For the moment, at least, I’m not obsessing over grades and schools and boyfriends and girlfriends and classes.
No, I’m obsessing over pajamas.
As many families do, my kids get new Christmas pajamas every year. This year I found adorable snowman pajamas at Carter’s. I bought some for Nora, some for Jude, and … oh wait. Huh. The store didn’t have Seth’s size.
“No matter!” I thought. “I am Super Mom! This is October! I have plenty of time!”
I can’t find those blasted pajamas anywhere.
I resisted ordering them online because I didn’t want to pay as much in shipping as I would for the pajamas. Now they’re completely gone.
I diligently checked our store, but they never had the 5T size in stock when I went in.
I’ve checked online storefronts for every other retailer I can think of that sells these pajamas. I’ve checked retailers I’ve never even heard of before. I’ve even trawled through eBay, and still didn’t turn up these pajamas for Seth.
Obsessed, I tell you.
Now I’m worried about my sensitive, brilliant little man noticing that he has pajamas that don’t match (if I can even find any!) and having his feelings hurt.
I worry about just how closely they match.
I consider buying pajamas one size too small just to get him matchings PJs with his baby brother. (That was the whole freaking point, to match up with his baby brother and feel connected! ARGH.)
At least this year it’s not about whether the baby will be born before or after Christmas and whether I need “Baby’s First Christmas” stuff for a newborn. Ha ha, Jude showed me and was born on Christmas morning last year. Problem solved: two first Christmases,the birthday and the celebration day.
Seth, my five-year-old, has always been my analytical observer. Even as a tiny little baby, he would recline in his bouncy seat and watch the world around him, slight pucker between his eyebrows.
It hasn’t surprised me at all that he is growing into a boy who loves to make experiments, take things apart, put things together, and meddle with anything that crosses his field of vision.
I’m trying to rein in some of my motherly, out-of-touch grown-up impulses about messes and “shouldn’ts” with “Why Nots?” I practiced this again when he came in one Sunday morning, looking for some ice cubes, because he wanted to do an experiment in front of the (well-screened) gas fireplace. My first impulse was “We’re about to leave for church” and my second was “Oh boy, what a mess.”
Then I took a breath, said “Why not?” and offered a pot. When he wanted my phone to take a movie, I took another breath and said, “Why not?”
And then I got all “Mom’s messing with the science project” on his videos and put them on YouTube and put (too loud) music behind his narrative because MY 5 YEAR OLD IS AWESOME, INTERNET!
If you’ve known me for any length of time, you probably know that I sometimes struggle with working outside of the home.
My big dream was to be a stay-at-home mom.
I wanted to be a doctor, but didn’t really strive for pre-med studies and med school because I didn’t want to prioritize school/residency over family timing. I wanted a family early, I wanted several kids, and I wanted to stay home with them. I admired the women I knew who did the pre-med and doctor path. I was probably a little relieved to not pursue it because I’m kind of lazy and the idea of cadaver-cutting squicked me out.
Ha, ha – the joke was on me. Will and I didn’t get married until a month after my 29th birthday. Seth was born two months before my 31st birthday. I would have had PLENTY of time to get through med school before my first baby’s arrival. God had other plans and timing.
Those plans – obviously – did NOT include being a stay-at-home mom. For whatever reason, I’m the primary income for our family. Will was home most of the time with Seth and then Nora while he did his home inspection training and then started his business. My mom has been Jude’s primary daytime caregiver.
So occasionally I wallow around — you know, as you do — in the what might have beens. What would it have been like to be a doctor? What if I’d pursued a career I actually wanted? What if I could have been a stay-at-home mom?
That’s not really very healthy, you know?
And sometimes I think, “I’d give ANYTHING to be at home with the kids … ” and start to wallow some more.
(Hint: not healthy either.)
I’m trying to get out of some mental bad habits, and this is one of them. Because I WOULDN’T give anything.
