Thursday, November 29, 2018

Five Friday Faves: Holiday Edition

Hello Everyone and TGIF!

I've been jotting down my favorites over the last few weeks and only the best of the best are making the cut for this special holiday edition of my Five Friday Faves. Enjoy!

Ho Ho Ho! Let's go shopping!

1. Starbucks Gingerbread Latte

You need sugar and caffeine to get started on that shopping list, right? Who doesn't? A Pumpkin Spice Latte this is not. The Gingerbread Latte preceded the PSL, I believe, and it doesn't get nearly the love and attention it deserves.

It is my ultimate fave when it comes to treating myself to a ridiculously expensive coffee. Please note: I like a little sweetness but not too much, so I ask for 1-2 pumps of the syrup, and definitely keep the whip & add a dash of nutmeg. Perfection!

2. Lands End Boots.

In Minnesota, boots aren't just for fun. We NEED them. And if you're like me, you need lots of them. They have to be warm, waterproof, and easy to get on and off. I also like it when they look cute of course! You could say I'm pretty much a boot expert.

Loving these warm, high-quality, affordable Lands End boots!

I found this warm, cozy, cute pair on (who, I must say, has revamped its ladies styles and Mama Likey!). These run true to size if you are wearing thick socks, and unlike some brands, they don't feel like you're wearing two ten pound weights tied around your ankles. They zip on and off and are snug on the calf. I wear them almost daily.

3. Horse Diaries books from Random House.

If you follow me on Instagram (and if you don't, you most certainly should!), you might have seen my post about this great little chapter book series for the young animal lover in your life. High-quality plot and dialogue for independent reading (mid-to-late elementary set), or fun for reading aloud to younger kids and/or struggling/non-readers.

Great book series for young readers or for reading aloud!

The coolest part is that each book is written from the perspective of a horse, and each one is set in a different era and location (think 1800's Iceland, or early 1900's Virginia). Educational, engaging, and animal-friendly. Love!

4. Woodfire Scented Candle by Illume.

I can go months without remembering to light a single scented candle in our kitchen, and then, poof! I remember to light one which reminds me just how much I enjoy the simple pleasure of a wonderful-smelling candle flickering in the house... It's even better on dark, cold evenings.

This one by Illume (manufactured in Minnesota) smells like Christmas with a hint of vanilla, and it comes in a beautiful gold container. I'll be getting a couple extra to prolong the feeling into the dark months of January and February. Thymes Fraiser Fir Tree smells like the real deal too.

(Side note: I feel like candles get a bad rap for gift-giving, but I love giving and receiving them!)

5. Hallmark Channel Christmas Movies.

Here's a free idea for a little festive holiday entertainment. Turn the channel to Hallmark and enjoy one of their delicious, predictable, happily-ever-after Christmas movies!

I'm a sucker for some romance and a happy ending-- and I love Candace Cameron and Lori Loughlin (of Full House fame), and they're in just about every other one. Plus, the hubby will watch these with me once the kids are tucked in for the night (visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads)! So fun.

What are you loving and giving this holiday season? Do tell!

~Julia @ Frantic Mama

P.S. As always, none of my faves are paid advertisements or brand sponsored. They're all the real deal! Be sure to follow along with my misadventures in Motherhood on Facebook.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Laughing with me or at me?

I've known from a young age I am more sensitive than the average Joe. If there were a scale (1 being extremely hardened to ten being extremely sensitive, I'd be a solid 8 (9/10 if I'm lacking sleep)).

It helped clarify things for me when I stumbled upon the Highly Sensitive Child and the Highly Sensitive Person when my son was in preschool and I was trying to put my finger on what made him a little 'different' or, shall we say, quirky, than roughly 75% of kids (about 25% of the population, according to the author, falls into the Highly Sensitive category).

Bingo! That's it! He has a heightened sensitivity to the world around us. I remember it felt like one of those cartoon light bulbs turning on above my head. (Note: despite the name, the trait of high sensitivity isn't all about 'getting feelings hurt easily,' like most of us associate the word 'sensitive' with. That just happens to be the aspect I'm focusing on today).

As it turned out, my husband read the books too and figured out he was the same way. So I suppose we are a family of highly sensitive people.

I've embraced this trait now and I actually enjoy watching it manifest in my children. Being highly sensitive may not make things easier, but it can be a gift in many ways, and it can help us grow our empathy.

Still. With gifts come challenges, yes?

Confession time:

I HATE feeling like I am being laughed at. I hate it when I'm not taken seriously. I'm sure no one likes it, as children show hurt when being teased early on. That feeling has never gone away for me.

How about you? It's not fun for anyone, right?

Nothing shuts me down faster. The walls go right up.

As soon as I start to feel like the joke is on me, a barely-concealed mean/sarcastic face is being made about something I said, or there's a chuckle at something I said that was not intended to be funny, I commence the shut-down process.

I either:

A. Escape the conversation (in the case of a fight or flight response, that definitely falls into the second category).

B. If A is impossible, I try to refocus the conversation on someone or something else, the self-protective message being, if you are going to make fun of me, this part of the conversation is over. 

Neither of these responses are perfect or ideal, I guess, but I'm always a little in shock in the moment (the comebacks I come up with at 2 a.m. are so good though!).

Shockingly to a highly sensitive person, some people do NOT appear to pick up on Cue A or Cue B. How do I know this? Because they repeat the behavior! Over and over again. What do you do if there is a certain person or people in your life who find a way to laugh at you every chance they get? I'm asking, because I don't know!

Maybe I'm an easy target because I wear a soft-shell, but I feel like there is a small handful of people in my life who have demonstrated this behavior on a frequent basis. People I know are decent people-- they're certainly not evil! So why do they do it?

Is ignorance bliss? Are they squarely located on the 1-3 section of the scale, where it truly doesn't click that 'oh, laughing at everything she says is probably verging on Mean Girls territory?'

Or is it social awkwardness on their part? Do they laugh our of nervousness or anxiety? That at least gives me some patience with it.

Or is it something darker?

Should I just point it out right when it happens, and hope it puts things to a stop once and for all? [cringe!]

I'm not sure. It may make things worse. Or at least painfully uncomfortable. What I do know is that I don't laugh at people who aren't making jokes, and I'm teaching my kids to do the same.

I'm also asking on behalf of us 7 plusses on the scale, to all of you 5 and under folks, to take a step back occasionally during social visits with your friends and family. Do you notice you laugh at one of them frequently? Are you sure they're trying to be funny? Are they truly enjoying the conversation? It's good to remember not everything is a joke, and not everyone wants their comments laughed at or to see eyes rolling when they talk. It's belittling and hurtful, even if we try to be brave and smile through it.

That's my PSA for the day, folks. Especially as Thanksgiving is hurtling rolling towards us. We'll all be in close quarters with lots of people soon. I'm far from perfect, but I know I have a heightened awareness of feelings-- even more so now that I have children-- and I'll be working hard to be kind to those around me. That's what I want them to see. There are a lot of feelings out there, and it sure makes the holidays more fun when we take a step back and think about how we talk with people and the reactions we give them.

P.S. And if you are thinking hmmmm is this about me? Maybe pause and ask yourself, hmmmm why do I think this could be about me?

~Julia @ Frantic Mama