Thursday, December 23, 2010

Pondering Christmas Perfection on Christmas Eve Eve

Wow - I should not be writing this at all but it's healthier to take the time to do so. George and I both wanted to have "everything" done by today so we could "relax" on Christmas Eve and enjoy ourselves. Ha ha ha ha ha.

I wish I could clone myself today in order to get "everything" done that needs to be done. The decorating, shopping, cooking, cleaning, wrapping, parenting, entertaining, etc. The following are things that I am coming to grips with this holiday season. I am coming face to face with what perfection is and letting go of what my old ideas of it were. I evidently am unsettled with what Christmas is supposed to look like. This year it looks like an undone house, as the new keeping room was just finished last Friday. We want to have things looking finished, as in decorated and furniture in place, but that is just not humanly possible unless we had a team of workers, like on tv. #1 - Let go the desire to have some semblance of a finished look in the house when your construction finished 5 days ago.

(An aside- Lowes has a fantastic return policy and you don't have to have the receipt, just the credit card you used. When I first found out Target had this capability it freaked me out a little and now I love it. Except if George happened to be the payee. We have now bought several different area rugs and have yet to hit THE one, and this is just at Lowes. Just think what would happen if we opened ourselves up to Home Depot... (Our fifth rug from Home Depot was the winner!))

The Christmas Meal. I don't know if it is living in the South but worrying about the menu has been bothering me and I want to have the "perfect" meal. I have also had this saying going around in my mind about this topic for about a week, "I will be pulling a Chrismas meal out of my ass this week." So crass. But it is how I feel and it feels so good to say it. I think it explains my desire to have a "perfect" meal and the complete lack of time to do the entire meal with. #2 It doesn't matter what you have, as long as the family is together.

Gifts for the Family. This has been an ongoing issue for several years especially with the children. I have wanted to buy less, but then I put more pressure on myself to get just the right thing. Just want they want, what I want to be educational, well rounded. It doesn't help that EVERY day Mallory discusses THE different thing that she only wants for Christmas. Although, she is asking for the most, she is the most thankful and immediately says after receiving whatever it was, that it is just perfect. #3 and it is a biggie It's not about "the stuff." My gift and George's gift to the children is being present not giving presents. This is not easy to accomplish, I am having to learn how to do it slowly over time and it is one of my life's missions. Paying attention to them, clueing in to their needs and maintaining balance - taking care of myself and EVERYONE else. Motherhood is not for sissies. Parenting is one of the hardest jobs there is but is the most rewarding.

My new version of Christmas perfection, or "being there" is not just for the season but for all of the time. As the song goes, "Don't save it all for just one day"

Monday, December 20, 2010

Addition Complete!

It is December 20th. Holy crap. There are still many last minute things to be done before we celebrate Jesus' birth. But one thing that is complete is the Keeping Room!!!! Woo Hoo! After months of work by the contractor's team and my part, the work is done. We moved furniture in Friday night and kept moving on Saturday. We lived in the room this weekend. A completely different story from last weekend, when we had to vacate the house as they were laying tile and grout. What a difference a week makes. The kitchen area is now feels so huge. We moved basically all of the furniture from the living room and it is now an empty shell but we will eventually get some furniture for it. That means we have to go shopping...and pick colors and a design.

And I did it!! I coordinated the whole project from start to finish. George still hasn't met the father of the father/son contracting team. This went so much more smoothly than the window replacement project from hell. I learned a lot in between those experiences. I thoroughly interviewed three contractors, bids and all and then went with my gut. I actually had two groups that I would have felt good with and that was amazing to me. And the process went reasonably well.

Now to work on all of the other major home projects-refinish wood flooring, see if A/C can handle new square footage during the summer, update bathroom counters. Not to mention the continual decluttering process. There is always a project...

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas, Bring It.

Well, we turned a corner three weekends ago. It is now all Christmas, all the time. One late afternoon weekday on our way to gymnastics, the girls spotted Christmas lights in our neighborhood, their resulting delight (and mine too!) was to communicate with George when we were going to put up our lights. The upcoming weekend was chosen and then jam packed. Not only did we do Christmas decorations - inside and out, we managed washing all of the clothes and clearing out each room of furniture that had the kitchen tile in it (mud, laundry, Riley's bathroom, etc) We also needed to remove any item we did not want dust on because the old tile was being ripped up. I am now up close and personal with the following equation -Construction process=dust everywhere. We also fed and clothed the girls and managed to throw a visit to GaGa's in.

We really pulled out all the stops, as we purchase a new inflatable lawn decoration - Santa coming out of the top of a Christmas tree and added it to our menagerie. I even put a wreath on the porta potty which has to be displayed on our front lawn. Last weekend, I had my come to Jesus moment when I realized that Christmas was two weeks away. I had not shopped in a major way and after finally picking out tile and paint again, I began the Christmas shopping experience. I am still working on Christmas cards, as they have been sitting in the box since late November. The usual Christmas letter is hard to write.

