Monday, December 15, 2014

Spreading the Christmas cheer one animal sacrifice at a time

I maybe forgot I had a blog.

Okay - I didn't forget.  I spend every morning for the last little bit (when was the last time I actually wrote something?) planning to write, telling myself to write, even writing posts in my head.

But I seem to have forgotten to actually write.

But I'm here now!  At least for today, and really, that's all I can commit to because time and Christmas and work and all that.

My I Love Kentucky necklaces have become popular all of the sudden, with mucho orders coming in. (Maybe it was because of the giveaway?) Every time I see a new order I grin and tell my husband how excited I am because SOMEONE WANTS TO BUY SOMETHING I MADE!  You have no idea how happy it makes me.  I am goofy with joy.  There'as also been some interest in my new personalized motherhood necklace.  I wear mine all the time, myself,with my kids' initials stamped on the little hearts.  My son likes to see it on me and comments on how I like to keep him close to my heart.  I sure do, buddy.

So what with all the grinning and the celebrating people buying things and the making I am a bit booked up, you know?

And then, on top of that I decided last minute - as per my usual schedule - that I would hand-knit some presents for people.  Every year I say no - I'm not going to put myself through it because it's ridiculous to stress myself out as much as I do and also I have a million other things that require my attention.  And then I change my mind very close to Christmas because handknits are awesome and I like to spread happiness in the form of wool.  And that leaves me scrambling and up late and sore-wristed from all the knitting.  I think it will be manageable this year, though.  I've chosen a quick pattern and everyone gets the same thing.  So maybe it won't be so bad?

Do I say that every year?  I feel like I say that every year.

We'll see.

I also have lots of baking/food making to get done.  And birthday parties to go to and Christmas parties and then there's my annual animal sacrifice for snow on Christmas.  (I'm kidding. No animals were harmed in the writing of this blog post, or in the hopes of creating snow.)

This time of year is fantastic, isn't it?  I've honestly been a bit grumpy about the whole thing, trying to make myself feel more Christmas cheer than I do.  But I think maybe my standards are too high.  It's okay for me not to be ebullient over everything Christmas related.  I am all grown up now, even though I don't always feel like it.  Of course the season isn't going to be the same as it was when I was a kid so I should probably try to stop focusing on why I don't feel the way I feel like I should feel.  You feel me?

Instead, now I can create all that magic for my little monsters.  I can make the days exciting and full of all that stuff that made me so Christmasy in days past.

Which is a pretty great gig, if you can get it.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Motherhood and More: Teaching our kids to accept people for who they are*

I feel like my job as a parent, as a mother, is to prevent my kids from being jerks.

That’s the gist of it all, really.  All I want is for them to be kind to others, to be sympathetic and empathetic.  I want them to appreciate everyone, no matter what they believe or who they are.  I want them to see the good in all, because in spite of everything I do believe that everyone has something to offer.  Everyone has their own story and their own baggage and it’s our job to teach our kids to look around that, and through it, to see the actual person.

I am not perfect.  In fact, I have my own set of issues – my own jerk tendencies.  But I fight them daily.  I also spend a lot of time encouraging my children to think about what they’re doing.  Favorite phrases of mine are “actions have consequences,” and “our first instinct shouldn’t be to hurt each other.”  That last one is usually said after one kid has kicked the other one. 

My son has always gotten it.  He’s a sensitive little man, even through his love of zombies and burping.  He’s considerate to his friends, kind, and perfectly willing to share what he has.  My daughter is the same.  She’s concerned when someone is hurt, always ready with a sympathetic pat or hug, and plays well with her friends at school.

Of course, none of this applies when they are with each other.  Then it’s knock-down, drag-out, full-on wrestling match, usually because one child has touched the other one’s toys.  It’s a punishable offense, apparently.

But in spite of their behavior toward each other I have hopes that they are growing into people who will be thoughtful, who will do nice things for others not because they expect something in return, but because it is the right thing to do.  It isn’t hard to be nice.  It doesn’t hurt you to hold the door open for someone, to let a car merge in front of you even when you’re late for work. 

I once heard my mom discuss giving money to people asking for it on the street.  Many will say that it’s not worth it because that person won’t spend the money on something meaningful – something that you think they should spend it on.  But my mother’s point was that in giving the money, we have done our part.  It’s not our responsibility to monitor what they do with a gift.  We’ve passed the responsibility on to that person and what they do with it is their business.   

We don’t know everyone’s story.  We don’t know what a person is dealing with, or what they have been through.  All we can do is take charge of who we are and how we treat others.  So striving to just be nice, to, as I said, not be a jerk, is all on us. 

And that’s what I hope my children learn from me.  Everyone is different.  Everyone has their own struggles.  But it’s how well we live and work and help each other, and our kindness to others, that sets people apart.  

