It all started last year on one of our weekly trips to Costco. Rather than sniffing around for the next best sample to beg me for as standard ritual would go, I was stranded in the toy aisle surrounded by 4 tiny chanting humans begging "please, mommy please". As my sanity slowly eluded me, I could only think of the new responsibility that I would be taking on because 4 children, one on the way, two dogs, and everything else in between wasn't enough. It was a life or death situation, there was no way they would survive the holiday season without the scout elf joining our family. Clearly No wasn't even an option so home came the elf.
Before the grocery's could even make it in the door, in came the elf. Naturally, the package was ripped open and the poor guy was tugged and pulled until he was free from the restraints within the box. Besides, who needs to read the directions, the book was just an extra gift from Santa my children declared, there was no true purpose for it.
Finally, after the grocery's all found their place I was able to sit down to read the book, and then read it again. So, naturally the first thing we had to do was give our new friend a name. You could imagine the eagerness on all ends, four very stubborn, strong willed children, and they ALL had the best name. The only option to try to avoid as much as an argument possible was to draw names from a hat. All options were written down, and with happiness and much relief on my end out we pulled "jingles", not that the other option's weren't good but I am not so such "Optimus prime", or "Kitty" were appropriate fits.
The season came and went, and our scout elf did his best. Sometimes he forgot to move from the spot the night before. Sometimes the toddler of the family wanted to toss Jingles around with out Mommy looking, and there was even an incident or two where the animals of the house wanted to join in on the fun.
Jingle's decided to make his appearance this year on Thanksgiving, as he did the same last year with his first official appearance being Thanksgiving morning. Even with him only being here for less than a week we have already had a few incidents that mom needed to be quick witted for. Don't get me wrong, we had similar situations last year so I was a little bit more experienced this year.
1. Mommy, mommy the Elf didn't move!
Ok, the Elf slacked a little bit and didn't make the trip to the North Pole like he was intended to, OR maybe he did and he just really loved the spot he was in so he decided to take up the same spot. It is even a possibility that he is just super tired and its ok if he didn`t move.
2. EVERYONE IS TOUCHING THE ELF!!!
No one ever said that elves were the smartest, so putting themselves in bad circumstances may occur a time or too. Believe me its OK. Our elf, every year (never learning his lesson) makes his arrival Thanksgiving morning. Its fantastic, he always comes bearing gifts, and writes the kids a great letter that they just eat up (figuratively, but onces literally), and its great until everyone realizes that he is on the table, again, and we kinda need the table to eat on. But its ok, because you're allowed to move the elf if it is going to be in harms way. I PROMISE THEY WILL NOT LOSE THEIR POWERS!
We spoke to the Big Guy ourselves, even recieved a letter of approval from him. Although Jingles our elf does not LOVE to be touched, it's ok as long as we are not trying to take his magic away, and BELIEVE ME, SANTA KNOWS EVERYTHING, so he will know if we are just touching him to move him, or give him the occaisional hug hello or if we just don't want our elf telling on us. The big guy in the red suit knows it all.
At the end of the day, things are going to happen. We're parents, and they are mere elves. I know the motive behind the scout elf is behavior management, and I am sure it helps, but what I love the most about having the elf in our house is the magic it brings. It is like having Christmas morning every morning. The light in my children's smile is more magical than any magic the elf could bring.
I am a big, probably the biggest fan of breakfast for dinner. All the way back to when I was a little girl I always loved it, and asked for it often. This is probably mostly related to my love of eggs. I mean what's not to love about eggs (I could probably name more reasons not to love eggs than I could reasons to justify my love for them, but even with that said I still love eggs).
The conventional breakfast of eggs, a breakfast meat, and a bread is always comforting, yet I still enjoy mixing it up sometimes. I love to deviate from the norm and see what I can concoct.
I love a casserole, or one dish dinner. It makes it much easier to serve, and saves a lot of dishes which even though I am a very proud owner of a dishwasher I still dread the D word, no not dread, I loath it. So when I can, I try to utilize them as much as I can.
After rummaging through the fridge a bit I decided on making an English Muffin bake, nothing overly spectacular but covers all of the bases when it comes to breakfast.
As a side, I made home fries on the skillet (they are a breakfast essential especially in my house).
1 package of 6 English Muffins
2 cups shredded cheese
1 Package Bacon
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Line a baking sheet with tin foil, line bacon on top of tin foil, once oven is preheated bake in oven for approximately 20 minutes or cooked to your liking
2. In a bowl, scramble 12 eggs together until completely blended, add salt and pepper to liking, pour into a heated, greased pan, and cook until done.
3. Spray a baking dish with pam, open and line 6 English muffins into the baking dish. it is okay if the muffins over lap the sides and do not lay completely flat.
4. Sprinkle a half cup of shredded cheese on top of English muffins, cover layer of cheese with scrambled eggs, layer with another half cup of shredded cheese, crumble bacon over the layer of cheese, and then complete with the remaining cheese.
5. Cook in oven for 30 minutes or until cheese is completely melted and starting to bubble.
6. Serve warm
Lets just cut to the chase, no I’m not an expert, no I do not have a degree in early childhood development, or psychology, but I do have something that can benefit many, experience. Experience in headaches, heartaches, milestones, laughter, and growth. My experience does not mean that I know it all but with any job, field experience is the most relevant.
So, who am I you ask, I am a mother of a very mixed family of 5 children. With my husband having 2 of his own, I having one, and together we have 2, for a grand total of 5 very differently unique children. My step children (which I despise the term, but for the sake of not confusing anyone will use) were 2 1/2, and 3 1/2 when my husband and I started seriously dating, and my son was 2 turning 3. Going from one child to three was more than just a change in plans, it was a change in my life, my lifestyle, and more importantly a lifestyle change for my son. He no longer was an only child, he now had to share everything from his toys to his mom. As our new family dynamic affected both my son and I, it did the same for my husband and his children. We took more than just a detour in our life plans, it was more like deciding to go on a complete different trip in the middle of a current one. Adjustment did not come easy, but we managed.
I am a step parent, my story may not be identical to yours, and it may not even be comparable to yours but that’s what makes it my story. Despite our stories not being identical we do share one common thread, and that is that together although complete strangers we are conquering the step parent journey, with each passing day discovering new setbacks but new heights as well. My goal of sharing my story is for you to take my mistakes as a lesson learned, and build from them. We are humans, mistakes are part of who we are, they are imbedded in our DNA, and mistakes lead to lessons learned. Unfortunately even with turning a negative into a positive, mistakes can leave permanent scars and can hinder growth within relationships whether it is your relationship with your spouse, your spouse’s ex, or your step children. I always wonder how my journey would have been different if I had a guide to help me while I started out. Maybe I wouldn’t have made the mistakes that I did, or even with making some, maybe I would not have made so many. In my journey it took my husband and I a substantial amount of time to have a good working relationship with not only my step children’s mother, but with my son’s father as well. Although we are where we want to be now, and everything is flourishing, I cannot help but think of all the great opportunities that we have all missed out on. Ultimately our bad behavior didn’t just impact us as individuals, but it impacted our children, don’t be us learn from us.