Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Elf Magic

Last year, I started hearing about The Elf on a Shelf.  I wasn't really sure what it was all about.  So this year, I was talking to some of Mark's cousins on Thanksgiving, and they all had their very own Elves.  I just wasn't sure if Annabelle would get into it though.  I was going to just let it go until Mark went out on Black Friday and bought it.

It's pretty much the best thing ever. 

Annabelle talks to Elf on the Shelf (that is his name, nothing fun or cute) every day.  She tells him how she's been a good girl, what she wants from Santa.  She runs to check on him multiple times a day, just to make sure he hasn't moved.  Mark's parents stopped over and when Grandpa almost touched Elf on the Shelf, she freaked out!  She is very serious about keeping the magic fully intact.

Whenever she's misbehaving or not doing what she was told, I just mention the Elf.  Instant behavior modification!  She asked if he can see her at school, yes.  How about on the bus, yes.  If she cries does that mean she goes on the naughty list, no.  Does he see her naked bum, no he closes his eyes when she's nude.  The questions that my girl can think up!

She does seem slightly afraid of him though.  She was worried he would be in her room making scary shadows.  She wondered how he got in and out of our house.  I told her he shrinks with magic and goes through our key holes.  I never thought to tell her that he uses the chimney like Santa which would have been an easier idea, I think.  She wanted to know why he wears the same clothes everyday, because it's gross to be dirty.  I told her elves can only wear one kind of outfit and that Elf on the Shelf has multiple ones to change every night back at the North Pole. 

video

 
Christmas this year, is going to be so much fun!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Snow

It is November 29, and we here in Buffalo have not had any snow yet.  There has been some down in the southtowns, but only an inch or two and it melts away.  According to the news yesterday, we are 8 inches below normal for snowfall this season so far.  It's all good to me.  Well that is until we have a storm.

So yesterday we're in the car, heading over to Lowe's and Annabelle's asking where the snow is.  She is so beyond excited about Christmas this year.  It's all she can talk about.  And if there's no snow, then there can't be Christmas, right?  So we asked where she thought the snow was and this was her answer.

The clouds are holding onto the snow until Christmas.  Then it will be a extra special for us. 

I love this answer. :)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thankful

With Thanksgiving upon us once again, I realize how much I have to be thankful for.  There are many days where I can't see the good, when my blinders are on, and the blackness looms large.  But I also have days when everything seems so sunshine-y bright that I need sunglasses.  I work hard to have more good days than bad.

I have so much to be thankful for that I thought I would just list them all.
  1. My husband.  He loves me unconditionally.  He is my very best friend and even on the days when he drives me absolutely insane, I still love him like crazy.
  2. Annabelle.  She is my heart, beating outside of my body.  I love her with a love that is so fierce that it hurts sometimes.  I had always known that I wanted to be a mom but never knew it would be like this.  It is the hardest but most rewarding job I will ever have.  I wouldn't trade it for the world.
  3. Being a stay-at-home mom.  I have friends who think that term is a four letter word.  They act all insulted when people call them that.  I, on the other hand, see how lucky I am to be one.  I am proud to be able to stay home and care for my family.  Are there days when it is hard?  Heck yeah!  But I am so thankful that Mark works hard at his job so that I can be the person who takes care of everything else.
  4. My family.  My parents are two of the most loving and wonderful people out there.  On the outside, I don't think anyone can see it, but I know that they raised both me and my sister with all the love, patience, and grace that they could muster.  They will always be there to catch me if I stumble and without complaint.  They are both so enamored with Annabelle.  They are super grandparents.
  5. My in-laws.  They raised a sweet, generous, strong man who became my husband.  I could thank them every day for teaching Mark how to be a good man because not every parent out there does that.  I know without a doubt that they love and care for me, Mark and obviously Annabelle. 
  6. My home.  When we bought our home almost nine years ago, we spent more than many of our friends did on their first homes.  We wanted our forever house, not a starter one.  It's not huge or super updated with the best things but it's all ours.  I will never regret our decision to buy our home, here in this neighborhood, with this school system.  There are many houses much bigger than our 1700 square feet but I don't need one that's bigger.  Ours fits us just right.
  7. My friends.  I hear from people all the time how lucky I am to have such a strong group of women to call my friends.  We are all different but when we are together we are something special.
  8. All the little things.  Big fluffy Christmas snow, singing loudly to songs on the radio, reading great books by great authors, doing crafts with Annabelle, FB to keep me connected to people far and wide, blogging for letting me get myself out of my own head most days, comfy fleece pants and hot chocolate when I'm chilly.  The list could go on and on.
I hope that you all have a few moments on Thanksgiving to remember all the good and wonderful pieces of your lives.  And a nice full tummy after your dinner. :)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Don't Be A Scrooge!

courtesy of:
We have two radio stations that play non-stop, 24 hours a day Christmas music every year here in Buffalo.  They usually start the week of Thanksgiving and it runs until Christmas day.  Except this year, they started playing music last week Tuesday, almost two weeks earlier than the norm.

