Blow the Stress Bubble Away and Just Be Thankful

It’s no secret that I live in a bubble of stress. Much of it is self-imposed, I can admit. This little bubble of what-if, prep for the next step, and be prepared is hard to shake. Hard to blow away.

And the last couple of weeks have not been easy. Work is busy, yet I’m still broke. My kids’ behavior is out of control. A couple of weeks ago it was my son. Now it’s my daughter. If you can call issues with a two-and-a-half year-old behavior issues. I feel tag teamed. By kids. By life.

As if any day isn’t hard enough, balancing work and kids, today is a no-school day. And for some ridiculous reason, I thought I might be able to work. Which I did. I started at 3 am. Got a lot done, was ready to crank out more, and then they awoke. It was downhill from there. Despite my efforts to take a break and have fun cooking, setting up crafts, Christmas TV specials.

It didn’t work out.

One of my biggest complaints today is the amount of things that have been spilled. Food while cooking. Beads while beading. Half a bag of un-popped popcorn they were arguing over. Iced tea all over the basement rug. A huge bowl of snacks.

Fortunately, by the time the bowl of snacks was spilled, and I thought I just might explode, I laughed. I give up, and it’s okay. No, it’s not okay. It’s wonderful!

With that laugh, I let down my guard and my little girl crawled up on the couch next to me. She put her arm around me and kissed my cheek. She loves me. In spite of me. And I her.

I look over at my little boy and smile at him, and he gives me the sweetest smile back. That boy has the most wonderful smile. Eyes twinkling say, “I love you mom, thank you.” No buddy, thank you. I love you to the moon.

thankful for my children from the laine list

Both of you.

And now I can blow that stress bubble away and just be thankful.

When did Macy’s buy Justin Bieber?

I’m not going to sit here and lie to you. I’m not going to tell you that I didn’t enjoy the Justin Bieber Black Friday ad during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. I did, and I laughed. Every one of the one hundred times they played it. If you haven’t seen it, here it is. If you have seen it, please enjoy it again. You’re welcome.

I even kind of enjoyed the “All I Want for Christmas” video. But kinda I didn’t. Watch it, and then we can discuss.

First of all, when did Macy’s buy Justin Bieber?

Second of all, who was in charge of this project? And why did they forget that Mariah Carey is 41 and Justin Bieber 17? Don’t get me wrong here, because I’m not trying to slam Mariah Carey. She’s still hot. But shaking your ass to a 17 year-old is just…inappropriate. And weird. And inappropriate. And I don’t know about you, but I’m sitting here doing some super fancy math and my counting fingers tell me that if there were some very unfortunate and also inappropriate situations, she is bordering on being old enough to be his grandmother. Extreme, I know, but almost true.

Am I totally off base here?

I want to thank Nicole from her social network for bringing this to my attention! Go check out what she had to say about it!

In case you missed it: The Laine List, Thanksgiving week

I’m tired ya’ll. Between various and multiple family illnesses, a flooded basement (our main living space, by the way, and home of my OFFICE), working all week (yes ALL WEEK, including today), and helping to prepare two Thanksgiving feasts, I’m burnt. Toasted. Practically speechless, and almost comatose. So, I figured I would just wrap the week up in one post. You know, in case you missed it. I may actually make this a weekly occurrence – we’ll see!

On Monday I reclaimed my personal power so I can be a good wife/mother/sister/friend/daughter and what-have-you, by declaring “I am my own Passion Project!”

On Tuesday I wrote about my Gram, which was hard, but also set my heart a little more at ease.

On Wednesday I wrote about being bestowed with the first Kathryn Ingrid Creativity Award, awarded to me by Desi of the Valentine4. I was so totally honored, and I participated in some Blog Lovin’ and awarded it to five very worthy bloggers, and I can’t wait to read what they have to say about blogging! And P.S., I get to draw up a fun little button for this award. Even more honored!!!

On Thursday I gave a short list of what I’m thankful for.

On Friday I moved on from Thanksgiving (even though I still had a meal to help cook) and discussed my Christmas Week menu. YUM!

On Saturday, I came in JUST UNDER THE WIRE for my NaBloPoMo post. I shared with you all about what I’ve learned so far as a novice blogger wrapping up my first month of NaBloPoMo, and where I go from here. You’re welcome!

So that’s it. Now I’m going to go snuggle with my kids and watch Christmas movies and go into food coma for the last time this Thanksgiving. And I’m super behind on my blog reading and commenting, and responding to my comments. Tomorrow is a new day!

How was your week? I want to know!

Thankful: a short list

5 things I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving.

Simple things, really. But things that are hard to remember when the going gets tough.

A happy and healthy family

The ability to provide the essentials; love, food, warmth

The opportunity to be a student of life

My parents, who give me what I give my children

A loving and supportive husband who is a true partner in life

Missing my Gram: finding the light in the dark

My gram
My gram, as a girl

My grandmother had a stroke on a Friday.

I know that because I know she held court the night before and went to bed like normal. She was a judge, you see, bringing justice to the fine people in the Town of Ulysses.

