O Tanen…whatever

How to Set Up a Christmas Tree with Small Children in 18 Easy Steps:

1.) Put off buying a tree until the last possible minute because the thought of it makes you want to throw up. (Literally. Hey, pregnancy PTSD!)

2.) Tell yourself it’s okay because you’re being liturgical, not lazy.

3.) Let tree sit undecorated in the house for a few days because it “needs to warm up.” No idea if that is a thing.

4.) Have husband bring up every single box from the basement.

5.) Tell husband that you really only use that one box there, and the rest are ornaments that you decided you don’t use anymore.

6.) Get chided for “banishing” ornaments.

7.) Cry.

8.) Make husband feel bad.

9.) Husband puts other ornaments back in the basement.

10.) Sit on the couch surreptitiously watching Alias Grace on your phone while the kids “decorate” the tree.

11.) Which means putting 75% of the ornaments on the bottom third of the tree.

12.) Think about correcting it but then decide it’s pretty cute.

13.) Tell son he’s not allowed to climb on the tree.

14.) Tell son he’s not allowed to keep the ornaments in his bedroom instead of on the tree.

15.) Tell son he’s not allowed to touch the tree once he’s done.


17.) Wonder if you can spike an egg nog and call it festive?

18.) Go back to your phone and figure this is just the season of life you’re in. The crazy, craptacular Christmas tree season.

Boys and Girls

This is not political, and I will delete political comments. MY boy and MY girl are very different. I don’t know anything about any other boy or girl. 

In the last few months, Buddy has grown up a lot and become…a boy. Like, a BOY boy. A boy who does and says things that I never would have thought my perfectly reared children would say (hah.) And it’s sooo different than his sister.

My girl loves to play rock, paper, scissors. She will sit for hours and do it, even though she always throws the same thing and I catch on pretty quickly.

My boy also enjoys playing this game. Except he calls it Rock, Paper, Gun. And gun always wins. He’s going to teach his new cousin about this.


My girl is painfully and realistically shy about bathroom matters. She’s seven now, and whatever she does in there is her business. (And mine. I mean, she’s a kid.)

My boy startled giggling in the car today. When I asked him what was so funny he said, “I like saying “poop” to myself.”


My girl was super excited to take Christmas card pictures so we could send them to her friends.

My boy is not visible in any of the pictures and there were several we couldn’t even print because he’s playing dead in my arms. Playing. Dead. In. My. Arms.


Since we met her, my girl has received a dollar bill from my dad every Sunday, and placed it in the collection basket. She loves it. It makes her feel so grown-up.

My boy also gets a dollar. He put it in the collection basket. Then he bursts into tears and screams “THERE’S NO MONEY FOR ME AT CHURCH!!!” Every. Sunday.


My girl enjoys buying presents for less fortunate families through our parish every year. She picks someone her age, and takes a painstaking amount of care to select something they’d like. She loves delivering it to church or giving it to me to turn in.

My boy passes the baskets outside of church this time of year and screams, “THERE ARE NO PRESENTS FOR ME AT CHURCH!!!” Every. Sunday. And. Weekday. Mass.


My girl was potty trained in about twelve minutes at age 3 with a jug of apple juice and a bag of skittles that rotted before she even ate them all.

My boy is embarrassingly not age 3 and I’ve offered him everything from candy to strippers and while he work a pull-up for an hour this morning, it was clearly a passing fad.


In fact, my girl really loved the accomplishment of being a big girl and wearing underwear.

My boy really just likes that when he uses his little Thomas potty it makes train noises.

(And NO! I’m not looking for potty training advice or consolation. I’ve got this, he’ll get it. They’re just different, is all.)


My daughter received a painted doll of her patron saint. It was the pair to the one we bought her brother that was done a few months ago. So she patiently waited months and months while her brother had a cool St. Joseph doll and she did not.

Until Sunday morning. When I gave her St. Christina the Astonishing.