You would think that they were clubbing baby seals on air the way people are reacting!  All over FB and on talk radio and on the news, in the stores and while I'm out with friends and everywhere, people are complaining.  But complaining seems like to mild of a word to me, they are just being nasty and rude about it. 

Now I can perfectly understand feeling like stores and retailers are out there, shoving Christmas down your throats.  They want to make money. Christmas isn't supposed to be about the money and the presents and all that jazz, but for many people, it is.  If Target can get you to think about buying a fake Christmas tree and ornamaents in October instead of waiting until December, why wouldn't they?  Obviuosly, there are people, out there buying them, or they wouldn't waste their time.

But... I love Christmas.  I love how it makes me feel.  I smile more.  I sing out loud to the carols playing at the stores.  I love buying gifts for my family and friends, knowing that I will be bringing a smile to their faces.  All of the chaos and craziness that I associate with Christmas is worth it for the way it makes me feel.  Happy. 

So could we all just take a chill pill right now?  Don't whine about the stuff that annoys you.  Please, please, please remember the good stuff.  Otherwise, you look like a Scrooge and nobody wants that.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Yum!

This is what I'll be having for lunch today because it's supposed to snow.  Technically, I won't see any of the snow because it will be in the southtowns but it's still cold!  Homemade chicken noodle soup and grilled cheese on freshly baked bread.  As Mr. Food would say, "Ooooh, it's so good!" 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Crafting Away

Annabelle has had (and will be having) waaay too many days off this month.  She has fours day or less of school every week this month.  Thanksgiving week will be the worst, with only a half day on Monday, a giant feast on Tuesday and Wednesday I'm pretty sure will be pointless.  I can remember being so excited about all the days off when I was a kid, but as a parent, I'm annoyed.  What am I supposed to do with her on all these days off?  She wants play dates but the PTA hasn't felt the need to send out the school directory yet so I have no phone numbers.  So instead we craft.  It gives us a few hours of fun without all the same old stuff to do.

First we laid out all the pieces.  And yes, we are still in our pajamas even though it's the afternoon.  Don't judge.

And made four super cute owls.

On to the next one.

Mr. Turkey
We made a few others as well.  Once they were made, I got about an hour of piece and quiet to watch Grey's while she played with her new little owl family.  I think I need to go buy more crafts!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

So Clean

I'm starting to get my house in order for Christmas.  This week my plan is to do some crazy deep cleaning so that I can get the decorations out and up the day after Thanksgiving.  Yesterday I scoured the kitchen, top to bottom.  I mean I even Pledged the cabinets.  Once I did that, the floors were Slippery with a capital S.  Luckily, my Shark steam mop fixed that problem.

I LOVE my Shark.  It's so easy to just plug it in, clean the floors and in 15 minutes I have shining, sparkly clean floors.  It has only one drawback.  The smell.  There isn't one.  When I was growing up, and obviously before the purchasing of the all mighty steam mop, when the floors were cleaned there was a scent.  Pine Sol or lemon or whatever I was feeling that day.  And it smelled CLEAN to me. 

Maybe I need to come up with a way to add a scent to the Shark's water without leaving a residue or gunking up the machinery inside.  Hmmm... maybe I should start some research.  Or have Mark do the research for me because, you know  I don't like doing it:)

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Great Big Pile

We've had some really beautiful weather here in Buffalo the past two weeks.  Temperatures in the 60's, even hitting the 70's once.  This is usually pretty unheard of in November.  All I can say it Thank Goodness because it makes raking those leaves so much more enjoyable when you don't have to do it while wearing winter gloves. 

This year Annabelle did a great job helping out.  Actually raking instead of just waiting for me to finish so that she can destroy my pile almost immediately.  Once she got into the pile though, all those big leaves were crushed down into tiny little pieces.  There were bits of leaves inside her clothes, in her hair, in her shoes.  But she had a blast and then had more fun afterwards in the bathtub with lots of bubbles.

So strong!

Running and running through the leaves.

Getting into the pile.

Where's Annabelle?

This is when the real mess started.

