We were the closest family possible. Our world was turned upside down on 05/03/09 when my best friend, the person I love most next only to our children, my sister Trina was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer. Her body gave out on her on 01/09/10 but she will ALWAYS be a part of our daily life and will continue to be in my posts. I started my blog to chronicle our daughter's international adoption from Guatemala and have continued to use it as a journal.

What you will find is my family trying to adapt to our new lives that were handed to us.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Homework To Do

I know my last post was really down in the dumps. And that's how I feel. I've had my parenting ridiculed, my emotions all over the place and told that basically nothing I do is right. On top of it Asa has been gone for two weeks while Josh's dad has been in town. As a result things have been pretty shitty.

However, one thing that I take full responsibility for (along with the crappy parenting, I already know that, I don't need people calling me out on it) is that mom and I haven't done our homework. Homework that our therapist prescribes to us.


We haven't had any fun lately.

Mom is working and it puts a serious crimp in our availability to have fun time. Fun as in something as simple as going to a movie. We haven't done anything fun in a long time. Nothing just for the two of us. Our therapist (who we haven't seen in about a month) recommends that we drink, do spontaneous things, act out in an irresponsible way, the same as Trina made us do. Trina made us be hoppers. We had to follow along her, hopping from thing to thing, place to place, following her along like the pied piper.

We haven't hopped.

I know Norm is more than willing to watch the kids one evening while mom and I go hop, he is an amazing father and has become a better husband.  We are trying our best to be a team and it seems to be working. We are even leaving the kids for four nights next month while we do a getaway, just the two of us. He wants me to do what makes me happy because he knows it translates into me being a better and happier person. However Beya and I haven't had the strength to be hoppers right now. August really weighs us down which makes hopping difficult yet it is when we need it the most.

So there is HOMEWORK TO DO!!!! Homework that MUST get DONE! Off we go to do some homework!

I just don't know when.

But we must hop on.

Monday, August 18, 2014

August 18

Today would have been sissy's 45th birthday.

Five years ago was the last time she was alive for her birthday. She was 40.

We had planned on going to Vegas for her 40th birthday.

She was going to be 6 months pregnant for her 40th birthday.

We were all going to go and have fun and make fun of her turning 40 and being pregnant in Vegas.

Then cancer happened.

Instead she spent her 40th birthday at chemo all day.

I threw together a quick surprise birthday party for her at a restaurant. There was a lot of going back and forth of what should we do? Do we surprise her, do we do anything, do we tell her since she was so sick and we knew she was going to be at chemo all day?

In the end we decided to have a small birthday party for her 40th. Oh how different the reality was from our dreams.

For the longest time after she died and we would go to the same restaurant where we had her birthday we would avoid sitting in the same area as we had her party. At least we were able to go to the restaurant.

As usual, this year we were out of town for the most of her birthday since we can't bear to stay at home. We went to Seattle yesterday and came home tonight. We spent the last two days hanging out at the pool and ordering room service (Valentina's request).

Oh how I miss her. There is absolutely no good reason as to why she isn't here celebrating her 45th birthday. She SHOULD be here. She SHOULD be healthy. She SHOULD be with her son. She SHOULD be here being the best big sister. She SHOULD be here being my parents firstborn.

Instead Beya and papa had to go to the cemetery to lay flowers at her grave.

I miss her so much and have so many questions for her and conversations to be had.

Happy 45th birthday sissy. You SHOULD be here.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Always August

August is always a harder month than usual. Sissy would be turning 45 on Monday. It's still unbelievable that she is dead. Just yesterday I was walking into the living room and grabbed my cell phone to see if she had called. I also had the thought "hmm.... I wonder why she hasn't called me in a while. It's been some time since I talked to her."

Well if that isn't the understatement of the year.

Each day is progressively worse. I feel as if I have cinder blocks attached to my extremities. Every movement requires more and more effort and energy. Getting out of bed is a chore that is tiresome and almost unbearable much less going through the daily routine.

I'm just so tired.

Tomorrow also marks 12 years since our car accident. I'm not sure I ever explained what exactly happened but maybe tomorrow.

