Still no elf on our shelf

In observance of the official start of the Christmas season (in DC’s eyes, anyway) – the day that the tree must go up and his hundreds of ornaments hung anywhere he can fit them; is a post from the same time last year. Although, much to my surprise DC did pick out an Elf on the Shelf ornament for the tree further into the season last year – there is still no Elf on our shelf.

THERE IS NO ELF ON OUR SHELF….

I have never attempted  “Elf on the Shelf” with DC. It looks like fun but I am not quite sure that he would “get it”, and if he did, I would be terrified to ruin the whole thing by forgetting to move the elf every day.  Unfortunately, the anxiety of forgetting is still never a guarantee that I will remember when it was time for Elf to move to a different spot. Then,  as *Geri said to me on Wednesday, “I don’t know where I put Derek the Elf last year. I have to find him by tomorrow” – I would always be in that same boat – I am notorious for putting things away that are never to be seen again.

Not participating does not stop me from harassing my two co-workers with clever photos of Elf ideas that I come across. If I am not going to do this, then they darn well better get creative about it for their kids. I mean someone should use the ideas that I would have used if Elf lived in our house, right?

(please pass the “pressure”)

Last year, Elf seemed to be everywhere. I do not know if it had become more popular or if it was due to the fact that two of my friends/co-workers, *Al and *Geri were elf’ing it for their children and that many of my instagram friends were posting daily photos of elf and his/her activities at their house. Whatever the reason, I found myself feeling guilty not having done this for DC.

After thinking about it for a while, trying to come up with something else to do in place of Elf, something that didn’t depend 100% on my memory –  I thought about his love for Christmas ornaments and our annual “ornament ritual” and came up with an idea.

DC loves ornaments. He always did. When I come across an ornament of a character, book, food or object that he loves, I buy it and save it for Christmas. Our tree generally goes up the day after Thanksgiving. DC loves going through all of his ornaments and hanging them on the tree. He is at the point now where he can unwrap and hang them all himself. He has accumulated so many  over the years that there is no longer room for any other ornaments on the tree – my Star Trek collection has not seen the light of day in many years.

Kirk, out!

Depending on the amount of ornaments I have stockpiled ahead of time each year, one is placed under the tree every few days. DC knows that if the gift is wrapped in aluminum foil, he has permission to open it.

I decided I might try hiding the ornaments around the house every few days. In making up this new tradition, there were no rules and appointed times that I needed to adhere to. I decided I would not tell him about this hunt, but I would hide the fist one or two new ornaments in places where he could not possibly miss seeing them, until he got used to not finding them under the tree.

I hid the first ornament on the shower rod, knowing there was no way possible that he could miss this. If he didn’t see it the second he walked into the bathroom, then he would definitely see it the moment he looked in the mirror. There was no way he could ever miss this ornament!

popcorn

He missed it……

It hung there the entire day. He even took a shower and did not notice it. Finally I had to tell him that I thought I saw a new ornament hanging in the bathroom – only then did he find it.

I hid a new ornament the following day. It was sitting right on top of the shoe basket. One of the first things DC does when he walks in the house is take his shoes off. There was no way he would not see this one.

glass slipper

He didn’t…….

This was not going as well as I expected. He was happy as he always is to receive a new ornament, but the whole surprise of just happening upon a new ornament was not what I’d hoped it would be. I just about had to point them out to him. I could have just continued on with the ‘aluminum foil package under the tree’ tradition.

I decided I would leave a note each time there was an ornament to be found.

This helped in his search, but still,  the ornaments that were right out in the open and visible seemed to be the most difficult for him to find.

pinocio

 

bazingarescuers

For a child that never misses anything, he was missing a lot.

Even odder – the ornaments that were hidden well out of plain sight, were found almost immediately, before reading the notes or clues. He went right for them.

cupfrozen

hooksnowBy the time Christmas rolled around and the last ornament was hidden and found, he had finally gotten the hang of it. He was having fun with it.

ariel

So, we’ll chalk last year up to a ‘trial run’. Here’s hoping this year I can get a little bit more creative with the hiding places and maybe leave clues instead of plain old notes. But still, our new tradition is not Elf on the Shelf – funny how these silly, little things can make one feel so guilty.

My stockpile this year does include a “Buddy the Elf” ornament which will be hidden on the shelf.

 

That counts, right?

 

***

(this post was originally run in November 2014)

 

 

 

If you knew…. Peggy Sue..

DC is not always a fountain of information. Most of the time it is very difficult pulling information out of him.
A few weeks ago, he left for his volunteer job at a local theater at 5:00pm (with his job coach, Mrs. H.). Volunteers have to arrive 2 hours before show time to put the programs together for that performance and to get their assignments for that evening. DC is almost always assigned as a greeter – he passes out the programs to the audience members as they walk in and recites his line “Enjoy the show”.
At the beginning of each season, when I have to pick the dates he is available to work, the name of the show is not available – probably because they do not want the volunteers to choose only by what show they may want to see. I also have to work around his schedule and Mrs. H’s schedule, so I am really just looking at dates and nothing else. This particular show, as it turned out was Alton Brown from the Food Network. When their beginning of the show greeting duties are over, many times the volunteers are able to sit and see a good portion of the show.

At 9:45 I received a text from Mrs. H. I assumed it would say that they were on their way home, but no…. it said “We’re still here”. They finally arrived home at 11:00PM – After being there for 6 hours, the only information he gave me was:
“A man making ice cream” – that was all he had to say…
My friend Bill responded to my non-information post with:
“I LOVE it, with all that Alton does and his wild energy, DC found the most memorable part of Alton’s show! You could start a new Blog called “DC’s Cliff Notes of Live shows at the theater!” I love how our guys and gals simplify what they see and hear into something that is truthful & concise!”
So true….. and I may just do that, but the reviews just may be very short.

DC, his best friend BB and I had tickets for the Buddy Holly Story yesterday. DC did work the performance the night before, but he was excited to see the show again with BB.

