Dear great nephews,

It was so nice meeting you.  I really enjoyed getting to hold you and watch you as you slept.  You are precious!  Psalm 139:14 says, You are fearfully and wonderfully made.  There are some things I think it is important for you to know.  Your family loves you very much.  Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from Him.  Psalm 127:3

You are so tiny and brand new to this great big world.  Right now you sleep a lot and cry when you are hungry.  You are still getting used to being outside of the warm, comfy womb you occupied for the past 9 months, but soon you will be awake more often and learning to communicate and do all kinds of things.

Please be patient with your moms and dads as they learn how to take care of you.  They are new at this whole parenting thing and will do their best to keep up with you and your needs as you grow.  Your needs will be constantly changing.  While you are still babies, you will probably have times that you get frustrated because they won’t know why you are crying and what you want them to do.  As you grow, there will most likely be times that you will be frustrated and cry because they DO know what you want, but won’t let you have it because it isn’t what you really need…and further down the road, when you are older, there may be times that you think they just can’t possibly know what you need, because they are too old and just don’t understand.  Finally, the day will come when you walk out into the world as an adult and make your own decisions.

Life is an interesting journey with twists and turns, hills and valleys, and forks in the road.  Make the most of every opportunity.  Be kind and compassionate to others.  Be forgiving.  Smile often.  Dream big.  Laugh a lot, and count your blessings!  Delight yourselves in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4  We are so excited to watch you grow!

“You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”  Winnie the Pooh

Adventure is out there! -Up

 

 

 

My Happy Place

 

IMG_4188Wow!  The month of April flew by!  Life has been crazy here at the Bierman house.  I decided to resign from my job just in time to go with our youngest on a field trip to Disney with the middle school choir and band, got to go on an awesome women’s retreat with our church the very next weekend and began alterations on several costumes for the middle school musical right when I got back.  I have to tell you, my sewing machine was broken and the costumes were due for dress rehearsal 3 days after I got back from the retreat.  Thank goodness for good friends that sew and are willing to become part of your craziness for a while to help you get things done!  Throw in catching up on the laundry and cleaning the house because your mother is coming to see her grandchild and you can’t have a messy house!  The choir also had a citywide concert they sang in just 4 days after returning from Disney, so it has been crazy in the choir room at school, too.  Choir directors, as well as many students and parents all working to put together an amazing performance.  After school rehearsals every day, cooking dinner, helping with homework…the list has been endless.  Throw in some missing costumes, last-minute running to the fabric store for buttons and such and you don’t know whether you’re coming or going by the end of the day.   I have gone to bed exhausted pretty much every night these last few weeks,  but I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.  I have found my happy place again.

Moming can be stressful, but it isn’t the kind of stress that leaves a bad taste in my mouth or an ache in my heart.  I don’t dread Monday mornings anymore.  This is what I have been missing the last 8 years while working outside of the home.  Please don’t misunderstand me.  If working outside of the home is what is best for you and works for your family, then you do you.  As for me, I love doing dishes.  I love getting the house back together (cause it has been a hot mess for a while now!).  I love being able to pick Michael up from school.  I love being able to volunteer again.  I love being able to cook breakfast and dinner for my family and eat at a decent time in the evening again.  I love it!  I let Michael sleep in this morning and checked him in.  He was SO tired after all that he has been involved in at school.  He has great grades and we don’t do that kind of thing all of the time.  Actually, we never do that, but I LOVE having the option now.

I have missed all of this so very much.  I decided since it is close to Mother’s Day, I would write about being a mom and these are the things that make me feel like a good mom.  I decided to go through pictures and I had this beautiful scene in my head of having pictures of me and our children at various times throughout their childhood…and you know what?  There aren’t any.  Ha!  No, seriously.  Well, maybe 1 or 2, but that’s it!  You see, I am also the photographer of the family, so I found lots of pictures of the kids separately, the kids together, the kids with my husband, the kids with their friends, the kids at soccer tournaments, birthday parties, Halloween, playing in the rain, with their cousins, with their grandparents, prom, Girl Scouts…and that’s alright by me.  I just pray that in the end, they remember me behind that camera lens and know that their mom was there.  She was  there to make the wheat, dairy, egg, nut free birthday cake.  She was there to stay up late and help them write the paper.  She was there to make the Halloween costume.  She was there to take them to the midnight premier of Twilight.  She was there to take them prom dress shopping.  She was there to cook them dinner.  She was there to give them a hug and ask them how their day was.  So, whether you are a stay at home mom, or a work outside the home mom, or a work part-time mom,  whatever kind of mom you are, I hope you have found your happy place that helps you be the best mom you can be.   As for me, I love to do All The Things from home and I hope and pray that my children will look back on All The Things we did together and it makes them smile.  Happy Mother’s Day!

 

 

Oh!  I did find a picture of me and my sister when we were new moms and a few of my mom and Steve’s mom and my grandmother.

 

 

Yummy Chocolate Chip Cookies (wheat, dairy, egg, nut free)

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After several years of trying different mixes and recipes on line, we finally got to a taste that we like.  Enjoy!  (the all purpose flour recipe below, I think, is from a food allergy magazine or either a gluten free book I have used for years, not sure.)

