Thursday, December 24, 2015

The Pajama Fairy

Fifi is screaming, "THE PAJAMA FAIRY WAS HERE!!!!" She's running down the stairs screaming to everyone, "GO CHECK YOUR BED!" Jaguar is wide-eyed, open-mouthed, leaning out of his bedroom door, excitedly telling me, "Majaba Bairy!" Lolly is squealing.

I began telling the story of Penelope the Pajama Fairy for about six years now. I came up with the idea after hearing a radio program about unique family Christmas traditions. One woman said when she was a child, her mother would clean all the sheets and make all the beds and give every child a new pair of pajamas on Christmas Eve, to wake up on Christmas morning with a clean start. My wee girls were super into fairies at the time, and thus the Pajama Fairy was born.

Every year, at some point on Christmas Eve when the kids are out, Penelope, the fallen tooth fairy, stops by with clean sheets (sometimes they are even brand new) and a new pair of pajamas for everyone to wear on Christmas Eve night. She makes the beds and lays the new pjs out for the kids to discover when they get home.

In the McFarlane house, the Pajama Fairy is a big deal. She might even be a bigger deal than Santa.

Fifi has been begging me to write the story down for a couple of years now. So this year, I did. Maybe one day I'll find an illustrator and eventually put the story in print.  It's still in draft form, but for now, enjoy a little McFarlane family tradition and feel free to adopt it and make it your own!

Everyone yell, "PAJAMA FAIRY!"

The Pajama Fairy


Penelope is sad.
She is a sad fairy.
Penelope is a tooth fairy. Or was.
She is sad, because she is not a tooth fairy anymore.

The thing is, she was not very good at being a tooth fairy.
For one, she was always getting lost. 
One time the address on the Tooth Pick-Up List said 201 North Walnut Street.
Penelope got mixed up and went to 201 South Walnut Street.
Instead of collecting Jonah Rodriguez’s bottom front incisor, she returned to Toothtown, Fairyopia with grumpy old Mr Pollock’s false teeth that were soaking in a jar next to his bed. She thought she’d won the jackpot with all those teeth!
Luckily for Jonah, his grandma discovered the tooth still under his pillow the next morning and replaced it with a coin of her own. She was unhappy with the tooth fairy though.
Unluckily for Penelope, the Toothtown’s legal council, Molar, Molar & Smith, had to settle the case in court when Mr Pollock sued over his “stolen” teeth.

Another thing is she was always running late.
Once she was a whole day late. Eden Martin woke up the next morning expecting a coin under her pillow and found her tooth still there. She cried all day and stopped believing in tooth fairies at once.
Penelope got in BIG trouble for that one.

Finally, she is always counting money wrong.
The worst time was when Penelope accidentally gave Elizabeth McDonald two coins and had no money left for Ollie Baker.
She left Ollie an acorn instead with a note explaining the mix up. Ollie decided tooth fairies were not worth the trouble and told his whole kindergarten class to stop leaving  teeth under pillows. That unbalanced the entire National Tooth & Trust’s fiscal year budget.
And this is why the Board of Directors finally fired Penelope.

And this is why Penelope is sad.

You see, the reason Penelope is always getting lost and running late and losing money is because Penelope’s true calling is not collecting teeth.  Penelope’s real talent is fashion design. Pajama fashion, to be exact.

When Penelope should be checking the daily Lost Tooth Alert System  for collection assignments

or studying the maps of neighborhoods (to make sure she stops at the RIGHT houses)

or learning how to count out the correct value of coins per tooth in math class

Penelope is doodling frilly nightgowns or practicing new stitches or calculating how many yards of fabric it takes to make a pajama set.  Despite her mistakes in counting coins, she is very good at counting inches and centimeters.

Penelope was not a good tooth fairy.
But she is good at other things.

It’s also worth noting that Penelope is not sad because she got fired.
Penelope is sad, because she loves the children.  Penelope has a good heart.
When she thinks of Eden and Jonah and Ollie and Elizabeth, a tear slips down her cheek. She will never see them again.

Or will she?

Penelope has an idea!

Penelope quickly starts to sew.
She knows that Eden loves spaceships, and Ollie loves cats.
She knows Jonah’s favorite color is purple, and Elizabeth likes polka dots.
She knows which children like fleece and which ones like satin. 
She knows who prefers nightgowns, and who likes pajamas with feet.

Lovingly, Penelope designs and sews each of the children a very special, unique pair of pajamas.

It takes her all year to get everything just right.

Finally, it is Christmas Eve.  Penelope is ready. She gets special permission from the Fairy Transport Office to view the neighborhood maps again. She wants to make sure she goes to all the right houses.

