Okay, so originally I said that I was going to take just a few days to get some things taken care of and then be back on the writing track.  Well, one thing led to another and then it was coming up to Labor Day weekend and the start of school.  I set a deadline for myself to get back on track with things starting Labor Day weekend.  Yesterday, we began to get our house and lives back into some resemblance of order.

You see, when I wrote this post, we had multiple things happening all at once in our family.  My grandfather passed away that morning.  I had been dealing with some health issues that led me to a trip to the hospital ER a couple days before.  It’s in the reproductive area and is nothing life threatening but it involved lots of blood loss and some pain.  I will spare you the rest of the details.  It’s not so pretty.  A couple hours after my mother called early in the morning to let me know about my grandfather, my ob/gyn called and said that the next step to healing was strict bedrest.  Yes, we are talking strict.  I was only supposed to get up to use the restroom and get drinks or food if necessary. 

The combination of those 2 things in a matter of hours sent me into a tailspin of frustration.  I wasn’t supposed to ride in a car, it was too much sitting and jostling.  How was I going to be there for my mother and sister at the visitation and funeral?  I ended up missing the visitation and only attending the funeral.  I didn’t even go to the “luncheon” afterwards.  Everyone understood, but I wanted to be there with my sister and mom because there were many interesting things occurring amongst the extended family in the wake of my grandfathers passing. 

Things like, people fighting over material items before the body was even cold (my grandmother had passed away 2 years ago almost to the day, so she wasn’t there to fend them off in her fiesty ways).  Or one particular relative going to the funeral home and requesting to remove the dentures from my poor grandfathers mouth because they had bad teeth and wanted to use his.  I know….absurd and gross.  The poor funeral directors unsewed the mouth and did so in the evening hours in order to meet the “families wishes”.    My mother apologized to the funeral directors who dealt with many of the families oddities in stride.  Although, they did say, it was the strangest request they had ever had.

After the funeral took place, I was still on bedrest.  Thanks to the support of friends and family, the first week went alright.  Tomas stayed home from work on personal and bereavement time.  The poor guy looked totally frazzled after about 4 days.  He had to sort coupons and go grocery shopping after I dictated the list.  He brought kids to playdates and to the park.  He cooked many meals and delivered things to me in bed with no complaining.  Truly a saint, but who are we kidding, he was out of his element and he was trying to work from home as much as possible since he had some big projects underway.  He had to go back to work the next week and emotionally, he couldn’t wait.  I don’t blame him it was a lot.

Well, Tomas went to work on Monday.  I went and was kindly allowed to sit at a friends house for the day while she watched the kids play with hers.  It was a great solution.  The kids had fun and I actually got to look at something beyond the walls of my house.  That day went fine and things were looking up.

Tuesday, however, we received a call that Tomas’s grandfather had passed away.  He had been ill for quite sometime.  He was given 6 months to live about 2 years ago.  In a way, we were thankful that his suffering was over.  He had even said “I wish my body would just die.  I am so ready.”  That allowed great comfort to us, that he was ready and his death came softly.  He just stopped while he was sleeping, and ironically that morning many of his children were visiting at the time.  Even so, we felt the loss as we prepared for this next funeral and visitation. 

The next day, we received another phone call.  Tomas’s grandmother (on the other side of the family) had passed away as well.  His family was rocked with the deaths.  It was so much to handle in such a little amount of time.  His grandmother’s passing was especially difficult for him.  His father had died when he was only a few months old in a tragic accident at home.  Grandma V. was the only person besides his aunt who was directly related to his father.  It was tough to lose that familial link. 

I was still on bedrest and having issues that indicated activity was not a real option.  I once again missed Grandpa’s visitation and this time I missed the funeral.  During the early morning of the grandpa’s funeral, I started hemorraging.  I waited until the doctors office opened.  My mother quickly came to watch the kids so Tomas could attend the funeral and burial.  After conferring with the doctors on call, they decided I should once again to into the ER (exactly one week from the 1st time).  It was the easiest place to get all the blood tests, xrays, ultrasounds, liquids or whatever I would need at once place.  If I went to their office, I would have to go from one lab to the next.  I called Tomas on his cell just as the funeral started, tearfully telling him I was off driving myself to the ER.  I was SO SO frustrated.  You see, if I had no “issues” for so many days, I could go off bedrest.  Now, I was starting from scratch again.  Do you know how hard it is to be on strict bedrest with 3 little kids?  It’s close to impossible! Most of all, I was angry that I couldn’t be there in person when Tomas had to go to the funerals/visitations alone. 

The poor guy had too much to handle that day.  He was supposed to be at a funeral/burial for one grandparent and helping organize another funeral/visitation for his grandmother.  Then his wife is crying in the ER.  Our family took over, and sent him home from the funeral with their best wishes.  He arrived at the ER and between our 2 pathetic teary faces and sad stories, we ended up receiving some of the best medical care that I have ever encountered.  I think we scared them and they just didn’t want to have to refer us to the psych ward.  Anyway, I was sent home with a hopeful prognosis and was able to attend the visitation and funeral (sitting the whole time) for Tomas’s grandmother.  Tomas spoke at the funeral service and I had to be there for that.

After all that, Tomas returned back to work and I began to move around a little more confidently.  The kids needed to prepare for school.  This past weekend was great.  We started to get “back to normal”.  We did our school shopping and on this wonderfully gorgeous Labor day weekend, we actually started to put our house back in order.  It had become a ridiculous mess.  The long relaxing weekend was just what our family needed.

And so we begin again.  Zack is off to his first day at Kindergarten.  Anson begins preschool tomorrow.  Tomas is back at work and I will continue my vigil on the couch as much as possible until further notice from the docs.  Of course, what would “normal” be without blogging now and again?  Another perk to bedrest, endless hours to search the web for interesting goodies.  Be warned, I have a whole list of things to consider.  Some a little bit weird, some a little bit alarming, and some just a little gross.

