Saturday, March 24, 2007

LOTS of Baking and some writing. . .

Between last night and all day today I have baked 8 full sized cheesecakes (with my "famous" pecan crust), 14 mini cheesecakes, 30 star (baked in Reynolds shaped foil pans) shaped M and M brownies, 6 full sized loaves of Pecan Pound Cake, 6 mini pecan pound cakes, 1 cookie pizza, and one HUGE homemade Chocolate Cake with Whipped Cream Cheese frosting, all for the churches youth group fundraiser tomorrow. I may do more when I come home tomorrow from church before the Coffee House Fundraiser. I am tired, but mostly feel good.
Here is some stuff I have written to try to process my moms death. . .
For the most part I like living in Missouri, even though it is 1200 miles away from my family. That is until my mom was diagnosed with cancer. Did I miss the family the previous 12 years? Yes, but there was always "time" and there were visits, however infrequent they were. I did talk to my mom at least a few times a week, but usually every day. There was not much I could do about being so far away. With a large family it is not very easy to just up and move. Especially when the cost of living is so much different. I did talk to my husband about pulling the kids out of school and temporarily moving to Maryland if I thought there was a way to help my mom and if she needed it. But that time never came. She tolerated her treatments very well and then I got the "call" to come because the end was very near. It was all way too fast! Yes, she had been sick for over a year but things seemed to be looking up. I had just been to visit her 2 weeks before she passed away. I am very grateful for that visit. But at the time if anyone asked me if I thought my mom would be gone in 2 weeks, I would have said no. She was doing great! The weekend I was there she baked about 5 batches of pound cakes to take to people. She took one to her radiologists office and even made some for the construction workers who were out in front of her house working on a drainage ditch. I am still amazed at her stamina and strength. My brother who lives in Florida came to visit her the following weekend. Neither one of us thought we would be there again so soon for her death.The whole time I was riding in our van to Maryland, I was torn between wanting my husband to somehow go faster so that we could be there NOW, to wanting to go just as fast in the other direction. Maybe if I did not go she would not die. Crazy I know, but that is what I was thinking. I still don't know how I made it into the hospital room in one piece. It was like a bad dream. When we were getting closer to the hospital, the same hospital that my first 2 children were born in, I felt like the first thing I was going to do when I got out of the van was to throw up! Some how I did not, I made my way into the hospital and was met by my oldest sister in the lobby (she had been coming to the lobby looking for me every few minutes because we had called to say we were close). We hugged as we were walking to the elevator. Neither one of us wanted to delay my seeing my mom, thats how close we all thought she was to death. As we got off of the elevator I saw literally dozens of my family members, my moms co workers, family friends, as well as people who I did not know (at the time, I would meet them all over the next few days.). It was surreal, as they all seemed to part and make room for me to go into the room. I hugged my dad who was just outside my moms hopital room and I know I said something, I just dont remember what it was. No one else tried to talk to me or anything and as I entered my moms room everyone left so that I could have private time with my mom. My brothers and sisters (I am one of 6) all hugged me on the way out. My aunt told me later that week that I looked like a ghost as I entered my moms room. I spent a few minutes talking and hugging my mom although she was not responsive at the time. Then my husband and kids came in as did my younger sister (when she got married 2 years ago my parents finished their basement into a seperate apartment and she and her husband live there so she was my moms caretaker along with my dad). There was a certain thing that my sister did to rouse my mom and she did this as the kids talked to my mom. She responded to the first 2 of my kids verbally and looked at them. My oldest, a 13 year old girl, had the hardest time and was reluctant to go up to my mom. She finally did and talked to her and said her goodbyes. One of my cousins comforted her in the hallway afterward. I don't know how long it had been, but the kids and my husband left and went to eat (we had not eaten in a LONG time because we had been driving in a blizzard) and then to stay at my mother in laws. I went home that night to my moms house and since my clothes were in my van in a repair shop in West Virginia, I slept in my moms pjs and in her bed since 2 of my brothers were also staying at her house that night. My dad stayed at the hospital. I washed my clothes and put the same ones back on the next morning. We all went back to the hospital. We stayed there all day. It was my daughters 10th birthday. She and the rest of the kids were with my husband still at my MIL's house. I thought it best that they not hang around the hospital and I also thought that I needed the time to focus on myself not them. That night we left the hospital reluctantly. We all had a sense that she would pass while we were gone for the night. My dad stayed the night. He climbed into the bed with her as he had for the previous nights at the hospital. He said they had some times of clarity and conversation. I am sorry that I missed that, but very glad that he experienced it. That was my biggest fear, that he would miss her last moments. I am glad that he had that private time with her. That night I was going to sleep in my moms bed again, but I never made it there. I was watching a movie in the living room. My oldest brother was on the fold out couch and I was in the recliner. He fell asleep, but I was watching the movie, I had never seen it all (Enemy of the State with Will Smith). Not long before the movie was over my 1 and 1/2 year old nephew came downstairs crying. So I scooped him up and rocked him back to sleep. I was stuck in the recliner the rest of the night! It was okay though. Just after 7 am the phone rang and I grabbed it at the same time both of my brothers did (my parents have multiple handsets and we all had one with us). My sister who stayed at the hospital that night at the request if my dad said "She's gone". We all knew it was coming, but I don't think we were ready for it. The next few days were filled with lots of decisions and stuff for the funeral.