On Saturday morning, DC was concerned due to all of the snow that had already fallen (5 inches) when we woke up:
tembling

Despite the snow, we made it.

They both just loved the show. They had a great time.
buddy holly

This morning, DC was full of information and chatter about the ‘wonderful’ time he had yesterday. I was there but he was determined to tell me about it anyway, and I’ll take it…. it was unprompted information.

So in DC’s words, his review of his day:

I had a nice time last ‘even-ing’.
I went to see Buddy Holly Story with my friend BB.
We danced and danced and danced.


We had a scared of fright – jump up – PHEW!
America the Beautiful favorite song.
I went to dinner and Donna and John and Mom – me too!
Perfect!

Translation:
“We had a scared of fright – jump up – PHEW!”
Fortunately we had box seats as DC jumped up as if he could not control himself any longer, to dance. I mentioned to him later that he scared me because he jumped up so fast. He was using part of his favorite phrase “You gave me a fright” from the Lindsay Lohan version of the “Parent Trap”.

“America the Beautiful favorite song”
DC does have a love for all patriotic songs. He even has a sign language dvd of only patriotic songs, but I suspect that he chose it as his favorite from the show because it was really the only song he was familiar with.

“I went to dinner and Donna and John and Mom – me too!”
Because the snow was supposed to be much worse than it turned out to be, BB’s mom offered to drop us off as her car is much better in the snow than mine is. We all went out to dinner afterwards.

So there you have it, DC’s review of his day. I know he had a great time as he is still talking about it.

As for the “blind scheduling” method for volunteers at the theater, I just received DC’s schedule for the second half of the season. The first show he is scheduled to work is “50 Shades, the Musical Parody”.

I think DC and Mrs. H will be hanging out in the lobby for that one………….

Ornament Hunt 2014 (and one Elf on the Shelf)

As I wrote in an earlier post (There’s no elf on our shelf), I do not do the whole elf on a shelf thing with DC, but last year we did start a new tradition of hiding and hunting for the numerous ornaments he receives each year before Christmas.
Last year being the trial run, I discovered he was just not noticing them as I assumed he would, so I began writing notes each time I hid an ornament. By Christmas he was getting the hang of it. This year I decided I would not only leave a note, but also a clue. Coming up with clues that he would understand was not easy and I have to admit my clues need work – below is our 2014 Ornament Hunt –
Complete with some pretty terrible clues – so don’t judge.

#1 Elsa hidden on the shelf of his DVD cabinet

frozen

 

There is a new ornament for you to find.. I hid it very well. If you should find it after you watch your movies, please give me a yell”

(he thinks I’m funny, anyway)

 ~That was the last attempt in rhyming for the season.

#2 Mary Poppins in the silverware drawer.
poppins

There is a new ornament to be found: Just a SPOONFUL of Sugar helps the Medicine go down. What do you use to help the medicine go down?”

#3 Baloo and Mogli on the towel hook

Mogli

He found Baloo and Mogli before I had the chance to leave a clue….

#4 Tinkerbell in the drawer

Tink

Oh No! Tink is stuck in the bedroom drawer!”

Yes, I thought I was just giving this one away. I thought so anyway…. As it turns out, because I didn’t mention an ornament in the note – he read it, put the paper down and went about his business. When I finished laughing, I explained that he had to look for his new Tinkerbell ornament.

#5 Sully hanging on the lamp

photo1

 Sully must be very “BRIGHT” to attend Monsters University. Where is it Bright in the living room?”

It was right here that it finally clicked. He read it (no mention of an ornament) thought about it and without me having to help, looked around at the Christmas tree lights, moved on to the lamps and found it.

—–Progress, Progress, Progress——

#6 Ruby Slippers on his bedroom shelf

angel

 

Cordelia clicked her heels three times in Pylea “There’s no place like home” she said.

It didn’t work.

Who went to Pylea to save Cordelia?”

He understood the question and gave me an answer – he was really beginning to get this. The only prompting I had to give was “Do we have Angel and Lorne somewhere in our house?”

(Unfortunately, our Lorne lost his head after his last fall from the shelf, but in keeping with the theme of the hunt; he did actually lose his head temporarily while the gang was in Pylea. He just had much better luck getting it back in Pylea than he did in DC’s room)

#7 An Elf of a shelf

buddy

Your ornament is

L O S T

so take a look around to find Buddy the Elf sitting on a shelf.

Where is the L O S T shelf in the living room?”

First, let me say – There is an elf on the shelf.

Secondly, I thought this clue might be a stretch for him. That DVD set has been on this same shelf since the show went off the air. This in no way means that DC notices it at all, but I gave it a shot.

Believe it or not, he went right to it. I am always amazed by the things he notices when I think he is paying no attention at all.

#8 Brady Bunch on the wall

bb

 

Till the one day when the lady met this fellow And they knew it was much more than a hunch, That this group must somehow form a family. That’s the way we all became the Brady ‘Bump’.

Where does Doug do the ‘Brady BUMP’?”

This one needs a little it of an explanation….. Doug sings this song, he’s done it for years. He sings the Brady Bunch theme but replaces Brady Bunch with Brady Bump and crashes into the wall.

– insert my eyes rolling –

DC thinks it is the funniest thing in the world and asks him ‘crash and repeat’ – over and over again.

“One more time!”

– insert eyes rolling and head shaking –

This happens to be the spot where the singing and the wall where the crashing takes place more often than not.

-insert,  as DC would say, “Mom, put hand to face” (hand on forehead, as in OMG), shaking head, heavy sigh and eye roll-

Again he went right to the spot. Once it all clicked, it clicked!

#9 TARDIS on the clock

who

 

Dr. Who is a T I M E Lord. – He and the TARDIS traveled through T I M E hoping for a spot on your tree.

Where can we find the T I M E?”

