Christmas Time Madness

Is there anything or anyone more overwhelmed than a Mom at Christmas?  I’m going to start my rant off by saying that I absolutely love Christmas.  I always have.  I love putting on a red sweater, warm coat, grabbing a gingerbread latte from Starbucks and hitting the stores.  I love Christmas decorations, Christmas commercials and Christmas cookies.   But, something crazy happened when I became a Mom. I started to FEAR Christmas. Like, OH MY GOD CHRISTMAS is coming! When you think about how much we actually have to accomplish it’s staggering.  I have put together a funny list of the things that put me right over the edge around Christmas time;

Husbands – Like some sort of holiday tradition my own husband never fails to tell me the night before that he needs a gift for so and so or something for a party the next day. Every year! Just this week Victor tells Christine at 8pm that there’s a potluck at work the next day and asks, “What should we bring?”.  Christine responded, “Soda”.   We have these types of conversations every year.

The Elf on the Shelf – I’m a sub par Elf on the Shelf parent.   He’s completely neglected and forgotten and he never does anything fun like everyones else’s Elf. If there were a DCYF for Elf parents I would be sent there.  I resent the Elf and he doesn’t even make my kiddos behave. Christine used to rave how her Elf was some sort of  magic  bullet that was responsible for peaceful mornings.  I was never so lucky.   The things my Elf has witnessed no Elf ever should.  Which brings me to the next topic.

My boys’ behavior – I guess I live in some sort of dreamland thinking that my kids would buy the whole he sees you when you are sleeping ,  he knows when you are awake thing.  After all that would mean behaving from after Thanksgiving to Christmas when we can’t even make it through a whole day.   The word coal is a regular part of our vocabulary this time of year. Christmas, tis the season for empty threats.

Christmas lights – I love them on everyone else’s house, but what we go through to get our own up is another story.   The boys fight about the colors, should they blink or not and Vaughn has  “technical difficulty” every year.  This year we actually had to make a service call to an electrician and pay $65.00 just so he could come and tell us where we could find an outlet.

Late Nights – There’s a well known fact that every Mom knows…….that none of things we have to do for Christmas happen during the daytime.    We spend countless hours up at night writing Christmas cards,  baking cookies, ordering online and wrapping.   All month long.   The latest nights I’ve had as a Mom happen around Christmas while everyone else is nestled like sugarplums in their beds. I look forward to New Years just so I can go to bed.

Family fueds – I have a girlfriend who will remain nameless but what she goes through around the holidays with her in-laws should be criminal. Moms have so much to prepare for and execute that you think family members would understand what it’s like. Why can’t we all just adhere to the nice message on so many of our Christmas cards, “May your holiday season be filled with peace and joy”. Family squabbles are hardly peaceful.

Obscure gift requests – There have been many funny ones through the years. As if the gift giving isn’t difficult enough, then Moms have to be magicians too. One year Nicholas asked repeatedly for “Splatster”. Some Wii like game that made paint splatters on the TV. We never heard of it before his request or after. We searched high and low and I think we managed to find it on eBay and ended up getting in a ridiculous bidding war over it. This year, Marcus is asking Christine for a play football field that he can play in. He asked for it to be lit with lights. Christine asked me today what she should do? How the heck should I know? I was too busy tracking down a package from China that contained Minecraft necklaces.

It’s a wonder Moms pull it all off. We always do and MOST of the time it’s done with a smile. Now, that’s what I call the magic of Christmas.

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Fashion Friday – Holiday sparkle

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I always want to look festive around the holidays without buying a Christmas sweater or breaking the bank. Christine told me to post some of my creations. My first look (shown above) is a casual look. I love plaid but own very little of it. This year I invested in a cute but versatile plaid top. Plaid is great around Christmas. I found it at Macy’s recently in the Ralph Lauren section, only $32.00. I wore it with a pearl necklace I bought last year at Target for $17.99, and a pair of dark jeans.

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This outfit is one that I am particularly proud of and I think it’s festive enough to wear to a holiday party. I recently purchased a pair of faux leather leggings from INC in Macys. These pants were inexpensive at $32.00, trendy and comfortable. That’s the trifecta right there. The shirt was a score at Kohls for $14.99. I loved the plum color and it looks good with the leggings. The simple gold necklace was from a local boutique in the neighborhood for $5.00. All told the entire outfit was $52.00! Truly amazing.

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Lastly, I love winter white. I always have. And I love sparkle. Last month, I bought a winter white or cream peplum top on Jane.com, along with the sparkle necklace on the same site. The top was $12.99 and the necklace was $9.99. Very inexpensive holiday sparkle.

I hope that inspires some of your holiday outfits.

No Retakes!

