The Bearded Iris

A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

Tag: Christmas (page 1 of 2)

…and that’s why I don’t make handmade gifts anymore.

Once upon a time, I was a serial crafter.

I love making things. All kinds of things. Always have.

Earliest crafting memory? When I was about 7-years-old my mom signed me up for a Saturday morning holiday ornament class at the local craft store. I’ve been a craftaholic ever since.

Why, of course I still have those ornaments! Aren’t you adorable to ask! (#hoarder)

This first one was made from a tuna can. Honest to Pete. Nothing says “Welcome Baby Jesus!” like the lingering redolence of Chicken of the Sea…

TheBeardedIrisVintageTunaCanOrnament

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Look what’s under the mistletoe!

Dobbie adjusts his mistletoe belt buckle by The Bearded Iris

Dobbie ain’t no dummy.

Hey, all you Christmas decorating pros, is real mistletoe always so flimsy and delicate? Geez Louise, I lost about half the leaves fashioning that belt buckle for Mr. Horny Pants up there.

Confession: this is actually the first year I’ve ever bought real mistletoe. Is that crazy? I’ve always wanted some, but I’ve never really liked the plastic mistletoe I see in most stores. So when I saw some little baggies of real mistletoe for $1 each at the local Christmas Tree Farm last weekend, I snapped up a few bags and brought them home with us.

Did you know that real mistletoe is a parasitic plant that grows at the top of trees? The owner of the tree farm told me that there’s a gal in his neighborhood who shoots the mistletoe down with a rifle and then shows up in her head-to-toe camouflage to sell him big fresh clumps of it.

Welcome to North Georgia, y’all.

Anyway, what few hearty sprigs remained intact while I was making my bouquet are hanging in my foyer from the pendant light. So if you plan on stopping by anytime this holiday season, just go ahead and pucker up, Buttercup.

live mistletoe in the foyer by the bearded iris

How about you? Are you a mistletoe veteran or virgin? Got any tips or stories about mistletoe to share? Dish it up!

Yours truly,
Leslie

 

 

The Return of Dobbie, The Inappropriate Elf on the Shelf

Today marks the one year anniversary of Dobbie’s Big Debut. If you’re just joining us, Dobbie is my family’s Elf on the Shelf, and he’s a little, uh…mischievous, you might say.

He was pretty popular around the blogosphere last year for his lewd and lascivious antics. He even finished in second place as one of the Top 11 Inappropriate Elves over at Baby Rabies’ Inappropriate Elf Contest for that time he wrote his name in the snow.

Dobbie writes his name in the snow by The Bearded Iris #InappropriateElf

Ah, good times.

Pretty ironic that he would become so popular because I never even wanted that little so’mbitch.

He was an ambush gift from my mom to my kids and I just knew he was going to be trouble. Like I needed to add one more labor-intensive holiday tradition to my already overflowing plate of Christmas duties.

But I begrudgingly let Grandma be the hero and give the kids the one toy they’d been so desperately coveting.

And long story short, we all fell in love with him.

Even my beloved kitty Gracie (RIP) enjoyed his company. These shots were taken last year and were part of my story about having to improve upon my husband’s lame attempts at Elfing. (Bless his heart.) That’s one of my all-time favorite posts, by the way. (And the photo below is the one I’m entering in this year’s Inappropriate Elf Contest at Baby Rabies.)

Dobbie plays Scat Scrabble #InappropriateElf by The Bearded Iris

Dobbie plays Scat Scrabble2 #InappropriateElf by The Bearded Iris

I sure do miss that sweet cat. She was the best. {Sigh}

This year, Dobbie the Elf arrived on Saturday, December 1st.

I clipped his little hands to one of the blades of the ceiling fan, turned the fan on low, and went to bed.

I would give anything to have a video of my kids’ reaction when they discovered him.

They were watching TV in the family room that Saturday morning, and it wasn’t until my husband said, “Hey, why is the ceiling fan on?” that they looked up and noticed Dobbie spinning around and around, with his little felt legs splayed out behind him like he was holding on for dear life.

