Entries Tagged as 'holidays'

Hello Belsnickel, Goodbye Elf on the Shelf

05.12.16

Last year, my partner introduced the kids and me to the character of Belsnickel, Santa’s grouchy “cousin.”

Legend has it: Shortly before Christmas, a dirty, disheveled, cranky man wearing furs would arrive at your house. He held a hickory switch in one hand and a sack full of candy and nuts in the other.

He would call the children forward and asked them to recite a poem, a Bible verse or math equations. He’d warn them to behave. Then he’d toss the goodies on the floor — and if the greedy kids dove for the candy, he’d hit them on the back with the switch. 

Belsnickel (also Belschnickel, Belznickle, Belznickel, Pelznikel, Pelznickel) is a crotchety, fur-clad Christmas gift-bringer figure in the folklore of the Palatinate region of southwestern Germany along the Rhine, the Saarland, and the Odenwald area of Baden-Württemberg. The figure is also preserved in Pennsylvania Dutch communities. ~ Wikipedia

Basically, the whole thing was to scare kids into behaving… for Santa. Not unlike a certain other Christmas character who sits on a shelf.

Unsurprisingly, Holden LOVES Belsnickel… so much in fact that she asked for a Belsnickel doll this year.

So I’m doing her one better: I’m replacing our Elf on the Shelf with Belsnickel. I despise the Elf on the Shelf. I have written about how terrible I am at participating in the Elf on the Shelf Christmas bullshit. I think a dirty, fur-wearing, crotchety old man is a much better ploy for getting my kids to behave during the holidays. And I don’t have to put him in any ridiculous positions.

Belsnickel Doll for Christmas @ohbotherblog

I bought this awesome Nordic Gnome from DaVinci Doll Designs on etsy and I’ll glue a little stick into his hand. And that, my friends, is my Elf on the Shelf replacement, Belsnickel.

I also bought this awesome Belsnickel card from Famous Last Cards on etsy that I’m going to frame as part of my holiday decor:

Belsnickel Card @ohbotherblog

That’s your boy, Dwight Schrute, who also happens to love Belsnickel:

Happy Holidays! Hope you’re kids are more admirable than impish!

a magical freaking december

02.12.16

Christmas Activity Advent Calendar @ohbotherblog

I’m trying really hard to make Christmas magical this year, so I’ve decided we’re going to have a magical freaking December.

I found this Threshold Stocking Advent Calendar Garland on clearance at Target the day after Christmas last year and held on to it for a whole year to hatch this plan.

Christmas Activity Advent Calendar @ohbotherblog

Every day, the kids will remove a slip of paper from the numbered stocking to reveal what fun Christmasy thing we’re doing that night.

Christmas Activity Advent Calendar @ohbotherblog

For the First of December, we went Christmas decoration shopping (hey, sometimes you have to throw some practicality into the mix).

I’ll be honest, a lot of our “activities” consisted of me cross-referencing the Freeform 25 Days of Christmas schedule for holiday movies that are playing each night.

Other activities will include our Downtown Tree Lighting Ceremony, visits to various Christmas lights displays, making gingerbread houses, baking cookies, and probably just a good old fashioned piling in the car to look at Christmas lights.

Magical Freaking December, here we come.

Merry Christmas from oh bother blog

22.12.15

Presenting our 2015 Christmas Card:
The oh bother Christmas Card 2015 @ohbotherblog

If you’ll recall, I went with a similar card theme last year. It’s going to be my thing:

the oh bother christmas card 2014 @ohbotherblog

Oh, these crazy kiddos.

Christmas Card Photos 2015 @ohbotherblog Christmas Card Photos 2015 @ohbotherblog Christmas Card Photos 2015 @ohbotherblog Christmas Card Photos 2015 @ohbotherblog Christmas Card Photos 2015 @ohbotherblog Christmas Card Photos 2015 @ohbotherblog

Merry Christmas, ya’ll.

