Thursday, February 12, 2009

Baking with Baby Brain

I decided a little while ago to make a more conscious effort to celebrate holidays with the girls. I wanted them to be a part of the process, not just the celebrations. Valentines is first up in the year and so it has made a great guinea pig. We were planning to make cookies and cards to send to Grandma and Grandpa, and a few friends around town. One day I made all the girls have a nap, (which was good for all of us) and I laid out all the ingredients just like we do at Cooking Class at Superstore. I had everything measured and we were ready to go. The recipe we were using called for coffee.
You will notice as you scroll down the pictures that the girls are wearing different clothes. It took two days to make our cookies. I don't drink coffee, ever. So I had measured out the coffee as per the recipe directions, ground coffee beans that is.
Once we actually started the recipe I understood instantly that the coffee was supposed to be made, as in liquid, as in needed to hold the cookie dough together. Never mind thought I, I'm sure 4 tbsp of coffee can't make that big of a difference. We continued to mix together the ingredients. But alas our dough would not stick together.
Remember, I don't drink coffee. I don't even make coffee. I don't even clean the coffee maker, if Nick wants coffee its on his shoulders.
So the girls had to wait an extra day for me to figure out how to make coffee and whip up a batch of dough with all the proper ingredients in it. Then we set about cutting them out and adding cinnamon hearts.

I also had the nerve to ask them to pose for one more picture before I let them eat any. Isabella barely made it through the shot!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Righteous Appearances

If you lived in Jesus' day you would have been subject to the authority, and judgement, of the religious leaders of the day. They watched what you were doing, what you were wearing, what you weren't doing. They would look at your actions in order to determine your righteousness. Jesus came onto the scene and added to their system. True, people will know you are pursuing righteousness by the actions that they see, BUT you can't always tell a person's heart by what they are doing.

When I first became a stay at home mom I thought I knew exactly the expectations I was to get in line with; keep the house clean, put good meals on the table, meet your husband's needs and have the children magazine cover ready at all times. I quickly came to understand what those expectations were getting me into in terms of work. How quickly I grew weary of cleaning, cooking and keeping up appearances. It amazes me how short the time span was in which I stopped caring if my house and my family met people's standards.

This past week I began going to the gym, and I'll confess I'm a bit of a people watcher. There are two women at the gym that I am particularly drawn to. Both of them could be described by total strangers as "out of shape". They walk on the treadmills and they walk hard. The kind of walking that makes you sweat, makes it hard to breathe. While I notice them I wonder what got them to the gym. Several easy answers pop into my head and all of them have to do with meeting people's expectations of how they should look.

I remember watching some episodes of Oprah where a few families who appeared to "have it all" came clean about how little they actually have and how unhappy they truly are.

Appearances can be deceiving.

That girl with a body-to-die for who is actually dying for it.

That homeless man, begging on the corner every day, who is actually worth millions.

That mom at every event, always volunteering, constantly surrounded by people, who is the loneliest person on the planet.

Appearances can be deceiving.

I lost track of the families on Oprah, but I believe they journeyed internally to figure out why the sought after so much stuff. They had to get to the heart of the issue and purge away the excess to find true happiness.

I'm convinced those two ladies will still be at the gym walking just as hard six months from now. I'm convinced because of the determination on their faces and how hard they are working. They have to be operating from a deeper motivation than looking like Ms. Hollywood.

I've come to accept and embrace that the expectations I tried to live up to when I first became a SAHM will lead to nothing but fatigue and unhappiness. Now my expectations have to do with eternity, and that is much more fulfilling than temporarily appearing right.

I don't think people will ever stop being like the religious leaders in Jesus' day. There will always be a set of criteria by which people judge each other. But, for those of us who want to live a pure life of true righteousness there is only one set of expectations that matter.

And while we may be able to keep up appearances in front of man, God sees right through them. Appearances can be deceiving but the heart shines a light on the true motives for why we do what we do.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

"Look at ME!"

Kathryn is really coming into her personality lately. She has begun to develop a sense of humour, she has preferences and she wants to be just like her big sisters. This past week she has started saying "Hi!" into a cell phone, climbing up onto chairs and tables, making little jokes and trying to manipulate us with her tears.

I've really been noticing with her that even though she is going through the same stages her sisters went through she is definitely unique. When she is thinking you can see it on her face and so you know when she's doing something on purpose. It leaves me awestruck when I watch the concentration on her face as she has to put her cup right beside her plate at supper time or how she makes a plan to attack one her sisters, but never gets there because she starts laughing too hard.

I would describe Katy's character as bright; both in intellect and disposition. She lights up our days and illuminates the best part of every person she comes in contact with. I can only imagine the great things she'll do in her corner of the world.

Monday, February 02, 2009

This past week was one of those weeks when I would have loved to ship the kids off to Grandma and Grandpa's for a few days. The demands of caring for three small children, all of my domestic responsibilities, being a good wife and striving daily to grow closer to Christ and closer to who He created me to be is more than a full time job! But it's a full time job without weekends, without sick days, without stat holidays or vacation time.

At least for me it is.

And although I don't have those times off from being a mom I still need them. I still need time to put myself first, to take a break from my full time job. I don't have a good answer about how to do that well. I take my moments to watch my favourite tv shows, have a bubble bath, "escape" to the grocery shopping, plan time to spend with friends. But there is something about those extended times away that I still need.

So, imperfect as it is, there are days when all we do is watch tv and eat next to nothing. Days when Nick spends the day at work and then comes home and does my job too. Days I yell more than I should and days I would like a do-over for.

The chores never magically disappear, the kids don't teleport to the grandparents so I can get some rest. But God is faithful. Somehow a moment, a literal 60 second blip, breaks into the fog of my fatique and I have found the rest I so greatly needed. How great is it that I serve a God who is not interested in me merely surviving, but also thriving! He provides the rest I need and then some as it takes extra energy to get the chores caught up, extra paitence to restore discipline and routine, extra humility to accept my faults and seek forgiveness.

Yesterday at Church I was reminded that we are not called to success, but to submission. We are not called to perfection, but called to show Christ at work in our failings and Christ revealed in our success. That is a great encouragement for a soul weathered by mom guilt, a soul that sometimes gets stretched too thin, a soul that could use a week curled up next to a fire. He is faithful to provide all of our needs, the ones we take to Him and the ones He already knows.

May that encourage you this week, especially on your most tired day.