We Have a Problem

Y’all I am scared and my heart is breaking. Another school shooting. I read yesterday that since 2013 there has been an average of 1 mass shooting a week in this country. I held my kids a little tighter after reading that. I kissed them all over their beautiful faces and told them “I love you” a bunch. They probably thought I was being sentimental because it was Valentine’s Day. No, I did that because I could and because I am not one of the many mamas who has to cry themselves to sleep because their babies aren’t there to kiss good night. So I say to you how many more children have to die? Mine? Yours? Your neighbors? Your child’s best friend? How many have to hide in terror under desks and locked doors waiting for the police to come save them? How many moms and dads have to get a text saying “I am scared” and worry that is the last thing they will hear from their child?

I have a lot of fears when it comes to my kids. I have a constant buzz of paranoia that there is always someone or something lurking that could hurt them. Just one of the many ways my anxiety manifests itself. I am pretty good about quieting that buzz and going on with life. Y’all watching them leave for school today was hard. I should be able to send them and not worry about them dying or hiding in fear as a crazy gun-person terrorizes their school. So what’s the answer? I am not too sure.

I am a country girl that grew up in rural Virginia and grew up around guns. When I went into the Navy my job allowed me to work with a pretty Bad@$$ gun. I love to see things go boom. One of our favorite youtube channels is Demolition Ranch. I believe in teaching children how to handle a weapon safely. I believe in teaching them when it is and isn’t appropriate to use a gun. We do not have one in our home as we do not have a safe or lock box to store it in. That was my rule no storage, no gun. My friends have guns in their homes. My family all have many guns. So this is where I am conflicted. I believe firmly in our right to bear arms. I however believe that there needs to be some tougher regulations on the purchasing of guns. I believe that just because a gun is big and powerful and fun to shoot does not mean it needs to be in the hands of any Joe Schmoe who wants to buy it. Will putting more regulations in place mean that these horrific events won’t happen, no it won’t. However if a gun can only carry a few rounds before it needs to be reloaded that can give my child a chance to hide. That is another few seconds the police have to arrive to save my child. If the action of the gun isn’t so fast they will have to take that time to aim more accurately instead of raining down a hail storm of bullets. I know the answer is not to ban guns, that might make it worse, but there has to be a better middle ground where I don’t have to be as scared to send my kids to school.

I admit I do not know all the rules and regulations in regards to owning and carrying a gun. I just know that my kids are my heart and soul. I know I never want to get that call or text saying that my child is hiding out in terror as some person is shooting people in their school. I don’t want to be that parent that watches other children walk out and mine come out on a stretcher or body bag. So what can we do? For now I will teach my children what to do in this type of situation. I will be in contact with their schools to find out what their plan is. I will educate myself on gun regulations so when I speak for reform, not a ban, I can speak in an educated manner. Mostly I will not take one day with my children for granted because we live in a world where simply learning to read and write could mean the end of their lives.

“My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful, and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.” -Jack Layton

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I Hate Clutter

I hate clutter. I hate feeling like my house and, in my mind, my life looks like an episode of hoarders. I realize many of those people have some major mental illness going on and I am not criticizing. My own struggle with mental illness has led me to do and believe some crazy things. I have seen first hand how a once organized clean person can have a turning point and become a different person that I no longer recognize. If you feel like you are struggling with any type of mental illness please seek help. Even if it is calling a friend for coffee to listen to how overwhelmed you are.

Now, that I have gone off on that tangent my point to hating clutter is this. Clutter can appear anywhere not just in your house, car but in your life. We take on new tasks or volunteer to do something with church or our kids. We get into these situations with the best of intentions. Maybe for awhile you find joy and you can definitively say why you are doing this. Things are going well and then something new comes along and you add that to your schedule. Maybe the reason you started the original thing has changed. Your kids are no longer interested. You no longer want to go to this function. You know what it is. What is that one thing that when it comes along you dread. You pray for another snow day even thought it is 60 degrees just so you won’t have to do it. That thing get rid of it. It is clutter you don’t need.

Now, if you have made a commitment to an organization or your kids or you signed a contract and are paying money and there is no way out of it then see your commitment through. I am a firm believer in seeing your commitment through. I teach my kids this all the time. When Sissy wanted to quit Tae Kwon Do we made her see it through until the end. So, I will see some of these commitments through until the end. However these things that I dread no longer deserve a place on my priority list. I deserve to focus on the things that matter to me. I challenge you today to think about the things in your life that is clutter. Would you be happier if you got rid of it? Would the things that matter get more of your focus? If the answer is yes come up with a plan today to rid your life of the clutter.

