Finally, I’m adding 38 Things I’ve Learned So Far in My 38 Years. It was fun to share so much about myself with you all. If you would head over to that post and leave a comment telling me something you learned in 2017, that would be awesome! I’d love to hear from you!
When it comes to the holidays, some things I try to do every year no matter what. Whether I’m looking forward to the festivities, dreading them due to depression/anxiety, or not able to do much due to a chronic illness flare, this doesn’t change. These are my holiday musts.
I’m not the type that likes to play Christmas music much. I hate how it is everywhere once Halloween is over, and I don’t listen to it on the radio. There are a few songs that tend to get in my head though and just scream “holidays” to me. Let it Snow and It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas are two of those songs.
There are a ton of holiday movies out there, but there are three that are my faves and I make a point of watching every year. Even when I feel like crap, it’s comforting to curl up on the couch with my kids and watch a movie.
White Christmas is an oldie but a goodie. Great music, beautiful costumes, and dancing, what more can you ask?
The Santa Clause and The Santa Clause 2 have been favorites of my family ever since they came out. I’m not a fan of the third movie, but I never get tired of the first two in the trilogy, and that’s why they are holiday musts.
Songs and movies don’t take any energy, so they are easy whether I have any oomph or not. What about other activities? What are the baseline things I like to squeeze in each year? Well, to start with, we have a tree every year. Some years it is a tiny 2′ tall fiber optic tree, other years we get our 4′ tree put up with lights, ornaments, and skirt. My mom always gets another full sized tree set up down in her living area where there is more room.
I also get my lighted garland up on the banister every December. We don’t do outside lights, or really any other lights, but the garland is easy enough it goes up year after year.
Speaking of lights, I try to drive the kids around to see at least a few blocks of lit houses. Ideally we like to check out a few different neighborhoods, but I’m not always up to that.
We buy candy canes every year, even if they aren’t going to fit on the tree. I love eating them, and the kids love them too. This year we bought a few different flavors and also a box of miniature peppermint canes to add to hot cocoa and coffee.
There are a few things I make sure happen because they are important to the kids.
Just for the kids
First, is the tree present. I can’t remember when we started this tradition, but I bet it was around 15 years ago. What I do remember is that I was looking for traditions to start with my family and ran across the story of The Christmas Pickle. The idea was to hang up a pickle ornament and the first child to find it got an extra present. We didn’t want either of our two (at the time) left out, so we just hid a small present for each. I did that for a couple years. Then I didn’t think it was any big deal, so I didn’t one year. They missed it so much, I’ve been very careful to never miss out again. All four of our kids enjoy this tradition, and it’s the first thing they do each Winter Solstice or Christmas morning (depending on when we celebrate that year).
Another of our holiday musts is an electric toothbrush in the stocking. This one seems boring, maybe, but my kids really get a kick out of a new electric toothbrush each year. When they were little, we got really fun ones, but they get the more “boring” adult versions now. That didn’t stop my 12 year old from repeatedly asking if they were for sure getting the toothbrushes again.
So, those are my holiday musts that we make sure get done every year. Do you have any holiday musts? What kind of traditions do you make sure happen every year?
I thought I’d do a just for fun post today and introduce a few of the four legged members of our household.
Lilly is a seven year old black lab we got from an acquaintance. She was a terror as a puppy, always chewing everything, but she has mellowed a lot now. As long as we keep a variety of toys available for her, she rarely chews our stuff now. She is fantastic with the kids, and can never get enough attention. She loves our new kitten, and tries to lick him any time she can get close. She’s very tolerant of him playing with her tail.
In fact, she’s tolerant of everyone. The only time she ever barks or growls at anyone is when she thinks Cash is playing too rough, or when she’s just done with him. She’s an attentive watch dog, but a big baby. She lets us know when people are around, but she will hide if anyone comes inside.
We adopted Maggie about 4 years ago. She is a six year old Cocker Spaniel/Poodle mix. We got her, because I wanted a smaller dog to be able to keep me company in bed when I was curled up in deep depression. We were living in the camper at that point and Lilly couldn’t make it up onto the bed.
She fits perfectly. Maggie is playful, and yet loves to sit with you for hours. She is skittish when underfoot, but if she is on the couch the kids can jump up next to her and she won’t flinch. I have zero concerns she would ever bite. This is something I watch very closely with animals. Maggie and the kitty get along fantastically. They play and wrestle around daily. It is adorable! They also like to curl up for naps together. She and Lilly get along fine, but don’t play much.
Cash is our newest addition. He is three years old and a Great Dane/Mastiff/Lab mix. He belonged to a close friend of mine until she suddenly had to move and couldn’t find a place that would accept him. He’s a big boy (over 150 lbs).
He is a lovable monster who thinks he’s a lap dog. We have joked about amputating his weapon of a tail. Lilly and Cash hit it off right away. By day two he had adjusted his playing to her, and by the next he figured out how gentle he needed to be for Maggie.
Maggie still isn’t very fond of him, but she gets excited to see him again after they are crated, and waits for him when they go outside. Cash and Lilly are always grooming each other or playing together. He lets her steal his chew toys too. (Lilly has a toy hoarding problem.) Cash is a bit too big and enthusiastic for the kitten. They timeshare the living room for now.
Cash is capable of getting your whole hand in his mouth, but has learned to take treats “gentle” and will only use his front teeth. He loves to lie next to you and either take up your whole lap with his head, or lean against you and flatten you against the back of the couch. If he lies on top of you, you’ll be struggling to breathe, but he’s so sweet, you hate to move him. He has zero idea where he is at any given time though, so we all end up with injuries from him. Bruised feet, thighs, stomachs, etc are common. His tail is at especially bad level for my husband and older son. It’s also at a great level to clear a tv tray in one swipe. LOL
Well, that’s our dogs. Next time I do a post like this, I’ll introduce our cats.
Hi! My name is Leigh, and I’m writing this from my couch in Kansas.
A little about me. I’m 37, married, and a mother to four kids. They are 17, 15, 11, and 7, so I’ve got some time on my hands now.
I deal with depression, generalized anxiety, social anxiety, fibromyalgia, dysautonomia, and inflammatory arthritis. I may have ADD, but I haven’t been diagnosed.
Faced with all of that, I find myself feeling like a failure most of the time. I recently had some breakthroughs, and discovered ways to change it. I started this blog to share them, because if I can help one person feel better about themselves, and more empowered about their life, I’ll have accomplished something.
(Update July 3, 2017: I’ve written a much better introduction on my About Me page. )
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