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Mother’s Day, I Just Cant

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It is 10 years ago today since my mother has been gone. I still remember it like it was yesterday. The day before was a Saturday and I had gone to my nephew’s soccer game with my little girl.

Day Before

Taken at my nephew’s soccer game the day before my mother died.

Later that afternoon, I would be taking overnight care of my mother with my aunt and her best friend. My sister and I were taking turns along with other family members since my mother had been on hospice for a week or so. Actually we had taken turns over the last month but the bed downstairs and oxygen tank just helped to make things easier for all of us. We had known for awhile that she would not get any better and logically we all know everyone goes but knowing your parent’s death is imminent is freakin strange, devastating but not quite yet. I had begun to have anxiety about the upcoming Mother’s Day (which came exactly a week after she passed) because what do you get your dying mother for Mother’s Day? Flowers, that will immediately wilt and remind her that she is? Candy that she won’t eat? A keepsake, for who at this point? Time with me she had as well as my care and love for her forever and always and I never had to make a purchase. I was guiltily relieved.

The night was long. She didn’t sleep soundly. The next day, while I was still there my godmother came to see her. When my sister and I switched later that day, her godmother came. She was there when she passed. I always thought those visits helped my mom to let go. She had picked these beautiful women long ago to help us along our way and they were still there and willing to do so and while I have them and plenty of other (thankfully) willing, able, loving, active fantastical surrogates, all of which deserve to be honored as such, Mother’s Day just really makes me want to shut down. When I think of what I want to do for Mother’s Day, all I see is me in bed in a hoodie with the hood on and closed in the fetal position crying either watching movies or listening to music she loved. It would make me feel horrible and yet horribly close to her. But I live in the world and as such, it cannot be…not forever anyway. I thought I could avoid Mother’s Day forever but the avoidance only lasted for as long as my grandmother would celebrate without me (and honestly how long I figured my mother would allow me to not celebrate with her, is that weird?). It got worse as my kids got older and wanted to celebrate with/for me. I still avoid celebrating as much as I can while trying to remember how wonderful the women in my family are and how much they deserve when I can’t.

Lately, I’ve been also been thinking about how long a decade is. If I didn’t have my mother from 0-10 years old, how different would I be? Good lord, if she was gone from 10-20? Well, rounding up, I’ve been without her from 30-40 and I know for a fact that I am a lesser person for her not being here. She wasn’t perfect but she was MY MOM. As a mom, I understand that we are the air for our kids, gravity. The essential of all essentials…and mine is gone.

Life goes on, I get it. My momma raised a smart girl. We muddle through. We do our best even as our hearts ache.

She'll be 13 this month. The best thing my husband ever did for me was plan her 3rd birthday party.

Mom, with the only kid of mine she knew.  She’ll be 13 later this month. The best thing my husband ever did for me was plan her 3rd birthday party.

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Bob’s 4th and Why We Can’t Do Small Parties

Angry Birds Party anyone?  All party photos, courtesy of my dad.

Angry Birds Party anyone? All party photos courtesy of my dad.

Sorry folks, no new recipe today. I tried. I got one about 75% right but it still needs more work. In the meantime, I keep writing down more ideas and ideas. I just need to find the time and more time to work on them. Meanwhile, life still goes on and little boys have birthday parties…

Bob’s actual birthday. Big one for my baby and cupcakes for his sisters. I finally figured out what to do with half used boxes of cake mix…

I never understood the small family party. Growing up it didn’t exist for me. Sure, sure, some parties are bigger than others with friends, godparents and their families, and if I was lucky friends from school but my smallest party ALWAYS at least included my mother’s own nuclear family with her four siblings, their kids, and my grandparents. 30 years later the tradition continues…

