Friday, December 19, 2014

Tamiflu & What I Know For Sure This Week

I don't know much this week.  It's one of those weeks that is full of sick kids, phone calls from school telling me to pick up my sick kids, rearranging meetings and canceling lunches, taking temperatures, going to the pediatrician's office and not finding time to shower.  It's one of those weeks when I see my poor kiddos battling high fevers and looking pitiful.  
JT got slammed twice this week, first with complications from Celiac and then Influenza. Poor kid.

It's one of those weeks that I am grateful for bleach and Tamiflu.  I know everyone with oils is going to tell me how healthy they all are with their oils and I am happy for them. I really am. But for our family right now, it's bleach and Tamiflu and rest and gluten-free chicken noodle soup and more rest and gobs and gobs of hand sanitizer.  And forts in the living room and Christmas movie marathons.  
Sick kids and a dog have totally taken over the living room.
Lucy being a little mama and reading
to Wade when he first got sick.

I know for sure that being sick sucks, but being together doesn't and we will make the most of being quarantined.



Here's what else I know for sure this week:

  • Hey maybe I'll dye my hair....maybe I'll just get drunk...oh yeah, I'm loving some old school Dolly Parton Christmas songs.  Songs like "Hard Candy Christmas."  My sister, my cousin and I used to sing this old favorite when we were kids.  Listening to it recently, um, it holds up.  Damn it's good.  Listen and hear for yourself. I know for sure that I love Dolly Parton forever.


  • This recipe (for peppermint bark) is the possibly the greatest recipe of all time.  It's gluten free and delicious.  I should know, I made it and ate all of it.   Yup.  I made it thinking I might give it away as a gift, but instead I was quarantined with sick kids and ate it all, myself.  It's from my friend Elaine- click here for the recipe.

  • You can enter to win a $50 gift card to stella & dot.  Click here to enter, it's simple and you have a great chance of winning and why not?


  • Podcasts are all the rage.  Did you know that?  I am late to the game.  But click this link from Mamalode to find out some really good ones.  I listened to Alec Baldwin interviewing Jerry Seinfeld the other night and was thoroughly entertained, click here for that podcast.


What do YOU know for sure this week?  Share it here or over on my Facebook page.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Lesson of The Frame of Broken Ornaments

A few years ago we had a tree incident and Wade almost ruined Christmas.  

When Wade was a toddler, he climbed up the Christmas tree like a cat.  The Christmas tree came crashing down.  Wade crawled out from under the wreckage a little dazed and confused and with a few scratches, but mostly okay.  Many of our ornaments? Mostly not so okay. 


Lucy and JT cried because the tree was on the ground and bits and pieces of their favorite ornaments were everywhere.  I was yelling for no one to move because I was afraid someone would step on a sharp ornament bit and cut themselves.  Wade had already moved on to climbing up on top of tables.  He was a very busy toddler.


"Well, Christmas is ruined," Peyton said quietly under his breath.

I wanted to agree with him but knew that wasn't the good parent thing to do.  "No, no it's not," I replied through my own frustrated why can't anything go right tears.  "We are going to pick this up and put everything back together."

So we swept up the broken bits.  Tim tied a rope around the tree and anchored it to the wall, attempting to Wade-proof it. I turned up the Christmas music and made cookies while we cleaned up.



"What are we going to do with all the old ornament pieces," Lucy asked.  

"Throw them out I guess," I shrugged trying to not get too sentimental and sad.

Her eyes got big, like Cindy Lou Who big, and she smiled, "I know what we can do.  We can make a craft with them!"

So we did.  We glued the bits and pieces of old ornaments onto a wooden picture frame.  We put the picture of the kids and their cousins with Santa that we had taken a few weeks earlier inside the frame. It turned out beautifully.


Every year since the tree incident of 2011, I display the frame of broken ornaments with the other Christmas decorations.  The frame represents the true meaning of Christmas to me, and maybe even life.  Life/Christmas isn't about perfection. It is about the ability to turn the bad into good, seeing the beauty in the brokenness, paying attention to the simple wisdom/joy/hope of children, and not staying devastated when it, whatever it is (Christmas/life/jobs/relationships), feels ruined, and having a really good sense of humor.  It's about picking up the pieces and putting everything back together.   