Christmas Meh-gic

15.12.15

As I’m navigating the holiday season with two small children, I’ve come to a realization: the more “magical” something is supposed to be, the less “magical” the experience is in real life.

For example…

Disney World:
Disney World Meltdowns @ohbotherblog

Birthdays:

Parenting a toddler @ohbotherblog

Special trips/activities:

A trip to the North Museum in Lancaster @ohbotherblog

Holidays:

Thanksgiving Unhappy Kids @ohbotherblog

Activities requiring costumes:

Holden's first trip to Disney on Ice @ohbotherblog

Disney on Ice:

Holden's first trip to Disney on Ice @ohbotherblog

I feel so much pressure–especially during the holidays–to make lasting memories and give my kids a magical childhood, that the outcome inevitably never lives up to the hype. It’s the parenting equivalent of every single New Year’s Eve I’ve ever experienced.

Like… We went to visit Santa Claus a few weeks ago. The kids both had a meltdown at the same time, with both of them literally flailing on the floor whilst screaming. A friend asked if I wanted her to take GB outside so I could get a photo with Holdy and my actual response was, “I am not leaving here without a f*cking photo of my kids with f*cking Santa.”

Anyway, just a friendly reminder to myself and others to chill the hell out and lay off the Christmas Magic. New Year’s Eve always sucks anyway.

cutest book ever

18.11.15

I’m usually pretty terrible at Christmas shopping, meaning I’m definitely not one of those people who has my shopping completed already. But there is one gift I’ve purchased for both my kids that I’m pretty psyched about.

It’s this adorable custom book by Lost My Name, titled The Little Boy/Girl Who Lost His/Her Name. I especially love it because my kids will be the ones who never find anything with their names on it.

You enter the kid’s name and gender and pick their character and the book is generated for you. 

Lost My Name Book

Your kid encounters different creatures throughout the story who give them each of the letters in their name. Holden meets a hippo, ostrich, lion, dragon, elephant and narwhal (!). Gatsby meets a giant, aardvark, troll, octopus, bear and yeti (!)

Lost My Name Book

Seriously. So cute.

Lost My Name Book

If you use this link, you’ll get 15% off your order (and I’ll eventually get a free book!).

Happy shopping!

merry christmas from oh bother

23.12.14

the oh bother christmas card 2014 @ohbotherblog

If you’ll recall from last year, Christmas Eve is almost the bigger holiday for me and my family, so I like to think of today as Christmas Eve Eve.

Here’s this year’s Christmas card–and yes, it made it out by Christmas, thanks to Minted. Get this–they even do free envelope addressing for you. I only took advantage of a few of those because I’m hand-delivering most of these puppies (due to the fact that I only had about 6 stamps and the odds of me getting to the store to buy more aren’t looking good), but that’s seriously an awesome service, right?

I’m actually so in love with this card, I may make it our “thing” from now on. It was easy enough to do (even for me) AND I’ve been told that it has won the Christmas card contest in several houses (woot!).

I feel like it’s a pretty accurate snapshot of what’s going on in our lives. I can’t even imagine what our bubbles will say next year.

Happy Holidays, ya’ll. 

obligatory santa photos

21.12.14

Continuing to check off the Holiday-Good-Parent list, I took the kiddos to visit Santa Claus this past weekend. Local folks: for future reference, Brown’s Orchard has a great Santa, it’s free and you can take your own camera.

Holden was surprisingly well-behaved and GB was surprisingly non “strange” (people in this area say your kid is “strange” if they cry when someone who isn’t their mom holds them).

There was a family in front of us whose baby was crying and older son was having none of Santa. I could tell the mom was ready to just give up and call it, but I offered to take a photo of all of them so they could get in with the kids. #solidarity, mama. I know how long it must have taken you to get your kids dressed and out the door–I’m not about to let you leave here without your damn Santa photo.

Here’s how our Santa photo shoot went:

Visiting Santa 2014 @ohbotherblog

No one is looking.

