Christmas 2009: From the eyes of a mom

In a mere 7 minutes, Christmas 2009 will be in the history books.

Since becoming a mom Christmas has changed. It isn't the Christmas that I remember as a kid. It isn't about me anymore. Christmas is all about my kids. And I will confess that fact makes Christmas a little anti-climatic. I am betting very few mothers would be willing to admit that, since as a mom this is how it is supposed to be. We are supposed to love making our children happy and all the work that goes along with it. So why don't I love it?

Don't get me wrong, I definitely got more joy out of seeing the smiles on my children's faces then in opening the gifts for myself, but it isn't the same kind of excitement and anticipation that I remember. Magically awaking to stuffed stockings and presents under the tree. That magic is gone.

As a kid, Christmas energized me. Maybe I was just hyped up on sugar and massive pile of gifts under the tree, but whatever the reason that isn't true anymore. Now I just feel wiped out in the aftermath of Christmas. As I sit here, I realize that I wasn't able to take it all in. I was too busy being distracted by the minutia and nerve grating prep work that goes along with pulling off a successful Christmas instead of living in the moment with the unadulterated joy and excitement of my childhood.

I also have that never ending mommy-guilt. Christmas has come to a close and I still have a laundry list of things I wished I had done differently. Maybe that is where the problem lies. My perspective has changed. Instead of seeing everything that did happen, I find myself focusing on what didn't.

I wish I had taken more pictures.
I wish I had gotten that other gift.
I wish I made gingerbread houses.
I wish that I could have put up more decorations.
I wish we had gone to see Santa...
.... blah, blah, blah.
Really what I am saying is: I wish I could have been that perfect mom.

And that is the fatal flaw. To my kids, I already am the perfect mom! I need to tell myself that to my children the magic is still there, and I am responsible for it. My love for them is all that matters, and once again I need to cut myself a break. They don't care we didn't make gingerbread houses, or visit Santa or get that other gift, they were thrilled and excited with Christmas the way it was. And in reality, even my childhood Christmases weren't perfect, but thanks to my mom I didn't realize it, I only remember the joy.

So next year I vow to see Christmas through their eyes, oblivious to anything other than the pure thrill of the season. I won't sweat the small stuff, and one thing will remain the same from my childhood: My kids will be surrounded by people who love and care about them and who want them to be happy. That will be the new definition of Christmas joy.

Christmas Eve.. Why am I blogging?

The presents are under the tree, the stockings are filled and the rest of the house is quiet. So why am I not in bed? Because it is only 10:30.. when you calculate that in mommy hours it is practically mid-day! My typical after-hours internet haunts are quiet and so I have a few moments to reflect on the holidays of 2009.

So what am I taking away from it this year? A few things come to mind.

1) I love holiday food.
The more sugar and butter-laden the better. Cookies and cakes and pies, oh my! I am looking forward to our family holiday traditional dinner tomorrow. Porkchops and dumplings. But not your typical "chicken and dumplings" dumplings. NO! The always fabulous, and accurately nicknamed GLUE-BALLS. Yep, glueballs. Yum. Now since I know that description leaves you hungry let me share the recipe

Peel and quarter a bunch o' potatoes.
Put in blender with enough water to make a pasty pinkish-gray slurry.
Add slurry to flour to form sticky paste like dough.
Drop in boiling water until they are rubbery and firm yet slimy.Enjoy!

Yes, they are strangely nasty, but boy do I love them. Maybe it is the familiarity of eating them every year, on the plate next to dried out pork chops that could pass for shoe leather and sauerkraut that tastes like the inside of an aluminum can, but I just look forward to it every year! I can't help myself.

2) My kids don't need more stuff.

I seriously cut waaaay back this year, we are saving up to buy a new car and so I was even more scrooge-like with my budget this year. I didn't even really shop. I cleaned out the closets of old toys I had squirreled away on sale and bought one big item (a doll house) but that is about it. So, why am I overlooking a sea of gifts? Of course the family goes wild since these are the only grandchildren on both sides, and kids toys are cheap. You can fill a shopping cart for 100$, plus the are so bulky: all those cheap plastic whatchamacallits, it just looks like a lot. Honestly, I am dreading the day my kid's wish lists are composed of iPods and Coach purses, since I can't distract them with my filler items that take up a lot of space for little moola!

