Let’s start at the very beginning…

Mommy Vegas and the Naptime Gnome…. WHHAAAT? 

I’m the kind of person that get’s bored easily, this coupled with my desire to learn new things, try just about anything, and spend as little money as humanly possible, has led me to explore my surroundings in a slightly more active way than some have the time or inclination to. I also like pretty things, and I don’t let my cheap, I mean “thrifty,” side hinder my potential to be surrounded by pretty things, both in our home and away. These tendencies have spurred me to think outside the box a bit and be more creative, making old new and creating fun even where it may be hard to find.

While working in community outreach education and teaching I became even more interested in the sites and activities available in and around the Las Vegas Valley. Before I became a mother I was able to share this information with hundreds and even thousands of children on a weekly basis. In the past few years my audience has shrunk substantially, but I still love sharing our adventures and discoveries with friends and family, often to find people have no idea how much there is to do here. In fact, I’m regularly shocked to hear people woefully report how little there is in Las Vegas for families.

In the last few months many of my friends and family, and even a few random people I’d met while out and about, had suggested I start a blog. After the first two suggestions I thought, “Why would I want to add to the mindless, unreviewed, strictly-void-of-the-editorial-process babble already in existence on the web?” After the fifth or sixth recommendation, I started to do some market research: What is to be found in the wide world of blogs anyway? After sifting through countless blogs, mostly those written by stay-at-home moms, what I found was a pool of educated, insightful, interesting people, with so much to share. There were, of course, plenty of daily journals and accounts obviously devoted to keeping the family/friends in the loop too, but I became excited to possibly join a community of moms that have found a way to share and be heard, while still learning from others, often in the same wee hours I keep. You know, those hours when it’s inappropriate to pick up the phone or visit any place reputable.

I have to admit, with every suggestion that I write a blog, I started to wonder if people really thought I was interesting enough that I should share with others, or if I was so boring that they preferred I find an outlet that could easily be ignored! So here’s hoping for the prior, and in an attempt to avoid the latter, I’ve narrowed my vast interests to just a few categories… what we do when everyone’s awake… and what happens when most everyone is asleep! Doesn’t sound like it should narrow it down much does it?!  Well, with any luck, it should leave us with things to do for family fun (the Mommy Vegas part), and DIY projects around the house (that’s where the Naptime Gnome comes in).

So the “Mommy Vegas” bit is clear, “…but what’s with the Gnome?,” you may ask. 

First a little background: 

So I have a confession to make. We have a bit of a Gnome problem around our home. We began noticing it around the time my husband and I moved in together. We shared a precious bear-cave on the edge of town and loved every moment, but our time together was limited as the hubby had recently taken a job with beaucoup responsibility and a hefty commute and I was living at, I mean, attending grad school, teaching and doing research. We were like ships passing in the… no actually, the nights where the BEST! It was the short moments of putting away dishes, packing lunches, and general household stuff that we didn’t connect on at first. I had moved into his place, so all of his belongings had a home, but our lack of time together meant mine found homes in his absence. 

It was all going swimmingly until I started noticing my stuff mysteriously disappearing, it started small: the ENTIRE carton of ice cream I had just dipped my little spoon into for a little taste, the re-purposed plastic containers I saved to pack delightful leftovers to brighten lonely lunches, the lightly used ziploc bags I washed and placed back in the drawer for reuse, the LIDS, only the LIDS, of my “reusable” water bottles, you know, the fancy models with “Aquafina” and “Deja Blue” emblazoned on the sides, and the list goes on. Ok, I was a bit of a hoarder. He started noticing strange things as well, socks being paired and rolled before being tucked into their drawer, projects being started and left to be finished (sometimes for inappropriately lengthy periods), and so forth. WE were never home enough to have committed such OBVIOUSLY grievous crimes, and our time together was so precious we never had a moment to bring up the incidents.

One day, while cursing a blue streak of my finest British expletives (its probably critical to imagery to remind you I am 100% made in the USA) in the throws of artfully disemboweling the kitchen cupboards in search of a single yogurt container lid, or possibly a margarine container, I finally decided to confront my assailant(s).

It wasn’t a long correspondence, just a sticky note that went something like: 

“Dear Kitchen Gnomes, Please be so kind as to refrain from ingesting our food storage containers and their accompanying accoutrements.” 

Proud, and admittedly a bit smug, I crammed my lunch into a NEW Ziploc bag (the HORROR!) and headed out. That evening it became clear that war had been waged in my absence, the note featured a large jagged portion resembling the relief of a dental arch… some gnome had taken a BITE out of my note! The hubby was just as astounded at the response, that’s when we knew we had a gnome problem. 

Over the years, as with any other pest, we’ve taken measures to reduce our run-ins with the gnomes, making accommodations like acquiring an inexpensive, matching set of compactly stored plasticware, and now that we have recycling pickup in the neighborhood many of the things I had trouble parting with have found their way to the bins. As I began to hoard less, the gnomes seemed to move on to greener pastures. 

Until that is, the kids started moving freely about the house. In recent years our little gnome problem mushroomed into a full-blown infestation: car keys in the backyard, TV remotes in the freezer, cell phones in the cat’s water bowl, a menagerie of stuffed critters in the laundry shoot, and you don’t even want to know what they sneak into the washer.

But the gnomes haven’t been all mischief, in fact, we’ve discovered one that collects all the recycling and garbage and makes sure it gets to the curb – LOVE that gnome – I get a glimpse of him now and then… he’s pretty cute! My other favorite does all sorts of handy things around the house, but only once the kids are in bed. We’ve named her the Naptime Gnome.

Life is good since her arrival. Though it sometimes takes a few naps for projects to meet completion: a garage sale find ceiling fan may take two naps to refinish and one to hang, while the driveway was stained over the course of 2 weeks of naps (although it did take her almost a year to finally finish the laundry room, but we won’t hold that against her). Slowly, one nap at a time, our house is becoming a home.  Over the years the gnome has Venetian plastered, refurbished and installed light fixtures and ceiling fans, laid mosaic tiles and installed back-splashes, built or refinished various furniture pieces, laid and stained concrete, done some minor plumbing, sewn curtains, throw pillows and various other items, landscaped and gardened, processed homegrown foods, installed artificial turf, built trellises, refinished cabinets and painted just about anything that will hold still and even a few things that won’t (poor dog).

Though few know about our gnome problem, many visitors to our home have been curious about how certain things came to be. So instead of boring them with the details of how our gnome can’t seem to leave anything alone, I’ve decided to cave to the prompting from friends and family (to bore them less in person ;), and burrow my own little mark into the blogosphere to share some of our creations, finds and adventures, and hopefully be lucky enough to share in some of your own ideas and adventures!

So, what’s the best place for fresh fruit in Vegas? Which parks have the best splash pads? What will the Naptime Gnome do next? Stick around and find out, and don’t be shy about sharing your own ideas and questions!

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