When my husband and I discussed what we would do for our son this year, the word was always “something small”. We even discussed *gasp* not doing something but my aunt and grandma wouldn’t have it (even offering to make food). I mean we did that whole football themed party last year with family and friends with all the Super Bowl type goodies that I made where I hardly got any sleep but still had a good time and managed to pull it off. And even though it ended well, that is not what we were going for this year. We even thought Chuck E Cheese and back to our house for cake and piñata. But then I thought, if I still have to clean up house for guests we might as well just have the darn thing at home again but just invite family. But therein lies the conflict. My kids, my sister’s kids, my uncle’s, my nieces…our small family party not including a new baby cousin is already 9 kids. I love it and I hate it. I hate eliminating friends too because that means most of my husband’s side because his side is only friends because his dad’s family lives in Texas and his mom was an only child. Suffice to say my husband’s upbringing was way different than mine with my mother’s four siblings and my father’s thirteen (who, sure we don’t get to see ALL of lots, but even split up into smaller nuclear family groups that we see more often still adds up to a lot of people).

I got this idea from Sesame Street faces I'd seen done in veggie and fruit form.  For veggies I just used ranch dip but I will post links at the bottom of the post for the fruit dips.

I got this idea from Sesame Street faces I’d seen done in veggie and fruit form. For the veggies I just used ranch dip but I will post links at the bottom of the post for the fruit dips.

So we didn’t have family friends THIS time (which adds about 9 more kids) but speaking of my dad’s family, I was so blessed to have my cousin and his wife come to the party. They live several hours north of us and were down south for the usual sights with his wife and kids. We were going to meet up but then I invited them to Bob’s birthday instead hoping they’d come and they did. There are a handful of cousins that live up north that I would say I am close to and my cousin Robert is definitely near the top of that list. We married weeks apart, we both have three kids, and his wife is just as much my cousin as he is. So the addition of them was fantastic and I like it when my mom’s family gets excited about seeing some of my dad’s family. I always did, even back before my mom passed and even when they were still married. It feels like that is what family is supposed to feel like (to me anyway)…BIG.

Got the idea for Angry Birds Cupcakes from thecraftingchicks.com.  I came up with the black ones on my own.  It was my hubs favorite!

Got the idea for the Angry Birds Cupcakes from thecraftingchicks.com. I came up with the black ones on my own. It was my husband’s favorite!

So while I complain about the work, it is always worth it. Where we cut back was regular food. We went with Costco pizza and salad. Way less work, and it made for a happy host. This was my last chance for something small too. My husband and daughter who usually celebrate together had a smallish one last year so I think we are going a bit bigger this year. Then we are going to combine my oldest with her middle school graduation so…even bigger. I don’t know if I’d have it any other way…or if I could?!

My GeekyLink for this week, I had bookmarked awhile ago but hadn’t read through it till today. Oh my goodness, this list of Free Stuff from NASA will provide hours upon hours of fun for my 9 year old! They have paper models with instructions! She had asked for big kid legos for Christmas and Santa obliged. She even bought a set herself with Christmas money. She is beginning to get into experiments. So I think she could get into the idea of a paper model. Especially if I make it clear she could work uninterrupted for most of it. There are links to free printable posters. She’d love them. I need to go back and look at the lists of apps and audio files that you can make into ringtones.

He's a good boy...

He’s a good boy…

The dip that I made for the strawberry Red Angry bird with blueberries for eyeballs and eyebrows and grape kiwi snouted Green Pig was a Brown Sugar Fruit Dip from Half Baked. I found it pinned as a cheesecake fruit dip so I thought it was perfect for the strawberries.

For the pineapple Yellow Angry Bird, I made this Coconut Cream Fruit Dip from Dessert Now, Dinner Later! This recipe was a revelation! I had never heard of using whipped coconut cream before. It was hard not to finish off the leftovers.

While, both recipes call for Cool Whip I used homemade lightly sweetened whipped cream, just my preference.

The Crafting Chicks link for Angry Birds Cupcakes that I loved! Can you believe I had every other chip in my cupboard except minis? I had to use individual jimmies for the eyeballs instead and poke them into the eyes of the birds. It worked. I used colored sugar on all of them. About those snouts…frosting a cut marshmallow is no easy task.

