I often feel like a broken record on repeat in this place. I find myself saying thank you time and time again.
Your kind words and thoughtfulness meant so much to me and our family. I didn’t respond to any comments here or on Facebook or Instagram because I was just too raw. I hope no one takes my lack of response to your comments to mean I didn’t see or appreciate them. I do, and I know the rest of our family does as well.
I think we are all are managing the best we can. When someone asks how we are doing, I tell them that it changes from hour to hour and day to day. I’ll often say “I’m ok, but I reserve the right for that to change”. Our family is close and I am thankful for that. Our friends and extended family have been amazing, and we have more support than you could ever imagine. The team at Hospice was very helpful to our family, and we’re so thankful for that service. Having Team Hospice on your side is like winning the lottery…in a game that no one really wanted to play in the first place.
Mom’s long-time shower aide, Susan was with us the whole time. She has been a part of the family for the last five years, coming three times a week to help my mom with bathing and doing some housework in my parent’s part of the house. She went above and beyond, especially in the last few days, and always did so with a smile on her face and my mom’s best interest at heart.
Friends dropped off food, took Jack and my nephew swimming for days at a time, sent prayers and good wishes, and so much more. We tried our best to farm the boys out in the final days, and a pregnant and barfy friend took Jack for a few hours. A friend who already has FOUR BOYS (just pausing to consider how insane I would be in that scenario), totally watched Jack for an afternoon. One of my best friends invited us to a trampoline place so the boys could bounce their little asses off. Church people reached out and sent support. Our pastor brought pizza, spent time talking about heaven with Jack, and prayed over my mom.
And of course, there was Troy and his very blunt Grandma’s card that she sent. 🙂
In other words, through this really tough time, we were blessed to be surrounded by good people and lots of love. To recap, thank you. You all mean more to me than you’ll ever know.
I’m going to shift gears a bit, and focus on other things. We promised my mom that we would be ok and life would go on because we had each other. There is life beyond grief, and comfort food. Though, I have been consuming a buttload of comfort food in the last two weeks. More on that later!
Our trip to Los Angeles (up until I needed to rush home) was filled with fun and a wonderful visit with our friends. I ate In-N-Out twice (grilled cheese with everything but lettuce, add grilled onions please), and got my hair brushed for three whole minutes by my friend’s daughter. The kids played together so well this trip, and it was such a relief.
The wedding we were there to attend was beautiful and on a cliff in San Pedro overlooking PCH. We pulled up to the location and I said “that is so cool”, and Troy said “that is a scene from The Usual Suspects”. Please note, Troy didn’t know how to correctly spell my middle name for the first nine years of our marriage. My middle name is the same as his mom’s first name. But he knew instantly that the Korean Bell of Friendship was from a movie. Yep. Pretty much.
After the 10-minute ceremony was over (during which I got sunburned), we headed back to our car to make our way to the reception. As Troy was buckling Bennett into the car seat (it was super windy and my dress kept flying over, so bending over to buckle him in was not in the cards), this troop randomly passed us.
Full on 1940’s makeup, clothes, and shoes. Someone was calling cadence and they were marching. They looked like they were holding missile caps in their hands. There was a 40’s car behind them, and I really desperately want to know what they were doing! Won’t you please tell me what they were doing? Please?
Despite Bennett and I flying home early, Jack and Troy “managed” to have a great time at Legoland. I got lots of photos and video throughout the day(s) and would share them with Mom when she was alert.
I mentioned the comfort food earlier. Yeah. Sooooo much comfort food. Sweets, pizza, and loads of takeout. I feel gross. I want copious amounts of vegetables. The next few weeks will be about getting back to my baseline for healthy eating, with even more emphasis placed on veggies. This is the easiest time of year to eat well, as the garden is literally barfing fresh produce faster than we can consume it. It is also the simplest time to eat amazingly healthy food at a low price point. If you’re looking to improve your eating, this magical season is when you can take your training wheels off and fly.
Most days, my lunches look like this (and yes, blackberries in sparkling water is as amazing as it sounds):
This four to six-week window of fresh tomatoes is one of my favorite times of the year. I almost never buy tomatoes from the store because they taste like pink water. Tomatoes still warm and fresh from the garden have a flavor that you can’t believe. They deserve to be honored…by being scarfed down with some olive oil, squishy mozzarella, flaky sea salt, fresh pepper, basil for some (I find the flavor of fresh basil too intense for my taste), and balsamic. I’ve never been a fan of balsamic but came across this balsamic reduction at the grocery store. The brand is Nonna Pia’s, and it has changed my taste buds for good. You get the classic balsamic twang, but without the bitterness I always disliked. It’s sweet, but not sweet. Because that is totally a thing you just need to believe me. I purchased this product myself, and thus it isn’t an ad. Amazon has it, but the price is more than I paid at the store. I really want to try their Golden reduction next. Back to the store!
With the fresh tomatoes coming faster than I can eat them (first world problems), I go back to my tried and true method for preserving tomatoes. I freeze them. A rimmed baking sheet with parchment on it is the perfect freezing set up for tomatoes. Allow them to fully freeze and then transfer them to a freezer bag. It gives you a lot of flexibility on how to use them later on. If you freeze them individually, they don’t stick together in the bags. Later in fall, when it isn’t as hot, I process them into soup and can them. This year I am going to can a boatload of peeled whole tomatoes for a version of our favorite soup that I discovered last year. Home canned diced tomatoes are always super useful to have on hand as well.
Meal plan time! More veggies, more whole foods, less junk! In addition to the dinners below, I’m going to make this chicken and quinoa dish to have on hand for lunches.
Tuesday:: Leftover chopped salad, topped with grilled chicken, and bruschetta on the side. To make it a quicker meal, Troy will grill the chicken the night before when he does the zucchini and corn.
Wednesday:: Pasta with sauteed diced zucchini, onions, garlic, and fresh tomatoes. I’ll pair it with leftover chopped salad, and fresh cucumbers with homemade hummus.
Friday:: Popcorn and movie night
Saturday:: Lettuce wraps. I’ll use the leftover pulled pork, add some ginger, soy, and sesame oil. Chopped peanuts, cilantro, lettuce, cucumbers, and carrots. Boom, lettuce wraps in less than 15 minutes. We’ll pair it with grilled corn and Asian stir-fried green beans.
Sunday:: Family dinner
Grocery spending this week.
Smith Brothers Farms – $19.94
Fred Meyer – $34.47 (Airheads were the Friday freebie, and thus will find their way into Jack’s stocking from Santa).
Trader Joes – $46.34
Why is everything in this photo green?
Farmer’s Market – $29.45
What are you having this week?