mixed messages

Jase and I have been struggling with the holidays for the last few years.  At a religious level, a moral “why are we lying to our kids” level, at a “I wish this was simple” level, at a “all these messages are so confusing” level.  Just struggling.  I do a dance with those emotions and the guilt that comes with tearing the concept of Santa away from them and stealing the “magic” that society says we should create for them and marvel over.  I keep thinking, there must be a better balance than what we have now, more meaning, less stuff.  But what type of magic do I want for their little lives?  The magic of knowing the gift of God’s love for them?  Or the magic of a ficticous man breaking in to our homes and using the concept to lie to our kids and trick them in to behaving for a month?  But it’s not that easy, is it?  Or maybe it is.  Mom guilt is so hard to navigate.  Yes, we are aiming for a much more simple holiday this year.  We are moving forward with the 4 gifts per person concept (want, need, wear, read).  The other day Jase asked Taryn what we should get Ty.  Her answer was “He’s grumpy all the time, let’s give him some loooooooove.”  What a great, simple, real, answer.

If you have a few minutes, this post pretty much sums up how I feel about this subject.  So much to think about, so much we could be doing better within our own family.  I don’t know the answer, I don’t know exactly what our path will be this year, next year, but we are making changes and conscious choices for our family.  Seriously, click on that link, it is worth it.

And my next thought, if we give up Santa, what about BOB!?  We’ll go down that road when we get to it I suppose.  We’ve already given up the “Bob is watching you and reporting to Santa” gig.  We’re just having our fun little elf move each day.  I’m ok with that for now.  In the meantime, you can find some highly entertaining and highly inappropriate elf on a shelf photos (and a contest) over on my friend Jill’s blog at babierabies.com.  Be warned, Bob’s buddies have been very, very bad elves.

Does anyone else feel this internal struggle this time of year?  It’s hard, because my business is so busy, it’s hard to just find the time to simplify.  But I really, really want to.

ps – I wrote this several days ago and forgot to hit publish.  Since then, we’ve decided we will have less focus on santa, we’ve removed most santa items from the house and we will transition over the next year to a santa free Christmas next year.  Teagan sat on santa’s lap at school and that’s ok.  Taryn has always hated going to the mall santa, so we will just skip it this year.  To help transition through the changes and answer some of the confusing questions about what Christmas is all about and why we do the things that we do (stockings, trees, etc.) I bought this DVD.  I feel good about the direction we are heading.  A simple, honest, focused direction.

2011-12-14T21:40:10-05:00December 14th, 2011|Elf on a Shelf, My Family|

10 on Tuesday

1.  Our Thanksgiving was awesome.  I hope yours was too.  If you want details about ours, you can find them over on Finding Our New Normal, complete with menu and photos.  I get a lot of questions about how we eat so I thought a pretty detailed post would be fun.  I will say all those carbs had me running for salad and extra fermented food for several days.  But maaaaan, it was good.

2.  Speaking of good great food, I got an email yesterday from the Executive Director of the Non-GMO Project.  Shortly after that, this happened.  Way cool right?!  That photo was taken at the Real Food Rally in Austin in October.  You can read about this amazing experience here.  I’m pretty proud of my girl.  Do you consume GMO products?  Do you even know?  Have you done the research?  If not, I’d encourage you to start here, it is definitely worth a look.

3.  I am 2 days away from reaching my goal of a complete photo a day 365 project.  I can’t even tell you how happy it makes me!  365 (well, almost) days of simple, every day moments that will live forever.  They would have been forever gone without this project.  Thank you Erin Cobb for the nudge, I am forever grateful.  There were quite a few days when I begrudgingly picked up my camera and I had to make myself do it, but I’m so glad that I did.  Childhood captured.  I saw a quote the other day that will be my theme for the next year and round of 365:  “Photograph us today, and we will live forever.”

4.  Another one for her book.  Crazy kid.  She fell asleep in the closet before bath time.  I woke her up, she went and took a bath, did her supplements, and went right back to the same spot.  Don’t you know she had to pass up two perfectly good beds to get to this spot in the closet?  Crazy kid!

5.  Instead of buying a big frame for our wordle, we chopped up a free pallet, painted it and used velcro to attach the big print. So cheap and easy!  It is now hanging in our master bedroom above our dresser and I love it!  Want a free, full resolution, wordle template just like this one?  Click here.