That Thursday was a crazy one, as Thursdays could be, as they were my errand day. Many Thursdays, after grocery shopping, I drove the 11 or so miles to her house to hang out and have lunch. Not that Thursday, though, because we had the electric and gas company out to give us a digital meter. For some reason I was required to be here, even though it meant they had to shut off our power AND water. So here I was, unloading my groceries while my 18-month old happily ate lunch, and I recounted the events of the meter switch to my grandmother over the phone. And I kept going over to the damn sink to wash my hands. No water!

“You don’t realize how hard it is to live without water until you don’t have it! I keep going over to the sink to wash my hands,” I said.

“Oh I know it! Uh oh, I have another call. It looks like Tom, I need to talk to him before court tonight.” Tom is the Chief of Police.

“Okay, I’ll talk to you tomorrow. Love you gram!”

“Love you too honey girl.”

And that was that. The last words we ever spoke to each other.

And so now here I am, four (FOUR?!) years later, finally emerging from the dark. And I didn’t think I could write about this, because it was too painful, too much. And I’m just not that kind of blogger. And UGH, all these people posting what they are thankful for on Facebook and on their blogs. Give me a break!

“I DON’T CARE, GET IT?! NOVEMBER SUCKS FOR MY FAMILY! IN FACT THE HOLIDAYS SUCK FOR MOST PEOPLE, PROBABLY YOU TOO SO STOP FAKING IT!”

Wow. I need to move past this.

So I’m trying to see how my pain can be turned into joy and thankfulness. A lesson for me and maybe others. I KNOW that my Gram doesn’t want us to dwell in this terrible place. She wants us to live on for her – for US! If we can’t, then she will think she did not do a good job with us. So this year I am thankful for all the lessons she taught me, and I’m finally ready to share them. Here are a few, in no particular order.

You should always have your own money. There are a lot of reasons why. Mostly, you just should.

You can love people for a lot of reasons, and you should spread your love and offer what you have to those in need. You never know when you make the difference in someone’s life.

Maintain your integrity when you are mad/sad/hurt. Don’t act like a fool, and you will earn and keep the respect of those around you.

Be strong, even in your lowest moment. Stare adversity in the eye, hike up your big girl panties and get on with it. She was often telling me, “Get a grip girl!” And she was ALWAYS right.

It is okay to sacrifice for your family, as long as you don’t sacrifice too much of yourself, for you are the glue that holds it together.

In life and death she taught me that justice is subjective. Laws and justice are two different animals. Follow the law, question justice.

She taught me how to cook. First by watching Julia Child with me when I was a little girl, and then as I grew. She taught me how to prepare some of our favorite recipes, which I love to share and prepare for the rest of my family.

She taught me how to be a lady AND a woman. A lady minds her words and doesn’t smoke out on the street. A woman doesn’t let anyone push her around. Be both.

I’m learning to live without water.

“Gram, thank you for teaching me how to get through the drought.”

“You’re welcome honey girl.”

Holiday traditions part 1

Elf on a Shelf
We love holiday traditions, new and old!

This week on our podcast, Kate and Laine’s Ultimate Podcast, we are gearing up for the holidays and discussing our favorites, like shopping, food, music, etc. In preparation for recording the podcast, I thought it might be nice to outline some of my holiday favorites. So here we go:

Favorite place to shop – local, green, great deals, and online: I like to shop as much as I can in Downtown Ithaca.  I also like to buy music for people on Funkyside. I honestly don’t do a lot of green shopping. I love to shop at Target, and I USED to shop at Borders online but alas, no more. Mainly, though, my big shopping joy comes from remembering something obscure someone said and then making their dream come true!

Where is your favorite place to shop?

Favorite traditions: My favorite Thanksgiving tradition is that my family celebrates on Saturday after Thanksgiving. It really eases the stress of the day, since many of us have more than one family to visit. This is a win-win situation for everyone because we can all enjoy our time together without rushing around. My favorite Christmas tradition is actually making breakfast. After we exchange our gifts we ladies (and sometimes the gents) all gather in the kitchen to make breakfast together. They guys hang out and the kids play with their new toys and argue. It’s so fun to just cook and chat and then EAT! And chat. SO FUN!

What are your favorite holiday traditions?

Favorite foods: I think my favorite Thanksgiving food is dressing with gravy on it. And squash. And cranberry sauce, both homemade and canned. I’m not really sure, I love it all! I’m not sure what my favorite Christmas food is. I guess cookies, and also anything we have for Christmas dinner because it generally involves some sort of large cut of beef and a lot of sides. Remember this post? This is what I’m thinking for Christmas dinner this year – not to be freaky, it won’t be my last meal!

What are your favorite holiday foods?

Favorite music: Man, this is a hard one!! I love all the children’s classics. James Taylor Christmas, Boston Pops, Bing Crosby. I also have a new Jackson Five CD I bought on Borders clearance last year that I am ready to bust out. I’m sure it will be great. This is getting me psyched – I think I’m going to have to start listening to holiday music today!

What is your favorite holiday music? When do you start listening?

Favorite movies: All of the children’s classics – Peanuts, Rudolf, Frosty, Jack Frost, etc. Elf! National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. It’s a Wonderful Life. LOVE THEM!

What are your favorite holiday movies?

Favorite new tradition: Elf on a Shelf!

Do you have any new favorite traditions?

Now I’m super pscyhed for the holidays!

Do you have any holiday favorites? I want to hear them and feature them on future blog posts and on this week’s podcast!