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 7

Who’s ready for a SNOWBALL FIGHT?!?!?!?!

Okay, so they’re mini-marshmallows…but that could be pretty fun too, and less cold, and more delicious.

At least Cadence thought so. She was pretty impressed with the shenanigans she found Cosette, Woody, Jessie, and Buzz in the middle of when she came down for breakfast this morning, especially when she got to eat a few marshmallows for breakfast.

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Elf on the Shelf 2013 – Day 4

Other than an accident I had just 11 days after my 16th birthday, I’ve racked up a pretty great driving record. Don’t get me wrong, that one accident was a doozy–three car pile-up that made the front page of the local newspaper (though, to be fair, there’s not a whole lot of other news in Holdrege, Nebraska). The story I wrote about it was even published as a full-page article in the Omaha World Herald my senior year of high school, and to this day, my dad still won’t let me live it down.

And yet, ever since, I’ve done pretty well behind the wheel. I obey traffic signals. I rarely drive more than 2-3 mph over the speed limit. I use my turn signals. And I routinely slow down to let other drivers merge or pull into traffic when I notice them waiting patiently for their turn.

I will admit, though, that moving back to Nebraska has done me some good. During the 9 years I spent living in New York, I developed quite a road rage problem. It’s not that the drivers in New York are bad (that title belongs to drivers in New Jersey and Texas). In fact, it’s quite the contrary. Driver’s in New York are actually seriously amazing at navigating the maze of roads and exits and road construction and commuter vehicles, all packed in like sardines doing 70 on the parkways and racing to beat the lights and avoid pedestrian traffic in the heart of Manhattan. It’s actually a freakin’ miracle that more people aren’t killed on New York roads.

The thing about New York that brings out the road rage in even the best of us is the fact that other drivers will call you out (with deafening bravado) for every idiot thing you do in traffic. Forget to signal a lane change? The guy behind you will lay on his horn for the next two exits. Accidentally cut in front of someone because they were lost in your blind spot? You can bet that guy will tailgate you for the next mile or two, gesticulating wildly and pointing out what an asshole you are to all the drivers around you. And should you get distracted and not notice that the light has turned green, you have about .03 seconds before 5 out of 7 cars behind you treat you to an impromptu symphony of blaring car horns.

In New York, the rage comes, not from the fact that there are an overabundance of bad drivers on the road, but from the fact that you are suddenly made aware of what a shitty and oblivious driver you are.

It’s never fun to realize that you’re the problem, and so the embarrassment turns to rage. And while my time in New York ultimately made me a better, and more conscientious driver, it also turned me into one of the loud, horn-abusing drivers for a brief period in my life.

You live, you learn, right?

This morning, we awoke and discovered Cosette taking a few driving lessons of her own, with Woody manning the controls. Cadence wasn’t impressed. She complained about the fact that the batteries in her My Little Pony car were now dead, and that Cosette was too big for the pony car. If that’s not a little of that New York attitude coming out in my child, I don’t know what is.

You better shape up, Cosette.

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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.

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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.

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