While trying to catch Christmas cheer, one morning I turned on the XM Holly station briefly and it was okay, I did not throw up in my mouth. I switched it to the 80's station quickly and Foreigner's "Faithfully" did make my stomach turn more than the Christmas song. So off we go. Christmas music too! We even made it to the downtown Christmas celebration, fake snow, fake ice skating and lighting of their Christmas tree.

Earlier this week, I felt overwhelmed. I wasn't sure of my tile choice. Christmas pressure was coming upon me. Here's another equation... Christmas = stress, Remodeling construction = stress, mother in law with metastatic breast cancer = stress. That is a lot of stress and I had to be reminded by a dear friend that any one of those is enough to deal with. All three together is over the top. I then had another aha moment, that something in my personality makes me think that I am supposed to handle anything flawlessly and never feel stressed out. Now if a friend had told me the same scenario, I would have given her empathy and comfort, but for myself just harsh judgement. Hmmmm. Something is wrong with this picture. When I finally accepted that these emotions are acceptable, they dissipated! It is OKAY to feel stressed out when life is unbelievably stressful.

So Christmas here we come.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Gem

This quote has been brought to my attention again recently. "When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time. " This is Oprah by way of Maya Angelou, I think. But it is SO true. People are who they are, not who I want them to be and vice versa ( that's another similar quote I recently posted). And from the first "showing" to the twelfth showing - they are who they are. And more than likely they are not going to change. It will have to be me. I will have to go to the uncomfortable place of changing habits and yet I then will be free. Discomfort eventually leads to moving on and freedom. This is a new habit of mine and I'm keeping it.

I learned this lesson up close and personal the last few days. And the really neat aspect of the situation is that it was without much drama because the skill is now in my repertoire, it is coming faster. I recognized the truth and pinpointed exactly why I didn't believe when I already knew in the first place. As in why did I keep engaging with this particular person when I knew what our history was? I didn't want to go out of my comfort zone. And then the anger comes in. And the kicker is, I'm not really angry at the other person although it feels that way in the beginning. I'm angry because I knew better and didn't listen to my instincts. And you know what, it is okay not to be perfect either. I am not beating myself up because I needed to learn that lesson. It's just time to move on, and there is some discomfort. And I'm sure I will learn it again about someone else or something else. Maybe the process will go faster, maybe not.

And this is all related to listening to my gut. I am taught the lesson again again to listen to my instincts. It is so crucial. I read or hear interviews when other people say these same ideas and I completely understand the point and it resonates with me. There is a reason it is resonating, it speaks to my soul. And it seems that more and more my journey is about being well with my soul and the above mentioned freedom. And when I am well with my soul, everything else flows better. And the soul is about love. And that is where God comes in, because in my book, he is all about love.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Bah Humbug

Can I be the first to say, Bah Humbug. I am just not in the mood for Christmas, AT ALL. In fear of being judged by the Christian Right (he he he), if Christmas were just about Jesus it might be different but it's not and the moms out there know what I'm talking about. Businesses have had decorations up since Halloween, People are putting them up and putting pictures of their Christmas trees up on FB and it makes me want to throw up. Mad because I liked to get mine up and sad, because I just am really not into it right now. But I have young kids so it will happen and it will drag me into the spirit. I have felt so stressed out the last couple of days. The tension has been really high. I am trying to give myself a break because a member of the family is dying and maybe that is why I'm really stressed and wanting to avoid Christmas. I can do such a wonderful job of beating myself up as well. But I have not been through THIS level of stress before. It is physically, mentally and emotionally draining. There is just nothing left. I am short with my kids and my husband. I hold it together for my mother in law. My husband of course, is completely stressed as well.

For Christmas, the good thing is that I HAVE to simplify. There is no way around it. This has been a goal of mine for the last couple of Christmases and this year it IS a reality. I think I said the same exact sentiment last year, and this year, well it is happening. My neighbor has already suggested not exchanging adult gifts and just giving kid gifts and I wanted to kiss her. Mmmmwwaahhh. Now, who else can I suggest this to? I want to have my kids covered and the rest is just going by the wayside.

I'm still in the middle of a house remodel and that is actually fun when you compare it to life and death, even with having to replace the chosen tile at the last moment or having the wrong set of French doors come in. When living in the middle of an addition to your house is the positive in your life right now you know it's not good. I feel like I'm teetering on the edge some moments. And I think what I need to do is give myself a break. Let myself cry. Reach out to someone or some group who knows what this is all about. Ask for help. Try to have small moments of time to myself. Lastly, I have been turning up Garth loudly and getting my twang on -as he was on Oprah recently. I pulled out the Greatest Hits CD which hadn't seen the light of day in years. I saw him in concert in Buffalo and he was great. I have so been enjoying - "Calling Baton Rouge", "The Dance", "Rodeo" "Friends in Low Places" and on and on. This is one of my favorites though...