Elf on the Shelf Goes on Vacation

I’m aware that everyone in the world has an Elf on the Shelf. I’m also aware that I was supposed to start it almost 2 weeks ago. However, I’m somewhat adverse to popular trends, and I’m also kinda lazy. I’ve seen so many pictures posted online of all the clever things parents are doing with their elves. They are having snowball fights, building lego castles and writing messages out of cheerios. I wonder if I’ll ever be able to keep up. But I’ve gone and done it. Now I must be creative and WOW my children every morning when they wake up. Good thing I only have 10 nights to worry about. Lazy mom rule #1: Start shit late. Less work and the kids are none the wiser.

So, maybe you’re wondering why? Why did she buy an elf if she doesn’t really want to participate? My reasons for buying our own evil little elf are pretty simple. I’m feeling guilty that we aren’t feeling the Christmas spirit this year. We’ve kinda skipped Christmas and all the jazz that comes with it because of our upcoming escape vacation. So, since I’ve been so entertained by reading about the fun and misery of being an “elf mom”, I’ve decided that now is a good time to introduce one to our family. 

Natalie’s first reaction was to laugh at the sight of the elf and say, “That’s not real.” Jack is another story. His mind is abuzz with all things Elf. Since our first introduction was brief (I had about 5 minutes to explain what the package was before rushing off to piano lessons), Jack spent the first few hours asking his dad all about it. His father had no idea about this thing, so he had no answers to help Jack out. Jack became frantic. “He can’t go upstairs can he? He stays in that box right?” I think he’s somewhat petrified of this elf. I will admit, if my mom brought home a box with a magical elf spy in it, I’d be scared too. He does have a creepy Chucky doll-esq look to him. Jack seemed to warm up to the idea of the elf once I had the chance to read him the story and explain that he is a good and happy elf, who won’t bludgeon him to death in his sleep. When the story was over and we were discussing why he’s going to be staying with us in Florida, Jack got really upset. He was really nervous about having this elf around and I think I know why. When I said that he watches everything you do, and reports back to Santa, Jack lost his mind. His first reaction: “No one likes a tattletale!” True story, Jack. BUT that’s how it’s going to work, so you and your friends better be good or the elf rats you out, and you get ZIP for Christmas. When our discussion was over, Jack asked me to put him back in the box. He isn’t ready to deal with that elf yet, and I don’t blame him. So, I’ll pack him in my suitcase and bust him out on Saturday night to keep the unruly kids in line while on vacation. Here’s hoping!

 

This is for Jack. Don’t be afraid my son, he’s really a nice elf… as long as you’re a good boy.

Image

 

Other ideas for our elf:

Image

I mentioned taking a picture of the elf on Jack while he was sleeping. His father abruptly said “NO!!” I guess that IS a little too mean, even for me.

Image

This one is a favourite of mine. I’m rude and crude, so it’s right up my alley. 

 

Let the games begin!!

Wine, Stamps & Personality Traits

What does a book of stamps in your purse say about you? Apparently, A LOT! I learned this, among other lessons last night.

At dinner, I sat around a table with 5 very awesome women. Our conversations were varied, and filled with laughter. We discussed the usual stuff: kids, husbands, travel, sex. I asked two of the women how they became friends, and they told me through a mom group at the mall. I was intrigued. I have had babies, and I know all about mom groups and those women who push strollers through the mall and then drop and do 50 sit-ups. I have been invited to take part in these events. I’ll admit that I always laughed and thought there was no way in hell I’d ever walk laps of the mall and then bust out some crunches and squats in public. I laughed at these two women. Maybe it makes me a mean person, but it IS kind of a funny story. Their friendship stemmed from a mom group, the one place I’d never ever go to make friends. Although, maybe I should have, because these women are a riot! I have to say, I had a really crappy first impression of mom groups. When I had my first baby, breastfeeding didn’t really work out for me, and I was made to feel like shit about it. Everyone from one of my midwives, to random strangers at the ONE mom group I attended, made me feel bad about my decision to bottle feed. As a result, I never wanted to leave the house because I had a fear that people would stone me to death if they ever caught a glimpse of a bottle in my diaper bag. I’m over that now. I think breastfeeding is amazing. I would have loved to have been able to do it, but it never happened for me (and I DID see a lactation consultant). Regardless, I’d love to have the chance to go back in time so I could tell those judgemental women to suck a tit.