While Eden is shopping with her mother for last minute gifts, Penelope slips through the window to deliver the spaceship nightgown.

While Jonah is having Christmas Eve lunch with his grandma, Penelope lays a new pair of purple fleece pajamas on his bed. (She even made the bed for him.)

While Ollie is driving around looking at Christmas lights with his family, Penelope drapes the cat footsie pajamas over his desk chair.

While Elizabeth is in the kitchen peeling potatoes with her dad, Penelope folds the polka-dotted satin pajamas on top of the laundry pile.

With each pair of pajamas, Penelope also leaves a note apologizing for all the tooth mistakes of the past.

Penelope flies back to Toothtown, Fairyopia, and waits.

The children are all so surprised! They each read the notes as they put on their new pajamas.
Penelope’s heart beats fast and a smile spreads across her face as

Eden starts believing in fairies again.
Jonah’s grandma forgives the tooth fairy.
Elizabeth placed her extra coin under her pillow with a note that said “RETERN TO SENDER”.
Ollie promises to tell all the kids in his class to trust tooth fairies again AND to start believing in “Pajama Fairies” too.

Now Penelope has children all over the world who believe in her.
She spends all year making pajamas and delivers each pair on Christmas Eve.

Penelope has found her true calling.
Penelope is happy!
She is a happy fairy!
Penelope is not a tooth fairy anymore, but this is okay.
Penelope is now who she was always meant to be.

A pajama fairy!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Advent Thought For the Day: Christmas Chores

When I think of Christmas and the holiday season, I picture hot chocolate and Christmas movies on the couch, presents beautifully wrapped under a sparkling lit tree, gingerbread men and pies, family and friends.

I forget every year about the Christmas chores that make these things possible.

I forget about having to wrap all those presents, inevitably running out of tape just before I finish, and usually having to unwrap at least one because I forgot to tag it and can't remember who it's for. I forget about moving all the boxes marked XMAS out of the garage and decorating a house that has no room for all these excessive decorations. I forget about 50% of the lights purchased the year before not working, even though they have done nothing but sit in storage for a year. I forget about stringing said lights on the tree. (And for the years I use an artificial tree, I forget how much I hate building the artificial tree.) I forget about the mess of making gingerbread men with kids, refereeing fights over who gets to pour in the muscovado sugar and who gets to stir in the molasses. I forget about addressing 50+ Christmas cards and then balking at how much it costs to send most of them to the United Kingdom (or back in the day, sending them to the US). I forget about finding 24 unique and fun things for those darn elves to do every night. I forget about organizing Christmas get-togethers that accommodate everyone's various extended family schedules and still keep everyone happy. Christmas chores.

Christmas chores don't make me feel Christmasy. They make me feel tired.

But I still love Christmas. So all the Christmas chores in the world are still worth it for this one month of ridiculously gaudy decor everywhere you look, brightly lit houses in every neighborhood, more baked goods than my waistline can afford, and the look on my kids faces every morning when they see the mischief Banoffie Pie got up to overnight.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Advent Thought For the Day: One Word

Whether you celebrate Christmas as a secular holiday with trees, presents, stockings, lights, and Santa, or as a Christian holiday with trees, presents, stockings, lights, Santa, and a nativity, there is still one single word that sums up the entire Christmas season:


Love for family, love for friends, and hopefully love for others.  


Unless you can't stand your family, then Christmas is a bit of a mixed bag.  

But usually, you can sum it up with Love.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Advent Thought For the Day: Happy Holidays

I've been trying all evening to think of something thoughtful to write about the holiday season, but all I can come up with is this:

Don't be an arse.

I mean, it's a wonderful time of year, filled with goodness and cheer. Whether you display a nativity or a festivus pole, a tree or a menorah, just share the love.  Don't dig your heels in over the word "Christmas" and don't judge others for how they celebrate the winter season. (Remember, it's summer in Australia.) Baby Jesus or Santa, Seven Principles or Maccabees or Solstice, let's all just enjoy the holidays together in our own special ways.

Merry Christsmakkuhvuswanzaastice to all and to all a good force be with you.


Wednesday, December 02, 2015

That Awkward Moment When You Blog About Poop

In high school Forensics, we had a moratorium on doing improvs or mimes or any other kind of performance that involved "bathroom humor" - you know, fart jokes, poop jokes, peeing your name in the snow jokes. It's a philosophy I have always carried with me since as I've walked this little road we call Life. I don't usually talk about poop or farts or pee in public. But today, I am.

