Monday Memories With My Mom

The Adventures of Caring for a Mom With Alzheimer's Disease
     It's been a struggle to give my mom the attention she needs.  It seems I'm always saying to myself things like, as soon as Megan's birthday's over or as soon as homecoming's over...  She seems not so great lately.  Definitely not as bad as when she wasn't getting a lot of her services at her senior facility, but just kinda blah and disheveled and tired. 
     I need to schedule some doctor checkups, a mammogram, and probably a dentist appointment.  I also need to color her hair and take her for a haircut.  To be honest, I also need to do most of these things for myself, too.  None of it is fun.  In fact, it's not even sort of enjoyable.  I try to go in with a positive attitude, but the reality is we don't have real conversations, she moves very slowly, and she is easily confused.  I still don't like being my mom's mom...  It's hard to give and give and give.  I know how that sounds...like I am selfish and have no compassion maybe!?  Yet, I know that isn't true. 
     Motivating to do these things when I am already knee deep in my kids "stuff", trying to volunteer at school, attend the kids activities, and have projects that have been hanging over my head at home for years is hard.  Some days, I feel like I am still trying to catch up from the six months when my mom was living in my dining room.  That was two years ago. 
     I also need to do another sleepover at my mom's to see if anything has really changed or improved as far as level of care for her.  I suspect it has improved slightly, but still don't think it is where it needs to be and should be.
     This is what I found when I arrived a couple weeks ago...
The slouching has reached an all time high and my brother and I agreed that I should buy my mom some kind of chair and we need to get rid of the couch.  It offers no support, is too deep seated and is quite old and soiled.  I guess what holds me back from this is the fear that she will still manage to sit the same way in whatever I get for her.  It is also difficult for her to get up from the couch.
On a lighter note, I was happy to find a nice card from my mother-in-law.  Thanks Jackie!  My mom treasures every card (and every envelope)!  For some reason, she also seems to enjoy "writing" on the envelopes as if practicing writing her address.

Once she was safely at lunch, I ended my visit.

Megan went with me chair shopping for a couple hours last weekend.  She was desperate to avoid doing homework and hopeful I would take her to some fun stores, too.  Here are the types of chairs I am thinking.  I don't think I want a rocker or a recliner.  Do any of my caregiver friends or others have any insights, thoughts or recommendations??  I'll take any advice you have!  I feel like Goldilocks picking out a bed...

I think I am slightly hesitant on this because the kids and I would no longer be able to sit with my mom, right next to her, if she doesn't have a couch.  It was also a bit hard getting the pushy furniture salesman to grasp that my mom does not need the reclining features and that she does not have the ability to use the massaging features.  Or that the most comfortable chair in the world is not what she needs.  My mom's situation is not typical.  She does not just need the standard rocker recliner.  In fact, at one store when the guy could not find me exactly what I wanted I was secretly happy because then he left us alone!
This past week when I arrived, my mom was wearing a sweater that was stained.  I put it in the laundry.  Eventually she asked me to help her put this other jacket on and zip it up.  Then, of course, she unzipped it.
She is also desperate for her wristwatch to be the correct time.  However, she fusses with it so much that it gets messed up quite often.  When I looked at it, the stem had been pulled out and it was not running.  She just thought it was the wrong time, but even then she was not sure.  Once I reset and started it, she stared at it for quite a few minutes.  Little things like witnessing this time (no pun intended) and time again makes me sad.

And then I knew it was time for me to go.  Maybe she is not sleeping at night, maybe she is.  If she's tired, I'm going to let her sleep.

     I am determined to give this blog a little more attention in the other areas of our lives.  Perhaps only to prove to myself that I am more than just a daughter and caregiver to my mom.  Even as I am typing this, I am not convinced I will really do it.  If there is anything newsworthy, I will definitely post.  However, if I am absent on Mondays for a week or two it just means I am trying to find some kind of balance... 



Pinterest Pressure

About a month ago I pinned a recipe on Pinterest.  Not that unusual, but what was unusual was that very quickly over 500 people repinned that recipe!!!  571 to be exact.  Maybe this happens to you all the time, but I don't think I ever got that many repins before.

