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.



Sunday, April 13, 2014

Juxtaposition

When I write about my dark and twisty innermost thoughts Beya is always surprised. She hates to read those posts. She says it always shocks her because that is not our day to day life. And it isn't, I hope I've made that clear. This blog is something I use to purge those thoughts and feelings. I have them, they are mine, it is how I feel all the time. I still have the ticker screaming at me "MY SISTER IS DEAD! MY SISTER IS DEAD!" There has yet to be one second that goes by where I am not thinking of her and missing her and feel as if I have had my soul ripped out of my body and replaced with a wonky one that isn't even close to the one I had. I feel as if I need to give proof that I'm not wallowing and moping around. 




This is our day to day life. 

I hope this gives you a better sense of my two worlds that are always colliding. I have my dark and twisty and grief stricken heart mixed with my life that is grateful for the family that I have left. 

Someone Contact My Lenses


After approximately 20+ years of wearing glasses I finally switched to contacts the first of the year. I have astigmatism in my right eye which makes contacts more difficult to match which is party why I haven't had them. I also have an "eye thing" i.e. putting anything in my eyes freaks me out. I have finally learned how to do eye drops in the past 2-3 years without using half a bottle and getting only a few drops in my eyes. So you can imagine my hesitation of putting mini glasses in my eyes. 

The past few months I, along with my eye doctor, have struggled getting the right strength for each eye. I was on my third pair of trials before something got halfway right. I can still see better with my old glasses but vanity gets in my way and I still wear my contacts every day however I change to glasses in the evening.

When I ordered a six month supply of contacts I also ordered some new cases because I was tired of the basic ones that come with the solution and free trials. My new ones are kind of cute and look like a bubble. Norm things they look weird but I like them. 

Yesterday after my shower I put in my contacts and started working on soccer paperwork. For some reason things were even more blurry than usual. I could hardly see the paper in front of my eyes. It was very weird and I couldn't figure out why I couldn't see. After a few minutes it finally hit me; I think I had put my contacts in the wrong eyes!!! I switched them around and sure enough, things came into focus better. It turns out my new case only have a small "R" embossed for the right eye and I had put the case backwards when I put them in. I was amazed I hadn't done this before. Of course I had to pull a papa and MexiGhetto up my case:




I think I'll be able to tell the difference now.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Papa


Papa loves to go to used thrift shops. One of his favorites is Value Village but only on Wednesdays because it's Senior Day so everything for the oldsters is 40% off. 

Today mom and I had to go to Target to return some clothes I had picked up for the kids (but I forgot to actually BRING the bag of clothes which means I need to do another Target run in the near future) and afterwards she called papa to meet us for lunch. We met at Applebees and papa informed us of his treasures he found at Salvation Army and Goodwill. 

One thing he was so excited about was a life jacket he found for himself. 



Doesn't he look happy to be wearing it?

Now this being us and papa being papa he didn't buy the life jacket for actual water usage, oh no. He had a completely other use for it. Why was he so tickled about a life jacket that won't be used in water? Because he bought it to wear as protective gear while the kids put on their boxing gloves and take turns punching him. 

Pretty genius if I say so myself.

Now I know they make stuff actually for this sport but hey, why buy that when you can spend $4 for the same thing? 

I love my papa. 

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things

Opening up a brand new jar of peanut butter and taking the first swipe of it with my knife.

Pocket doors. I don't have any pocket doors but I love them.

Going to sleep with the window open and the ceiling fan on.

Salt. The movie and the seasoning.

Mr. And Mrs. Smith. It's on my DVR all the time so whenever I have 5-10 minutes between shows I'm watching I will flip it on.

Spring weather.

Cool spring evenings when a cardigan is all you need.

Chiffon.

Vintage beaded gowns with lace.

Listening to the kids play with their stuffed "Aminals" and hearing the different voices and personalities they give each one.

The original names the kids give their stuffed "Aminals" such as blue bear, big teddy, brown bear, papa bear, sharky, etc..... There is one exception and that is a small blue bear Asa named Tax Credit.


My iPod, iPhone and iPad.

Page protectors.

Binders with page protectors.

Address books. Old school, as in paper address books. I have had the same one for about six years, I call it my master address book.

Personalized stationary.

New kitchen appliances.

Burt's Bees.

Planning trips I'll never take.

Fruit Loops, Lucky Charms and Frosted Flakes.




These are just a few of my favorite things.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

For Kathy

While writing my blog I have met some amazing people. Some I have known through emails, some I have known through phone calls, some drift in and out of my life and some are in my life and people I've actually met.

Kathy is one such person I have met in real life. She lives an hour away from me and whenever we would go on the Polar Express we would always meet up with her. Kathy always brings a special toy for the kids, she is so funny, adores her grandkids, her kids and her husband. Kathy is also my trial buddy. We were both obsessed with the Casey Anthony trial and forget about getting any work done during the Jodi Arias trial, we would be texting each other constantly. If she had to actually get some work done I'd get her caught up on what she missed.