 

Ingredients

2/3 c.      shortening

½ c.         light brown sugar

½ c.         granulated sugar

1 tsp.      alcohol free vanilla extract

1 3.9 oz. applesauce (snack cup size)

1 ¾ c.     all purpose flour

½ tsp.     baking soda

½ tsp.     salt

¾ – 1 c. mini dairy free chocolate chips (we use Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips)

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Use ungreased cookie sheet.  In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the shortening, brown sugar, granulated sugar, vanilla and applesauce.  In a separate medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt with a wire whisk.  Add to shortening mixture and combine until creamy.  Stir in chocolate chips and drop with a rounded teaspoon onto prepared baking sheet.

Bake 12-14 minutes or until lightly brown.  Cool slightly on baking sheet and serve.  Makes approximately 24 cookies.

 

All Purpose Flour Recipe  (makes 6 cups)

2 cups brown rice flour

2 cups white rice flour

1 1/3 cups potato starch

2/3 cup tapioca starch

 

Mix ingredients together.  Store in a tightly covered container.

Allergy Brownies (wheat, dairy, egg, nut free)

29093211_213350742732839_3183915116869451776_nIngredients:

1 small avocado

1/2 cooked sweet potato

1/2 cup Sunbutter

2 tbsp raw honey

1/4 cup coconut milk

3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 cup dairy-free chocolate chips

 

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Grease baking dish with coconut oil or spray.  Combine all ingredients, except for the chocolate chips, into a blender and blend.  Then, add chocolate chips to mixture.  Pour mixture into prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes. Let sit to cool and then cut into sixteen small square pieces.   Enjoy!

My Story

I cannot even begin to tell you how far out of my comfort zone I am.  I have been asked by friends for years to start a food allergy blog, but was too afraid to do it.  Our middle child has multiple life threatening food allergies.  She is 18 now and not as severe with some of them as she used to be, but still anaphylactic to others.  I am not very good with technology.  Pencil and paper are more my speed, but after 25 years of marriage and learning to navigate food allergies, autism, keeping the neurotypical, non-food allergic child from feeling invisible (none of this perfectly, mind you)  I guess I have a lot to share.  So – here goes!

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My husband Steve and I have 3 children.  Madison is our oldest.  She is a recent college graduate and is currently in training for her first “big girl” job.  We are so very proud of her.  She has worked or volunteered, in some capacity, since she was 16 years old.  She has amazing compassion and love for her two younger siblings and has handled playing second fiddle to all of the medical needs with true grace.

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Lauren is our middle child and is in her first year of college.  Yes, it is a big challenge.  The university she attends has a rule for Freshmen to live on campus the first year.  She is anaphylactic to wheat, dairy, eggs and peanuts, so eating in the dining hall is not really an option.  We have kept her alive for 18 years by cooking the majority of her food.  She has still had to be injected with an epi-pen on 6 separate occasions, over the course of her life.  So, we chose her roommate carefully and received an accommodation to have a full size refrigerator in her dorm room to be able to hold all of her meals.  I make a weeks worth of breakfasts, lunches and dinners every weekend. It has worked very well for her college to be only an hour away.   We are so very thankful for Enjoy Life Foods and other companies like them that have come onto the scene over the last several years that have pre-packaged cookies and snacks that she is able to have.  Lauren is doing very well this year and just received notice of  making the Dean’s List this past semester.

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Our baby is Michael.  He is 15 years old.  He is funny, friendly and has the biggest heart of anyone I know.  I have learned many lessons from him over the past 15 years of his young  life.  I could tell things weren’t the same as with the girls when he was around 11 or 12 months old.  He would open up DVD cases and spin them.  He would line up toys and have a meltdown and a half if one of them was moved.  He did not speak.  All of my friends and our pediatrician assured me it was just that he was the baby and the girls spoke for him and that he would do things eventually.  If he had been my first child, I probably would have believed them, but he was not.  By your third child,  you know.  You don’t just take what anyone says and go with it because you think they know more.  I think even mothers of first-born children probably know.  Anyway, over the next 8 years we went through evaluation after evaluation.  We were told severe developmental delay, ADHD, sensory integration dysfunction (sensory processing disorder), and then finally what I knew all along and just needed someone else to see – Autism.  Of course,  before the official diagnosis at the age of 9, we still sought out help and therapy.  I had to teach him how to put his pants on and pull them up,  put his shirt on and put his shoes on.  Nothing came naturally like it had with the girls.  I vividly remember going to a parent-teacher store and buying beads and shoestrings to help him learn fine motor skills. I sat on the living room floor and put him sitting in front of me and dumped the beads and string onto the floor.  I took his hand in mine and helped him pick up a string and then a bead and put it onto the string.  You know that angry cry that little ones have when they don’t want to do something?  Yep.  That was Michael…and me, except my cry wasn’t an angry one.  It was one of heartbreak, that every little thing was such a huge struggle for him.  I could tell story after story just like so many other autism moms out there.  I tell you how we started out, not to make you sad, but to bring hope to those of you out there experiencing the same.  Michael is now in the 8th grade in public school.  He still has many struggles, but is doing remarkably well.  I cannot wait to tell you more about all of the progress he has made over the years and is still making and what all we have learned on this journey.

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Steve and I have been married for 25 wonderful years.  Does that mean each day has been wonderful?  Umm…no.   I can say, however, that I wouldn’t have wanted to do All The Things with anyone else in this world.  I look forward to sharing what all we have learned that has worked in our lives, family, marriage to hopefully encourage you as you tackle all the things of life.

 

Cindy

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