Banish Worry and Anxiety in Five Easy Steps!

Gotcha.

I hate to say it, but worry doesn’t go down that easy. It doesn’t do “steps.” Sometimes, it doesn’t even do logical.

And it doesn’t play fair. Does it?

Some of you know my whole story – the one that digs back behind the funny parenting posts and tells you that I am an alcoholic, in recovery. And here is the rub:

Worry was my THING.

And sometimes, it still is. The holidays are a time of festivity and lights and our Savior’s birth, but did you also know? For a lot of us, the holidays are fraught with fear, anxious thoughts, worry. Sadness. Depression. A whole cocktail of tangled thinking stirred with a cute little swizzle stick of “We SHOULD be totally happy right now! It’s Christmas! NO ONE can be sad at Christmas! It’s un-American!”

In some ways, worry is an addiction all its own. It can be picked up and put on, like one of those big puffy coats that make you look like the Michelin Man – it buffers you from all else. It wraps and constricts and, at the same time? It might just be what we think keeps us warm and safe. If we worry, that means we just might have a shot at fixing whatever worries us.

We think we can fix, with worry.

Instead? We only damage more.

Lately I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing this:

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Here is a bit of wisdom (in the form of a list! You KNOW how I love lists!) from the author, D. C. Berkel, CPA:

Worrying has never:

  • Paid a bill
  • Turned around a failing relationship
  • Made a sick person well
  • Improved anyone’s physique
  • Changed anyone’s mood to one more positive
  • Made a job more fun or secure
  • Taken out the trash
  • Mowed the grass
  • Painted the house
  • Or kept the mother-in-law away

Now, not all mother in laws are worry-inducing. But, this list? It makes sense. We worry. We worry about all sorts of things. And Christmas? Sometimes, in all this joy and celebration, it crashes up against us and makes the worry hit back. This workbook? It has a lot of help to offer. It defines anxiety, and worry, and tells us why we sink under it. It gives us some very practical advice, in a written workbook format, step by step. It takes it slow.

And that’s how we deal. We need to take a breath, do some writing, some thinking about our past, some work. Maybe because we owe it to our future.

I still worry. But, I don’t let it control me. And I don’t suffer from it, like I used to. It doesn’t cloak me, and my life, like it once did.

Did you know? About six years ago, every time I got in a car with my family to go on a road trip, I would envision our little vehicle ending up in a terrible crash. I would see it, the metal on the road, the ambulances, the terror. I would breathe deep and clench my fists and pray like crazy, but that, my friends, is some palpable, evil anxiety to deal with. So, today? I do every thing I can to work on it. I gather my tools and I keep them close. God asks us pursue wisdom, and knowledge, and live right.

This book is one of those tools to live right. I highly recommend it.

If you are interested in getting a copy, click here.

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Momsie’s Annual Top-Ten Thankfuls!

Here’s what you have been waiting for, all year!!!!! I know you have. Me too.

Gratitude is the best reset button EVER. I belong to a facebook group where we post, every day, five gratitudes, and did you know? Every time I do it, I feel better. Even on the no good, very bad, worstest days ever. Gratitude is a multi-vitamin for the soul, I tell you.

So, here goes. My annual Thanksgiving Day Top Ten Thankfuls:

(In no particular order, because I’m doing this right after I had some coffee and a Clariton and I am totally squirreled out right now):

  1. Squirrel One and Squirrel Two. Might as well keep it in the rodent family right now. img_57831
  2. Also, of course, head squirrel, the hubster:

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4. Lemon Bars. I know. Kinda random. But really? Everything has been all pumpkin spice all over the place and I’m so over it. Let’s start a new thing – Lemon Bar Season! It could happen.

5.  That The Force Awakens did not rely on bad CGI and there was no Jar Jar in it.

6. My mom’s oyster dressing. I know that I mentioned this before, but it bears repeating.

7. That Black Friday will be over soon.

8. This guy:IMG_5652He has hopes that one day he will be able to FIT in that box. But, as he keeps getting fatter, and the box stays the same, I admire his optimism.

