Friday, December 16, 2011

I Burnt the Pancakes......AGAIN!

I burned the pancakes again. But this is about so much more than burnt pancakes. I think I could possibly be one of the worst cooks ever,  but it's about more than that too.

Seriously, I am a bad cook. If I thought that becoming a stay at home mom would enhance my cooking skills. Boy was I wrong. I actually think the situation is worse now because I attempt to cook more meals during the week so that we don't eat out or to just make life easier on the husband. Practice makes perfect, right? Not for me,  I think the more I cook.... the worst it gets.

For the last 3 days, my husband has joked that I should make him pancakes since he recently had surgery. So this morning I thought I would give him something other than the regular bowl of Cheerios, which he's been getting because the first day he was home I made crappy eggs.  I followed the instructions and made enough for what was supposed to be 10-12 pancakes. Whatever!  The box must have been talking about "mini" pancakes because the first batch made about four, two of which were of course burned. Okay fine, obviously I needed to make more and  so I doubled the recipe. I gave the black ones to the 2 year old, he'll literally eat anything, and was ready to try again.

Second batch, not so much better. For some reason it looked runny but I kept on throwing the mix onto the pan. What a mess! Really, a mess. Pancake mix was all over the counter and each pancake seemed to be burning more than the next one. And if they weren't burning they were so flat and runny that I couldn't really flip them over. The husband who could see the steam coming from my ears, nicely suggested that I turn the heat down. Obviously, I wasn't smart enough to think of that, because like I said before I am not a good cook. I gave him, or shall I say,  I threw two of the unburnt pancakes onto a paper plate and not so politely asked if he would like butter or syrup because he was going to need it since they were probably going to taste like crap. Yep, nice loving wife that I am who was making pancakes, not even a full breakfast - just pancakes, for her husband was basically by now just throwing his food at him and telling him it wasn't going to taste any good anyways. He just sat down and said he would eat them plain. I don't think he wanted to ask me for anything else, hmmm.....wonder why?

Meanwhile, even though these might be the worst pancakes ever I was determined to use the mix I had already mixed up because I hate to be wasteful. I figured I could freeze the pancakes for the kids because they would eat them and if they were frozen they might not even be able to notice that they were previously burnt. So I starting bagging up  the rest of the pancakes after the husband declined more, he only ate two.  I started chucking my bagged pancakes into the freezer and throwing my dishes in the sink. I looked around and there was a huge mess. Now I had spent all of this time cooking pancakes no one would probably eat and I had to spend twice as much time cleaning up the mess. Seriously! I should have just went to McDonalds to buy him pancakes.

Anyways like I said before, it's about so much more than stupid burnt pancakes. The night before I had completely jacked up sugar cookies. No, I didn't try and make them from scratch. I actually bought the premade mix and was just trying to make ones in the shapes of xmas trees and stars. I wanted to have those cute sugar cookies that I see everyone else making. You know the kind that look all pretty and the neighbors pass out as gifts. I couldn't figure out how to get the dough into these cute little shapes without it all sticking together. So forget it, the kids had round sugar cookies that for some reason didn't cook all the way through and looked almost like small frisbees.

I could go on and on about all the baked goods and dinners I've ruined. There's chicken that's been so dried out we couldn't eat it or food that was salty we had to throw it out. There's been more than a few times we ate out even though I had "cooked" dinner.  But even though I'm a bad cook, I think my anger and frustration is really coming from me feeling like I'm not good at something. And I think what makes it even more frustrating is that I'm not good at something  that I feel like I'm supposed to be good at. Ever feel like everyone else can do something better than you? That's how it is for me with anything having to do with the kitchen. It doesn't help that anyone whose ever in the kitchen with me tries to "help" me by giving me advice. This I hate because I guess I'd like everyone to at least think I know what I'm doing. So it's not about the cooking but more about my unrealistic goal of wanting to do everything that I do well.

So I suck at cooking. I will probably never be good at it or enjoy being in the kitchen. There are a million other people who can do it better, actually I don't know anyone who does it as badly as I do. But it doesn't matter because in life there will be things that we won't be good at. I guess it' just as important to realize what we're not good at in life so that we can focus and spend time on the things that we do well. Figuring that out.....well that could be many more blog entries.....

By the way, did I tell you what the 9 yr olds teacher wants me to do for their Christmas party next week?
Make pancakes.

Friday, December 9, 2011

GrAtiTuDe AtTiTuDe: Part 2_ Lesson Learned

My family had approached the Gratitude Bucket with a little bit of an attitude. However, as the first two weeks passed they really did begin to embrace the idea. It became a fun activity to do at the end of dinner. When other people would come over, they too would add things to the gratitude jar. But like I mentioned before, it is quite simple to be grateful and have a thankful attitude when things are going your way. November was a month in which many things did not go my way.

A few days before our 2 year olds birthday, he had an accident and split the bottom of his chin open. This happens to be the same child who has had a dislocated elbow and a broken arm, all within the last year. It also happened to be the only child who had no insurance.  Therefore, the visit cost $300. After spending 5 hours at the urgent care on my husband's only day off and more money than we wanted, that night we all still found something to be thankful for at dinner. I remember being thankful that the 9 year old was giving the 2 year old his bath because I was completely exhausted.

