Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Making Cookies

I've never been much of a baker. I didn't see creating sweets from scratch as fun or relaxing but as stressful, with the time consumed worth more than the cost to purchase goodies from a bakery. But ever since I discovered that my two-year-old daughter can help, I've changed my opinion.

These days I'm scouring Pinterest looking for a good cookie recipe (not too many ingredients, not too many steps). It's still so much freakin' work, but it's just too fun to see her chubby hands stirring the batter and watch her lick her lips as she waits for the cookies to cool on the counter. She's a terrible helper—she flings batter around the kitchen, she spills sugar, she licks her fingers and puts them in bowl (seriously, I'd never let you eat cookies she made). But she's wonderful company.

My parenting style is pretty disciplined, but not very structured. I don't organize arts and crafts, play dates, or lesson plans. I usually just bring my girl along for day-to-day life and try to make it interesting as I go. You like sorting things? Great! Find all the white socks and put them in this laundry basket. Want to count? Count these cans as you put them on the shelf. And of course, there's always the super-educational game Let's Pretend We're Napping. It's an extremely traditional method of education, but not one that will get a kid to Harvard.

Let's face it, I have no idea what I'm doing. I wasn't an education major. . . heck, I've yet to actually finish a parenting book. So yeah, I do a lot of winging it. But I think what I do have going for me is an appreciation for my daughters' presence. I like being with them. I've never been the parent watching the clock, waiting 'till bed time. I prefer to go shopping with Lydia in the cart. Days at home are more fun when there's a giggly girl getting in my way.

I should put more forethought into our activities. I want them to be well-educated. I want to guide them as they learn. But in the meantime, I think that they learn a lot just being with mommy and having fun. And I know I'm learning a lot by letting them.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Peace and Worry

Lately I've been listening to a Tim Keller sermon titled "Peace" on repeat. Like, I've literally listened to the same sermon four times already and it's still on my phone. On top of that, my pastor, Bobby Pruitt, is now teaching a series on worry.

It is a rare occasion that God so very accurately hits me with a series of messages that seem specifically written for me and my current situation. I told my husband, Peter, that it's as though our pastor sat down and said, "Peter and Sarah are having a rough time, how can I help them out" instead of planning out his sermons a year in advance as I'm sure he does.

You see, Peter lost his job a week before Christmas. Only a couple of months after receiving a perfect performance review—only a month after the birth of our second child—he lost the job he'd loved and excelled at as long as I've known him. My security has been shaken. I feel as if our lives are irreparably broken. As strong as my confidence in Peter's talents is, my fear of the current job market is stronger.

Nevertheless, I know that my faith shouldn't be in either the job market or Peter's resume. My confidence should be in my God. I know this in the back of my mind; I just need to remember it more often. And so I've been listening to the same words over and over again from Bobby Pruitt and Tim Keller, hoping that the truth playing in my earbuds will be louder than my doubts.

I dont know whether this period of uncertainty will be long or short, hard or easy. I certainly dont know how it will all turn out except that I know it will ultimately be okay, because even in the worst case scenario, I know God will be with us. If we never have money again, God will provide for our real needs and our little girls will have the opportunity to grow up free from the distractions and temptations of wealth. On the other hand, if God blesses Peter with his dream job and we find riches beyond our wildest imaginations, I know that they will have come from Him and be for His service.

God has already blessed us generously and unexpectedly. For example, I found $800 in a bank account that I'd forgotten was still open or when my breast pump broke, Lansinoh replaced it for free. These material provisions are huge, but when I wake up in the early hours of the morning and the world seems dark and scary, I need to remember that God's given me the privilege of His presence and that's the only gift that will ever give me peace.


Saturday, January 12, 2013

Nursing

I'm looking down at my new daughter, who is sleeping at my breast. She looks so happy. Actually, she looks a little drunk. But she is clearly enjoying herself…more than I am probably.

I love nursing, but I remember now why I was so happy to give it up last time. Before Pru was born, all I remembered was how sad I was in the days right after I stopped nursing her sister—the feelings of defeat and guilt. Now I recall how annoying it is to turn your body into a buffet. Remember the fire hose flow of milk all over your clothes and furniture? Remember feeling smacked in the chest every time your milk lets down? Remember how frustrating it is to have a fidgety baby fighting with your breasts until they're sore?

Oh yeah.

But much in the same way that I enjoy watching Lydia enjoy herself at Chuck E. Cheese even though the restaurant makes me want to toss myself off a cliff, I enjoy watching Pru bliss out in a milk coma. You're welcome, kid.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Making Memories With My Girl

Yesterday afternoon, I kicked my two-year-old daughter out of the house. It had been sleeting the day before but yesterday it turned sunny and warm. I didn't know how long it would be nice for so after her snack, Peter picked her up and put her outside to play.

Lydia played outside for quite a while, coming back to the door occasionally to check in with me. One of those times I asked her if she was ready to come inside and she answered—in a soft voice that was very un-Lydia—that she wanted me to come out and play soccer with her.

There was so much I'd been hoping to get done once Pruitt, my newborn, had gone to sleep, but how could I say no to that offer? How many times in her life will she want to play with me? Not enough.

Lydia and I kicked and threw the ball until it was time to start dinner. Then she pleaded with me to keep playing. I watched her as she asked me to keep playing and wanted to record every detail of the moment—the way the sunlight illuminated her face, her tiny lips, the jumbled up way she begged me to keep playing. But even as I listened to her words, I knew that by the time I sat down to record them, they'd be gone from my memory.

How do you hold on to these moments? How can you truly capture them?

I don't know if you can. Lydia is going through a camera-shy phase so I can't stalk her like the paparazzo I have been. I guess all I can do is enjoy these moments and let go of them when they're gone. And pray that new moments will come to fill my heart tomorrow.