Back in 2011, when we first brought Henry the Elf home, I was very excited. I plotted and planned, and came up with some pretty neat ideas for that darned Elf. I took pictures every morning, and sat around basking in the glory of being such a creative genius.
He came on November 7th the first year. Yes, NOVEMBER 7th.
I wrote a blog post about it here.
Admittedly, by December 24th, I was happy to see him go. I was exhausted. And you know what? I dreaded his return in 2012, and this year as well. The ‘beacon’ for the elf to come is the Christmas tree being set up. So I would’ve been happy to put it off as long as possible this year, but my super awesome helpful husband surprised me last week, and put it up while I was out. Wicked.
You see, I set a precedent that first year. My kids have expected brilliance from ‘Henry’ ever sense. I wasn’t going to be one of those ‘slacker’ parents, who just moved their elf every night. Oh no. I was way too clever for that. And now I’m paying for it. Every.dreaded.night.
Today, on the inter webs, my life with my elf has been featured on two major blogs. Check them out!
SheKnows – featured 5 of my ideas in a blog post about 25 Hilarious Ways to Pose your Elf.
Babble – my Friend Buzz Bishop wrote an article about the Unofficial Elf on the Shelf Rules. In which I play the poor sucker who overdid it the first year.
So far this year, Henry has been tied up with Loom Bracelets, left Christmas jokes and word searches, hid behind a tower of Kuerig Cups, and donned a Jersey for ‘Jersey Day’. Not overly creative. The best was on the first morning, he wrote a letter, specifying that if the kids rooms weren’t tidy, or their beds weren’t made, or if Charlie didn’t stay in his own bed, that he might not come. They are putty in my hands, let me tell you! That is about as much brilliance as I have left; manipulation.
Last year, Mike and I left the kids for a week when we went to Mexico for our tenth anniversary trip. We had travelled a lot in the year and a half before, but all of the trips without them had only been for 3 or 4 ‘sleeps’, not seven.
Naturally, my kids hated this idea. So, I came up with some things to make it easier.
I made a bag of snacks for every day that we were away. They had to share what was inside, but it was things like chocolate, candy, and other treats they don’t normally get. They opened the bags every morning, and on school days, the girls would usually take some in their lunch.
I attached a letter to each bag, explaining what was going on that day for all of us. For instance, if Abby had gymnastics, I’d remind her of who was driving her. I’d also tell them what we would be doing in Mexico that day. Then I’d tell them how many days were left, and to have a great day, etc.
The morning we left, I displayed them on the kitchen counter, with a Sock Money for each of them, so they had a nice surprise when they got up.
We’re going to Vegas next week, and my kids requested the gift bags again. Clearly that makes it just a little bit better for them.
This was really great for Charlie, who was only 3 at the time. He could count the chains and see how many more sleeps we were going to be gone for. The kids would rip on chain off very morning.
But, living in the world of Apple Products, the kids were never more than a text or Facetime call away. It was ridiculous actually, and we’ll be putting more rules in place this time. The most absurd moment is when Abby texted me one morning to tell me my alarm clock was going off. I was in MEXICO!
The kids returned to school last week, and Abby started her evening training hours at gymnastics. Even though it was a short week…by Friday we were both really looking forward to a night off training.
I missed her. She gets a ride to gymnastics after school, so I literally don’t see her for 12 hours on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays (and she has training on Saturdays too!)
So, we planned to have a Mommy-Daughter Date on Friday night.
When she came home from school on Friday, I had these cards waiting for her. I told her she could pick 2:
She picked “Paint Pottery” and “Menchie’s” (EXACTLY as I suspected she would!):
We had a great time painting our matchy-matchy Mommy & Baby owls:
It was a great night. I even got a kiss at the end of the date 😉
Oh, and for those who might be wondering – Daddy took the other kids to a movie…so they had fun too!
Charlie is right smack dab in the middle of the Terrifying Three’s. This is the stage that no one expects after surviving the Terrible Two’s. I’ve always told people with a 2 year old, that it gets worse.
See, when your little blessing is two…everything they do is still so cute. At three, the cuteness wears off, and they are just terrifying.
Since I’m a Photographer, I take pictures of everything. Rarely do I say the words, “Say Cheese!” to my kids when I’m taking their pictures. Instead, I try to document real life. And, in my real life…is Charlie. In all his terrible & terrifying glory.
It started with an Instagram pic I posted last summer of him freaking out when I was trying to get a picture of him with a rainbow behind him. The caption I put on Instagram was “Charlie Loves Rainbows”. Now, everytime I get a freaking out picture I caption it with “Charlie Loves…”
Thanks to Picasa face recognition, I have been able to go back since his second birthday and pull out all the best freak out pics. There are more, but these are the best. And, since he is only 3 and 7 months, I’m sure there will be more before he turns four and magically turns into a calmer, more mature child (ha!).
Here are the best of the best so far. We start with:
-Charlie Loves Rainbows
-Charlie Loves Games
-Charlie Loves Puddles
Then we have:
-Charlie Loves Pumpkins
-Charlie Loves Dressing Up
-Charlie Loves Skating
-Charlie Loves The Ocean
-Charlie Loves Haircuts
-Charlie Loves New Bikes
-Charlie Loves Balloons
-Charlie Loves Gingerbread Houses (Which actually doesn’t have the same freak out face, but he was a hot mess, trust me.)
June 17th, 2013 Update:
I’ve managed to collect a few more #CharlieLoves images since this post was 1st published.
Starting things off, we have:
-Charlie Loves discussing going to the gym daycare
-Charlie Loves his Gator
-Charlie Loves Babies
-Charlie Loves Hiking
-Charlie loves picking his sister up from Public Pools (there was a crowd behind me)
And last for this update is:
-Charlie Loves Garage Sales
-Charlie Loves waiting for Prescriptions
-Charlie Loves Birthday Parties (2 minutes before this he was all excited to go into the party)
He does smile sometimes too. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll see that!
November 21, 2013 Update:
I think it’s over! At just over 4 years old…I think the tantrums are over. Now that I said that, I might be cursing it, but he hasn’t had a fit for over 2 months. Fingers crossed. Here, is what I’m hoping is my last installment of #CharlieLoves:
-Charlie Loves the Dentist’s Office
-Charlie Loves Dinner
-Charlie Loves high quality face painting
-Charlie Loves colouring
-Charlie Loves Cheerios
And it ended abruptly with this one, which was a rough one for Mommy too!
-Charlie Loves Going back to School
Birthdays tend to take on a life of their own around here. I get an idea, and then with the help of Pinterest and Dollar Stores, it ends up being somewhat of an extravaganza. Take Charlie’s 1st Birthday, for example. I decided on a John Deere theme, and then pretty soon my house was completely taken over with Green & Yellow. You can see that party blogged here.
I also went crazy with Charlie’s 3rd Birthday party. His world then (and now) revolved around his favourite thing: popcorn. So I did a crazy popcorn party.
Abby’s 9th birthday last month even got a little nutty with all the mini cupcakes I made for her cupcake fondue.
Bella’s 6th party last year was also a little over the top. We did the party on St. Patrick’s Day, so the theme was obvious. I have no idea why I didn’t blog it last year. Perhaps I was St. Patrick’ed out.
Her day started with St. Patrick’s Eggos:
My day may have also started with some Irish inspiration:
The party planning began with a Pinterest search, of course, where I decided on the idea of doing a scavenger hunt, and even found these really awesome free printables. I also got the cake inspiration from Pinterest, but added a sparkly shamrock. I also did some green shamrock chocolates.
Now, the question is…how do I top it this year? Or do I bother trying?