Elf Rhymes- December 1, 2014

The year I almost lost our Elf On The Shelf

On the night of the last day of November, that’s when parents suddenly remember.

Tomorrow is December 1st. Thank goodness, the kids’ behavior is the worst!

Christmas will be here really soon. We’ve been using Santa as a threat since June.

Our little friend with the creepy smile hasn’t been here for awhile.

The Thanksgiving holiday has come to an end. It’s time to succumb to a Pinterest trend.

Scrolling through your Facebook feed, you see parents preparing for their children’s greed.

They use a toy as behavior modification, as we all prepare for winter vacation.

The “Elf on the Shelf” is back in suburban homes. Your Instagram will be nothing but those weird little gnomes.

Last night brought intense pre-holiday panic. My child’s excitement for Christmas is manic.

She said, “Mama, my elf comes tomorrow!” as she went to bed. I thought, “Wait, where did we put it?” I smacked my head.

I scoured each closet, every drawer and each box. I found an old bottle opener and some missing socks.

I Facebook messaged my friends like, “Oh shit!” They were like, “Uh oh, girl you better find it!’

I have no idea where my husband tucked it away. Ugh! He’s in Vegas on business til’ Friday!

I started making an elf contingency plan. An elf letter saying “I’m still helping the big man!”

After preschool drop-off I’ll head to Barnes and Noble. That may prevent a meltdown ‘a la Chernobyl.

I gave it one last look in closet junk piles and racks. It was in a box with dry cleaning hangers and an unused Camelback.

My preschooler will not be a disenfranchised douchebag! “My ‘Elf on the Shelf’ is here!” she’ll brag.

Fellow parents! May your holiday tantrums be few and light. Don’t forget to move the damn elf each night.


My Santa hat is off to the authors of “Elf on the Shelf” not only for your fortune-making genius merchandising, but for your ability to rhyme that book. This poem, written in “Elf on the Shelf” style, took me for freaking ever. 

tgiving eots



Baby Laughs- November 24, 2014

Do you ever watch something and you are laughing the loudest? Something that is funnier to you than it is to other people? For some reason you can’t hold it together when you watch it, but everyone else just kind of chuckles? I have a few things that do this to me:

  • Any episode of “30 Rock”
  • Kathleen Madigan’s stand-up
  • Tina Fey’s book “Bossypants”
  • Thinking about when I used to chase my younger sister with a feather duster when we were kids
  • My husband singing “There She Goes” by Six Pence None The Richer

I have to add this character from Saturday Night Live. I first saw the “guy who moves like a baby” sketch last year. This weekend, SNL had another one. Beck Bennett plays the part. I think it cracks me up so much because I spend my days with a one-year-old who does all of these things.

Here you go, a little laughter for your Monday. Enjoy!




Retail Workers: You’re Not Alone If You Work Thanksgiving- November 21, 2014

Thanksgiving and Black Friday 2014 collage

I keep seeing all these posts on my Facebook and Twitter news feeds saying things like, “Boycott Thanksgiving Shopping!” or “Big Retailer X is opening their doors on Thanksgiving Day. Show them that is not okay!”

Um. Alright. To me, if you don’t want to shop on Thanksgiving or Black Friday, don’t. Why the fuss? Why do you care if others do? What, you’re concerned for the religious sanctity of a secular national holiday like Thanksgiving?

I come from a family that shops on Black Friday. We are not the extreme crazies who crawl over children and old ladies in wheelchairs at 4:00 am to save $50 on a Playstation. We’re not those assholes. But, I join my extended family at the mall for some shopping and lunch after we draw our cousin’s name. You know, the cousin we shop for that year.

One year my dad gave each group of shoppers one of his high tech Walkie-Talkies. This was before smart phones and group texts. They were color-coded and we had code names. If you had the yellow Walkie-Talkie you were “Yellow Bird.” There was “Green Hornet,” “Blue Bird” and “Black Bear.” This was how we stayed in touch through the crowded mall. We could find the lunch spot with the shortest line, or notify everyone if they found the sweater for Grandma at the best price. My dad required us to use the code names, say “over” and “over and out.” Yes, that story about my family is absolutely true.

