What I Do All Day

When I was in college and grad school, I was super productive. I was trained by years of homeschooling to be a self-starter who loved her schedule and to-do list and got stuff done. My favorite day of the semester was when I went through and scheduled everything that I had due so I would be finished at least a week ahead of time. I thought I was pretty hot stuff at the whole “getting-things-done” thing.

I had no idea.

I had no idea what real productivity meant. Because there is NOTHING as productive as a mother whose children are otherwise occupied for a few hours outside of the house. If the State Department offered babysitting, we could figure out this whole Middle East thing. And do a few loads of laundry.

My kids were at their grandparents for like five hours this afternoon. I got the following accomplished.

  • Cleaned up from breakfast and the day of school.
  • Made flashcards for all the subjects for the coming week.
  • Pick up rest of house.
  • Vacuum up after Buddy’s toast breakfast in the living room. Because we’re classy.
  • Stage and take pictures of two new Etsy products.
  • Upload listings for two new Etsy products.
  • Order supplies and schedule three new orders that came in today. (Including figuring out where Wailai is in the world.)
  • Almost finished a knitting project I’ve been working on for like forever.
  • Put three coats of paint on some wooden hearts (oooh stay tuned guys!)
  • Sealed a set of coasters.
  • Did four loads of laundry.
  • Changed kids’ sheets and cleaned up their rooms.
  • Made all the beds.
  • Washed and dried and straighened hair. (This is a PROCESS, y’all.)
  • Watched episode 1 of Poldark.
  • Fell in love with Poldark.
  • Texted Sister to see when Poldark would start getting Biblical with the redhead kitchen maid.
  • Was assured it was coming soon.
  • Ordered groceries.
  • Ordered cold meds for husband.
  • Washed hands like eight times.
  • Went through emails.
  • Prepped for meeting tomorrow.
  • Started work on a headband.
  • Almost finished a super long knitting project that I am so done with.
  • Cleaned the basement.
  • Cleaned out kitchen cabinets of candy from Halloween.
  • Sat and stared at the snow softly falling and counted my blessings.
  • Did some more laundry.
  • Wrote this post.

Grad school me was cute and skinny and hungry all the time, but Mom Me? I get shiz DONE.

Temperature Blanket 2018

I love big projects that span the year, like photo challenges or journaling or whatever. But since I refuse to commit to being photo-ready every day for the next year (especially when everyone around me is being felled by the stomach flu), I decided to focus on a knitting project for the year.

The concept of the temperature blanket is simple- just knit one or two rows each day in a color associated with the temperature. You can make it any size, use any colors, stitch, yarn, and needles, and pick the high, low, average, or whatever temperature you’d like.

This is my first one, so I’m going pretty typical. I’m using worsted weight yarn because it’s cheap in large quantities, size 9 needles, and a garter stitch so it’s cozy and really shows off the colors without any complications.

The hardest part was picking colors and temps- living in Wisconsin we typically see below zero and above 100 without batting an eye. That’s a lot of colors (and a lot of money) if you do a typical 5-degree spread. Here’s what I did instead-

I’m using Red Heart Super Saver yarn- they have a ton of colors to choose from that allow me to stay away from the oranges and reds I don’t really like.

For my blanket, I wanted it to be super cozy, so I cast on 300 stitches and am knitting two rows a day. This works well because all the colors “switch” on the same side so there’s a seamless “good” side to the blanket when it’s finished. It will also make it long enough to be cozy. Hopefully it should end up around 60×70 inches.

These are the colors I have on hand for below 0 to 55. I didn’t think I’d need the in JANUARY IN WISCONSIN but apparently I was wrong. Thank you, Amazon Prime.

See? It’s super simple and a really cool record of the year. I love that there will be a pop of green in there and I can remember, oh yeah, remember the day it was 59 in January?

It would also be cool to do to commemorate an anniversary year or a baby’s first year.

(And speaking of which, I could totally make you one through my Etsy shop, linked on the sidebar. Mama gotta hustle.)

Of course, I could get sick of it by March. In which case I’ll have a bunch of yarn in weird colors. But for now it’s better than putting on mascara every day.

New Year, New You

Everything this time of year is all “THIS IS MY YEAR GUYS! THIS IS THE YEAR I GET IT TOGETHER!!! HERE’S ALL THE THINGS I WANT TO CHANGE ABOUT MYSELF!”