“Clutter is not just physical stuff. It’s old ideas, toxic relationships and bad habits. Clutter is anything that does not support your better self.” – Eleanor Brownn

To the New Mom

There are a couple of women in my family that are about to be first time moms. This is for them and any other first time mom or any mom who still feels like they are doing it all wrong. (Raising my hand with all of you over here.) Here is a list (hopefully it makes you laugh a little but not to the point you pee your pants) of things I wish I knew ahead of time.

  1. Buy some super sexy granny panties. First of all most of us cannot go into the hospital the size of a house and come out fitting into our old jeans, maybe your yoga pants, leggings, or sweatpants. Don’t wear your favorite anyway. You will still look preggers. I promise you are not. Need a reminder look between your legs. That massive amount of blood coming from your vajeen for weeks, yes even after a c-section,  means that you are not pregnant. This is what the granny panties are for. You can ruin these and not feel bad. Buy them a size or two bigger than you would normally wear. You want them to fit and to be comfortable. (Buy the jumbo pads as well). You just had a tiny human come from you body and you are sore and tired being comfortable is important. You will wear sexy underwear again, about the time you start to forget how miserable you felt and think having another baby might be nice.
  2. Shop ahead. Your child will grow so fast you will wonder if there is miracle grow in their bottle. I promise this is normal. Not sure see your pediatrician and they will let you know if something is wrong. Buy clothes, diapers, socks, underwear, shoes, coats, and toys now while you have the time and money to shop. Buy it on clearance and stick it in a bin in a closet and when your baby gets big enough bust it out. Take hand me downs from kids of any age. Your kids will grow and I promise will need new shoes only when you are strapped for cash and the car needs major repairs or the water heater broke. I have a friend that has done this since her first kid and has never had to worry. She is always buying things out of season when they are on sale and her kids look amazing. Your teenager might care about the latest fashion but your toddler who slid in the mud doesn’t care whether or not their clothes were last season or hand me downs. You’re welcome.
  3. There are no rules. Remember when you said I’ll get a puppy and they won’t sit on the furniture or sleep in the bed? Now they have your pillow and you have a sliver of mattress to sleep on. You know those times in Target when you heard the mom cave into the screaming child and you said you would never? HAHA you will. Sometimes you do what you have to do to keep your sanity and its ok. The toys will take over the house. You will change dirty diapers everywhere and anywhere. You will lick that pacifier clean (you judge now). You will allow Granny that to give them that extra cookie because it is her right. The rules you thought you would live by as a parent are gone.
  4. You will survive. In the throws of newborn phase of no sleep, shower, food, and sanity you will survive. When you have a threenager and they are throwing the biggest fit you have ever seen, you will survive. All the firsts and the last of the firsts you will survive. Best way to survive is to ask for help. Your friend came over to visit little Sally, let her visit while you shower. At the end of the day if the house is a mess and you ordered pizza, again, you still didn’t get to shower but your child is happy, healthy, and loved you did a great job today.
  5. Listen to yourself. You know you and you know your baby better than anyone. I have a 9, almost 10, and 7 year old and I can tell by the way my daughter walks to the car in afternoon how her day was. I can tell by the time of day when my son cuddles if he is feeling off. The way they laugh tells me just how silly they are being. I can give you all the advice and so can every other mom who has come before but at the end of the day it can all be crap for your situation. Trust your mom instinct. I am not a super fun crafty mom who does all the pinterest ideas. I am pretty damn okay mom. My kids are (mostly) happy and healthy and very loved. They know they are loved. They know that while I believe they need to learn life lessons I will also go through hell fire and back for them. They know home is a safe place where they can be who they are meant to be. We all think we are getting this job really, really wrong but in all actuality we are getting it really, really right. Follow your gut mama and I promise you will also be a pretty damn okay mom.

I am not a counselor or any other kind of professional. I am a mom, a fierce mom. Take everything I say with a grain of salt. If ever you have concerns about your child’s health and well being contact your pediatrician; the nurses will be your best friend. If you are currently expecting… Congratulations and welcome to the club. It is a wild ride.