Today, let's talk about poop.

I have serious anxiety about "doing my business" in public with someone in the next stall. Like, I seriously can't do it. Doing a "Number One" is bad enough, but a Number Two just won't do.

So like, for instance, the other day, I really needed to, ahem, "go", and I waited until the public restroom at my place of employment was empty. And just as I was about to "go", I heard the door open and someone came in! What was I to do? There was no way I could "go" now.  Not with Sally Sassy Shoes a stall away. Not when a couple of days earlier a colleague confessed that she sometimes takes pictures of her toileting neighbor's shoes if she doesn't know who it is and shows it around until she find out who it was. So I did what any normal person would do. I calmly got up, flushed, washed my hands, and left the bathroom. I then quickly rushed to the second floor, where I hoped I'd find an empty ladies' room.  There was a girl washing her hands at the sink. I calculated that if I took my time "preparing" for the loo, she'd be gone in time for me to make a dash at it before anyone else entered the bathroom. But this girl wasn't just washing her hands. She had make-up to do. And hair to fix. And she even talked to herself in the mirror. All the while, I'm stuck in the stall with nowhere to go. I couldn't leave now, she'd know I hadn't gone! But I also couldn't "go" - oh no, not with Fancy Nancy sprucing herself up in the employee bathroom. I had to wait for what felt like days, all the while worried someone else would enter while she took her precious time. As soon as she left and I heard that door shut, I was on the clock. I "went" as fast as humanly possible, and luckily made it out before anyone else wandered in.

This is my normal.

And apparently I'm not alone! A whole book was written for the toilet-anxious employees of the world. I think I need this book.

From the Amazon blurb:

Don't let number 2 stop you from being number 1 on the job.
Face the facts. You poop every day-more or less-but making a misstep when you've got to go at the office could land you in some serious doo-doo. How to Poo at Work is the ultimate guide to handling a range of potentially awkward situations, including what to do when:
  • The boss is in the next stall
  • The toilet gets clogged
  • A colleague follows you into the bathroom
  • There's no toilet paper
    Flush with useful diagrams, this handy book can save your career from going down the toilet.

This book is so going on my reading list.  I wonder if it also has advice for colleagues who might take pictures of your shoes under the stall? "Wear pretty shoes, and don't let your knickers fall all the way to your ankles."

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

DeBloAdMo 2015

It's the first day of December which means:

- The first day of DeBloAdMo
- The first day of our Advent Activity Calendar
- The first day of Banoffee Pie (our Elf on the Shelf)

First -  DeBloAdMo: The challenge to blog every day of Advent (December Blog Advent Month). Considering how poorly I performed in NaBloPoMo, don't expect much out of this. But consider blogging December with me as we count down the days to Christmas! Let's even give it a bloody hashtag: #DeBloAdMo

You may choose to write something thoughtful about the holiday season, the advent of Christ's birth, or just post goofy pictures of your elf. (Hands up.) Whatever you do, it's a great way to keep blogging all month long, taking a little bit of time for yourself for reflection or silliness.

Second - Our Advent Calendar List (feel free to borrow/steal any of these ideas for your family advent calendar!)

1. Send letters to Santa.
2. Call Santa (free hotline: 951-262-3062)
3. Check email for message from Santa. (
4. Stay up late and watch a Christmas movie.
5. Drive to Sherwood Forest to look at Christmas lights.
6. Make gingerbread men for the Christmas tree.
7. Film a Christmas video for Granny and Grampa.
8. Have a picnic in pajamas on the floor.
9. Choose toys to donate to charity. 
10. Hang Christmas lights in bedrooms.
11. Lolly’s Sleepover birthday party!
12. Eat dinner by candlelight.
13. Christmas breakfast with friends.
14. Go out to eat with family for Lolly’s birthday.
15. Wrap presents to put under the tree.
16. Go to Lucie’s Place Grand Opening to show our support.
17. Make a cake for Daddy’s birthday. 
18. Go on a family adventure trip to Fayetteville and see lights on the Square!
19. See new Stars Wars movie.
20. Drink hot chocolate with marshmallows. 
21. Eat Christmas pancakes for dinner.
22. Cut out snowflakes and hang them.
23. Call cousins in Texas and Scotland to say Merry Christmas. 
24. Go to a carol service, then put out snacks and reindeer food for Santa’s sleigh team!!

Third - Banoffee Pie has arrived from the North Pole!

Looks like he took a flight this year instead of driving. He must be feeling flush. We are all very excited to see what shenanigans he gets up to this year. (And by we I mean the kids. Me? I just feel tired.)

Happy Advent!