*This column originally published in The News-Enterprise on Nov. 26, 2014.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

It's a giveaway ... and a thank you

I've been selling quite a few of my I Love Kentucky necklaces, and it makes me happy because I love the necklace so much myself.  It makes me feel good, you know?  Kentucky is home, and a beautiful place to be from, and full of the best people.

So when I was contacted by Kentucky Family Fun to see if I was willing to do a giveaway of the necklace, I thought it was an awesome idea because giveaways = fun.

You can read the story behind me and the necklace here: Kentucky Family Fun Contest

And if you are so inclined, enter the giveaway here:  Kentucky Family Fun Facebook

And don't be sad if you don't win!  You can always buy your own for yourself or as a gift for a loved one. Or you can buy some baby legwarmers from the shop.  Because you can never have too many baby legwarmers.

Guys.  I am not a brand, nor am I a business in the grand sense of the word.  I make things I like in my spare time and sell them to people who will appreciate what I've done.  And you have no idea how good it makes me feel to have someone interested in something I've created.  I've been reading through the entries and I'm almost positive I can feel my heart growing at all the nice things people are saying about the necklace.

Now before I make some of you barf with all of my schmooshy words, I will just end with thank you for supporting me.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Coffee features prominently into this post for many reasons

Well, I survived the first snow day and I only beat the children once each.

It was nice, you know?  I miss being home with the kids all the time, even though when I was home all I wanted was a few minutes of peace.  Never satisfied, I know.

So Monday it snowed quite a bit and we spent the day making snow angels and throwing snow at each other and then after five minutes of that I gave up and went inside to pour myself another cup of coffee because BRRR.

And when the kids finally got cold I made hot cocoa with extra marshmallows and we watched Frosty on Netflix.

(I also made bread and yogurt and butter that day because I am an idiot.)

The afternoon kind of sucked because they always do.  Something about being tired but not wanting to rest and me trying to rationalize that 'resting' also can be playing video games or watching tv because at least they are sitting still.

It never works.  When I finally tell then that hey, time to unplug, they're glazed over and super-extra tired and pissed off because I've separated them from their beloved screen.

(Is this just my kids? Because this is a regular occurrence in my house.)

Also Adele lost a tooth.  Which, what?  Too young, right?  But she's a teeth grinder and loosened them up, which I think had something to do with it.  Obviously I am super concerned about it all.  The tooth fairy came, but since she couldn't care less about money she barely has acknowledged her dollar in a baggie.  It was kind of funny when the tooth fell out, though.  I heard her saying "It's not working!" and holding the tooth like what the hell just happened?

She's pretty excited to show everyone the missing tooth, though.

Chris was out of town for work for the last few days which means I stayed up extra late because he wasn't there to tell me to go to bed at 8:30.  That also meant I was dealing with the kids' extra-crankiness (are they sick or just moody? I DON'T KNOW!) all alone and feeling pretty cranky myself which didn't help anything.  In fact, surprisingly, it made everything worse.  As did the staying up later and now I am currently surviving on 6 hours of sleep, a gallon of coffee and dreams of my bed.

But because of all the crankiness and the fact that I couldn't leave the house on account of my children being horrible store-goers, I jokingly facebook-requested a liquor-store delivery.  But sometimes the universe gives you nice things in the form of friends who send their preacher-husbands to your house at 9 p.m. with a bottle of wine.  Also I'd like to formally apologize for answering the door while not wearing a bra.  I did put on a huge sweater, though, because no one needs to see that.

In other news, Sebastian has been complaining a lot this school year about his afternoon bus driver who takes him from school to his afterschool place.  Apparently this man is a yeller.  One day he even forgot to drop the kids off at this particular place, then blamed them.  Also I'm not the fondest of the afterschool place, either.  There's yelling there, too, and Sebastian is always told to keep his hands to himself when he hugs his friends goodbye.  Dude.  Let's promote more love and kindness and less yelling, ok?  Especially since this is at a church.  You'd think kindness would be more encouraged.

But because of all this, and also because I want to save money, I've switched up my hours at work.  Now instead of working Tuesday-Thursday, I'm going to work Monday-Thursday from 8-1.  That way Sebastian can just ride the bus home (different bus driver, we know and like her).  I won't have to pay for afterschool, I'll get a little more time with my guy, and whenever Adele starts kindergarten we will be officially paying $700 less a month in childcare.

I can hardly contain my excitement.  Maybe we can finally have another car instead of sharing one!

But none of this would be possible if I didn't have one of the most understanding bosses around.  He gets families and family commitments and the need for mothers to be mothers as well as employees.  I'm extremely lucky, I know it.

Now if you'll excuse me I need to find someone to tape my eyelids open.