Every year, I set out the picture frame and we tell the story of the tree incident of 2011 and how Wade almost ruined Christmas.  And we laugh and laugh and remember there is beauty in the broken bits and pieces, of Christmas and life.


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

DIY Trundle Bed (A Pinterest Poser Challenge)

I haven't posted a Pinterest Poser Challenge* since October. Whaaat?  I've been a little crafty, I mean I made a 3-D snowflake for god's sake. I just haven't posted/bragged that much about it on social media. But today, I'm back and I am totally bragging.  

Today's Pinterest Poser Challenge isn't about making a super fancy, crafty, inspiring project. Nope today's challenge is all about practicality, functionality and saving money.  

*In an attempt at not being a Pinterest Poser,** every week I detail a new project/idea/recipe inspired by Pinterest.

**My definition of a Pinterest Poser is someone who is all pins and no substance.

About a month ago, I sat down to say goodnight to Wade and the bed broke (a huge crack).  Wade was in the bottom bunk and JT was in the top. They both started laughing hysterically. "Mom broke the bed!," they said.  They couldn't wait until Tim got home from work so they could tell him that I sat on the bed and broke it. In my defense, the bed was old and cheap.  It couldn't have been me? Right?

We took the bunk beds apart and told the boys to share the bed until we figured out what we were going to do. It wasn't a perfect situation but it bought us some time. We didn't really want to buy new bunk beds because neither one of the boys wanted to sleep on the top bunk.  We also didn't want to buy another twin bed that would take up most of the leftover space in the room.  And of course we didn't have a lot of extra money to be that creative.  

Pinterest to the rescue! For under $50 we made a trundle bed that solved all of our problems.

I got the idea from this post on Pinterest.
It was easy and cheap, my favorite type of Pinterest project.  

Supplies:
Plywood
5 Casters
Screws
Rug Mat

The total cost was around $45.

First we measured the space under the bed and the mattress.  Then Tim went to Home Depot and bought the supplies.

Honestly, the first thing we did was clean out from under the bed.

We did not sand or paint the wood, like the woman did in the post I pinned.  



We simply screwed the casters onto the plywood, flipped it over and put the mattress onto the wood and slid it under the bed.


We put mismatched sheets on the mattress and called it a day.

The boys fought over who would sleep on the new trundle bed. JT won the battle.  He loves it.  

You thought I was kidding about them fighting? Nope.

Every morning he slides the trundle bed under the old bunk bed and goes about his day.


Everyone is sleeping happily and we still have a little bit of money for Christmas. Boosh! I ain't no Pinterest Poser.



Have you made anything inspired by Pinterest lately?  Let me know in the comments or over on my Facebook page


Come follow me on Pinterest (click here).

Here are some of the Pinterest projects I've done/made/attempted.
DIY Artemis Costume- click here
Taking Pictures of Your Kids- click here
Gluten Free Pretzels- click here
Cinnamon Sugar Doughballs- click here
Painted Lockers- click here
Melted Beads- DIY Suncatcher- click here
Tissue Paper Pom Pom Garland-- click here
A Delightfully Simple Birthday Party--click here
Make An Awesome Omelet--click here
Outdoor Lights Inspired by the show Parenthood- click here
Herb Garden with Chalkboard Pots- click here
Backyard Graffiti Art with kids- click here
Happiness Notecards- click here
Gluten Free Rainbow Cake- click here
Fruit Roll-Up Fortune Cookies- click here
Make Your Own Magnets- click here
DIY Painted Clay Necklace- click here
Dixie Cup Lights- click here
DIY Ornaments-click here
Gluten Free Clay- click here
Make Your Own Stamps- click here
Birthday Shirt- click here
Gluten Free Pop Tarts- click here
Front Porch Kid Art Display- click here
Door turned into Table- click here
Summer Wish List Chalkboard-click here
Peanut Butter Nutella Cookie Sandwiches-click here
Painted Mason Jar Vases-click here
Cinco de Mayo Paper Flowers- click here
Earth Day Cupcakes- Click here
Nail Art-click here
Homemade Photo Booth Fun- click here
Fake Bangs- click here
DIY Subway Art- click here
Furniture Painting and Bench/Chest Makeover- click here
Thanksgiving-y Project/Gratitude/Holiday Countdown- click here
The Smoothie-click here
The Free Printable Turned Artwork in a Boring Hallway- click here
The chalk board-click here
Seven Layer Dip in Individual Cups (my favorite so far!)-click here
The pumpkin address-click here
The Kitchen Dancing Sign--click here