Doing all of this baking today brings to mind my mom. During the last month in particular of her life she baked a LOT. My mother had always been a good cook and baker, but she used that gift during the last part of her life to reach out to others. She baked a lot of pound cakes and shared them with various people. When I came to visit her for a long weekend in January, just 2 weeks before she passed away, she made 3 batches of her famous pecan pound cake. One bundt cake was prepared for her radiologists office. Her radiology appointments were every weekday at 6 am. On the Monday (the day I would be leaving) before her last radiology treatment which would be on Wednesday, she took the pound cake baked in her Rose shaped bundt pan for the wonderful people at her radiologists office. She figured that was a good time to take a cake so that by Wednesday, her last treatment, they would be done with her pan and she could take it home. She had also decided that her goal before she passed away was to take a cake (or some other type of baked item) to each one of her neighbors. She said before she died she wanted to knock on each and every door in her neighborhood. Sadly she never got the chance. She did however get the chance to take coffee and a pound cake to the construction workers who were installing a new drainage system in front of her house. Her house is at the end of a cul-de-sac, but it is the only house actually in the cul-de-sac. The rest is empty and will never been built on because it needs to stay "green". This was all just mere weeks before she ended up in the hospital and passed. She was such a strong woman. I am truly blessed to have had her as a mother. What an example. I am so lost without her here. I just can't believe she is not here. I know I am not the only one who feels that way. . .

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

well, it is official, I am next years PTA prez. . .

Just got an email telling me that the nominating committe voted today officaially and congratulating me on being the prez. I thought there were gonna be "elections" and such. And, honestly, I was hoping I would "lose"! LOL. Oh well! I have got my work cut out for me, huh? I was finishing the newsletter tonight, or rather, working on it. I can't finish it yet because there are people who (still!) have not given me information. One of which is the principal.

Still feeling puny with the strep stuff. . .yuck. Going to be doing lots of baking later in the week for our church youth coffee house fundraiser. Should be interesting. Lots of stuff to do still, as usual. Right now, I need to go to bed though cuz my knee is hurting. Been bugging me the last couple of days. Tomorrow got to go back to Curves (now that I am not contagious. . .) hope it feels better........

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Weekend update. . .

Right now I am waiting for my husband to wake up before we meet our friends for dinner. We are going our with out our children, so there will be 16 less of us! YIPPEE!!!! There will only be 10, of us and we are all adults (well, I think we are at least. . .lol). No kids menus today. It has been awhile since we last got together without the kiddos. We actually all just got together 2 weeks ago for our friends 2 adopted childrens Christening. Then we went swimming. Which, of course meant that I had to buy 5 new bathing suits so that we could go! That was fun. Our friends parents are still in town (they live in Miami) so they will be at dinner with us. They are fun, a little hard to understand sometimes, but very nice and fun.

Last night we had our friends and neighbors over, the ones with the 7 boys. We did the whole St Patricks day thing. I made corned beef and cabbage and also decided to put chili in the crock pot too, just in case there was not enough to go around (there were 16 of us last night). Surprisingly the chili was very popular. Everyone loved it! They thought it tasted really good. Good thing I worked really hard to open up the can! (actually it was really hard with my RA, the big Costco sized can did not fit into the electric can opener so I had to do it by hand! ). I will have to get some more of it. It filled up the crock pot and only cost me $6. Cheaper and less mess then making it from scratch! Good to have ready for those nights I am not feeling well.

We did have fun last night. I made my moms famous pecan pound cakes. I added green food coloring to one to make it festive! I am eating a slice now as a matter of fact. The kids played well (mostly) together. After we ate we watched America's Funniest Home Videos from the DVR, then some Hows that Made. It was a big hit, as the friends do not have cable, they only get like 2 channels and they are both "fuzzy". AFV is always good for a laugh.

