The result of Christmas guilt

This is the time of year when our mail is more than the typical junk. So far, we have received quite a few Christmas cards. However I think there is more than just a card in those envelopes. I truly do love seeing the beautiful faces of friends and family, but I think they all somehow manage to sneak a little guilt into those little white envelopes.

Guilt, because, yet again, we failed to send out Christmas cards. I mean to send them out every year, but life gets in the way. By the time I remember, it's too late to do anything about it. This year in particular I really failed at Christmas cards. Why, you ask? Because I don't even have Christmas pictures of the kids.

Yes I have a picture of Little Dude with Santa, and one of GG with Santa, but not one of both of them. I have a picture of our tree that I am in love with this year, but not a picture of the tree with the kids around it.

I may have failed with those pictures, but I do have a picture of something cool...

GG is definitely a shop-a-holic! Those boots and gloves were part of her latest purchase.

You see, over the weekend, I brought down my iron fist and demanded the children to help clean the house.

Or maybe what I really did was bribe GG with a shopping trip to use up some gift cards if she cleaned. Bribery works. Sue me.

Until next time...

What the boy really wants

Alternately titled "The year we became some of those parents" - the crazy, must have this toy and now Christmas shopper kind of parents.

Every Christmas, we buy each kid one big gift and a few smaller, filler gifts. The idea for GG was conceived a few months ago and it is now safely hiding somewhere in the house. Little Dude's big gift? Well, that another story. And an ugly one.

A few months ago LeapFrog announced a new toy, the LeapPad. As cool as it looked, I didn't really think Little Dude needed it. I knew he would love it, but I really didn't want to buy all new games. It would be like switching all of our VHS tapes over to DVDs - a royal pain in the ass! And besides, stores around here weren't carrying them. I wasn't going to turn into one of those moms who goes nuts over a toy for her young child. I did that once with Elmo and it wasn't fun.

As time passed I periodically checked out this LeapPad. Our Target finally got a few in stock and I admit, I did play around with the display model a bit. But I still wasn't sure if his Explorer games would work with it. After more research, I learned that his games would in fact work with this new system. Now I had to get the husband on board with me on this purchase.

The husband was on the fence for quite some time but I finally managed to pull him over to the other side, my side. This feat of mine was finally accomplished the day after Cyber Monday. That night we turned to the LeapFrog website, as well as websites for any and all stores that sold toys. The LeapPad could not be found anywhere. The husband and I decided we would keep looking, but would talk up the dinosaur I had purchased a few days prior in case we couldn't acquire a LeapPad. And then Monday happened.

I had gone shopping with a friend in the morning. Once home I decided to give finding an available LeapPad a shot. The LeapFrog website wouldn't load and I knew something was up. A quick check of their Facebook page told me they had a few in stock. Everybody and their mother must have seen this status update. Damn them!

The husband and I spent the better part of the next 3 hours trying to obtain this precious toy. Just as one of us managed to add it to our virtual cart, our session would time out and the site would crash. Finally at the end of that 3 hour time span, the husband managed to add one to his cart and enter our shipping information. Just as he was about to enter our billing information, the site crashed once again. Our purchase never went through. When the site was finally brought back up, all but the super expensive bundles were sold out. Not wanting to spend that kind of money, we felt sad, frustrated, and defeated.

Yesterday afternoon the husband and I finally agreed that we would purchase Little Dude a LeapPad after Christmas. Perhaps for Easter. I had lost hope of obtaining one and I think the frustrations from Monday were something the husband didn't want to go through again. Apparently a little birdie, or frog in this case thought otherwise.

As usual, while dinner is cooking, the kids are taking a tv break, the husband is upstairs doing work for the class he's taking, and I'm playing around on the computer . That's when I saw it - our window of opportunity. One little status update with a heads up and off I was racing up the steps to share what I just read with the husband. He quickly jumped on the website and just like that, he bought our boy a LeapPad. I cannot wait to see Little Dude's face come Christmas morning!

Now if only I could have this kind of luck with the lottery!

How is your Christmas shopping going? Hopefully not as stressful as mine!

Until next time...

A Holiday Tour

I love decorating for Christmas! I have made it a tradition to at least start bringing decorations out of storage on Black Friday. After I'm done shopping, of course!

The first item to go up is always our tree. I love our Christmas tree! It comes in 3 easy to assemble pieces and it's pre-lit. I have a love/hate relationship with strings of lights, and having my kids help me decorate, it's one less thing to stress over. I always make sure to place all breakable ornaments around the top of the tree. My kids might not be toddlers anymore, but that doesn't mean they're not still clumsy!

After the tree, the next bin to come out of the garage is the one which holds the rest of the inside decorations. Most of these decorations are ones that can be placed on top of a bookshelf or table, but some are pictures my kids made that my son likes to tape on any and all walls around the house.

Sorry, no pictures of my crazy, taped up walls!

One of my favorite decorations to finally come out of storage on December 1st is the countdown calendar my aunt made for the kids a few years ago.