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Thank You

Yesterday I was on the phone with the guy from AT&T and I was a little overwhelmed.  Not only by my bill, but also by the kindness of the AT&T guy.  He was helpful and calm and patient and very nice.  He was good at his job and I appreciated it so much. The AT&T guy helped me figure out my bill and how I could switch to a new plan to save money.

"Not one thing has been easy lately, thank you for making this so easy," I told him.  "And thank you so much for being so nice."

"Oh ma'am, it's my pleasure and thank YOU for telling me that," he said to me laughing a little bit.  "Merry Christmas!"

                              *****

A woman I am lucky to call a friend/mentor, Satori Shakoor, lives and breathes gratitude. She said once that she believes "in thank you and that service with a smile is the possibility of love."  Satori is a master storyteller and she spoke in the Listen To Your Mother show I helped produce in Detroit last year.  In the show she talked about how gratitude is her only religion and "thank you" is her only prayer. (Click here to watch her story, it will blow you away.)

Two Sundays ago in church I taught a class about saying thank you.  I feel like I teach a class like that a few times a year. But I think we need reminders--we need classes, stories, Satori's and AT&T guys and Christmas--because it's easy to forget. Sometimes life can be really hard and confusing and frustrating.  Life can make you want to wring your hands in the air and ask why/how with an occasional you've got to be kidding me, instead of raising your hands up and saying thank you. 

But then, the reminders, the thank yous, the gratitude...you remember the possibility of love.  It shines through the smile you give someone, the nod of respect, the thank you at the store, the thank you on the phone, the acts of service, the appreciation you give your friend or your child or a stranger, it's all love.
I have a lot of love for Detroit.
We spent time at Eastern Market in Detroit this past weekend.
I love that I have so many kids that they can play a pretty legit game of basketball together.

I am thankful for this space where I get to share my life and be creative and talk about storytelling and my friends and their wisdom; and where I get to try and be funny and post dance videos and maybe make someone feel less alone.  

I am thankful that I get to do fun giveaways and give you a chance to win stuff.  Today, my friend Katie Redmond is giving away a $50 gift card to stella & dot.  Have you seen their jewelry?  They have beautiful stuff- click here to check it out.

These are just a few items that are each under $50!  

Katie is also selling another line called Keep Collective (click here to check it out), you can use the gift card there if you wish to do that. 

Enter and win! Leave a comment about what you are thankful for right now.  Is it somebody?  Go tell them thank you.  

Spread the joy, feel the love, remember to believe in thank you. Tis the season of gratitude and love and kindness. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, December 12, 2014

Live, Laugh, Love & Dance (And What I Know For Sure)

This past week wasn't my favorite.  I'm feeling a little tired and vulnerable and like I want to watch movie marathons and stay in bed and eat ice cream.  Which, duh, I can't do of course.  But oh my, I would love to do that for even just a little while.  I wouldn't stay there long.  I won't stay in this emotionally exhausted, bummed out state of being for long either.  I refuse to do that.  Instead of getting stuck feeling low, I always come back higher than before, happier than before, stronger than before.  Sure it may be annoying to some people, the fact that I feel all the feelings.  But I have to tell you, feeling the sadness makes me appreciate the happiness even more.  Feeling it all helps me process my confusion, frustration, upsetness of life and learn from it.

It also helps me empathize with other people going through something.  And just like Ne-Yo sings in the new Pitbull song..."everybody's going through something."* We all have stuff.  We all have crazy family members, jobs that fall through, kids that struggle from time to time or don't listen, I mean right? You have some of that stuff, right?