So now that I have a second grader and a fourth grader, I have my fair share of school pictures hanging around. Especially now, as the kids actually get them done twice a year. I’m never really appropriately warned or ready. It seems to come right before a haircut, or causes such an upset to our morning routine that I am usually left cursing school picture day. You think they would give us ten extra minutes those mornings. Not a chance.

As you know, I’m all about keeping things real and genuine. Just yesterday, my boys came barreling into the car after school with school pictures in hand. They were jibber-jabbering about them as they entered so I knew something was up. I heard the word “retakes” come out of their mouths several times. Nicholas asked me if he needed a retake because his smile wasn’t so great. He kept telling me to open the envelope at the next stop light. I did and I said , “Oh Nick, it’s cute”. He seemed relieved that he didn’t need a dreaded retake. Then, Vince said “Mom, oh God, oh God, you are going to see my crazy face “. I opened the envelope and could not even contain my laughter. No wonder Vince kept saying the word retake. I’m sure someone happened to mention it to him at the school. I remembered something that Christine always said about school pictures. She says, “The crazier the school picture the more memorable “. Well Chris, I think we won the award for the year.

After I finally contained my laughter, Vince asked “Do I have to do a retake?” I said “No, no retake, that’s the picture!”. He seemed so relieved. After all, these are my boys. My crazy, funny and unpredictable boys!

I did however manage to get the boys haircuts for our family pictures scheduled later this week and even warned Vince to get himself together.

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My Good Side

I had something crazy happen to me last week. We had our family pictures taken last Friday and the photographer made this discovery in the sitting. She said, “Oh, I found your good side”. I chuckled a bit and asked her if that’s really true. Up until now, I really thought people were just being dramatic or high maintenance when they referred to their “good side”. She said , “Here, let me show you”, and she showed me the digital pictures on her camera. Sure enough, I looked better being photographed from the right side. I was amazed. I never put much thought into it. I felt kind of shocked. Here I was almost 39 and I had no idea that I even had two different sides. It only took me 39 years to find my good side? What on earth was I doing before? I thought. so why would I ever show my “bad side” again! I thought about it more and thought why don’t I just apply that concept to the rest of life and not just pictures. So from now on, if you see me, I will be talking to you from my right side. If I ever do get ugly, I will just say, that must be my left side talking.

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Fashion Friday – Holiday Attire

Do you consider how much you will eat when picking out an outfit? I never used to. Apparently, Christine and I both did this year. I guess when you are nearing the big 4-0, you just think more practically. I pulled out a dress that I actually have never wore before. I bought it on Rue La La about three years ago for $39.99. I never wore it because I didn’t like how the waist was so loose. The drawstring nature, in my opinion, was just not flattering in my midsection. Well, yesterday I was looking for an easy option and thought the dress was totally appropriate for well……..eating. I texted Christine a picture and she texted me back a picture of her outfit. She wrote “I have my fat clothes on”. Apparently she got dressed with the same thought in mind. She’s wearing leggings she purchased from Jane.com last year with a denim tunic from Ann Taylor Loft. I have to say not having to worry about loosening my pants made my holiday much more enjoyable. You just feel better when you don’t have to pop a button and loosen a zipper. I think loose fitting clothes will definitely be a consideration for Thanksgivings to come.

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Arm Candy – Statement Bracelets, the new Statement Necklaces

I’ve always been able to pick up a statement necklace and run with it. However, I have been noticing chunky bracelets popping up everywhere and I’m not so confident with my bracelet skills. I have a friend who is always donning the cutest bracelet sets. She’s an amazing Pediatrician, but she has some mad skills when it comes to combining bracelets that just go well together. She makes it look easy. I’m trying out my own skills while trying not to break the bank. I found a splurge vs steal I’m particularly proud of. The splurge are these beautiful Tory Burch leather bracelets which retail for about $95.00. Another trendy splurge are these spiked bracelets that I found on popular jewelry websites for about $35.00.

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I found my own versions for much less. My pleather, designer inspired, bracelets came from Jane.com for $5.99. Yep! That’s right! They don’t come on daily, but they do come up occasionally. I bought one in black and one in brown. I love them! I also bought the spiked bracelet on my arm for $5.00 as well. That’s quite a big difference in price.

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Here’s one set of bracelets I don’t have yet, but would like to. I haven’t really found a more inexpensive option for these beauties. I recently went to an event where a woman was wearing bracelets just like these and I have to tell you they really do look beautiful and make quite a statement.