I understand why everyone is not all about Black Friday. When people misbehave, it’s a ridiculous display of everything that is wrong with capitalism. I get it.

I heard about the petition calling for Kmart workers to get time off at Thanksgiving. I understand they’re opening at 6am on Thanksgiving Day and remaining open for 42 hours. That’s a lot, but come on! Hospitals are open all the time. Those people want to take off, but may not be able to.

While I’m not working this year, in my adult life I have worked more Thanksgiving weekends than I have had them off. I worked at two different retail stores in college. Immediately after college I was in TV news and I knew that was part of the job. I can’t tell you how many Thanksgiving mornings I covered the local rescue mission’s turkey dinner or the Turkey 5K. If you get a job as a Sales Associate at Best Buy, chances are, your Thanksgiving is cut short because you gotta be in the store by midnight. That’s part of the job. I was always told, “If you want holidays off, get a job and the bank or the Post Office.” You know who else works Thanksgiving? LOTS OF PEOPLE! Including:

  • Doctors
  • Nurses
  • Law enforcement
  • EMT
  • Firefighters (You know some idiot will catch their house on fire because of a turkey fryer.)
  • News people (Someone has to cover the house fires.)
  • The Detroit Lions
  • Whatever NFL team is beating the Lions.
  • Al Roker with his giant scissors.
  • The other hosts and crew of the Today Show. (Somebody has to put on the Macy’s parade.)
  • The up-and-coming pop star on the Carvel float singing “Rocking Around The Christmas Tree” in the parade.

I could go on and on. Kmart employees, you are not alone. Lots of people work on Thanksgiving. This petition and all this drama is making news because stores announced they are opening earlier on Thanksgiving Day. People having to work on Thanksgiving is not new. Get your holiday hours, bitch to your coworkers and survive. Yay capitalism! Happy Holidays!



12 Months- November 20, 2014

Henry 12 months


Dear Henry,

You’re two weeks into your second year. Happy  (belated) Birthday! Don’t worry, we celebrated right on time. I’m just late writing your letter. I’m not sure why I put it off. At first I was a little sad your first year was over, but in these two weeks I’m remembering how much I love age 1 and I’m excited for all that is to come. I also wanted to take you to the doctor to get a good update on all your stats. Plus, how can I be sad? This first year with you has been so wonderful and full of memories. Daddy and I can’t believe we’ve been the parents of two for a year.

Little man, you are 20 lbs. 12 oz., in the 17% percentile. You’re 29 1/2 inches long, in the 38th percentile. That noggin reigns supreme at 19 1/4 inches, in the 97th percentile. You’re smaller than I would have guessed you’d be at your first birthday because of your rapid growth as a young infant, but you are right on track and the doctors say you are doing great.

You know how to walk. You either take two steps and then plop back down on your tush and crawl, or you unsteadily walk across the room, then plop on your tush and crawl some more. I think you know how fast you can crawl, so you just do that because you get where you are going faster. There is an exception to that. When you get behind your new Thomas The Train you are off! It doesn’t stop at Thomas. You push your sister’s old Wheely Bug around the house, her doll strollers and your new Mega Blocks truck. You run into our legs, get stuck in the door and scream for help. You are a determined little guy. We love it.

Henry with his Thomas the Train

What we don’t love is all the bumps, bruises and scrapes you are suddenly acquiring with all your unsteady movement. You have a cut by your right eye from falling into the kitchen cabinets while pulling yourself up. This is just before family pictures this weekend, naturally. Of course, right before your Baby Dedication at church you banged your head in the bathtub and got a bruise on your left eye. Sweet baby! Please be careful! You have your mama on edge. I’m constantly chasing you and scooping you up to save you from yourself! Don’t hurt that handsome little face!