9: This:

 

10: Also, God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.  And he is good.

Amen?

Amen.

 

Bonus #11:

Sober Momsie. I just am who I am supposed to be when I don’t have alcohol in me. I operate better.

I know, some would say, “Really?” But, if you knew me before you would not argue, believe me.

 

Happy Thanksgiving.

 

 

Top Ten Netflix Picks for Your Family This Thanksgiving!

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Thanksgiving. The best holiday of the year. Wanna know why? Well, let me provide you with a list:

  1. No presents. No shopping. No wrapping. None. Nada. Zipp. Glorious.
  2. My momma’s oyster dressing.
  3. Gravy. Like, all over the place.
  4. Dressing up the dog and taking pictures of him. He loves this so much.
  5. Football. That’s more for the boys but I enjoy it as background noise. It pairs well with #6.
  6. Napping. All over the place. Like the gravy. Because of the gravy.
  7. No other plans. Like, for two whole days. No shopping, no going, no to-doing, no cleaning (except baths. There will be baths.) We are just going to … be. We will play board games and take the dog on walks and be. THIS IS AWESOME.
  8. The Macy’s Day Parade. Of course.
  9. My father in law’s Keurig. It’s elfin magic.
  10. My children’s faces when they first see the Thanksgiving table. It’s like Christmas morning, but without it being morning and there are no presents and it’s just food but you know. It’s food.

I do realize that “family” made it in the middle of the list. Should have been first, I think. I think my focus is on the NON gift giving aspect of this holiday because, holy entitlement, my children have ENOUGH STUFF.  They would disagree, of course. Little hoarders. They have an entire drawer full of half broken Chinese plastic pieces from McDonald’s Happy Meals and I swear, those Happy Meals toys procreate, y’all. The drawer is growing.

But, I digress.

Ok, so this Thanksgiving I wanted to give you another list. This one is for those of you who like to throw on a movie, or three, while you are relaxing and eating turkey sandwiches. It’s not a proper Thanksgiving for me unless there are copious movies. And, I want the kinds that make me all happy and grateful. Like a big happy hug of a movie. So, here goes:

MOMSIE’S TOP TEN NETFLIX PICKS TO MAKE YOU FEEL ALL WARM AND FUZZY ON THIS THANKSGIVING:

  1. Angel in the House. Toni Colette and Ioan Gruffud (of Amazing Grace) play bereaved parents, trying to conceive, until 7 year old Eli shows up on their doorstep. Prepare to cry. The ugly kind, but still, in a good way.a68a3700-6378-4dfe-9a89-3218246b0253_1.5eed56ebc5bb24b6654615b138e97e10.jpg

 

2.

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Love. Lessons. Loneliness. A little magic and French accents. Also, Jeff Bridges.

 

3.

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You think by #3 it might have lost its… mojo. But no. And the animation is incredible. Just a visual feast.

Also, Bryan Cranston and Dustin Hoffman and that Jack Black guy. You’re welcome.

4.

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Um… I know this isn’t exactly family fun. My kids would protest. But… I love it. Can’t help it. It’s full of schlock and silly romance  and that dude from that one show from the 80’s… Also this: my gosh people, if my dating life had been at ALL like this life would have been grand. Course, then, I would not have married the current hubs because he is so NOT that one dude from that 80’s show… But you know, reality and all. It’s here to stay.

5. 936full-miracle-on-34th-street-cover.jpgStill one of the best. The Macy’s Day parade scene? Classic. And the part with the letters at the courthouse? Still makes me cry. Yes, Virginia, there IS a Santa Claus.

6.

 

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King Julien? He is my alter-ego. I mean, just look at him.

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7. Holy puppy chow. The cuteness. Also, watched it with my rescue dog, Hosmer, all up on my lap. He told me it was two paws up.

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8.

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Ok, the production value on this is a bit lower – it is produced by a Christian film company that is still small, and you can see that, BUT: I love films like this. I don’t care. It’s wonderful and the message is perfect for all of us. Everyone deserves second chances. Always.

 

9.

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I LOVE THIS SHOW. IT’S FOOD AND CUTENESS AT THE SAME TIME.

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And finally!!!

 

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Best adaptation ever. Best soundtrack. Best lion voice. Best witch. Best child actors. Best MESSAGE.

May we all know the deep magic.

 

Much love to you and yours this Thanksgiving. Enjoy the feasting and the festivity and cuddle up with your family and enjoy the Netflix. God bless us, everyone.

Oh, and ALSO!!! Gilmore Girls!!! They’re coming!!!! November 25th! Squeeeeee!

 

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Happy Thanksgiving, from Netflix and Momsie. 

 

Common

Hooking up with my happy place – Five Minute Friday.

The theme today?

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Ok, it’s totally obvious that I could go for the higher ground here. “Common.” Like in:

Common ground.

or

Common Cause.

or

Common sense.

or even, if you are me, talking to my kids EVERY the morning,

“COMMON! We’re late!” (har har har. Clever momsie)

But, as I have already established: I VERY OFTEN AVOID THE HIGHER GROUND, PEOPLE. I AM A LOW GROUND KINDA GIRL.

So, today we’re gonna talk about:

THE BLEEPING COMMON COLD.

My husband is sick. And before I say ONE more word, I would like to provide a quick disclaimer:

I really do love my husband. And, pretty sure, he loves me too. We’re married, you know. So, that means, we’re in it for the long haul. We’re on the same team. We are in it to win it. I don’t know how many more cliches I can throw at you before I am penalized, so I’ll just end here: I asked him, “How often can I throw snark your way on my blog?” And he was all, “Darling, I love you . I know you must write your feelings, because feelings, and airing them for thousands, is really important to you. I am here for you. I am your snark-ee. I believe in you, my dove. Besides, I totally deserve it, every time.”

Disclaimer to the disclaimer: MMmmkay. That’s not exactly what he said.

Ok, so back to this:

My husband is sick.

Oh holy kleenex, get a grip, man.

He has a cold. And this is what he does: He puts on this huge hoodie and pulls the hood up all over his poor smushy cold face, which kinda looks like this:article-2110001-1205B578000005DC-592_306x423.png

Yes. It’s a dog. In a hoodie. Very, very close in its likeness to the hubster, I promise.

He kinda slump-walks around, with his hood all pulled down, and sadness just seems to follow him, like a germy, despairing cloud. He flops down. He sighs. I follow him with hand sanitizer and I have been known to surreptitiously spray the couch with Lysol as soon as he gets up. He turned, when he heard the spraying sound, but since he is SO VERY SICK he turned all slowwwwwwwly. Kinda Vincent Price style. Therefore I had plenty of time to hide the Lysol can behind my back and offer him some soup. He kind of squinted at me, like the cold was causing an onset of sudden blindness, which totally makes sense. Whenever I get a cold I lose my eyesight as well.

But somehow I still manage to walk around the whole house and do laundry. Also cook. And go to the store. And clean the bathrooms. While blind.

I do these things, WHILE I AM SICK AT THE SAME TIME.

Anyhow, the husband has now realized he left his water glass outside in his car. I know this because he has just croak-whispered to me,

“Cup… in car… must have water…” And then he curled up in a germy fetal ball on the kitchen floor. One of the kids stepped over him without even a comment. And guys? I so would have offered to get him the cup. I LIVE for getting the cup.

Like, seriously. Marriage law #345 = YOU GO GET THE CUP.

However. I had my hand stuck up inside a whole chicken. I realize this takes the blog for a hard veer, but I was making chicken soup for my plague husband. This involves getting really, really personal with a chicken. Like, you and that chicken are going to really get to know each other, and the clean up afterwards is rather extensive. It’s all so gross.