But I digress. I don’t know how that specific conversation led to the next, but we started talking about personality traits. One of the ladies mentioned something about carrying a book of stamps in your purse, and what that says about you. Now, I’m a loudmouth. I do not tend to think before I say anything, and after 2 glasses of wine, my ability to keep my mouth shut has completely gone out the window. My reaction: “Are you fucking kidding me? Carrying around a book of stamps says something about you? Like what? You are CRAZY?” Well, aren’t I a fool. There I sat, while 3 of the 6 of us pulled stamps out of their purses! I was dying laughing. Seriously? I don’t even have a purse with me, let alone a book of stamps! It would never enter my head that I should be prepared to mail something at any given moment. I was told that these stamps say important things about us, and that it was on Dr. Phil, and that I needed to Google it. Ok, I will look into that. But now I’m really interested in this personality traits business and what our stuff says about us. If stamp carrying makes you a conscientious person, what does it say that I don’t even have a damn purse? I’m worried.  Now it’s time to go through purses and compare contents. What other administrative tasks are these women prepared for? It seemed these women had everything. At one point I was waiting for a potted plant to be pulled from a handbag, Mary Poppins style. One woman busted out a Tide-To-Go pen in case she needed to do some laundry treatments on the fly. I know this is typical mom stuff. They all have purses filled with things that they might need to clean or entertain their kids with. I used to be like that too, but I guess I got lazy. Now I just rely on the other women (like the ones I was with last night) to cover me.

This is the purse I’m interested in purchasing. When we’re out with our kids, I appreciate their kid-friendly supplies, and I know they’ll thank me when I pour them a sippy cup of wine, (because naturally they’ll have an extra in their purse) while I drink from the spout.

Image

All jokes aside, I am kind of in awe of these women. They plan out every detail of what they are doing, and when and how. They have their shit together. We got on to discussing how I’m taking the kids to Disney in a week. They were horrified that I hadn’t planned it all out, down to what we’ll be wearing. But honestly, having kids has taught me that when you plan something, someone will get sick, or hurt, and then all those plans go to shit anyway. After spending a lot of time being a totally anal nightmare, I’ve kinda switched teams. When it comes to planning, I hate doing it now. I avoid it. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s a phase, like teen rebellion.

So here I am… After a night of laughing, I’m sitting here doing a personality test I found on Dr. Phil’s website. The Big Five Test. My results are in. I rank high in openness to experiences, conscientiousness and extraversion. However, I rank low in agreeableness (ahahaha. My mom always told me I wasn’t very agreeable). The most startling for me though, is that my neuroticism score is double that of the average woman (or man for that matter). As I’m reading the list of traits and signifiers of a highly neurotic person, I am nodding, check, check, check… YUP.. I’m completely and utterly neurotic!

Take the test here and let me know how neurotic (or not) you are. I also want to know, do you have stamps in your purse/wallet? 

 

 

Oh the Memories…

A few days ago my aunt asked me to dig up some pictures of Mille & Jack as newborns. As I have never actually printed any pictures of any of the early days with my kids, I took this as an opportunity to go through the hundreds of pictures that I have either posted on Facebook, or kept on my computer. Just as I’m taking a tear-filled trip down memory lane, a lovely friend of mine posted a picture of me and a friend at a Blessing Way that was held for me during the end of my pregnancy with Natalie. I love this picture (not so much) because it reminds me of my “sasquatch days,” when I was ginormous and constantly red-faced and sweating. It was my first pregnancy, and I had a blast eating everything, lazing around and basically treating life like a vacation. I think that’s important for the first time. You really need that rest, because when you have 1 and then 2 and then 3 babies, you will NEVER rest again.

So, here I am, looking at a zillion pictures of my babies. I’m all nostalgic and thinking about how awesome it was to have a new baby at home. So cute, so cuddly. I need one. I’m going to tell DH that we’re having another baby STAT! Just before things start to get out of hand, I pulled myself off the ledge. I started going through my Facebook statuses. This is what I found:

Facebook Status from Feb. 7, 2010 – 3 days before Jack is born: “Kathryn Baldwin will remember what she feels like right now just in case she ever feels the need to do this again.”

Apparently I didn’t learn my lesson because 2 years later I had this to say:

Feb. 24, 2012 – 3 days post birth of baby #3: “Looking and feeling like a worn out bowling alley whore. Long live dictator Millie!”

Feb. 27, 2012 – 6 days after having Amelia:  “1st attempt at getting 3 kids out the door by 9 a.m. Better start this mission early!”

When I read these things I have to wonder… Am I willing to go back to that? I now sleep through the night, pee alone (sometimes) and have the beginnings of a social life again (not really, but at least I don’t sit in a rocking chair all day). 

Some people HATE Facebook, but not me. I LOVE it. If it weren’t for Facebook I might have forgotten how horrific life with a newborn can be. The pictures are sweet, and I could look at them forever. They are smiley and convincing. But my Facebook statuses? They never lie!

Pictures like these…

Natalie, our #1 girl. So sweet, and fuzzy.

Image

Jack at 1 day old. He was so sweet (and still is).

Image 

Amelia’s birth. Totally caught off guard, 2 weeks early. My second home birth. It was amazing, and easily one of the best nights of my life. She was and will always be my baby.

Image

 

But then I look at pictures like this…

Image

 

And I remember how much fun it is to NOT have a baby! 

Cheers!!

 

 

So, since there was no post about my adventures in singing and not screaming my head off, you can safely assume that I bailed on that idea after the first hour (not even). Today was another day of one fight after another between the kids. All day long, screaming and crying. Now Natalie and Jack are in their separate corners. Jack is crying because Natalie called him penis hands (creative and kinda true), and Natalie is expressing her anger through art. 

