Elves on Shelves and other stuff

I don’t really want to write about how I’m siiiiick and I don’t feeeel good, but yeah, that’s basically what’s going on here. I went to the doctor on Wednesday and got some (pregnancy-safe) antibiotics, so I’m starting to feel a little better. Hooray for that.

I honestly would’ve gone to the office today, except I still have these frequent coughing fits (thank you, bronchitis!), and that just seems sort of rude when you sit in an open cubicle environment, no? I mean, the guy who trims his fingernails in his cubicle makes me want to claw my eyeballs out of my face, so I imagine that this whole lung-hacking noise that I make every few minutes would be, uh, somewhat distracting for my co-workers, to put it mildly. Anyway, I have a remote desktop connection to my office PC, so I’m still getting all of my work done, even though I’m not physically there. It’s fine.

So! Onto other stuff:
1.) Tomorrow we’re taking Catie to see “Toy Story 3 on Ice.” None of us have ever been to an ice show, so that should be exciting. I’m curious to see if the ice show makes me weep like the movie does. (And remembering how Catie tends to get anxious in crowded theaters, just like her dad, I bought nosebleed seats way in the back. Which is actually kind of lucky, since it’ll also ensure that I’ll be far enough away that I won’t distract any ice skaters with my hacking cough.)

2.) In the spirit of good-behavior motivation, my sister bought us The Elf on The Shelf. I know it’s really popular and a lot of parents say that their kids love it (and I appreciate the gift – THANK YOU, TRACY!), but… does anyone else find it creepy? The whole “there’s a dead-eyed elf doll watching everything you do & reporting it back to Santa while you’re asleep” thing? And then he’s in a different location every day? I admit that I have issues with dolls (that most recent episode of “Hoarders” where the woman had collected over 5,000 porcelain dolls? I’m going to have nightmares about that house for the rest of my life). And I tend to think elves are a little creepy too. So combine the two and make an elf doll? That’s basically a potential horror movie to me.

Catie likes the book a lot, but she seems a little bit scared of the elf himself. I’m going to see how it goes the next couple of days, but if she continues to be nervous about the elf, I think Santa Claus is going to be short-staffed and have to call some of the elves back to the North Pole to help make toys, and our elf is going to go away. Christmas is supposed to be all about fun and magic, not anxiety-provoking or scary.

And for the record, when I described it to my mom, she had the same “NO NO NO THAT IS CREEPY AS HELL” reaction that I did. So maybe there’s a genetic link there with the elf doll thing.

3.) It’s been really nice having my mother-in-law here this week, especially while I’ve been sick. Catie goes to climb in bed with Grandma first thing in the morning, rather than coming to see me or Dave, so it’s nice to have a little reprieve. Plus, my MIL has been making dinner every night, so that’s been fabulous, just to have one less thing to worry about.

4.) It’s freaking cold here this week, way colder than a typical North Carolina December (although, to be fair, it’s only our third winter in this state, and we spent most of last December in England). It kinda makes me wish I were in Las Vegas with some of my favorite people right now, but alas. Pregnant ladies with tight Christmas budgets don’t get weekends in Vegas. Oh well. Maybe next time.

Random Odds & Ends

Catie’s latest obsession is Scooby-Doo. One would think that the excessive amount of monsters, ghosts, etc., would be too much for your average 3 year-old, but apparently that’s not the case for her. I’m pretty sure that in the past couple of weeks, I’ve watched more episodes of Scooby-Doo than I ever did in my all of my childhood years combined.

It’s gotten to the point that I was trying to think of toys for Santa Claus to bring Catie, this action figure set was the first thing I thought of for her. Since she’s already working the names Shaggy and Velma into her imaginative play, I have a hunch that she’s going to flip out over it.

Incidentally, that’s about as far as I’ve gotten with my Christmas shopping and planning. Hmm. I should probably work on that, shouldn’t I?


This weekend I got Catie all dressed up and took her to our town’s community park, which has a gorgeous lake and some really great views, and I tried to get pictures of her for our Christmas card. (It also helps that we’re having the most vibrant fall I think I’ve ever seen, the colors of the leaves are absolutely amazing.) I got some pictures that I thought were really great, played around with some Christmas card layouts, and ran them past my mom and sister to see what they thought. My mom said that she thought Catie was doing a “fake smile” in every picture and that I needed to re-do the whole thing. I think my mom needs to put down the crack pipe if she thinks I’m going to go through that whole process all over again.

(And for the record: I DON’T think she’s fake-smiling in most of the pictures. Sure, she’s not belly-laughing, but she was happy, and the smiles were real. So there.)