I am 100% positive he would have gotten this with the clue I left. I hid this ornament while he was out with Mrs. H. at his theater volunteer Christmas Party and forgotten about it by the time they arrived home, when I would have guided him to the clue before he had the chance to run around putting his things away.

He spotted it and went over to take it down. I said “Oh, you didn’t get to read the clue”, so of course, he put it back. I told him he didn’t have to put it back, but all things in order; he went and read the clue out loud, then went back to claim his ornament.

#10 Princess Merida in the TARDIS

brave

Princess Merida must be very BRAVE to take a ride with DR. WHO, ROSE and K-9 in the TARDIS.

Where is ROSE and the TARDIS?”

I realized that I did not think this one through completely – He just received a TARDIS ornament a few days before. I was sure he would head straight to the ornament now hanging on the tree. I was correct in my assumption, he went to the tree. After a little bit of prompting “But where else do we have the TARDIS? Where is Rose and K-9?” , he did find it.

I still felt he should still have a few to just happen upon as he did or as I tried to have him do last year, hidden in places that I knew he would go eventually.

Trial run of 2013, over. I am declaring the 2014  Ornament Hunt a success!

Just to update you on my friends’ progress this year. As I said, if I am not going to do it, they very well better be creative about their elf!

~ Yes, it is hard to be my friend……..

Year 2 of  “The harassment of *Al” – my constant badgering to hide elf in a Rice Krispies box. (I’d seen photos, I e-mailed, texted and showed him photos and nothing). Finally he decided he would use this as one of his Elf setups. Geez!

He texted his wife while she was out shopping and asked her to buy Rice Krispies. She replied that she had Crispy Rice. He told her he wanted the real Rice Krispies. She asked why and he said he wanted to make Rice Krispie(s) treats. (Why he wouldn’t tell her what he really wanted them for, I do not know).

She bought Crispie Rice.

I told him that I had just seen a photo of someone using a Crispie Rice box, I had actually e-mailed it to him a few days before, but he said it would not be the same.

The following morning when I was getting DC’s breakfast ready it occurred to me that I had a box of the ‘real’ Rice Krispies, so I took the cereal out and brought him the empty box.

krispies

And there you have it!

*Geri has also done a few very creative things with Derek the Elf, but still being in the training portion of the program, she has not gotten the hang of remembering to take a photo of everything Derek gets himself into.

~Maybe next year

Not so “literally speaking”

We all know that DC is very literal (see Literally Speaking)  in his speech and way of thinking. Aside from his black and white,  no-gray-area way of communicating and understanding and his just one mumbled word responses, his manner of speaking is at times very formal, for lack of a better word. Much of his language stems directly from the many books he reads and movies he watches.
He calls the cabinet a ‘cub – board ‘ <cupboard> (emphasis on ‘board’), not because he thinks it is funny,  because that is what it is. That is what he’s learned from his books.

For example, when he knows I happen to have a Friday off from work and he wants me to come to lunch at his program –

“*Vickie, would you be so kind to join me for lunch on Friday at <insert the name of his program>” ~ the whole name please, not the Acronym used by the everyone else ~

 –  (*yes, he calls me Vickie from time to time. In his mind, he is an adult and that is what he should do. It does not bother me in the least. Last night, for some reason, it was “Ms. <Last name> and that is fine too)

He does ask me from time to time, what a word means, not that he will incorporate the word into his vocabulary, he would just like to know. Every once in a while he will make a connection with one word and other in his head. I am always in awe when he manages to do this on this own. This seems to be happening much more lately.

For many years “Wonderful” was his choice when he had a good time or liked something very much. He has started replacing “Wonderful” with “Terrific”. Not a huge deal, but he figured out that it means the same thing and it is a little less formal than “We had a wonderful time”.

A few weeks ago, I was telling DC that we were out of something, I don’t remember what it was at the time, but it was something he was expecting to have for dinner. I explained that we were all out,  it was my mistake, I didn’t know we were out (things tend to go over better with him when it is my fault :).

His reply???

“No problem”

NO PROBLEM!!!!!!

I have never heard him use that phrase, ever. Somewhere along the line he figured out what it means and used it appropriately.

A while back DC and I were having a movie night. DC was waiting in the living room to watch “Maleficent” and I was in the kitchen getting the pizza ready ~ actually I was in the kitchen bleeding all over the counter trying to find a Band-Aid. Not an easy task with “Mr. Band-Aid” in the house – but that is beside the point. Searching for a band-aid box that was not full of band-aid wrappers but no band-aids and mumbling under my breath –  from the living room I heard; “Gee, I wonder what Vickie is up to”.

GEE????

IS UP TO ???

I wrote that one down as soon as DC brought me a Band-Aid from his hidden stash.

In my last post you may have heard “We have to get moving”.

GET MOVING  instead of  we have to go!!!!

I asked him to help me open a Peanut Butter jar – he tried, but he could not get it to open either.

“It won’t budge”

BUDGE?????

Let’s not forget the day he was “in sympathy” for sneaking chips. There have been so many more, but you get the picture. It throws me a little bit every time he comes out with a new one, but it is exciting. It shows me that he is paying more attention to what goes on around him and he is listening to much more than he lets on.

There are still many literal, black and white moments and DC still very rarely refers to himself as “me”.

Recently at a Best Buddy walk, both of his Buddies asked him where he got the Star Trek shirt he was wearing…..

“DC’s room” 

 

 

 

 

Lessons learned on the “Santa Train”

 

train

(Code word of the day: “Supplement”)

The other day, I read a post from one of my favorite bloggers, Autism-Mom. The post, FEELING THE MAGIC was about her son questioning the existence of Santa Claus. Give it a read if you have a minute, it is wonderful.

As parents, we all come to this crossroad sooner or later. It is a sad milestone. It begins to be difficult for them to understand and believe in something that they can not see. Sure we see Santa and his helpers quite often during the months before Christmas, but never during his Christmas Eve deliveries. This causes our children to question his existence. Why can’t they see him? Why must they be asleep? As I explained to DC, Santa has a job to do. If he took the time to stop and visit with the children in every house he delivered gifts to, even with his magic, he would never be able to finish in time to get back to the North Pole to celebrate Christmas with Mrs. Claus and the elves.