So when I get out of this funk,  I will keep feeling all the feelings and then doing what I do...live, laugh, love and DANCE.  I know that for sure this week.


* I'm so excited that I was able to work in a quote from a Pitbull and Ne-Yo song into a blog post.  How can anyone not dance to this Pitbull/Ne-Yo song? No matter what's going on right now, I hope you dance.  Here you go...


  (Click here to watch/dance.)

Here's what else I know for sure this week:
  • I love Lucy.  And I loved watching the Christmas special in color with my Lucy.  She thought it was so funny.  




  • Aging can be an incredible journey (if you don't pay attention to most media!).  I love this interview with Frances McDormand and what she says about aging and how she describes the lines on her face.  It's refreshing and beautiful.






  • I need a bigger bed.  I want an extra King size bed so that we can all snuggle or at least sit and watch TV in bed together.



  • I want a faux fur vest for Christmas.  I'm not sure if I can pull it off, but I want one.  



  • I am totally looking forward to the Golden Globe Awards in January.  I don't care who got nominated or what any Sony emails say about who is horrible to work with.  I need a good awards show with fancy people, a couple of moving acceptance speeches and Tina Fey and Amy Poehler hosting.


What do you know for sure this week?  What do you want for Christmas? Tell me!  Either here in the comments or over on my Facebook page.

And come play with me on Twitter (@AngelaYBlood) and Instagram (@JumpingWithMyFingersCrossed).

Thursday, December 11, 2014

No Going Back

I want to make it all go away.  I want to wrap my arms around the woman my mother was 30 years ago and tell her not to take the pills, not to drink.  I want to tell her that she's going to be okay.  I want to tell her that I want her to stay, that I love her and need her and will always love her and need her. 

But I can't.  There's no going back.

My mother is an addict.  She is mentally ill.   It's hard to say which came first or if it even matters anymore.   It's all been going on for so damn long, but it never stops being sad.  

This past weekend we discovered my mother is drinking, again.  She used to be a pro at mixing alcohol with all her pills.  I remember the first time I figured out what was going on.  I was 15 and I woke up because my sister who was home visiting from college was trying to calm my mother down. "Mom, you have been drinking while you're taking these pills, you cannot do that," my sister said sternly. My mother was hysterical and out of control.  The next day she seemed fine, so we just sighed with relief and went on with our teenage lives.  

The addictions grew, the drinking got worse.  She ended up in rehab when I was 21.  My mother quit drinking but her dependence on prescription drugs only grew more intense.  She doctor shopped for years and spent most of her time doped up on anti-depressants, anti-psychotics, anti-anxiety meds, pain pills, pain patches and an occasional trip to the ER every now and then for a good old morphine drip.  

"I'm not addicted, these are prescribed for me," she would tell us when we tried to get her to stop taking so many pills.  "My problem is drinking and I quit that."  

Over the years, my mother has over dosed several times, passed out on a park bench in front of me and my kids (and several other moms and kids at the playground), gotten in car accidents, fallen down the stairs, set her house on fire, and god knows what else that we don't know about.  My sister and I  have tried over and over and over to get her help.  We have called social services.  We have emailed Dr. Phil. We have prayed.  We have hired people to help her.  We have begged and pleaded doctors to help us help her.  

Nothing works.  My mother is an addict.  She is mentally ill.    And now she's drinking again.

When the woman that works in the condo/apartment office where my mother lives now called my sister to share some concerns she had about my mother, my sister and I boldly stated "nothing will surprise us."  But the drinking again did.  

In all truth, a lot surprises me.  I am surprised how sad it all makes me still.  We have been through so many years of watching her choose pills over us, it shouldn't phase me.  Maybe it's because it's Christmas, but looking around at all the joy she could be a part of, all the love she could receive, all the wonder she could marvel at, the music she could dance to, the family she could be a part of...it literally breaks my heart.  It surprises me that I still wish I had a mother I could call and ask if I'm doing this whole parenting thing right or a mother that would love me no matter what.  

