What a wonderful day! My children are finally better except for those stubborn runny noses and life has returned back to normal...ok, our normal. So, today I thought it would be a great idea to make our own pizza. From scratch. This might not seem like a big endeavor, however, I am not much of a cook and I have three little children who want to "help" at every step and a baby who screams for my attention when I have none to give. But I was determined.
My kids love to cook, especially my son Luke. He is really fascinated about cooking, and unfortunately for me has tried many of his own recipes before my husband or I are awake to tell him no. We have come downstairs countless times to flour, sugar, every one of the spices, chili flakes, cream cheese, marshmallows, even toothpaste combined together in various ways to make cookies or cakes or muffins. My favorite was a few days before my son Will was born and I had been up all night with the stomach flu in the heat of the summer when I woke to Luke in the kitchen mixing garlic infused olive oil with maple syrup and pouring it all over the kitchen and the dining room. I'm sure God knew I needed to have the stomach flu that night so Luke would survive the next morning. The kid even goes to sleep with his last words being, "Mommy, what are the ingredients in chocolate chip cookies?"
So, with his fascination about cooking and to curb his determination to do this by himself I have really made a concentrated effort to cook with him and Emma as much as possible. The kids and I have made everything from peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to fruit salad, spaghetti to semi-homemade calzones. It is a great math activity with measuring and counting, a good hand-eye coordination activity with pouring and stirring and it's a great lesson in following the rules with going by recipe. Now, that we are feeling all warm and fuzzy...
WHAT AM I THINKING??? I get myself in these situations, homemade from scratch foods. Really? I've never made dough with yeast in my life and I have my first experience with my four kids screaming and talking incredibly loud with excitement as I am stressed out because I just know I am going to ruin dinner. I always get snippy - excuse the generalization, but it's true, ALWAYS. And by the end of the prep I am exhausted and ready to put them to bed, never mind that it is only four thirty.
However, my kids are so gracious and love cooking and me so much that they just disregard my snippyness and continue about their excitement like I am saying nothing of significance, which in reality, I'm not. But my kids love it. And dinner was fabulous. The crust turned out pretty darn good for my first time and the sauce was wonderful, and my kids loved the fact that they made it all by themselves (I will continue to let them think that.) All in all we actually all really enjoyed ourselves today. We had fun.
And enters Joy. I am learning as I'm focusing on the Fruit of the Spirit in my parenting that one fruit begets another. When I am patient I am more self-controlled. When I am more gentle I am more kind. When I am more joyful, even if it takes immense amounts of effort to get there, I am more peaceful. Today, our home was filled with joy. Joy because I kissed Dave goodbye instead of just giving him a head nod as he walked out the door and I changed a diaper. Joy because I responded to my daughter Emma's requests for physical affection. Her love language is for sure touch and with four kids I often don't get to do that, but today we got to cuddle. Joy because I fulfilled Luke's need to cook and be completely tactile in learning. Joy because Lily and I danced just because. Joy because Will's smile has returned after being absent due to his sickness. Joy was present today...and all because of a pizza. Let me explain.
We had a purpose today. We had a goal today. And our goal today was a goal that included the whole family. We all worked together to create something - and Dave knew he was going to have food tonight when he got home from work. Maybe, just maybe, if we put a purpose on every day instead of just letting the days slip by, our days would be filled with more joy.
But honestly, goals wear me out. Goals are messy, goals are a lot of work, and goals often don't turn out as beautifully as they are intended to be when goals include four little kids. But when we accomplish something together as a family, like making a homemade pizza, we met a goal - we succeeded. And my kids and me, have a great memory now - that's pure joy.