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.



Saturday, December 31, 2011

I Do Not Like

I do not like when people seem
to get everything they want so easily.


I do not like that my sister is gone
There's something about it that is

wrong

WRONG

WRONG!!!!


I do not like that she had cancer
No one can give me one sane answer.


I do not like that on January nine
Everything fell apart

It's not

fine

FINE

FINE!!!!



I do not like it when people say
"She's in a better place, YAY!"



I do not like to not have my sister
Oh how it physically hurts to

miss her

MISS HER

MISS HER!!!!!



I do not like New Years Eve
Can I have one more normal one,
PLEASE?



One more thing
I do not like about New Years Eve
It was the last time she sat in my house and on my seat.



I do not like that she's not here
To play with us,

To laugh with us,

TO DRINK HER BEER!!!!!




I do not like how this pain never stops
By now my tears have soaked more than thirty mops.



I do not like how we are now just seven, no more eight
CANCER! It's YOU

I HATE

HATE

HATE!!!!



I do not like that PF Changs
used to be so fun
now it hurts my heart like bloody fangs.



But most of all

Above it all

THE THING OF ALL

I do not like

is living and missing
my only and best
dear, sweet,

sissy.


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Results

December is hard enough on its own but we had the extra stress of waiting to hear if mom had cancer.

Yes. Cancer.

As in Beya might have it.

It started off with a gyno appointment for some excessive bleeding. The doctor wanted to do a biopsy just to rule out uterine cancer. Fine.

The pathology report came back inconclusive but "consistent with cancer."

The doctor wanted to wait a few months before doing another biopsy but mom said no, Trina had to wait a month between her diagnosis and starting treatment and during that month the cancer spread like wildfire. I'm so proud of mom for putting her foot down and insisting on another biopsy in only two weeks.

The week of December 12th was horrible.

Wednesday the 14th was sissy's original cancer anniversary, the day I'd take her out and we'd celebrate her being alive.

Thursday the 15th was when mom had her second biopsy.

Friday the 16th was two years ago sissy found out her chemo wasn't working, her tumor marker numbers had doubled and her doctor told her to wait until after Christmas to start her new chemo regimen. He was basically trying to let her have a last Christmas.

Waiting.

Not telling anyone.

Mom didn't anyone to know about this because she didn't want to make a big deal out of something that might be nothing. She even tried to keep it from me, I just happened to overhear her on the phone and sensed something was up so me being me, I didn't stop hounding her until she told me everything.

We were hoping to have the results before Christmas.

That didn't happen.

Today mom started to freak out. We were all scared and it had been two weeks. Mom had an appointment with her PCP and had left a message with her gyno. We went to the doctor and mom asked him if there was ANY way possible that he could look up her test results. He left to take a look. Those three minutes were the longest minutes. I kept thinking to myself "if it's bad he's not going to tell mom. He'll just tell her they haven't come in yet. Or worse he'll say he can't discuss them with her. Unless he tells us things are fine, they aren't."

The doctor came back, sighed loudly and sat down.

My heart stopped and my stomach flipped.

"There's no cancer. There's nothing pre-cancerous. There is some excessive tissue growth that they will probably want to keep an eye on and probably do another check in six months. But there's no cancer."

NO CANCER!!!!!!

Excessive tissue growth that they want to keep an eye on and probably biopsy every six months or so, we can deal with that. That way if it DOES become pre-cancerous they can get it early. And that is IF.

December was rough indeed and Christmas is another blog post entirely but this was good news that I had to post right away.

Whew!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Questions

I have a million questions that I wish I could ask sissy. So many things that I wonder about. So many conversations we could still have.



Is Tahiti still your dream vacation?

Do you remember wearing black jeans to school?

If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life what would it be?

What is your favorite thing about Valentina?

What is your favorite thing about Asa?

What is the one thing that I do that most annoys you?

Are you still watching "Castle" now that you got me hooked on it?

What is your favorite way of drinking coffee?

Why didn't you tell me you hated the way I had my crosses up all haphazardly?

How can you be so patient with the kids when they play with playdough?

What is it about beer that you love?

Do you still have some of that lemon sugar scrub we bought together?

Do you still use your bath poufs instead of a washcloth?

What is your favorite holiday besides your birthday?

What is your favorite thing about being a mom?

What did you learn most from mom?

Who can you not stand?

Who did you want to win Survivor?

Who did you want to win The Amazing Race?

Should we enter The Amazing Race?

Would you enter Take The Money And Run with me?

How are you sleeping?

What snow cone flavor is your favorite?

Where was the last place you found your napkin that you "tucked"?

What was your dream last night?

What is your favorite Christmas movie?

Do you remember making me our first family ornament when we were still paperchasing and you just wrote "Baby" on it?

What is your favorite outfit of Asa's?

What do you love to see Valentina in?

How do you make your Mexican hot chocolate?

What do you think of Asa playing Star Wars video games?

What new show are you most excited about next year?

Do you still "want to go to there"?

What is your earliest memory?

What do you miss most about Grandma?

What do you miss most about Grandpa?

Are you watching Storage Wars?

What do you want for Christmas?

What..............




So many things I wish I could ask. But when I ask all I hear is silence and unrelenting disbelief that you aren't here to give me an answer.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Sign Me Up

I had the TV on while doing some other things and kept hearing some strange things. I had to actually rewind and listen to it again to make sure I wasn't listening an SNL skit. Nope, it was an actual commercial. I had to write down some of this shit because I couldn't believe it.

"Walking, eating, driving or engaging in other activities while asleep without remembering it the next day have been reported.

Abnormal behaviors may include:
- Aggressiveness
- Agitation

- Hallucinations or confusion

In depressed patients worsening of depression and risk of suicide may occur. Alcohol may increase these risks.

Allergic reaction such as tongue or throat swelling may occur and may be fatal.

Side effect may include:
- Unpleasant taste

- Headache
- Dizziness

- Morning drowsiness

As your doctor if Lunesta is right for you.

There's a land of restful sleep. We can help you go there on the wings of Lunesta."


Sure, sign me up! I'd love to have those side effects! And uh, I might be pointing out the obvious here but if it is doing what it's supposed to, make you sleep, isn't there a possibility that you wouldn't KNOW your tongue and throat is swelling? I guess that is why it could be fatal. I might Ambishop, Ambiblog or Ambibook without remembering but at least I don't have to sign away my life (literally) or have my license taken away for a sleeping pill.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Therapy Hilarity

I've had this blog post all written out in my head since Monday but I'm glad I didn't actually write it until today.

First off, today sucks. The 9th sucks. December sucks. 23 months sucks. Everything sucks.

That said, something so damn funny happened while mom and I were waiting in the therapists waiting room Monday. Yes, Beya is coming to therapy with me and I think she gets more out of it than I do. However it is fun to be able to be the one who says "oh, you don't listen to me when I say that but you listen when Dr. B says the exact same thing!"

Anyway, mom and I were waiting and there was a dude talking to the receptionist. It's a very small room as the place is an old house and there are about 6 therapists working out of it. The entire waiting room is about the size of my small dining area. I'm only explaining this because that is why I was able to hear the guy discuss his insurance information with the receptionist. Their conversation went something like this:

Receptionist - Well, Dr. X is considered a third tier on your insurance.

Dude - What does that mean?

Receptionist - The insurance company will cover third tier but you have a very high deductible, $2500, that you need to meet before they will start paying.

Dude - Okay. Then what do I owe for today?

Receptionist - The initial visit is $185.

Dude - I left my checkbook in the car. Let me go get it.

Mom and I watched the guy walk out the front door when I told mom "that guy's getting in his car and going home! Vrrrroooommmm!!!!! That's what I'd do! 'oh, I left my checkbook in my car' You'd be able to hear me pealing out!" Mom and I were laughing so hard that it was very difficult to get it under control when unbelievably the dude came walking back up the front stairs WITH his checkbook. After he paid I turned to mom and said "boy, he's more honest than I am!" This again set us off into a fit of giggles. We couldn't understand why the receptionist wasn't laughing with us. We also didn't understand why Dr. B kept looking at us after we told him the story with a bewildered look on his face, waiting for the funny part. Maybe mom and I found it so funny because that's something I actually did once, only it was a job. It was my first day and when I left for lunch I never went back.