Never Too Old to Learn

I have been a SAHM (stay at home mom) for a month now. It is rewarding. It has been a blessing when buried under a foot of snow not to worry about driving to work or who was going to watch the kids. It is a never ending pile of laundry. It is lonely at times. It is also a little bit boring. I have about 3 netflix shows I am watching right now and let me tell you I am over them. You can only clean your house so much. There is always a project or a task that can be worked on but eventually you need to see something other than your 4 walls. I don’t know about you but I am not headed to a park or trail when it is freezing. Until warmer temps I need to find a way to mix things up.

So, I set myself a reading goal for the year. I would like to mix it up between fiction, how to, non fiction, etc. I want to read something that might make me uncomfortable and will make me think. Mostly I want to learn something new. I recently had a moment while talking to someone and I absolutely knew nothing about the topic, and it was kind of important. I have often steered away from things that make me uncomfortable. I have often not read on things that don’t interest me. In doing this I have created a very warm, safe bubble for myself. Time to burst that bubble. I hate being blindsided. I hate not knowing what is going on. I like to know a little bit about a lot of things so that when I am with new people I might be able to hold a conversation. I love to read and I love to learn.

Let me challenge you today to pick a topic on something you don’t know a lot about or that maybe scares you: religion, money, government, fashion, etc. Find your topic. Find an article or a book. Nothing big you don’t need to devour New York Stock exchange for dummies today. Maybe just look up personal finance and see what pops up. Whatever it is that you are unsure take some time today and learn a little.

Here is the beauty of know how to read is that you can always learn something new. Once you learn it you cannot unlearn it. Challenge yourself today and tomorrow to learn something new. If it doesn’t make sense read it again or ask someone who knows or google the phrase that are confusing. I know I will be. It was scary talking to someone about something that was pretty important and not having any idea what was going on. Keep me posted. Let me know what you are learning.

Change is the end result of all true learning. -Leo Buscaglia

Speaking your Truth

How many of y’all watched the Golden Globes? Me neither. Not that I don’t love watching celebrities getting dressed up but it is not really something Big Red cares to watch so we were watching Godless on Netflix. I have however watched a few times now Oprah’s speech and each time have been moved to tears.

Let me take you on a journey November 8, 2016 I woke up early, got Sissy up, and in the cold stood to vote. No surprise to anyone who knows me but the current POTUS was not my choice. The reason I took my daughter to see me vote that day was not to see who I was voting for but to see that as a girl she could literally dream of being President and stood a chance. There right in front of her was a woman’s name. How proud I was to be a woman. How far we have come that just a couple hundred years ago we couldn’t vote or own land and here before us the possibility to be President. I posted about how incredible it was. No slander or support of any one candidate but to simply show the importance of this historical moment. I got quite a few likes but I remember a colleague, a woman, posted about how awful Hillary was. That wasn’t what the post was about. Amazing how blind some people can be. I was shocked that as a woman she couldn’t look past her own political beliefs to see the glory of that moment for women. I felt that moment to my core and I could see the excitement on Sissy’s face that all her dreams, no matter how big, were within reach.

When I went to bed that night I knew I would probably wake up to the results that we all did. I woke up and checked my phone and saw that horrible truth. Not that my choice didn’t win but that a man who inhibits so many evil qualities was now the leader of this country that I love. A man who feels he is free to treat people, especially women and minorities and LGBTQ community, however he likes. A man who as it seems always has his own personal agenda on the forefront. I cried because I knew that he would put into power MEN just like him. I cried for my gay friends who were scared of their rights being taken away. I cried for my daughter who would spend the next 4 years, ages 9-13, in a world where being a woman would not be celebrated. I cried because I was scared of the unknown.

Flash forward to January 21, 2017 and I watched on social media as women marched on Washington to let their voice be heard. To say that we will not stand by meek and quiet. To say that here and now that we will defend ourselves and our rights and those we love, no matter their race, religion, orientation. I cried listening to those speeches. I was moved by their words and felt hope. Hope that the future I feared for my daughter might not be as bad. And through out 2017 women began to get louder. “Me too” moved across social media. The news broke out of reports of men who have acted despicably finally being held accountable. And their is a light at the end of the tunnel. There is a light shining on women to speak their truth.

I have watched Oprah’s speech a few times and am moved. I am hopeful. Here is a woman, a black woman, who could have accepted the world for what it was and accepted what it would deem fair to give her. She wanted more. She pursued her dreams. Here was a woman who knew what it meant to check off a couple of the boxes that would get you discriminated against in this country and here she was saying No More. No more will women be quiet and left in the dark to suffer. No more will we be lesser than our male counterparts. She is just another voice but a loud voice and one that many people hear. She is a voice that will continue to light the way for my daughter and many others to not be afraid to share their truth. I am excited again for the future of women in this country. We are taking the very sour lemons we have been given and making sweet lemonade. I am still a little afraid of the future for my daughter but I am more excited than I was on election day. I see these women who are speaking their truth and I say thank you. Thank you for taking a stand. Thank you for making it so my daughter’s truth, whatever that may be, can be heard.

