Friday, April 20, 2018

What did I get myself into?

When I "signed on" to be my mother-in-law's caregiver I didn't fully realize what that would entail.  I knew my father-in-law did things for her, but I figured it was mostly just getting her food and making sure her blood sugar levels were all right.   It's been a lot more than that.

You see my mother-in-law has spent the majority of her 80 years in a recliner.  20+ years ago when I met her, she was mobile, but ate and slept in a recliner.  I didn't think much of it, the sleeping seemed a little weird, but to each their own.   She was walking and taking care of herself.  About 10 years ago she broke her leg.  She is not a tiny woman, so getting around became almost impossible.   Because of her diabetes and how she managed it (not well), my father-in-law didn't want her to get out of the chair very often because if she had a low blood sugar she would fall.

You know the fairytale: Jack sprat could eat no fat and his wife could eat no lean......well that is them.   Now my father-in-law was a strong man in his day, but he is definitely lean.   At 75-80 it was beginning to take a toll on him, probably long before that.   He couldn't lift her and would have to call for help, whether it be from a friend or 911.  So the chair became her way of life.   Eventually, she moved to a lift recliner, because it made it easier for her to get out of it, especially on days when she wasn't feeling very strong.

Fast forward to now.  We knew she basically didn't leave the house anymore except for doctor's appointments.   When my husband went back to help get them ready to move out here he got to see first hand how bad things had truly gotten.  He tried to give me a heads up, but until you are actually in the middle of it, you really have no idea what to expect.   It's like having a baby to take care of again, a very large baby.  The only difference......in most cases, you have time to prepare and are looking forward to your new bundle of joy.  It's usually something you have planned for.

While we knew that at some point we would be taking care of them, it still came about rather suddenly.   Thankfully, we had put in a handicap bathroom in the area where my mother-in-law would be staying because we knew we would need it.   But it seemed like overnight it happened.  One day I was looking forward to spending time with my husband as the kids were grown, and the next I was thrust back into the role as caregiver to a baby.  Back to wiping butts and giving baths.   Suddenly I was at another person's beck and call, want and need.

Taking care of your parents is not an easy task by any means.  It is a big commitment and responsibility and one not to take on flippantly, but, it is the right thing to do.   And as much as my mother-in-law drives me crazy, I still choose this over putting her in a home.   That doesn't mean that won't happen, but for as long as we are able we will take care of her. 

Friday, April 13, 2018

Disclaimer!

The thing about blogging is knowing what to share.  For me this is kind of like a release valve.  It's not always going to be sunshine and lollipops, that's not how life works.  There are good days and bad days and I try to take all of them in stride.

That being said, I know there are friends and family that read my blog so......

Disclaimer:
You may not always like what I share, it may seem to personal.....especially on the caregiving side.  But the thing is life isn't pretty and caregiving isn't easy.  We live in bodies of disgrace and we are all imperfect beings, so if I share something that you think maybe I shouldn't, or is a little to "personal"......well, get over it.  My goal is to be able to help someone else, like my friend's blog helped me when I needed it.  I want people to know they are not alone.  I want people to know that it's hard, but it does have it good days.   But mostly, I'm doing this for myself and for my sanity.

Don't sweat the small stuff

Being a caregiver is not an easy job.   Being a caregiver to a parent is even harder.  The child becomes the parent, but the parent still wants to be the parent.   It's a fine line to walk while still trying to give them the respect they deserve as your elder. 

It's a constant struggle and one that, if you're not careful can take a toll.   You learn to pick your battles and if you're smart you try to avoid the unimportant ones as much as possible.

Case in point......we had fajitas this evening.  I love fajitas, especially when the hubby makes them....he really is a good cook.  Anyway......  I took a fajita to my mother-in-law with her side of sour cream and guacamole and was getting ready to go up and eat mine when she suddenly decided I needed to cut it up for her.  Now mind you, I have NEVER cut it up for her before and expressed my surprise that she wanted it cut up this time to which she adamantly said that I always cut it up for her.

Now I had two options, continue to argue with her raising both our blood pressures, or move on.  I really wanted to argue, to be right.....but taking a deep breath I instead, conceded the point and said I wasn't going to argue......and never one to let someone else have the last word, she curtly said she wasn't going to either. 

This has now become my life, when to enter the battlefield (Yes, you do need to wear your oxygen if you still want to live) and when to just sit on the sidelines (Yes, you really were asleep and not just resting your eyes).  I don't always make the right choice, but I'm getting better at spotting them. 

