Archive for December 2013

I Love a Good Snow Day

It has been snowing all day and I love it!! Everything is so beautiful. We had nothing but fun planned for this morning so we’ve been doing just that.

Great day for a bike ride:

Biking in the snow

Perfect little angels:

My little angels

Actually, while I was shoveling the front part of the driveway, they weren’t being angels. I turned around to see one of them {whom shall remain nameless} helpfully “brushing” off Daddy’s truck…with a big metal digging shovel. It was in innocence, but yikes! I was quick to inform them that you only use soft brushes on the painted part of a vehicle as to not scrape it up and induce rust. Daddy will be less than thrilled when he hears this story, but I didn’t see any obvious damage except for maybe a scratch in the side driver’s mirror. I’m sure it will be further inspected later.

A silly game of Slippery Swing ensued:

slippery swings

slippery swings

They’re pretty good actors, I have to admit. I think my son might be the next Jerry Lewis with his many prattfalls, and as you can see here, my daughter will not be far behind.

Couldn’t resist this shot:

birdhouse in the snow

Snow siblings:

Snow siblings

And now hot chocolate has been drunk and warm baths have been taken. Next on the kids’ schedule is an evening with grandparents and cousins–the yearly tradition of dinner and seeing Christmas lights…and Mom and Dad get to have a date night!

Don’t Worry Yourself ’bout that Elf on the Shelf

I don’t spend a lot of time reading blogs, but, attempting to be a blogger myself, I do try to keep up on trends and read them as I have a chance. Many of you have probably read opposing opinions on the whole Elf on the Shelf phenomenon that has swept the nation the last few years. The marketing behind it is genius—I’ll give ‘em that! I hate to add to the steady dose of blog posts about it, yet I can’t seem to resist sharing my perspective. So here goes.

My kids were introduced to the Elf on the Shelf two Christmas-times ago in kindergarten. They excitedly told me where the elf was found each day in their classroom and how it was watching over them to see if they were being naughty or nice. {It then flies back to the North Pole to report its observations to Santa, in case you are unfamiliar with the story.} There was the occasional statement made by my daughter of how she wished we had an elf at home. I told her to enjoy the elf at school.

Earlier this month, Ella came home from school with tales of all the fascinating things that the other kids’ elves were doing at their homes and each day she would look at me longingly and say, “Oooooh, I wish we had an elf.”

Then their teacher got a classroom elf {I think she was pressured into it}, and frankly, I was happy, because once again I could say, “just enjoy your elf at school.” I actually elaborated and told my kids that we would not have an elf at home because we celebrated Christmas in other ways at home and that I didn’t have time to keep up after an elf every day because my “real” elves kept me busy enough. I told them to enjoy what their classroom elf did and to tell me about it each day if they wanted to. I reminded them that we don’t do things just because everyone else does them and that we have a lot of family fun in other ways that keep us busy. After all, we’re the Grohs and we do things differently, right?

{SPOILER ALERT—Don’t let your young children read my blog after this point} We have since spoken often of how it’s fun to pretend about magical things when you’re young, but my kids both know that it’s their teacher or moms and dads who are moving the elf around. Then we talked about how God really does watch over us and knows how we are behaving and that we need to honor Him with the words that we say and the things that we do, all year long.

As it turns out, my kids used their imaginations to create their own elves.

Ella's Elf on Her Shelf

Ella’s Elf on Her Shelf

I try to remember to move them from place to place in their rooms each day, but often, the thought doesn’t enter my mind until they’re home from school. Then I find myself doing silly things like telling them I’m going to hang up my coat while they’re unloading their backpacks and I race upstairs to do some quick rearranging and then quickly bound back downstairs to hang up my coat and calmly linger into the room where they are, trying to keep the smile off my face as I think about how funny my actions would have looked had they been caught on camera.

Nickolas' Elf on His Shelf

Nickolas’ Elf on His Shelf

There is a little paper elf in our tree that one of the kids colored a couple of years ago. I now move it to a different branch every once in a while and oh, the squeals of delight when it is discovered. Simple way to create some fun.

Elf in the tree

So all of this to say, if you have an Elf on the Shelf and you are making it do wonderfully creative and magical things for your child(ren) each day, great! Enjoy it! Have fun! I’m sure your kids are eating it up. I smile when I see pictures of some of the clever scenes that parents pull together with these little guys. I also smile when I realize that I don’t have to do that every day. I don’t have to create and then clean up the messes, or set a timer to remind myself that it’s time to move the elf. But if you’re into that and it’s not stressing you out to the point of ruining your marriage or losing sleep, or your job, then have at it! I don’t hate you. I admire your energy and creativity.

And if you don’t have an ounce of desire to create magical elfin moments on a daily basis, then don’t. I won’t call you unloving or lazy. It’s not a competition people! You are the parents your kids love, elf or no elf. My advice: Enjoy the Christmas season and make it special for your family, however works best with your schedule and energy level. Tell your kids the true meaning of Christmas, read some Christmas stories before bedtime, or enjoy some hot chocolate and laughs together. Make your own family memories and create your own traditions. Your kids will love it. Don’t worry about what’s happening on {or off} the shelves inside the four walls of someone else’s house.