Sure, the recipe sounded good and fairly simple.  However, I wasn't feeling like soup 
until the weather started getting a bit chillier outside...as it has lately.  
For the love of you people, I am sharing my little Pinterest Test Kitchen experiment here, and I can tell you it turned out pretty darn good!!  It's simple and a little more hearty than some soups because of the tortellini.  I served it with some crusty garlic bread and called it a meal.
For the sake of authenticity, I followed the recipe to a tee (I don't always).  I chose to use the sun dried tomato paste instead of the sun dried tomatoes just because that's what I had.
This is a recipe that could definitely be played with to suit your taste.  I may add some baby spinach leaves or lighten it up by substituting the half and half.  However, it tastes great as is.  I will be keeping this soup in my quick lunch or dinner repertoire this fall and winter. 
571 people were on the right track!!
Let me know if you try it!!!
 You can follow me on Pinterest here!
The Ingredients

Creamy Tomato Tortellini Soup Adapted from {Mrs. Schwartz's Kitchen}
Credit www.recipeswagger.blogspot.com

2 whole large Cloves Of Garlic Minced
2 Tbl Olive Oil
2 10 3/4 oz Cans of Condensed Tomato Soup
1/4 cup Sun Dried Tomatoes, chopped or 2 Tbl Of Sun Dried Tomato Paste
2 cups Half-and-half
2 cups Chicken Stock or Vegetable Stock
1 tsp Onion Powder
1 Tbl Italian Seasoning
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
1 whole 9 Oz Package Of Cheese Filled Tortellini
1/2 cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese, for garnish

Saute garlic with the olive oil in a large stock pot over medium heat until golden brown.
Be sure to keep an eye on it so it doesn’t get too brown or burnt.
When the garlic is done, add tomato soup, tomatoes, half and half, chicken stock and spices.
Bring to a simmer.
Once simmering, drop tortellini into the soup. Cook according to the package directions.
After tortellini are cooked, ladle soup into bowls and top with parmesan cheese.

A watched pot never...simmers!


**EXTRA EXTRA!** Yummy Smells for Sale

Don't ya love how I don't blog at all...and then two posts in less than 24 hours!? 
Because I love a good deal...I wanted to call your attention to a great coupon on Yankee Candles...Buy 2 Get 2 Free!!!!!  Although I have already done some damage on Bath & Body Works fall candles, there's still nothing like a classic large jar candle from Yankee.
I picked these up at my local Bath & Body Works. The candles are 25% off there right now, so $20.99 for the large jars.  For just under $42 I got four large jars...that about $10.50/each.  Pretty hard to find these for any less than that!!!

  I am thinking maybe this is an annual offer from Yankee as I realized I did a post on it last year.  I believe I gave a couple of the candles as gifts and kept a couple for myself!!!  If you bring one to Thanksgiving dinner...someone will love you!!
You can find some tips on where the coupon can be used and the coupon by clicking here.  Of course, there is a catch -- the last day for the coupon is tomorrow, 9/28!!!!!  
(Sorry, I just got mine yesterday!)
Run, don't walk to your local Yankee, Hallmark, Bed Bath & Beyond or
other participating store!!!
What's your favorite fall scent????????

Another link to coupon -- just in case!!!!



The Untold Story...

     As September winds down, I find that I am not even close to being in a "groove" yet.  The routine and schedule I was craving in the summer seems to instead be that there is no routine.  No two days are exactly alike.  There are not days to regroup.  The closest we've had in awhile is...TODAY!  Somehow, the stars have aligned and today there is no football practice, no band, no soccer.  I feel better after being sick for three or four days.  And, wouldn't you know it, my husband returned from an out of town business trip today.  Today -- the day that pure chaos is not the norm!!  Of course, he thinks it's been like this all week!!
     Hang on while I take you on my own little merry-go-round of life!!!

Jacob's football season kicked off to a good start (that's Jacob, literally kicking it off!!)
THE UNTOLD STORY:  I missed the kickoff because I was down the street waiting for Megan to get out of physical therapy.
By the next game, I arrived to see my baby boy (who happens to be 13) sidelined with a tailbone injury...  I could see him struggling to hold back the tears through his helmet. 
Broke my heart. 
He should be able to start practicing again tomorrow.
In our spare time, we finally picked out a grown up shiny new refrigerator.  As you can see, we were "old school" for a long time.  
     THE UNTOLD STORY:   The morning delivery was scheduled, my husband texted me that he had turned off the water supply so that Lowes could hook up the ice maker.  They quickly found out the water supply was not shut off...