Thanks for hanging in there with me during my “time off”.  I appreciate all the kind notes and emails from people I don’t even know “in real life”.  It was great to have that support!  I also want to say a huge thank you to all the friends and family members who sent us card, meals, visits, house keeping assistance, and flowers during those couple weeks.  It was a God-send!  Our employers have also proven to be some of the most compassionate “bosses”/friends ever.  It’s been amazing.  We are looking forward to planting the trees/shrubs that were sent to us from Tomas’s work for a memorial garden.  What a wonderful, long lasting gift that was for our family! I hope that we will be able to give back when times are tough for you all as well!

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Go to fullsize imageAlanis had nothing on me a couple days ago!  I was driving home from work at “rush hour” (rush hour in Grand Rapids, MI is but an extra minute to get home) yesterday when I got the call.  The call from the hubby asking the ever looming question “What’s for dinner?”.  First of all, I hate that question.  I hear it everyday from someone and I just get so tired of having to be the one to figure out the answer.  Second of all, when I get a call like that on the way home, I know that my fam doesn’t really want anything homemade.  So, why don’t they just say it…”Can we get McDonalds?!”

Well, that was the question and due to a frenzied schedule, I caved.  I pulled into McDonalds, which just happens to be 2 blocks away from my house and ordered up a bunch of Happy Meals and Extra Value Meals.  As I am sitting in line waiting for the underpaid workers to hand over the 3 bags of unnutrious food and vats of soda, I find myself nodding and completely agreeing with the book on tape (cd actually) that I got from the library recently.  The line is long for the food and I become more involved with the content of the audio book, the information I am hearing is utterly fascinating.  Here’s where the irony comes in and I realize it as I am handed my food by a teenager who speaks English as a second language:  the book I am so into at the moment is Schlossers “Fast Food Nation”. 

Here’s part of Amazon’s summary: “On any given day, one out of four Americans opts for a quick and cheap meal at a fast-food restaurant, without giving either its speed or its thriftiness a second thought. Fast food is so ubiquitous that it now seems as American, and harmless, as apple pie. But the industry’s drive for consolidation, homogenization, and speed has radically transformed America’s diet, landscape, economy, and workforce, often in insidiously destructive ways”.

If you can imagine my aha! moment as I realized I was the one in line at McDonalds and I hadn’t even given it a second thought.  Something like 70% of all fast food purchases are unplanned and spontaneous.  The best part was that I was will to pay top dollar for my fast food but not willing to go put gasoline in my car that day because the price of a gallon of gas was 5 cents more than the day before. With my fuel light blaring at me, I continued to sit in line and wait for my fast food.   Maybe if I had fixed something at my house, I wouldn’t be so cheap on the necessary fuel. 

After getting through this book as well as having read “Chew on This” by the same author, I think I am going to have to boycott fast food for a while.  It’s just an easy filler.  There’s nothing to be gained health wise from it.  Plus, after I got my supersized soda, I realized they had switched back to styrofoam cups!  That was the last straw for me…literally.  How am I supposed to recycle styrofoam??  I am challenging myself to see how long I can go without getting fast food.  My kids will be so disappointed.  They almost had all the characters from the Kung Fu Panda Happy Meals.  I guess we all have to sacrifice a little in the present to gain in the future!

Go to fullsize imageEverybody has their food vice.  Their weakness.  The one thing that you just can’t say no to.  For me, Easter is the worst possible time to try and control food cravings.  If any of you know me, you know that I have a full fledged sugar addiction.  Baked goods of any kind call my name (I think my body is part donut from the quantity I have eaten in life).  Anything that resembles chocolate taunts me into submission.  “Caw, Caw! Stacey, Lookie here! Lookie here!”  I can not say no!  What’s a girl to do?

I went shopping this evening for groceries.  Good healthy groceries.  I got bananas, strawberries, whole grains, you know the good  healthy stuff.  Then I passed all that Easter candy.  Can I just say 3 words…Cadbury Cream Eggs….Hmmm…Yumm….  I really really wanted those.  A couple years ago, I broke my record and counted eating 19 of those babies in the Easter season.  But, I was strong.  I opted for four one bag of Hershey’s Kisses instead.  (More bang for your buck).  So with my cart full of mostly necessary groceries, I went to check out. 

There was one woman in front of me.  She just reeked of health.  She had all sorts of reusable grocery bags.  A small cart filled with organice veggies, fruits, and yogurts.  It was obvious that everything she chose, was chosen with her and the earth’s health in mind.  I was envious of her commitment, her will power.  I looked at my cookies and candies and felt guilty.  My taste buds had led me astray again!  Then…I caught a glimpse of something in the very bottom of her shopping basket.  Can you guess what it was?  The most unhealthy, yuckiest Easter candy that’s ever been made…   It was not 1 but 2 boxes of Peeps!! 

I couldn’t believe it!!  Even a picture of health has to have a sweet food vice.  2 whole boxes of unadulterated high fructose corn syrup!  I wondered if their was anything in Peeps that made them healthy.  I don’t think so.  Unless you consider them chicken and opened the box for a while when you got home.  Then maybe you could say that they were cage free chicken that weren’t ever given antibiotics or hormones.  Yeah, that’s the ticket.  I think that’s why I always buy/eat all the Cadbury Creme Eggs too.  Cage Free.  Hormone Free.  Antibiotic Free.  Eureka!  Those things don’t just taste good, they are good for you.

Of course if you remember this scientific study, you might think twice about the peeps.  Just stick with the Creme Eggs.