Mama of Six

    Cooking is catharctic…

    There’s something relaxing for me about being in the kitchen.  Now, let me be clear.  I mean COOKING in the kitchen.  I don’t mean the clean-up.  I could certainly do without that, and my husband can attest!

    There’s something relaxing to me about selecting ingredients and creating something from scratch, a la Chopped.  Every now and again, I’ll find a recipe, or someone will recommend one, and so I’ll shop for those specific ingredients, but for the most part, I have a set grocery list that I get each week, and then we plan our meals from that.

    I love to look through my fridge, see what I have on hand, and then whip something together.  Sometimes – well, most of the time, it tastes pretty good.  I’ve only had a few times where I haven’t liked what I’ve made.  And that’s pretty good considering I’ve been cooking for about 35 years, give or take.

    When I was a little girl, I loved to join my mom in the kitchen.  I have the best memories standing beside her – usually on chair so I could reach the counters or the stove.  She didn’t use recipes very often, unless she was baking.  Baking is different, she would tell me.  You HAVE to follow the recipe to a T.

    When I was in college, I learned why.  I attended and graduated from Michigan State University, and have a Bachelor of Science in Food Technology & Management.  I learned through my courses that cooking and baking is chemistry…food chemistry.  So the girl who didn’t really care for chemistry that much found out that it all depended on the application!  If it was food related, I loved it!

    So now, as a mom to four living kids, I probably spend 75% of my waking hours in my kitchen!  Sometimes I rush to get them fed – like in the morning before school, but I try to enjoy my thrice-daily chore.  And more often than not, I find myself joined by one or more of my children.  It seems they enjoy cooking with me as much as I enjoyed cooking with my mom.  That’s a tradition that I hope to continue with THEIR children.

    All, Cooking, Parenting
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    My rainbow boy

    My NBK is my rainbow baby.  Born after the loss of our twin girls at 21w along.  To say I was a ball of nerves during my pregnancy is an UNDERSTATEMENT.

    I was overcome with emotion when he arrived.  I couldn’t believe he was finally here.  And then, he began to grow.  And as he began to grow, I began to have concerns.  He was doing things that were different from my friends’ babies, even when he was under 9 months old.

    And so my concerns continued for almost 3 years, and then, the fateful day when I was watching my 18 month old – my second son, eat yogurt from the container, with a spoon, and I looked over to see Nicholas struggling.

    “That’s enough!” I thought…thinking back to all those surveys I had done online, when I should’ve been sleeping…you know the ones – does your child have autism?

    Well, my gut instinct was right.  My rainbow boy was diagnosed with high functioning autism at 3.5, and Asperger’s at age 5 (no longer classified as a separate diagnosis).

    Ever since he was born, I knew he was different, and he continues to be different.  He loves to read.  Can’t get enough of books and words.  Symbols and equations.  He’s in the gifted program at school, but we don’t really talk about that.  Instead, what I like to reflect on is his soul.

    There’s just something about him – people say “he has an old soul” and I understand what they mean.  Despite his inability to decode social expressions, he feels when you are happy, or can tell when you are sad.  He is liked by so many, yet has few very close friends.  If you ask him, he names a few, mostly girls, and then his siblings.

    He’s the reason I survived my grief.  So much to put on such a person.

    Here’s a photo of him from his 10th birthday.  He made the crown (with 10 points) and wore it to school.

    My gift.  Sometimes, I need to take a step back, and remember that…
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    The “might have been” family portrait

    You know, when I was a child I envisioned what my family would look like, and you can bet that I never imagined that I would lose a child, let alone twins.  And yet, this is my life.  In our family, we talk about our twin girls.  We talk with our kids about their older sisters; how they came before them and that each and every one of them is a blessing, because of what we endured.

    When we’ve had our family portraits taken, we’ve pondered whether or not we should include something to symbolize them.  When our oldest son was a baby, we included two stuffed animals with him in the photos, but it didn’t seem quite right for something to be framed on our wall.

    And then, something showed up on my Facebook feed that would somehow fill that void.  An artist, Lisa Glanz, has created an illustration template set that allowed me to create a family portrait AND include our twin girls.    If you’re interested, here is a link – you will need Adobe software to utilize it. Personalized Portrait Creator

    We weren’t sure what they would’ve looked like, but given what our living children looked like, I made a guess.  We figured that their hair would likely be curly…that they’d be taller than Nicholas now (they would be 11)

    The thing is…we don’t know what they look like, or what their world is like.  For those of you that don’t know me personally, I believe that our girls are with God, and our deceased friends and family.  One thing that has always been a beacon of hope for me is that one day, I will meet them again.  So until then…this vision of mine will have to do.  (I included our first fur-baby Chloe, too, since we still miss her so much.)


    Family, Loss, Marriage
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