Visiting Santa 2014 @ohbotherblog

GB is looking.

Visiting Santa 2014 @ohbotherblog

Santa is looking.

Visiting Santa 2014 @ohbotherblog

GB and Santa are looking.

Visiting Santa 2014 @ohbotherblog

Holdy is almost looking and now no one else is.

Visiting Santa 2014 @ohbotherblog

GB steals Santa’s hat.

Visiting Santa 2014 @ohbotherblog

“Did he really?”

Visiting Santa 2014 @ohbotherblog

“Oh yes, he did!”

Visiting Santa 2014 @ohbotherblog

The hat thief. No remorse.

still not letting it go: we went to a “Frozen” tea party

15.12.14

In my never-ending quest to assuage my working mom guilt and spend some fun time with Holden, I bought us tickets to attend a “Frozen”-themed tea party by a local company called The Enchanted Teapot. If you’ll recall from our “Frozen” On Ice almost-misadventure, my attempts don’t always go according to plan.  Remember this?

Holden's first trip to Disney on Ice @ohbotherblog

This time, however, not only did Holden actually wear the Anna dress, she let me do her hair in braided pigtails AND she wore a flower wreath on her head.

"Frozen" Tea Party @ohbotherblog

(Notice that sweet cowlick? A straight part is never going to be in this girl’s future.)

She did have a brief freak-out once the dress was on, but I soon realized it was because she also wanted to wear her “bug” wings.

"Frozen" Tea Party @ohbotherblog

(We had just gotten through a weekend of watching “Peter Pan Live” on repeat so she had a slight Tinkerbell obsession.)

Oh, and I went ahead and got dressed up too.

 

A photo posted by ohbotherblog (@nomiddlenamemeg) on


Why, yes, that is a fake-braid headband. I’m straight up bald in the front from having GB so my braid situation was not working out.

The dress is one I actually owned from a funny fancy-dress party in grad school. It’s literally 12 sizes too big and I had to pin myself into it.

I think we looked pretty cute, though–ridiculous dress and all.

"Frozen" Tea Party @ohbotherblog

The tea party was adorable, with precious little “Frozen”-themed treats.

"Frozen" Tea Party @ohbotherblog

Holden was very well behaved (at the start), and was so excited.

"Frozen" Tea Party @ohbotherblog

She colored “Frozen” pictures.

"Frozen" Tea Party @ohbotherblog

She met Anna.

"Frozen" Tea Party @ohbotherblog

And Elsa. She was so starstruck.

"Frozen" Tea Party @ohbotherblog

They sang songs.

"Frozen" Tea Party @ohbotherblog

Holden, of course, had to steal the show. She even threw in a few forward rolls and twirls for good measure.

"Frozen" Tea Party @ohbotherblog

They read stories.

"Frozen" Tea Party @ohbotherblog

Notice Holden butted her way right on up to the front. At one point she even stood up, blocking the other kids’ view. Luckily, the rest of them were older and gracious to her being young and self-centered. There’s no real (quiet) way to push through a crowd to get your loud, stubborn two-year-old to sit down in this situation. I tried.

She even helped herself to Elsa’s throne.

"Frozen" Tea Party @ohbotherblog

She really was good for 95% of the event. She did have a meltdown toward the end when we had to wait in line for the official photo with the princesses. She may or may not have thrown herself on the floor and screamed, but I had already paid the $15 for the photos, so we were getting them, dammit. Her crocodile tears stopped as soon as she approached Anna and Elsa.

And then she hugged and tried to kiss them. They were both very sweet about turning their head for a cheek kiss, even though Holden was clearly going for the mouth.

Overall, we had a (surprisingly?) great time. Even if I was one of the only adults who dressed up.

"Frozen" Tea Party @ohbotherblog

I mean, look how happy she was:

"Frozen" Tea Party @ohbotherblog

"Frozen" Tea Party @ohbotherblog

"Frozen" Tea Party @ohbotherblog

I’ll make sure to show her these photos when she’s 15 and tells me she hates me on a regular basis.