Well, I’m pretty happy with myself. I have an awesome marriage, an awesome family, and an amazing house. I get to homeschool my kids, and I have amazon subscribe and save to bring toilet paper to my house every month. I’m basically living the middle-class dream.

However, I can get behind this resolution thing.

1.) Drink more coffee.

Sometimes I forget about my coffee and I find that by noon I haven’t had more than half a cup. And then it’s too late to drink more because I’m an old woman and can’t drink coffee ten hours before I go to sleep.

So I’m going to get better about forcing as much caffeine into my system before I get distracted.

2.) Embrace the nap.

Guys, I get to nap almost every day. I’m blessed with sleepy children and an open schedule and dammit, I get up at 5 am most days and homeschool all day and by 1 pm? I AM DONE GUYS. D. U. N. DONE. And you know what? There’s nothing wrong with that. I refuse to be ashamed of that.

3.) Admit that I just don’t like fish.

I get that fish is healthy, but when I force myself to cook it for dinner I just end up pushing it around my plate and feeling bad making my kids eat it because they don’t get to wait until they go to bed to demolish a pint of coffee ice cream.

Just make more vegetables instead.

4.) Know that I’m not a bad person if I leave things undone on my to-do list.

I’m a bit of a control freak (I know, shocking?) and I can’t STAND it when I don’t get everything done I’m “supposed” to. But really, the only list that matters is “keep children alive” and that I’ve never failed at yet. So cut myself some slack on the laundry.

5.) I don’t have to read 150 books this year.

I read 154 books last year and that’s awesome, but thanks to Goodreads and my obsessive nature I think that’s what I should be doing every year. Even though this year I have a business and a kid that’s older and doing more school and generally more obligations and you know what? Just read for fun. You’re not in grad school anymore.

6.) Let Squeaks keep her own room organized.

Again with the controlling. But she’s almost 8, she knows how to clean, and honestly with the mashup of Frozen, My Little Pony, and Random Unicorn Crap? It’s never going to look like a Pottery Barn Kids catalog. I’ll reclaim it when she moves out and I wish I had treasured these moments of unorganized, brightly colored chaos more.

7.) Organize the craft/homeschooling closet so getting the laminator out isn’t a harrowing experience.

This is as close a legit resolution I will make this year.

8.) Watch all the shows my sister has told me to because she’s never steered me wrong.

Alias Grace? GUYS GO WATCH IT NOW. AND THEN CALL ME AFTER EPISODE 5.

9.) Drink more water.

It makes it easier to drink more wine.

(I’M KIDDING.)

10.) Generally access my uncrazy side, as Darryl would say.

Catholic Sistas Post- Praying with My Husband

So I’m super honored and happy to be able to write for the amazing Catholic women’s blog Catholic Sistas. Here is my post from this month. 

“I do not know why I had this block against praying with my spouse. I loved to pray. I spent most of my college and graduate school years immersed in Church history and documents,  a form of prayer that was very akin to falling in love. I attended daily Mass whenever I could. There was even a period of time when I said the Liturgy of the Hours (before children, obviously. Hah.) I loved to pray. I loved my husband. I just never wanted to sit down and consciously pray out loud with him. It made me uncomfortable.”

Read the rest here.

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.

16.) STOP TOUCHING THE TREE.

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.

Also in the Kathleen is ungrateful section- IF ANYONE SPENDS $150 ON AN UGLY ASS TEAPOT INSTEAD OF JUST GIVING ME A CHECK WE ARE NO LONGER FRIENDS.

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.

Youth

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

4.) basically EVERYTHING EXCEPT A FREAKING CHILDREN’S DISEASE

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.

THEY LIE.

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!

#blessed

Last week, the hashtag “onedayhh”  (one day hollywood housewife) made the rounds on Instagram, showcasing people’s “real” lives. Sure. Uh-huh. I decided to do mine here.

 

Good morning, Instagram! I like to start the day with a smile. #riseandshine #fivethirtyisn’tthatearly

It’s fine. I’m a nice enough person that I never have to be with my husband and we always are nice to each other anyways. #nfpissuchagoodbondingexperience #heavenhadbetterbeworthit #i’llstopwiththeheresynow

It’s grainy because of all of the love. There is no fighting in bed. #snuggles

School time! No one fights me about writing neatly and that cereal certainly did not end up on the floor! #homeschoolmama

Sometimes we chant in Latin and no one gets mad at me and asks to watch My Little Pony instead. #traddie

My garage isn’t sinking. You’re sinking. #denialnotjustariverinegypt

I read the Catechism and the Bible every morning and it’s never prefaced by a prayer “PLEASE DEAR LORD LET ME BE CALM TODAY PLLEEEEAAASSSEEE.” #whyisyours?

