Ellie & Awesome

Just hours ago, I shared this photo of Dayen with his favorite stuffed elephant. Tragically, not long after this picture was taken, Dayen went through a bout of toddler madness and stuffed Ellie, in quite a violent manner, in the dog's water dish. Dayen's mother, who shall remain nameless, was fixing dinner and did not see the event take place. Ellie was discovered some time later by the Master of the House (please burst into Les Mis tunes now), shoved grotesquely in the water dish, arms and legs all twisted about.
Dayen, at the moment, appears to be showing no remorse. However, knowing him as we do, we fear this will not be the case at bedtime.
I am no nurse. And I am certainly not an expert in Pachyderms. But I did my best bathing Ellie with a soft cloth (this is not the first time I've done this. My life has gotten so, so weird.) and then spent at least 15 minutes drying her with my hair dryer, and thinking about all the other fantastic things I could have been doing with that time. She is currently in the ICU (Intensive Counter Unit, Bathroom Division) drying the rest of the way. Our only hope for her now is that she will be ready to go home (to her crib) by bedtime. Things aren't looking good. 
Always the cynic, I have been waiting for this day to come. The day when Ellie would fall apart for good. I remember well the day my favorite baby blanket came out of the wash in ruins. I cannot bear to see my child go through the same heartache. 
Ellie has been with us for so long... since the beginning, really. Always just sort of there, the silent, ivory-toothed spectator.

Through long nights of teething and sickness, through giving up his binky, through bumps and bruises, tantrums and timeouts, Ellie has been Dayen's one constant source of comfort.
Every morning when he wakes up, every other animal and blanket has been tossed carelessly on the floor, but not Ellie. Ellie is squeezed, harshly but securely, in the chubby fingers of my toddler whose love and slobber knows no bounds. Ellie is covered in just about every germ Dayen has ever come in contact with. And she takes it like the strong, majestic mammoth that she is.

I know what you're thinking... "Why not just buy a back up Ellie if she means so much to you?" DON'T YOU THINK I'VE TRIED? (Sorry, emotions are high over here. I just spent 15 minutes drying a stuffed elephant with a hair dryer.) As soon as it became clear that Ellie was "the" toy, I tried to find her online. I was disappointed to find that she was out of stock.
Weeks went by. Then months. The pages of the calendar flew off one by one as Ellie grew slowly more and more grimy. (He thinks her trunk is a binky. Need I say more?)
And still, she is out of stock. 
Today, as I felt Ellie's impending demise upon us, I grew more desperate. And, I was in luck! There she was for sale on Ebay, "slightly used"... for only $42.99!
Some sadistic person out there knew they had the only backup Ellie in the world and they are really trying to get every penny out of her. What kind of person tries to get rich off a stuffed elephant I ask you?!
But today also brought about a new discovery in Ellieland. I read her reviews on Carters.com, and they are nothing short of glowing.

"5 Stars! Please Restock! We have 2 of these elephants, one for home and one for daycare. My son cannot sleep without it and we need a backup! Please restock this item!!!"

"5 Stars! PLEASE RESTOCK!!! Just so happened to find this elephant at Burlington Coat Factory and my little guy fell IN LOVE with it. He is 4 months and has had it for 1 month now. He will NOT sleep without it. It is the perfect size for him! Went back to buy a second one the next day, we thankfully have two JUST IN CASE. But, we would love to have a 3rd one to keep at his daycare. Unfortunately, Burlington no longer has any in stock. PLEASE restock! We will but 3 more (2 to give as gifts for any future baby showers & 1 to keep)."

"5 Stars! This is my baby's favorite! This is my daughter's special elephant. She takes elephant with her for naps and bedtime. She is comforted by the elephant if she wakes in the night. We want to buy more! Please re stock!"

No, I am not making this up, and no, I did not write any of these reviews. (Although I was dying laughing reading them.) And that's when it occurred to me... this was an opportunity for my blog to do what I always intended for it to do... make a difference.

To all those fellow parents out there who are hand-washing their one and only Ellie's (or whatever you call her. If you named her anything other than Ellie you're putting way too much thought into this.) To the children, like Dayen, who can't imagine a world without her... this one is for you.