Weekly Precept: Your truth is the the most powerful took you all have. -Oprah Winfrey

Plan To Eat-Best Way to Meal Plan

I did not so much make New Year’s Resolutions but commitments to myself. Focus on my health because if being home has taught me one thing its my family may survive without me but I would be making many bargains with the devil himself to come back and do it myself. So much for resting in peace. I also want to do things that will make things simpler at home, save some money, and have a schedule that will help to minimize my anxiety and do my best to prevent those things that send me over the edge. I know I can’t completely prevent it or stop it from getting out of control but I know most of my triggers and can take steps to prevent them from sending me into a rage filled tail spin. One of the things that I have done and learned from my Gram was to meal plan. This makes grocery shopping easier. This makes cooking easier and answers the question of what is for dinner. It also minimizes trips to the store with my kids since I can go while they are in school. It only takes losing your kid behind a clothes rack once for that to become fuel for the anxiety fire. So continues reading, this not sponsored post, to find out what helps me meal plan.

This amazing website that I have used for years and has made my meal planning game super easy. http://www.plantoeat.com has been the savior of my meal planning. Let me paint you a picture of before.

Before Pinterest entered my life I would sit with cookbooks and write down the meals I wanted and the ingredients. Then I would go into my kitchen and see what I had and cross them off the list. Then I would organize my list according to categories. After Pinterest I would have to find the pin, pull up the recipe, and then repeat previous process. I would complain to Big Red that I needed a place where I could put my recipes on a calendar and have it generate my list. Well, he never came up with anything for me that met my needs. We tried to figure out how to use excel to make it work. I just need things simple. So out of desperation I googled meal planner with grocery list or something like that. And the google gods looked down on me and blessed me with Plan to eat.

What I don’t like…they do not have an app! When I am at the grocery store I have to open the website, they have a mobile version, and go from there. Silly I know but I want to just open an app. Now that I have given my one con here are the pros.

  1. 30 day free trial. After that super affordable. $4.95/month or $39 for a year! Try the free trial. It is worth giving up a day at Starbucks for pay the monthly fee!
  2. Import your favorite recipes from around the web. When I first started the import wasn’t spot on but as the years have gone on I have almost no problems with importing recipes. It also categorizes the recipe into breakfast, lunch, dinner, etc. Sometimes you have to edit this part but nothing is perfect.
  3. Calendar is easy to use. Drag and drop your recipes to the date and meal you want. You can click on a meal or snack to add other ingredients.
  4. Shopping list is so easy to use. The ingredients are grouped according to category. Sometimes you may need to edit this. It will even indicate what recipe it goes to. Sometimes, not always, if you need salt (or other ingredient) for multiple recipes it will combine the amount you need.  When walking around the store you can mark the ingredient at you put it in the cart and it falls off the list. The list you can edit by adding and subtracting items.
  5. They have a blog and also share recipes. You can link up with friends. You can share your recipes.

I love this website so much. Rather than spending hours coming up with a calendar and lists I spend less than an hour. When I am on the go I can print out the recipe and Big Red can make dinner. It’s fast and easy! Try it for free.

You are welcome!

Why I Hate Days Off!

Christmas is behind us and the New Year is looming ahead. I hope you got at least 1 thing you wanted this holiday season. I got more than one so I am super excited. I was sending Big Red links for months for everything I wanted. He did good ladies.

So our Christmas traditions mean a lot of work for mom right up until the main event. I am baking, cooking, cleaning, drinking, etc. I feel like I barely left my kitchen and if I did it was to run errands, wrap gifts or clean something (if I was lucky that included my body). Anyway I do all of this because it is all part of the magic of the holidays. My kids look forward to all the little things that make this time of year magical. So come Christmas Eve we go out to diner. No cooking and no dishes. All we have to do is make sure the damn elf gets back into the liquor cabinet (don’t judge; its the one place I can guarantee you my minions aren’t going). We get to play Santa and watch a scary movie. Because why not get scared before you pretend some big fat guy in a red suit is breaking into your house. Then the glorious day comes and I don’t do jack diddly squat. It is my day off!!! Did you hear the heavens open and the angels sing? I know I do. Big Red cooks dinner, we fend for ourselves the rest of the day and I just relax.