Side note:  Just because you decide to sit on the sidelines doesn't mean you won't get frustrated in doing so.   The sooner you can let the small stuff go, the happier you'll be....trust me!  Now, if only I can follow my own advice.


Wednesday, April 4, 2018

This is my life - Part 2

The year was 2015.  My youngest graduated from high school in May and my oldest graduated from college in December.  My mother moved out sometime in between.  Oh, and we got a dog....Gidget.
 Isn't she a cutie!!

This was also the year I went back to work for the first time in almost 20 years!  I never graduated from college, and unlike most people, really have no desire to go back for a degree.   Mostly, I just wanted to get out of the house.  I didn't need to work, but I wanted to.  My only problem was I had no idea even where to begin.  I wanted to be a receptionist, but everything I applied for wanted experience in programs I knew nothing about.  I started thinking about taking some classes so that I could add it to my sparse resume.  Instead, I got a job as a cashier at a local grocery store.  I didn't mind it, but standing on my feet all day was killer!  I enjoyed all the people and actually being able to interact with them.

About two months into that job someone told me about an opening at a local office for the front desk.  I thought what the heck I would apply.  After two interviews, I got the job!  I was going to be working at the front desk!  I started Thanksgiving week of that year.  

Oh, I almost forgot, this was also the year I colored my hair for the first time in my life.  I didn't really color it, but got highlights, lots of highlights, and I loved them!  I wished I had the courage to do it earlier!  But better late than never!

Fast forward to 2017.  Things began to change once again.   My oldest moved out, got engaged and then married all before the year was even over.  My youngest was still trying to figure out who he was and what he wanted to do with his life, in fact he still is.  My mother, bless her heart moved two times, into what we hope will be the last place for awhile.  Which brings us to the latest chapter in this ever changing thing called life.

In July 2017, my husband(and his brother) and I began the process of moving his parents out here to live with us for health reasons and once again I was thrust into the role of caregiver.  Only this time, I was the main caregiver, unlike the last time when my mother was and I was just the helper.   It's amazing what time does to a person's memory.   I had actually thought I did more than I did last time, when in reality I was more just an observer there to help as needed.   This time, it was my mother-in-law who needed the help as she is diabetic and not very mobile, so the caregiving fell to me by default as the lone female in the house.  Well, except the dog, but I don't think she would be much help.

My youngest has been a big help as he is home while hubby and I are at work.   I know that is a big part of what is keeping him from moving on and it pains me.  We, the hubby and I, are constantly telling him to "save himself" and get a job to get out of the house.   While grandpa may drive him crazy, he has a soft heart when it comes to his grandma and wants to help, but he can only do so much and as we've told him, it is not his burden or responsibility to carry.  I just pray he can find the strength to let go and get on with his life.

So....this is my life.  I work outside the home and when I'm not working, I am taking care of my mother-in-law.  Which is why I've decided to start blogging again.   As I found out when I was just the helper, sometimes you just need to vent.  And as I found out from my friend Nancy and her blog, there may be others out there that need to know they are not alone.  That being a caretaker to your parent(s), or in-laws for that matter, is not all roses and smiles.    There will be good times and there will be bad times, but the key is to dwell in the good and brush off the bad.  And I hope through this blog I can do just that.



This is my life - Part 1

Hello everyone, it's been a long time......too long!  So long I don't even know how or where to begin.  Life as I knew it has changed.  Gone are the days of being a stay at home mom that homeschooled her kids.....they grew up and I got a job.  Gone are the days of taking care of my kids, instead I get to take care of the parents, and not just my parents, but the in-laws.....I'll get to that part in another post.

Life is funny that way, it never goes as you expect or plan......there's a quote by Woody Allen, "If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans".....while I don't necessarily thinks He laughs AT us, I do think He smiles like a father would when his child tries to tells him how he could do a better job.

That's where I feel I am at....the Father, patting my head and smiling.  Now don't get me wrong, I know that His plans and ways are better then my own, and while I may not understand them as I walk them out, I know they are the best for me.  BUT, that doesn't mean I don't complain and moan at times.

The real change in my life started back in 2013.  Those that have read my posts probably remember a blog or two about my mom and stepdad moving out here and in with us, while that did take place in 2013, my life changed before they even arrived.  You see it was that year my husband, and with my support, started a church in our town.  We were hungry for the Word of God and the Holy Spirit.  While there are plenty of good churches in our town that preach the Word, we couldn't find any that really allowed the Holy Spirit to be a part of it.  So, we started a church in our basement and I became not a Pastor's wife, but a wife of a Pastor and yes, there is a difference.