It took DC many years to understand Santa. He knew he would receive gifts, but the whole idea of Santa was not something that could be understood easily. His not understanding, did not stop Santa from leaving him gifts.

When it finally clicked and he did finally get it, he was all in! Now that he does understand, he would never and will never question his existence.

The one problem was, DC ‘s Christmas requests have always been small (in size) gifts. Santa could very well bring him 20 DVD’s, but the pile of gifts (visually) would be very small. DC doesn’t understand cost/size vs. number of gifts. He expects a very big pile of gifts. So, over the years I would always “supplement” the Santa pile with gifts of my own.

Being a single mother for more than 20 years now, I am the sole “supplement-or” (yes, I know that is not a word) of DC’s gifts. Which means I not only “add” to what Santa brings just to make the pile look more exciting for DC, but I also, of course, have to buy additional gifts from ‘Mom’. This gets to be a little bit overwhelming for me, not only in cost, but in trying to come up with other gifts ideas to make that “pile” he needs to see.

Now that DC is an adult, and the items he asks for are smaller still, it is becoming harder and harder to “supplement” Santa’s  gifts, to make that Christmas gift pile”,  I did finally have to confess to him that some parents, with adult children, have to help Santa out a little bit. Santa has so many little children to deliver packages to on Christmas Eve, that it is hard for him to get to everyone. So now that the is an adult, Santa only delivers his stocking and the rest of the gifts in his pile are from Mom. Santa always did a pretty good job with his stocking, by the way. He was fine with this. As long as Santa is coming, even just to bring a stocking, all is well.

Coincidentally, the morning I read the post from Autism-Mom, was the day that DC, his best friend, BB, BB’s Dad, Doug and I were going to take a ride on the Santa train.

Earlier this week, BB had just been told by one of his other friends that he was too old and should not still believe in Santa. He was upset by this, but BB knew better. He knew he was correct in believing.

Both DC and BB were very excited about riding the train. They always have the best time when they are together anyway.

stst2

Santa boarded the train a few minutes into our trip. He received more hugs that he expected, I imagine.

BB mentioned to Santa, what his friend had said to him that week. Santa took a little bit of time to talk about it with BB and DC.

(This video below is very poor quality – it was dark on the Santa train, but you can hear some the conversation and Santa’s advice to BB)

“Those who don’t believe, well they are the one’s that are missing out” ~ Santa Claus

So there you have it, straight from Santa’s mouth. BB felt much better. He knew it before but now he really knows that he was right all along…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

December reruns

Last week I wrote about DC anxiously awaiting “Peter Pan Live” on Thursday.

His anticipation of the production led me to remember the previous years production of the “Sound of Music Live”, which in turn led to a repeat my Sound of Music post from December 2013.

(By the way, DC’s review of “Peter Pan Live” – “Two eyes closed” – he fell asleep after only an hour… take from that what you will).

The “Sound of Music” post contained photos of a Sound of Music sing-a-long we attended with friends. That and the fact that DC had been watching “Grease” this weekend, led me to the “Grease – Sing – a – Long” we also attended.

Because everything is related and this is the way mind works…….

From March 2014:

“We Go Together……..

…like Ramma lamma lamma Ka dinga da dinga dong
Remembered forever like Shoo-wop sha whada whadda Yippidy boom da boom
Chang chang changity chang shoo bop That’s the way it should be
Waooo Yeah!”

GreaseSR

These Kids Rock! They really do!

That was originally all I intended to say. I wasn’t really considering writing about this, but……. as I was thinking about just how proud I am of each and every one of them and just how much DC and his friends just rise to the occasion and always have a great time together,  I just had to mention the fact that not only does DC have the best friends anyone could hope for…. I do as well.

As I wrote in an earlier post:

***I am fortunate to have friends that are willing to go all out for something that DC loves so much; we all took a line from that song and dressed appropriately for the Sing-A-Long. He and his friends had a ball and I think after the initial embarrassment, my friends did as well.***

DC and I are very fortunate to have these people in our life. I am not just talking about the sing-a-long we just attended, but in general, these people are just the best, THE BEST!

DC and his friend BB love Grease. BB is a long-time fan, DC became a fan because of him. When I heard the local theater had scheduled a Grease Sing-A-Long, I knew we just had to attend. Everyone agreed to attend and then I proceeded to harass them for months about costumes. I will admit that I can be a little bit high pressure when it comes to costumes (just a little bit), but I am sure they expected it and if they didn’t, they put up with me anyway. I am sure the last thing the adults wanted to do was to wear a costume again (Halloween is over, can’t we get a break?) but they agreed.

But…. did they expect to be wearing toilet paper rolls? I doubt it. I think they actually thought I was joking when I first brought it up. They quickly realized that I never joke about costumes so the “roll collection” process began. BB and his Mom, Donna were not able to attend the Sound of Music event with us, so as BB was looking forward to wearing his “Grease Garb”, I don’t think Donna realized that she would also be in costume as well until about a week before the event.

We collected our toilet paper and paper towel rolls and headed to Tonya’s house one Sunday afternoon. Tonya being the craft genius and glue gun wizard, was able to figure out just how to do this.

Talk about “Above and Beyond”; she sat there for hours gluing toilet paper rolls to foam strips! All that we had to do was supply our heads.

Glue Gun Wizard

They looked fantastic! They were unexpectedly comfortable too!

We headed out to the theater on Thursday night in single-digit weather – not wanting coats to muck up the costumes – it was COLD! We had 10 seats in the first row of the upper orchestra section. Coincidentally a friend of mine had the rest of the seats in that row! Together, we made the best row of costumes there (my opinion only, but I firmly believe this to be true 🙂 ).

