Elf on the Shelf 2013 – Day 13

Other than a brief stint during elementary school when I got it in my head that I wanted to be a marine biologist and dolphin trainer (don’t ask…I read a book written by a dolphin trainer and it sounded like a lot of fun), I have always wanted to be a writer. I knew it the first time I picked up a pencil and started forming shapes on a piece of paper that vaguely resembled letters. I knew it when I wrote my first “book” in 2nd grade–some mystery adventure story staring my group of friends from school. I knew it even when every step I took on my career path seemed to lead me farther and farther away from my dream.

Somehow, though, you will always end up doing what you’re meant to do.

Funny how that happens, isn’t it? And it’s even funnier how I’ve ended up back here, writing and writing and writing.

It was about a year ago I’d decided to start down a different path. I was stagnating, feeling uninspired. I’d been listening to that maddeningly persistent voice of self-doubt in my head that kept telling me that I was a hack, that my writing was never going to go anywhere, that I should just give it up and get on with my life. For years I’ve toyed with the idea of going back to school for a counseling degree, and I figured it was probably time to explore that option since there didn’t seem to be any better options.

But the universe had different plans. And perhaps if I’d waited just a little longer, if I’d been just a little more patient, I would have seen it coming.

I fell back into my writing career with a job offer that required a hard hat.

The company I work for now produces newsletters, marketing and pr materials, and even online and media copy for companies–everything from small neighborhood associations and businesses to huge Fortune 500 corporations. The biggest clients are the railroads (since the founder was a railroader when he first got the idea for the company), and my job as a corporate journalist is to go out and visit the men and women on job sites, in shops, railroad yards, etc., to gather and write their stories.

I never imagined I’d be donning a hard hat, orange vest and steel toe boots in my writing career, but I tell you, it has certainly made life more interesting.

It’s a challenging, sometimes frustrating, but ultimately amazing job. I’ve met some truly incredible people, written stories I’m proud of, made some really, really great friends.

But, most importantly, I’ve breathed life back into my own writing. And that, my friends, is what’s really exciting.

I guess Cosette thought my hard hat looked like the perfect place to kick back and relax after her trip to the North Pole last night. Silly elf.

IMGP3379

IMGP3382

IMGP1385

Elf on the Shelf 2013 – Day 8

It’s funny how much difference a year makes. Last year, Cadence was absolutely beside herself when she work each morning, wanting to hustle downstairs to see what crazy shenanigans she could catch Cosette in the middle of. This year, she’s much more reserved, much more practical.  She questions why she can’t touch the little elf. And instead of being thoroughly amused by Cosette’s antics, she questions the elf’s motives and spends a lot more time studying her, trying to figure her out.

This kid is too damn smart, folks.

I got a big surprise this morning, though, when we came downstairs for breakfast and Cadence discovered Cosette just sitting on the piano–no crazy antics, no shenanigans, no nonsense (a.k.a. I got tired and forgot to set the scene before I went to bed)–and she stopped short, put her hands on her little hips and declared…

“Mom, that’s not right! Cosette is supposed to be on the table playing with Woody and Jessie.”

IMGP1352
Cadence is not amused.

I had to bite my lip to keep from laughing.

“Well…” I had to think quick. “I guess Cosette was tired from her trip to the North Pole last night. Maybe she got back late and took a nap.”

“No, Mom,” Cadence said. “She’s supposed to be on the table.”

And then, without skipping a beat, Cadence was headed for the pantry to grab the cereal, and all was forgiven and forgotten.

But, you better shape up Cosette, because Cadence is watching. And she just might have a report of her own to send to Santa if she doesn’t feel like this ornery little elf is keeping up with her end of the bargain.

Elf on the Shelf – Day 22

Snow day!!!

2012-12-20_0001

2012-12-20_0002

2012-12-20_0003

2012-12-20_0004

2012-12-20_0005

2012-12-20_0006

2012-12-20_0007

2012-12-20_0008

2012-12-20_0009

2012-12-20_0010

2012-12-20_0013

2012-12-20_0014

2012-12-20_0015

2012-12-20_0011

2012-12-20_0012

2012-12-20_0016

Elf on the Shelf – Day 16

After returning from her late night visit to the North Pole, Cosette rounded up the gang for a little after hours game of poker. And by the time Cadence woke this morning, Cosette had amassed a fifty-cent fortune.