I’m trying to get in the habit of doing all my chores on the weekend so that I don’t have to worry about them during the week, but it’s hard. I know that eventually we’ll find out groove, but in the meantime, OOF. I seem to forget about a lot of things until Sunday afternoon, then there’s this whole panic of trying to get everything done at the last minute. It’s a weird trade-off: my weekends are busy and semi-stressful, but in exchange, it means that my time at home during the week is pretty chilled out and easy. Eh, I guess it works.


On the topic of weekend chores: One of the things that drives me insane is that Catie leaves her toys all over the family room, strewn everywhere. Now, it’d probably make more sense to just clean up the small mess she’s made each day, but I’m always tired at night and I forget about it at the time. Then by the time the weekend hits, I’m ready to scream from all of the clutter. The problem is, she’s only 3, so when I tell her to clean up her stuff, she just kind of stands there and stares at it. She can’t seem to figure out what to do first. (Actually, Dave has the same problem, so maybe it has nothing to do with her age and everything to do with genetics.) I don’t mind helping her, but I also want her to learn how to clean up her own messes. It’s part of that whole “teaching your kid to be self-sufficient” thing, which I consider to be a big part of my job as a parent.

But, I think I’ve figured out a way to work with her on this. I tell her that we’re going to have a Clean-Up Race. I set the timer on the microwave for five minutes, and we both work on picking up all of her toys. Whoever cleans up the most stuff in 5 minutes (hint: it’s always the kid, never the grown-up) is the winner, and gets a piece of candy. In Catie’s case, that’s a York peppermint patty, which is her favorite treat on earth.

And bonus points: the two times we’ve done this Clean-Up Race, we’ve gotten the entire family room clean before the 5-minute timer beeped. Love that. Chores that can be done quickly and effectively? WIN.


There’s some other stuff going on with us right now, but this entry is getting way too long, so it’ll have to wait until later this week. (I know, you’re like, DYING of anticipation, aren’t you? Heh.)

About the Job

People keep asking me how the new job is going, so I figured that I should probably just blog it and get it all out there.

It’s good. It’s really really good. The people are great, and the technology is pretty cutting-edge stuff and very interesting, even though a lot of it is WAY over my head. (I’m learning it. Slowly.) And yeah, ok, I’m working in a cubicle, but it’s a pretty darn large cube (like, I have way more desk space than I did at Microsoft where I shared an office with another person), and most everybody around here is really quiet, so it’s easy to concentrate.

This is my second nameplate because the first one said “Cynthia,” and I asked the office manager to please get me another one because nobody actually calls me that. She’s awesome and printed up a new one for me.

The main thing I’m struggling with is that it’s been four years – FOUR. YEARS. – since the last time I had a full-time office job. So even though it’s a very casual environment here (i.e., as long as I don’t show up in pajama pants, I’m fine; most of the people here are all jeans-and-t-shirts, all the time), it’s still weird just to go through the process of getting up early every day, making myself at least somewhat presentable, packing my lunch, etc. Add that in with Catie’s normal morning routine, and my mornings have gotten pretty crazy. I think it’ll settle down once we find our groove, it’s just that transitions (especially those that involve little kids) are never easy.

Also? I haven’t had to use this much of my brain for such an extended period of time in a really, really long time, so just that alone is kicking my butt. By the time the end of the workday rolls around, I feel like I’ve been flattened by a steam roller. It’s a good tired, a “wow, I really did a LOT today” kind of tired, but the exhaustion makes it hard to then switch back into Mommy Mode and really engage with Catie in the evenings. Again, this is stuff that I know will get easier over time. It’s just finding our “new normal” that’s rough.

Oh, and about Catie… Man. I guess I was naive when I thought that, hey, she was going to full-time daycare before and she’ll keep going to full-time daycare now, no big deal, right? I forget that she picks up on everything. So the fact that Dave and I are dropping her off at daycare together (because we’ve been carpooling), and then both of us leave together to go someplace she doesn’t know… it’s definitely thrown her for a loop. And she’s working me over like a pro.

Example 1: Yesterday she told me how she sat under the slide on the playground and cried for me because she missed me so much. (I thought she was b.s.-ing me, but her daycare teacher confirmed that yes, she really did do that.)

Example 2: At bedtime, she didn’t want me to leave her room or say goodnight. She said, “But I’ll miss you if you leave. I’m almost about to cry.”

Jeez, kid. Way to show a flair for the dramatic. And yes, I know that she’s just testing the boundaries of this new situation, which is all normal developmental stuff, but… Yeah. It gets to me. I’ll admit that I did stay in her room to snuggle and sing lullabies for an extra 15 minutes last night.

So that’s what’s going on here. Trying to find our groove and keep everybody sane and maintain a reasonable bedtime. It’s tough, but it’s also really good for all of us.

And you know what’s even better? I’m earning enough money that by next month, we ought to be able to afford a twice-a-month housekeeper. OH HELL YES, PLEASE AND THANK YOU.