Sunday, April 6, 2014

Weekly Wrap-Up – March 23rd-29th

On Sunday, I got a call from two of my siblings about my mom.  The hospice nurse apparently feels that mom only has about 1-7 days left to live.  She said the animals always know first, and she could tell by the way my mom’s dog, Misty, was behaving around her that it wouldn’t be long now.  Her dog was circling her.  That was pretty devastating news to hear.  But on the other hand, once mom started experiencing pain, I prayed that it would all go quickly for her now, as I don’t want her to have to suffer.  It’s hard to believe that it’s only been about 6 weeks since she first went into the hospital with pneumonia.  And it was Valentine’s Day when we were first told she had cancer.  It has all happened so fast.  It’s quite a shock and hard to process.  Please continue to pray for her peace and comfort.

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My homeschooled kids were off school this week, so I was in the mood for trying out some new recipes.  On Sunday, this one came to my email inbox from Betty Crocker.  Hooray for lasagna cups!

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These were really good and so easy to make.  I doubled the amount of filling and had enough of everything to make 24 of them, which fed us for 3 dinners plus a couple of lunches!  It was definitely the easiest lasagna I’ve ever made, and I love the automatic portion control you get with individual servings.  Well, unless you are a growing teenage boy named Hayden and you eat FOUR of them instead of one or two!

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On Tuesday, I did a little scrapbooking of some photos from 2010.  This was a field trip my son and his friend, Xevier, took with my husband to the Virginia Air & Space Center.

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The trip was an overnight lock-in, and they focused on robotics.  They formed a team called the RedWings, and their robot creation more successfully completed the mission than any of the other submissions!  Go Red Wings! 

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On Friday afternoon, the phone rang about ten after one in the afternoon, and it was my sister.  I could tell she’d been crying, and she just said “this is that call.”  Sadly, my mom passed away at about 1 PM.  All I got was that she was sleeping at the time, so I’m thankful that she went peacefully.  The nurse had alerted the people around her that her blood pressure and respirations had slowed and that the time had come, so they gathered around her for the end.  I felt dazed.  It was exactly 6 weeks from the day we’d first heard the word “cancer.”  Everything happened so quickly that it all seemed surreal.

I will tremendously miss the sweet sound of her voice, making her laugh, the endearing little things she would say to me, talking to her about my kids, and feeling her loving support.  Somehow, the world felt safer knowing she was always there.  Crying face  It’s not the same place without her.

Here’s the last photo that was ever taken of me with my parents shortly before my dad passed away in 2001.

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I miss them both so much, but my heart is soothed in the knowledge that they are embracing in heaven this night.

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I dreaded having to break the news to Hayden when I picked him up from school.  I contacted his guidance counselor beforehand and asked her to keep an eye on him on Saturday (the district is making up a snow day be attending on Saturday) in case seemed distracted or upset.  This is the first time he has experienced the loss of a close family member where he was old enough to understand.  She asked if she could notify his teachers, as well, and I said that would probably be a good idea.  They know he’s a sensitive kid.  As it was, he was very upset when I told him.  The kids had to go right to gym class after school, so I thought maybe it was just as well so he’d have a distraction, but he ended up breaking down in the middle of class, as it turns out.  Poor kid. 

As it turned out, the school called about an hour before school let out on Saturday and asked me to come and pick him up.  The teacher in his final class of the day asked how he was doing, and he broke down again.  When I picked him up, his eyes were all red, and I just gave him a big hug.  On the way home, I told him I was 11 when my uncle, grandmother, and grandfather died just in a span of a few months, and I’d only just met my grandparents the year before.  I remember feeling sad on and off for quite a long time afterwards, and it really hurt inside.  I told him it’s best to let it out and let yourself grieve however you need to.  I hate seeing my baby hurt like that.

He’s the only one of my kids who really had a chance to have a relationship with my mom.  Here’s a photo of them in June 2001 when they met for the first time.

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And here’s one with both of my parents.

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I’m so thankful that I sent my dad a ticket to visit me that summer.  He spent his last birthday with me and got to meet Hayden for the first time, and he passed away just a few months later.  I had a compelling feeling to see him, and later, I understood why.

In August of 2013, I had that same compelling need to see my mom, and so I made that trip out there to see her.  I’m so, so very glad I did!  It was like a still small voice letting me know I needed to listen and be with my parents, and both times, it turned out to be the very last time I would see them.

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Rest in peace, mom!  No more sadness, no more sighing, no more pain…only everlasting joy and gladness to fill your heart!  Amen.

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I always go to Trader Joe’s while the kids are in their Friday gym class.  Baseball season has begun, so this was their last class.  I usually end up getting whatever dinner ideas they are sampling that day!  What can I say…I’m a sucker for good food!  Winking smile

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This time, I bought their wonderful herbed pizza dough, some TJ’s pizza sauce, some TJ’s Quattro Formaggio cheese blend, and on the way home, I got some turkey pepperoni.  I pressed out the dough by hand and put the toppings inside and then folded it over and sealed it up.  It was enough dough to make two calzones, and I served it with a Caesar salad on the side.  It was SO good!  My whole family loved it.  I’ll definitely be making this again, and it only took 15 minutes to bake.  Super simple!

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Then on Saturday night, I decided to try out a new recipe I found on Pinterest for an Italian Sandwich Torte.  This is a hot, melted sandwich that is baked in layers inside a springform pan and then popped out like a pie and sliced into wedges.  Oh, my!  This was quite a treat!

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My husband absolutely raved about it all night long and said we’d have to have it again!  I used black forest ham, Boar’s Head genoa salami, provolone, parmesan/romano, roasted red peppers, spinach, eggs, and crescent roll dough from Trader Joe’s.  It was as visually appealing as it was downright delicious!  Here’s the recipe link:  http://www.shugarysweets.com/2011/03/italian-sandwich-torte.  Enjoy!

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Well, in closing this week, I’d like to post a little tribute to my mom.  Shown here is a photo of her as a little girl of about 5, and then again in 2008 at our family reunion.  This was just a year before she had her first stroke.  This is the mom I know and love so much.  I’ve always thought she was so beautiful.  Love you forever, mom!

Mom As a Little Girl

If you have someone you love in your life, take the time to tell them how much you love them, how much you appreciate them, and how much you treasure them.  You never know if it’s the last time you’ll be able to show them how much you care, and you can’t love them too much.