And so, as the husband was gasping his last breaths to me, I slowly turned, all Vincent Price, with a chicken-hand. And I gestured:

“Hold on just a few minutes, dear. I have a chicken-hand.” And as I gestured, the little floppy chicken wings seemed to actually point at him.

It was clear to both me and husband that the chicken was on my side.

Because, also? I was kinda sick of the sick husband. Just a little. I had grown weary of him sounding like Johnny Cash whenever he spoke, and how he seemed to be dying all the time. I get sickness, I do. But there is another law of marriage:

Marriage Law 346: IF YOU ARE A GROWNUP YOU GET ONE DAY OF BEING REALLY SICK. AFTER THAT YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN. I HAVE CHILDREN TO FEED.

Soooo. The visual of me with a chicken ON my hand startled the husband enough that he actually went out to the car to get the blessed cup. And, when he came back, he had donned his sunglasses. Which made him look kind of like this, minus the mustache. Unabomber-sketch.png

And that’s when I started referring to the husband as “Ted” for the rest of the afternoon.

I know. The snark is strong in this one.

The common cold. It will not break this marriage, to be sure. But it will give me lots of material to blog about. Thank you, Ted, for that.

 

*Final disclaimer: No husbands were harmed in the making of this post. They were brought soup with saltines, and cuddled with on the couch, and they got to watch football for hours on end, and there was ice cream. And I know I used the “they” like I have multiple husband and holy matrimony, ain’t nobody got time for that.

And also, I have a cold now, so there’s that.

 

 

Wild Kingdom

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No, this is not a post about a rabid squirrel. This is a post about a squirrel practicing proper dental hygiene. Of course it is.

First of all, did you know, there is a type of squirrel that you may be harboring in your very own household.

I know. This might seem totally terrifying, but just look at the little preshums. They’re sooooo cute!  I present to you:

Squirrellus Pipsqueakus

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Squirrel One and Squirrel Two

These creatures have been studied, up close, by me, for over eight years now.

Eight long, scientific years.

In mom years, here’s the math:

Mom Years Math

Like 2 seconds because they’re so cute and adorable I love them so + eternity + every grey hair I have now and the wrinkles -half the wrinkles because those belong to the husband + every Caillou episode I had to watch =

= 8 years

Or something like that.

Anyhow, Squirrelus Pipsqeakus. These little creatures have some really strange habits that I will outline for you below. Very sciencey stuff:

The Strange Bedtime Habits of the Rodent Children In Your House.

Or:

These Kids Be Nuts.

  1. One hour prior to bedtime both children will behave fairly normally, until one of them is asked to help with the recycling. This will seem to throw both children into a stupor paired with a sudden onset of paralysis.
  2. The recycling activity will take about four hundred years. It is also noted that this time of the night is when both children decide to take their personalities into the realm of “I’m really going to annoy you all,” and “It’s time to inflict myself upon you.” NO child is harmed during the gathering of this data.
  3. The infliction process continues for another four hundred years.
  4. The rodents then shift into “I will redeem myself” status when UNO is offered up, like a nut treat.
  5. UNO then usually is finished up with some high pitched wailing and gnashing of teeth, which is so appropriate,  because teeth brushing.
  6. It is duly noted that no rodent has ever been able to brush his teeth without making the bathroom a holy pit of spitty despair.
  7. Spitty Pit of despair is then peed upon.
  8. We have now shifted into the “Bat shit crazy” part of the evening. Sorry. It’s a bad word, I know, but I also KNOW you can relate. Don’t tell me you haven’t seen it in your own household. And, as a neat tie-in, bats are rodents too. I think. I’ll check later when I catch up on my Wild Kratts.
  9. Lots of running about and rodent-y mayhem. Usual stuff.
  10. The father of the household starts uttering things that sound like, “If you don’t-” and “I’ve had just about enough-” and “I’m coming up there-” followed by high pitched giggling.
  11. Dad squirrel starts stomping upstairs.
  12. Pipsqueaks then vault from about five feet away in the hall straight to their beds, displaying marvelous arial skills and also PROVING, once and for ALL, they they actually CAN AIM THINGS. I repeat. THEY CAN. AIM.
  13. Mother squirrel opens the bible to Revelations and starts reading aloud about the white horse and all, because she is pretty sure this will set the tone.
  14. Squirrels start to ask about these things: Blood vessels, string theory, do cats date before they get the kittens together, what is infinity, does God wear shoes, if so, what type,  can we get a snake, if so, what type, and what’s for dinner tomorrow, and for the rest of our lives?
  15. Mom squirrel slowly backs out of the room, leaving…
  16. Dad to deal with them. She gave birth to them, so that’s totally fair.