Believe me when I say my kids went absolutely apeshit. “IT’S DOBBIE!!! HE’S BACK!!! HE’S ON THE CEEE-WING FAN!” (sic) shouted Bucket Head.

And that, my friends, is what this Elf thing is all about.

It’s not about comparing yourself to other mothers. It’s not about having to “remember to move the fucking elf.” It’s not about rules or obligations or judgement.

It’s about bringing joy to your kids. 

And let me tell you something about my kids: the horse apple didn’t fall far from the horse, if you know what I mean.

Elf on the Shelf Dobbie on the crapper by The Bearded Iris #InappropriateElf

Toilet humor—works every time.

And if you can make your husband laugh along the way with little surprises like this?

The Elf on the Shelf Dobbie has a mouth like a trucker by The Bearded Iris #InappropriateElf

Even better.

Oh easy there, Mother Superior. My kids never saw that. By the time they woke up that day, the egg carton was closed, and the elf was in a much more family-friendly position…

Dobbie The Inappropriate Elf on the Shelf licking a large turgid candy cane by The Bearded Iris

…licking an enormous, turgid candy cane.

Because there’s nothing inappropriate about that, right?

May your holiday season be filled with joy, laughter, and plenty of minty freshness.

Yours truly,
Leslie

PS – Please follow me on Pinterest for more Elf fun and Christmas humor!

Follow Me on Pinterest

 

Mary, your baby is 42 pounds. And he’s giggling.

Last night was the Live Nativity at our church. We participate in it as a family every year and it is always the highlight of our holiday season.

In a nutshell, we set up 8 outdoor scenes depicting Mary and Joseph’s journey to the manger and we guide groups of visitors through the scenes, singing Christmas carols and telling the story as we go. All the actors are children and we bring in live animals for most of the scenes. It’s epic, and I don’t use that word lightly.

I wrote about our first experience with it a few years ago. Frankly, I’m surprised we ever went back for more after Mini-Me’s traumatic accident during practice and then the whole donkey poop issue.

But the kids love doing it, so we sign up again every year.

For our first three years, Mini-Me played an angel. It was not a speaking role. All she had to do was look cute and sing. Piece of cake.

Mini-Me and Donkey our first year in the Live Nativity, 2008. She was 6 years old.

We had so much fun, Mini-Me’s big brother Nature Boy decided to join the cast as a shepherd the following year (2009).

Nature Boy (10) as a shepherd and Mini-Me (7) as an angel with animals in the stable, 2009.

The last two years, he has wanted to be a Magi with his BFF. They have an alpaca in their scene. They love the alpaca.

I’m always a shepherd. It’s the only day of the year the neighbors aren’t wondering why I’m outside in my bathrobe with a curtain on my head.

Iris, Nature Boy, and an alpaca butt.

This year, Mini-Me decided she wanted to be THE Virgin Mary in the climactic final scene…

Why yes, that IS a rooster on a leash.

…the super-pregnant Virgin Mary who has just lined a manger with fresh hay so she has a place to put the newborn baby Messiah she’s expecting any minute.

It’s a major speaking role.

{GULP!}

I was fine with that. She’s got a dramatic flair, as you know.

But I didn’t realize the exact depth of her storytelling skills until I overheard a conversation she was having with her little brother, Bucket Head.

“Now you hide under my gown and when I give you the signal, you POP out and cry like a newborn baby. Okay?”

“Should I be naked?”

“Definitely.”

Naturally, I put the kibosh on it when they went to get the ketchup.

“Guys, stick to the script please. Mary doesn’t actually give birth during the show, sorry to disappoint you. Jesus isn’t born until Christmas day,” I scolded (trying not to laugh).

I had visions of Bucket Head’s curly mopped impish face crowning betwixt Mary’s white gown folds reminiscent of Jack Nicholson in The Shining: “Heeeeeeere’s JESUS!”

I was also more than a little nervous about Mini-Me thinking it would be glamorous to be an unwed pregnant teen someday so I made sure to drop a few phrases like “ring of fire” and “incontinence” when she asked me if wearing a pillow is what it feels like to be pregnant.

