Tag Archives: humor

No More Bird Watching in my Pajamas!

My sweet husband, apparently unimpressed with my Ninja skills and tired of my less than socially acceptable early morning wild life photography in my PJs, called me in from the backyard this morning to have the kids give me my Mother’s Day present early.

A new 55-300mm lens for my camera. How did they know? You’d think I’d been talking about this lens for months. They know me so well, it was just what I wanted.

You see you have to get VERY close to your subject to get a great picture with an 18-55mm lens. Which is fine when your subject is a cake but when it is a quail, well that’s when Ninja stealth is required.

Giddy, I popped that lens on and raced out the back door; still in my PJs. Here’s what I got …

Quail

I love quail and we have them everywhere!

Dove-&-Quail-2

This may be an indication that we are getting old but we love to sit on the back porch and watch the birds as they come to the feeder hanging from the Palo Verde Tree in the center of our back yard. We each have our own chair. Side by side. We always sit in the same spot. We are old.

Warbler-1

Pretty soon we will have bird watching books and I will be able to tell you every species of bird that comes to visit.

So very old.

Bird-Feeder-1

I can tell you that these visitors are Peach Faced Lovebirds and a Mourning Dove who have landed to enjoy breakfast at the just filled feeder (it will be wiped out in only a couple of hours). There is something in the mixture that the Lovebirds are partial to, you should see the seed fly as those sassy birds fling it out in search of their favorite snack. We joke that they are picking out the cashews – mixed-nut reference, no body wants the Spanish peanuts. I know you know what I’m talking about.

We make bird jokes and laugh at our “cleverness”. We are old.

Dove-&-Quail-1

Luckily, there is quite a cast of characters gathered below just waiting to clean up the mess.

Baby-Birds-1

I have to tell you about these little guys. I have no idea what they are other than absolutely adorable; remember, I don’t yet have a bird book.  They are still babies but are old enough to fly and are starting to forage for themselves yet are still little enough that they make quite a fuss for their mom’s attention, fluffing up their feathers, flapping their wings and sqwaking for a nibble. Watching their antics is so much fun; could it be because their demands are somehow so very familiar.

Old people use the term “antics” when referring to the actions of the young.

Morning-Doves

This one is my favorite. Mourning Doves, perched just outside the back gate, waiting patiently for me to move away from the bird feeder. Incidentally, I have always thought they were “Morning” Doves until a google search just revealed that they are in fact “Mourning” Doves; boy do I need to get that bird book. I find that somewhat depressing and much prefer “Morning” Doves.

Cottontail-Rabbit

Ooooh, and there was a bunny too!

So for now, I will no longer need to build the “blind” I had planned or sneak around in my jammies and slippers disturbing the wildlife.

Hummingbird-1 Hummingbird-2

These two pictures were shot a few weeks ago with my smaller lens. I was crouching down taking a picture of a hibiscus blossom when this little guy came in right next to me to get a drink.

I simultaneously heard him and saw him out of the corner of my eye.

He didn’t even know I was there.

Ninja.

Pretty good for an old lady.

Disclaimer: This post was in no way intended to offend the aged. I have three young exhausting children. I am tired. Don’t judge.

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Introducing Noodle the Elf on the Shelf

This year, “Elf Management” has been added to my seasonal resume; along with Head Baker, Interior Decoration Supervisor, Exterior Decoration Assistant, Lighting Designer, Personal Shopper, Party Planner, Event Planning and Coordination, Stylist, Hostess,  Executive Chef, Head Wrapper, Card Designer, Christmas Letter Writer and Keeper of Traditions.

Elf Management means that yesterday, our family officially adopted an “Elf on the Shelf” and named him Noodle. In true Brewer fashion, the beginning of this tradition was anything but simple.

I knew it would be. That is why I haven’t attempted the Elf on the Shelf Tradition before now. The fact is that no one in the under ten crowd around here just goes with the flow, accepts anything without a thorough line of questioning or is likely to “buy into” the idea of a tiny plastic elf watching their behavior, coming to life at night and flying to the North Pole and reporting to Santa. They all believe in Santa (although David has begun relentlessly questioning Santa’s legitimacy) but that is because he is a part of their own imaginations and is not sitting on a shelf where he can be scrutinized and inspected for authenticity.

Initially, it was my overly analytical, slightly cynical, too smart for his own good eight year old that I was most concerned about. I was absolutely convinced there was no way he was going to buy into this and I tried my best to prepare for the barrage of questions I would get from him.

Why would Santa need an elf to watch us? Can’t he just check the naughty/nice list? How did he know before? We never had and elf before. Or maybe he isn’t actually real. Challenging head tilt, penetrating stare. Why does it look so fake? How can it just sit there all day? How can it see and hear us if it is frozen? Does it eat? Does it go to the bathroom? How can it know what I do at school or when I am not in same room or when I am outside or when I am beamed up into a space ship, kidnapped by aliens and transported to a distant planet where they make copies of my giant overly inquisitive brain to implant in their robot army? How? Why? How? Why? How? How? How?