But there's no going back.  My mother is an addict.  She is mentally ill.  And there is not much I can do about it.  

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Being Weird

When I was in fifth grade I had a sticker that said "WEIRD" on my desk.  Some of my classmates would point to it and say "You really are weird."  And I would always say "thank you" and smile proudly.  

It's a true story.  It's a true story that I tell my kids now to make them feel better on days when they are feeling a little weird or different or like they aren't like everyone else.  I go on and on about how being different is a gift and that being weird is a compliment.  "Being weird and different is wonderful," I tell them with the same proud smile I had a million years ago in Ms. Hunter's fifth grade class.  "It would be boring if we were all the same, wouldn't it?  Weird people make life so interesting and colorful."

But if I'm being really truthful, it can also be tough to be weird.  There were years when feeling like I wasn't fitting in with ANYONE felt simply awful.  I questioned myself and doubted and tried to be different.  It can be lonely being a little weird.

I was labeled "the creative one" by my parents but I think I could have been labeled the ADHD kid, possibly the Dyslexic kid, most definitely the daydreaming kid, an introvert, a stage-lover, a dancer, an oversensitive kid and probably a lot of other labels.  I was never tested for anything, but I struggled.  

It was easy for me to love being a little weird in elementary school, but as I got older it got harder.  School got harder and the social scene got more complicated. My home life was a mess which didn't help with my creative/weird/where do I fit in/why can't I get better grades/what will the world think of me confusion. My middle school and high school years were spent making it through not really excelling or figuring myself out.

In fact, it has been pretty recent that I proudly smile and wear the badge of weirdness with great honor again.  In my late 30s I started this blog and began being unafraid to express myself.  It was freeing. The more I wrote, the more authentic and alive I became.

Now I sort of feel like The Velveteen Rabbit, you know, because I'm old and shabby and getting real and now I'm becoming REAL--and whole and weird and okay with all of it.  

This whole acceptance of my weird, real self led to doors opening to creative opportunities that I might have been afraid of before.  Opportunities that I would have told myself were "too weird" or that didn't fit some idea of fitting in that I was holding onto from my stupid teens. 

Now at 40, I am loving my creative, weird, oversensitive, colorful, interesting self.  I mean most of the time.  There are still days when I wish that I was more of this and less of that.  But more often than not, I am enjoying myself and the possibilities I want to jump into and the places I want to go and the art I want to find in everything.
I found art in the woods the other day.

I am lucky to have friends that get me and will go on weird art finding field trips with me while our kids are in preschool.

Something I didn't expect however? How tough it is to be a parent to children that might be/feel a little weird.  It's a lot harder to watch your child's eyes fill with tears because they don't understand why they learn differently and think differently and feel more. I want to follow my child around and beat up anyone that says anything negative or judgey.  My promises of "you will make the world so much better" and "you are smart in a different way and different is good" aren't what my child wants to hear.  Nope, my child wants to fit in and be accepted and be "normal."  My heart aches knowing the struggle that is in store for him.  

And what if there isn't a name for what he has or what I have?  I mean I sort of wish for a diagnosis other than just quirky or creative or "not like everybody else."  We have just started the investigation into this for him and so far, no diagnosis. I don't want to make any of it go away for us because I truly believe in the magic of being weird and different and interesting. But I do want it to be easier for my child.  Maybe it will be because I will be paying attention and noticing when he is feeling overwhelmed or isolated because of his not-like-everybody-else-ness.  Or when reading is a challenge or the writing assignment is giving him anxiety.

I don't want him to just make it through and then wait until he is 40 to realize his gifts and his beauty and his weirdness.  I want him to appreciate it now.  I want everyone to appreciate it.  I want to scream to the world that different is good! being oversensitive isn't a bad thing! feeling is brave! vulnerability is powerful! not everyone learns the same way! be nice to all the weird people!  But that would be sort of weird right?

Who knows, you might see me on a street somewhere yelling this to the world or maybe on a stage somewhere.  Until then I will have my heart broken watching my sensitive kid get his heart broken and I will continue to love him and advocate for him and all of my children.  And I will keep on keeping on being weird and REAL and looking for new creative opportunities to jump into, fears to face, places to go and the art in all of it.
Art is everywhere.  And there's even art about pizza. I love it.