We sang, we danced, we had many, many photos taken of us as a group and of us with strangers. We were interviewed and photographed by the local news paper. Those under the delusion they would not be noticed, were wrong.
The “kids” had so much fun singing, dancing and using the props provided by the theater. They just ate up all of the attention they were getting.
The adults had a great time, singing and dancing as well..

except for this guy……..

Except this guy - Grease Sing A Long - Beauty School Drop Out

Those still under the delusion of anonymity, had that shattered when they were plastered all over the news on Saturday.

The Theater's Facebook Page

The Theater's Facebook Page

As the show was on a Thursday night and not on a weekend, we weren’t able to go out to eat in full dress afterwards – this had to be some consolation to the adults anyway……

But all joking aside, we did have a wonderful time. I can’t say enough about all of them.

Walking around in public wearing toilet paper rolls….

the truest measure of friendship….

Thanks to all of you!

*Thanks to my friend *Al at work, who always comes up with a fantastic photo of our outings

There is no elf on our shelf

I have never attempted  “Elf on the Shelf” with DC. It looks like fun but I am not quite sure that he would “get it”, and if he did, I would be terrified to ruin the whole thing by forgetting to move the elf every day.  Unfortunately, the anxiety of forgetting is still never a guarantee that I will remember when it was time for Elf to move to a different spot. Then,  as *Geri said to me on Wednesday, “I don’t know where I put Derek the Elf last year. I have to find him by tomorrow” – I would always be in that same boat – I am notorious for putting things away that are never to be seen again.

Not participating does not stop me from harassing my two co-workers with clever photos of Elf ideas that I come across. If I am not going to do this, then they darn well better get creative about it for their kids. I mean someone should use the ideas that I would have used if Elf lived in our house, right?

(please pass the “pressure”)

Last year, Elf seemed to be everywhere. I do not know if it had become more popular or if it was due to the fact that two of my friends/co-workers, *Al and *Geri were elf’ing it for their children and that many of my instagram friends were posting daily photos of elf and his/her activities at their house. Whatever the reason, I found myself feeling guilty not having done this for DC.

After thinking about it for a while, trying to come up with something else to do in place of Elf, something that didn’t depend 100% on my memory –  I thought about his love for Christmas ornaments and our annual “ornament ritual” and came up with an idea.

DC loves ornaments. He always did. When I come across an ornament of a character, book, food or object that he loves, I buy it and save it for Christmas. Our tree generally goes up the day after Thanksgiving. DC loves going through all of his ornaments and hanging them on the tree. He is at the point now where he can unwrap and hang them all himself. He has accumulated so many  over the years that there is no longer room for any other ornaments on the tree – my Star Trek collection has not seen the light of day in many years.

Kirk, out!

Depending on the amount of ornaments I have stockpiled ahead of time each year, one is placed under the tree every few days. DC knows that if the gift is wrapped in aluminum foil, he has permission to open it.

I decided I might try hiding the ornaments around the house every few days. In making up this new tradition, there were no rules and appointed times that I needed to adhere to. I decided I would not tell him about this hunt, but I would hide the fist one or two new ornaments in places where he could not possibly miss seeing them, until he got used to not finding them under the tree.

I hid the first ornament on the shower rod, knowing there was no way possible that he could miss this. If he didn’t see it the second he walked into the bathroom, then he would definitely see it the moment he looked in the mirror. There was no way he could ever miss this ornament!

popcorn

He missed it……

It hung there the entire day. He even took a shower and did not notice it. Finally I had to tell him that I thought I saw a new ornament hanging in the bathroom – only then did he find it.

I hid a new ornament the following day. It was sitting right on top of the shoe basket. One of the first things DC does when he walks in the house is take his shoes off. There was no way he would not see this one.

glass slipper

He didn’t…….

This was not going as well as I expected. He was happy as he always is to receive a new ornament, but the whole surprise of just happening upon a new ornament was not what I’d hoped it would be. I just about had to point them out to him. I could have just continued on with the ‘aluminum foil package under the tree’ tradition.

I decided I would leave a note each time there was an ornament to be found.

This helped in his search, but still,  the ornaments that were right out in the open and visible seemed to be the most difficult for him to find.

pinocio

 

bazingarescuers

For a child that never misses anything, he was missing a lot.

Even odder – the ornaments that were hidden well out of plain sight, were found almost immediately, before reading the notes or clues. He went right for them.

cupfrozen

hooksnowBy the time Christmas rolled around and the last ornament was hidden and found, he had finally gotten the hang of it. He was having fun with it.

ariel

So, we’ll chalk last year up to a ‘trial run’. Here’s hoping this year I can get a little bit more creative with the hiding places and maybe leave clues instead of plain old notes. But still, our new tradition is not Elf on the Shelf – funny how these silly, little things can make one feel so guilty.

My stockpile this year does include a “Buddy the Elf” ornament which will be hidden on the shelf.

 

That counts, right?

 

 

 

 

 

 

….and they cancelled Halloween – Part Two

~As you may have read in Part One – during the “Halloween Nor’easter of 2011, we lost power on Saturday night, October 29th~ Now it was Monday.

Monday, morning came. It was Halloween and still no power. I regularly take Halloween off from work, so luckily we did not have anywhere to be. DC had his ‘un-toasted’ toast for breakfast. I realized in my fervor to find coffee the day before, I never had anything to eat (“The Storm Diet” was a ‘terrific’ diet while it lasted) – so I joined DC for some ‘untoasted toast’, went to work again on the ‘*RS Room’ and began mapping out a new coffee hunt.

Before we left on our coffee hunt, DC’s Dad showed up. He delivered a contraption that he made from a car battery. This was, in my opinion THE best thing ever! A place to charge phones, plugs for lights or whatever else I needed to plug in, although the coffee pot did not occur to me at the time, lights for DC, did.

