see you later, snowflake

christmas has come and gone, and with it, so too has snowflake.

our last 10 days with her and gray kitty looked a little like this:

day 16: snowflake and gray kitty were simply hanging out on a wreath at the bottom of the stairs. still, it took harper a bit of looking to find them. sometimes the most obvious is the least obvious, or something like that ...





day 17: snowflake and gray kitty were battling each other in a heated game of "guess who" in the basement.




day 18: they decided to hang out on the silver bells that adorned the banister. glad they didn't swing on them ... that would have been a little noisy.




day 19: a warm, snuggly hiding place.




day 20: time for snowflake and gray kitty to get fancied up and decorate the barbie tree.




day 21: somehow harper missed this on her dresser first thing in the morning, but snowflake and gray kitty left her a little impression of themselves.




day 22: they were there first thing in the morning, to greet harper when she went to brush her teeth.




day 23: snowflake and gray kitty ambitiously spelled out a message for us on the day before the day before christmas.




day 24: snowflake kept her tradition of bringing harper's christmas jammies on christmas eve. this year, she had a pair for wyatt and nora, too.





day 25: christmas morning, snowflake was gone, but she left a message - and photographic evidence - for harper that she enjoyed the cookie harp decorated and left for santa.




another christmas done. another year with snowflake over. and who knows what the next year will bring, but at least we know that no matter what, snowflake will come for a visit, and will bring christmas joy and magic with her.


snowflake, week two

it's about to get really snowy and really REALLY cold around here in the next 24-72 hours. snowflake may want to just hang out at our place for the weekend and skip the trip back up north.

i'll have harp mention that to her ...

in the meantime, here's a look at snowflake and gray kitty's second week of visiting us:

day 9: who doesn't love to build a blanket fort, grab some snacks, and spend the day snuggled up and reading? apparently, north pole elves feel the same way.




day 10: snowflake and gray kitty gathered up some friends for a little photo op ...




day 11: snowflake won a major award!



day 12: apparently, we have a musical elf ...



day 13: harper loves to sew clothes for her menagerie of teeny tiny animals. apparently, snowflake wanted to include her own garment into teeny tiny animal couture.



day 14: nothing like finding an elf and a cat in your fridge to get your heart pumping at 6 a.m.




day 15: and today, snowflake must have heard about the impending weather, because she and gray kitty are all set with popcorn and christmas movies, and look perfectly content to sit tight. truth be told, i'd really like to join them.





our first week with snowflake

it's december. the year is winding down (which ... how?? already??), and the start of this month brings the high school swim season, dodgy weather, marc's busy season (well, busier than normal.), the holidays, and snowflake.

hey there, snowflake.

harper and i both searched her room the night before december 1, trying to find gray kitty, but we just couldn't find her. harp was philosophical: "maybe snowflake knows where gray kitty is" ... "maybe gray kitty went to visit the north pole and will come back with snowflake" ... etc.

she hoped for the best, and laid out a nice warm bed, a cup of water, and a nightlight to greet her elf. and in the morning, not only was snowflake tucked into her blankets, but so was gray kitty.




and so begins our visit with snowflake.

day 2: snowflake needed a sugar recharge from her long journey. lucky for her, our halloween candy was still in a bowl in the entryway. in the morning, harper found her and gray kitty hiding among the candlesticks, with a little pile of candy wrappers around them.




day 3: harp woke up to find snowflake and gray kitty had done a little overnight christmas decorating in the bathroom. (we've decided to leave up the lights, and perhaps make them a yearly thing; that pink glow is pretty cheerful.)




day 4: snowflake earned her keep by bringing breakfast. that was an appreciated gesture.



day 5: we got the christmas tree up and decorated, but snowflake beat me to putting on the tinsel.




day 6: having missed out on the fun of decorating the tree, snowflake and gray kitty decorated their own tree.




day 7: snowflake and gray kitty looked how i felt yesterday morning.




day 8: apparently, there is a game of hide and seek going on this morning.




the rest of snowflake's visit

i'll wrap up snowflake's month with us, and then go into christmas in a day or two.

also, i took some updated pix of the house, so that is coming, too! bonus: the house was all christmasy and sparkly at the time.


on day 19, snowflake and gray kitty found a little hiding spot in the kitchen window shade.



day 20: they somehow knew we were going to *finally* see the new star wars movie that night, so harp found them having a light saber duel in the pantry.



day 21: we had a christmas party for marc's co-workers the previous afternoon (before star wars), and there were some leftover veggies. snowflake and gray kitty used them to spell out a morning greeting for harp.



day 22: our visitors from the north made some cute little gingerbread cookies.



day 23: visitors from the south (ie my family, from indiana) arrived the previous evening, and one of the first things wyatt wanted to do was dig into henry's legos. so on wednesday morning, snowflake and gray kitty had gotten pieces of their own and built a little spaceship.


day 24, christmas eve: harper awoke to find the annual present from snowflake under the tree in her room. she ran downstairs and said, "mom! snowflake brought me a present! i know it's my christmas jammies, because that's what she always brings on christmas eve ..." then she trailed off and batted those big browngreen eyes at me. so of course i said, "well, then you better go open it!", and off she went.



