Saturday, May 19, 2012

To Health.

This week did not go as anyone in my family planned.  My sister got very sick and ended up in the hospital.  This illness runs the spectrum of being a really yucky illness to a really scary one.  She is fortunate that it has turned out to be the not scary one, but the week has still not been easy on her.  It's hard to see her in so much pain and so uncomfortable as this horrible virus gets through her system.  She is one of the strongest women I know (she had an 11 pound baby at home...I had to have drugs for my 6 pound nuggets) so to see her like this is rough.  It's hard to see her kiddos and know they are worried about their mama and not be able to just scoop them up and bring them to our house because of concerns of spreading the illness.  It makes me feel so helpless to not be able to make it all better for her and her family.  I went into cooking mode on Thursday and have pasta sauce, bread and cookies in the freezer ready to take over as soon as she gets home.  A small gesture, but feels like something.  I heard this quote awhile ago and after this week I keep going back to it:

Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship. 
Buddha 

Health truly is the greatest gift we can have.  Without it everything else kinda falls apart.  I work so hard to keep my family healthy and feel so fortunate to have healthy kids.  My sister is a healthy person also, so when you see her get knocked down by something like this you see just how fragile it is.  I come home after visiting her and can't stop thinking about her being so sick.  I try to go on with our normal day, but my thoughts are with her so I feel totally distracted.  I also get feelings of guilt that I get to be out in the sunshine, playing with my kids while she is laying in a hospital bed feeling just lousy and can't even hug her babies right now.  I know this will pass and she is getting better everyday, but right now I wish I could give her the gift of health.  

Because I've been a little lost in my own thoughts and to try to keep some order to my random thoughts I think I'll just go with a list of happy things from the week…

1.  Doctors, Hospitals, Medicine.  We are so very lucky to live in this community, in this country where health care is readily available.  When my sister came down with her illness they were able to determine what it was and immediately begin the proper care and give her medicine to keep her as comfortable as possible.  This is not a given for everyone in this world, or even in our country.  For this we are lucky and I am grateful
2.  First Grade Field Trips.  I got to join Ava and all the first graders for a field trip to the Fish Hatchery where they got to learn about bugs, birds, fish, their habitats and the environment.  It was fun to get to be a part of this and any chance to spend time with Ava is a joy.  It's great to see her in her school environment, with her friends and watch them all learn.  First graders are awesome…they are old enough to handle a field trip like this and still think learning is fun.  None of them have an attitude about being too cool for any of it and they participate and ask questions and are kind to each other, it's so wonderful to witness.  I kinda wish we could keep her in first grade forever.  
3.  Family and Friends.  Anytime something like an illness or something comes up I realize what an amazing support system we all have here and how fortunate we are to have it.  We all jump right in and try to find a way to help and support.  I had texts and calls from friends, checking in on things, and my in-laws who became babysitters on call so I could go up and see my sister when I needed to without having to take the girls.  We are so fortunate to all have one another and sometimes things like this help me realize it even more.
4.  Summer like weather and rain storms.  The week has been beautiful and warm with a few wicked rain storms thrown in just to keep everything fresh and green.  Oh, and the smell after the rainstorms…nothing like it
5.  My Girls.  When my sisters and I were little we loved putting on "shows" for our parents.  We would make up plays, dances (doing "Kid's Inc" was our specialty, remember that show?) and have our parents come watch.  It is so hilarious to see my girls doing the same things.  Last night the show was outside and involved their giant balls as props.  They practiced the routine before dinner and after brought us out to enjoy the show.  I love it.

6.  Date night.  Friday nights if we are home, almost always are at home date nights for us.  Matt asked if I wanted to just chill out because of everything, but I really wanted to have a normal night.  So, we put the kiddos to be early and cooked up a fabulous meal and enjoyed it over a bottle of wine.  Just what I needed.  We had pasta cuz I think pasta is perfect date food.  I made a very simple tomato, basil, cheese sauce that tasted so fresh and light.  We had that with bread and some balsamic/olive oil to dip.  A very simple, but fantastic meal.

I'm not sure what the weekend will bring.  The girls and I were going to go out of town to visit my little sister, but plans changed and now we will be staying home.  We are hopeful that my sister will get to go home so there will be visits to her and trying to help her family out as much as we can to get them settled.  Ava really wants to go hiking, so maybe we'll throw in some much needed family time and do our first hike of the year.  I can't remember the last time we had a weekend without something going on, so I think this will be nice.  No plans so we can be available when help is needed, but still be able to enjoy the beautiful weekend we are supposed to have and based on the sunshine blaring in is going to happen.  We'll continue our latest Sunday tradition of heading to the soccer fields to cheer Ava on to wrap up the weekend and get ready for a fresh week.

Wishing you a healthy weekend…the greatest gift of all.

Tomato Basil Pasta:
(as with any pasta, I think this is best served over homemade noodles!!)
-1 Pint grape tomatoes
-2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
-1/2 tbls red pepper flakes
-3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
-8 Basil leaves, torn
-1/2 cup toasted bread crumbs (toast some good bread, chop into crumbs with the food processor, spread on a baking sheet, drizzle a little olive oil over top and cook at 350-degrees until brown)
-Cook pasta until it is almost done, drain and reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water to use later
-Heat some olive oil in a large skillet.  Add tomatoes, garlic slices, red pepper flakes and some sea salt.  Cover, but leave slightly open so steam can escape.  Cook for around 10-minutes, swirling pan often
-Remove from heat and push down on the tomatoes so they crack and the juices come out.  Add pasta and pasta water and return to medium high heat and cook, stirring to coat the pasta, for around a minute.  Add cheese and basil and stir gently until cheese is melted.  Top with toasted bread crumbs and salt and pepper to taste.  Simple, Perfect.

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