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What to Wear Wednesday – Faux Leather

There are some trends that I like and that I want to try and then there are some trends that I loose sleep over. The words “faux leather” have come into my thoughts a lot lately. It’s all over the place and I notice it everywhere. I actually like this faux trend. It’s way less expensive than real leather, never mind more socially conscience. I had to just go ahead and scratch the itch this past Veterans Day. I popped into the mall looking to score something, ANYTHING, that was faux leather. I was like a hunter looking for my next kill.

The INC top was on sale at Macys for $29.99. The layering necklaces are another big trend right now. Not one I’m loosing sleep over, but cute nonetheless. I am wearing a classic monogram necklace from Stella and Dot and a layering necklace from Jane.com $7.99.

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Fashion Friday – Aztec Print for the Mature Woman

Last year, I busted out with a pair of Aztec leggings that set me back $10.00.   I still love the trend but I find that anything Aztec related is usually in the Juniors section which means it’s not quite right for someone my age or is likely to fall apart with one wash.  Last weekend while out at Macy’s getting the boys some pants this cute sweater vest caught my eye.  What do you know it was in the “grown-up” section.  It also did not break the bank. With my sale coupon it was $32.oo.

In Texas, this is just enough sweater for me right now.  I’m a big fan of the sweater vest. They always catch my eye for fall.  So cozy, yet easy to throw on with leggings.

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More Guts than Brains – My Tales of Traveling with a Toddler

I always describe myself as having more guts than brains.  I seriously leap before I look and then figure things out.  If you knew me I would whole-heartly tell you it is one of my biggest strengths.  The highlights of my life have been direct results of these “leaps”.  I once quit a job by passing my boss a note, I have moved to New York City on a whim at 22, I decided to follow my “on again off again” boyfriend to Dallas, I decided to throw practicality out the window and have a third baby, and so on and so on.

My recent leap, to move my whole family (and even add another) to Texas has me far away from my best friend.  I am not a sedentary person and I am one of the few people that would say that they LOVE air travel.   I like to know that at anytime I can hop on a plane and see my BFF for a weekend or even a day. I like mobility.  I like to go places. I like to eat breakfast in one city, and dinner in another.

Last week, I boarded the plane from Dallas to Boston with one sweet, yet active, 14 month-old little girl.  The funny thing is that you couldn’t even say I didn’t know what I was getting myself into.   She’s my third and we recently endured a harrowing ride from Logan to Dallas only just a few short months ago.  And, let me tell you, it was harrowing. She never slept, always had a body part moving and even let out some of the highest pitched screams at very frequent intervals.   Vaughn and I said we would never ever do it again.  Ever!  And now, this time I was going to attempt it ALONE? Say what?

Here’s some of the funny things that came into my mind during my recent trip:

I can do this, I’m strong.  It will be empowering;

If I can do this, I can do anything;

I will just be super nice and apologize the minute I get into my seat to anyone around me. They won’t be mad;  

I’m almost 40, someone much younger should attempt this;

There will be life after this flight, I will survive;

OMG, the lady next to me is wearing a mask. She’s worried about Ebola while I try to make a toy out of this barf bag;

Look at that baby sleeping over there. What a lucky bastard. I wonder if they gave the baby Benadryl!;

I wonder if airlines will ever outlaw traveling with small children? They really should! Keep crazy people like me off the planes;

Really, seriously, what the F is wrong with me?! Mental note, after this go get your head examined;

Boy was it a funny place inside my head those two days.  I had a stranger even remark, “Oh my,  you are holding it together quite well”.  That was in the witching hours of 6pm to 8pm when Eve was none too happy with our unexpected delays.  I did live to tell about it and I did make it.  Yes, it did get very hairy for a couple of hours and I felt like everyone was looking at me, but the moral of the story is, I had a wonderful 24 hours seeing my best friend.   I got to pop in and make it seem as if it was super easy to do just that.   Why should I let a 24 pound unpredictable ball of energy stop me?   Would I do it again? Hmmm, probably, I’m just that crazy……….Oops, I mean “gutsy”.

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Fashion Friday – Fashion, Friends and Fun. All good “F” words

A couple weeks ago, my friend Aleisha texted me one night and said, “Want to meet at Closest Revival tomorrow?” I really didn’t need anything specific but I didn’t want to miss the chance to see her so I happily agreed.

We met and scooped up some excellent little finds. I spotted this ruffled leopard print skirt for $16.00. The label read INC and the tag was still attached that read $59.00. That was certainly a good deal. When I tried it on I loved it. We both walked out of there with a couple good scores. I actually bought 2 pairs of jeans, 1skirt and 1 top all totaling $80.00. The jeans alone were worth well over $100.

I have worn this skirt at least 5 times already. So comfortable and so easy. I recently bought these geometric shaped earrings for $15.00 as well on Zulilly. Put the two new things together with an old black tank top and the whole outfit really only cost me $30.00.

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