I thought that was the funniest part of the week.

Until yesterday.

I must explain a few things first.

Papa talks. A lot. Sometimes to himself, sometimes to us, sometimes he thinks he's talking to me but I'm not listening. It is not uncommon to be in the living room and hear him talking in the family room while no one else is in there. He can also be sitting down, I'll look over, see his lips moving and know he's having a conversation in his head. Another thing papa does is tell us half stories. He's a news junkie and knows everything that's going on in the world. He literally watches at least 3 hours of news a day. BUT he'll tell us "I heard about that guy, that one that plays sports, something happened to him." Mom or I will follow up with "well, what happened?" and papa's reply is "well, I don't know but I saw that something happened to him, I didn't hear what. Do you know what happened to him?" It drives us crazy! He'll bring up a story but not know "the rest of the story" (my homage to Paul Harvey) and expects us to fill him in on it.

I heard papa doing his usual news half story with mom yesterday and decided to give papa a taste of his own medicine. I was so pleased with my idea I couldn't wait to do it! I came out to the living room, winked at mom and had the following conversation with papa:

me - Papa, did you hear that thing?

Papa - what thing?

me - On the news.

Papa - what happened?

me - Something happened to that guy. On the news.

Papa - Oh yeah! I heard that guy on the news and how he......

Papa actually launched into a story that he had heard on the news. I couldn't believe it. CURSES!!! I was foiled again! Papa went on to talk for another 5 minutes telling me about a real story that I hadn't even talked about. Mom and I were laughing so hard tears were streaming down our faces and of course papa didn't notice because he was busy telling him this story about the guy who did something.

And I thought I was so smart.

Epic fail.

9th9th9th9th9th

23months23months23months23months23moths23months9th9th9th9th9th9th9th23months
23months23months9th9th9th9th23months9th23months9th23months9th23months23months
23months9th9th9th9th23months9th23months23months9th9th

That is all that is running through my head today.

I'm trying to push out all thoughts and memories of sissy.

But I miss her.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Amazing!!!

I think everyone who has known me for any substantial amount of time knows how much I support Product (RED) and Africa. I know some people have just now realized what a pandemic Africa is going through with HIV, the drought and lack of food and are now on the bandwagon. They often think they're the first, and loudest, supporters. Really people, this has been going on for decades and that's how long I've been involved. Thanks for finally joining in on the party.

Anyway, so I got my email from Product (RED) today and it warmed my heart to see that Gap has already sold out of their special edition t-shirt! So cool.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Christmas Panic

I've been doing an advent calendar for the kids ever since Mom gave me this beautiful one that looks like a house with little boxes numbered 1-25 that I had been lusting after. The gifts vary from a quarter, $1, stickers, a treasure hunt leading to a coloring book in the bathtub, etc... Asa and Valentina get so excited about it and start asking around October when they can do "the house" again.

This year I got Asa the Star Wars Lego Advent Calendar! Norm was more excited about it than I was, I thought Asa might be pissed that he didn't get to open a box in the house. I covertly asked him if he would like the Star Wars version and he loved the idea. Needless to say that's all I needed.

Found. Bought. Done.

Valentina.

Oh what to do for Valentina? Norm suggested that we do the regular Lego Advent Calendar since both kids like legos and Valentina might feel slighted if Asa got Lego's every night and she didn't. Again I played secret agent to get her opinion on if she would like a generic Lego piece every night. She scrunched up her face and answered that 4 going on 13 way, "uh, NO!"

Great. So I researched advent calendars on amazon.com. I found a Polly Pocket and Hello Kitty. I showed them both to her and she loved the Polly Pocket. I meant to order it but yesterday I found myself needing something for her (we're starting it early for many reasons) and I had jackshit. Oh, and the stores don't carry any other kids advent calendars except for Star Wars.

BUT, I did find these ADORABLE Hello Kitty lego sets! I fell in love with them. You can collect a whole city and they have a cruise ship, a house, a flower stand, etc... I bought a couple small things along with a big house to give to her for Hanukkah and was so excited to start last night!

