Friday, November 28, 2008

She Scores Again!

This time, it was french toast with sweet potatoes in it. MMMMM, they couldn't get enough of it!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Deceptively Delicious

Today, I was preparing to write a post about Jessica Seinfeld's Deceptively Delicious cookbook. It wasn't going to be pretty, but now I have changed my mind.

I bought this cookbook in an effort to try, once again, to get my kids to eat healthy foods. Actually, I would settle for not even that healthy, but just something outside of the standard three-meal rotation in our house: peanut butter & jelly, pizza and pasta with butter and Parmesan cheese.

Phillip won't eat meat, with the exception of McDonald's chicken nuggets, which he reminds me "don't really count." Other than that limited amount of meat, he is a self-proclaimed vegetarian. He has been having dizzy spells and the doctor is pretty sure (given the information he provided) that it has something to do with the fact that his diet is almost all carbs.

Sam refuses food most often simply to be difficult. And Andrew just does whatever Sam does. As I usually start preparing dinner (often with Andrew's help), he immediately starts asking, "we aren't eating that, are we?!?" No, most often they don't eat what I am cooking. I make up to three meals. Ours (the adult meal), Phillip's and then Sam and/or Andy's. I decided long ago (and I have written about this before) that I would not let food become an issue at our table. So, I don't argue.

Our latest tactic is they have to try one thing on the table and if they don't like it, they can politely ask for something else--but only after they try something. Usually this doesn't go great. They might try, but never decide to eat what we are having (of course not, because they know they will still get what they really want to eat).

So, enter the cookbook.

I spent Saturday creating the purees (the basis of her meals--kid-friendly food secretly containing servings of veggies). I made two dishes. One was meatball soup. Who was I kidding. They won't eat soup to begin with, what made me think they would like this I have no idea (I think one of them said they thought it looked good). I also made something called rice balls. Rice, pureed chicken, squash and cheese rolled in ground crackers and cooked in a bit of oil. Nope. Didn't fly. I asked Jeff if he thought Borders would take it back if I told them my kids wouldn't eat anything out of it.

The pureeing was just like the baby days. I made all my kids foods. Squash, pears, apples, sweet potatoes, potatoes, everything...I steamed, cooked, pureed and froze almost everything they ever ate. I made tofu nuggets and served them kiwi rolled in wheat germ. They loved avocados and almond butter. What happened? Where did I go wrong?

I have no idea, but tonight--tonight I claim a small victory. Sam wanted pancakes for dinner. Wait! There are pancakes in the cookbook. I whipped them up and guess what? They loved them--even with the 1/2 cup of sweet potato puree, which of course I didn't tell them about!

Friday, November 14, 2008

A Mother's Love

I just returned home from a funeral of my husband's friend's four year old daughter. I wept and wept. The funeral was sad and the little girl so sweet. But, I wept most for the mother.

If you have kids, you know the love I wept for. If you don't have kids, you really truly cannot image how deeply you could love something.

A mother's love is impermeable. It is sweet with smells of baby powder, dirty diapers, purple dinosaur shampoos and tempera paint. It is sour with tastes of funky looking self-made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, way too chocolately milk and kisses that are far too wet. It is loud with the sounds of laughter, tantrums, screams of fear in the night and 1,000 calls a day for mom throughout the house. It is blinded by images of eyes like yours, smiles with secret messages and wonder so deep you wish you could go along for the ride. It is touched by grabbing and grouping hands, little people hanging on your legs, hugs that last for days and high fives for amazing accomplishments.

It is like nothing else in the world. A mother's love is truly indescribable. It is something you must feel to truly understand and it is the greatest privilege I know--to feel that love, to be a mother and to share int he life of my children.

Each one of us plays a part in defining our family: we are a family of five. If you have three kids, your arms only feel half full with just one hug. If you have two kids, your lap is only half occupied with one child resting comfortably. Your children define your fullness--there is just enough for everyone. So when one leaves, I cannot image the void a mother must feel.

There she sat, just two feet away from her daughter who was tucked neatly in her pink casket, resting peacefully. Her arms, oh how they must have ached wanting to hold her, to pick her up one more time. My arms ached wanting to hold my children. I know she will go on, people do and they find a way to start again. Slowly life--although a different life now--will go on. But the mother's heart will never be the same.

The funeral was sweet and the photographs told the story of such a happy family--an involved father and a devoted mother. Two little girls who would laugh and play the days away. Now just one, there will be a sense of emptiness.

But, the family is surrounded by love. More than two dozen police cars in the parking lot. Three full rows of uniformed officers. This truly is a brotherhood like no other. We are part of a larger family, in which no one is forgotten and no one is left to stand alone. No matter my struggles with believing in God over the years, I have always believed in eternal life. For that, I am grateful. I know Katie will be back. I know Leslie will heal from this hurt, but I hope she always remembers she is a good mother and was blessed to experience the love of her children. That love truly is the greatest gift of all.