Category Archives: Children & Family

The Last Time

The Last Time…

Last night, after the hubs and I finished reading a story to our oldest son, the kiddo passed out his typical round of hugs and kisses before jumping into bed. He jumped into my arms and at that moment I realized times were changing and fast. It happened before my eyes. Our oldest son is now 5.5 years old and for these 5.5 years I feel like we’ve done what we could to soak up every minute of his growing, his life, and his experiences… until this moment. He was so heavy; heavier than I could remember. His long legs now dangled down past my knees as he wrapped his arms around my neck. He is no longer the tiny little boy who could jump in my arms and I could carry him around on my hip. He’s a big boy now.

He went from this…Last Time 

…to this overnight!Last Time

Over the past several months I have nursed a high risk pregnancy, recovered from a cesarean section, and since have been carrying a baby around daily. I’ve not been able to pick up my kiddo as I used to months back. At that moment of him jumping into my arms I realized how much I missed. Despite me being present I still missed out on his growth and development into such a big strong boy.

The hubs and I wanted a second child but we had put off getting pregnant for a long time. I knew pregnancy would hinder me useless for several months due to a couple displeasing conditions (Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) and a Septate Uterus). My lack of activity and participation wouldn’t be such a big deal if we were solo but we had a growing preschooler to tend to. I couldn’t pick him up as much, and towards the end, at all. Here today, 11 months later I see how much I have missed out on. I felt like years flashed before my eyes. What happened to my sweet baby?

A couple weeks after we told him he was going to be a big brother. I was at the height of my sickness (HG) and was couch or bed ridden. He was showing me his Ninja Turtle moves to cheer me up.Last Time

The hubs recently wrote two numbers on our kitchen white board. These numbers represent the number of times we have left to plan special moments with the boys before that telltale age when they’re ready to not “hang out” with mom and dad anymore. It makes you realize the time allotted for building memories with them as littles is all too short.

Brothers…Last Time

Time seems to pass even faster now that there are two. I can’t keep my eye on both of them long enough without a growth moment passing before my eyes. In the past three months, since our second son was born, my oldest son has blossomed into a brave, outgoing little boy; doing things we’ve never imagined he’d be doing until now.

Rock climbing all the way to the top!Last Time

First day of KindergartenLast Time

The littlest one is hitting his own milestones, changing diaper sizes, holding his head up without support, cooing, smiling and aware of the world around him. I’m not ready to hear “mom” instead of “mommy”. I’m not ready to let go of the cuddles. I’m not ready to let go of being their comfort when they’re scared at night after a bad dream. I’m not ready to let go of bedtime stories or kissing boo boos or any of it. I want to savor every minute… I wish I had savored more.

I look back on the years I stayed home with my first child and wish I had slowed down and soaked it all in just a little deeper. Due to my age and physical ailments while pregnant this will be the last time. The last time we’ll surprise our family with the news of a baby. The last time I will listen to a heart beat in my belly or feel the moment of flutters and kicks late at night. The last time I wake up in the early morning to change diaper after diaper and nurse hour after hour.

Moments after our 2nd son was born…Last Time

Last Time

I’ve heard some people say “I can’t wait till they’re out of the baby phase.” I get it. The whole process of trying to figure out what the hell you’re doing with this tiny fragile human life and to make sure you don’t fuck up is pretty damn stressful and hard… but I wouldn’t want to rush through any of it.

Soaking up the moments of bonding…Last Time

Looking back on my first son, I was so lucky to have the opportunity to get the extended time with him that I should have savored it more. This is why I’m trying my hardest to savor these moments with my youngest, because this is the last time.Last Time

Cooking with Kids

Cooking with Kids

Many fond childhood memories are of the time spent in my grandparent’s kitchens’. Whether it was only my grandparents or several family members converging in the kitchen, great memories have been built around cooking with family.