The rest of the evening is paired with a lot more of #10 and then, at some point, the 6 year old squirrel decides NOW is the time to start figuring out how to build a new addition onto the house for the cats. He requests pen and paper for his plans, is refused, and collapses into despair. “I won’t remember this tomorrow!” he wails. I feel for him. I really do. I come up with absolutely amazing writing ideas at night and then, by morning? All I can remember is that something happened and it was maybe about one of my kids. Or cats, dating. Sigh I empathize, little squirrel kid.

17. Both squirrels curl up and SLEEP.

18. Mom comes in and stares at them both for a good four hundred minutes, because they are the most adorable creatures ever in the entire earth forever and ever, amen.

 

Stay tuned for part two of my observations, entitled:

The Eating Habits of the Squirrel Children that Inhabit My House.

Or:

How Can My Kid Be a Squirrel and Have a Nut Allergy. Unfair.

Or:

Really? It’s Mashed Potatoes. It Won’t Kill You.

Have a Scare-Free Halloween with Netflix

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Guys. GUYS! Netflix has FANTASIA!!!!

I have no clever leader here. I am simply too thrilled about Fantasia. The centaurs, cavorting! Mickey and the Sorcerer! The romantic ballet between a hippo and an alligator!

Ok, if you haven’t seen Fantasia then you have NO idea what I’m talking about. Allow me to explain:

FANTASIA! THE BEST! SO AWESOME. I CAN’T EVEN!

Sorry. Ahem. Let me try again: Fantasia is a Disney movie, made in 1940, and it’s unlike any other Disney film made. Ever. It’s a celebration of animation, art, and music. So, dudes like Tchaikovsky (thank you, spell check) and Beethoven show up.

And also, THIS DUDE:

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Try meeting up with him when you are about eight years old, in a huge, darkened theatre with a gigantic screen and soft red velvet seats and my mom’s treats from her purse because we never actually BOUGHT treats at the concessions. Don’t ask me why I thought it was important to include that detail, but know this:

Regarding the movie house concession stand: I DO THE SAME THING. My momma taught me well.  I have been known, on occasion, to bring a Diet Coke in to a movie and do the Diet Coke Cough whilst popping it open. They get you at the concessions, people. Bring your own.

ANYWAY. BACK TO FANTASIA.

We have a rule at our house – no scary or spooky for Halloween. My reasoning?  I have kind of had it with 2016 and have decided life is scary enough.

But then… I saw Fantasia in my Netflix cue and thought, “Hey, Satan coming out of a mountain on Halloween night to summon up the undead isn’t THAT awful, right? I FEEL A FAMILY MOVIE NIGHT COMING ON!”

Yea, I know. Consistency is key in parenting. But, to my credit, THIS Satan has a classical score (Night on Bald Mountain by Mussorgsky and then adapted by Rimsky-Korsakov, and if you can rattle off all that Russian in a crowd you will totally impress people. I think. Or, you might spit on them. It’s a lot of ‘S’s.) Also: Satan and the mountain is followed by this:

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Shubert’s Ave Maria.

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It’s a painting, on the screen.

Satan is banished. We are safe, and sacred, in a cathedral in the trees.

I love Fantasia. And no,  It’s certainly not a typical Halloween movie. No jack-o-lanterns. No tricks or treats. But for us, it was perfect.

