we tried again, and it was a good day. And we’ll chalk last night’s dramatic bedtime meltdown up to too late of a bedtime after a day filled with so much fun.

We live and we learn. And we try to do better tomorrow.

Elf on the Shelf 2016 – Day 4

Cadence woke this morning to find Cosette and Leo practicing their paper airplane making skills.




She also woke to find the world outside her window had turned cold and white.

Right about the time we were arriving at the Swimtastic School for Cadence and Henry’s Saturday swim lessons, we noticed a few tiny flakes of snow falling from the sky. We were caught a little off guard. Yeah, it has finally been getting colder, and we’ve seen a couple of weather reports predicting what may be the first substantial snowfall of the year sometime next week, but I guess we’ve just gotten a little spoiled, enjoying near-60 degree weather right up to December 1 this year.

It was bound to catch up with us sooner or later. This is Nebraska after all.

And by the time Miss C and H-man finished their 30-minute lessons, the tiny flurries had transformed into fat white flakes that formed a thick curtain in the sky. For the first few hours, the ground was still too warm for any of the snow to stick. But as the temperature dropped in the late afternoon, the patches of white on the ground began to weave themselves tightly together and blanket the ground.

The snow continued late into the evening, and we woke this morning to a winter wonderland (though it’s a little odd to see patches of bright green grass poking through). Cadence couldn’t wait to finally test out the sledding hill in the back yard. She’s been dying to go sledding since we first moved into this house. We bought her a sled last year, but never had a really great snow. This year, C didn’t care if it was a good snow or not–she was going to test that hill.

The snow was wet and already starting to melt by the time she got home from church and changed into her snow gear, but she managed to get in a full afternoon of fun before the heavy, wet snow got finally got the better of her.

Our backyard hill is definitely made for sledding. Can’t wait for the next big snow to really give it a go.











Elf on the Shelf 2016 – Days 1-3

Oh how this blog has been neglected! Life just got a little crazy, as it tends to do around here. But, the return of the elves made me think it’s as good of a time as any to get back to some blogging. It will not likely be an every day thing–I’m neck deep in writing a novel (I just “won” National Novel Writing Month by writing more than 50,000 words during the month of November, but that is another story for another time), and our lives are busier than ever with work, projects, kids’ activities, and time with family and friends. But I do want to get back to some semi-regular blogging, maybe once a week, just to keep the creative juices flowing.

On Thursday, Cosette and Leo arrived from the North Pole. Cadence has been anxiously (and not quite patiently) waiting for the elves. Apparently some of her school friends’ elves returned just after Thanksgiving (and Stevie and I have decided we may need to stage some sort of intervention and round up all the elf parents so we can all be on the same page with a return date so we don’t have to answer questions of why Cosette and Leo aren’t late and yes maybe they’ll show up in the morning, we’ll just have to see).

Gotta be honest here, Stevie and I definitely haven’t been looking forward to the elves’ return. We’re like, what, four years into this now? Five years? I know it’s just one month out of the year, but I’m telling you folks, it’s kind of exhausting. I keep telling myself that I’m going to sit down and make a list of what we’re going to do with the elves every day, and yes, I know that there are about a million pages on Pinterest with ideas, but still, the day-to-day logistics of plotting and actually moving the elves around the house and making up stories to explain their crazy antics to our oh-so-curious almost 7-year-old just wear a person out. Stevie can’t believe that Cadence still thinks the elves are real, but the kid has an amazing imagination, so it sort of makes sense. Otherwise, she’s just playing us, seeing how long she can drag this on and make us dance like little monkeys on a leash. (And knowing how freakin’ smart she is, that’s not really so farfetched now is it?)

Dance, little monkeys. Dance.

Mostly, the way the elf antics happen around here, it will get to about 10:00 p.m. and Stevie and I are finally wrapping up everything we needed to do for the day and we’re tired and ready to just veg in front of the TV for a bit or head to bed, and one of suddenly remembers that we haven’t moved the elves. Then we spent the next 15 minutes cursing and looking for inspiration and telling ourselves that we only have 23 more days of this madness.

One day at a time, folks. One day at a time.

Day 1

Cosette and Leo snuck in through the chimney sometimes during the wee hours the morning of December 1. Cadence was giddy when she found them, right up until she realized they snuck into her stash of new gel pens to make the sign trumpeting their return. But she got over it quickly. She’s too excited to have them back to be mad at them for long.

Henry, on the other hand…he’s not quite sure about these little creatures. He’s a little on the shy side with new people, and so far, he’s been giving the elves wary glances and trying to figure out if they are friends or foes.




Day 2

Yesterday morning, Cadence bounded downstairs to eat breakfast and see what Cosette and Leo had gotten themselves into, but they were nowhere to be seen. She was upset, thinking maybe they’d returned to the North Pole and gotten lost on the way back. Then, when she went upstairs to brush her teeth and get ready for school, she discovered quite a scene in her bathroom.









Not only had Cosette and Leo cleaned the bathroom, they’d decided to do a little decorating of their own. Stevie and I told Miss C that the elves must have been worried that Santa was going to put her on the Naughty List she wasn’t cleaning her bathroom the way she was supposed to. Guess Miss Cadence is going to have to do a better job of keeping her room and bathroom clean. Thank you elves for giving her a little motivation.

Day 3

This morning, Cadence was cracking up when she found Cosette and Leo practicing their acrobatic skills on a couple trapezes they fashioned for themselves out of string and pieces of a drinking straw. Even Henry got a laugh out of the elves’ crazy antics.







I wonder what these crazy elves have in store for us next. Stay tuned.

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