I pulled out the Star Wars calendar and Asa was out of his mind with happiness with it. I had managed to open one of Valentina's Hello Kitty sets and crammed the items into one the house's box.

Valentina pulled open the drawer.

I was preparing for her usual scream of delight and thought I might even get her ecstatic jumping up and down.

Valentina loves everything and she's very easy to buy for.

She opened the box.

There was no smile. There was no jumping up and down. There was no squeal of delight.

There was only "mom, I TOLD you I wanted the other one! I wanted the one with the girl!" She meant the Polly Pocket.

I felt as deflated as the white bird on Angry Birds after it drops its egg on the target.

I had decided to let the kids have two gifts. Great. TWO times the disappointment for Valentina and twice the feeling of failure for me.

After she opened the second gift, which was another mini Hello Kitty lego set, she kind of warmed up to it. In fact Beya had bought her one like it a while ago so she went and got that one and played with all three. She loves having a collection of anything. She will gather leaves, rocks, anything and call them her collection. Whew! Crisis averted and I began to feel a little less like I had just let her down in the worst way.

Today mom and I hit Target as the Star Wars lego set Asa wants for Christmas was on sale. I looked at the Hello Kitty lego sets again and fell in love with all of them. I even found some bigger sets that I could take some pieces out and spread them out for a few nights. I also picked up a "collection" of about 12-15 small Hello Kitty figures and was so happy with them. I also bought her the Strawberry Shortcake remote control car that had caused her the meltdown a few weeks ago. It resulted in Valentina clinging to Beya's leg and not letting go even as Beya walked down a whole aisle. Valentina basically swept 25 feet of our local Walmart.

But today I finished buying all the Christmas and Hanukkah presents! Shopping for the kids is complete!

After I picked up Valentina from Grama's she immediately started talking about "the house", asking me to make it a treasure hunt and wondering aloud what she was going to get. Asa, of course, had opened his daily mini set immediately after he got home from school.

"I can't wait to see what I get tonight!" Valentina squealed.

"Would you like it to be another Hello Kitty lego set?" I asked.

"No, I want something else. I wonder what new thing I'll get tonight!"

Again I was left feeling defeated. Why hadn't I learned my lesson and not bought her yet another Hello Kit set? Why, why, why? Mom was cracking up in the passenger seat. Great. Thanks for the support Beya.

"Wouldn't you like a whole Hello Kitty city? A Hello Kitty house?" I begged.

"YES! I want a whole town! I want a house! I want all of that! Do I get that tonight? Do I get a house? I want a town!" Valentina squealed.

FINALLY!!!! The reaction I was looking for! I explained to Valentina that she can't get her whole collection at once, that's the whole point of getting a collection, to get one small thing at a time until you finally have the whole set. We got home and I gave Valentina her new Hello Kitty lego set and she was very happy with it. In fact it even fit in her Hello Kitty tin container that she already had.

Whew.

I finally managed to get Valentina on board with the Hello Kitty theme Christmas I went with.

Christmas panic has finally turned into Christmas calm.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Therapy Sucks

Thanksgiving was harder than I expected. The day of and even the day after were ok, it was busy making it bearable, but the days following were when it really hit me.

I've been telling myself, literally saying out loud and thinking to myself for the past 22 months that this isn't real, this hasn't really happened, it's just something I need to get through and then our lives will get back to the real normal. Therapy kind of shatters that illusion. I have to face the stark, harsh, unthinkable reality that yes, it is indeed real. THIS is our life. There is no getting to the other side. This is it. THIS is our normal now.

Last night it it hit home. I went to sleep and I woke up no less than 8 times having the same recurring dream. I was in my psychiatrist's office telling him "no, this isn't real. I can't handle it. She can't be gone. I can't do this." He would just nod his head and say "I'm sorry, it is real" and then I would wake up crying. Needless to say I woke up feeling not too refreshed. Mom was already over when I came out of the bedroom and told her what my nightmares were. She held me while I sobbed and played the role of Dr. H telling me that yes, it is real.

What do I do? I pushed it all aside and told myself again "nope, not gonna do it. I want denial and avoidance again because this shit is too painful. Can't do it. Push it to the side."

