Holiday Hoopla

I know… a lot of people stick their noses up at the “Hallmark” holiday that Valentines has become. I get it…the isles of stuffed bears, fake flowers and crappy hearts that show up in stores right after New Years are NOT romantic but extremely icky.

HOWEVER, getting store-bought valentines in my construction paper heart-decorated shoe box made my 1st thru 5th grade heart soar for weeks! THAT was what Valentines was all about.

I was tempted to go the store-bought route, but I couldn’t fight off the crafty monkey on my back. This year we made lollipop lips and mustaches:





So cute, right? And they sparked such a lively conversation:

Nate: “Mommy, I’m going to give my class lip lollipops because boys and girls have lips”

Zeke: “I’m going to give my class mustaches because boys and girls have mustaches”

Nate: “Zeke, girls don’t have mustaches!”

Zeke: “They will when they grow up. Mommy, how old were you when you got yours?”

Me: “Just a minute Zeke, I’m on the phone with a waxing salon.”





As a Mom, you know your kid has several cries. There’s the “I’m tired and hungry” cry, the “He took my light saber and I want it back” cry and the “My heart is truly broken” cry. That one is real and it makes ME cry when it happens. I will do or kill anything to make that one stop.

Flash forward to Nate broken-hearted crying to me:

“Oh, noooo…what’s wrong, Nate?”
(sobbing uncontrollably, pointing at a picture in his book)

“Something in the book made you sad?”

(shakes head yes, still sobbing, can’t talk)

“What book is this?” (I read the title) “SantaKid by James Patterson…seems harmless, what’s it about?”

(still sobbing, points at drawing of Dog)

“The dog made you sad? What happened, did the dog die?”

(Wailing, sobs, look of sheer horror…shakes his head NO!)

“Sorry! OK, let me read the page and see what happened”


“Doggie Doo Doo? Nate, you’re upset because they made a doggie called Doo Doo?”

(Nods yes, bottom lip quivering)

“Why does Doggie Doo Doo make you cry?” (trying to keep a straight face)

(sniff) “Because nobody wants him for Christmas…Waaaahhhhh!”

Nate is my sensitive, empathetic son. This is the kid that when we watched “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” when he was 3, I had to find him a Charlie-in-the-box for Christmas because nobody wanted him, either.

“But Nate, this is just a story that James Patterson made up, I don’t think there really is a Doggie Doo Doo.” (biting lip to keep from laughing)

“I’ll ask Santa to bring me  Doggie Doo Doo!!”

(Trying to get him to see the humor in this) “Nate, what if you sit on Santa’s lap and ask him for Doggie Doo Doo, then on Christmas morning you open your gift and it’s a stinky pile of real doggie doo doo!?”

“Mommy! This is not a joke! I’m serious! I want to give Doggie Doo Doo a home for Christmas!”

“OK, sorry Nate…That’s very nice of you.”

So I thought that would be the end of it, but I should have known better. Everyday, all day for a week my son is talking about Doggie Doo Doo. He wants to play with Doggie Doo Doo and sleep with Doggie Doo Doo… and I’m NOT allowed to laugh! Torture. Not to mention the looks of strangers within earshot of these conversations. I don’t want to know what they were thinking.

So I get it into my head that I’m going to make Nate a copy of the Doggie Doo Doo. I’m sure I broke all kinds of copyright laws with this, but I think desperate Moms should get a “Get out of Jail free” card in such cases. How do I do it. How do you make Doggie Doo Doo?..hmmm… I got it! Mark made a copy of the page and erased the background. Then we copied the image onto an iron-on sheet of paper (Thanks, Wendy!) and ironed the image onto some plain fabric. I found some doggie fabric in my stash (yes, I have a stash) for the back of the pillow and viola! May I present to you my present to my eldest son. A pillow with Doggie Doo Doo on it:


“Mommy!!!! You got me Doggie Doo Doo for Christmas! Did you make it? (insert joke here because I wasn’t allowed to) I love him so much! Thank you. You’re the best Mommy in the whole, wide world!”



Yes. Yes I am.

…has been what both my boys have been chanting for over a month. “But you’ve NEVER been fishing!” has been my response over a billion times. I had no idea where this was coming from. I can’t remember anyone fishing in any of their shows, video games or books. When I asked, “Why do you want a fishing pole?” hoping to get to the origin of the idea, all I got was, “Duh, Mommy…so we can fish! Hellloooo!!”


I knew they would be sorry they “wasted” a Santa wish on a fishing pole, 7 minutes into their first cast. I knew all to well the pain of “The Year Of Regret” so I wanted to shield them from making an uneducated decision. When I was 8, I asked Santa for a microscope. A freaking microscope!!! I saw it in the Sears toy catalogue and had visions of hours and hours of “discovering new species undetectable to the naked eye”. That was a direct quote from the catalogue. 7 minutes of straining my eyes to see a piece of my hair x 50 (which is all the strength $19.99 could buy you in the 1970’s) I was crying my eyes out, “Tell Santa to take it back! I don’t want a microscope! I want a Chrissy doll! Tell Santa I’ll trade the microscope for Chrissy!” No such luck. I was stuck. Stuck with the worst gift ever and had no one to blame but myself.

Trying to steer my boys away from making the same mistake I made, I devised the, “Mommy saves christmas” plan. Mark & I would take the boys fishing with rented poles so they could get it out of their systems. Let them see that fishing takes LOTS of patience they don’t have yet and let’s be honest…boring as all get out. 30 minutes of staring at a bobber in the water should do the trick! I needed to rent some poles. Luckily, there are two such places at Disney. I chose Fort Wilderness Campground. It would cost $12 bucks and some worms to save christmas. Worth every penny.