“Aw Mom. We’re just kidding. But that would be a funny Christmas card for next year, wouldn’t it?” Mini-Me suggested.

(Cue the shock and awe.)

So I got my Christmas miracle early this year: the Live Nativity went off without a single hitch. Everyone had a blast and rocked their parts. And yes, they all stuck to the script. (Just to be on the safe side, we sent Bucket Head to his Nonni’s house for the majority of the show.)

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a goodnight.

-Iris

© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris. All rights reserved. Support your local perineum.

The Elf on the Marriage Counselor’s Shelf

My husband and I are not seeing eye to eye on this whole Elf on the Shelf business.

No big surprise. He and I are polar opposites, of course. That’s how nature works. It’s all about propagating the species and the best way to do that is to mix up the gene pool.

So when I snuck downstairs a few nights ago to move Dobbie, I was not the least bit shocked to find that my husband had already dismantled this “killer” vignette:

…and set up his own low-key scenario for the kids to find the following morning:

Oh how interesting. Elf on a Media Cabinet. {Yawn}

Oh no. This will not do, I said to myself. This is MY dance space.

I knew Martha next door was probably making her Elf do powdered sugar snow angels on her kitchen floor that very moment. There was no way in hell I would let my kids bear the shame of having to tell the other kids at the bus stop that their Elf just sat on a piece of furniture all night! BOR-RING.

So I grabbed a few simple props and voilá:

Instant drama. See how easy that is? Anyone can do it! Well, anyone but my husband. And not just because the cat avoids him like the plague.

(WARNING: Even without the demonic cat in the background, this scene may be a bit too macabre for many young children. My kids were fine with it. They watch a lot of Sponge Bob.)

Later that day after the kids were in bed, my husband beat me to the punch AGAIN and moved Dobbie for the night. He really outdid himself and moved the Elf to a totally different room. WOW – he so crazy!

What? You moved Dobbie to a different room? HI-LARIOUS!!!

FAIL. Poor Dobbie looks sad and alone, not impish and merry! You know who else found his Elf like that one cold December morning? Jeffrey Dahmer, that’s who.

Luckily I arrived in the nick of time. “Step away from the Elf, husband. This is not a job for amateurs.”

Again, with just a few additional props, Iris and her trusty feline sidekick were able to save the day and enjoy a good chuckle at the same time:

It’s the little things.

You’re pretty impressed by my cat right now aren’t you? Yes, Scat Scrabble appeals to multiple ages and species, let me tell you. All three kids thought it was awesome. The husband? Not so much. He’s just grateful I didn’t throw in one of my signature fake turds for extra oomph. (I actually did, but the cat is lying down right on top of it, honest to God. Bet she thought it was a little brown mouse. Damn.)

Luckily for our marriage, my husband catches on pretty quickly. Last night he just handed me the Elf (not a euphemism) and said, “I know you’ll just correct whatever I do, so here; have at it.” (Also, not a euphemism.) Is he well-trained, or what?!

In hindsight, I probably shouldn’t have defiled the collectible Rockwell Christmas Village that he had spent hours setting up just so earlier that day…

My husband was not amused. The kids sure liked it though!

Hey, just trying to keep the “Christ! Why do I even bother?” in Christmas. It’s a gift.

Oh stop it. You know my Mama dropped me on my head as an infant. But guess what! There are more of us out there! I found an entire subculture of other twisted Elfers. Wanna see? Then head on over to Baby Rabies and check out the fun contest she’s doing:

There are some hilarious entries! I’m submitting my Snow-Writing Dobbie picture. You’ll have the chance to vote for your favorite entries beginning on December 12th. Don’t worry, I’ll beg remind you.

UPDATE: Please visit the Inappropriate Elf Contest and click “Like” on #54 (“Dobbie writes his name in the snow”). Voting runs until Tuesday December 20th and the top three will be in the running to win an iPad 2. You can vote once a day, and you don’t need to register to vote! Can I get an AMEN?! 

So wrong, but so right,

-Iris

I’m learning to love and/or fear my Elf.

The Elf on the Shelf. You either love it or you hate it.