So of course I got up, made a cup of coffee and went through the Sunday ads. If indeed this IS real (which I can't deal with the thought of it actually being so) then I have plenty of time to deal with it.

Now is not the time.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Happy Birthday Mom!!!!

My feelings for mom go deeper and stronger and more emotional than a simple blog post could ever begin to start.

So I will simply say, mom, I love you more than you can ever know.

Baby Girl

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Already

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving.

Already.

Already the second Thanksgiving without sissy.

Already the third Thanksgiving since cancer charged in and turned our family upside down.

Thanksgiving already.

I'm very, very proud of mom and me making a whole Thanksgiving dinner for the seven of us. I still go into denial in my head and keep saying "it's not real, sissy just isn't here this year. She's not really dead. In fact it's always been the seven of us. She wasn't even here. That was all an illusion. This life I have now is all that I've ever had." Talk about denial and avoidance!

The next few months don't let up, emotionally. I feel like I need to shut down and hunker down to get through past Valentina's birthday (mid February). After that I'll have a few weeks when I can fall apart but until then I need to keep everything shoved down as much as possible. I don't have the luxury of time or emotional strength to deal with this until then.

Three months. I need to shut down for three months.

Thanksgiving is already here.

Mom's birthday is already here.

Time to get our Christmas tree already.

December 13, 14, 15 and 16 already.

Hanukkah already.

Christmas already.

New Years Eve, the last time sissy was at my house, already.

January 2-9 already.

January 9-15 already.

Get ready for Valentina's birthday already.

Valentina's 5th birthday already.

Valentina's third birthday without her TT already.

Valentina's party already.

After Valentina's party, fall apart.

Already.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Untitled

This is a mishmash so there is no title.

We were supposed to do a road trip tomorrow (Norm has a meeting out of town) but I've been sick for the past two days and the thought of being in a car for a few hours just to spend one night in a hotel and drive home makes me exhausted. That and the toll it would take on my back just isn't worth it. The kids had two very different reactions when I told them we had to cancel our trip.

Asa - "Cool! Tomorrow is crazy hat day at school!"

Valentina - "Huh. Well you can stay home and we'll go without you!" head flipped around, her long hair almost snapping like a whip behind her and her arms crossed.

So we will be home this weekend.

I'm back in therapy. I'm starting very slowly but I have noticed a decrease in my anxiety attacks. I was having them almost daily and they would last about an hour. I think the last one I had was Tuesday.

Thanksgiving is upon us already. I can't believe it. I can't believe we passed the 22 month mark. I can't believe we're going to cook a Thanksgiving dinner. Well, strike that, we're cooking a family dinner. That is how I am going about this, it is just a family dinner with turkey and the sides. See? I avoid. But I am dealing with it slowly. Dinner will be just the seven of us.

The only time I have ever shopped Black Friday was when Best Buy gave out a free 3 song U2 CD to the first 150 people. This year, however, being as the stores are opening at midnight mom and I are thinking of doing it. Anything for a distraction. Midnight is a whole lot better than 4 am since being up until midnight is a piece of cake, or pumpkin pie as the case may be. Mom wants a tablet so if we can find a great, fantastic, unbelievable deal for one you can bet I'll be one of those who (attempt to) sprint for the prize.

So that is about it. Oh, Valentina sang in the kids choir at last weekends mass (or "mask" as she calls it). I was reminded once again why I don't go to church and don't believe in organized religion for myself.

FEAR!!! FEAR!!! YOU AREN'T GOOD ENOUGH!!! YOU MUST BE GOOD ENOUGH!!! YOU WON'T GET INTO HEAVEN BEING WHO YOU ARE!!! YOU MUST BECOME SOMEONE BETTER!!!! YOU MUST BE BETTER THAN THE PERSON SITTING NEXT TO YOU!!! ARE YOU BETTER THAN THEM??? ARE THEY GOING TO TAKE YOUR PLACE IN HEAVEN??? YOU MUST BE BETTER THAN THEM!! GOD WILL RAIN DOWN HIS WRATH UPON YOU IF YOU AREN'T GOOD ENOUGH!!! GOD WILL BE AN ANGRY GOD IF YOU DON'T DO GOOD THINGS!!! FEAR!!!! YOU MUST LIVE IN FEAR OF NOT BEING GOOD ENOUGH!!!!!