This is what happens when Jack pisses Natalie off. 

Image

 

Where’s Jack? Oh right, that toot, poop, penis hands brother of hers is no longer in the family picture. 

Gossip Mags & Small Town Rumours

I was standing in the grocery check-out line, surrounded by the usual, gum, chocolate bars, and gossip magazines.  I haven’t purchased a gossip rag in many years. In fact, I rarely ever have. I’ve never been one to care about celebrities in general, but occasionally, reading about their lives has entertained me. This week’s smut was particularly relevant to me at the moment for more than one reason. The title read “Best & Worst Moms!” This got my attention. I’m a mom and a person who has known the wrath of the rumour-mill.  Seeing celebrity pictures with a rating score beside them, really irritated me. I couldn’t particularly name the reasons at the time (I was frazzled by kids circling my legs in anticipation to get out of the store), but I knew I had an issue with this magazine. I bought it (against my better judgement), with my groceries and put it on my list of things to read and think about in the upcoming days.

The reasons for disliking this magazine are very evident. 1. Who the hell has the right to grade someone on their mom skills? Really? You have no idea what lives these women and children are actually living. You are journalists who are coming to conclusions about someone’s parenting skills based on gossip and pictures taken out of context by nosey paparazzi. 2. Why are we buying into this gossip? How does it serve us? Perhaps by making us feel like better parents because we tuck our kids in every night, instead of having our nanny do it? Why is this better? Who decides what makes a good parent? Are we just jealous? 3. The entire focus of 4 pages of this rag was putting moms down. Proof through pictures and rumours from people who know them, (even if they are merely on the outskirts of their lives) that they aren’t working hard enough at being a mom. They are selfish, unfit, etc. etc. It was all so biased and completely irrelevant information. The parents who earned good grades just happen to be celebrities who are in the limelight right now. People who earned poor marks were moms who have been victim to all sorts of other negative press in the last little while. It disgusted me. I was ashamed that I spent money on it. But at least it got me thinking.

I’m not a stranger to gossip. In fact, I have taken part in it for many years. It comes with the territory of living in a small town. I’ve often been the target of gossip. In my school years I had many people who for one reason or another, disliked me or felt they had something of importance to say about my life to others. In most cases I brushed it off. We were young, everything changes rapidly. Friends today, enemies tomorrow, and back again. It was part of life. As I grew older, I chose mainly “gossip free” friends. I will never be a girl in a gaggle of catty women, who laugh to your face and rip you to pieces behind your back. I learned early, and I’m thankful for that.

I often wonder what makes some people more susceptible to gossip. Is it that their lives are that much more interesting than others? Or, is it because they put their lives out there, open for discussion and interpretation? I’m guessing it is the latter. Celebrities are gossiped about because they live very open lives. They become interesting to us, because they are out there, we see them, and hear them and sometimes can’t escape their presence. They are fascinating and so we feel that we are free to interpret their situations for entertainment. When you think about our own lives, outside of hollywood films and the music industry, it’s a very similar situation. People who become victims of malicious gossip are often the ones who are open with their lives, their flaws and their successes. They become prey for the insecure, boring types who closet everything. Girls who dress a certain way are labelled sluts and whores, man-stealers, family-destroyers. Sometimes it is true, but for the most part, I’d say that isn’t the case. I’ve learned that the worst kind of person is the one who holds it all in. The ones who have learned to be two-faced and fake to mask their horrible behaviour. 

In my personal experience, rumours are in fact started by people who are scared shitless to ask the important questions, or confront issues. They come to their own conclusions about things, and instead of asking for clarification to soothe their wounded egos, they decide that it is justifiable to start rumours, spread lies, and talk shit about people they know absolutely nothing about. I know this as fact, because I’ve lived it. I’ve been called a wide range of things. A bitch, a bad mother, an alcoholic and even a patient in a mental institution. Seriously, I kid you not. The vivid stories I’ve heard about myself really astound me. It seems I’m far more interesting that I thought. I’ve had my fair share of anger and sadness over these horrible lies, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t get me anywhere. I can rage all I want, but it doesn’t change a thing. What matters are the people who stand beside me and call bullshit on behaviour like that. The people who know right and wrong and aren’t afraid to say it. These are the people we need in our lives.

I wonder how these celebrities take all of this negativity. I know I could never do it. Imagine going shopping one day to see a picture of you and your kids on a cover of a magazine with a giant “F” as your grade. I can’t even fathom the amount of anger that would bring out in me. I found it hard enough to face the person in the grocery store who asked me how I was feeling after my stint in the padded cell. Embarrassment mixed with an intense rage like I’ve never experienced before. I’m not a person who forgives or forgets easily. I try to listen to all those preachy quotes about karma and being the bigger person. One day I’ll get there. But right now, I’m a firm believer that sometimes the high road is for bitches. 

All of this gossip talk has taught me one very important thing:

Some people will always eat the shit they are served. To them I say, BON APETIT!  (I just watched Julie & Julia so I said that in my best Julia Child voice)