First glitch in my plan: We went to see Santa BEFORE we were able to go fishing! Standing in line to meet Santa, I asked Zeke:

“Hey, what are you going to ask Santa for?”


DOH! I had to think fast:

“Hey, Guys, why don’t you let Mommy & Daddy buy you a fishing pole for christmas and you can ask Santa for something REALLY cool!”

“But a fishing pole IS really cool, Mommy.”

“I know, Nate…but Santa’s Elves aren’t really known for their fishing pole making skills…they’re much better at making other stuff. Isn’t there anything else you wanted?”

“I want a skateboard…”

YES! “The Elves are REALLY good at making skateboards…I’m pretty sure Tony Hawk uses a Santa’s Elf board.”

“REALLY? I thought he used a Tony Hawk board.”

“He does…a Tony Hawk board that was made in Santa’s workshop!”

“Zeke, What are YOU going to ask Santa for?”


“Right, sorry. Listen, Zeke…if Mommy & Daddy get you a fishing pole and Santa gets you a fishing pole, you will have 2 many fishing poles. Why don’t you ask Santa for something else?”

(Grrrrowwlll) “OK, Ok, ok…”

Then they proceed to sit on Santa’s lap.

“Ho, ho, ho…What would you like, Nate?”

“I hear you make good skateboards, so I’ll take one of those, please.”

“OK, what about you Zeke?”

“Well, since Mommy told me I can’t ask you for a fishing pole, I guess you can bring me a Lego set. The one with Batman, Robin, Poison Ivy and they’re in a fun house with a slide.”



Wew! Not counting Santa’s confused look, that went surprisingly well. On to the next step: Ft. Wilderness.













2nd cast in the water, Nate pulls out a fish.

2 minutes later, Zeke pulls up a fish. (NOTE: Weird perspective photo. Fish was NOT as big as Zeke’s torso.)

Mark pulls out a fish seconds later.

My fish? It was the one that got away. I lifted it out of the water and it did a swan dive off the hook. Swear.

Time elapsed: 6 1/2 mins.

“Zeke, here’s your rod. It’s all ready to go again. Get up off the floor, please.”

“No thank you, Mommy.”

“What do you mean, ‘No thank you’? Don’t you want to fish anymore?”

“No, I already caught a fish.”

“Yes, you did…a big one! Don’t you want to catch another one?”

“Nope. I already did. I’m all done.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yup, I’m sure.”

“OK. Do you still want a fishing pole for christmas?”

“No thank you. I already caught a fish.”


7 mins. in and Mission “Mommy saves christmas” is complete.

…or is it? Stay tuned…


I think there are 2 kinds of people in the world, those who love the Elf On the Shelf, and those who think he’s creepy. You should find out which your mate is before you agree to marry. It could very well be a deal breaker.

Luckily, Mark and I are both from the “Love Elf” camp, so no compromises were necessary. We’ve had ours for 2 years now and think he’s awesome. We’re raising our boys to be Elf-lovers too, much to the chagrin of certain family members who live in the “Creepy” camp.

Until this year, our Elf’s been very stoic, moving to different spots in the house each night when he got back from reporting to Santa. The boys would wake up, search the house and exclaim, “Found him!” and that was the end of it.

Then something happened: I saw photos of other people’s Elfs on Pinterest. Their Elves were very mischievous and funny. I became very jealous…I wanted a funny Elf!

So, I decided to have a little talk with Melf (our Elf’s name). I explained that ours was NOT an uptight house! In fact, some of us make a very good living being irreverent & funny. I assured him that if he wanted, he could let down his proverbial hair and have some fun with us! The boys shook their heads in agreement and excitedly set off to bed.

I don’t know who laughs harder now, me & Mark or Nate & Zeke:

Melf 2


When he found Melf the next morning, Nate could barely catch his breath, he was laughing so hard. It’s so exciting when your kids’ start getting your jokes: Nate took a deep breath and recited the dialog from one of our favorite movies, “Elf”:

“Do you like sugar?”

“Is there sugar in syrup?”


“Then, YES!”


I’m falling behind on my “holiday list of things to do” but I guess who isn’t?  My brother wanted us to meet his family at Legoland because he got free tickets that expire this month. (That’s how we decide our activities in my family… which coupon’s going to expire?)

I still haven’t taken the boys to sit on Santa’s lap to tell him what they want for christmas, so I thought this would be a great way to knock Santa off my list. I went online and made sure that Legoland did indeed have a Santa and found out he would be in front of the Lego tree.  Awesome!



Nate:  “Mommy, I told Lego Santa what I wanted, but I don’t think he heard me.”

Zeke:  “Mommy, Lego Santa’s got no lap! How am I supposed to sit on his lap to tell him what I want if he’s got no lap?”

Looks like we’re going to Disney…

Melf 1

Scene opens on my 2 boys watching a holiday special. A commercial for Dora The Explorer’s castle comes on:

Zeke:  Nate, look how awesome that is!!!

Nate:  Uh huh…

Zeke: Nate, we should ask Santa for that!!!

Nate: Zeke!!! We can’t ask Santa for that…

Zeke:  Why not?

Nate: Because…IT’S PINK!!!

I was thrilled to be asked by The Mother Company to write an article about the madness surrounding the holidays.

The second I said, “Yes!” and committed, I realized I had just added a 900 word article  about my extremely long “TO DO” list- to my extremely long list of things to do.

Now THAT’S ironic, Ms. Morissette.


Here’s wishing you all a stress-free holiday filled with laughter.

Thanks, for another amazing year.

Maryellen Hooper

Next Page »