Because I’ve been looking for ways to increase stress in my life, I decided to take my five kids to Connecticut for Thanksgiving.
Solo. (Because Rick had to stay in Miami and work.)
On the plane, one unlucky passenger had to sit in the same row as me and my 5 children. So as this passenger got to our row and surveyed the situation, I said,
“I know it looks bad but I think this will all turn out better than you think. Keep your expectations low and if it’s truly horrible, I’ll give you 20 bucks at the end of the flight.”
And I still have my 20 dollars so I guess it turned out okay.
I always fly Jet Blue with the kids because those TV screens make my life incredibly easier and as a bonus, 18 month old Cash and I watched a few episodes of “Love Triangle” hosted by Wendy Williams.
Because I know you’ve never seen this show, let me explain. In “Love Triangle”, there is a woman who is trying to decide between two guys she is dating. So of course, the best thing to do in this scenario is come on TV so she can choose “the one” and humiliate the other by not picking him.
On the show, they do fun things like subject the guys to lie detector tests and show you what the men will probably look like in 20 years. I’m telling you, it’s worth the price of the airline ticket to watch this guilt free.
Once we landed, we got our luggage…
and then our car service arrived. I installed the 3 carseats and we were driven to a car rental place where I installed the 3 carseats yet again in the rental car. Honestly, could the day get more glamorous? It was like the ironman of carseats.
Well, I must have used up all my carseat installing magic, because a few days later, I had to install yet one more carseat when I borrowed my mother’s car and when I reached my destination (with my son Cash in tow), I opened the door to get him out and this is what I found…
OMG. What is wrong with me?! Thankfully, Cash was safe and it certainly didn’t seem to to interrupt his nap.
The trip has some great moments. I loved seeing my family and friends. And I always enjoy seeing my mom’s new design choices like a two tone toilet…
and her organizing techniques like storing her slow cooker with her toilet paper.
And you all might remember that back in June when I visited my mother, she could not recall her wifi network or her password. And her computer guy who knew this info was vacationing in Puerto Rico. Where the wifi was reportedly excellent.
Well, I can report that 5 months later, my mother still does not know her wifi network or password. No update on her computer guy’s travel schedule.
I did develop laryngitis over the holiday. At one point, I was having dinner with my friend Abby at a local bar and this bartender…..
“What’s wrong with your voice? Did you go see a band last night?”
“Yes. I was at a rave last night. You know how that goes,” I replied.
How old could this guy be? 20? 25? So that fact that some 20 something bartender could even think that I might have been at a band the night before – well, that is a true Thanksgiving miracle.
Before you buy anything this holiday season, check out my review of the hottest toys of the holiday season. I tell you the hits, the misses and the total junk.
Oh here I am!
Trying to pack up 5 kids for a trip to New York/ Connecticut.
While I’m try to sort out coats, hats, and whatever else we used to wear up North – you can also find me a few other places…
On Alpha Mom, I wrote a piece on the best and safest reusable water bottles on the market.
On Lifetime Moms, I wrote about one photo that convinced me Chris Hemsworth might not be such a bad pick for People magazine’s “Sexist Man Alive.” And it’s not the photo on the cover.
And finally, are you feeling stressed about the holidays?! Check out my 500 tips on calming yourself! No, seriously. There are only 9. And no, I didn’t write “wine” 9 times. These are real tips! Like I could write a book using these tips. Admittedly, a very short book. Check it out here. Enjoy!
I’m not sure exactly how it happens. But we are all enjoying some leftover Halloween Butterfingers, a steaming cup of fall apple cider and a walk in the foliage and then OH MY GOD THANKSGIVING IS LESS THAN A WEEK AWAY AND HOW ARE YOU GOING TO HOST THANKSGIVING, ORDER YOUR HOLIDAY CARDS, BUY GIFTS, DECORATE YOUR HOUSE, TIP ENDLESS PEOPLE, PLAN A BIRTHDAY PARTY FOR ONE OF YOUR KIDS AND I THINK I’M HAVING AN ANXIETY ATTACK.
Because I want to make your life better and calmer, I’m here to give you some suggestions. I would have called this post 9 Ways to Calm Your Sh*t Down This Holiday Season but I recently made fun of all the lists out there and it seems a hair too soon to be hypocritical. So follow these steps and get ready to get calm….
Pinterest is Dead to You (for the Holiday Season)
You know what happens to the mind when you see stuff like this…
Courtesy of Dining Delight
You begin to feel very mediocre and inferior. That doesn’t sound festive or fun! STAY OFF PINTEREST.
Develop Calming Strategies
When you feel that paralyzing anxiety that prevents you from doing anything productive, take a look at things like this…
Oh my gosh, how can you be stressed when you see PUPPIES!!
Or if you aren’t a dog person, how about this…
Or maybe this…
Or maybe this is more your thing…
Find calming, stress reducing images and stare at them while taking 10 deep breaths.
There is No Award for Getting It All Done Quickly
I once received someone’s Christmas card the day after Thanksgiving. It just made me mad that they were so efficient. You don’t want to make people mad do you? So take your time. Holiday cards received on January 5th are just as special as ones received earlier. Or stand out and send your cards on Arbor Day. Or even easier, slap a family photo on Facebook and bam – you’re done. What’s the point of technology if we don’t take advantage of it?!
Do the Worst Job First
Think of the thing you are most stressed about. It’s different for everyone. Maybe it’s figuring out all those tips. How much to give? Who to give it to? Wouldn’t it just be easier to hand out $20 to every person you see from Thanksgiving to New Year’s? Or maybe it’s figuring out what to feed all the people that are about to descend on your house. Whatever it is – do it first.