Yeah, no thank you. In the wise (paraphrased) words of Jack Nicholson's character, "go sell crazy somewhere else, we're all stocked up here."

How true :)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Valentina Explains "Return of the Jedi"

She is her fathers daughter...... and Asa's sister.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Grief Stricken Or Seven?

Asa has been throwing fits lately and yesterday was the worst so far. I keep thinking "he's lost his mom, he's finally grieving" but then I wonder if it's just normal 7 year old behavior.

Today after school the kids got to pick out a piece of candy from their Halloween bag, they each have a gallon size bag full of candy. After they had candy Asa announced "I need some alone time", went into his room and shut the door. My heart was breaking as I thinking he was probably thinking about Trina and was sad. Saturday morning he gave me a hug and said "I miss mom." Today is the 9th, which is always hard but I'm always careful to never let on to him that the 9th is any different than any other day. About 10 minutes after he went into his room Beya went in to give him a hug.

Asa was sitting under his desk with the contraband bag of candy, eating it as fast as he could.

I was feeling sorry for him when in reality he was being a normal 7 year old and sneaking candy.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Blech (Again)

I had therapy yesterday. It's been about a year since I've seen my therapist but I started seeing him about 10 years ago so he knows me inside and out. He doesn't take any of my bullshit and calls it like he sees it. He keeps me in check. Basically he's Beya with a PhD.

Mom went with me to make sure I told him everything. I tried to score extra points by explaining that I've identified my panic attack triggers and when I feel one starting to come on I manage to keep it to a major anxiety attack vs. a full blown panic attack. I was in the middle of one while I was there and he told me that I was doing a good job.....but that they won't stop until I deal with my grief. He also explained that 22 months (tomorrow) is no where near enough time to accept the trauma of sissy being gone.

"You know what therapy is like" he said. "Do you want to do this or do you want to continue with the anxiety and panic attacks? What would you tell your kids to do? What would you want THEM to do?"

See? He's so good. He's just like mom.

So I'm starting weekly therapy again. It sucks and it's draining and it's a lot of emotional work and right now I feel like I have my hands full and can't take on one more thing. But I also know that I refuse to let this overwhelming anxiety and panic take over my life. It got to the point where mom had to drive me to therapy. That is just not acceptable for me.

Back into therapy I go.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

My Date With Amanda

A few weeks ago my best friend Amanda asked me if I had plans for that weekend. Her husband and two kids were going to be out of town and wanted to know if I could make time for dinner with her. A chance to get dressed in clothes? And shoes? And a real outfit? For dinner in a restaurant? Without kids? OF COURSE!!!!

"It's a date!" I exclaimed.

Ooops. I had no one to watch the kids. I did some smooth talking and got Norm to watch them while I went out to dinner.

Amanda asked where we should go. I rattled off about six places I COULDN'T go to because of sissy. "Can you work with me here a little bit?" Amanda pleaded.

Our dinner date was set for Saturday night. I even promised to wear my "hooker heels" for the occasion. They are my black patent leather peep toe wooden platform shoes that I love. I am a purse and shoe whore. I love my shoes and I love my purses.

Saturday night FINALLY came and there was a knock at the door followed by silence. Now normally Amanda knows to just walk in the house because I'm too damn lazy to actually get off my ass and answer the door, especially if it's her. Hell, she even has the code to our garage door. But this night was different, this night she waited for me to answer the door, as any good date does. This is what I saw when I opened the door:


Flowers for me!!!! I almost squealed in delight but mostly laughed at how silly and serious we were both taking this.

Off we went to have dinner at one of our favorite Thai restaurants. I did decide against my hooker heels as I was testing them around the house and almost fell several times. Instead I went with my Anne Klein mules. I was almost giddy with excitement. A dinner out with my favorite date!

Our appetizers, salad rolls and lettuce wraps. It was sooooo good. The entrees were delicious, especially after two cocktails.

