2016 total: $2706.45


Can't Stop Believing. I Think.

Houston, we have a little problem.

Both of my girls are pranksters. They both love to mess with me and will fall over laughing as they say or do something to ruin my day. This is a known fact.

That's why I'm not sure if Alexis is screwing with me or if she seriously is all in on the Elf on the Shelf thing. Still.

We're one week from the dumb thing making its stupid appearance for the year. In my head, this  was the year when the Elf would be more for Mila and less for Alexis. This was also the year that maaaaybe I wouldn't have to have anything to do with it because Alexis. I was planning on letting Alexis move the dumb thing around. Better her than me, after all.


But tonight she reminded me about how last year Mila touched the Elf and it was so awful and, and, and, and ... and.

Alexis doesn't know. I thought she knew, but she doesn't, so now I'm still stuck in the middle of Elfomania.

Unless she's messing with me. Which is possible.




Decorating Our Future

It's half past November, so of course I'm in the midst of putting up all of the Christmas trees. Before you try to give me grief about the fact that there are eleven Christmas trees fully lit and decorated in my house, two things:

1. Did you hear that little thing about Tangerine Mussolini getting elected? LET ME HAVE MY HAPPY, DAMMIT.

2. I'm not even halfway done and there are just a few days separating us from Thanksgiving. I probably won't finish by then, especially if people keep giving me grief. I have to buy a new tree every time someone complains about what I do in my own home, you know.

So, I'm allowed to have some Christmas trees and stuff. We're all in agreement? We're all in agreement.


Most of the trees go up pretty easily, but there is one that is rather beastly. I've had help a bunch of years in a row, which is good because I find joy in having someone look at me like I'm nuts when I haul out six tubs of ornaments.

Six REALLY FULL tubs of ornaments.

The thing about the beastly tree is that there isn't much tree showing when it's fully decorated. The trick to a super matchy tree with cheap ornaments is that you need ALL of the cheap ornaments. Overkill is good. Promise.

It takes a few hours to achieve overkill perfection. Even with multiple people helping.

This year it wasn't just the adults who helped. Alexis was also genuinely helpful. She was in charge of many parts of the tree decorating and did most of her work happily. She's a fifth grader, though, so I think she's contractually obligated to do at least a little whining. So she did. She whined about all of the work.

The friend that was helping us is all in on my crazy, so she was poking back at Alexis' whining. It reached a point where Alexis was asked how many trees she would have when she's an adult. 20 plus like me?

Alexis was quick to clarify that she's nowhere near as crazy about Christmas trees as I am. She explained that they are too much work so she would be limiting herself to a nice, sane number of trees.

Like 10.


Alexis thinks 10 Christmas trees is a nice, low, sane number.

My work here is done, people.



Faking Friendship When Real Friends Aren't Available

33.8% of parenting is arguing with your kids about eating and sleeping at the times of day that they should be eating or sleeping.

41.9% of parenting is trying to find the other shoe.

24.8% of parenting is wondering when mathing became so difficult. Can we blame this on "new math?"

31.6% of parening is questioning if your kids hear anything you tell them.

98.3% of parenting is hoping your kids hear the important things you tell them.

There's a story that I won't share because 5th graders are entitled to some semblence of privacy. I may be all up in Alexis' business all of the time, but that doesn't mean I have to amplify her business, you know?

The short, approved-for-sharing, version of the tale is that there was a situation and Alexis handled it in a way that was nothing short of an art form. Girlfriend stood her ground and then gave a lesson on responding with grace. It was FANTASTIC. Frankly, I was in awe. Truly.

A few days after the whole thing played out, I asked Alexis a simple question - how did you figure out the right words to make it through that so well? Her answer was to blame me.


Well, technically she said that she tried to think about how *I* would respond and she went with that. Which, could the kid flatter me more? I didn't argue with her at the time, but I did think that she legitimately handled the whole thing better than I ever could have. I ended up telling the kid as much.

The conversation meandered in a few different directions, but at the end of it, Alexis ended up rolling her eyes at me and saying, "MOM, we practice this kind of stuff all of the time! Of course I knew how to handle it!"



Things being what they are, I decided it was time that I practice what I preach (Alexis is right - I have made her practice simular situations). I practiced what I would say if I were to bear witness to a particular type of situation. You can go ahead and fill in the blanks as you see fit, but I decided that my goal would follow three easy steps:

1. Engage. Loudly say, "Hey! I can't believe I'm running into you here of all places!"

2. Reassure. Hug the person. I may hate hugs, but a hug is a super effective way of creating the illusion that you know someone and it allows you to put yourself between them and the problem. While leaning in, I can whisper, "Play along" if it seems necessary.

3. Move on. Carrying on about this video should be an easy way to establish a conversation and walk away.


A video posted by Burgh Baby (@burghbaby) on

You better believe I can quickly and without effort tell the story of a little person who has suddenly decided she's going all in on this cheerleader thing, despite the fact that we have a strict "one cheerleader per household" rule. I mean, LISTEN TO HER. She's loving every moment of chanting, "Let's get fired up." I definitely need to share the story with a stranger who just became a long-lost friend.

There's no way of knowing if I'll ever encounter a situation where it makes sense to follow my little script, but having it planned out was a very small thing that made me feel a little bit better.