Grief is a wild animal that attacks and retreats and leaves you always on edge. You never know when you will be brought down by one single swipe or when you will be mauled by multiple strikes that feel like the attack will never stop.

Grief is very alive. It very much moves and follows you like a shadow. Sometimes it is less noticeable and other times it's right there in front of you, mimicking your every move, unable to leave your side. Even when you can't see it, the grief is always there.

Four and a half years and I'm still exhausted by the ducking, weaving and trying to outrun the nonstop grief.

Right now I'm too tired to run. I've been overrun and knocked down but there is stuff happening behind the scenes that require my full attention and I'm unable to give in to the cement bricks. So I keep trying to drag one foot in front of the other.


Friday, August 01, 2014

25 Things

1. I have to have the bed made before I go to sleep, even if that means making it literally just before I get in bed.

2. My wedding favors were featured on People.com

3. I once won tickets to see U2.

4. I love mid century modern decor and would love to have my house look like a Mad Men set.

5. My house is a mishmash of shabby chic, mid century modern and ragged with a beachy feel thrown in.

6. I first got in my head that I wanted to adopt when I was about ten years old.

7. Throughout my 20's I was dead set against having any children.

8. My husband and I were together for 12 years before getting married.

9. I've had a had a husband for 8 years meaning we've been together for 20 years.

10. I have a titanium plate and six screws in my neck but one of the screws broke.

11. I called in to a radio station and requested a Brady Bunch song (Sunshine Day) and they played it.

12. I used to be obsessed with The Brady Bunch.

13. I used to work with my best friend but we didn't become best friends until after we stopped working together.

14. My best friend and I used to have water gun fights in the office.

15. For a brief time sissy and I lived together and worked together.

16. During that time Trina and I stayed up all night to make our Christmas gifts. She made soaps.

17. Whenever I see handmade soaps I always remember that night and how hard we laughed and deliriously silly we got.

18. I love cartoony owls and frogs but I hate live animals.........except for Rainey.

19. I have horrible insomnia that started when I was a teenager which makes all the possible side effects of Ambien worth taking it.

20. Once Beya and I flew to San Francisco for the day.

21. When sissy and I were in our car accident the force of being thrown forward was so big I broke the windshield with my head, smashed my nose on the rear view mirror and dented the glove box with my knee (I wasn't wearing my seatbelt).

22. Sandwiches and ice cream are my favorite foods, but not in that order.

23. I can't sing for shit but that doesn't stop me from doing it in the car.

24. My mind is constantly going which becomes exhausting, just a side effect of being bipolar.

25. I have the best family in the world and I love them with all my heart.

Monday, July 28, 2014

I Miss Her So Much

As I was sitting here I was struck with a bolt of grief.

I miss my sister so much. I miss her so much that it physically hurts.

I miss teasing her.

I miss telling her my baby shower that she planned was the best day of my life.

I miss asking her if she could be quiet after hours of her incessant talking.

I miss her showing up unexpectedly at my house.

I miss laughing so hard with her that we both peed our pants.....but just a little.

I miss talking to her about our childhood and realizing we had very different memories.

I miss being able to ask her advice.

I miss her telling me what I'm doing wrong.

I miss planning trips with her that we knew we'd never take.

I miss going on trips with her.

I miss her phone calls.

I miss sitting down at the end of the evening and calling her after we'd spent all day together.

I miss her taking groceries from my cupboard.

I miss her asking and taking toilet paper and paper towels from me so she wouldn't have to go to the store.

I miss her stories about Asa.

I miss gossiping with her.

I miss her walking through the front door yelling out "sissy roo!"

I miss driving around with her.

I miss her giving me a hard time about the music I had on my iPod.

I miss everything about her.

The good and the bad.

I miss having a sister.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Papa's Pond Update

When you last saw the pond there was an air mattress floating on top of it to make shade for the fish. Papa did something even better. He wanted something more "natural" looking, plus a place for our frog to sit. So what did he do? Well he threw down an old piece of our fence of course! And then to make sure it didn't float away in our white rapids pond he tied each end of the fence to the pond. See? This is much better, right? 

The old, rotted fence board. Oh wait, what is on top of it? 