Monday, December 8, 2014

Holiday Wishes (A Music Review)

I have become kind of a Christmas person this year.  For a long time, the holidays stressed me out and made me relive painful memories from Christmas past.  But it's changing.  I'm older, maybe a little wiser, I have an amazing family and so much to be grateful for, I just feel more mushy and happy over sad and depressed.  

I mean there are moments where I get lost in a bad memory or I feel overwhelmed by the insanity of all the busyness and you better buy everybody you know a gift of it all.  But I don't get stuck there like I have before.  

Usually every Christmas season I bemoan the holidays and the hoopla even though I do enjoy a few parts of it.  Mostly I usually feel itchy and unhappy until a few days before Christmas when I have a Scrooge or Grinch moment and the joy of it all washes over me and I want to throw open the shutters and sing with the Who's of Whoville.  This year is different.  I feel more present.  My kids are older and I just feel the sense of "this isn't going to last forever" not so much hanging over me, more like time whispering to me, reminding me to soak it up and let it fill me up with love and goodness.

Peyton went to a sleepover on Friday night and I asked him if he wanted to go to Breakfast With Santa on Saturday morning or skip it.  "What? Of course I'm going, it's Grandma and Bubba's thing, right?," he asked.  "I'm going."

"Well, of course," I said smiling.
Peyton, JT, Tim and Tim's dad (Bubba) at Breakfast with Santa checking out video of another cousin's sporting event.

It's a Christmas miracle! We are all looking at the camera!  Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, God Bless Us Everyone!
I love the two big kids reluctant but still talking to Santa,
and how the two little kids are all snuggled up with Santa.

We are all showing up this year and soaking it up and letting the season fill us up with joy and love.  We are making the hot cocoa, watching the Christmas movies, going to the hometown parade, counting down with the Advent calendars and playing the Christmas music.
My in-laws started this tradition of buying the kids a name ornament on their first Christmas.  I love it so much.  It's just like the Brady family on Days of our Lives....remember that?  I always thought it was so cool and now it's my family. Joy!


I treasure these hand-written Christmas wish lists to Santa.  JT wants "gluten free marshmallows." I mean it just bursts my heart open with love when I see this stuff.
Hometown holiday parade! Lucy wishes her last name was Fox.
I don't think she understands yet how cool the last name Youngblood really is. This coming from a girl whose last name used to be Smith.
Our favorite background music for our holiday lovefest this year is Idina Menzel's new album Holiday Wishes.  




It's beautiful and soulful and sad and joyful and everything you want in a Christmas album.  I mean when I heard her sing in Frozen (she was the voice of Elsa) last year I was hoping she would sing something for Christmas.  I mean right?  Her booming voice is perfect for it.  

When she sings "Silent Night" I want to spin around with my arms open like Elsa.  It's simply amazing.  Holiday Wishes is out now on Warner Bros. Records.  The album was produced by Grammy Award-winner Walter Afanasieff and features favorites such as "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" and "Do You Hear What I Hear."  She also does a duet with Michael Buble, they sing "Baby It's Cold Outside."

The album is a mix of upbeat and slower songs.  



There's even a song for when I'm feeling a little reflective and somber, it's a beautiful version of Joni Mitchell's Christmas-themed "River."  I could listen to her sing this over and over, and well, I have already.

Here's the track listing:
Do You Hear What I Hear
The Christmas Song
Baby It's Cold Outside (Duet with Michael Buble)
Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
All I Want For Christmas
What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?
December Prayer
When You Wish Upon A Star
Silent Night
River
Holly Jolly Christmas
White Christmas

The album is available on iTunes ( http://bit.ly/IMHolidayWishes) and Amazon (http://bit.ly/IDINAHOLIDAY)

My favorite song she sings on this album is "December Prayer."  It is my theme song this season. It is for people like me that might battle a few ghosts from Christmas past, but try so hard to be present.  Menzel's voice captures the emotion so well.  It's like she is singing to me and telling me to get unstuck from the past, and to remember the good, to look around and see all the joy I have in my life right now.  