I am truly grateful for the time I was able to spend with my grandmothers’, watching, helping, and learning from them in the kitchen. I am the oldest of 12 grandchildren split among both sides of my family. I believe I was the luckiest grandchild because I was able to get the most active years from my family, specifically my grandparents. I saw my grandmother’s backyard when it was over an acre of fruits and vegetables we used in her kitchen. Today the house is gone and the garden no longer. I picked and cut apricots with my other grandmother that we later turned into jam, pies, bars, and dried treats. Today the orchards are no longer there; condos and strip malls stand in their place. I helped both women put together giant holiday feasts, cooking together for days at a time.

cooking with kids

The way of the world today is at minimum a 40 hour work week apart from their families. Now factor in overtime, commutes, chores, errands, other family & personal commitments, after school activities; time spent at home with family is becoming less and less and basic life skills are being lost. As our daily commitment list grows, less and less valuable family time is spent together and we start to become… disconnected, living more like roommates than family; passing hellos in the hallway, meals eaten running out the door or driving in the car. We’ve become comfortable with convenience/ready to serve/on the go everything. Before we know it we’ve missed so many important moments because we didn’t stop and take the time. It is so easy to get caught up in the day to day and push aside what’s most important. Since having my son, I get a daily reminder of the importance my presence is to him and to my family.

cooking with kids

I think back on my childhood memories that were created in the kitchen, at the table, and I realize I must try and provide these memories for my son and for the sake of my family. Cooking and enjoying a meal together can be the greatest time spent together, especially for children. Besides spending precious time together, cooking with kids presents them with so many learning opportunities. Cooking with kids helps in confidence building, developing independent skills, creative expression, reading development, social development, cultural exposure, and science concepts. They are learning about nutrition and developing a willingness to try new foods.

cooking with kids

I realize not every evening can be spent cooking together given our tedious daily schedules but when an opportunity presents itself… take it! When my husband and I were both working full time and going to school full time, dinners together were few and far during the week. We took advantage of the weekend and turned menu planning, farmers market visits, and a whole day of cooking for the next week… into an adventure! I believe it brought us closer together… after 17 years, we still love cooking together and creating new things. Now that we have a child of our own, we’re trying to share those same adventures and learning experiences with him.

cooking with kids

My son is not yet three (3) so having him help me in the kitchen takes time and patience. I share with him the fruits and vegetables, letting him see, touch, and smell each item. He helps to measure, pour, and stir ingredients. Some foods he loves immediately and wants to put it in his mouth right away and some foods take a lot of time. According to his pediatrician, children need to be exposed to a new food as many as 10 to 15 times before they are willing to try it. Forcing them will only attach a negative stigma to eating that particular food… or meal time in general. Since my son was able to eat solid foods, we’ve given him every organic fruit and vegetable you can think of (when in season) and every type of pastured grass fed organic meat that is available in our area.

I love cooking with kids because they are so curious. They see and smell to the fullest. Everything is new and interesting. A a while ago a good friend came to visit with her beautiful daughter, who was 7 years old at the time. The agenda for the day was food food food! We made an apple pie and canned some blueberry lemon jam. For the pie, I had her daughter help measure the ingredients for the crust and peel and core the apples. For the jam, she helped cook the berries (with my supervision). She had so many questions and she wanted to touch, smell, and taste everything she handled that day.

By spending time with her that day, we were able to help her develop new skills, try new foods she’d never tried before, and she got to do it all while spending time with her mom… laughing, playing, joking… having fun!

Take time and enjoy cooking with kids – it is the most valuable time you can spend with them.

I’ve been on a quest to bring back basic skills into my family’s lifestyle. Spending the time to cook a whole meal together, from scratch, is just the first step of many. I hope my son will carry these memories with him forever and that he’ll be able to pass them on to his own children…

cooking with kids

Cooking with Children Resources:

PBSCooking with Kids

Playing Kitchen

Cooking with Kids

MommyMe – The Wonder Years – I believe the mom of this blog did a wonderful job of breaking down the process… especially knowing that cooking with kids will also bring a lot of messes and possibly a little chaos. With some basic preparation and a little patience, you’re ready to roll!

Benefits of Cooking with your Children (webmd.com):
■ Reducing the number of meals eaten outside the home
■ Having structured times for family meals
■ Offering healthier, low-calorie foods
■ Involving children in meal planning, shopping, and food preparation.
■ Encourages kids to try healthy foods
■ Kids feel like they are accomplishing something and contributing to the family
■ Kids are more likely to sit down to a family meal when they helped prepare it
■ Parents get to spend quality time with their kids
■ Kids aren’t spending time in front of the TV or computer while they’re cooking
■ Kids generally aren’t eating junk food when they’re cooking a meal at home.
■ Learning to cook is a skill your children can use for the rest of their lives
■ Kids who learn to eat well may be more likely to eat healthfully as adults
■ Positive cooking experiences can help build self-confidence