Earlier in the day my husband and I borrowed a friends truck and picked up some furniture. A new bed. This one is an old water bed frame that has been converted to a regular bed and it has storage underneath. Right now we just have the mattress in our room on the old frame. It is about 6 inches narrower then our old bed though. So it does not quite fit on the box springs we have. . .But hopefully this bed will be more comfortable on hubbys back. I have not had a good track record with beds. Well, I need to go make sure our van is not too messy, since we are driving tonight for 6 of us. Don't want them to be too disgusted!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Baby Maeson born. . .finally

My sister in law Mary Jane gave birth this morning at 10:08 AM Eastern time to a 6 lb 3.2 oz baby boy, named Maeson. He was named after my late mother Mae. All are doing well, although mom is very tired because even though she was induced yesterday, Maeson did not show up until this morning! He also started coming while mom was only 8 cm, which meant the doctor had to dialate her manually. . .OUCH! This is truly a miraculous event. MJ has been had 3 other babies, one died in utero and was still born- he was only a week before his due date. That was very hard on the family. They also have 2 adopted boys. The miraculous thing is that MJ had to use fertility drugs each time she became pregnant. So at over 40 years old it never entered into her mind that she would need to take any kind of birth control. I mean with her severe endometriosis and past inablility to get pregnant without intervention, why would she need birth control right? Well, Maeson was a SURPRISE baby alright. Her youngest is not quite 2 years old and yes, was concieved using fertility drugs. So when they found out she was pregnant it was indeed a surprise!

While we all know that Mom is looking down on us at this time it is very hard for her not to be here at this time. Before she died she told Mary Jane not to worry about Nick, the baby she lost because now she would be in heaven taking care of him. Even on her death bed mom was thinking of others, not herself!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Going so many different directions. . .

. . .I sometimes don't even know what end is up! I never know when I wake up if I will be too weak to do what I need to do throughout the day. . .much less what I WANT to do. My RA usually acts up 2 days a week, but it is not like I get a warning the night before or something so that I could plan for it. No, that would be too easy! Of couse I suppose there may actually be warning signs, but I am just too frikin' tired and sore to notice or care!

My girls and I have been going to Curves. I have been going since last May. They went for free in the summer time. Just last week my oldest (13) said she wanted to go so I signed them up. Before they could change their mind. . .lol!

I started taking a new med for my RA, an NSAID, and it makes me kind of tired. . .just what I need! Today I had breakfast with a friend then we went (NON) plant shopping (too early apparantly) at Home Depot. On the way home I stopped for bread. When I got home I crashed in bed. It was 11:15, I did not get up until 3:35! The the kids came home and I put dinner in the oven (THANK GOD for Stouffers Lasagna!) and sat on the couch. I did manage to fold a load of clothes. . .it took me a few hours it seems but I did it! I don't know if it is the medicine, but my heart was also racing a lot too.

There is SO MUCH I need to be doing around here, but it seems like I am only managing the minimum at the moment. Good thing I have a friend coming Friday to help me clean. Which means tomorrow I have to get ready for her. . .lol.

I have been posting on a cancer support group for people who have losted loved ones to cancer. That has helped some, but I know that I have barely scratched the surface of what I should be dealing with. I am going back to Maryland for Easter. Just me, on a plane. I have already upset the delicate balance that my sister has created though, and I have not even gotten there! She is upset that I mentioned the big Easter get together to my Aunt and that she is planning on attending. Thing is when I was there in January I visited my Aunts house with my mom and dad. I remember my mother inviting my Aunt and also my other Aunt (who does not drive and has to be picked up) and my Uncle (whose wife, my moms sister, died in October). My mom was excited about Easter because they were all going to be there and my new nephew would be there too (he should have been born today, they induced my sister in law this morning, but I have not heard anything. . .I am taking that as good news. . .). Anyway when I spoke to my sister the other day she got all pissed off and started yelling about not wanting other people, just family to be there. Umm, they are family! I tried to ease her feelings by telling her I did not care either way (even though I do, I want them there cause my mom would have and would want us to become closer after her death) and if she cared she needed to talk to my dad about it. Oh well, not much I can do from here. I get in the Friday before Easter and I told my sister that all they needed to do was give me a list and I would do shopping and cooking etc.

We are still trying to decide what to do about school next year. The oldest son will be in 7th grade and wants to be homeschooled again. I am reluctant because that is a lot of pressure on ME and last time it did not go well (in my mind it did not, they were fine and when they went to public school were way above their peers). So far he would be the only one homeschooled. But that means that I would have a HUGE RED TARGET on my head! Given his "truancy" track record (from legitimate illnesses and medical conditions that I have documented to the peril of several trees at least!) I am not looking forward to homeschooling because I just know they will be knocking on my door to check on him. Esp since they will loose the funding that comes when his little butt is placed firmly in one of their schools chairs!

Oh well, too much to worry about tonight. Right now I need to get my oldest out of the shower and the next 2 out from in front of the tv so they can go to bed. I can't go to sleep with them still awake and I have to get up very early in the morning!