3) Christmas card letters are a fine balancing act.
As I read through the various letters that have come to the house, I can definitively say there are four schools of christmas card letters

A. Non-existent. This is composed of the easy "just sign the card and move on it with" type as well as the even less personal "preprinted our name on the photo so we don't have to write anything" genre. Eh, I understand it. I would rather get this than nothing, but a few words about what is going on wouldn't kill you.

B. The short-n-sweet. This is my favorite letter type. Stick to the facts, no elaborating, just births, deaths, family moves, and major life changes. What I actually want to know. I always hope to be a short-n-sweet writer. But it is a fine balancing act. Now that I have kids I have to make a conscious effort to not fall into any category C:

C. The family self-promoter. These letters are filled with how wonderful the members of the family are. Usually it is about their children or grandchildren but some people even talk about their wonderful spouses as if they were destined for sainthood. The worst part of these letters is that now that I am a parent I no longer believe the stories I hear about other people's kids. No your child is not spelling 11-letter words in Swahili while playing the violin at Space Camp. I.don't.believe.you. Give it up. When you child is nominated for a Nobel, Pulitzer, Grammy, Peabody.. THEN you can tell me about his advanced skills. I understand that kids do have hobbies, but I don't need a laundry list straight out of your day-timer. Pick a few things and move on.

D. The shoot-me-in-the-head-since-I-can't-read-one-more-sentence run on monstrosities. You know them. They put every little detail of every single event that ever happened to them. This includes but is not limited to detailed descriptions of medical procedures ("Uncle Jerry finally had that ingrown toenail removed, and thank goodness since it was black and pus filled for the last few months. Merry Christmas!") or detailed emotional descriptions of pets/children/inanimate objects, ("Our favorite toaster took it's last breath this fall. It had served us well, warming our toast for the past few years, it will be sorely missed") or overly vivid descriptions of meaningless occurrences ("On our way up to grandma's we stopped at a rest area. They had really nice recycling bins.")
You can immediately spot a run on letter.. usually the font is teenie tiny and the letter is two sided or *gasp* more than one page! And sometimes they must squeeze in a dozen photos as well. Just in case you wondered what Uncle Jerry's ingrown toenail, their favorite toaster or that nice recycling bin may look like.

So, as I sit here, that is my reflection on Christmas 2009, at least so far. I am sure once the torn wrapping paper clears I will have more to say, but until then MERRY CHRISTMAS! Where are those cookies?

Welcome to The Kim Six Fix: How it began

This blog is where I have been sharing my adventures in home improvement.

When I began blogging back on Christmas Eve of 2009 we were already planning on moving out of the home we loved in North Carolina and into THE MONEY PIT:  A 2300 sq. foot condo.  It was the top 2 stories of a 3 story 1905 Victorian house in Boston.

At that time we really didn't know that it had lots and lots of problems.  "LOTS" is an understatement.  It was one of the biggest mistakes we ever made.

This blog was originally going to be my record of that move and the subsequent remodeling of that horrific house.   At that time I was also adjusting to giving up my job and being a full time stay at home mom.  Life was in transition.

Little did I know that less than a year later we would be selling the Money Pit 1.0, moving to a suburb of San Francisco and buying another house.

Not exactly another true Money Pit, but a 1988 condo in need of a little de-brassifying and oak removal.  I am doing it myself using a technique I am calling "The Kim Six Fix" since I am doing it my way and usually on a shoestring budget.

So this blog has evolved.   I am continuing to write about life in the Money Pit 2.0, my new found addiction to Pinterest and the trials and tribulations of motherhood.

I am sure it will continue to evolve as I grow as a blogger, a mother and a DIY'r.

Welcome to my Money Pit which is currently undergoing the Kim Six fix .  Feel free to make yourself at home and do the dishes!