Saturday, December 20, 2008

OOOOOHHH YEEEAAAAH!!!! Elf party in the hot tub!

Is it hot? Is it wet? Does it make you sweat?

Bix, Libby and Colleen decided to find out for themselves the other night, so they filled up our prep sink with packaging popcorn, lounged back, popped open a niiiiice cold Capri Sun, and had themselves a little hot tub party. Huuuuuh! Despite living in the Arctic 350 days a year, Colleen (or is it Libby? I am the only one in the house who can't tell them apart) proved to be a natural at soaking in those damaging UVA/UVB/60 watt rays:

And not only did she figure out how to work the iPod, but she found Jacob's favorite song from the "Jacob Boogie" playlist on our iPod, Hot in Herre by Nelly (don't judge):

I guess if you lived in the North Pole most of the year, you'd think it was Hot in Herre too.

Interestingly enough, when I went to Smith's the other day to order invitations for Elizabeth's birthday party, the lady taking my order was lamenting the fact that yet ANOTHER brand of elf had landed on the shelves at Smith's (this one is some kind of pocket elf) and shared her thoughts on elves in general:

Joyce: Now, Elf on the Shelf, I get. But elves that make mischief? Please explain this to me. Why would parents of young children want to make extra work for themselves this time of year?

Me: Yeah, that's beyond insane. You'd have to be a special kind of crazy.

Now, for what it's worth, back in our day, you didn't have an elf to suit every lifestyle and personality type. No, there was only one elf show in town, Elf Magic. It was elves that make mischief, or no elves at all, thankyouverymuch.

Well, now, Santa apparently sends some lucky families Elf on the Shelf:

Elf on the Shelf is basically "Big Brother" elf -- he sits on a shelf all day long and evaluates your children's behavior, and then reports back to Santa at the end of the day. The next morning, he will be sitting on a different shelf, and the children run around looking for him. He doesn't drive the car. He doesn't hang Dora panties on Melchior. He doesn't throw raging packaging popcorn hot tub parties while you sleep. He just moves to a different shelf. New parents and future parents, are you taking notes? That is www[dot]elfontheshelf[dot][com]. A tidy, well-behaved, omniscient elf that looms over your children and will rat them out to Santa whenever they are naughty? Oh, how I weep every time I think about how we missed getting in on the Elf on the Shelf action.

But what can I say, I doubt that Elf on the Shelf inspires these kind of heartfelt letters:

[To Elves, Me, Elizibeth and Caroline will miss you when you have to leave in 6 days. We have lots of fun together, don't we? Love, the Moores]

So bring it on elves! Tie the TP to the back of the big wheel and unroll it all over the damn house until you finally crash:

Write on our bathroom mirror with shaving cream if you must:

Ransack our drawers -- we understand that no self-respecting mischievous elves would let four years pass without breaking out that timeless classic:

And don't worry, we already know that you are nacissists. So if you feel like you must raid our art supplies, pose for and paint a ridiculous elf portrtait, knock yourselves out.

We can take it.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Because nothing says "Christmas" quite like elves driving a minivan into the bushes

Well, as expected, Bix, Libby and Colleen showed up on our doorstep last Friday evening. Jacob had been expecting them to come that day (he must have a sixth sense) so when the doorbell rang, he yelled "THE ELVES!!!!" and dashed to the front door, while Elizabeth burst into tears and said "I'm scaaaaared." Phew, so much emotion surrounding the big event! Well, after enjoying a short reunion with their children, the elves wasted no time getting busy with their house-trashing antics.

On their first night, they staged an honest-to-goodness coup; I swear I feel like I'm living in some kind of elf banana republic or something. They charged our tree, deposed our angel, and installed General Libby as the Tree Topper.

After the revolution, the junta attempted to bind and box up the angel to mail back to the North Pole (do you think that my kids will be permanently traumatized by any of this?)

The next night they got into the laundry (folded, might I add -- I tell you, if they didn't go back to being inanimate stuffed animals in the morning, you can bet that I'd give them a good piece of my mind) and flung it around the den.

We have a Nativity on top of our entertainment center, and some of the kids' underwear landed on the Magi.

There is actually supposed to be a Christian message associated with these elves, but somehow that message seems to get lost in our house, what with the tidy whities on the Three Kings' heads and all. At least the Holy Family was spared.

They also somehow managed to get our 5 foot tall giraffe downstairs from the upstairs playroom.

I'm still scratching my head trying to figure out how they pulled off that one without waking anybody up. Libby rode it at the head of an elf parade, followed by Bix, who rode Spotty the Dog:

and Colleen, who rode a brontosaurus:

Of course, they left a huge mess in their wake -- I think they realized that any elves can "ride some animals in a parade," but it takes little bit more to be a Jacob-pleasing elf.

But I REALLY couldn't believe that I had to start my day today by going outside into the rain to haul my van out of the bushes.

Yeah, Bix got behind the wheel of the Odyssey, and I don't know if it's because it was a rainy night or because he's an 8 inch tall stuffed elf or what, but he drove that thing straight into the shrubs.

Are you kidding me? That boat is almost too big for ME to drive; I can hardly keep it out of the bushes sometimes!! What was Bix thinking? At least he was responsible enough to buckle Libby and Colleen into their NTSA-approved 5-point harnesses.

Nine more nights of mischief remaining -- can they do it? I'm not above begging -- if you have any great ideas for Bix, Libby and Colleen, leave a comment for them here. I'll make sure that they see it!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Believe it or not, we don't actually have tons of extra free time on our hands . . .