Do you see why I ramble?

To make matters worse, I messed up from the get-go. I decided to buy the plush elf doll rather than the little plastic version. I thought it was cuter and a little less creepy than the plastic doll which, truth be told, is a little creepy. Also, I really didn’t want to spend $29.99 for the book and the elf. So, I opted for the plush one which as it turns out is actually just intended to be a toy the kids can play with since the cardinal “Elf on the Shelf” rule is NO TOUCHING your elf, making him off-limits for playing.

Bob-The-Imposter-for-blogBob, the soft and cuddly imposter Elf. Nathan now calls him Chippy.

I could have lived with this except for the simple fact that the plush one doesn’t look remotely like it could watch you all day and then come to life when you are asleep and the plastic one does (a little) – which is probably why it is creepy. My friend Eileen introduced Elf on the Shelf to her kids this year too and her 4-year-old daughter won’t go anywhere near it, won’t even enter the room it is in. Just a little creepy.

Trying to pull this off with the plush elf was just not going to happen. A.) my children would never buy it (see reasons stated above) and B.) I have a five-year-old who loves all things soft and cuddly, has severe impulse control issues and is incredibly resourceful, rendering this irresistible plush toy elf useless in my attempts to implement this Christmas charade tradition.

I tried it, here’s how it went.

I placed the plush elf on the middle shelf of my baker’s rack with the “Elf Story” DVD and a note that read, “Hi, I am your elf. Sent by Santa to watch over you. Please give me a name, but don’t touch me or I’ll lose my magic. Watch my movie to learn more about me.” Remember, I was too cheap to buy the book and I thought the “visual” might be more convincing. I was wrong. After the video, Nathan walked up to the shelf, poked the elf in the leg and said “Dat not real. Dat not like the moobie. Dat haff noooo magic.” And then David (the skeptical 8-year-old) screams “NAAAATHAN TOUCHED THE ELF. DON’T TOUCH THE ELF. YOU CAN’T TOUCH THE ELF. HIS MAGIC IS GONE!!!!” Nathan, sensing he is being accused of a terrible crime, shoves David to the ground and shouts back “IT NOT REAL, DAVID!” David, “YES IT IS, Nathan, you always mess everything up!!”

David is now asking me in a very worried voice, “will he have elf friends who can get him get to the hospital at the North Pole?” (this is what happened in the elf movie). To which Nathan yells from his room (where he is now sitting on his bed in time-out) “DAVID, IT NOT REAL! – I TOLL! YOU! DAT!” And then, suddenly, David looks at me with relief as a great realization washes over him“Wait, wait, we’re okay. The movie said that the elves don’t get their magic until they are named. We haven’t named ours yet so he didn’t have his magic yet when Nathan touched him so he had no magic to lose. So once we name him, he’ll have magic and it will be okay.  Nathan from his room, “DAVID. It not real.”

Ironically, it was Nathan who ended up naming our elf. In an attempt to convince him and get him onboard, I asked him what he wanted to name the elf and he said, “I no, no (I don’t know)? Maybeeeee NOODLES!” Perfect, we all loved it. Noodles it is. But he still wasn’t buying it which was evidenced when he touched Noodles on the leg right after having named him. Poof. Magic gone. David beside himself. Sara rolling her eyes, looking at us all like we are lunatics (in the way only a nearly “tween” can) and stating “I’m going to my room to watch Ant Farm (tween girl show).”

Wow. I have grossly misjudged this on so many levels.

What am I going to do now? In an effort at damage control and salvaging this “Happy Christmas Tradition” it became obvious that it would be necessary to introduce the “real thing”. After church, I left the kids with a friend and ran to Target to purchase the $29.99 elf/book combo bringing my grand total for this new adventure to, well, more than it needed to be. Incidentally, they only had girl elves left. I do have a daughter but she is almost eleven (more later on God’s sense of humor at giving me a  daughter with a birthday the week before Christmas) and more interested in Ant Farm, so I was looking for a boy elf. I bought the girl just in case and drove to two other places that had nothing but dust and a few pieces of lint where all the elves had been. Girl elf it is, the skirt is sold separately and I’ll paint over her ear-rings, they’ll never know.

To introduce the “real” elf without completely losing all credibility and hope of belief, I came up with this letter:

Dear Family,

I am your true elf and today I’m making my appearance. I heard there were children here who might not believe so I placed a stuffed elf to fill in for me. I wanted to sit hidden, quiet and neat to see what I would see, how an elf you would treat.

I’m a little sad to say that you were not very nice yesterday, to each other or my stand-in, I call him Bob. I hope that will change on this day, my first true day on the job.