Carter's, I am reaching out. I am here, on bended, graham-cracker crumb coated knee begging you to restock this item wonderful, beloved creature. We parents need you, we implore you, to consider the children. No, not the starving ones in other parts of the world. The spoiled ones in our homes who are going to make us crazy if anything ever happens to these toys.

I don't know why or how children pick their favorites. Maybe you've laced these things with the scent of cookies. Maybe they are the only toys that Toy Story was right about. I don't know and I don't want to know. What I want, is for Ellie to be back in stock. I want to go to sleep at night without the constant, nagging fear that tomorrow may be her last day with all her stuffing inside her.


The League of Parents Whose Children Love Only One Of Their 10,000 Stuffed Animals (TLOPWCLOOOT1SA) ... or maybe it's just me.

P.S. If, by some unlikely chance, Carter's doesn't read my blog, do you think I can get away with buying him this Koala and, like, reattaching his tail as a nose...?

Enjoying Life + Baking Cookies

...Yes, they are the same thing.

Recently, I've been feeling really anxious and overwhelmed. I've been blaming it on this crummy weather, but it probably also has a little something to do with the new furry addition to our family, who effectively brought the number of little people I have to take care of on the daily up to THREE.

Now I know, all of you with 3+ kids would love to take this opportunity to tell me to just wait, it gets even harder, I don't know how easy I have it, etc., but I beg of you... don't. My little heart can't take it. I have to do this thing gradually and in ignorant bliss, or I swear, Dayen is going to stay an only child.

All that being said, I just haven't been that fun to be around. As a mom, as a wife, or even as myself. When you find yourself needing a break from yourself... well, something has got to change.

And I just kept telling myself, "If I could just get out of here for awhile, just go somewhere where the sun is shining and I don't have to wade through 5 feet of snow to get anywhere, I would feel better!" But, that isn't true. Ok, it kind of is, and if I have any secretly rich family out there who would like to pay for me to take a trip to Hawaii like, this weekend, now would be the time to reveal yourself.

But, since that probably isn't going to happen, I decided to make my own happy here. In my same old house, with two fur balls and a runny-nosed kid at my feet 24/7, and with the snow STILL piling up outside.

To all of you out there feeling the same, never fear: I have your solution! The recipe to happiness. (Is that too on the nose? Should I try not to be too cliche with this? Sorry, I probably don't care.)

The Recipe to Happiness (which ironically also results in cookies):

Step One: gather all the ingredients for your favorite recipe. Actually scratch that, your favorite treat. I don't want to see any of you out there making ribs. There needs to be at least an entire cup of sugar in whatever you're making, or this won't work.

Step Two: gather all the tiny humans in your house (please note, the fur babies should NOT take part in this activity. If they've recently pooped in the house like mine did, it would actually be better to ignore them altogether.)

Step Three: now this is a biggie! If you are a woman, let go of all obsessive, controlling impulses you have. I'm serious, do it. If you're a man, just keep bein' yourself. You weirdos never seem to have this problem.

Step Four: Make said treat with said tiny human(s). Have an internal struggle where you try not to worry about the mess their making, while still hurriedly cleaning up behind them. Oh, and if you're making Crisco cookies like we were, do the Crisco first. I rarely even let Dayen eat with a spoon because it makes such a mess, I'm not crazy enough to unleash him with Crisco.

Step Five: eat treats along the way. Because there is never enough sugar or enough time in the day to eat it all. (That's what you jerks are going to write on my headstone, isn't it?)

Step Six: soak it all in. I'm serious, this is the important part. The mess is still going to be there. And if you make a double batch like we did (always do. I have a problem.) then you're going to be cooking these suckers all day. So, take a moment to enjoy the moment. 

And really, this is the point. The work is never going to be finished. Ever. And you can look around and be overwhelmed by that fact, or you can decide to be happy during the work. If you don't, then when do you ever get to be happy?

Step Seven: Enjoy the fruits of your labors. In this case, eat the cookies. In life, eat the hypothetical cookies. Whenever you can. They don't have calories or gluten or anything.

Saving this recipe for later. I'm going to need it again.