She sings these lyrics with a quiet, beautiful power:

In the touch of a friend or the breath of a child...
In the season when you find some peace in the simple, tender things..
Open your heart and look around, listen...
Hear the song within the silence...
hope and love are everywhere




The album is available on iTunes ( http://bit.ly/IMHolidayWishes) and Amazon (http://bit.ly/IDINAHOLIDAY)

I participated in the Idina Menzel Holiday Wishes album review program as a member of One2One Network.  I was provided an album to review, but all opinions are my own.



Friday, December 5, 2014

Good Stuff Forever & What I Know For Sure



I am a believer in the good in the world and the good in all of us.  I am a believer in simple joys and the power of family traditions.  

When I was a kid, my mother was very good at making moments and holidays and milestones special.  She made memories.  She made us feel loved and safe and important.  After my family sort of fell apart completely and my mother began battling mental illness and addiction, it was the memories and traditions that I clung to.  

As a kid, a few simple ceremonies made life a little more magical. Making my granny's bread sticks every holiday was just something we did, no matter what. The traditions, the ceremonies, the bread sticks...they mattered.  When families fall apart or the world seems uncertain and angry and upsetting, sweet family traditions make most of us feel more loved and safe and sort of like some things are going to be okay.   

When my mom moved away when I was in high school she sent me a box of ornaments from my childhood.  She said it was so I could carry on traditions of my own.  I think my mom meant well, but it just seemed like an ending to me instead of a beginning.  I mean I was only 17, I didn't really want to make my own traditions just yet.  

Years later though, when I became a mother, I jumped into tradition and memory making with my whole heart and soul.  I wanted to recreate the good parts of my childhood and make new even better memories for my kids.  

Now I have a lot of my own family traditions.  We do the "Friday Pump" (pumping your hand up in the air and chanting Friday because we are pumped about the weekend, duh) every Friday morning before the kids go to school which is based on something a teacher did with our class every Friday back in my middle school.  We go to the pumpkin patch before Halloween.  We go on road trips in the summer.  We have an Elf Night to kick off the Christmas season.  And a million more little and big ceremonies, dance parties, special foods and traditions.
We started doing Elf Night last year.  It involves a ton of paper snowflakes, waffles and marshmallows for dinner, an elf-naming ceremony and watching the movie Elf together.  
It is one of my favorite nights of the year. 
And I am pretty damn proud of my 3-D snowflake.

That's Keith Babu our elf
(he is a wrestling action figure in the off-season).


Over the years some things change and I know as the kids get older it will keep changing.  But my dream is to have my big kids come home from college over the holiday break and ask to do the Elf Night.  I want them to feel loved, safe and important for always.  Maybe it sounds naive, but I know for sure that I don't want our family traditions and the good stuff to stop, ever.



Here's what else I know for sure this week:
  • I married into an amazing family that so gets the whole tradition thing.  In fact they may be the best I've ever seen at all of it.  I made a video about them a few years ago.  It is about the Kimball Family Christmas party that has been going on for years and years and years.

Kimball Christmas Party from Jumping With My Fingers Crossed on Vimeo.

(It's a pretty long video and I watch parts now and I am critical of some of my edits and transitions, but overall am pretty proud of it because it reflects the love and awesomeness of this family.Even if you watch just the first minute or so, you'll get how sweet they are.)

Tim watched the video with the boys the other night.  That's one of the reasons I made the it, so that they can understand a little better how cool their family is.


  • Cutting down the Christmas tree is a newer tradition of ours and we love it, even if it doesn't go perfectly.  Check out all of our tomfoolery that went on this year.


(Cick here to watch the video.)


  • JT loves Christmas.  When I was a kid I used to put the Christmas tree skirt on and twirl and twirl while everyone else decorated the tree.  JT wore it as a cape last weekend and flew around while we decorated.  Tradition!!!!!

What are your traditions?  What do YOU know for sure this week?  Share it here in the comments or on my Facebook page.