"Frozen" Tea Party @ohbotherblog

ohmygod I have to send christmas cards

06.12.14

So… I just realized that it’s getting to be mid-December soon and I haven’t thought about Christmas cards until this very moment.

In our Pinterest-loving, Facebook-best-parent-competition society, non-photo Christmas cards won’t do. And iPhone photos converted into cards printed out at Walgreens won’t do. So not only do I have to design, order, address and stamp my cards, I need to schedule a photo session (and hope both kids cooperate at the same time for at least 30 seconds).

Last year, I used Minted for our Christmas card:

Calmish and Bright Christmas Card @ohbotherblog

So I was really psyched when Minted reached out to me to ask me to try out their Holiday Cards this year for oh, bother. Minted is a really cool community of independent designers whose work you can choose from to create your own custom stationery. I’m pretty picky when it comes to my invitations/cards/announcements, so Minted is my jam. I mean:

Minted Holiday Cards @ohbotherblog 

Gorgeous, right? That “Wreck the Halls” one would be perfect for Holden.

But… I’m thinking the odds are not good that my Christmas cards will happen in time for the 25th, so I’m considering doing a New Year’s card this year. That buys me an extra week or two, right? The entire month of January?

The New Year’s design selection is just as fantastic:

Minted New Year's Cards @ohbotherblog

 
Considering that we’ve had a pretty eventful year, I thought this Family Year in Review design was adorable:

Minted Year in Review New Years Card @ohbotherblog

But then I remembered that I’m lazy and the thought of having to think about and write out all those milestones gave me a panic attack, so I found this super awesome card instead:

Minted Conversation Bubble Holiday Card @ohbotherblog

Same idea, less writing. It’s pithy and fun. 

Now I just have to capture that perfect photo.

(Also, don’t expect your card in the mail, lol. I pretty much only send them to older family members and people who make me feel guilty by sending me a card first. Stamps are expensive, ya’ll!)

holidays, amirite?

03.12.14

So last week I was all prepared to write a really positive, fun post about how well Holden’s potty training has been going and how much fun we’re having getting ready for the holidays.

And then all hell broke loose.

Broken Christmas tree @ohbotherblog

Why yes, that is my just-decorated Christmas tree after the stem base folded and snapped… at the exact moment that Holden had herself an accident of the “Number Two” variety and was spilling the contents onto the floor in an attempt to free herself of her soiled clothing*… all while GB was screaming at the top of his lungs. So, not a great night overall.

Thanksgiving was a bit of a struggle getting the kids ready and out the door to my parents’ house.

Thanksgiving Unhappy Kids @ohbotherblog

Thanksgiving Unhappy Kids @ohbotherblog

And then I had a slight, um, incident with the stuffing I was to bring to dinner.

Floor stuffing @ohbotherblog 

Sorry, mom.

In all, it did turn out to be a very nice day with family. Holden did have to have no less than three time-outs during the actual meal itself, but at least the Floor Stuffing still tasted delicious.

Time Out to Say Happy Thanksgiving @ohbotherblog

So since we can’t run away and hide all holiday season (though I would very much like to), I’m still trying to embrace it. Our Elf on the Shelf, Elfis, has returned. Don’t worry–you’re not going to see super-cute Pinterest-type elf situations here cuz ain’t nobody got time for that. 

Elfis, the Elf on the Shelf @ohbotherblog

 Holden touched him almost immediately, which did require some medical attention.

Elf on the Shelf Hospital after Touching @ohbotherblog

It looks like Elfis is going to survive. I hope I can say the same for us after these holidays.

 

*ps–In all seriousness, Holden’s potty training is going surprisingly well. She’s been relatively accident-free at school and our evenings have been somewhat low-stress in terms of accidents. I will say, however, when she has an accident, it is an Accident with a capital “A,” as evidenced by the story above. But we’re plugging away and I’m pretty proud of our progress so far. 

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