Leaves in her hair.
I love seeing her so excited to do something so simple.  It reminds me of when spending the whole day outside, playing in the leaves, was the most fun.  I hope that she doesn't grow up too quickly on me.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

I Need an Intervention

I have noticed a pile up around the house lately.  Groups of two or three on the end tables, in my purse(s), on the night stand.  Mark has been saying for years that I'm addicted.  That I need to talk to someone about it.  I just can't stop the need to accumulate.  The more I have the better I feel. 

Do you want to know what it is?

Lip balm, chapstick... I need it on my lips at. all. times.  Seriously, I even put it on before bed.  I reapply if I have to get up in the middle of the night.  If I don't my lips will crack right open!  This is just the stash that I found downstairs.  I didn't pull out all the tubes in the bedroom and linen closet and bathroom drawers or my purses.  There has to be at least three or four partially used ones in every purse I have ever owned. 

Mark says I need to find help.  That it's all in my head.  That my lips look fine, not chapped at all. 
 Do you think I have a problem?

Monday, November 7, 2011

A Halloween Party

For the past 7 years, my friends Scott and Joleene have had an adult only Halloween party.  It is always the first Saturday after Halloween.  They always go crazy with the decorating and we all dress up and have a great time.  Every year, they say it will be that last one.  It's a lot of work and I know they spend quite a bit of money, so I would never pressure them to keep doing it if their heart wasn't in it anymore.  So I thought I would show I few pictures of me and my friends having a fun, adult night out:)

I was a sexy spartan.

Mark as the Fruit of the Loom grapes.

Scott was the Mask.  Isn't it awesome?

Pacman was hungry.  Needed a grape-y snack.

Steph and Keith were Flo from Progressive and Humpty.

Joleene was Edwinia Scissorhands and my cousin Amy was Jem!

Billy and Krissy  were Barney and the girl from How I Met Your Mother.  I don't watch the show so I didn't know who they were.

Steph and I sang some karaoke.  Bel Biv Davoe's Poison which was harder than we thought it would be.

Black Swan and my weirdo husband.

Eating pudding shots.  On the end is my cousin'd husband, Mike.  He was Bob Ross.

Rick as Teen Wolf.  He did this costume 6 or 7 years ago but it is still so good!


The next day Annabelle couldn't wait to try on Daddy's grape costume.  She looks so cute.  I think that we will be having another grape costume to make next year:)
As you can see, we like to get creative with our costumes.  It's so much fun to see what everyone will be wearing.  It's always a surprise beacsue most people keep it a big secret until the unveiling.  I 'll be sad if there is no party next year.  Hopefully we'll still have a reason to dress up and be silly next year.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Vulnerability

On this past Friday, I got a strange package in the mail.  Five pairs of blue suede shoes, men's sizes 10-13.  I did not order these shoes.  I was beyond confused.  After some time on the phone with Macy's, where I received the order form, I found out that my credit card information was stolen.  I guess we were lucky that the person using my credit information forgot to have his big, ugly shoes shipped to his own home.  We were able to get things set into motion only days after my card was used.  Mark was on the phone right away, getting all the info that he could.

We found that $900 was spent on shoes at Macy's, $700 was spent at Bed, Bath & Beyond, an on-line profile was paid for on true.com and two orders of Chinese food were ordered in Philly.  We know their e-mail address and the general area they live in, Philly/New Jersey.

Mark had to tell people at work to be on the look out for him, just in case they got any of his info.  National security here people, lol!  He's so low level that they wouldn't be seeing much but hey, you never know.  We put all kinds of fraud alert protection on our cards, information, etc.  We checked all of our credit reports, got new credit cards and have been manic about searching through all of our records just trying to figure out how this happened.  I don't think we will ever know.

Except now, I have this awful feeling like my privacy has been invaded.  I've always been the girl that doesn't think that it will happen to me.  My wallet won't be stolen while on vacation, the accident won't happen, the lightening won't strike.  Will I be more cautious?  I know I am right now.  I paid cash for my gas yesterday instead of using my credit card like I usually do.  Though I did use my card at Target and Wegmans.  The gas station seems more seedy to me.

I hope this isn't going to be a long battle.  My mom's credit was stolen and it took her a few years to get things squared away, but they had opened other cards in her name which did a number on her credit score.  That hasn't happened to us.  It's just so frustrating to me that people think that its' OK to take from others.  It makes me kinda sad.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

This Is Halloween!




Our Halloween was pretty uneventful.  Annabelle was so excited to start and then decided she was finished after a half an hour.  That's OK with me.  Less candy in the house means less temptation for me:)