And also, this year? I have my new costume idea:

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Hyacinth, the Hippo, dancing to Amilcare Ponchielli’s Dance of the Hours.

Perfection.

For those of you who are a bit braver, here’s a clever idea – Netflix’s savvy understanding that the doorbell can impede serious Netflix binging on all things scary. So, may I present you with  this:

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Good luck with the viewing of the 9-12 slot. I just can’t. Too skeery!

Or, if you are really up for a scare, watch Chopped, the kids’ episode, and start training your kids to step up their game because:

THANKSGIVING IS COMING. Be afraid, kids. Be very afraid.

“So… Whose dish will be on the chopping block?”

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Happy Halloween and a Guest Post!

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Be my guest.

Guest post today! Squeeee!

One of the BEST parts of my job is meeting other readers and writers from ALL over the universe who actually read Momsie. Amazing, isn’t it?

Let me introduce you to Jen, a great writer, mum, and super auntie, who lives in my beloved UK (I know. I’ve never visited but one can dream.) She is also a techie and a food and crafts writer, and has great ideas to share. Since my idea of crafting for Halloween means drawing on pumpkins with a sharpie (whatever WORKS, ok?), Jen has much better input in this area.

Jen is here today to tell us about how Halloween is “celebrated” over the pond. Enjoy!

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That Moment When Your Child Carves a Pumpkin Better Than You…

It’s a joy to watch your child when they are so dedicated to something. We’ve seen that Lily likes art so my hubby and I let our dear daughter carve some pumpkins with us last year for Halloween.

This year, I’m staying on the sidelines to support her love for all things artsy. I do have some Jack o’ Lantern ideas, and I torture myself more by looking at other cool and cute carved pumpkin creations and then showing them to DD. If only I could do them myself and get them to come out right.

The Typical UK Halloween

For the most part, Halloween celebrations on this side of the world are pretty much the same as anywhere else these days. You’ll see costume parties left, right and centre; there are pumpkin patches; free horror movie screenings for the community; and of course, kids roam around going Trick-or-Treating.

After doing my research with my daughter, I did find out one interesting nugget. The ‘Trick-or-Treat’ tradition began here in the UK! Don’t ask how I didn’t know that. History isn’t my strong point, after all.

A blog I’m following posted some crafts  about Halloween and shared some info about the origin of ‘Trick-or-Treat’. Apparently, in Scottish hundreds of years ago, people used to knock at homes during this season to ask for free food or other valuables. Eventually, the practice evolved into what our children love to do today during every Halloween celebration.

Something that might be more unique in Halloween here, however, is that we have a ‘Mischief Night’ celebration every November 4 wherein people engage in pranks on each other. It’s a lot of fun, but obviously you shouldn’t go overboard just in case someone gets hurt.

People gathered around bonfires, sharing scary stories is also common. Do you know the show “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” That’s the idea, minus the sprinkling of magic powder to make the bonfire flame bigger though.



Hello, pumpkin!



Back to the pumpkins, the only part where I’m sure I can beat Lily is on making pumpkin soup or pie, out of the scraped portions of the vegetable. Not that it’s her job, but come on; you have to let me say “I rule!” once in a while. My hubby is totally awesome at putting together epic decorations and costumes; Lily makes wonderful Jack o’ Lanterns; and me, well, you got to give me something, right?

This year I have the ‘pumpkin and caramel cake’ in my sights. Just you wait, your souls will sing from the heavenly goodness of my culinary treat.

Seriously though, the best thing for me is that we complement each other. It’s what makes the celebration much more special. Getting to watch your loved ones working together, and seeing their joyful faces when we gather around good food are always priceless moments that I will cherish every day of my life.

I believe that’s the whole point. It’s not about the decorations, costumes, and props. It’s not about the parties. It’s about the bond that you strengthen further with your family through every occasion that’s worth truly celebrating. Happy Halloween!

Exclusively written for MomsieBlog.com

by Jen’s a Mom!