You are eating everything now. We try to give you as many of the same foods we eat everyday.  You are SO MESSY! If we’re at home, I don’t bother with a bib. You rip it off. We just strip you down. Henry, it is not unusual to give you multiple baths in a day after eating or pooping. The broom and the vacuum are always nearby when you eat, son. We have also taken a scrub brush to your high chair in recent weeks to clean caked-on food.

Henry eating on his 1st birthday

You love your Daddy and get so excited when he comes home. You watch your big sister and love to play with whatever she’s playing with. You two are learning to share. You still love to snuggle with me while nursing, just a few times a day. You love when I sing little songs for you and play peek-a-boo.

Henry, we play this little game, where I open the door and “surprise” you when you lay down for a nap or for bed. You giggle heartily and sleepily before falling asleep. The sound of your laughter is one of the best sounds in our house. You make our family whole. Your giggles make our hearts whole. Thank you for the privilege of being your mother. Thank you for a great first year. I love you, my sweet, sweet boy.



Our family at Henry's Baby Dedication


Christmas Saved! November 18, 2014

Wanted-poster found

When I wrote my Christmas plea on Thursday I didn’t anticipate we would have fulfilled this holiday wish in a weekend. Ya’ll are amazing! Seriously, thank you for the Tweets, emails, comments and Facebook messages. We were overwhelmed. The Internet can be an awesome place some times.

We couldn’t have done it without your tips. Some of you had friends who worked at Target and had insider information about shipments. Others found out the dolls would be featured in the Sunday newspaper circular and dolls were likely being stored in warehouses before restocking on Sunday. Friends from other states sent me Facebook messages after discovering dolls were near them. Others were coming to the Raleigh area soon and promised to look at their Target before traveling. One reader just moved to town and happened to find my post as she was searching for dolls for her niece. She offered to help us find dolls for Charlotte. It was all amazing. THANK YOU!

Jenni fb

Anna and Elsa selfies

Creepy. We know. I told you they were huge dolls. Ugh. They’re gonna haunt my dreams.

I’ve had people ask me, how did we get from Target app searches to Mommy/Elsa Daddy/Anna selfies? How did we NOT have to resort to price gougers charging 3 TIMES the price of the dolls on eBay and Amazon? Some legwork and then some luck made it happen. To get hard-to-find toys for the 2014 holiday, I have these tips:

  1. Put out the word! Tell Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and your blog (if you have one) that you need help. You’d be surprised. I heard, “Hey, just saw one returned at XYZ store yesterday.”
  2. Keep checking online. Everyday. I got the tip to check early in the morning. Someone told me about sites like this one that keep track of merchandise at certain stores.
  3. Be an early bird! Call stores first thing in the morning. That is when they are unloading shipments. On Saturday I snagged Elsa when I called and they randomly happened to get two Elsas off the truck that morning. I had them put one on hold for me. The other was gone when I got there. I’m glad they held it because I had to answer the door for some Jehovah’s Witnesses before I could get to Target. True story. It was crazy cold and they wanted to share a passage from Jeremiah. They were very nice. I listened, but I was thinking of Elsa. Greyson got Anna at 7:00am on a Sunday. I heard others say they tried the early morning thing and struck out.
  4. Luck. We got lucky.

Another thing to consider is shipping cost.  Someone in another state found a toy my friend’s son wanted a few years ago and was able to ship it. Well, it was smaller. Shipping was likely less. These dolls are ginormous. Lord knows how much it would have cost to mail them. Yeesh! I likely could’ve bought them on eBay for that price. My sister-in-law in Denver tried to find out if she could get free shipping with her Target card or Red Card or whatever they call it. I had my feelers out everywhere, but I focused my search in-state for that reason.

Again, thank you! We were so touched that friends, family and total strangers were willing to help our daughter’s Christmas wishes come true. Anna and Elsa are tucked away in a storage closet, creepily staring into the dark until Christmas morning. Happy Holidays everyone!