Nathan, you touched the elf with your finger, even when your mom said if you do, I would have to linger. My magic would be gone and I would be stuck, an elf not believed in and so out of luck. Thankfully who you touched is a toy, a decoy placed by me to test the curiosity of a small boy. You were right, he’s not real but I surely am so please treat me carefully so I don’t get in a jam.

I hope you have learned to see that you need me and learned not to touch and not to be greedy. I’m here now for real to watch over you and report back to Santa all that is true.

I hope that I can tell him of Christmas Cheer and of all the other things that he so likes to hear. Things like …

Kind words and clean rooms, good attitudes and responsibility, finished homework and helping hearts, trying hard and being thankful and others coming first.

I don’t want to have to tell him about anything else ’cause telling Santa bad stuff, well that’s the worst!

I hope I can tell him how I see you pray; everyday for loved ones, each other and those who are hurting, for hope and for peace, for forgiveness and grace for everyone less fortunate all over the place.

I love the name Noodles, it is silly and fun and I like being here where there is always so much sun. I am so happy to be your true Christmas Elf and sit here watching upon this comfy shelf.

So remember don’t touch, be kind and BELIEVE because I am only here until Christmas Eve.

Love,

Noodles, your Elf on the Shelf

We discovered the new elf this morning and read her his note. And I held my breath.

Noodles-for-BlogThe real “Noodles” waiting to be discovered.

You should have seen the look on Nathan’s face when “Noodles” addressed his indiscretion directly. I almost felt bad, almost. Then when Noodles admitted that the first elf was not real, the tables turned and Nathan yelled out “SEE, I TOLL YOU – HE NOT REAL!” And then, miracle of miracles, when David approached the shelf (the top shelf this time) on the baker’s rack Nathan yells out “DAAAAAVID, DON’T TOUCH IIIIIT!” He bought it. He believes. And then David says, “I won’t, I know this one’s real he totally looks real, not like the other one.”

All this time, Sara is eyeballing me discretely, sensing my deception but thankfully not calling me on it. I didn’t even have to bribe her; because I would have.

I have no shame. I am a terrible person. But I have pulled it off. I have deceived my children for their own sake (at least two out of three) and I am victorious. The Elf on the Shelf tradition is established.

I have given Noodles permission to give a Sunday update here on my blog so you can see all of the mischief he gets into and if management is creative enough to keep the web of decit magic alive.

Nathan-&-Noodles-for-BlogWho me? Touch the elf? No way, I would never! Twice? You must be confusing me with someone else. (Soft ear-muffs for a boy who is sensitive to noises, in case you wondered if he was pretending to be Princess Leia).

By the way, I thought I would share that I was in Barnes and Nobel this morning and they had 462 Elves on the Shelves (or however you say the plural) and at least half of them were male. The boys were with me getting a treat after a doctor’s appointment and I found myself explaining why Barnes and Nobel had 462 of Santa’s special helpers in their store. Why are they all stacked up like that? Why doesn’t that one look like ours? Is it a boy? Is ours a … GIRL? How do you get them out of the box if you can’t touch them? Oh yeah, they don’t have their magic yet. Did ours come from the store or did it just show up? Did we have to pay for it or did Santa really send it to us? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

Really, I do this to myself. I blame Lucy.

The Curious Case of the Missing Candy Corn

One of the main reasons I started this blog was to keep a record of all of the funny stuff that happens in our house. I don’t want to forget anything! I want my kids to be able to look back and remember all of the fun and joy in our lives. I want them to know how they made us laugh.

So, I have just one more Halloween(ish) story that I have to tell before we officially move onto Thanksgiving.

I decorate our home for each season, some seasons are more elaborate than others like fall and Christmas. This year, among the fall foliage and warm colors, I added glass jar lanterns to the dining room table centerpiece. Believing my children to be old enough to “leave things alone”, I filled the lanterns with candy corn and nestled a candle in.

A picture is worth a thousand words.

Oh, there it is, the candy corn candle holder that I was fully confident (mostly) my children would not touch.

Imagine my surprise (wink, wink) when the other night as we sat down to dinner, my husband noticed that one of the candles was leaning sideways and the candy corn had been “disturbed”. Upon further investigation, it became clear that quite a few candy corn were in fact, missing and that it was both candle holders, not just one. When Gary pointed this out, Nathan’s eyes got huge and he immediately said, “it NOT me! it NOT me!” Hmmmm, not the least bit suspicious.

When I pressed a little and asked a few questions, the five-year-old “wheels” started turning and without missing a beat, Nathan exclaimed “I know, I know, it was Sawahhh (Sara), she sooooo sneaky!”

You should have seen Sara’s face.