We "met" when she found my blog after sissy died and she emailed me telling me she could relate. Her sister Patty died 20 years prior from breast cancer and she still felt the grief. We have commiserated and laughed. Grieved and joked. Most of all Kathy told me something that I have held on to for the past four years. I have held tightly to this promise of sorts but I have never told her how much what she told me means to me. How I have clung to it like a life buoy sometimes. She told me once that it took her about five years to finally start to feel some sort of life again.

Why did this strike me so much? Because it wasn't the usual bullshit of "time heals all wounds" or "it gets easier with time" or any of that other shit people say. No, Kathy told me the way it is. She tells me that some days, more than 20 years later, she has a really rough day or she reached for the phone to call Patty or just really missed her sister. I think I still have the original email she sent me.

Kathy is someone who I really, really like and is really honest.

Kathy emailed me Thursday letting me know her husband unexpectedly died earlier this week.

I'm so very, very sorry for you Kathy. I have no words, only love and sorrow.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Fragile

I know I've spoken before of feeling emotionally fragile but this time I had a bit of a psychiatric breakdown.

In all of my years of battling depression, in the lowest of my lows, even before I started life changing medication, I was always able to do the things I needed to. I was able to get up, go to work, take care of the responsibilities I had. Even after sissy died (I cannot stress how odd it still is to have to write that) I always got up and took the kids to school, did what I had to do. Sometimes it was the bare minimum of what I had to do but I did it.

Last week I didn't.

Thank goodness Beya and Papa's work hours are so that they were able to get the kids ready for school, take them to school, pick them up from school, take them to soccer practice, etc.... I could not get out of bed.

Literally, could not get out of bed.

I slept all day. Mom was worried and asked if I needed to be taken to the ER. I refused but I had no idea why my body was reacting the way it was. Thursday things kind of came to an emotional head and that was it. I couldn't deal with one more thing. Not looking at the lunch menu. Not showering. Not even making it to the living room. I was in bed. And this is all after my psychiatrist increased my Abilify (a medication specifically for bipolar depression).

Luckily this emotional and physical shut down lasted only a few days but it was a long few days. Nobody but those around me knew of it.

Until now.

The reason I'm writing this is because I talk about my bipolar. I talk about my grief. I talk about my depression. I talk about my shortcomings. And to anyone who feels the same, or has had the same moments, you are not alone. Depression can affect anyone. It can vary in degrees. It can come and go. It can debilitate you. It can pull down into a darkness you never thought you could climb out of.

But you can.

It can knock you down, take everything out of you and spit you out leaving you empty and broken.

But you can put yourself back together and become stronger for it.

You can think you have a handle of it and think you've got it under control and then have an episode hit you and make you realize how fragile you really are.

I know I did.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Asa

About a month ago Asa underwent some testing for the highly capable and gifted program at school. They are looking for the top 5-10% of students. I knew it would be a while before we found out if he passed or not. The testing was pretty intense, it took two days and they did interviews with him, not just paper and pen exams. I had told myself that I kind of didn't want him to get in as it is just so foreign to me. Plus that means that he will be under more stress. That said, he has been complaining that the school work is easy and that he's bored in school. That, to me, is a wide open road to trouble. At first I was against his even testing but I put my big girl panties on and agreed to have him tested. 


Yesterday, Friday afternoon, Asa's teacher emailed me letting me know the good news, ASA GOT IN!!!!!! I'm still a little weirded out by having such a smarty parts in the house but most of all I'm proud of him!!!! Asa seems to learn by osmosis. He can be working on something and hear a conversation between two different people in another room and have the TV on and he'll be able to keep up with all three things and KNOW about them! I think he was the only one in Kindergarten who actually had their teacher stand back and let Asa take over the history/geography lesson for the day so Asa could inform his fellow 5 and 6 year old classmates about Iran and Jerusalem Israel and the Middle East, all the while keeping politics out of it. 

Can I say it again? 

I'M SO PROUD OF ASA!!!!!!

His mum mum got him off to a perfect start!!!!!

FUCK THIS SHIT!!!!!

Make way cuz mama's having some REAL problems now! Forget that whole ADD shit, that was just a detour to iTunes iHell for my iPhone.

All I want is to simply have the same customized ring tone(s) I had for Norm that I had on my BlackBerry. It was soooo easy to make anything a ring tone for my dearest BB. It is times like this that I mourn my white BlackBerry aka Gladiator (from Scandal).

I have scoured the internet. I have looked at videos. I have done what I was supposed to do and I still have no figured out how the hell to do this bullshit magic wizardry trick they claim CAN get done. I've even gotten as far as have my ring tone (ringtone? Is it one word or two? Is this my problem?) ON MY PHONE under music. But when it pairs with my iTunes on my laptop I CAN'T GET THE DAMN THING TO MOVE OVER TO TONES!!!!!!!

SO! I am offering a $15 gift card to Cold Stone Creamery to the first kick ass chick or gallant steed to help me end this once and forever and let me finally hear the oh so sweet live intro to "Zooropa" when my husband calls. Come one people, you KNEW it had to be a U2 song, didn't you?