day 25, christmas: snowflake was gone. gray kitty was sitting alone on harper's nightstand. but under the christmas tree, there was a present with a tag: to harper, from snowflake. she opened it, and immediately was speechless. then a little teary. then she sat the rest of christmas morning, holding that gift in her lap. and said to me, when all the opening was done, "i should have opened this one last. it's my favorite gift of all of christmas."

what did snowflake leave for harper?


a picture frame, with this photo:


major. win.

though next year, i'm screwed.


thanks for visiting, snowflake! we - and gray kitty - look forward to seeing you next year!

snowflake, days 12 through 18

another long week almost in the books. swim meet tonight, busy tomorrow, busy sunday. then ... with any luck ... relaxing and enjoying next week.


fingers crossed.

while we were all crazy this week, here's what snowflake got herself into:

day 12: she led a gathering of the reindeer.



day 13: she and gray kitty stayed out of the way during my mad cleaning, by hanging out on a wreath.



day 14: the girls (i just assume gray kitty is a girl) had an, "i feel pretty, oh so pretty" moment.



day 15: harp lost a tooth at school on friday, but forgot to bring it home over the weekend. monday, she remembered, and left the little treasure box by her bed for the tooth fairy. i'm not sure what transpired in the middle of the night, but we awoke the next day to find snowflake and gray kitty tied to harper's ceiling light, and the fairy's dollar was strung up with them.



day 16: continuing with her "stay out of the way" theme, on wednesday snowflake and gray kitty hid in a small vase to watch - and mock, i'm sure - my frenzy.



day 17: marc and i finally got some shelves in the craft room, so snowflake and gray kitty broke them in by being arty in the middle of the night. there was a little portrait drawing session, apparently.



day 18: last night, i held a party at our house for women at risk, international, and had out all of the beautiful jewelry and scarves made by women who have been rescued from sex trafficking and exploitation. this morning, snowflake and gray kitty were decked out and having a namaste moment.



namaste, indeed. it's friday, and it's almost christmas, and my house is clean. namas-freaking-te!

snowflake's week

longest. week. ever.

but snowflake showed up every single morning, like a good elf.

she deserves christmas brownie points.

or brownies.

maybe green ones.

bit i digress. or i'm just really tired.

where was i?

snowflake. okay:

day 5: she and gray kitty held onto the white tree for dear life. luckily, the tree was as yet undecorated, so harper was able to spot them fairly easily.



day 6: she hoarded some marshmallows by the cocoa stuff.



day 7: she and gray kitty had an "e.t." moment in harper's room.


day 8: snowflake and gray kitty were bundled up in jacket, hat, boots, and scarf, and settled into the "snowy" village.


day 9: ladies' (and kitty) tea.


day 10: back at the marshmallows, she decided to make a s'more. and gray kitty just wanted some chocolate.


day 11: hide and seek in the mantel garland. sneaky pair.


off to a swim meet, because that's our life. happy weekend!

snowflake 2015

well, she's back.

and here we go again.

we got home from indiana on sunday night ... a good quick trip to celebrate thanksgiving with marc's family, then monday we were thrust back into madness. high school swimming started, harp's club swimming started, time to pull out christmas stuff, a million errands ... and other harder, sadder events that would affect the week.

regardless, tuesday morning, there was snowflake - snuggled up with gray kitty on a chair in harper's room. and there was much excitement.


wednesday, she brought a fun elf puzzle and tried to get it put together before morning. she didn't quite make it, even with gray kitty's help.


thursday, snowflake decided to get a little snarky, and remind me that those eight loads of towels and sheets i washed before thanksgiving were still on top of the washing machine, waiting to be folded. snowflake, apparently, doesn't understand my schedule. at least Towel Mountain was clean.


this morning, snowflake was literally the elf on the shelf. but with a cheeky little twist.


four days down, twenty more to go.

snowflake, days 16 - 25

i blinked, and christmas is over.

don't get me wrong: we had my family here for four full days. and they were FULL. DAYS. but yet it flew by.

and i'll write more about that later.

first: giving snowflake her proper wrap-up.

day 16: snowflake got a little crafty with some glitter paint, a glass ornament, and mica flakes.


day 17: snowflake was hiding, adorably, in our container of chocolate chips. sadly, though, harper never saw her. she woke up at 3 a.m. vomiting, and kept going until lunchtime. she spent the entire day in bed and didn't once venture downstairs. i did tell her that i found snowflake while making lunch, and took my camera upstairs to show her a photo. that was good enough for my poor sick girl.


day 18: still sick but no longer vomitous, harper spent most of the day lying in bed, watching "magic school bus" episodes on the ipad. she had company, though. snowflake and gray kitty were sitting on her dresser, offering moral support - with proper safety precautions.


day 19: harp flirted with fever status on and off the day before, so on friday, she missed her last day of school before christmas break. she was, however, feeling better, and convalesced on the couch. snowflake kept a cheeky eye on her from inside a bowl.


day 20: one last crazy day of cleaning before my family arrived, one last day of rest and recuperation for harper. snowflake, meanwhile, channeled her inner miley.


day 21: harp woke up sunday morning to discover snowflake sitting in the little tree in her room, bearing a gift.



the note on the gift read, "santa knows this is my favorite job as your elf!"

what job was that?

bringing harp's christmas jammies.


day 22: snowflake was part of the family festivities, but from a safe vantage point.


day 23: snowflake and gray kitty hid a dozen candy canes, and harper had to hunt for them. much like easter, she zipped through the house, glancing at eye level, and declared, "i can't find any!" while we, the rest of the people in the room, looked around and said, "uh ... we can see five just from here."


eventually, harp decided to Look.


day 24: our last day with snowflake. she celebrated the arrival of christmas by sitting on the mantle with a banner declaring, "one more day until christmas!" and there was much excitement.


bonus day 25: before she flew back to the north pole, snowflake let me take a photo of her with a little gift that she left for harper for christmas morning: a book, entitled "sparky." if you know harper at all, you will understand why this is the most perfect book in the world for her. it's about a little girl who desperately wants a pet, and her mom says no to them all, then says she'll say yes if the girl can find one that doesn't require care. so the girl orders a sloth, which is delivered via express mail.


harp was super excited to find this little special gift in her room christmas morning.

and that was our month with snowflake. i'm challenging myself to put a bit more effort into the elf thing next year ... this year was pretty ... let's just say basic.

i'll get to actual christmas ... maybe tomorrow.

here's a teaser of just what you can expect, though:


hope your holiday was merry and wonderful!

snowflake, days 12 - 15

the last weekend before the last weekend before christmas has come and gone. and we got ... very little done.

oh well.

henry had a swim meet on both friday and saturday, so the rest of saturday was shot with us being too tired for productivity. sunday was all about battling harper and her insistence that she really does have a sore throat need to take a nap have a sore elbow not want to do her homework. that was lots of fun.

maybe i need to get snowflake on the case. harper might listen to her.

about snowflake:

on friday, she was hiding in the little nook by the microwave and phone. harper walked right by her half a dozen times before finally spotting her. however, snowflake knew she was being sneaky.


on saturday, she ventured to the basement. which was also hard for harper to find, because she rarely goes to the basement. truth be told, neither do i. like, i totally forget there's a bathroom in the basement that needs to be cleaned. glad snowflake forced us to go down there.


on sunday, we woke up to this sweet scene:


snowflake was reading a christmas book to gray kitty, the vietnamese nativity people, and a stuffed snowman.

before bed, i noticed harper had strung about 10 hairbands on the antlers of the deer head outside her room. i asked what that was all about, and she said because then she would know where hairbands are when she needs one. because the container in the bathroom and the dish in her room are easily forgotten? hmm. we'll have to deal with that later, because this morning, snowflake was doing some aerial work with those bands.


oh, and by the way:


snowflake, days 9 - 11

december is going way too fast. waaaaay. too fast.

however, the house is 85% ready for family to visit for christmas; starting on monday, i'll have marc home for three weeks; and i'm ready to spend next week enjoying the glitter of the tree and the twinkle of lights, and listening to frank and nat and bing and perry while baking and prepping food. (and attending three swim meets, one band concert, picking henry up from swim practices, taking harper to and from swim practices, and taking henry to and from a hockey game for which the pep band is playing. oh, and harper has an eye appointment. and who knows what else ... i'm afraid to look. don't want the calendar to harsh my holiday mellow. but thankfully, there is a swingin' christmas pandora channel ... frank and nat and bing and perry come with me everywhere i go.)

there will also be more elf adventures.

on tuesday, we found snowflake sitting on a wreath in the stairway.


and she lived up to her name and the "let it snow" sign on the wreath, because leading down the stairs to where she sat, we also found a flurry of snowflakes.


it isn't looking like it will be a white christmas outside, so she brought the snow inside for us. thanks, snowflake!

on wednesday, she was taking a ride on a reindeer in the bathroom:


pretty pedestrian.

however, today? oh, was my daughter happy!

first, you need to know that every christmas since she was three, harper has been obsessed with "the nutcracker." it started with a barbie nutcracker dvd. that lasted two or three years. then, when she was in her all-day, every-day tom & jerry phase, we discovered that there is a tom & jerry nutcracker special that airs only at christmastime, and only once. so we have recorded it for the past four years. she watches it over and over ... and over again.

this year, we found it and set the tivo, but for some reason, it didn't record. harper was heartbroken. but, thanks to the power of amazon the north pole, snowflake knew how to remedy the situation. this morning, this is what harper found when she went on her snowflake search:


to say our morning started with a happy squeal would be an understatement. also? she had an ortho appointment before school, so that happy squeal took place at about 6:58 a.m.

and on the way to school, she asked if she could watch "tom & jerry" after school, and i said sure, once homework is done. she immediately responded, "if i don't have homework, maybe i can watch it twice!"

happy kiddo.