Oh, that's the plastic snake the kids used to throw at me to scare me. I hate snakes. I'm not sure what papa hopes to accomplish with putting the snake on the board, maybe he thinks it just looks more "natural." Or maybe he's trying to see how many plastic animals he can accumulate in our pond, you know you can't forget the flamingo!

Another reason he put the board on the pond was so that our frog would have something to sit on. One morning we looked out the window and sure enough, there was our (fugly) frog sitting on the board. 

 Here you can see the frog better..... along with the tie downs...... and the flamingo. Can't forget the flamingo!

One evening we were getting a little bored so we turned it into a photo party. As you can see, a dentist could remove Valentina's tonsils given how big her mouth is open. Wait, can you see anything, Asa's two teeth take up the whole frame. 

There's her gaping hole again. 

I swear, she is not capable of taking a photo with her mouth shut. 

There's my beautiful boy!

Oh, and my new baby. I needed (or "needed" as mom said) a new summer purse. I found this Michael Kors lovely and had to get it. It's really pink and the leather is so soft, I want to use it as a pillow. 

Okay. So Jen was talking to me this morning about how she has a black thumb. No my dear, I have a black thumb. These here are just a few of Beya's flowers. She does all the gardening and can take care of anything. I have no interest in making something grow so maybe that's why I'm bad, I forget to take care of plants. Except for one. I have a little plant that I have kept alive for well over a year. I'm so proud of it. Asa gave it to me when he was in second grade. If you can't read the sign in the pot it says "Life is short, pick the flowers." So true!

Why what is that puny little thing next to Beya's grand flowers? That's mine. Notice the difference? 

Yes, this is what I can keep alive. And I'm damn proud of it! 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Tonight's Viewing Pleasure

This is what I saw when I looked out my living room window this afternoon:

You can even see Papa smiling in the third picture. Have I mentioned how much I love my family and grateful I am for them? They make my life so much richer and so much better. I am so thankful to have been born into this family. Even with all of the hurt and pain we are able to find fun in the small things. I am fortunate to be able to look outside and see this beautiful view.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Papa's Pond

When we first bought our house 8 years ago it came with a koi pond. One of the first things I wanted to do to the house was take out the koi pond, I wanted to put in a pool instead. Having a big backyard was one of the requirements when we were house hunting and this home fit the bill. Once we tore out the pond things would be perfect. 

And then papa saw the pond. 

Needless to say we still have the pond. The koi are long gone, they got eaten the first few months in the house, but Beya and Papa have replaced them with regular feeder fish. Every evening I look out my living room window to this view:

Oh how papa loves his fish. He feeds them and loves them and stares at them.

We used to have a catfish that would keep the pond nice and clear but that is also long gone which causes the pond to get dirty and muddy. Papa has been aching to get the pond cleaned up so I gave him the go ahead to drain and refill it. One summer he did this literally once a week, at LEAST. You don't want to know what our water bill was those three months.

Today while I took the kids to tennis lessons papa worked in his pond.

A very happy papa with a very clean pond.

Look! We can see the fish now! And the shells he lovingly placed in the bottom of the pond.

A wonderfully clear pond. Wait..... what is that in the background?

Something green......

Oh yes, an air mattress! Come on, you didn't think we could actually have a "normal" koi pond with doing it up MexiGhetto style, did you? The reason for the air mattress? Papa said the fish needed some shade :)

And what MexiGhetto koi pond is complete without a garish pink plastic flamingo?!

I'm so fortunate to have my parents live with me, my life would be so boring without them and I love them so much, with my whole heart.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

World Cup Fever

Less than one week into the World Cup and we are sufficiently immersed in the obsession that the world calls World Cup Fever. Of course we watch soccer year round but to have 3-4 games on per day is just wonderful for us, especially Asa. You could watch one game with him and  just listening to him rattle off names and phrases he sounds like a pro. He knows every single player on every single team. No exaggeration. Now we speak Soccer-ese but to the layperson the following words may sound like gibberish:

red card, yellow card
added time, extra time, stoppage time
penalty kicks, free kick, corner kick, goal kick
3 points, 1 point
10 men
Lionel (pronounced lee-uh-NELL, not LIE-null)
Real (pronounced ree-AHL not real)

For example:

I'm so glad Mexico got the 3 points for the game so I guess it doesn't matter that they had 2 offside goals. I'm just glad the game wasn't decided in stoppage time, that stresses me out. The red card Ghana got in the USA game didn't change the fact that we beat them, 10 men or not. I kind of hope one of the finals comes down to extra time and then penalty kicks. I wonder how long the teams practice scrimmaging. Sometimes the linesmen get it wrong. Tim Howard is a great goal keeper, he plays with Real Salt Lake but I'm not sure he would be able to keep Lionel Messi out.