6.  Another idea I’ve had floating around the house that is finally finished.  I bought this huge posterboard printed like a sheet of paper from our local teacher supply store and framed it.  We write about something we love on the glass with dry erase markers.  We ended up not letting the kids use this, as it hangs in our bedroom.  I have absolutely loved getting little love notes from my husband each day.  We take turns writing something.  Sometimes funny, sometimes sweet.  I want to do a separate one for the kids somewhere else in the house, I just need to figure out where…

7.  T and Cody.  Cody is a horse Ty gave to her and she is rarely without it.  Cody goes ev.ery.where.

8.  Our family is significantly cutting back at Christmas this year.  We’ve decided to take a totally new approach for give giving within our immediate family.  We will do 4 gifts each:  something you want, something you need, something you wear and something you read.  I can’t even tell you how awesome this is.  Shopping is a breeze, I will be able to stay focused and not do the constant, oh no, which kid got more, battle / running tally in my head.  It will bridge the spending gap with the age differences in our kids too.  1 Ty gift is always more costly than 1 Teagan gift just because teenagers and their gadgets are more expensive and then of course it “looks” like Teagan got more on the day of even though the same amount was spent.  I’m so over all of that.  We are focusing on GIVING this year.  And we will each receive 4 gifts.  Simple.  I love simple.

9.  Bob the concert pianist?!  Who knew?!

10.  Speaking of Bob, I found out this morning and a few of his, eeeeeh-hum, indiscretions (and Ty’s underwear), showed up over on Babble.

it’s the little things

I’m pretty sure both of these two are going to be on the naughty list this year.  One for general elf mischief and the other for eating all our food, having a smart mouth and generally stinking up the place.  It’s called being 14 and it is NOT easy, on us, or him.  But that’s why it brings us great joy to watch Bob draw on his big old 20×20 mug.  When you are parenting a teenager, it’s the little things that keep you going.  Little things like rubbing your upper lip every time he walks by saying “I think you’ve got a little sumthin’ sumthin’ on your lip there….”, dancing in front of his friends, yelling I LOVE YOU TY! out the window when he slams a car door in carpool and of course, drawing a uni-brow and buggers on his photo in the foyer.  What?!  We’re grownups.

BWAHAHAHAHA!  Take that you hungry, stinky, mouthy mooch!! Well played, Bob, well played.

😉

2011-11-27T22:34:00-05:00November 27th, 2011|Elf on a Shelf, My Family|

consider yourself warned…

Last year on Thanksgiving we spent way too much time up in the attic digging through boxes looking for Bob so that he could appear that night after the kids went to bed.  So last year we went and got all smart and decided to keep Bob hidden in the perfect place in the house so that he’d be easily accessible.  Only over the course of the last 11 months, we forgot just where that perfect hiding place was and have spent the last two days tearing the house apart looking for him.  I cannot believe the kids haven’t asked where he was because they were just talking about him showing up the day after Thanksgiving last week!  I was all set to hit every Barnes & Nobles in Austin this morning in search of a new Bob when the husband found Bob in a box in my office.  That’s strange and we couldn’t figure it out since I didn’t have a home office last Christmas.  Turns out we’d stashed him in an old lens box and when I sold my Canon equipment we moved him to a new spot….and forgot about BOTH hiding places.  Oy.  So this year, when we hide Bob away, I’m going to post and tell you guys where he is so that when I forget we won’t have 2 days, a trashed house and a search party involved.

Do you elf on a shelf?  Please post blog links here, I’d love to follow along!  You can go back and read about Bob’s previous adventures HERE.  You can also find a lot of great ideas on my Flickr group HERE.  And of course I have a bunch of Bob ideas over on Pinterest HERE.

Let the fun begin!

2011-11-26T22:47:10-05:00November 26th, 2011|Elf on a Shelf, My Family|

pesky penguin stole bob’s hat and other happenings….

Bob has been a busy guy hanging out on our non-toxic, non-offgasing, makeshift “garland”.  He also had to go on a rescue mission, darned pesky penguin stole his hat, of all the nerve!  And the other night the kids asked if Bob could go with us when we were heading out in our PJ’s to look at Christmas lights.  They were thrilled that he got a frontrow “seat”!  HA!

If you are local, we followed this map for Christmas lights and it was totally worth it.  Teagan picked the #3 on the list as his top choice before we even left the house and it was by far the best one (shoulda been #1)!  If it is not too cold (and if you put shoes on your kids, which we did not), you can get out and walk #3 around the circle and read The Christmas Story!

2010-12-19T22:30:27-05:00December 19th, 2010|Elf on a Shelf, My Family|
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