and now I know why I had a hard time getting a firm measurement commitment from my husband as to whether the new refrigerator would fit in our allocated space.  It did not.
But after removing some trim later that evening, he was able to slide the new refrigerator into the space! 
Things have been so crazy, I even resorted to doing this since nobody else seemed to have time for almost two weeks.
THE UNTOLD STORY:  When I cut the grass I had to work around this
which made it a lot more work. 
 Two days later, I was left with only this and the memories of my kids playing on the play structure.  Our well deserving friends came and picked it up.  (Truth is, I was a little bit sad, but mainly I regretted not waiting a couple more days to cut the grass.)
Then, should we even talk about the ongoing outdoor deck project.  Tons of progress was made Labor Day weekend and then...slowed considerably. 
  THE UNTOLD STORY:   Some of these boards are not nailed down...  Progress has slowed considerably, and on one recent stormy night Kristin and I were forced to try to save our gazebo (which was not weighted down like normal) from bending, breaking and blowing away from high winds.)

On a recent Saturday afternoon, we went right from a soccer game to the mall as it was Megan's only window for homecoming dress shopping.  Kristin came along to help.

THE UNTOLD STORY:  By the end of the night...closing time...this is how we all felt - exhausted, exasperated, hopeless!!!!  (No this is not the dress she ended up with!) 
 Yes -- she does have a dress!!

Kristin was trying so hard to be supportive of her sister at the mall...she was patient...
for so many hours
THE UNTOLD STORY:  By the end of the night even her sister agreed I should buy her those combat boots she wanted so badly.

We have only had one home football game so far this year and this rainbow appeared right before the game started.

THE UNTOLD STORY:  The band may have played harder than the team that night --
and we lost the game :(

     Kristin again tried out for the middle school volleyball team this year.

THE UNTOLD STORY:  She did not make the team...and, perhaps worse, a part of me was relieved because our schedule is already very full.  I am hoping her getting cut had more to do with the fact that she did not touch a volleyball for a year
(and not my already full schedule). 
Kristin went to the neighborhood church fair with a friend.  I ran down the usual rules with her, but apparently I didn't think of one...

THE UNTOLD STORY:  She came home with SIX goldfish.  I have honestly never been a big fan of portable fairs and rides...this didn't help! 
 As with many schools around the country, the football players wear
 a shirt and tie to school on game days.
THE UNTOLD STORY:  I honestly don't know how to tie a necktie (I know, that's terrible) and my husband was out of town.
Jacob quickly learned how on You Tube yesterday morning.
This week, with my husband gone and me being sick and all, I am grateful that Megan has been getting lots of rides to and from school and extracurricular activities.
THE UNTOLD STORY:  The rides are from one of her BFFs who just got her driver's license on Monday, and I am trying so hard not to be nervous!!
I went to the middle school and high school curriculum nights without my husband this year.
THE UNTOLD STORY:  I like it better when my husband goes along because then I can chat with the other moms and I don't have to pay attention to finding the classrooms --
I just follow him!!
We all have uploaded iOS 7 to our iPhones and iPads and I am liking it so far...
THE UNTOLD STORY:  I, for once, secretly wanted to be the first one
in our family to get it, but Kristin beat me!!!
If you're still here...thanks for following and playing along with THE UNTOLD STORY!!!



Monday Memories With My Mom

The Adventures of Caring for a Mom With Alzheimer's Disease
     On Tuesday...
     I didn't want any more time to pass without mentioning that a major milestone was reached here at Monday Memories With My Mom...  As of a couple of weeks ago, my mom has lived in her senior apartment for two years!!  Whoot Whoot!!!  Those of you who have been on this journey with me probably know that there were many times I was not sure my mom would be there two months let alone two years.  You can see about part of that transition process here .
      I am soooo grateful that -- somehow -- things have worked out and my mom has been able to hang on to a little bit of independence in a place where she is very happy and comfortable.

I also stopped by to have my mom personally sign a16th birthday card for her first granddaughter, my Megan.  Sometimes I sign a card on my mom's behalf, but the kids know when it is really Grandma so, if I can, I have her do it.

     This is what it looks like..........

as you can see her signature started out good with "Love" and then went downhill on the "Grandma" part.  This is with me prompting her on what to write, but at least it's an original!!??
     I also delivered a newsletter from my mom's cousin and her husband.  They travel extensively and the news and pictures of their travels is very interesting -- my mom LOVES reading of their adventures!  As you can see, once I give here that she basically ignores me!

     I am heading back to visit with my mom today.