I wouldn’t give up the dreams my husband has been able to pursue.
I wouldn’t give up having my mother live down here with us.
I wouldn’t give up the support we’re able to give to missionaries and other people around the world.
I wouldn’t give up the career that has been so obviously God-given, since I have tried over and over to leave it and yet it still remains constant.
I wouldn’t give up the world I’ve found with this career – a world of incredible teammates, working for an amazing organization, and parts of myself that I didn’t know existed.
I wouldn’t give up the friends I’ve gained through this job.
I wouldn’t give up the advice and counsel I can give to my husband (and others) as they go after their dreams, because of what I’ve learned in this serendipitous career.
I wouldn’t give up the time my babies have had with their daddy, learning French and being immersed in daddy love and learning to be fearless (something they wouldn’t have learned with me).
There are lots of things that are great about this. And I get to relish the time at home when I get it.
There are two verses that have meant a lot to me while I’ve struggled with this idea of contentment. If you’re not interested, it won’t hurt my feelings if you stop reading here. If you are, I hope they come to mind some day when they can help you, too:
“Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the LORD.”
Psalm 27:14 (NAS)
“God has made everything fit beautifully in its appropriate time, but he has also placed ignorance in the human heart so that people cannot discover what God has ordained, from the beginning to the end of their lives.”
Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NET)
I also love the NIV translation of this verse: “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”
Don’t worry … I’m not going to ruin my reputation as Less Than Perfect Homemaker over here. I wouldn’t want to shatter any illusions!
Oh sure, I’m going to share my homemade yogurt recipe. You know, the one that gives you delicious yogurt in the crock pot and you pay $4 for a half gallon of organic milk and get four times the amount of organic yogurt in those little tubes? Or something like that. I’m bored with the math piece of it.
All I know is: my kids like yogurt. I like them to have yogurt. I like them to have yogurt without lots of additives. This is WAY cheaper than buying it.
Beautiful staged shot of the finished product with some delicious homemade pumpkin granola. Mmmm.
I was talking with a friend at church the other day about the beautifully staged blog pictures … after all, any photographer knows the secret is in the cropping. So let’s rotate to the right and left of my pretty yogurt bowl.
Ah yes … spices, towels, recipes, a tea kettle, and generic Nutella shoved to the left. Cooking spray, the morning’s pancakes, tea pot, and other assorted mess to the right.
That yogurt still tastes really good, though.
One more tip for the yogurt: I use the Infantino Squeeze Station to make yogurt pouches for the kids, especially for Jude. (No product sponsoring or linking or endorsing … I just bought the Squeeze Station and use it with variable success.)
The last time I made the yogurt, I thawed and pureed some frozen berries, sprinkled a little bit of stevia in with it, and mixed some of it into the yogurt. These made pretty little yogurt pouches that Jude LOVED. (Turns out Nora likes this yogurt plain and Seth just doesn’t want it.) Pretty little yogurt pouches ready for going to daycare or in the diaper bag for lunch/snack out on the town.
Oh, and I also made a huge mess. (More non-staged photos with the iPhone!)
So if you’d like to do your yogurt in pouches, here are some things I’ve learned:
Gravity can be the easiest way to get it in the pouch. That little plunger creates some mighty suction and will pull the yogurt right back out of the pouch.
Have your next three pouches already laid out before you start removing the newly-filled three. That way you can slide them in and get the leftover draining into the new pouch.
Have the caps out before you take the pouch off the station. That big puddle is from a pouch I laid down so I could grab the caps. Yogurt is runny, and in other news: I’m a genius.
I REALLY like having one of those flexible cutting boards under the Squeeze Station. It makes clean-up a lot easier!
There you have it. The messy, non-foolproof way to make organic yogurt at home and put it in squeezy pouches. Seriously though, this made 15 pouches, 2 bowls, and one extra container that’s anywhere from 2-4 cups of yogurt.