But before she could say anything, Nathan beings to tell the tale. His storyteller voice becomes hushed and Elmer Fuddish – as in “shhh, be vewy vewy quiet, I’m hunting wabbits”. I hope you get what I’m saying because the way he told this story was truly what made it so funny; of course, the dimples, mischievous sparkling eyes and expressive mannerisms didn’t hurt either. But I digress.

Nathan continues on, “yes, it was Sawah. She sneak up to da taybow and she reach vewy, vewy slowly and quietly into da jar an she take da canny corns so she can eat dem. An dats how it happen. It not me.” And he folds his arms, leans back in his chair and looks across the table at Sara as he shakes his head in disgust at her treachery.

Meanwhile, Sara’s mouth has hit the floor at the shock of the accusation just leveled at her. As the injustice of it all sinks in, she becomes defensive and insistent that she WAS NOT the one who took the candy corn.

We know this. This isn’t our first rodeo. We just couldn’t compose ourselves enough to reassure her. Thankfully, she caught on (I’m not sure if it was the poor attempt at concealing our laughter or the shaking or the tears that gave us away) and actually even played along as Nathan continued to insist that she was the culprit not him.

No, of course not, I mean …

“It not me.”

is this the sweet, innocent face of a storyteller willing to throw his sister under the bus to save himself? Why yes, yes it is.

We did manage to pull ourselves together enough to express our dismay at “anyone” who would sneak or lie or more importantly, mess with mommy’s decorations. He just turned five, if he’s still doing this sort of thing when he’s in law school, I’ll worry then.

Truthfully, I’m pretty excited that my boy with a speech and expressive language delay told such an elaborate tale and that I was able to clearly understand every devious word.

Laughter and Perspective are Good for the Soul

Laughter is good for the soul. Learning to laugh at ourselves and let go of our failings brings contentment and the ability to have patience amid life’s more frustrating and irritating circumstances. Often times these very circumstances turn out to be pretty funny in the end anyway. It is all about perspective, and I certainly have a lot more of that these days. I had just such a circumstance this past week when I spent an afternoon frantically searching through every nook and cranny of my house looking for my social security card.

The search began when my husband asked for the card for the recent re-finance we did on our house. Sadly, up to that point I didn’t even know it was missing.

I started the search in the most obvious place, the “Important Papers File”. Among many other “important papers”, I found my Honorable Discharge from the military (yes, I was in the military), the receipt for my wedding ring (circa 1995), and my husband’s high school transcripits from 1982-83. Which is a relief because I might need those someday.

No social security card.

Where to look next? Purses.

Disclaimer: I am not a hoarder. I am a busy mom whose purse seems to take on a life of it’s own – girl’s, I know you can relate. When I switch to another purse, I take out the essentials and toss the previous one on a shelf in the closet, usually with all sorts of interesting things tucked in side pockets or left to linger at the bottom of the bag.

I looked through what felt like 3,496 purses and 562 wallets but was really about 30 and 12. Here is what I found. HUNDREDS of cards; grocery store VIP savings cards, discount punch cards, business cards, insurance cards, cards, cards cards. More receipts than I care to discuss, old grocery lists (which being the foodie that I am, proved to be an interesting distraction), movie ticket stubs (Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, 2009), 14 lip glosses, 16 pens (ironic considering I can never find one in my purse when I need one), 6 packs of gum, countless breath mints, an assortment of  small toys, a few packets of fruit snacks, flushable wipes, enough feminine hygeine products to stock a Walgreens, and so much spare change that I am pretty sure the college tuition for at least one of my children is now covered. Oh, and $20 bucks. Yeah!

The low point came when I discovered the side pocket of one purse to be filled with loose M&M’s which were most likely used to placate a restless toddler in a public setting. Considering my youngest child just turned 5, we can assume the M&Ms were at least two years old. Thankfully, they were plain because at that point had they been peanut, I probably would have eaten them.

No social security card.

Next? Junk drawer, keepsake boxes, my craft room/office. Lord have mercy on my soul.

Here I will just give you a small sampling of what I found in the interest of protecting any dignity I might have left. My college ID (I graduated in 1991), the medal I received upon completing the P.F. Chang’s Marathon in 2004 (marathons are 26.2 miles, a fact that in 2004 did not terrify me nearly as much as it should have), newspaper clippings, quotes, poems, old pictures and “yet to be tried” recipies.

No social security card.

In fact, I still have not found my social security card, but I did find something else in the process of looking. While, at first it was frustrating and irritating to have to spend my Thursday afternoon digging through my disorganized and cluttered failings, as it turned out, I actually had an enjoyable visit with some old memories. I purged and organized and I now have a fresh clean start on the purse shelf, more lip gloss, and a few new recipies to try. Oh, and $20 bucks! Perspective.

Next? The forgotten boxes in the garage from our move two years ago or I could just go to the Social Security Office and request a new card. Either way, I’ll need you to pray for me.

Happy Monday, may it be filled with laughter and perspective.