Even an elf has to go…

The kiddos were super excited to see Elfred had returned. The oldest awoke with a start and made the initial discovery (somewhere around 5 am), then quickly awoke the other two. They devoured the extra candy canes and then set to the task of making Elfred his very own Christmas stocking (PSA to parents out there- black sharpie marker does not come out of wood so make sure to leave said markers out of sight).

The rest of the day every time the kids passed by Elfred, they gave him a quick shout out. When I moved my computer to within inches of him, all three kids individually asked me to be careful not to touch him. They are completely into the fantasy of Elfred the Elf.

MY children are getting older, and I am keenly aware that the childhood belief and joy will soon fade. They know that some of their friends do not believe, but they hold tight to their own beliefs, for now. So this year I am soaking up every moment of this with them.

Back to Elfred… He did a lot of fun things last year so I want to try to include some new things this year too. Tonight I decided that even Elfred deserves some time in the bathroom. It certainly will not be the first place they look!




Elf on the Shelf Day 19

After 24 hours rest and tlc from Rapunzel (who spontaneously showed up this morning by his side), Elfred is back on the move! Tonight, as if in a small attempt to make Rapunzel jealous, Elfred is spending his evening in the company (and the arms) of three glam ladies.

It should be noted that the beautiful figurines he is dancing with were my mothers. She said she got this particular Lladro because it reminded her of me. Now it is mine and it reminds ME of HER. She loved Christmas. She really would have enjoyed Elfred’s antics as much, if not more, than me.



Elfred on the shelf day 16

So after a lot of activity in the wee hours of last night (oh how I miss my mothers vast medical knowledge and comfort. I never fully appreciated that aspect before she was gone but it is a noticeable silence now), we had a calm Elfred tonight. He is hanging on the light fixture in our nook. Rapunzel wouldn’t fit without it looking like they were connected.


Also did a Pinterest experiment tonight with my kids. It is really simple. Put a bar of Ivory soap in the microwave on a microwave-safe plate and nuke it for two minutes (probably a little less). I called this making snow mounds. The kids just thought it was cool.



If you’ve ever wondered how I became so crafty, you only have to see my mothers works of art to know. She was crafty long before I was and I only hope her talent has a place in my works. The last image is a piece I sewed for Mom in high school.






Home Cookin’

One of the best things about my mom was her cooking.

Nothing offers more comfort to me than biting into my mom’s Thanksgiving stuffing or mainlining her split-pea soup.

Bu and I love to trade recipes–especially those that belong to our mothers. I know if I’m stuck at a loose end, with three ingredients in the house, and one pan, Bu will have an arsenal of recipes at theΒ  ready–many of which belonged to her mother.

Have a fave mom recipe?

Feel free to share !

Mother’s Day: My Mother, My Self, and My BFF

I’d like to share a blog post that I posted about Mother’s Day in 2010.

But before I do, I’d like to dedicate the blog post to my BFF.

Last Mother’s Day was the first without my mom. And I was absolutely dreading it. Having to hear about people taking their moms out to brunch or watching people buy Mother’s Day cards.

It was just heartbreaking.

Because the thing was, I loved, LOVED Mother’s Day. Looked forward to seeing my mom. Looked forward to the present I would give her. (She loved the Spa Ma Vermont Teddy Bear.) And mainly because I thought my mother was the best mom in the universe, I looked forward to celebrating the day of all things Mother.

And then she died.

I simply couldn’t bear Mother’s Day last year–to the point–that although I loved my Beloved’s mother, I couldn’t bring myself to even spend the day with them.

I decided to boycott the day altogether.But what to do? I knew I would be at a loose end.

I called Bu.

Together we hatched a plan. Although we lived in different states with different timezones,we both decided to go see a movie “together.” We planned a time that worked for both of us–with the promise that we would discuss the movie on the way home.

What turned out to be a potentially awful day turned out to be pretty nice.

So to my BFF: Happy Early Mother’s Day. Thank you for being my BFF, sister, advice-giver, M.O.M., snuggie-maker, French-hair braider, recipe-giver, knitting instructor, for knowing the importance of Pinterest, and for wondering how on earth Jessica Simpson could still be pregnant.


As I look towards getting older, there are many things I look forward to: a. getting to speak my mind fully and unselfconsciously to complete strangers without fear of repercussion (I am actively working on this), b. getting better looking by means fair or foul (i.e., Botox if need be), c. mandatory spa treatments to support letter b, and d. turning into my mother.

Because, you see, my mother–quite simply–rocks.

Now, I know other people say this of their mothers–and espouse their greatness–but in my mother’s case, it is simply true.

Kinda like gravity.

The best part of being my mother’s daughter is being her daughter as an adult. (Not that I still don’t get maternal advice: don’t talk to strangers, watch your purse, watch out for deer on the road–and after getting my wallet stolen, she’s not taking any chances!). We have so much fun together–we laugh, we talk. We also have our secret mom/daughter language (sorry–no can tell).