Except for close friends, I told no-one.  You see, when someone finds out you are a Pastor, or the wife of a Pastor, they suddenly feel like they have to act differently around you, when they really don't need to with me.  I'm still the same dorky sinner that I was before we started the church, so I've kept that part of my life, while not hidden,  not out in the open.   Over the past 5yrs, I've slowly began to open that part of my life up to others and will continue to do so, taking it one day at a time.  I guess by posting this here, it's pretty open!

Anyway, about 4 months after we started the church, we were able to move into a building and it was none to soon as my mother and step-dad were coming out here to live with us so I could help in his care.  He had been diagnosed with advanced dementia at the beginning of the year and really hadn't fought it, so it was progressing rather rapidly.  My mother was unable to care for him by herself so we moved them into our basement that July.  I shared some of those stories herehere, and here...along with a couple others.  He passed that November peacefully in his sleep, just shy of his 84th birthday.

My mother continued to live with us while she got some things for herself taken care of, then she moved into a place of her own just across town.  Our house was ours again for the first time in over two years, but things were beginning to change again............




Thursday, January 15, 2015

Rader Farms Fresh Start Fusions

Recently I got to try Rader Farms Fresh Start Fusion.   I had never heard of them before, but got a notice from Influenster to try them out for a campaign.   They are basically frozen fruit/vegetable blends.  I like making smoothies so I thought I would give them a try.


They come in three different flavors:

        

I've made plenty of fruit smoothies, but have never been gutsy enough to try one with veggies.  I've heard they are good and you can't taste the veggies(which is good as I'm not a fan of veggies).  So I picked up a bag of the Sunrise Refresh as it sounded the "safest" to me.   I have to say these are NOT cheap......at all.  A normal bag of fruit runs around $4-6 for the same size bag, these were almost $10.  But they say you have to pay for quality and I was feeling generous.  It would be my splurge for the week.

So tonight I made a Shakeology smoothie.  I used 1 cup of water, 1 cup of the Fusion fruit, a 1/4 cup or less of mixed berries(I like fruit), 1 banana, and a package of strawberry shakeology.   Mixed that all up in my blender until I was satisfied with the consistency, adding water as needed.  And viola, along came my version of the Shakeology Sunrise Refresh. It wasn't too bad and I definitely didn't taste the kale or spinach, which surprised me because it seemed that their was more veggies than fruit in the Fusion package(hence the adding of more fruit).  I think it would be even better with Almond milk, it would make it creamier, but I don't have any.  So I'll have to go get some now.

So all in all, I would give the Fresh Start Fusion a "B".  The flavor is good, but it is just too expensive for me.  I would get these as a splurge.

Here's a pic of the drink I made, sorry I had already started drinking it. :-)



Thanks for stopping by!



Monday, November 24, 2014

Why I love Influenster

As you all know I am part of the Influenster program and every few months or so I get a box full of goodies to try and review for free.

Really, that should be reason enough to love Influenster.  And it is.  But, I love the fact that the products I get to try are some great products and not just cheap junk you could buy at the dollar store, but good quality items found in top retail stores.

My favorite box that I received, so far, was the TLC VoxBox...which I reviewed here: TLC VoxBox.  That box was my favorite because it included ice cream!  No, there wasn't ice cream in the box, but a coupon for a free full-size sample of Breyers' Gelato.  It was because of this box that I have now become addicted to the Triple Chocolate Gelato.  It doesn't help that I won the brand contest and got 12 more coupons for free ice cream.

Really, I have been able to get lots of great stuff that I normally would never have tried.  This last box: ModaVoxBox(which is my second favorite) introduced me to a Hair Mask called Hair Food by Clairol.  I really love it and how my hair feels afterwards.

I've also gotten to try false eyelashes(that was fun!), dish soap, body wash, nail polish, mascara, chocolates and so much more.

I am so glad that someone introduced me to Influenster, I don't even remember who it was. (Thank you whoever you are!).  If you aren't a member and want to be, let me know.  It's by invitation only, so only let me know if you are serious.  They even have an Influenster App now, so sharing things from your phone just got that much easier.

Really, I can't express how much I enjoy being a part of the Influenster community.