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.

Let’s all be Thankful for Martha Stewart

Oh yay! Just what I was looking forward to- getting down and dirty with Martha this month! Because nothing gets Martha going like Thanksgiving.

No ordinary turkey for Martha! A HERITAGE TURKEY. I’ll bet it has a name and a backstory and all sorts of other crap that I’m pretty sure the one I buy at Pick n Save doesn’t.

Martha makes it seem like this is too enjoyable of an opportunity. Maybe she hasn’t had a man in a while.

This sounds different than when my husband and I argue over who gets to use the snow tires that year. I know you work, but I drive our children and I HAVE NEEDS TOO…*ahem* This is probably different.

You know, I don’t usually have enough to do in the month before Christmas, so I like to deep clean my oven too. After a long day of rubbing cutting boards, this really relaxes me.

WILLIAMSBURG. I don’t have anything funny to say about this one, but WILLIAMSBURG.

Aww yeah, now we’re talking. That’s really how you get through the holidays, amiright?

I wanna hear Martha’s newlywed recipes. I’m sure her ex would have some good ones!

Nope.

I don’t know, I’ve never been moved to tears by somebody’s hand towel.

Whoa. The real Martha is coming out. Who knows if you’ll be allowed to reproduce if you can’t prove you can decoupage!

“Darling! I knew we forgot something in Tangiers!”

No they don’t.

Mine likes to summer in the Berkshires.

I’ve never really felt that put upon having to pass gravy, but okay, M.

Aww yeah here we go. Let’s just put an article about headaches in the family holiday issue just because WINK WINK NUDGE NUDGE.

Yeah we all know what tension feels like. And I’m pretty sure your staff does too.

Have you ever had a cluster headache, Martha? BECAUSE YOU DON’T FEEL LIKE DESCRIBING IT DELICATELY. It literally FELLS LIKE A ICE PICK IN YOUR EYE.

Gah.

Oh barf. Why is Jessica Alba in a magazine dedicated to our nation’s prime eating day?

Her description of her home makes me more mad than if she wrote “Your husband likes me better than you.” BLACK AND WHITE WITH CHILDREN ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME, ALBA??

Not Honey?

I’ve always though Thanksgiving needs more pomegranates.

Well, Cynthia, that depends. Do you want dinner and a show?

You, ma’am, are no patriot.

Yeah that’s what I want. A fully decked out table getting dusty RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF MY HOUSE for a week. Not anxiety-inducing at all.

I’m guessing Katie is most likely to have seen Spotlight and posted about how it made her think.

Guys, y’all can go home. This is the whitest sentence ever written.

Well, that just sounds depressing.

Oh Claudia, honey. No one was like oh man yeah I’ve had enough pumpkin pie for a lifetime but remember when she made that thing with mochi?

Tonight I served pasta bursting with the flavor of the finest canned sauces and cooked in a pressure cooker. So, pssh, don’t try to tell me about dinner.

I’m going to take up trivet-making this holiday season. Just to fill the hours.

Clearly, the Stewart family did not have the same tradition my family had of standing over open Tupperware with a fork the next day.

Just…empty bottles. Appropriate.

Gen Alpha

So my children are pretty typical children of millennials. Both could unlock a phone before they could talk, and my four-year-old is genuinely disconcerted when he encounters a screen that isn’t touch-activated. (As are the owners of that screen when they discover his grubby little fingerprints all over it.)

It’s also worth noting that this happened organically. Neither my husband nor I set out to teach our children about technology, and we don’t consider ourselves crazy-connected either.

However, I didn’t realize how much their generation suffered from mine until this weekend when we finally got cable TV.

(I can hear Buzz correcting me now. It’s not cable. It comes in via fiberoptics. Whatever. Mama gets HGTV.)

They watch tv. Don’t get me wrong. They watch a LOT of tv. But until this weekend they have only watched on platforms like Netflix and Hulu and apps. They literally have never seen a commercial.

Until this weekend.

When we turned on the crazy consumer bacchanalia that is Disney Jr. and their worlds were rocked.

Rocked I tell you.

As were our eardrums.

So if anyone is interested, we will be requesting a Hot Wheels car garage and a my little pony flying unicorn and a Mickey roadster racer and a…I don’t even know.

Image via pexels.com