2012-12-13_001

2012-12-13_002

2012-12-13_003

2012-12-13_004

When she came down for breakfast, Cadence looked for Cosette in all the old usual haunts, and was tickled when she found her and the gang in the middle of their game.

2012-12-13_005

2012-12-13_006

Of course, she wanted in on the action, so Cosette bowed out gracefully and let Cadence have a turn at the table.

2012-12-13_007

Now, I’m not one to spread rumors, but I’m pretty sure Cadence was stacking the deck.

2012-12-13_008

2012-12-13_009

2012-12-13_010

2012-12-13_011

And if she wasn’t, she just might be a card counting genius. Either way, by the end of the game, Cadence left the table with everyone’s money and promptly deposited it in her piggy bank. Someday, we just might have to take our little gambler to try her luck in Vegas. 🙂

Elf on the Shelf – Day 1

Last night, just as the sun was setting, the doorbell rang. Steven had just gotten home from work, and Cadence had followed him upstairs to horse around and jump on the bed while he changed out of his work clothes. When I opened the door, there was no one to be seen. There was just a package, with a handwritten note, for Cadence. I called up and told her she better hurry down to see what it was…

Cadence recognized her name immediately, and when we told her the package was from Santa, she cried, “Santa! He’s here! At Cadence’s house?” and tore into the box.

She wasn’t quite sure what to think about the little elf she found inside. Thinking that perhaps Santa was lying in wait, laden with more presents, she hurried to the window to look outside.

“Santa? He’s here? Where’s Santa?”

Steven and I laughed, and then explained that Santa had just sent the package, but that he wouldn’t be arriving until Christmas, which was still several weeks away. It took a good amount of persuading to convince Cadence that Santa wasn’t hiding in the bushes, and that he wanted her to read the book he sent her. We settled in on the floor for the story…

For those of you who haven’t already heard, Santa sometimes needs a little help keeping an eye on all the little boys and girls in the world. So, he likes to send one of his elves to help out. Cadence’s Nonna Dawn and Poppa Mark told Santa where to send his little helper, and Cadence’s own personal elf arrived just in time to make sure she does her best to be good in these final few weeks before Christmas.

And for those of you who have witnessed any of Cadence’s Terrible Two-style temper tantrums lately, you know that Santa sent this elf just in time to save Cadence from a stocking full of coal. Don’t believe our adorable little Batgirl has a naughty bone in her body? You better go back and read about Dinner War 2012.

Now, adopting one of Santa’s elves into the family is serious business. You have to give your elf a name and make sure you register him/her with Mr. and Mrs. Claus. By day, your elf keeps an eye on you and takes careful notes. Then, as soon as you fall asleep, he/she flies off to the North Pole to report to the Big Boss himself. Santa files away all of the reports, and uses them to decide whether your name appears on the Naughty List or the Nice List come Christmas.

As we read all of this to Cadence, she considered it carefully, all the time keeping a wary eye on the little female elf she’d pulled from Santa’s box. After much deliberation, she decided to name her elf Cosette, and we gave her a seat of honor in the window as we settled in for dinner.

A few hours later, Cadence told Cosette good night, and then headed to bed, knowing that Santa was going to get a very good report.

Funny thing about elves, they’re a mischievous lot, which we found out when we woke this morning. When I brought Cadence downstairs to have a little breakfast before heading to school, this is what we found…

Seems Cosette had a little fun playing with Cadence’s blocks after she returned from the North Pole. Cadence got a big kick out of Cosette’s tower-building skills, and headed off to school with a smile on her face. I reminded her to be good, so she could tell Cosette all about it when she got home.

And she did.

I couldn’t help but smile when I heard Cadence telling Cosette all about her day at school…

“I go to school with Ms. Becky. Played with Carter and Jacob and Levi. I went pee pee on the potty and played hot potato and ate a cookie snack. And no timeouts.”

I peeked around the corner and managed to get a couple photos of Cadence reporting to Cosette before it was time for lunch and a nap.

So, even though the day has not quite ended, I have a feeling that Cosette will be flying to the North Pole with another good report on Cadence for Santa Claus. Too bad our little elf can’t hang around all year long! But I guess we’ll just enjoy it while it lasts. 🙂