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.



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:

scrimmage
offside
red card, yellow card
added time, extra time, stoppage time
penalty kicks, free kick, corner kick, goal kick
linesmen
3 points, 1 point
10 men
header
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.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

World Cup!

The World Cup starts tomorrow!!!!

GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!

I cannot wait.

Just thought I would say that. And go on record saying that I want Argentina to win. Asa says Brazil, Spain or Germany.

We have a poster sized match chart up on the wall in the living room and a World Cup magazine on the ottoman. We.are.set.for.our.obsession.

Go Argentina!!!!!!!

Go World Cup!!!!!!

Friday, June 06, 2014

Dine(red)

Anyone who knows me knows what a big supporter I am of Product (RED). When they rolled out the new "Eat (RED), Drink (RED) Save Lives" campaign I was excited to find a place near me to eat at. I plugged in in my location and up popped five places, as you can clearly see (if it doesn't show the location just type in "Portland" and you will see five options). I did some looking in to things and figured the pizza place would be the best thing for us. The kids got out of school early so I figured great, we could all meet Norm at his office, the kids and I could finally see where he spends most of his waking moments and then stop for pizza on the way home.

Oh, what do they say about good intentions?

I'll spare you the entire scenario and just give you the highlight. Two and a half hours after the kids got out of school we finally ended up at the place (I'm not naming them because I don't want to give them any more publicity). It had been a long 2 1/2 hours with lots of complaining and waiting at the office so we were all tired. It was a cool place but I've never seen so many fucking hipsters in my life. I felt so out of place and have never felt more like a suburbanite.

BUT I WAS THERE FOR A CAUSE!!!! I would carry on!

The waiter ambled on over to see what he could get us and I asked him if every item on the menu was supporting (RED) or if there were just certain things where the money was being donated from.

"Huh?" was the answer I got.

I started to get a sinking feeling.

"Product Red" I persevered, "you are a participating member of Product Red" I informed him. "Did you not know this?"

"Is there a manager we can talk to?" Norm asked. Here's the kicker:

"I'm the owner" he answered.

"Product Red. It's an organization where people buy things and a portion of the proceeds go towards buying Antiretroviral Drugs in Africa. They are helping stop the spread of HIV" I schooled him.

"I got a button in the mail" he drawled, pointing to it on his hipster suspenders.

Norm and I just shook our heads. This wasn't happening. I didn't just spend, by this time, 3 hours trying to get to this place only to be met by the most uninformed person.

"Is there a website?" the guy asked.

"Yes, it listed you as a participant" I tried.

"Oh. Well can I get you something to drink anyway?"

I gave in and gave up. I would not be supporting (RED) today. I was comforted, however, when we finally got home (another hour later) and I saw my phone and iPad clad in their (RED) covers.

Next time I will call ahead to find out if I will be eating a (RED) diner.

Please, please, please find out if there is a (RED) location near you that you can visit, this specific campaign is only until June 10th.

Thank you.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Papa

Well we got some info on Papa. They are waiting a month and then he will need to go back in and have it looked at again. Both mom and I are hopeful that this is just an enlarged lymph node for no reason and that everything is fine. I know we have a tendency to freak out and automatically think "cancer" but the one time we didn't think that it turned out to be. I was just worried and very sad to think of papa sick, to see that image of him going through what sissy went through. Thankfully I doubt that will happen :) Thank you everyone who texted, emailed, commented and reached out. I am truly thankful for that.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Anticipation

We are a soccer family so you can imagine how excited we are for the upcoming World Cup. We became a bit obsessed with the 2010 World Cup. It came on the heels of sissy dying so we were desperate for anything to help keep us occupied. I'm proud to say we watched every damn game of that damn World Cup! Asa correctly predicted all but two of the outcomes. On the eve of this World Cup I'm posting the ad for the last World Cup narrated by my man (no, not Caleb Porter, my other man, Bono), it never fails to give me chills and goosebumps: