How to Stay Positive When Your Mom is in the Hospital over the Holidays-Day One

Well then, you know life doesn’t just hum along without a hiccup here and there right?  My dad asked that I come help, mom has been in the hospital for 10 days now.  I’ve been on standby, holding off until my help will be most useful.  It’s hard not to feel guilty as I have been going to Christmas parties and enjoying the holidays.

Off to Florida.  Here I am in the hospital room with my mom.  She is old and trying to recover from a nasty bout of flu.  Her airways might be loaded with mucous and she is on and off with being able to keep food and medication down.  She is too weak to get out of bed.  This is going to take time to heal.  My dad does not have patience, this is just not a quick load up on fluids and your good to go.  I scheduled my return for 1 week, hoping that she gets better and that my stay will be long enough.  While I’m hopeful, it isn’t likely that she will be recovered by then.  My dad really wants the doctors to fix her, in this case, I believe her own body needs time to repair.  So, how to convince my dad of this?

How best can I serve?  Well, the first thing is to sit in this chair watching mom sleep and talk to the parade of care givers, doctors, nurses, aides about what my mom is like when she is well.  And to help advocate to get her on the recovery path as they are constantly messing with her neuro meds given the issue with keeping them down.  This will give my dad some well needed rest and I’m happy I can do that for him.  I was able to feed her last night and struggled to keep her head upright, trying the best I can to let gravity assist the digestion process.  Fortunately I have patience and the entire meal took an hour to down.

Today she sleeps, I got here at 7AM and was told she was up at 5AM.  No amount of yelling, shaking or anything will get her up.  Time.

How to stay positive? First, believe.  I know whose hands this situation as any is in.  Every day I remain thankful for the many wonderful parts of life.  Service must be a part of life and I must do my part.

Remain teachable and keep your eyes open. Keep curious, there is always something to be learned. Be kind to others.  Be helpful wherever you can.  Look around at the amazing gifts around you.  We need each other to help sustain life.  I’m so thankful to my friends who are encouraging.  And finally take time for yourself, even if it’s a small amount, do something enjoyable and savor every bit of it.  For me, that was eating out last night. I thoroughly enjoyed my dinner after not eating at all the entire day.  And I will need to work in a run at some point…it’s a MUST!!!!!!!

The caregivers are really trying and I appreciate all that they do to try to help my mom.  I’m so thankful for them because this would really be tough to do at home.

xmas hospital

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How to Stay Positive When Your Mom is in the Hospital over the Holidays-Day One

Winter Wear, Parties, Shopping, Baking and SNOW?

Tis the season!  Houston had an unexpected snow this week.  It was thrilling.  After a week of not being able to go outdoors we were treated to a fluffy layer of snow!  For people who don’t see it, this was quite a treat!  The wintry look was just right to set the scene for the season.  We got up early to go see and instantly began flinging it and of course creating snowmen.  Ours was not as impressive as some who had people-sized snowmen.  We created a snowman on the back of my son’s car and off to school he went.

 

And so the parties begin.  What to wear?  What to bring for gift exchanges and dishes?  Last week my daughter and I found some nice dresses that are sparkly and a red sweater and red blouse.  Sometimes it’s a struggle to figure out what to wear.  Someone once told me that it’s better to over dress than under dress.  I totally disagree with this!  I am so uncomfortable to over dress.  I’m a little skeptical about a sparkly dress I bought for one party, but the hostess last year was really dressed up!  One thing I have discovered is that you can dress down something dressy with a long sweater, it can be a light cover up or something heavier.

For the tennis party I went with a red sweater, black leggings and tall chestnut boots.  People brought an assortment of salads (asian salad, bright green and red veggie salad) and cheeses.  I brought stuffed sweet peppers with goat cheese, chopped bacon and green onions.  This dish does not travel well, but if you serve them right out of the oven, they are great!  At the outdoor mall, they have 50% off sales so I was able to find a designer accessory for the $30 gift exchange.  We played a gift exchange game, and the first gift was “stolen”, it was a cute vest jacket drape and scarf, and I took home a wine purse and a nice bottle of wine.

My husband wanted to go shopping for his Christmas gift.  So we made a day of it.  The outdoor mall is so much nicer than indoor malls.  I love the vibe. You can spend hours in a mall and get that trapped sick feeling.  Maybe it’s stale air, overwhelming perfume, florescent lights, who knows, but the outdoor mall isn’t like that at all!  He found two coats that he liked and some jeans.  We spontaneously went out for a really nice dinner.  The lights were turned low, Christmas trees glowing, they even varied the music between Christmas music and other soft music, which is so nice!  It was so enjoyable to discuss upcoming plans, birthdays, trips, concerts…My husband is really good to me.  There is nothing like topping off the evening in really comfy PJs and a great movie like The Reverent.

perrys

One group of friends always does a cookie/treat exchange.  Normally I like to bake and try different recipes.  This year, I am still trying something different, truffles!  I’ve never made truffles before and they look so good!  I found a box that I can layer and have 12 truffles for each friend, 4 of each variety which are peppermint oreo, sugar cookie and chocolate/peanut butter.  Recipes were found on… where else?  Pinterest!

truffles

Winter Wear, Parties, Shopping, Baking and SNOW?

Ready for the Holidays

Here is a reason to stop fighting the Christmas creep.  By decorating early it helps with motivation to get into the season especially when you have plans celebrating with friends and family! I have been a big procrastinator.  Not this year.  I am embracing what I see every week on the Pilates wall…

DETERMINATION

is doing what

needs to be done

even when you don’t

feel like doing it

I usually do a Christmas photo and letter to family we don’t see often and managed to actually get it done.  Maybe it is slighly easier when the kids are older.  The boardwalk has an enormous tree and it seemed like the perfect place to take our family photo.

towne lake tree

And this year we don’t have storage for our artificial tree so it is the first time we got a real one.  The grocery store sells Christmas trees and we walked over to the grocery store “Christmas tree forest”, selected and walked home with our tree through the parking lot.  This is truly a suburban version of selecting a tree from a tree farm, a traditional all day event that took maybe 15 minutes.  It may not have been the highlight event for the entire family, but it was an event that I think was fun.

For years I have been talking about changing the decorations.  For whatever reason my husband only likes white lights on the tree, so white lights it is to keep the peace.  And I did a silver, gold and white theme.  The tree is topped with sparkly winter branches inclusive of a Harry Potter snowy owl.  My inspiration came from, Pinterest of course!  To duplicate the beads I saw on the Pinterest tree I found these glittery balls that I guess you put in a bowl, but I thought, why not string them like popcorn.  It was a little time consuming, but the outcome was what I was going for and it did bring back memories of strung popcorn we did at my aunt and uncle’s house.

christmas tree

Now for blending shopping, baking and get togethers with friends.  The good stuff.  The first of a few Christmas parties was last night.  It’s fun to see how people theme their parties.  The party last night was one of a friend of mine.  It was also her husband’s work Christmas party.  They did a chili competition and provided sides.  You could either participate in the chili competition or bring a desert or bottle of wine for the chili winner’s gift basket.  The winning chili was a korean chili (go figure in Texas!!!).  What a cool idea!

Ready for the Holidays

Christmas Traditions

Sitting around the table at a Christmas party we were asked what were some of our Christmas traditions?  I never really thought about it, but we actually do have Christmas traditions.  Some that have lasted over the years and new ones that are fun to start.

It would seem like the traditional feast and what is served would be a big one!  Turkey or ham?  It was fun to go to a friends house once that served traditional Italian food.  My sister-in-law prepared a nice traditional favorite after Christmas dinner (which was around lunch time).  So around 8pm it was nice to have a little snack.  Being that we are in Texas, it’s no surprise that there is a lot of Mexican influence.  A nacho recipe from my brother-in-law’s mother was the traditional treat my sister-in-law made.  These are not just any nachos though!   You use corn tortillas and cut them in quarters and then fry them in a pan. Then transfer them over to a baking sheet and slather some refried beans (from the can) on them.  Then you place deli thin sliced colby-jack cheese on top and bake them at 400 degrees for 10 minutes or until the cheese has melted. To top them, add sour cream a jalapeno (from the can) and sliced avocado.  These were sooooo good!  This was enjoyed while watching a Christmas movie and playing Texas Hold’em.

Needless to say I felt a bit self conscious when an elder person told me to watch and not eat so much.  He’s right, but I’m like really?  I mean o.k., so I did over do it the day before and had a stomach ache.   Then I barely mentioned I was going to go running and kept getting asked when I was going to go?  Seriously?  I did eventually go and dragged some people with me and the dog, which was fun, I’ve never ran with a dog before.  With the weather so damp in south Texas, there hasn’t been much opportunity to get out and do things.

Who doesn’t have the tradition of last minute shopping?  I mean, even if that isn’t a planned decision it always ends up happening.  My daughter and I had so much fun shopping Christmas eve.  You would think there would be massive lines and misery. Luckily this was not the case.  We found some amazing deals on clothes.

Scanning over social media it was really fun looking at other people’s traditions.  Holidays can be stressful.  Not every one has warm moments or memories that are happy around this time of year.  It doesn’t mean you can’t start a new tradition.  My sister-in-law has many sayings displayed throughout her house.  One in particular caught my eye, and that is, “Do something today that makes you happy”.  It doesn’t have to be anything big.  Even when you have little, there is something to be grateful for.  I’m grateful for my family and the warmth we celebrated this year.

christmastraditions

 

Christmas Traditions

Christmas spirit mood

Finally we are getting some cooler weather.  And the days are definitely darker.  This is exactly the type of inspiration to get into the holiday spirit.  Little by little the decorations are coming out.  I struggle with liking the same decorations every year, but once they are up I love the atmosphere.  Especially at night or in the early morning when you look at the soft glow.  It’s cold outside and raining.  We’ve enjoyed a fire in the fireplace twice this season.  With it usually so warm in south Texas, when it gets into the 40s, it’s cold inside. I have fought not to put on the heat and so far haven’t had too.

christmasfireplace

Another big mood setter is Christmas baking, every year I bake something to give away.  This year I wanted to try making Christmas tree brownies.  I always give myself an opportunity to try in case it doesn’t work out, that way adjustments can be made before the final product is gifted.  So this recipe called for an 8×8 pan, when I made the brownies they came out way too thick.  So I cut them in half and will use half the batter next time.  I guess I could use a bigger pan, but the brownies at 1/2 the size are perfect! My nana always made brownies, blondies, toll house cookies and rum balls for Christmas ! I really loved that ! Miss her ! I aspire to be like her , active, friendly , helpful, fun ! She was a beautiful person !

christmas-tree-brownies

I made chili too.  Texas is FAMOUS for chili.  Tonight couldn’t be a better night for it.  I have adjusted my recipe over the years and this is the one my family really likes.  The most important ingredient is the meat.  The grocery stores will provide chili meat which is usually chuck 80% lean and it looks like 1/4 inch thick tubes.  Here is our recipe for 4 people:

1 lb of chili meat

1/4 green pepper (diced)

1/4 onion (diced)

1 clove garlic

1/2 can of 14 oz pinto beans

1/2 can of 14 oz kidney beans

1/2 can of 28 oz crushed tomatoes

seasoning (1 tablespoon of cumin, 1-2 tablespoons Gebhardt chili powder)

Directions: Brown beef and add to a crock pot.  Then add diced peppers and onions, garlic, drain beans and add crushed tomatoes to the pot and put it on low to warm for 1-2 hours.  It may seem wasteful to leave the rest of the can.  If we liked leftovers, we would add more meat and use all of the contents of the cans.  Otherwise, we can just use the beans and tomatoes for something else.  We top it with shredded cheese and serve it with frito corn chips (just the regular kind) I guess I would name it low key chili.   It’s not really spicy and it doesn’t give anyone indigestion.

The rest of this evening needs to be spent next to a roaring fire with a Christmas movie. Just need the football game to finish 😉

Christmas spirit mood

Christmas Party Guest

Last night I went to a party hosted by one of my tennis friends.  There were about 30 women young and old that went to the party and it was a blend of her friends, family, neighbors and co-workers.  Guests were to bring a dish and a $30 gift for a gift exchange.

When I arrived I was in awe with the amount of Christmas decorations she had in her home.  It was truly spectacular. Everything was decorated Christmas.  There were amazing nativity displays.  And she had so many angels.  I mean in her living room she had all of the cubbies that house other things during the year decked out with all things Christmas.

So my friends kind of stuck together and we didn’t mingle too much.  We did enjoy ourselves.  I should mention that the hostess is Venezuelan.  And her aunt made the most amazing dish…bollos pelones.  OMG this is to die for.  They are a meat dumpling in a corn flourish dough.  I just googled the recipe and pinned it on Pinterest.  I know that there is no way I will be able to come close to this, but I might try for fun someday.  Side note… I’ve tried to make other culture recipes that were an absolute flop.  Like Brazilian Pao de Queijo :*(.

Back to the party, so we ate and had some eggnog martinis.  And do what women do best!  Then we gathered by the tree for the gift exchange.  I must say it took about an hour to go through the entire gift exchange game.  So here is how it goes, everyone draws a number from a bowl.  The person that gets number 1 goes first but can steal a gift if it hasn’t been frozen (stolen 2 times) at the end.  So I was number 9.  And my friend was number 1.  I stole a pair of Kendra Scott earrings, but that was quickly stolen from me and I ended up with cream.  The items that were popular were the earrings of course, two capes like red riding hood…(interesting), a really cute robe that looked kind of cheetahish but the spots kind of looked like hearts, a really pretty vase and a jewelry box.

So I gave a really nice bottle of French wine and some cheese and breadsticks.  I was the only one that gave that, so I hope it was ok.  I would have been happy with it!  I also had a tough time with what to bring for the side dish.  I ended up bringing a tortellini salad (BLT) so it was bacon, spinach, cherry tomatoes and cheese filled tortellini in a sour cream ranch dressing.  My family gave it the thumbs up so that is what I went with.

elvia xmas party

elvia xmas party2

All I can say is I’m happy that I was invited and I really love my friends.  ❤

 

Christmas Party Guest