Let the race commence. Don't make me feel like an idiot and have to take it in to a tech place and make them do it.

"Please.
Please.
Get off of your knees now
Please,
Please,
Please.
September streets capsizing
spilling over down the brim
shards of glass splinters light your face
but you can only hear your own whim
October, November, December
we just started again.
Please
Please
Please
Cuz love is hard
and love is tough
but love is not what your thinking of."



Again, you didn't think I could leave without yet some more appropriate U2 lyrics did you? My apologies to U2 if I got some words mixed up, I'm pissed off at this iTunes thing AND listening to Kings of Leon AND up at 3 am AND in the midst of a manic state, duh.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Diagnosis

This post is not a flowery, poetic post. It's a flat out, facts and my opinions only post.

Valentina was diagnosed with ADD this week.

I have suspected that she had it for about a year. I asked her teachers last year if she had any problems concentrating at school because she sure does at home. They brushed it off as simply Kindergarten age behavior. Ok fine. Great. I was placated and figured she was just not applying herself. Then first grade started and she began to struggle in school and with homework at home. There was one evening where it took me a full hour to make her do her homework. It was exhausting because there was a lot of screaming, kicking, tears (on her side, I kept mine in check but inside I was sobbing with frustration also) and flat out denial. When Valentina learned that I meant business she finally did her homework and it took her all of about 10 minutes. This is just one example out of a hundred.

I have a great relationship with both of the kids' teachers and I especially love Valentina's because Asa had her too and we just really clicked. Because I try to keep a good relationship and open communication with their teachers, I only have one parent/teacher conference a year at the beginning. After that they just tell me what is going on whenever I see them and there is no need to sit me down and review anything.

Last month I got a notice from Valentina's teacher that we needed a conference.

I knew it was going to be related to her lack of concentration and I was right. I was there talking to her teacher for about an hour (our time allotted was only 15 minutes). Towards the end of our conversation she said "you know, I wouldn't say this to any other parent but she might have ADD." I wanted to cry right then and there because I "knew" without "knowing" that the teacher was right.

This started the ball rolling and here we are now, several doctor appointments later, lots of tears later, lots of working with Valentina at home trying to get her to concentrate better later, and a LOT of research later and she has been officially diagnosed.

I don't want this to come off as a terrible thing. I know it isn't.

It's not cancer.

It's not a brain injury.

It's not life or death.

It's pretty minor in the grand scheme of life.

That said, it has been exhausting.

Our main thing was deciding whether or not to medicate.

I abhor the thought of my 7 year old having to take mind altering medication. I've been very grateful and thankful to talk to several friends who are walking down this very path and they have been very open and honest about their decisions.

After talking to our doctor, who knows all about this firsthand, his son is ADD and his wife is a special ed teacher so I'm very thankful for him, we have made the choice to not medicate at this time. Our game plan is to work with her at home and pretty much reteach her everything in a visual and tactile way since that is her learning style. We will also be enrolling her into private behavior and tutoring counseling. She will have to be pulled out of school for a few hours in order to do this but both the doctor and Valentina's teacher agree it is well worth it. Again, I'm very fortunate to have the support of our doctor and teacher. We can't get this started soon enough as Valentina is having more and more problems in school. Our plan is to get her through this school year while having her in counseling and doing therapy at home and then in the fall sit down with the doctor and talk medications. I just hope to make it through the school year before having to put her on meds.

So that is it.

Again, I cannot stress enough that I know this is minor compared to 90% of other "problems". I just never wanted my child to have a learning disability. I never wanted her to have to struggle so much in school. I never wanted there to be such a difference between my kids' academic lives. Asa recently underwent testing for the accelerated and highly gifted program and Valentina is almost the exact opposite. She IS smart, she DOES learn, she just struggles with it. A lot. But man, the girl has street smarts and she can learn.

So that is what has been going on with us, along with a bunch of other boring and stressful things on top of this. This is yet another time I'm not re-reading, grammar checking or verifying the spelling, I'm just posting.

One last time I want to say that I know this isn't the end of the world, this isn't horrible, this isn't even close to being something detrimental.

The worst thing about all of this?

I really miss my sister and wish I could talk to her about this and bounce ideas back and forth with her.

I miss her so much.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

As I was napping this afternoon I was having one of those dreams. One of those where I'm crying, even in my dreams, because I feel so hollow yet so full of grief. As I was getting ready for the day this morning I almost broke down just thinking how much I miss having my sister with me, to talk to, to joke with, to gossip with, a million other things. Yesterday when I pulled into school to pick up the kids I saw a woman in the backseat and I was overwhelmed with the memory of mom, sissy and me picking up the kids together. The problem with this memory is that it never happened. Trina died before the kids started school. The three of us never picked up the kids together but I couldn't remove the "memory" from my brain.

I want to just delete this post and forget about it but in the words of my dear friend when I talked about doing the same with an email half written to her, "just send, never delete, just send."

Thank you Jen.

I'm posting. No spell check, no grammar check, just post.