293835_3926409243267_1941068327_n

The downside…… he wanted to take DC with him to his house. Now of course I want DC to be somewhere warm, with power, water and without a RS Room, but on the other hand, I don’t ever want DC and I to be separated during any sort of emergency type of situation; I just want him with me, plain and simple.

Now feeling very cut off from the world, I began my ‘coffee quest’ alone. The Dunkin Donuts I found the day before was no longer open. I stopped at a nearby hotel – knowing full well that there were no hotel rooms available in the state, but I was there, so I may as well check it out. I felt silly even asking and of course there was nothing available.

Tonya, Coach and I tried to keep tabs on each other during this whole fiasco, but with my phone not really working, it was difficult. Fortunately, Tonya called while I was still out driving. She called to say that another friend, Pat, had just had her power restored. She had invited us all to come for dinner and trick-or-treating in her neighborhood. Our kids trick-or-treating together has become somewhat of a tradition. No matter how many Halloween parties DC attends and no matter how many different costumes he gets to wear before Halloween, he still wants to wear a costume ON Halloween. I, for one was tired of the stares and comments when out trick-or-treating with an 18, 19, 20-year-old alone. Going out in a group just seems to work out better.  I immediately called DC’s Dad and told him he could keep him there for the day, but he needed to be home at 5. He was not going to miss Halloween if I could help it and if Pat had her power back, it wouldn’t be long for us to have our power restored.

I kept myself occupied the rest of the afternoon alternating between working on the RS Room and searching for coffee. Finally DC came home. I got him into his costume while it was still light out. I have to say, we planned this costume well…… “Elf” complete with a snowy background.

DC was happy to see his friends, happy to be celebrating Halloween and happy to be somewhere with power. Pat and her neighbors were happy not to be stuck with all of the Halloween candy they had purchased ahead of time.

 

 

bam bam

 

Elf, “Gabriella Montez” (from High School Musical), Sly Stallone and Pebbles were ready to hit the road for trick-or-treat. Surprisingly, almost every house was ready for this last-minute Halloween. Trick- or- Treating with snow on the ground was an  experience they will not soon forget, I am sure. I will never forget it, for sure.

After covering the neighborhood, carrying full bags of candy, it was time to head home. I was still living under the delusion that this would be over by the time we arrived home that night – it was not. We piled on our “storm wardrobe”,  comforters, blankets, etc. and went to sleep. I had to be back at work on Tuesday and when Tuesday morning arrived I still wasn’t sure that there was power at the office, but off we went. Driving to work, I realized that I was preoccupied with hanging branches. This preoccupation lasted for many months after this storm. Even now, when it is windy or stormy, I find myself watching the trees as I am driving.

There was power at the office and DC was able to sit and watch some movies on his laptop. I was just considering bringing him back there that night to sleep in my office, when my mother called. Her power was back so we made plans to go there.

The next two days went pretty much the same as Tuesday. Work, home, check for power, work on RS Room, pack some things and go to Grandma’s before it got dark.

In the morning –  stop home, check for power, work on RS Room, go to work with DC. I really have to say that for a child so very afraid of storms, lightning, clouds, thunder and the power going out – he was a real trooper. I was proud of him. It was almost as if he was able to put his fears and the behavior that goes along with those fears on hold for the duration of this storm and aftermath.

On Thursday night at about 8pm, I called my landline – another thing I did regularly when we were out of the house, and the machine picked up! We had power!

My mother wanted us to wait until morning to leave but I could not think of anything else but getting the RS Room working and clean. DC was beside himself yelling, “My powers is back!” (DC-speak; his powers)

Home – RS Room fixed and clean – everything went quickly back to normal.

All but one party was rescheduled – our “cancelled Halloween” had become a weeklong event running into the second week of November.

Best Buddies held their party on the following weekend – Pebbles and Bam Bam attended – with “Gabriella Montez”, and Best Buddy, Steve of course.

 

Many of the surrounding towns officially cancelled Halloween and rescheduled it for the following week – our town did not. We did receive a flyer in our mailbox from a neighbor with young children asking that the neighborhood join in for an hour-long  trick-or-treat on Saturday night. DC and I participated and then headed out to the next town over – where Halloween was officially rescheduled – to visit a friend and celebrate “Fake Halloween”.

We just happened to have one more unused costume set on-hand that we could not let go to waste.

“Yes, Captain Hammer’s here, hair blowing in the breeze. The day needs my saving expertise”*

Because “A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do” * (and a Mom too)

 

I do understand that others had it much worse. My friend Steve had no power for 11 days. 11 Days!!!!! I would have had to just move away at that point. I hoped that because DC had gotten to the point during this whole ordeal where he seemed to be able to put his fears aside, that this new attitude would carry on through to the next storm – it did not.

School had been cancelled throughout this whole power outage. Between hurricane Irene in August and the Halloween nor’easter, all snow days had been used up for the school year and it was only early November.

On the UP side……….. I did loose 5 pounds on the Halloween nor’easter diet and I did get one of those store-bought contraptions from DC’s dad for Christmas that year.

It does have to be charged every few months and each time it comes out, DC gets nervous.

 *RS Room – Raw Sewage Room

(*Joss Whedon’s “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog – 2008)

but….. no one will know what you are supposed to be

In the event that it still isn’t apparent to everyone…….. I LOVE HALLOWEEN, and I couldn’t be happier that DC loves it as much as I do!

“But, no one will know what you are supposed to be”, is something I have been told quite often on Halloween over the years. I sometimes have a very odd sense of what is funny or what, I’m sure other people will get. They don’t always ‘get it’ but I am cracking myself up so no one else needs to join in.

DC and I begin planning Halloween in August. He must have a costume for every event he attends and me, being me, just LOVES this!

As I can always come up with the odd costume, again, thinking I am just totally hilarious, more often DC will come up with a costume that is not a costume at all, just a character wearing regular clothes or worse, a costume that does not exist or that no one has ever heard of except for DC – who is watching very old or obscure musicals or Disney movies.