I just like all the colors and don’t need them to hide the evidence of crushing exhaustion and wine. #hahahaha

No one fights in the car on the way to my moms’ group. #siblinglove!

Okay the coffee and other people part of the day was actually just straight up awesome. I’m not playing.

Sought out a homeschool Mass with our local Catholic homeschool group and it was lovely and the kids didn’t fight over this piece of paper all through the Liturgy of the Word at all. #theyrejustgoodinchurch #dontknowwhatIdid

He was here the whole hour. Never on the floor under the pew! #mylittleboy

I love working on meaningless crap for my kids that I know they’re decide the don’t want after two seconds. Like a scarf for a toy car. #pinterestmama #crafty

Dinner time! All in one dishes are amazing! The kids can ignore the vegetables and meat together! Hahahha, I’m kidding. My kids eat everything! #homemademama #fiveaday

My secret to meal prep? A combination of planning and prepping ahead! Not Disney Jr. Not at all. #blessed

Oh well! I might as well indulge a little if it’s left! #winetime #alittlewonthurt

This is the same glass! It just…magically changed colors! I like to craft in the evenings, working on cute things for my munchkins. #scarfnotforme #itwouldmatchmyeyestho

I would never eat this in five minutes while watching an episode of the Office from ten years ago. Please. #notananimal

 

I just like the way these jars all look on my table before bed. I don’t need every single one of them to slow the relentless passage of time on my pasty Irish skin. #naturallygoodskin

My husband and I fall asleep in each other’s arms. I don’t stay awake watching Criminal Minds on a tablet until he begs me to stop the horrific noises from the show. #marriedmybestfriend #wedoeverythingtogether

Well there you have it! A totally true day in my life!

Playbook

I don’t mean to overplay the Martha Stewart thing, but I couldn’t pass up this gem from last month’s issue. Martha has a fool-proof playbook for hosting the best Thanksgiving ever.

Alas, we cannot all be Martha. Here is my Thanksgiving playbook.

Two Weeks Out:

Marvel at fact that it is November.

Buy wine.

Drink that wine.

It’s a normal week, yo.

One Week Out:

Buy simple syrup. Use in Old Fashioneds. This is still a normal week

Think about what dress you want to wear.

Make sure you have a stash of false eyelashes and your palettes are all up to date.

Argue with husband about how you need the new holiday palettes.

Sunday Before:

Half heartedly make a list for the grocery.

Make a list in your planner about how to make all the food. That makes you feel good and in control.

Plan makeup look.

Make sure sister is availabe to take your Christmas card photo. Start practicing putting children in front of you to make yourself look smaller.

Maybe call relatives and make sure they’re planning on showing up.

Monday the Week of:

Go to grocery.

Swear. A lot.

Put food away and ignore until Wednesday night.

Day Before:

Get up and forgo showering. Afterall, you’ll be working all day in the kitchen.

Decide to go back to bed with the kids and then hang out at your mom’s.

Come home, and figure you have plenty of time to nap with the kids.

Get up after nap. Run around like a crazy person.

Swear some more.

Shove pizza at husband, children. BECAUSE IT’S THE DAY BEFORE THANKSGIVING AND I’M BUSY.

Husband inquires about why you’re watching Dateline on your tablet while cooking.

BECAUSE IT’S THE DAY BEFORE THANKSGIVING AND I’M BUSY.

Set table. Yell at children NOT TO TOUCH ANYTHING SO HELP ME GOD.

Work until like midnight and collapse into bed. Just in time to get up and go to all the families.

Day of:

Stagger through Mass and husband’s family, mentally running through a list of all the things you have to do.

Drink a ton of coffee.

Get home. Little jittery.

Figure you should start drinking wine.

That calms you down.

Run around like a crazy person.

Look at silver that you forgot to polish. Meh, whatever. No one has silver anymore. They don’t anticipate it being clean too.

Make sure ham is cooked. Don’t waste time fooling around with turkey. That’s just a recipe for disaster.

Have husband make you a seasonal drink.

Ahhh. There’s the spirit.

Welcome guests lovingly into home. From the couch where you’ve collapsed from too much almost Christmas cheer.