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Elf on the Shelf? Hell to the No.

Okay, guys. I’m going to go ahead and preface by saying I’m no Scrooge and I am not bashing any of you parents who have gone the Elf on the Shelf route.  I think the actual little Elf, itself, is precious and I understand that the idea behind it is less so teaching kids proper behavior and more so good, festive fun.  This post is mostly targeted at myself and my inability to properly “mom”.  With that said…

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Mother of three boys and ruler of utter chaos, here.  I know most of you have 2+ children, are rulers of your own chaotic kingdoms, and are still able to fulfill your Elf Shelf duties.  I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t envious of those time-management skills.  And while I love my boys and the insanity they bring (that’s a lie.  I am not a fan of the madness), I am the queen of absentmindedness.  Case in point:

I struggle to remember what needs to be put on my grocery list.  If I remember what needs to be written down, I forget to remember to put it in my purse.  And if I remember to put it in my bag, the list will, inevitably, somehow get left behind in my car.  And if, IF, that list actually makes it’s way into the grocery store, a breeze will steal it away in a last-ditch effort to give my attempt at organization the ultimate middle finger.

I left my phone at home Friday.  Actually, I thought I’d left it on the roof of my car and lost it to the great outdoors.  However, my husband was kind enough to send me a picture of it via messenger of it sitting on the bathtub.  Because that’s CLEARLY where it belongs.  (FACE. PALM.)  Once I finally retrieved it, I realized I’d forgotten my wallet at the office.  With my debit card, checkbook, and license in it.  And also, my Burt’s Bees which, obviously, is infinitely more important than say, MY LICENSE.

I forgot to take my keys out of the front door last night after I’d unlocked it to get my heathens inside.  After a frantic thirty minutes of searching for the “lost” keys the next morning, I found them on my way out said front door to search my vehicle.  Y’all.  I can’t make this crap up.

So do you guys really think I need to attempt to remember to move an elf every damned day of my life?  No?  I didn’t think so.

seriously?!  this would be part of their christmas gifts.  have y’all priced foil lately?!

Listen, I’m from a generation where we didn’t need a rogue North Pole spy to remind us to behave — especially during the holidays.  We fully relied on, and were totally okay with, being told once that Santa, an old man who knew our every flippin’ move, could see us 24/7.  We didn’t need to see that Christmas-y creepiness to believe it — our parents took full advantage of our fear and innocence stupidity.  Nothing was ever moved, there were no elaborate schemes, and mom didn’t have to bold-faced lie to us with an outrageous story-line about why an Elf had or hadn’t been moved because THERE WAS NO FREAKING ELF NARC.

As a product of the eighties, I distinctly remember belting Alvin & the Chipmunk’s version of, “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” on my Fisher-Price cassette player every day of my existence when I was a kid.  Yes, even then I was that obnoxious person who played Christmas songs on loop all year ’round.  There was no doubt in my mind that I risked “losing it all” if I didn’t get my act together.  My parents didn’t have to waste precious hours of sleep and ungodly amounts of aluminum foil to keep us in check.  The simple white-lie of Santa’s existence was enough to go on.

And I get it.  These days, kids literally (think they) need elaborate plots and twists and turns.  Most of these kids have everything on demand — and I’m not even talking about the bratty ones.  No, today is very much an on-demand kind of life.  So maybe the purest form of Christmas magic is simply fading into the background.  I remember the excitement of driving around neighborhoods just to look at lights and decorations.  These days?  That simple kind of happiness just doesn’t exist.  I can’t even say that my kids are ovely-excited at the prospect of light searching.  Sure, they love the festive twinkling of lights that only come once a year.  But does it thrill them?  Not the way it did when we were kids.  Now, if there aren’t a couple of inflated Nutcrackers in addition to the lights, it’s just… “meh”.

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I guess I’m just too old-fashioned, and too absent-minded, to fully appreciate the newness that is Elf on the Shelf.  Or, perhaps, I’m just stuck on the simpler magic.  The things that left me breathless.  The things that, growing up, I couldn’t wait to share with my own little ones.

I suppose, though, that traditions are fine but are sometimes meant to be broken or bent.  Not only that, traditions are best when they’re made or reinvented with the ones you love.  Rest assured, there is no hate for the Elf and his (or her) antics, and if y’all could package up some extra energy and Ginko Biloba and send it my way, that’d be swell.  😉

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What the Fork

Lately, we have been experiencing a shortage of silverware — forks, in particular.  We’ve an abundance of butter knives and spoons, but the forks?  Pftttt.  They have gone amiss.  As I’m sure I’ve mentioned in the past, there is no chore I hate more than standing at a sink washing dishes.  So naturally, I decided to get to the bottom of the matter recently when I washed the same four utensils three times over the course of the day.  My Nancy Drew sleuthing brought me to this conclusion: my kids, upon scraping their plates, are also discarding our flipping forks.  Why?  Because they’re imps and they hate me.

