‘Tis that time of year

Nov 30

‘Tis that time of year

Tomorrow is December first, and our conversation at breakfast this morning was focused on elves.  Greta goes to a school that is all kindergartners and first graders.  There is not a chair in the school where the seat is above my knee, and it has the largest lost-and-found quadrant you ever did see in a school. This former high school teacher’s opinion is that it is basically a building full of minions and everyone who works there is a saint. The staff are amazing, the principal is everybody’s favorite, and it’s just altogether adorable.

Many of the teachers — in their infinite wisdom about leveraging every resource to maximize learning — have an elf come to their classrooms in December.  I think this is awesome.  Last year an elf appeared in Greta’s classroom, and there has never been a more exciting thing to happen in kindergarten.  The first thing they did was vote on a name based on suggestions from the kids.  The winner?  Jenna Tinkle Winkle. Is that not the best elf name ever?  All month long I was regaled with tales of Jenna Tinkle Winkle and her antics.

You know where this is going, right?  Greta still believes in all things Christmas (YAY!), and at the rate she’s going she might be like my sister and never admit that it’s not real.  Greta asked me this morning if an elf was coming to our house, “Because, like, every single person in my class,” she says with great weight and drama in her tone, “has elves in their house.”  This is so Greta; she has a pulse on her peers and knows what people think and say about all the things.

“Huh.  Hmmm.  Erm,” I say, because I’m rapidly assessing whether I have the capacity and motivation to elf it up this December.  I’ve never elfed before, and I know it’s a whole thing.

“Maybe I will write a note to the elf and put it under my pillow and tell her to come out,” she says nonchalantly.

I blink. “Why are you going to do that?”

“Mom.  That’s how I talk to the Tooth Fairy,” her tone full of authoritative knowledge.  “Don’t you think it is how I would talk to the elves too?”  Her tone implies: Duh!

Obviously.  “Right G.  Sounds good to me.  Write a note to the elves, and we’ll see what happens.”

In my mind I have an epiphany.  I’m going to enlist Maren to help with the elf.  She’ll be thrilled to do a nightly scheme on her sister.  I am patting myself on the back for this brilliance.  Now I just need to go score an elf.  Surely no one else will be looking for one on November 30th, right?  (Update, scored an elf at Target!)

On Sunday we got home from an extended stay in Wisconsin.  We had a great time visiting Brad’s family and celebrating Thanksgiving there. We made lefse, cut down a tree at an actual Christmas tree farm, went to two Badger games (football and volleyball), made a unicorn car out of a cardboard box, played games, ate and drank a lot, watched movies, and made only one trip to urgent care.  It was a great week! As per usual, the whole house blew up with all the things that came in from the car on Sunday night.  On Monday I did Cyber Monday things because my personality is obviously 100% Cyber Monday and 0% Black Friday.  My sister is home from glass-blowing on a cruise ship (she calls it ‘work’), so I also visited with her on Monday. On Tuesday I cleaned the house, and then (!!!) kept going and put up the small outdoor Christmas lights (!!!).  This is noteworthy: I cleaned the house and then did something productive after; that hasn’t happened in two years!  Praise the Lord for a bit more energy on this Ibrance/Faslodex/Herceptin protocol. Our fabulous and selfless neighbors helped us put up our roofline Christmas tree lights for the fifth year in a row, and I told the organizer I feel guilty that they still rally to help us every year.  She assured me that they want to, and I have to trust that they mean it.  There is always a flurry of help when I get bad news, so to receive a gift during this season of betterness is a different kind of joy. Thank you neighbors: my heart feels so loved with this annual gift.  Our roofline is one of the highest in the neighborhood; I can’t imagine doing it ourselves!

I put candles in the windows, and realized that they might be my favorite interior decor because it’s what my dad put in our windows for my entire childhood: it’s so familiar and cozy.  I decided today I’m going to go get candles for Maren’s window (even though it faces the back of the house) because I want her to have that memory too.  (And my dad did that for my little sister because her room didn’t face the front either.) In case you didn’t know folks, I am sentimental and I get it from my dad.

My mom and I went to Target today and she showed me a very significant discovery: Target has shopping cart coffee holders.  I knew my Target had Starbucks, of course, but these handy dandy little cart attachments are kept by the coffee pick up area in the Starbucks.  Check out this brilliance:

You are welcome!


Happy (almost) December!  Wishing you fierce joy and hard won peace this season (because Lord knows it doesn’t happen without effort!).



  1. Love that you have energy!! Thanks for keeping us in your world with these posts. Many prayers continue 🙂 Merry Christmas, Jen XO

  2. Nancy zwolinski /

    Thanks for the smiles today. You bless me.

  3. So much fun in this post! Thanks for the coffee holder tip!
    My favorite part is: “fierce joy and hard won peace this season (because Lord knows it doesn’t happen without effort!)” <<–Because…true story!

  4. 50 years!

  5. I’m so thankful for your energy and encouragement you are feeling! And, enlisting Maren in the elf business is *genius.* lots of love and prayers to you, friend. Xxxooo

  6. Praying prayers of gratefulness for your season of “betterness!”

  7. Marlayne /

    Jen ~ My heart is Smiling for You & from You ~
    Many More Blessings & Hugs, Marlayne 🙂

  8. Fierce joy, hard-won peace… YES!
    The thought of that many minions in one school is mind-boggling in both a fun and frightening way… a little like Target, LOL.
    Target is a long drive for me, but if your glass-blowing sister has a website from which she sells her happy thought bubbles and/or other things, please share the link with us! I am not done shopping.

  9. I grew up in northern Minnesota and left a is one of my favorite holiday traditions. Sounds like a grand vacation!

  10. Kim Rourke /

    LOVE your “chatty” posts! I feel like we just chatted our way through Target as friends do after a holiday. Happy elfing!