There was the year that he wanted nothing more than to be “Charlie Bucket” for Halloween……..

Basically, Charlie Bucket is a boy with blonde hair.

Charlie Bucket - Photo Credit - Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Charlie Bucket – Photo Credit – Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Alrighty, then…….

In my mind Charlie’s birthday scarf was red – it wasn’t,  but I think I duplicated the jacket (doesn’t show up well in the photo, but it was very close), the hair and hat as closely as I could. I added a Golden Ticket to his trick-or-treat bag, for added recognize-ability  and I think I came pretty close to turning DC into “Charlie Bucket”.

and ……on a side note, the bag must always match the costume….

Even with the addition of  Willy Wonka and an Ooompa Loompa , people who did not know DC personally had no idea he was in a costume..

Then there was the year that DC wanted to be “Daddy Warbucks” from one of his favorite musicals,  Annie. I had planned to dress as Annie, but I broke my toe – the first in a very long line of toe-breaking incidents – so I could not walk around the neighborhood with him. Still,  I assumed that most people would know who Daddy Warbucks was even without Annie by his side………They didn’t.

Even with the addition of Sandy the dog to his trick-trick-or-treat bag, most people thought he was Mr. Six.

(Mr. Six was one of his choices a few years later and yes, everyone “got it”)

Photo Credit - Six Flags Amusement Park and *Al (at work) - Graphic Artist who works magic with my Halloween Pics every year.

Photo Credit – Six Flags Amusement Park and *Al (at work) – Graphic Artist who works magic with my Halloween Pics every year.

I always do try to embrace his costume requests especially when he does come up with a character from a TV show or movie that is more age-appropriate than his usual choices. Generally when he does actually choose something or someone from a television show, it is usually a show that has not been on the air for years. He tends to discover favorite TV shows long after they are out of the public eye, but progress is progress and I will take it.

This year, he surprised me.

DC’s first costume of the 2014 Halloween season was “The Doppler Effect” (Sheldon – The Big Bang Theory) – He loves the Big Bang Theory and as I said,  I will go out of my way to encourage anything he might like that is more age-appropriate than the TV shows and movies he normally gravitates to. Obviously, he did not say “I want to be the ‘Dopper Inact’ (DC-speak)” but he did want to be Sheldon, which would have been easy to do,  as he has worn his Bazinga shirt to death, so we went for the Doppler Effect.

Sheldon, The Doppler Effect - photo credit teamliquid.net

Sheldon, The Doppler Effect – photo credit
teamliquid.net

No, not everyone knew who he was “supposed to be”, but he didn’t know or care. It was funny to the people that did “get it” and that is good enough for me.

DC as the Doppler Effect

Our next party costume was one that, not only did I think no one would have any idea about, but it was really difficult to find a photo on-line to copy from – The Timekeeper from “Spy Kids, All the Time in the World” – and yes, we are required to say the full title of the movie every time it is mentioned.

Timekeeper - Spy Kids All the Time in the World - Photo Credit: Disney - Spykids

Timekeeper – Spy Kids All the Time in the World – Photo Credit: Disney – Spykids

Fortunately, I found some “Bag O’ Gears” on Amazon along with goggles that looked close enough even before gluing said gears all over them. The costume, of course was not exact, it really wasn’t even close, but gears were added, a pocket watch and a flask with a compass, looking close enough to a clock to fit the theme. I thought it made the point and more importantly, DC loved it. As it turned out a few people other than DC  had actually seen this movie and knew right away who he “was supposed to be”.

The Timekeeper,the challenge of our Halloween season, “nailed”, according to a few reviews, we moved on to our final party before Halloween night.
The Beast…. because of course, there must be at least one Disney animated character in the mix.
This was not DC’s first Halloween as the Beast, but years ago, it was much more difficult to find a Beast costume, so again, we had to go “makeshift” and put random pieces together to get the effect. A friend of mine happened to have a mask, so that really helped.

This year, he had the real thing, straight from the Beast’s wardrobe – because, as you know, the Beast is no longer a Beast, he is a handsome Prince, he has no need of this outfit anymore.

The one costume that continues to make the list from the time DC was very young and still to this day is “Jim Dear” from Lady and the Tramp.

(sigh….)  A man in a suit…..

Not my idea of a Halloween costume, but – this is not about me….

……not ALL about be, anyway.

“Jim Dear” and Lady – Photo Credit – Disney’s Lady and The Tramp.

This year, while purchasing a 40’s style hat for DC to wear to an event we attended, I came across and purchased a derby type hat as well.
Next year I will give in to his request for a  “Jim Dear” costume. I suppose I will be shopping for a stuffed Lady and Tramp, and whatever else I can come up with to make “Jim Dear” recognizable. I have 10 months to think about it.

I began writing this post almost two weeks ago after DC attended his first party of the season, holding off publishing until the last costume of our season ‘dropped’ – on Halloween night.

The following is a combination of my encouragement of DC’s affection for something popular, age appropriate, something he actually thinks is funny, and me thinking myself quite hilarious.

Lizard Spock

We are just going to let you guess.

….and they cancelled Halloween (Part One)

(In a recent post, Second Star to the right……. and hang a left, written about our ‘escape’ from hurricane Irene, I mentioned that we were not as lucky a few months later)

It was Friday, October 28, 2011 we were gearing up for a marathon Halloween weekend. Now,  I can be a lot of pressure on Halloween, I know this, but my friends seem to put up with it and fortunately DC loves Halloween as much as I do, so the “pressure” is not too much for him; he enjoys it.

On Friday night we met my friend Coach and her daughter, Candy at the haunted mansion. The ‘kids’ looked quite terrified, but they made it through. DC, although he looked like he was about to fall apart, wanted to go again, while Candy decided to sit out the second go-round.

Mansion

Coach, Candy, DC and I met Doug at a local diner for dinner afterwards. Doug was leaving that night for another leg of his quest to golf in all 50 states. He would be away for more than a week.

