When your daily activities are in concert with your highest priorities, you have a credible claim to inner peace. – Hyrum Smith


Green bean milkshake

Mmmm...sounds yummy, right?  I thought so when I was a kid.  Well, not exactly.  I thought that a green bean milkshake would be preferable to plain old green beans.  Needless to say, I was wrong.

See, I was having a power struggle with my parents over food.  I. hate. green. beans.  Specifically, I hate canned green beans (which is what we always ate).  I should say it's what my family always ate while I sat stubbornly, arms folded across my chest, making the most disgusted expression I could muster each time they were served.  How I loved our beagle, who ate more than his fair share of my regurgitated, coughed from mouth to napkin, slipped under the table beans.  I was not nearly as slick as I imagined, and soon my parents were watching my every move.  It all came to a head one fateful night...the night of the green bean milkshake.  I still shiver when I think about that blender full of green mush...

Our family had recently been on a milkshake kick.  We often had milkshakes for breakfast, some fruit, milk, a little sugar, and voila!  A yummy, easy meal.  Using my preadolescence reasoning skills, I deduced that adding milk and sugar to any food and blending it to the consistency of a shake would greatly improve the dining experience.  I happened to be wrong.

After sitting at the table for nearly an hour, refusing to eat my beans, I finally asked my parents if I could do anything I wanted to my beans if I promised to eat them all.  Yes!  They breathed a sigh of relief that the standoff was nearing an end.  When I announced my plans to make a green bean milkshake, I could see their pathetic attempts to hide the grins.  Ha!  I'd show them!  I'd eat every last green bean, whipped up into a delicious concoction.  Why hadn't I thought of this sooner?

I pureed the beans and added a tiny bit of milk and a teaspoon of sugar, then sampled.  Hmmm...still tasted like crap - I mean, green beans.  Must need more milk and sugar.  Repeat.  Repeat.  You get the idea.  Pretty soon I had an entire blender full of milky, sugary, green sludge.  And my brother chanting, "You have to drink it all!  You have to drink it all!"  I got through about half a glass, grimacing, nearly vomiting, when my mom, shoulders shaking from laughter put an end to my misery and allowed me to pour the rest down the drain.  I don't remember ever complaining about green beans again.

Now things have come full circle.  Jack hates green beans.  Actually, he pretty much rejects any green vegetable I introduce.  I am so sick of opening up a jar of baby food, grinning and talking like an idiot just to get him to open his mouth, only to have him immediately spit out the food I just inserted.  Grrr....  I have tried every brand I can find.  I have tried mixing it with baby cereal.  No luck. 

I even bought fresh beans, cleaned them, steamed them, pureed them, strained them, etc.  They were lovely.  Fresh, bright green, sure to be a hit. 

Nope.  Now it was personal.  So you reject the Gerber brand.  I can understand that; it looks gray and disgusting.  So you spit out the Earth's Best Organic [ridiculously expensive for a tiny jar] brand, no problem.  But, excuse me, did you just spit out the homemade-I-slaved-in-the-kitchen-for-hours[okay, 30 minutes]-fresh-batch of beans?  I don't think so, pal.  I'm winning this battle.  Deja vu...  Wonder what my parents were thinking lo those many years ago?

So in my desperation to have him eat a wholesome meal [read: win], I made a green bean milkshake.  Well, not exactly.  I added some baby oatmeal and baby pear juice.  And guess what?  I won

Then, of course, 20 minutes later he had the last laugh when I had to change his diaper.  Curse you, pear juice!


Almost Sacred

There is something almost sacred about checking on your sleeping child.  It is one of my favorite things to do, especially after a difficult day or even after a date (when a few hours away feels like days).

It's really quite difficult, if not impossible, to capture the sensation with words, but I want to try - so I won't ever forget... 

I tiptoe down the hall and turn the door knob ever so gently.  The room is awash with the soft glow of the nightlight.  Usually the kids are so sound asleep they don't even stir.  As I wait for my eyes to adjust, I feel the warmth of the room and listen to the comforting sound of tiny inhales and exhales.

I can't help but smile as I approach the bed.  Do all children resemble angels when they sleep?  I think they must.  Dark, thick lashes resting on still-chubby cheeks.  Smooth foreheads devoid of any wrinkles assure me of peaceful dreams.  I lean in close and inhale.  With Parker, I wonder how he still manages to smell like a little sweaty boy even after a bath...I suppose it's due to the fact that his running doesn't cease until his head hits the pillow.  To be honest, I love that smell.  It's the smell of pure energy, of life fully lived.  With Maddie, I wonder when I will have to give up using baby shampoo and move on to big girl products.  I almost hope it's never.  When I smell that smell, I can almost convince myself she is still a baby and not the long child lying on the big girl bed in front of me. 

I gently brush each child's hair back and kiss the soft skin of their foreheads, cheeks, and noses.  When does baby soft skin go away?  I don't want to know.

I relish in the fact that I am the one who can do this.  I have access to this inner sanctuary.  If their eyes happen to flutter open, they simply snuggle closer.  This is heaven.

They sleep like rocks.  Warm, comfortable, peaceful.  I whisper in their ears that I love them, and tiptoe back out again.

Thank you, Father, for the blessing of these children. 

The only thing worth stealing is a kiss from a sleeping child. ~Joe Houldsworth

There was never a child so lovely but his mother was glad to get him to sleep. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

P.S.  For those of you wondering about Jack, well, he's not such a sound sleeper.  I don't dare open his door.  Thank you, Lord, for video monitors.  :)