I’m not sure where I fit on that spectrum yet.

My kids pestered me for one of these things for YEARS and I said no, no way, forget it, I don’t care what everyone else has, and aw hayle no. I knew my limits. I had heard all the stories at the bus stop about these things and all the messes they make.

Like I need MORE messes. Bitch, please. I have three kids, two pets, and the hairiest husband in North America. We’re all set, thanks.

I had read about the moms who sprinkle glitter all over their homes in a trail-like formation so the kids can track down the Elf by following the glittery trail around their otherwise immaculate open floor plan. Shoot, I don’t vacuum enough as it is. Last thing I need to do is intentionally add to the funk on my floors.

In my home, I was certain the Elf would get lost in a dog-hair-tumbleweed and we’d never see him again. Or with our luck, the dog would find him first, eat him, and poop out his mangled head for the kids to find in the yard one day, scarring them for life. No thanks.

And then there were all the overwhelming rules and tips I kept hearing. “You can’t touch them.” “They eat cookies and hot cocoa.” “You can catch one in a lollipop trap!” “They love to make snow angels in powdered sugar!”

You’re effin’ kidding me, right? Lord only knows what I’d wake up to if I intentionally spread powdered sugar on my kitchen floor overnight. Nothing says Happy Birthday, Baby Jesus like a swarm of disease-ridden vermin.

My friends tried to get me to drink the Elf Kool-Aid by espousing the incredible disciplinary value. One of my stepsisters even said she wished she could keep the Elf out all year! “Clean your rooms or the Elf will tell Santa and you’ll get coal in your stocking!”

Oh come on now. Really? My kids clean their rooms in exchange for the best prize of all: the opportunity to continue living here. This is what is wrong with kids today. They need to be bribed to do everything! I don’t need no stinkin’ Elf for this. I just tell them what my crazed single working mother shouted to me and my brother numerous times: “I swear to GOD…I will call Santa and tell him not to come. Is that what you want? Is it?! ANSWER ME!”

Hey, it worked. Santa always came.

But then last year Grandma “discovered” The Elf on the Shelf and mailed my kids one right after Thanksgiving. She was so darn excited about it that I just didn’t have the heart to say no anymore.

And when I saw how grateful the kids were for Grandma saving the day and providing for them what their mean old hag of a mother refused to do for years, I totally caved.

The kids named him Dobbie. (Original, I know. They wanted to name our Black Lab “Blackie” too.) And it was pretty cute to see them bound out of bed every morning last December to search for him.

I have to admit, seeing the excitement on their faces made me totally want to come up with more and better ways of cracking them up everyday. When I remembered to do it, that is. There were definitely more than a few mornings when the kids heard that “Dobbie must be really tired today. Poor guy!”

By far, their favorite memory of Dobbie last year was the morning they found him hanging from the ceiling fan, spinning around and around. Minimal effort. No mess. Laughing kids. That’s my kind of Elf action.

Dobbie’s been back at the North Pole all year, but he reappeared yesterday, ready for action.

Apparently, Santa runs a pretty tight ship. When Dobbie got here last night, he obviously needed to blow off some steam. Kinda reminded me of my Uncle Jeb when he first got outta the joint.

Turns out, Dobbie likes to party.

This is how I found Dobbie this morning. I was afraid of the kids telling their friends and teachers about Dobbie’s drinking problem, so I told Dobbie to do like I do and hide the evidence.

He didn’t like that idea at all. Apparently Dobbie had crossed the line from Happy Drunk to Belligerent Drunk.

I told him to get his shit together before the kids woke up and when I turned back around to see if he was cooperating, I saw this:

 

I’m a little scared of Dobbie now. But the kids thought it was hysterical. Even little Bucket Head was making jokes and speaking in a demonic voice saying “Who wants Dobbie to butter their toast? HA HA HA!”

Thanks Dobbie. Thank you for giving me a reason to slow down a little and have a moment of fun with my kids every day. I admit it, I used to hate you, but now I think you’re pretty cool. Just put that big knife away, m’kay?

warmly,

-Iris

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