Science

And On the Seventh Day, He Rested – My Darn Elf

December 4, 2017

I woke up Sunday morning to the soft touch of a tiny hand on my cheek accompanied by a small voice, “Mommy.  Did you touch the elf?” The voice quietly asked.

The elf.  The elf!

Ahem.  “No.  Mommy didn’t touch the elf.  Why?”

A lot of theories developed over the remainder of the day as to why ‘Snowflake’ did not move from his partially devoured snow angel.  We found him Saturday morning like this:

Snow Angel Elf

And Sunday, he was in the same position, minus a handful of snowflake candies.

Elf at rest

Perhaps Snowflake did not leave Saturday night because he didn’t want to report back to Santa all of the naughtiness that took place the day before?  Or, maybe someone touched him as they meticulously devoured the snowflake sprinkles from around his lifeless body?

Perhaps Snowflake observes a day of rest on Sundays.

My husband proposed, via phone from the across the world, that he was playing the greatest trick of all:  traveling to the north pole and coming back to the exact same spot just to leave everyone guessing as to whether or not he left in the first place.

I think I know the truth.  It falls into the camp of exhaustion and forgetfulness.

When I asked a friend of mine if an elf comes to her house she slowly turned her head back and forth.  Her husband chimed in, “The tooth fairy once forgot to come to our house for four days.”

“FOUR days!” he repeated eyes-wide.

I need to set an elf alarm on my phone.

Absent a final answer to the mystery, we left Snowflake stagnant in my husband’s office and gallivanted off to our neighborhood club’s holiday festivities.  It was the perfect remedy to a week of single-parent hood.  God bless moms and dads with spouses deployed overseas.  I cannot imagine.

We filled our afternoon with crafts.

Crafts - Elf

Letters to Santa.

Letter to Santa - Elf

L's Letter to Santa - Elf

Naughty or Nice ElfIt had been a tough weekend, so my little guy really paused to make sure he checked the right box – naughty or nice.  He was trying so hard to be so honest.  Finally, his big brother reached over and checked ‘nice’ for him.  Poor fellow.

We took numerous rides on the Little Blue Choo Choo, which is tons of fun for all ages.

Blue Choo Choo - Elf

On the Train - Elf

Crowd Gathers

Loop de Loop

Choo choo - ElfWe nibbled on tasty treats.

Christmas treatsThen, there was the icing on the cookie:  the arrival of Santa Claus himself chauffeured by our local fire station.

Santa!

Ho Ho Ho!

A Crowd Gathers

It doesn’t get more perfect than that.

The evening closed with the lighting of the Christmas tree on the green.  It probably pales in comparison to Rockefeller Center, but for our little neighborhood it was larger than life.  Naturally, I would share a picture of the tree lighting with you as well, but my phone went dead right before the lighting.  And, I still refuse to give in and buy a new phone, as I wrote here.

We drove home with Christmas songs playing in the car and a glorious full moon suspended in the sky.

It was the perfect ending to a day, which overall diminished the shock of finding Snowflake in the same place as he was the previous day.

I hope your elves are less forgetful than mine!  Good luck with that! 😉

XO, Melissa


The Moon

After dinner, as we were reflecting on the beauty of the moon in the sky, a discussion came up about how the moon acts in relation to the Earth and sun.  We talked about a few Earth/moon facts, but I fell a little short of being able to share as much as I would have liked about our moon.  To keep you from getting caught empty-answered on the heels of the fabulous moon last night, here is some fodder on our moon and its relationship with Earth.

A nice way to describe our moon is as the Earth’s only natural satellite, which is larger than the demoded ‘planet’ Pluto.  The phases of the moon, from new moon to full moon, have guided humanity for millennia.  The calendar months are roughly the amount of time it takes to go from one full moon to the next.

The moon is 2,160 miles in diameter and is about a quarter of the size of Earth.  It is about 240,000 miles from Earth and has an average surface temperature of -4 degrees Fahrenheit.  If we celebrated the moon’s birthday it would have at least 4.5 billion lit candles.

The moon always shows us the same face because its rotational speed equals that at which it revolves around the Earth.  It takes 27 days, four hours and 43 minutes to rotate on its axis and to orbit the Earth.  Thanks to the Soviet space probe, Luna 3 in 1959, we actually know what the other side of the moon looks like.  The amount of face of the moon that we do see, from the sun reflecting upon its surface, depends upon the moon’s position in relation to the Earth and the sun.

There are many theories about how the moon was formed.  The most popular theory is that about 95 million years after the creation of the solar system, a large object, about the size of Mars, struck the Earth in its molten state and hurled the components that would ultimately make up the moon into orbit.  The pieces coalesced into the moon and its molten surface cooled over time.  Then, it was bombarded with space debris, creating the craters which we can see today.

Thanks to the moon, the length of our days on Earth are actually increasing by 2.3 milliseconds per century, because the pull of the moon is slowing the Earth’s rotation.  This effect is known as tidal breaking.  The moon picks up the Earth’s lost energy and, as a result, its distance from Earth is increasing by one and a half inches every year.

The moon’s gravity pulls at the Earth causing predictable rises and falls in sea levels known as tides.  Even though the surface gravity of the moon is .17 that of the Earth’s.

And, last but not least, despite centuries of mythical beliefs about the moon’s affect on behavior, that theory has been debunked countless times by scientists and researchers.

There goes the scapegoat for my kids’ misbehavior over the weekend! 😉

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