All the leftover fruit and veggies that I only used a few of in making the faces, made its way onto extra platters so nothing went to waste.

Our Summer Days Are Numbered

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Scarlett O’Hara Pecan Bars

I baked two things earlier this week but nothing I felt was good enough to share, sorry.  So I am bringing you a few things I made for my brother-in-law’s 40th we celebrated in June and a couple things I made my dad for his birthday yesterday.  Not my recipes but some pretty pics and some things to share.  First up, my sister and brother-in-law have my firstborn and have kept her almost a week, galavanting up and down the state of California (with two days in Nevada to visit my brother) and I am deep in the throes of missing her but she doesn’t get home till late tomorrow.  My husband is worse off than I am, with her siblings barely noticing.  I completely trust them but they haven’t posted many pictures and yesterday we didn’t get any.  My husband asked me three times yesterday, “Any new pictures of Angela?”

Making Pecan Bars…

Especially for my oldest, this summer has been the greatest for us as a family so far.  We couldn’t do much in June because of all the prep work for the girls’ recital (they haven’t gone back to dance once yet, it has been a nice break for all of us).  I fit in a trip to Knott’s before recital week because I knew we would be stuck not doing anything for awhile.  Then we went camping and the week after my husband had jury duty.  It lasted about a week and a half.  We didn’t do anything then because well, it was the first time my husband had a 9-5 type schedule since, well, ever.  It was nice to have him home during the evenings plus there was always the chance he might come home early.  Once that was all over, we made it a point to do something with the kids on his days off.  We went to the mountains (to play in the streams), the beach, Knott’s Berry Farm, and planning a return trip to both the mountains and the beach for their last two weeks off (yes, two weeks!).  By ourselves, the kids and I went to a few movies and Soak City and had a few lawn sprinkler and kiddie pool days.

Birthday Desserts and my first frosting rose!

My husband thinks they are doing too much.  It doesn’t help that the girls are already planning to spend the night at my aunt’s house next week.  I feel like we need to make up for last summer where we kept saying we were going to do stuff and we just let the summer slip by (to be fair, last summer was the summer of girls down the street coming over EVERY day).  Luckily for me, I already have my girls ready for school in the clothes department.  That is what I did while the 9 year old was gone.  She is not a shopper.  I do have to make a doctor’s appointment for Bob so we can have him start preschool in the fall, Angela needs some new glasses, both girls need haircuts and other than that we are all set.  Despite the fact that we have been operating on limited funds over the summer (thanks again Sally cat!) it has been a really great summer with lots of good times with the kiddos.

Zucchini Squares

Finally, some GeekyLinks from Comic Con.  Mostly, if you wanna see some cool panels check out GeekNation.  They have videos from quite a few panels at Comic Con, including Fringe, Buffy, Doctor Who, Walking Dead and more.  Lots of new trailers also came out that week, like this one, but for the life of me I cannot find the few pieces of footage that were shown for Pacific Rim, which I heard looked fantastic!  On a sadder note, Sally Rides’s passing this last week really hit my heart.  I was the little girl that wanted to be an astronaut.  That wanted to go on Double Dare just to win it all and go to Space Camp.  I worshiped the movie SpaceCamp.  I was angry at the little kids that said they didn’t want to be astronauts after the Challenger tragedy.  I just figured that was a risk I was willing to take to get into outer space.  I grew into the woman that watched Contact and just wished Matthew McConaughey would just get off Jody Foster’s back and stop trying to deter her from going on that mission.  The woman that totally geeked out the first time she went to a NASA JPL open house.  It wasn’t only because Sally Ride was a female but more because she was just a girl from California like me.  She could do it, so I could do it.  My life went a different way and other interests took precedence but she was always someone I admired.

Making Zucchini Squares…

Recipe Links Follow

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