Then the day after comes and I hate my days off! Why would you hate a day you got to spend relaxing? Because nothing got done. Sure dinner was cooked but do you think dishes were done? Sure the wrapping paper was picked up and tossed in the trash but the floor wasn’t swept or vacuumed so all those little pieces were still there. The laundry was still there. All of this awaited me when I returned from my day off. Sure my kids are old enough to help but have you watched a 6 year old wash dishes? What about a 9 year old sweep or do laundry? Does the phrase “It’ll be easier if I do it myself” spring to mind? Yes in fact it is easier to do it myself. I get it done faster. I do it correctly. Well, why not just teach them how it is supposed to be done? Great idea! I should have thought of that the 234,756th time I asked them to do their chores. They learned quickly from the best in the business if they do it wrong long enough I will give up asking them and just do it myself. There was a light into the tunnel today though. Bug had put away the first round of dishes and had put something in the wrong spot because later as Sissy was unloading the second round of dishes I heard her say “Who put that there? It doesn’t go there”. Y’all there is hope. My kid still have to do chores and help out on a daily. No free rides here. However, when I take a day off and that mole hill is really a mountain. Its easier for my to tackle it myself rather than get mad at my family all day for not doing things the way I would like them done. (Yes, my way isn’t always the right way, so feel free to come relieve me of my duties.) Hope you had a very happy holiday season. Bundle up because it is getting cold out there.

My weekly precept: “Do something today that makes tomorrow better.”- paraphrased from Dr. Matt Carriker; Demolition Ranch, Vet Ranch, and Off the Ranch (go check out all his youtube channels)

 

A Few Of My Favorite Things

The holidays always make me a little nostalgic for yesteryear. I always knew once I had children that I wanted to give them the warm magical feeling of the holidays, no matter our financial situation. I believe I have done that. We have developed our own traditions and I have incorporated some of my own. So much like Julie Andrews I have a list of a few of my favorite things.

  1. Cookies…I mean all the cookies. I want them in shapes like trees and snowflakes and dreidels. I want them to have nuts and frosting and chocolate and butter…oh the butter. My favorite cookie cutter is the donkey I got from my Gram. Mary rode a donkey into Bethlehem and so we had a donkey. I just bought a llama cookie cutter thought so there might be some competition.
  2. A beautifully wrapped present. Growing up I was the one to wrap all the presents, except mine. I take great pride in my wrapping. I will curl ribbon, fold paper, hide tape, and place tags until it is utter perfection. When my kids were younger I left off a lot of the frills but as they get older I get a little fancier every year. There is just something that is so magical about a beautifully wrapped present under the tree. For this reason I refuse to use bags at Christmas time.
  3. Christmas music. Unless you are a big Scrooge you cannot listen to Christmas music without being happy. My personal favorite and Big Red’s least. I want a hippopotamus for Christmas. The one that brings me all the feels “Have yourself a merry little Christmas”. Judy Garland sang it in “Meet Me in St. Louis” and that is one of my favorite musicals and one my Gram and I would watch over and over. It was years after she passed before I could hear that song and not fall to pieces. I still struggle when I hear Judy sing it.
  4. Finding the perfect gift. I love to get a nice gift as much as the next person. But my heart sings when I see the joy my gift brings someone. I put a lot of thought into what I should give each person on my list. To see that they love it as much as I loved giving it to them means more to me than they will ever know.
  5. Christmas dinner!!! OMG Big Red makes a delicious prime rib. But lets be real about this it is a big deal to cook a holiday meal and I get to take the night off. Back to this prime rib it is mouth watering. It melts in your mouth like butter. He makes some yummy sides but this prime rib is, excuse I have to get a bib because I a drooling. If you can afford to splurge on a prime rib, even a small one, invest you will thank yourself.
  6. Decorations. From tacky lights on houses to a beautifully decorated tree worthy of a magazine. I love how everything seems to sparkle. Rooms that are normally boring are magical. The whole world seems to be a little brighter and a little more magical. Hope is in the air.
  7. Time with my family. Often we are running around but it is a perfect time to stop and enjoy one another. I loved growing up with my Gram because it meant all the aunts, uncles, and cousins would come to our house. My last and only picture of us together is at Christmas. She loved Jesus and so she was sure to celebrate him and make sure that those she loved felt her love. She gave to everyone she knew it seemed like, a basket of cookies, little trinket, etc. Now my little family of four spends our Christmas together enjoying our traditions and each other. I take a moment amidst all the bows and paper to just remember the warmth of her and how the holidays always seemed to be a little brighter when she was here.