I place 2 candy cane Hershey kisses in each pocket, one for each child, and 4 kisses in the Christmas day pocket. The pockets are not in numerical order and my kids love searching for the day's pocket.

Speaking of homemade decorations, I decided to add some of my own to the mix this year. No matter what time of year, I always like to have something hanging on our front door. Our usual snowman was looking a little sad, so I decided to make something to hopefully help spread some joy.

To brighten up our tv stand, I also made a mini table runner.

Which my son lovingly decorated
with some holiday snow globes and candles.

Having two kids (three if you count the husband) and living in a house we are growing out of, keeping things clean and organized is something we struggle with, but I do have some tricks to help during the holidays.

Items, such as candles and pictures frames, that normally sit atop my bookshelves are stored in those plastic bins that normally hold the Christmas decorations. Breakable items are placed up high or in rooms the kids don't frequent as often. Although I learned this past weekend, that doesn't always matter. Things can get broken no matter how hard you try.

The one thing that I cannot figure out how to keep clean are the bottom few steps leading upstairs and the floor around them. What seemed like a good idea at the time is now turning into one, bug shedding mess!

Do you go crazy decorating? What do you do to keep your home clean and organized throughout the holiday season?

"I am sharing my holiday home decor and cleaning tips for the chance to win prizes from The SITS Girls and Great Cleaners."

Until next time...


That would be his name.

Whose name?

Our Elf on the Shelf's name, of course. It took quite some time to agree upon this name. We had Harold, Jack, and Max the Great in the pot. Trying to help i the decision making process, I threw some names out there as well. Since I was listening to a hockey game, those were the names I mentioned - Sid, Flower, Crosby, Maxime. Hockey names were banned, but somehow the kids agreed on Geno, a hockey player's nickname.

I am glad I brought an elf into this house. For the most part, behavior has improved. If nothing else, the kids enjoy trying to find him every morning. Assuming I remember to move him (so far, so good). It's a good thing I made the decision to buy Geno when I did because right now those elves are about as easy to find as a LeapPad!

Our Geno started off quite innocent. Early on, he was found driving some toy trucks, and another morning he was trying to play the Wii. But Geno has also had his share of trouble. A few days in, Geno discovered a string of beads. I have had this string of beads for years but can never figure out where to put it at Christmas. Geno must have tried to help because one morning he was tangled up in those beads.

After that, I believe Geno got a taste for mischief. Geno also appears to have a taste for sweets, as you can see here...

Elf on the Shelf

A few years ago, my aunt made a beautiful Christmas countdown chart for the kids. I place 2 candy cane flavored Hershey Kisses in each pocket,and 4 in the Christmas day pocket. The pockets are not in numerical order. My kids love searching for each number every night after dinner. Apparently Geno doesn't care what the date is. He just wants his candy!

This post is linked up with the I'm Elfing it Up Photo Contest
hosted by KludgyMom

Elf on the Shelf

Do you have an Elf on the Shelf?
What are his favorite places to hide?

Until next time...

Dear Santa

Not too long ago, Little Dude wrote a letter to Santa at school. He didn't write the whole letter. It was more a fill in the blank kind of thing. Almost like a Mad Lib.

This letter was sent to the schools by a local letter shop. In their store, they had a special bright red mailbox. Letters for Santa were deposited in this mailbox and shipped to the North Pole. Given that there was a space at the bottom of the letters for one's address, I am assuming that Little Dude will get a letter in return. After reading what my boy wrote, I am quite anxious to see how the big man responds.

In case you can't see or figure out what my boy is trying to say with his lovely spelling skills, let me point out the crucial parts.

For the most part, Little Dude has been good. But apparently the husband and I have been busy. If you look close, it appears our son thinks he has 22 sisters and 1 brother. It would also appear we are quite neglectful as parents because I have no idea where these siblings are!

"Please" is often a word my kids forget, but Little Dude is correct in pointing out he always says "Thank you". That does make him plite (polite), so I guess he does deserve gifts.

But just because my boy thinks he deserves lots of gifts doesn't mean he doesn't think others should get jipped!

For me, Little Dude would like Santa to bring muge (mug). His daddy needs a new computer. I beg to differ on that one! For GG, he wold like Santa to bring mackup (make-up). She's only 10 so Santa and I might have some words if he really does bring her make-up, but I have to give Little Dude credit. He does know what his sister likes!

For our cat, a lidul cot (little cot). Last time I checked, our cat died over the summer. Perhaps this cat is hiding with the missing siblings? And finally, for his cousins, some bons (bones). Because they have dogs. Yes, I had to ask for an explanation with the bones.

In closing, Little Dude would like more Digrs (diggers). Santa and I might have more words because another digger is the last thing this boy of mine needs! And that big long "K" word under diggers - I do believe that is how my son spells a construction work site. Because a sandbox and his own designated digging spot in the yard aren't sufficient? Forget words with friends, it's words with Santa should he follow through!

Although with the luck Santa's helper (aka me) is having with finding the toy I really want to get, I might have to resort to more diggers.

What are your kids asking for Christmas because obviously I need more ideas other than diggers?

Until next time...