After dinner we all went home to get prepared for the 3 party marathon we had scheduled for the following day, one more on Sunday and then of course, Monday was Halloween. Usually the parties are spaced out a little more, but this year they were all crammed into the same weekend. It took a lot of planning costume-wise. The parties were back to back, and DC has grown accustomed to having a different costume for each party and another for Halloween itself (I love this child!!!) so I had to plan the best way for him to make quick changes between each party.

Saturday was a beautiful sunny day. I took this photo at noon outside the house right before we left to meet Tonya and DC’s friend, Salli at their house to begin our marathon.

Puck before the storm

As soon as we arrived, Tonya told me that her husband, Rick mentioned that the weather people  were predicting snow; heavy snow. He warned that it could get really bad out on the roads and there still being  leaves on the trees, may make matters worse.

What????

It’s October!

How much snow could we possibly get in October?

(We totally missed the “leaves are still on the trees”, point – What could that possibly have to do with anything?)

We decided that he didn’t know what he was talking about and even if he did – the sun was still partially shining – this probably would not even begin until much later in the day. We were used to the weather people making a mountain out of a mole hill, so we decided to go full speed ahead with our party plans.

It took only 30 minutes to arrive at Camp for the party. The change in the weather in those 30 minutes was drastic!

The snow was really coming down!

Puck in the SnowSalli in the snow

Still in denial about all of this….How long could this possibly last – It is October! We went inside and joined the rest of the party-goers that were probably in much denial as we were. It seemed as though everyone that RSVP’d  attended and no one left early. It IS October, after all.

We met up with Coach, Candy, Katie and her daughter, Kate (who was dressed as Ariel; this made DC’s day). No one seemed overly concerned about the snow, the party went on as if nothing was going on and we really intended on moving on to the next two parties…..
until we had to get back on the road, that is….

roads

Okay, so maybe we should skip the other parties – they had already been cancelled at this point, we just did not know that.

Katie and Kate witnessed a terrible accident on their way home, but made it home safely. Coach and Candy got home safely as well. We arrived at Tonya’s house to find her son in the driveway, looking at the very large tree branch that had fallen on his car.  Okay – got it –  “leaves still on the trees” – it finally clicked. Their power was out. Tonya went into panic mode (panic mode is usually my role – Tonya is normally relatively calm about everything) – yelling at everyone to get out of the driveway and out from under the other low-hanging branches. Her son, on the other hand, looked relatively calm about the branch laying on his car. DC and I got into my car which was parked under another very large, now very low-hanging branch and started home.

Okay, allright, I’ll say it…….. Rick was right.

We live only one mile from Tonya’s house but it took us 45 minutes to get home. DC was stimming wildly and scripting loudly about the power – his worst fear – all the way.

We made it home and YES we had power, a little unbelievable as our neighborhood seems to lose power quite often, but we did have power and we were thrilled.

Home safely, WITH power, DC and I went about our normal routine assuming that all of this would be over by morning. Within 45 minutes of our arrival home, the power went out. DC was screaming from the bathroom, I told him to stay there, got a flashlight and went up to get him. I hunted about for more flashlights, got DC’s pillow and blankets and brought them down to the living room. THIS IS THE MOMENT, right here that the “sleeping on the couch” situation began. 3 years later, we are still sleeping on the couch most nights.

It was early but I tried to convince DC to try to go to sleep and the power would surely be back by time we woke up – I really believed that, I really did. Of course I had to stay right there on the other side of the couch, so I tried to get some sleep as well.

We woke up on Sunday morning and still no power. Still convinced it would be back soon, DC had breakfast, under protest. Even though losing power is one of the things he obsesses about, he just can not understand that I can not make toast. He can have bread with Peanut Butter (something he ate everyday for lunch), but it was morning and mornings are for toast, not bread. There was plenty of other non-refrigerated items that he could have, but no, he HAD to have toast. He finally gave in and had some “un-toasted” toast and we set out to find coffee.

My landline was down, my cell was only working sporadically. Most of the time, I had to drive to the center of town to get any reception at all. We kept taking short trips throughout the day in search of coffee. I didn’t want to drive too far as with no information to be had, I never knew what we’d be driving into, but on the other hand I needed coffee and DC needed something to do. He loves to and will read his books for hours, normally, but not during a power outage – he is just much too distracted and upset to do any of the things he normally would do.  I have driven him around for hours in the past when we had an outage, but this was different, there was really nowhere to go, trees and branches were still falling and I didn’t want to waste gas. I didn’t know where we would find an open gas station.

It was a very odd and unsettling feeling not really knowing what was going on out there. I felt cut off from the world. Between feeling cut off  and my “dropping dead and how long will DC be alone before anyone knows?” obsession – I was not having a good time.

The day was spent, dealing with what I affectionately named the “raw sewage room” -RS Room for short –  (Did I forget to mention that DC clogged the toilet the very second that the power went out? Did I forget that?) – and taking quick, not too long trips to find coffee. I did finally find a Dunkin Donuts (because apparently I always do) open at about 4pm. They did not have power and were just about out of everything but coffee was still available.  I’m not quite sure why or how they still had relatively hot coffee available with no power and I did not ask; I ordered the bucket size.

At this point, DC was no longer fixated on the power coming back, he was just defeated, very quiet, no emotion, just going through the motions. We got ready for the night to come, I made another attempt at fixing the “RS room’, we read for a while and went to bed. Worried about the cold, I had DC wearing thermal underwear, thermal socks, slippers and his very heavy robe. I began piling blankets and comforters on us and at the point when he had just about enough, he yelled, “Mom! I don’t want to be warm!” – of course he wanted to be warm, but it was his way of telling me that I was putting way too much stuff on him.

Monday, morning came. It was Halloween –  and still no power. Halloween was looking grim!

To be continued in “and they cancelled Halloween- Part 2”

(Happy Halloween to you all! Keeping our fingers crossed for No Storm today!)