Y’all I think I miss my Gram. I know there are people you miss. Take a moment to remember them but still take time to celebrate this season of hope, family,  and faith (whatever yours is). What are some of your favorite things?

Weekly precept: During the holiday season, it’s easy to forget that sometimes the best gift of  all is simply the gift of time. -Kate Klise

I QUIT!!

I QUIT!!! That is what I wanted to say to management when I sent in my notice last week. I wanted to tell them everything I felt was wrong with the job, the place, the people, etc. I wanted to scream at them for the last 6 months. I didn’t. I sent a professionally worded email and delivered a hard copy when I went into work that night.

I am so very unhappy, possibly even in my profession. It got increasingly harder everyday to go to work. I understand that there are good and bad days but there were no good days. The team of people I worked with regularly are amazing and some truly awesome nurses. If I could take them with me into my next journey I would because they deserve better. Despite these beautiful people all the other stuff just weighed down on me. I could feel myself slipping into some very dark places. Places I had no business going. Working nights wore on my physical being. I am so tired all the time. If a sloth and I had to run a race the sloth would win simply because I wouldn’t be able to wake up long enough to get going. This tiredness wore on me because it took time from family. Even my days and weekends off were spent trying to recover and not enjoying the people that matter the most. I always felt behind on chores, errands, etc.  This is probably the unhealthiest I have ever been (physically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally).

So I am going to get back to basics and take care of me and mine. I am going to scrub my house until it sparkles. I am going to build because I love to create and the smell of sawdust is sexy. I am going to bake and cook for my family and friends. I am going to go to the gym. I going to find a church. I am going to meditate. I am going to walk the dog. I am going to love on Big Red deeply. I am going to cuddle my babies and maybe play hooky from school once in awhile. I am going to explore the world around. I am going to find myself and what makes me happy.

So I may have quit my job. But my future is bigger and brighter than it has ever been before.

Inspired by Mr Browne in Wonder (go see it and read it if you haven’t) here is my weekly precept: Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life. Tip toe of you must, but take the step.

 

All I Want For Christmas…

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I know it can’t top mine because well I played Golden Girls Clue with the best framily! Laughed so hard at times I may have peed a little. The day after while others were out scouring the aisles for the best deal I was at home putting up my tree and cursing Big Red all the while because he was at work and not putting up the tree. Stop I know what you are saying “he was at work” and in reality I get that but let’s be real who hasn’t cursed their partner for something when it wasn’t their fault at all. If you haven’t then go ahead and judge otherwise I will wait while you put your crown back on top of your horns.

The kids an I did make a Target run for somethings we needed. While there they were making their Christmas lists and I was listening. I was absolutely shocked by the things they wanted. They did not ask for new tablets, Xbox, Playstation, Nintendo, drone, etc. My beautiful kids want Legos, books, and art supplies. Excuse me I need to pick my mouth off the floor.

Since about Halloween Big Red and I have been discussing what we would get them. We follow a pretty strict 4 present rule. 1 from each of us, 1 from their sibling, and 1 from Santa and then their stocking. They then get spoiled by our extended family. Given this rule we try to make sure that their Christmas is awesome. So we were planing on a laptop for Sissy and a drone for Bug as their big gifts. Well, when they kept it simple I told Big Red we are sticking to the list this year. I told him what they wanted and he agreed. Why are we going to stress about the latest and greatest when that is not what they want. I had them both write down their lists a couple of days later and it did not change. So this year we are keeping it simple. If the kids don’t want anything big an fancy then we aren’t going to stress about giving it to them.

I challenge you to ask your kids what they want. Have them write it down. I hope you are as surprised as I am. I then challenge you to stick to the list. This isn’t the grocery store and they put the chocolate covered Ritz in front. Stick to the list. Now, if they ask for the new iphone 10,000 x plus in rose gold feel free to tell them to get a job. If you have already bought everything and it ain’t on the list I hope you saved the receipts and you take it back and exchange it. Maybe you will save yourself a buck or two.

I challenge you now that you are saving some money sticking to the list to give to another child or two who may not have what yours do. I challenge you to make this season more about the memories and traditions and less about the monetary values under the tree.

“In a world full of Umbridge be a McGonagall”- random IG post