Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Elf on the Shelf

On my way into work this morning I drove along, hitting my face, scanning the radio, driving with the window open so I could stay awake. Emma has been getting me up twice a night and it is just exhausting. As I was nearly pulling into work I received a phone call.

It was Sophia. When she wants to talk to me in the morning it's one of two things- She doesn't want to go to school and is raising hell for Papa or she misses me and just wants to talk. She melted my heart this morning!

As we are now in the Christmas and Advent season our Elf on the Shelf, Hat, has made himself known in the house. Sophia was so excited and surprised to see him sitting on the video shelf Sunday evening as we returned home from Thanksgiving vacation. "Mama! Look!"

After discovering an awesome Flickr feed on Pinterest I realized we needed to up our Elf placement this year. 

This morning she called to tell me that Elf was in the kleenex. I questioned this as it sounded a bit odd but she assured me he was there. I asked what he was doing in there. Did he have a cold and need to blow his nose? "No, he's just hanging out." She was excited and amazed that he was there.

We chatted a bit more about breakfast and her day ahead. She is just so cute. Loves talking to me on the phone. And the call woke me up and melted my heart.

It's these random and little things that will begin to wane each year the girls grow older. I think I need to record these moments more often so I can remember the warmth they left inside me when they happen.

I wonder where Elf will be tomorrow?

Sunday, November 20, 2011


I can remember babysitting some kids or being in the grocery store and seeing the same thing-toddlers dressed as their alter ego-a fairy or batman-well after Halloween had past. Donning their spiderman costume or princess dress everyday, all day, all the time. It would be March and here comes Batman decked out head to toe. I'm sure some parents fought this with their unwilling toddler. Begging him to put on regular play clothes but then just giving in day after day after day. What's the harm anyway? At least they are dressed and happy.

Sophia is a bit like this right now. She has been refusing to sleep in her bed. She has a sleeping bag that has made appearances for nap-time and vacation and movie nights. Sometimes she sleeps in the sleeping bag in the bed but as of late she just wants to sleep on the floor.

At first we argued with her that she needs to sleep in her bed (for a good night of sleep), that we paid good money for her beautiful bed, that she can't sleep on the floor because we said so. Being the one who usually gives in I tried to hold the line and not overstep Phillip's previously argued arguments but then I thought, who cares?!? as long as she sleeps, in her room.

So for about a week now we have tucked her in on the floor. I can't figure out if her bed is getting to small-the next enlargement is out to a full size bed and we just don't have the room since the girls share a room. Or if there is an aversion to the barnyard sheets currently on the mattress, or if it's just a toddler quirk and she wants to sleep on the floor!

I'm sure in the coming weeks of holiday travel all fascination with the sleeping bag will wane and she will be trying to kick me out of my bed and want to sleep there instead.

Saturday, November 05, 2011


As I play the mental slideshow of Halloween's past in my mind I see glimpses of my Mom sewing, scavenging items from her jewelry drawer, putting her rouge to my cheeks and then cold cream to my face to wash it off. There are pillowcases of candy, sorting and swapping on the living room floor, and gracious sharing (because, ew, I'm not going to eat that) that weird black and orange candy, the Baby Ruth and Almond Joy with my parents.

Costumes that appear in my mind are clowns, gypsies, a Rubiks Cube, my sisters and I as Marcia, Jan, and Cindy, a bag of jelly beans, Snow White. All fabricated, none bought new. The costumes were hand sewn from patterns by my Mom, put together out of things around the house, or gathered from Goodwill.

So now that Sophie is really old enough to understand the fun of costume and trick or treat it is my turn to create. I don't think I'm nearly as handy on the sewing machine as my mom but I can put thread to fabric and hold it together even if it is not pretty.

Sophie mentioned at some point late this summer she wanted to be an octopus. After a little thought I figured out how we could create this sea monster in a fun, not scary, whimsical way. I sewed ladies knee high tights to a pair of back leggings, added a black long sleeve shirt, a winter hat with felt eyes hot glued on! Viola! An octopus.

Going with the ocean theme I decided Emma would be a mermaid. Her costume was a bit more labor intensive and required some planning and sewing. Phillip, the son of an engineer, was able to help me figure out how to make a pattern for the tail, piece all the fabric together so the right sides were on the outside, and sew it together. Felt seashells hot glued to a white onesie and a blonde wig to complete the ensemble and we were done! (Okay, so all actually took a lot longer than this but you get my point-not a lot of pieces, not complex sewing techniques.)

The pattern for Emma's tail

Our first trick or treat event was at Wegman's Grocery store the Friday before Halloween. Phillip was out of town so I took the kids to the store solo for this event. It was awesome! Sophia, I think for the first time in her life, was genuinely excited about something. She squealed in delight from her car seat, overflowing with tentacles, 'I'm so EXCITED!" The event was safe, warm, well-lit, and just fun to see the other kids going about from the deli to the bakery to the florist trick or treating. Shoppers with and without kids enjoyed seeing all the wee ones in costume.
On the way to Wegmans!

By the end of the night I nearly had to shield my eyes-I was nearly famous. "Wow, did you make that?" "Oh my gosh honey, look how cute that girl is." "That is the neatest costume I've ever seen!" "You really made that by hand?" You would have thought I had hand sewn an evening gown.

I thought all moms made their kids Halloween costumes. But boy was I wrong. Adults, moms, clerks, people without kids couldn't stop looking at Sophia's costume! It did feel awesome but was  a little embarrassing towards the end of the night with so much attention. It was just fun for me to do. And inexpensive. And creative. And Sophia LOVES it. She loves the costume, loves wearing it, loves twirling her tentacles.

Sophie the Octopus and Emma the Mermaid
Emma's costume was awesome too but more enjoyed through photographs since I didn't make a way for her to wear her tail in her bucket and be strapped in at the same time.

I can't wait for next year!