But you'd never know it by just looking at the random optional things that we sign up to do. Case in point, the Christmas Elves. What, you don't have elves coming from the North Pole to trash your house every December? I am not sure if this is a national phenomenon yet, but around here, elves are all the rage. Bix and Libby started visiting us a few years ago, I believe on Elizabeth's first Christmas. Colleen joined them last year for Caroline's first Christmas. Here is the deal: the children write a letter to Santa Claus asking him to send some of his elves to spend some time with them before Christmas. If all goes well, one day the doorbell will ring and there will be a strange package on the front steps, and imagine our delight when we open it and find honest to goodness North Pole elves inside! By day, the elves look like regular old stuffed animals (or "Webkinz," as Elizabeth calls all stuffed animals). But at night, if you leave out crackers and water for the elves, and sprinkle them with magic snowflakes (which are actually little white pieces of paper from a three hole puncher, and you'll still be finding them around the house in July), the elves will magically come to life and make mischief all night long while you are nestled all snug in your beds. When the kids wake up in the morning, they can't wait to see what the elves got up to the night before, and tear through the house in search of them.

One thing we've realized is that once your kid gets into elementary school, you can say goodbye to the Totalitarian State Model of family management that you used to have -- you know, the benevolent dictatorship where you got to filter the information that came into your house. Now that Jacob is in first grade, all he knows is that ALL of his friends already have their elves, and he is the only one suffering without his (you're killing us, other parents out there). We've told him that this is because Bix, Libby and Colleen have Very Important Jobs at the North Pole, and Santa just can't afford to be without them for a whole month. If we are lucky, Santa might be able to let them go a couple of weeks before Christmas. Plus, Bix, Libby and Colleen are super-naughty elves, and it's hard for them to come up with creative new antics year in and year out. Here are some of the highlights from last year (can you see why Jacob just can't stand to wait another day?)

Here they are sliding down the banister:

Then there was that time that they joined in and started singing along with our Byers carolers:

Oh, and who can forget when we woke up one morning and saw that those crazy elves had opened up the sleeper sofa and had a Movie Night (they watched "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" -- reminded them of home, I think):

Jacob wasn't impressed with those -- he prefers it when the elves actually trash some part of the house.

Although he thought it was kind of cool the night that they built a Tower 'o Chairs and climbed up to the kitchen chandelier:

He totally loved the time that they wrecked the den with boxes and ribbon, and took a wild ride on the ceiling fan:

And the time they rigged up a rope, swung down through the laundry chute and trashed the laundry room:

And who can forget when those damn elves climbed up onto our wall of black and white photos and switched out pictures of Elizabeth with pictures of themselves?

Sigh. I have this sneaking suspicion that Bix, Libby and Colleen will be showing up any day now. I know that their arrival will mean more work for us, but I have to admit they are charming little buggers.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Goodbye Thanksgiving, Hello Christmas!

I hope that everyone had a great Thanksgiving! Our trip to CT went remarkably well. I felt like I was wrestling an alligator trying to deal with Caroline on the plane, but she didn't cry, so I'll take the less-than-relaxing flight experience with a squirmy toddler. I was a little bit stressed out on one flight because Elizabeth kept kicking the back of the seat of a distinguished looking man in his 70s who was reading cases about summary judgment standards in employment discrimination cases. I figured he was not the passenger most likely to have a sense of humor about getting his back kicked for two hours. [Incidentally, if you are ever getting your seat kicked by child, please note that they might not actually be trying to torment you (although they might be, it's hard to tell). They have no choice but to sit with their legs out straight (with their feet ending up right on the back of the seat), because their knees don't come to the edge of the plane seat, and therefore they can't bend their knees and allow their feet to dangle freely. But that's neither here nor there -- it is mega-annoying to get kicked on a plane ride, so we try our best to stop it, by doing things such as encouraging Elizabeth to sit criss cross apple sauce (that used to be "Indian style," for you children of the 70s and 80s out there), and shamelessly bribing with candy.] But as it turned out, when we landed and were getting ready to get off the plane, the man checked us out with a surprised looked on his face, and said "are these all yours? They were so well behaved. I didn't even know there were children sitting behind me." I am going to get those words engraved on a plaque. I almost hugged the poor man. He has no idea that there is no higher praise you could give the parents of a traveling family than to tell us that you did not know we were there. It is nice to get occasional validation that our system of bribes and threats works.

I took time to reflect on all my abundant blessings -- my wonderful family and friends, our health, the roof over our heads, the fact that we got to share a fabulous meal on Thanksgiving (thanks Diane and Sal!) with people that we love. Elizabeth reflected on her blessings too, and her great teachers turned it into a placemat:

And before we even had a chance to catch our breath, here we are turning our attention to getting ready for Christmas! Jacob and Elizabeth have both been pestering us to start decorating. When David told him that we don't start decorating for Christmas until December 1, Jacob scowled and said indignantly "we are a WEIRD FAMILY!!" Indeed. Then Elizabeth (who doesn't yet have a concept of time -- she'll say that things that happened yesterday happened "last week;" if I tell her we'll do something this afternoon, she'll protest that she wants to do it "today!" Etc.) had a little come apart this morning when I told her that we would not put up our tree until this coming weekend. The poor thing started crying and said "YOU SAID THAT WE COULD DO IT THE YEAR BEFORE LAST YEAR!!!!" Well, whether it happens on Saturday or the year before last year, the tree is definitely on deck. Heck, we've already visited Santa Claus -- Christmas is clearly coming whether we are ready or not. Sorry about the dark picture, but it's bright enough for you to get the general idea about what Caroline thought about the big man: