Cee’s Black & White Challenge: E or F

bw elf

My office elf

bw frog

One peaceful frog

bw eggs

There’s always one bad egg in the bunch.

bw fence

Looking through the fence

This post is in response to Cee’s Black & White Challenge: E or F.

Cee's BW Challenge

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Last year I shared the video of Baby, It’s Cold Outside– Idina Menzel and Michael Buble kids dancing as part of a list of my favorite Christmas songs.

 After letting the dogs out early this morning (Ari had a sleepover with a friend), I began singing this song, much to the pups’ dismay.  and decided I needed to share it again.  It’s an adorable video. The kids are cuter than anything and let’s face it- Idina’s and Michael’s voices blend beautifully together.

But then the scene from Elf popped into my head and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share one of my favorite songs along with a little humor. This movie was my introduction to Zooey Deschanel and it was very disconcerting when I started watching the the tv show New Girl, seeing her as a brunette. It’s amazing how different a person can look when she changes her hair color.

It’s not really a Christmas song, though, is it? My dad sang this song when I was growing up so it’s one of those I’ve always known. Gosh, how many times have I said that? There’s no mistaking where my love of music came from or how many songs (or partial songs) my father introduced me to throughout my life. Unfortunately for my kids, I inherited (?) that habit and they have spent their life hearing parts of song. Even more unfortunately for them, unlike my dad- who sang parts of songs but never really told us what they were- I have felt the need to provide my kids with probably way too much background information. Oh well.

I hope you’re keeping warm, wherever you are!

Have a great day!


Approaching the Sea of Swirly Twirly Gumdrops


I love the movie, Elf, starring Will Ferrell, James Caan and Zooey Deschanel. It was released in 2003 and my kids were at the perfect ages- 13, 10, and 8- for this movie. They had grown too old for the classics- Rudolph and Frosty- but I have high standards for what I deem quality Christmas viewing and nothing was making the grade.

And then Elf came out.

It was an immediate with the entire family and made its place on our favorites list after one viewing.

And it arrived at the perfect time. It renewed my love of Christmas. I love everything about this movie and so do my kids. Just recently, Andrew texted me that he was going “through the Lincoln Tunnel” and that launched an exchange that made me smile all day.

There was another time when that same quote saved us during a stressful time. Andrew and I were driving to New York City to visit music schools. It was our first time there and we were driving in NYC during rush hour and as the sun was at that dangerous level where it’s peeking just under the visor, blinding you. I have driven in downtown Chicago for 30 years so I have experience with big city driving but this was extreme! As I was swearing and ranting, getting beeped at by cars and yelled at by pedestrians, I was seconds away from stopping the car, getting out and walking away- right in the middle of Times Square- which was nowhere near where we were supposed to be! I can only imagine what thoughts were going through Andrew’s head, besides dreading spending the rest of the week with me. In his quiet steady voice he said, “Maybe next time we should come in through the Lincoln Tunnel.”

That was all I needed. It diverted my attention from the chaos outside the car and we started listing out all the places that Buddy visited in the movie, discussing which ones we might get to see.

I wrote about an experience I had last year, which always brings a smile to my face when I think about it in the post- I’m Singing

Seven year old C.J. loves the movie and has been asking to watch it since June. Because he’s growing up in an era of instant gratification, I’ve told him that Elf is a movie that is only to be viewed at Christmas time. After Thanksgiving last week, I asked him if he knew what holiday was coming next and of course, he knew. “Do you know what movie we can watch now?” I asked.

His face split into the widest grin and he nodded. “I wonder if Beej will like it!” His little brother just turned two years old. I smiled back, “I’m sure he will.”

As a parent…..as a mom, this time of year is especially exhausting. The pace is frenzied. There is so much going on. Decorating, shopping, Santa, baking, social functions, relatives…. it’s a lot. (And as an introvert, well, I’m not even going there!) But taking the time to slow down and sit with my family, laughing at the same things we are entertained by every year (“I just like to smile. Smiling’s my favorite.”) is a priceless tradition. It fills my heart and soul and I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

There is a part of me that is taking deep breaths and trying to mentally prepare myself. The seven levels of the Candy Cane Forest weren’t too bad but you know what’s next, right?

“Buddy the Elf. What’s your favorite color?”

“You sit on a throne of lies.”

“Francisco. That’s fun to say. Francisco.”

“Deb, you have such a pretty face you should be on a Christmas card.”

“I’m sorry I ruined your lives and crammed eleven cookies into the VCR.”

“I’m singing. I’m in a store and I’m singing.” 

There are so many more quotes I could share but I’ll stop here.

Do you have a favorite Elf quote?


“I’m Singing!”

Did you ever have one of those unexpected moments that make you smile….I’m talking a big ear-to-ear grin… and you look around to share that joy with someone else and there’s no one there? I had one of these moments when Kris, Andrew, CJ, Beej and I were out shopping on Black Friday this year. It was not as eventful as last year’s Shopping With CJ and Buzz, but there was one moment.

I was warm, tired, hungry and frustrated, finding no real bargains, when I was standing in front of a toy display, staring at new Star Wars toys. Since The Force Awakens was not out yet, I didn’t know who the characters were and what I was looking for. I was ready to throw in the towel when I heard a voice nearby.

“I’m singing! I’m in a store and I’m singing!”

If you are unfamiliar with the 2003 holiday movie, Elf, starring Will Ferrell, James Caan and many more famous actors, you really do need to see it. And if you are unfamiliar with Elf, the above quote means nothing to you so you can watch the video clip below.

As the smile spread across my face, I looked quickly for any of the boys, preferably the big one who would know what I was talking about, although I’m sure Beej would be just as amused, as he is by everything these days. There was no sign of ANYONE— not even the lone singer, who I had hoped to catch a glimpse of so I could thank him for brightening my day.

We left the store empty-handed but Kris and Andrew were entertained by my near encounter and disappointed that they didn’t get to hear it and CJ and Beej were happy to head to McDonald’s for a special lunch.

And this memory will always bring a smile to my face- reminding me that the smallest thing can make the biggest difference.