There is something so liberating about getting a crap job off your “to do” list. It will actually lower your anxiety level, freeing up energy to get other stuff done.
Do Volunteer Work
I know what you’re thinking… I just cut 250 turkey feathers for the Thanksgiving feast craft project! I have 3 paper cuts and no longer have any feeling in my fingertips – why would I need to do MORE volunteer work? But forget the PTA for a minute, grab your kids and go volunteer for a soup kitchen, collect food for hungry children or pick up litter.
There is something so wonderful about getting out of your own head and just doing something for someone else. And you will also be role modeling the kind of person you hope your kids turn out to be.
Make a Gratitude List
This will take ONE minute and you can write anything you want. You can be grateful for your family, the fact that you live in a world where your DVR can record 3 shows at the same time, Jimmy Fallon or that your grocery store is once again carrying that pumpkin spice creamer you love so much.
When you remind yourself of all the amazing things in your life, you stop freaking out so much about how you are going to make a turkey for 23 houseguests. (By the way, I have no idea how you make a turkey for 23 houseguests. You’re going to have to find a different blog for that.)
There is No Shame in Buying
Don’t remake the gravy three times from scratch. Buy it and be done with it. Trust me, you’ll have plenty of time in January to perfect your cooking skills when it’s cold and dark by 4:23 pm.
Get your Soul Cycle, Crossfit, Orangetheory or Zumba on. Go for a crisp fall walk. Play a tennis game. Put on yoga clothes and pretend you worked out. Whatever works. When you get your body moving, your head always appreciates it.
Final Stress Reliever!
See? You’re calm. Now go kick some holiday ass.
There are certain awkward moments in life. Like when a guy-you-used-to-date sends you a LinkedIn request.
Because we all want an opportunity to reconnect with our past romances and endorse their digital media and business development skills on the networking site.
Or when you’re playing tennis and somehow your sports bra comes undone. Why would this happen? I’ve never seen this go on at Wimbledon.
I’ve been trying to play more tennis because it’s good exercise, it’s fun and it keeps me close to my Connecticut upbringing – a state in which they require every child to learn at least some kind of tennis proficiency.
I finally found some ladies to play with and was playing last week with one of them. She’s a very nice woman who I hardly know. And then suddenly my bra snaps apart and no amount of awkward maneuvering could get it back to gather.
In case you think I’m a total train wreck – this wasn’t a normal bra clasp. It was some kind of mini clasp that I can’t reattach when I’m wearing the bra.
(Right now, every high school guy is nodding this head and thinking, “Those bras are harder than they look!” Okay, no high school boys read this blog but if they did, they would totally be relating right now.)
Alright, I know you are all thinking about hot high school guys now…
But let’s try to refocus.
So after admitting to my tennis partner that my bra had come undone and holding up the game while I attempted to jerry-rig it back together, I gave up and said, “I hate to ask you this but is there any change you could refasten my bra?”
Let me review a few things…
1. I barely know this woman.
2. I’m sweaty.
3. I’m asking her to re-hook my bra in the middle of a tennis game.
Because she is probably the nicest person ever, she does it for me and we are able to resume our game. I’m trying to suppress my memory of this whole experience. Obviously she is too.
Finally moment of awkwardness… seeing Kim Kardashian’s very shiny tush on the internet. I wrote about it on Lifetime Moms. I think even her toddler daughter North is shaking her head in disbelief.
Okay, I can’t leave you with that. So I’ll leave you with this…
There is something about growing older that can make one feel more fearful. Instead of a youthful exuberance to bungee jump across Europe, you suddenly find yourself sitting down with a guy named Hank to compare life insurance plans – just in case you really do get hit by a bus when you go out to get your mail.
Maybe it’s that you have more to lose than you did when you were 20. Or maybe because you were a size 4 with tight abs and no neck wrinkles so you thought you were untouchable. Maybe the world seemed so wide open with possibilities that you wouldn’t have even considered limiting your options in any way.
I’ll admit – even when I was young I wasn’t the “jump out of an airplane” kind of girl. But I was certainly more daring.
I didn’t worry much about anyone but myself. Now I worry constantly about these little people that are all over my house. Am I giving them a good life? Am I raising them to be kind, compassionate people? Am I to blame that one of them is standing on top of the roof of the minivan having a sword fight? Stuff like that.
Somehow as we age, we start shutting ourselves off to possibilities. We think – hey, maybe I can control my fate if I’m just a bit more careful. But I’ve actually heard that we can’t actually control the world which is sort of lame but certainly noteworthy. So I thought to myself – maybe it’s time to do a bit more leaping.
Which is how I found myself at the top of a trapeze last weekend. I did the trapeze about 10 years ago in New Paltz, New York and I did not particularly like it.
So why was I back a decade later?! Because I have a 7 and 10 year old daughter and they wanted me to do it while we were on vacation at Club Med. And if I couldn’t be brave for myself, I could at least be courageous for them.
Plus, when we live our lives being too afraid, we start losing ourselves. Oh and my mother-in-law got up there and swung from the trapeze so I didn’t want her to think her son was married to some kind of pathetic wimp.
So I did it…
Okay, it’s not a high flying Cirque du Soleil trapeze performance but it was scary to climb up the ladder and jump off from that plank of death up there.
And I showed my girls that in life you push through fear and go for it. Because taking the leap is what life is all about.
An no, you won’t find me jumping out of an airplane.
Or bungee jumping across Europe.
But sword fighting on top of my minivan is definitely a possibility.