As the month dragged on, it seemed as if I was tired and well just plain old grouchy.  And so I was feeling like I had to stretch to find things I was thankful for. However, the kids and my husband seemed each day to complete the task easily. They were thankful for things related to Thanksgiving, relatives, god's word, the dr. who stitched up our little guy, and the list went on. 

 Then we had another incident at our home.  The very next day after having his stitches removed, the 2 year old broke his clavicle bone by jumping out of his bed. Now, I know all mothers have mom guilt and when our children are hurt we automatically think of how we could have prevented the situation. So when you have a child that has dislocated an elbow, broken an arm, had stitches, and broken his clavicle bone all within one year you start to feel like a pretty crummy mommy. I was consumed with all of the things I was doing wrong as a mother (which could be a whole different blog post) and how my children may be better off if I went back to work. You could say the guilt was interferring with my "thankful" attitude.  

On top of the horrible feelings of  guilt that were eating me up, there was also the fact that this child still had no insurance. The visit cost us another $200 and we were leaving for vacation the next day. I don't remember if I wrote down anything to be thankful for that night. I was frustrated and felt like we couldn't quite catch a break.  Other events happened in the month that just made it feel like it was one of those bumpy months in life.  But it didn't seem to phase the rest of my family. My husband became upset a few times when it seemed like something else was going wrong. But he let it roll off better than I did. He didn't seem to let it carry over.

When I reflected back on the month of November and our Gratitude bucket, I realized that the rest of my family knew what it was to be truly grateful. They were thankful whatever the situation and they were not just saying what they were thankful for or trying to think of something different to be appreciative of each day, they were truly thankful in their hearts. 

At the end of the month, we read our thankful notes from our Gratitude bucket. It was fun to see what had been written down. But you know who had the most notes in the bucket? There was a person who seemed to have not have missed a day. The 9 year old, the one who was originally the least excited turned out to have the most grateful heart. He had put down so many wonderful things like his brothers, his parents, his cousins, the dog we dogsit, god, and his grandpa. His writing was on more papers than anyone elses because not only did he himself have the most notes but he wrote down things for his little brother as well.
Many people say children are ungrateful but maybe they are just not being asked to express their gratitude. Maybe children truly have a thankful heart but they learn to be ungrateful by watching the adults surrounding them. All I know is I pride myself on being an appreciative person and believe that I am thankful for all of the blessings in my life. However, instead of teaching my children how to be appreciative for what they have, I in turn learned how to be thankful....... no matter what the circumstances.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Always be joyful.  Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

GrAtiTuDe AtTiTuDe: Part 1

I thought I was so clever when I decided to have my family participate in a month of gratitude. Of course, I was going to teach them what it really means to be grateful, to appreciate all that we have, and why our family is better off than most. Oh I had big lessons for them all......

After deciding to participate in writing a gratitude post starting Nov.1 until Thanksgiving, I decided to have my family join along with me. I took a large Lincoln log container wrapped it in some Fall looking scrapbook paper with the words GRATITUDE, grabbed some small sheets of paper for writing on, put it in the center of the dinner table, and prepared to tell my family my ingenious idea.

The first person to notice the container and ask what it was for was the nine year old. I was quite excited to share my idea with him because of course I just thought it was brilliant. I explained that each night after dinner we would all put something in the container that we were thankful for and then at the end of the month we would read them all aloud. His response was ...... a little less than enthusiastic. His exact words were, "Oh great mom". This was not a happy, “Oh great mom!” it was more of a grumble as he put the container back on the middle of the table. Alright so the 9 year old wasn't oh so excited, he was 9. What more could I expect from a 9 year old?  Kids are pretty self absorbed, right? My husband would surely jump on board and appreciate the values I was trying to instill in our children.

A few hours later, my husband came home and within a few minutes asked about the container on the table. He assumed the container said ATTITUDE and immediately thought it had to do with discipline. Then the 9 year old goes on to inform him of my "idea" in his less than excited tone.  Okay, so no one is really thrilled about my idea and now I'm not so excited either. In fact, now I'm just annoyed because no one seems to think I'm as clever as I thought I was. But I was determined and so after dinner that night, I wrote on my strip and told everyone that I was thankful for my children. Even though they weren't thrilled, all of the boys followed along. They said what they were thankful for, wrote it on their strip, and put it in the box.

So this is how it went each night for the first week and a half.  We would sit at dinner and write what we were thankful for. Sometimes we shared our gratitude out loud and other times we just wrote it down and put it in the box. Each night it seemed to get easier for us to find things we were thankful for and the kids seemed excited to share their writing. 

I was feeling quite proud of myself for implementing this activity with my family. They were on the same page and now it seemed as if they looked forward to sharing their thankfulness. Even my husband was writing things like he was thankful for his wife's hard work, for his children, and for his job that provided for us.  The kids were thankful for their family, god's word, their home, and the list went on.

But you know there is this funny thing about gratitude. It is easy to be thankful when things are going well, life is smooth sailing, and there are many things to put a smile on our face.  And November just didn't turn out to be one of those easy months for our family. And so the "attitude" related to the gratitude began to reappear. But this time it wasn't coming from the expected sources......