Rattle that off and people will think you sound like a pro.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Yes I Do Have A Cross

I welcome religious zealots who come to my door. Nothing gets my blood pumping more than out arguing someone who has come to save my soul. Many a time have I sent preachers and missionaries away from my home cursing themselves for happening upon my doorstep.

The latest and greatest happened Wednesday evening. A young girl came by trying to hawk some of her "Jesus loves YOU!!!!" books. I took pity on her seemingly teenage self and tried politely to tell her I wasn't interested. By the third time I realized that she may have been young but they had groomed her right, she wasn't taking no for an answer. After she literally shoved a book through my screen door I figured enough was enough.

"I'm Agnostic" I announced to her. "I don't need any of this, I've had it all before and I'm quite fine with my life right now."

Her jaw dropped open and she sputtered to me, "but you have a cross on your wall!" dumbfounded.

"Yes I do" I agreed, wondering what else her prying eyes had picked up. "I have a wall full of crosses."

"But....... then....... uh.......why........um........ I'm sorry, I'm confused. What is Agnostic?" she finally blurted.

"I believe that God is a theory that can neither be proven nor disproved. I don't say there is a God, I don't say there isn't. I believe he is a theory" I answered her.

"Did you used to believe?" she asked me. This one kills me. I believe in a lot of things, why is it that when people question my "beliefs" it has to automatically refer to God? Why can't it mean marriage equality? Why can't it mean Mac vs. PC? Why does "believe" have to mean beLIEve in God?

"Yes, I used to believe" I told her, using her vernacular. "I was raised religiously in a 7th Day Adventist culture. Then I left and dabbled in Catholicism. Then I became spiritual. Now I'm Agnostic and I'm just fine with that" I explained.

And just like that she became just another in a long list of "believers" who left my doorstep wondering why oh why my house was on their route.

Some of you may wonder why my kids went to religious preschools. That is simple. Both of my kids believe in God. Beya teaches them about God and they want to pray and "believe". Sometimes it's a difficult dance around words to support them in their beliefs when mine are completely different. I don't want them to know what my chosen path is, I don't want to confuse them, which is why I keep my belief, or lack thereof, under wraps from them. When they are older I will be more than happy to let them know what my thoughts and feelings are and how and why I came to my decision but when I tell them I want them to have enough years behind them where they can understand why I think the way I do, why I encouraged them to believe in God, why they only heard about God from Beya and never me. Also the only reason I was able to be fully truthful with this young girl was because the kids were out of the house.

Am I doing the right thing? I have no idea. All I can say is that I'm doing it MY way and the way I FEEL comfortable doing it so who is to criticize and judge me for doing what I'm doing? I'll leave that to the door to door's who are inevitably praying for my quick recovery. A recovery that will never come because there's nothing wrong with me in the first place, I have nothing to recover from.

And yes, I do have a cross in my house. This Agnostic has a hot mess of a wall filled with crosses. At one point they meant something to me. Now they are mere souvenir's to highlight places I have been, gifts from someone for a birthday, wedding gifts from certain people and a few Mothers Day crosses. I love them all as I see them simply for what they are, parts of my life from all different times of it. No more, no less. Hell, I even have a cross tattoo'd on my foot! But I don't regret any of my crosses. They are all step stones to get me to where I am today. I must admit, my life can get really fucked up sometimes, the depression, the bipolar, the chronic pain, the anxiety, the grief, etc.... but when it comes to my thoughts on Jesus and God, well, I've never been more at peace or have felt any better in regards to that part of my life. I feel free to be who I am and who I am is an Agnostic.

My name is Cameo and I'm Agnostic.