Okay, so that’s a little dramatic.  Really, it’s because they’re children and they are not paying attention.  Nevertheless, we’re down to four pieces of this particular kind of utensil and I can’t deal.

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“Geez, just go buy some more forks, Sarah”, you might be thinking.  Ah, but it isn’t that simple.  You see, we’re a bunch of weirdos, and weirdos have to use specific eating apparatuses.  These things can be neither too thin nor too bulky, too plain nor too ornate.  They cannot be easily bent (read: husbands) nor can they be too hard too manipulate (read: kiddos).  The silverware set that I purchased a few years back was PERFECT.  The weight wasn’t off (tell me that’s not important — I dare you) and the handles were the perfect thickness.  Bonus: it was bought at Target for $19.99.  In short: this set was EVERYTHING.  And guess what?  They’ve discontinued that line.  Because why the hell not.

I’m the kind of person who has eleventy-hundred movies and/or series on her Netflix cue but only watches the same five or six that never let her down.  So, of course, I’m going to keep nose-diving into my first world problems and get all stupid over forks.  Obviously, I will eventually have to purchase another set.  And if Target would get it together and re-instate this particular set, then I’d be ready and raring to go.  But nooo.

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Don’t worry, y’all — I’m not nearly as on myself as I sound; most of the above has been said in jest.  But honestly, while most decor and utensil options come to me pretty naturally, this whole fork/spoon/knife thing has me frustrated.  I’ve looked at several options and I cannot find any that aren’t either A) over-the-top expensive or, B) something everyone will like.  My husband isn’t a particularly big guy, but he has big hands and doesn’t like to use small utensils.  My kids I’m not so worried about as I’ve recently bought them some colored, plastic tableware that I won’t flip my lid over when and if they’re accidentally thrown out.  I, myself, don’t care so much about the size as I do the thickness; I don’t like using anything bulky.  So here’s my question, dear readers: what brands are you using and what are the pros/cons of your favorite utensils?  I know I’m not the only one here who agonizes over tableware, so dish (pun absolutely intended).

I suppose I should be relieved that they aren’t throwing away entire dishes, although a few weeks ago a very bleary-eyed Connor nearly chucked his bowl that he’d been eating oatmeal out of.  He realized his error before I even got the chance to say anything, however, and begrudgingly grabbed it out of the trashcan.  “Ugh, mom”, he said.  “Why’d you let me do that?!”, he asked.

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“Because why the hell not”, I mentally argued.  “Why the hell not?!”

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Sentimentallity

I am a pretty sentimental person.  I love birthdays and celebrating people on those days.  I love finding “that perfect” gift for someone at Christmastime to the point that it’s stressful — but I love it.  Bottomline, if there is any amount of sentiment in it, I’m there.

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On the flipside of that, I, personally, am not super materialistic.  I like pretty things and I could window shop all day long, but things don’t make me happy.  People and memories are infinitely more important to me than anything money could buy.

However, I do love sentimental items that have been passed down generationally.  There is something so special about looking at an old piece of furniture or a trinket that belonged to a loved one who has since passed.

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While I was pregnant, I frantically looked everywhere for a suitable dresser for Mason’s room.  I didn’t want to spend a fortune on cheaply made furniture, but I didn’t really have the time to refurb anything in rough shape, either.  My dad stepped in and offered to refurbish my great-grandmother’s old dresser and I accepted.  It meant so much to me that he would offer to do that (not that it’s out of character — he has made things for all of us since forever) and I loved the idea of having a family piece in our home.

He recently finished and I absolutely love it.  I love the dresser itself, but even more so I love the time that he took to make sure it was perfect.  I love that he wanted to hand down something that meant so much to him from a person who he grew up admiring.

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Mason’s nursery is full of special items that my dad either built, refurbished, or touched up.  Those heirlooms are why I love that room in particular so much.  It’s more than just material objects; it’s the love that came out from them.  I hope one day I will be able to pass on those items to my boys.  I hope that they will appreciate the thought and meaning of those pieces and that they will cherish them as much as I do.

Is there anything that has been passed on to you that you love?  What’s the story?  I’d love to hear about your treasures!