Although we live close, our respective work schedules make it difficult to see each other often or regularly, we have what I like to refer to as the Weekly Phone Call, which may transpire something like this:

ME: (after shutting office door and using office phone, which offers better quality than my crappy phone) Hi, it’s ME!

MOM: Hi ME! How is work?

ME: Fine.

MOM: How is Man?

ME: Fine.

MOM: How is LT? (Teddy for those of you not In the Know.)

ME: Fine. He’s still old.

(abrupt change in conversation)


MOM: What? What is it?

ME: (spilling forth gossip of the week)

MOM: That’s good gossip.

ME: I know! (Because I’m nothing if not modest.) Do you have gossip?

MOM: Some. I was having issues with my wireless network. I called Tech Support, and they LOVED my network name!

ME: Oh yeah–what is it?


Now, seriously, how can you not love a mom like that? She’s tech-savvy and protects her bandwidth.

The best part about my mom is not about the big memories we’ve made together–but the small ones–and even some of those in difficult times.

Valentine’s Day

As lame as it sounds, Valentine’s Day is pretty important to girls–even though we can probably all agree that it’s a commercialized holiday funded by Hallmark. And yet, when that day rolls around, we want some acknowledgment that someone out there loves us–albeit in the form of a Hallmark Greeting Card.

I am lucky. Having suffered several crappy VD memories over the years–namely, buying my own flowers at the grocery store–after bashing my head in on a lamp and requiring 28 stitches and some guy heckling me in the parking lot–I am happily ensconced with Man (who makes everyday special), and always lights up my day with flowers and chocolates on Valentine’s Day.

Before Man, however, and even before my dad (who sent me my first flowers at age 14), there was my mom.

It was fourth grade (back in the day when you had to send valentines to every kid in the class–whether you liked them or not). I had walked in from school and up in the living room–sitting on the Queen Ann Table (from which I write this blog)–sat my Valentine’s gift from my mom; a white teddy bear holding a heart that said ‘Somebody Loves You,” a box of chocolates, candy hearts, and a card.

I could not believe that all that was for me. It was the best feeling ever.

Plantation Project

I remember being so worried about this project for my fifth-grade history project–but no worries: Mom to the rescue. Mine was one of the best in class, and we had such fun working on it together.

A Night at The Worthington

Mom and I spent a night at The Worthington in downtown Fort Worth–being ladies on the town. πŸ™‚ We sat in the piano lounge in our dress-up clothes. I was 16 and felt so elegant.

Ice Cream Sundaes on the Couch

After my parents separated, my mom and I spent an afternoon on the couch watching movies and eating ice cream. She brought me an outfit from The Limited, which I had (at least the leggings) until 2001.

Where Everybody Knows Your Name: Boston

In spite of all the sadness that had befallen us, Mom always wanted to make sure we made memories. We used her flight benefits to fly to Boston for the day. We went to Filene’s Basement.

Freshman Year of College

After the passing of my grandmother after I transferred back to UNT–in spite of the grief she felt about my grandmother–my mom was there. I remember how out-of-the-blue she showed up at my dorm room with a new outfit because she thought it might cheer me up.


Mom always wanted us to having something to look forward to–so she planned a cruise for us upon my exit from grad school. We planned for months–fretting over wardrobes and pondering menus. πŸ™‚

Brain Surgery

The worst thing about brain surgery is death. And having to shave your head. And that there aren’t mandatory pedicures. The best thing about brain surgery is having your mother with you. And not just the hospital stay–but after. It never occurred to my mother that she wouldn’t stay with me–even at the expense of other things going on. She was there–making smoothies, meals that I could eat, finding a pillow that I could sleep on, helping me bathe. But we talked–about life, about movies…sometimes we didn’t talk at all. We just sat.

The best thing you can have your mother say at 30, “You’re a lot easier to feed now than as a baby.” πŸ™‚


Moving to the midwest wasn’t an easy decision–I was ready for a change and wanted to be where my mom was. After living in Chicago, I got my job in Minnesota.

And I emailed my mom with the words, “Hello Neighbor!” She cried. I did, too. And then I moved, and we ate Potbelly and clipped coupons. And Facebooked. And watched our shows. No Lifetime movie was ever too awful.

Lessons Learned From My Mom:

1. Put the turkey in early on a low setting.
2. If the recipe calls for butter, use it.
3. Watch for deer.
4. Don’t pet the deer.
5. Watch for you purse when you travel because if you lose your license, you’re not coming home.
6. Wear sunscreen.
7. Use fabric softener as cream rinse.
8. Wed. is double-coupon day at Rainbow.
9. Heat up a cup of white vinegar in the microwave to help clean the insides.
10. I Love Lucy/ Golden Girls fixes all troubles.

To my mom: I love you!!


And to my BFF: love you, too.