And my boy threw a big enough fit IN CHURCH that frankly you’d think HE was levitating and the only way my mom (parenting for 30 years, natch) and I could figure out how to MAKE HIM STOP was to give him ANOTHER saint doll that was supposed to go to my sister’s unborn baby.

St. Benedict, pray for us.


Currently, right this moment, my daughter is dressed in a cute outfit she selected this morning carefully because she thought she’d look older in it. While it’s a little loud for my tastes, it includes a shirt, pants, and sweatshirt, and she’s clean and cute.

My boy is naked inside a shark Snuggie Tail.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…get it? MOST WONDERFUL GUYS. DON’T MESS THIS UP.

Christmas in the Martha Stewart universe is a little more crazed, you get the feeling. The December magazine is gorgeous and not that fun and not including any opinions at all except for Martha’s and it seems like THAT’S BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT JESUS WANTS AND IT’S HIS BIRTHDAY.

But let’s dig in, shall we?

Yeah. Sure. You collect your own kindling, Martha.

Ooh look at you waaaay ahead of schedule well you know what Martha? It took me a while to find a picture I looked good in. And then I’ve been very busy and Broadchurch Season 3 was released on Netflix and I mean that’s not going to watch itself and I’LL GET THEM OUT OKAY.

That sounds ominous. But I have been watching a lot of Criminal Minds while knitting lately.

(That sentence right there is why I’m constantly shocked that anyone wanted marry me.)

Yep. Because if anyone should be teaching about the concept of sacrificial giving, it’s Insider Trading Martha.

Oh. Wow. That is a lot of work. You know Kohl’s delivers right?

I would be super disturbed if someone gave me a leather stocking. Like, call the police disturbed.

On behalf of people everywhere, just give them regular booze. If Martha Stewart was giving me a present I would expect top-shelf Scotch and if I opened up a mason jar of hibiscus-ginger moonshine I would NOT be pleased. #sorrynotsorry.


Whoever wrote that paragraph has never met a real child. Pack them up in the wooden slider box? Ha. Haha. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH. I was laughing so hard I tripped on some crap my kids left out on the floor.

Martha has so much leather lying around and it’s really bothering me.

Don’t hang a wreath like a poor person. Hang a whole plant up in there. With a bird. There you go.

Martha’s, of course, trails off all around her compound. But that’s because she’s better than you.

For whom? Who over the age of six expects the holidays to be anything other than insane and expensive?

Okay. I will call it. If you have ever seen It’s a Wonderful Life and your eyes DON’T well up every time you hear Auld Lang Syne? You are a sociopath.

Welcome! Have a cookie. Don’t eat it. Just admire how it looks like a wreath. Even though we don’t have a wreath because Martha told us they were out.

I like how the editors just slid this in here like “HELP ME PLEASE SHE’S KILLING US.”

Key symptom- You’re a jerk.

Buy one for $130 from QVC and the lights even come ON IT. I KNOW.

Spoiler alert- it will never be as good as his mom’s.

I don’t have anything to say about this except what the hell is a tenant house?

My tiramisu has a twist too. It’s the alcohol.

Don’t be surprised if you get homemade tape this year guys! (That’s a lie. Be very surprised. Someone has clearly kidnapped me. Send help.)

Maybe the person who lives in the tenant house keeps all of the candle snuffers in order. Seriously. What is even happening there.


Things I Thought Would Be More of an Issue at 30 Than Hand Foot and Mouth Disease:

1.) wrinkles

2.) gray hair

3.) My knees


Yep. We were felled by the fabled HFMD. Buddy showed symptoms first. No biggie though, right? It’s painless and adults don’t get it.


It’s super painful. And in our family, the adults got it waaaaay worse than the kids.

And there’s nothing that makes you feel quite so pretty as your husband refusing to kiss you because your mouth is literally covered in sores.

Yeah. Attractive.

But we’re good now. All good, and back to normal life.

And my website is fixed again and a new issue of Martha Stewart Living arrived today. It’s a good day, y’all!