All Mama Wants for Christmas

Am I allowed to brag how all of my Christmas shopping is done? I’ll be honest, I start really, really early (here are some tips on how to be a better gift giver. Hint: start early!). But then I’m always a little bummed because I don’t have a reason to shop the Christmas sales. OK, I don’t have a reason to shop them for anyone else, but I may have taken advantage in a more selfish manner.

Anywho, I thought I’d share my Christmas list. Weirdly, I’ve already gotten some of my major presents this year. So, here we go.

This is a sum-up of what time alone looks like in my life. Thrilling, I know.

Time for me
I am a supporter of moms/parents spending a bit of time away from their children. I mean, don’t abandon them or do anything crazy, but absence truly does make the heart grow fonder. For my husband and me, by the end of a weekend away, we’re scrolling through our phones and cooing over pictures of our children. This does not happen after a normal day.

However, for mamas in particular, I think it’s important to snag some alone time away. Eat the junk food, watch the Hallmark movies (or, ahem, The Notebook twice in a row), and sleep in as long as possible. For both Christmas and my birthday last year, my husband gifted me a few weekends away. (My folks have an apartment nearby for when they visit, so it’s an inexpensive gift for us). But the gift of time away? Absolutely priceless.

A healthier body
When I asked a Facebook mom group about a BeachBody subscription, I got an overwhelmingly positive response. At $8-14 per month, I hesitated. However, I need to get off my lazy, book-loving behind and do some sweatin’. Well, a fellow mama mentioned Nourish Move Love, a website produced by a certified personal trainer who offers FREE at-home workout videos. Plus, she’s super positive and normal, not in a perkily obnoxious workout-girl kinda way. And she’s not a drill sergeant. (She also loves Jesus.) I’m on day two of her 14-day challenge, and I am SORE! However, I only worked out 30 minutes each day. And my kids watched me exercise and joined in. I mean, I’m not a fan of exercising, but even I can handle 30 minutes a day.

A clean car
When my mother-in-law asked what I wanted for Christmas, only one thing came to mind. And, to be honest, it’s a biggie. However, my in-laws are some of the most generous, caring people I know, and they already gifted me with it. Y’all, they got my minivan detailed. Like, like-new detailed. It took the poor guy hours. He got out stains that were in the upholstery when we bought the (gently) used van! It’s my new favorite present, especially for the crushed-Cheerio crowd.

I *heart* Holling Hoodhood.

A good book
Have you read The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt?! It came out in 2007, so don’t think I’ve discovered something new. It kept popping up on recommendation lists, but I’m not a big fan of middle grade, so I never jumped on the bandwagon. Do NOT let the “for middle schoolers” note deter you.

It’s set in the late 1960s in Long Island, New York. Holling Hoodhood (yes, the most bizarre name I’ve heard) is in 7th grade and is certain his teacher, Mrs. Baker, hates his guts. She makes him clean her erasers and read Shakespeare. It’s the perfect mix of middle-school shenanigans and insecure 13-year-old angst mixed with real life featuring overbearing parents, first loves, and the Vietnam War. I listened to the audiobook and immediately bought a copy for my mom. I think it’s the perfect story, as it’s relatable to both genders, to preteens and adults, and also to the older adult crowd who can relate to growing up in the 1960s. And it won a Newberry, so I’m obviously not alone in my estimation.

A happy husband
In addition to getting a few early Christmas presents this year, I’ve also given one. Every year, I give the Hubs a box of Black Rifle Coffee. Now, I realize I’m the oddball as I dislike coffee. I’m not even a fan of the smell. But I love my husband, and he adores good coffee. This year, I decided to give him a subscription so instead of getting a few bags Christmas morning, he’ll get a bag of dark-roast, whole-bean goodness every month. We love Black Rifle’s mission and overall vibe, as it’s “a veteran-owned coffee company serving premium coffee to people who love America.” #America.

You’re welcome for this early morning bathroom selfie. But isn’t the sweater cute?

Comfy clothes
This is our second winter in South Carolina (after six in Florida), and I’m still working on an appropriate winter wardrobe. This year, I realized I don’t own sweatpants. So, I’ve been on a mission. They don’t need to be cute, they just need to be comfy! During my hunt, I came across Walmart’s Time and Tru and Secret Treasures brands. Y’all. Stop spending more than $20 for pajamas. This brand is the softest and most delightful fabric I’ve ever allowed to come between me and my T-shirt sheets. I bought two pairs and loved them so much I’ve now purchased a third. And yesterday I discovered they have regular clothes too, so I’m sitting here in a soft fleece sweater. I may or may not be going back to Wally Word tomorrow…

To feel safer
I think we can all agree this year has been rougher than usual. It’s held a lot of uncertainty and anxiety. While Jesus tells us not to worry, it’s hard, y’all, and I think this year has proven that again and again. So, I decided to do something to make me feel a little more in control. I took a beginner gun class. Growing up, my father had guns, but they were always responsibly locked away. I’ve never been interested or fond of guns. I would even say I was scared of being near a gun. I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing, but I’m now a mom and have different responsibilities. I just wanted to get over my fear and have a clue.

And the class was really cool. A sheriff’s deputy in town offers courses, so just he and I spent an evening discussing, loading, and shooting. He answered all of my questions without laughing, though I’m still not certain what all of the numbers mean. Like, why is a .22 weaker than a 9mm? And how does a .380 fit in? Sounds like someone needed to get the menfolk organized back in the day.

All this to say, I think it’s worth facing a fear. Don’t be paralyzed by something because you’re less than educated. Do your research. Take a class. Talk to an expert. Move beyond fear and learn to feel more confident.

And there you have it. A probably too-long list of what I’d like/what I’ve already received for Christmas. Well, I also would like someone else to wrap all of these presents, but you can’t always get what you want.

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Currently Reading:
Y’all, I’m kind of in a reading rut. I checked out the audio version of East of Eden to help me wade through the book-club pick, and I’m still not enjoying it. Bleh. I’ve started a stopped a few other books recently, but I just haven’t found one that sticks. I’m attempting Marissa Meyer’s Instant Karma because I’ve loved her other books, but this one is…different. I’m also editing a sci-fi/horror book in the Reality Bleed series by JZ Foster and Justin Woodward. They’re finishing up book five, and it’s been a fun ride thus far.

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