Holiday Stress: A December Tradition

A photo posted by Hmv (@hmvlife) on

Oh Christmas stress, oh Christmas stress! How stressy stressful can you be??

Happy Decembertime everyone! It's that time of year when everything is magical and Christmas carols play in your head all day long and no one freaks out and everythingisfine! Right?!


There are so many beautiful posts about the serenity of this season right now. But sorry, this is not this one. Here's a little walk into the mind of hmv right now. Warning: I'M FREAKING OUT.

5:00am Henry wakes up. I bring him to bed.

5:15 I'm going over my list of presents and trying to remember if we have anything for Jake's sister yet. Maybe Olivia can make something? Can her daycare lady teach her to crochet in 1 day?

5:40 Go to sleep, damnit!

6:30 Eff it, I'll get up!

6:47 Take "shower" (standing in shower thinking about everything I need to do today)

7:00 Get kids ready. Relent. Let kids dress themselves in plaids, stripes, and last night's pajama pants.

8:00 Yell at everything until it gets out the door and into the car.

8:05 Feel bad about yelling. Where is the yuletide spirit around here? Resolve to not yell any more ever again.

8:15 Roll into work. Open inbox. "You have...18,437 unread emails!"

8:30 Try to remember that thing Olivia suddenly got fixated on. Princess kittens? Hedgehog underwear? A real unicorn with a real gold horn named Carol. Hop onto Amazon and quickly purchase them all.

Eat breakfast.


Listen to my Holiday station on Pandora. See? I'm in the holiday spirit! I did it!

Recall that project that I'm running behind on. Open it up. Do a little . . DING! "You have....314 new emails."

12:00 Go to the gym? Scrap that.

12:04 Run to the mall. Shop my face off. WOO! DOING ALL THE THINGS!!!

1:00 Rush back to work.

Eat lunch.


Try to ignore the running mental to-do list scrolling through my head like an oppressive credit reel to a movie you've seen like a hundred times that won't end even after they've listed the 2nd Assistant Cinematographer, all the extras, their cousins, and every inanimate object in the entire film.

What was I saying? Oh yes...

5:00 Rush out of work. Rush to daycare. Retrieve children. Pause momentarily to adore the Christmas art that the children have created that day, specially, just for me. With red crayons, because that's your favorite color, Mommy! Oh, my. These kids really are so sweet, how luck are we? How great is this daycare to drum up all these holiday activities?  ...sigh...

Oops! Got to go! Who wants to help me pick out a present for Daddy?? Yay!

5:30 Stuck in traffic.

5:45 Still stuck.


5:51 Park. Get out of car. Get Hank out. Get Lil O out. Grab purse. Grab children. Get inside. Shop. Pull things out of the kids' hands and put them back on shelves.

5:56 "Mommy, why don't you ever buy ME anything?!" Waaaa! Tantrum!

6:01 Buy the child juice. Make the child drink the juice like Sally Field did to Julia Roberts in Steel Magnolias. (Please tell me you get that reference and we are best friends for life)

6:10 Do everything in reverse. Get back home. Fall face first onto the couch.

6:12 Hide Daddy's gift. Remind the child that we are hiding Daddy's gift, a gift that she no longer gives two hoots about because it isn't for her!

6:15 Give heartwarming speech about Christmas, and how it's about giving AND receiving, and lots of kids don't even get to have gifts, and we should all be so thankful for our family and house and remember that we love each other, it doesn't matter if we get gifts or not, we always love each other.

At this point, although she is listening, she is also looking back with a very blank stare. She is, after all, only four years old. She doesn't grasp the nuances of a gift-giving holiday and the spirit of the season and baby Jesus and all that. Plus she has the blood sugar level of a Type 1 diabetic bride.

There will be more time to talk about these important things. We will have more Christmases. For now we can just focus on one thing: what's for dinner?


Goodbye November, Hello December 2015

Ahh another month, another chance to blog it all out. All the feels. November is a sweet month, but a bit dark this year. A bit gloomy at times. It never fails to end with Thanksgiving, though, and for that I am grateful.

Good-bye November:

  • On November 13th: we lost 130 people in the city of Paris. Terrorists attacked several locations and claimed to be with ISIS. It is still very fresh in our minds. We still do not know what this will mean in the long term. It feels a lot like post-9/11. When we didn't even know it would be called "9/11," and we didn't foresee the long war that would follow in Iraq and Afghanistan. Are we on the verge of another war? A world war even?
  • Violence: is a theme right now. I don't want it to be. I worry that it's getting to me. The news never seems to be good. On the 30th, yet another mass shooter attacked a Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs. All of this on the heels of the mass shooting at Umpqua Community College. My colleagues went to UCC afterward to help, and their stories were heartbreaking. Where will this end? Something needs to change.
  • I've been feeling: down. I said something about it a few weeks back and my people reached out big time (thank you, people). One thing about being pretty open and honest about your feelings and your struggles is that folks aren't shy about offering support.
  • Work: has been a little frustrating. But still very grateful for my job and my people there, too.
  • Thanksgiving: went pretty well. It was a long process traveling to see my family. It always is at this time of year. Impossibly difficult at times. But what are we going to do, not see family on Thanksgiving? No. Our family is just too much fun. (Side note: there is no remaining Fireball whiskey in the city of my hometown.)

Hello December:

  • This project at work: I'm going to figure it out. It's going to come together. The answer will reveal itself, and then...poof! All my problems solved forever.
  • Shopping anxiety: won't get the better of me. I can be obsessive about getting our holiday shopping done. And done well. And sometimes when you have two young kids and a husby and a jobby job, well, finding the perfect gift for everyone just can't be so important. It can't consume my life. ...but wait wasn't there a promo code I wanted to use today on Shutterfly??...And did I order a dress on Stitchfix?...And put Jake's clothes on our Amazon list? Bahhhh!
  • Christmas lights: are going up next weekend. Promise! I'd prefer to put them up early, like November 5th, but no one around here let's me do that. Also I kind of forget about the lights as soon as I get inside our warm house.
  • Christmas tree hunt: also this weekend! Trying to talk Jake into a Noble this year. My friend gets a Noble usually, whereas we (like fools) insist on getting a tree that smells good. The evidence is in: none of them smell like anything after you cut them!
  • All I want for Christmas: is four glorious days of peace and quiet. In the super quiet, super laid-back city of New Orleans! Woooo! Adult time! A-dult-time! A-dult-time! *fist pump* *confetti*
  • Last wish: to enjoy the season. Not overdo it. Not feel rushed. Just have a cup of coffee. Sit in pajamas. Enjoy the kids opening gifts and playing with cousins and remember that this time is so special and so fleeting.