2014 Total: $423.00 (Updated once daily)




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Christmas Crazy 6.1

Well, how about this.

I thought the rainbow tree was fantastical, but then y'all went and started filling the space under it. Now THAT is what is fantastical.

In other words, Christmas Crazy is moving along quite nicely. As of right this second, there is $253 in the bucket and 104 items have been purchased from the wish list. That will make for a whole lot of happy kids on Christmas morning.

But I'm greedy.

I want there to be even more happy kids on Christmas morning.

So, get to it, internet. There are now FOUR ways you can join in on the fun.

1. Paypal helps us to fill last minute gaps, pick up gift cards, and purchase clothing for children who need a helping hand. Just click the happy little reindeer to throw your pennies in the bucket.



2. The Amazon Wishlist addresses some requests and makes sure there is a wide variety of toys that match the genders and ages of Center for Victim's children.

3. Stop by Anvil & Anchor. Grab a latte. Toss a toy in the box. Everybody is a winner in this situation.

4. If you're headed to PodCamp Pittsburgh this weekend, take a toy or ten with you. It will wind up at Center for Victims.

Thanks, y'all. So far you've been nothing short of amazing.


Let It Glow

If "a Christmas tree problem" is defined as "doesn't know how many there are," then FINE. I do indeed have a problem. I don't remember for certain how many Christmas trees I have to set up this year, but I do know that dedicating 30 minutes per day to getting them set up is going well. Alexis and I set up Tree #6 tonight.

Tree #6 happened to be Alexis' tree. She has always had her very own Christmas tree in her room, filled with ornaments that are most definitely hers. Over the years, her ornament collection has slowly grown with souvenirs from adventures to far away places, memorabilia from various events, and things that seemed important at the time. Alas, this year there were enough of those special things to warrant moving to a bigger tree.

After stringing the new lights that Alexis picked out on clearance last January (all the while singing "Let it Glow" at the top of her lungs), it was time to move the ornaments from the old tree to the bigger new one. Of course, each ornament has a story and Alexis decided to use her energy to tell every single one of them. First she moved the ones that are related to places. From there she moved on to events. She spent a long time reliving her memories of the Winter Classic.

But then came the really fun part.

The "things that seemed important at the time" ornaments are intended to capture what Alexis is passionate about each year. For example, last year we added a cheerleading ornament to her tree. Years before the theme has been things like Sesame Street, Dora, Disney Princesses, High School Musical, Big Time Rush, etc. This year will likely bring an Elvis ornament to the collection.

Those early years, though. Those are the fun ones. Alexis has much shame when it comes to the Dora and Sesame Street years. She is so ashamed of them that she tried to not move them over to the new tree and instead wanted to give them to Mila. That didn't work out so well for her since the goal is for her Christmas tree to reflect her over the years. Mila will end up with an entirely different set of ornaments, I'm sure.

Alexis begrudgingly stuck Boots, Dora, and all of their friends in the back of the tree, once again pondering why she ever liked them.

And then she found this gem.

It's a Hannah Montana ornament. The only thing is that when she found it, Hannah was missing an arm. A bit of surgery fixed the situation, but not before Alexis could explain that Hannah was really Miley and nobody cares if Miley is missing an arm, except maybe her dad. For some reason that I do not comprehend, the idea of Miley Cyrus sporting just one arm struck Alexis as HILARIOUS, so she wound up rolling around on the floor laughing.

I had to ask why the whole thing was so funny.

"Because, mom! The wrecking ball wrecked her arm!"

I almost see what's so funny about that. Almost.



She happened to ask on the exact right day, so Alexis has an Instagram account. I had reserved her preferred user name months before without telling her, but then she went and acted all grown-up and responsible and stuff for weeks on end, so I figured I'd hand her something that could blow up in her face.

Spoiler alert: it didn't. In fact, giving Alexis an Instagram account has turned out to be the BEST THING EVER OMG.

The thing about Instagram is that the privacy settings are about as straight-forward as you can get. Plus, it's really very easy for me to control Alexis' universe. I can log in as her at any time since I have the password. She doesn't know the password and the account is linked to one of my email addresses, so there's really no way for shenanigans. I approve all of her followers and she knows she better not follow anyone without a discussion.

In other words, she fully expects me to control what she sees and who can see her.  It's really very age appropriate and I like how it sets our expectations for later.

Even better than the rules I set going in are the things that Alexis has already figured out.

1. Miss Alexis, she of few years on this Earth, has informed me that posting photos to Instagram is not about getting likes. It's about sharing things you like.

It's possible I busted into a celebration dance the first time Alexis told me that.

2. Alexis wanted to follow Taylor Swift, which ... fine. As much as Taylor makes me want to stab myself in the face with a rusty nail, she is very much so "safe." What Alexis didn't want, however, was for Taylor Swift to be able to see what she posts.


Alexis doesn't want to let Taylor into her world.

It made for a great conversation about why Alexis' account is locked and why she can't approve her followers.

3. As for approving followers, Alexis has already figured out that there is no shame in saying no. If someone requests to follow her and it isn't someone she would run to if she was being chased by a bunch of hungry zombies, it's a no. Instantly. She has experienced zero heartburn over saying no, which is generally just a good lesson to learn.

4. It took Alexis exactly one day to ask to unfollow Selena Gomez because "all she posts is selfies." Apparently a selfie here and there is very cool, but a constant stream of them is annoying.

Wisdom. My kid has it.

5. There are all kinds of stupid popularity games that kids play using Instagram. They compete for likes, they post selfies and then say "Fave if you think I'm cute" and all sorts of nonsense. I'm completely aware of it, but I don't think Alexis was until one of her friends from cheer starting posting attention seeking nonsense.

Alexis asked to unfollow her. She said she doesn't want to see people "acting weird" like that.

6. HER COMMENTS ARE AMAZING. I mean, I enjoy seeing what she will post and reading her captions, but her comments on my posts crack me up. For example, I posted a photo of Peppermint Crunch Junior Mints because ZOMG THEY ARE AMAZING. I am not at all ashamed to admit that while I bought them for Alexis, I ended up eating most of the box. The resident tattletale had no problem posting in the comments on Instagram that I was indeed guilty of eating them all.

Why that makes me laugh endlessly, I don't know. It just does.

7. She doesn't know it, but I can use Instagram to figure out how much Alexis isn't sleeping. She seems to check it in the morning and last thing at night, so I can actually see when she is sitting wide awake at midnight liking things.

I seem very omnipresent as of late. It's AMAZING.

8. Best of all, Alexis has already learned that it's a very bad idea to read the comments. She's following the Penguins. Every photo ever posted by the Penguins has a zillion comments, most of which have nothing to do with the photo or are just plain awful. Alexis read through them a few times and found all sorts of "grown up words." Now she will occasionally see me checking Instagram and will advise me, "Mom, don't ever read the comments."

She's a good egg, that kid.

It was a good morning.

A photo posted by Burgh Baby (@burghbaby) on