The evening was full of laughter, girl talk, good food and perfect company. We had to park two blocks away which made me even more relieved that I hadn't worn my hooker heels. I even made it to the restaurant and back to her car before I almost took a tumble. I thought I had made a smooth recovery until Amanda busted a gut laughing and giving me a hard time for almost making it through without falling.

Amanda and me.

Jen, you had asked me if this was my KKMoFo friend.

Yes.

But she is so much more.

I've known Amanda since I was 17. She has been my confidante, my best friend, my shoulder to cry on (literally), my friend who sat in the hospital with my family while sissy was there, the best food bringer (I'm making that a real word) when sissy was going through chemo, the person who I pushed away after sissy died and was there for me when I came back a few months later, my secret holder and my future LLP.

And my KKMoFo friend :)

♥♥♥♥♥I love you Amanda ♥♥♥♥♥


So Angry

I have discovered the anger and obsession of "Angry Birds." I used to make fun of Norm for playing it. This has surpassed my obsession of "Rummikub" on Facebook.

Anything (and I mean anything) to obsess over to try to keep from thinking that the holidays are here.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Seattle

Yes, I realize that this post and subsequent photos are more than a month late but hey, I've been busy.

Friday, September 23rd Papa, Beya, the kids and I decided to take a day trip to Seattle as Jen, Dave and Aviana were going to be there and had a few hours free so we were able to have lunch with them!!! Our trip started off as a day trip, then we decided to spend the night, then planned on making a mini vacation out of it and spend two nights and when the time came we ended up going back to our original plan of going up for the day. This is us after all, plans and our family don't really go together very well.



Waiting outside the restaurant for Jen. Between her "brain damage by osmosis" and my not understanding things, communication was totally lost between us so while they were waiting INSIDE the restaurant we waited OUTSIDE. This lasted for about 20 minutes before we both finally figured it out. Guess I can't say she's the only one who's dingy :) The restaurant was at the marina and the kids loved playing around this fountain. The one thing that freaked me out was there wasn't any barrier between the boardwalk and five foot drop into the water. Given how much Valentina loves the water and her fear of nothing I thought for sure at some point we'd be fishing her out of the marina. I'm happy to report that did NOT happen.


You can see here that Valentina caught some serious air. I'm thinking she has a few career options; hurdle jumper, dancer or actor.


I had my camera pointed at Valentina while she was chasing Asa around the fountain and a split second before I took this picture her legs went out from under her on the slippery wood and she went DOWN. It was sooo funny and I was just bummed I hadn't gotten a picture of it.

Getting totally soaked by the water.


I had more than one wet kid!


Inside the restaurant. Poor Aviana was buried under the doll and pillow pet the kids gave her. Aviana is even more beautiful in person than on her blog. Jen is just as sweet and kind in person but also more of a spitfire and such an amazingly dry, dark sense of humor. We get along GREAT!!! We had a great two hour long lunch along with Dave and his sister Dinah. It was a lunch full of laughter and a little crying. It was so nice to be around people who "get it". Our situations are very different but neither one of us would wish what we live with every day on anyone. Well, almost anyone but that's just me being bitchy. Dinah is a very quiet, reserved, kind person. She sat next to mom and they were having a conversation while Dave was dealing with Aviana, Jen and I were talking and the kids were making a racket. I heard Dinah ask mom if she had any other grandkids or if I was the only one who had kids. It just so happened that Jen and I finished our conversation, Aviana relaxed and the kids were quiet when mom explained to Dinah that Asa was Trina's, that Trina had died 20 months ago from cancer and that sissy and I were her and papa's only children. The table fell into complete silence at that moment. Not because we were upset or sad (well we always are but that had nothing to do with why it was quiet). I could see Dinah slink down in her chair wishing the earth would just swallow her up. I knew Jen was thinking the same thing as me, "hahahaha!!!! Glad it wasn't ME!" I almost busted a gut laughing because really, who among us hasn't had one of those moments. I felt bad for Dinah..... but it was still soooo funny!

Outside the restaurant, getting to go our separate ways. Jen, I love you dearly and wish we lived closer to each other! It was one of the best, most cathartic, loving, sad and happy lunches I've ever had. Jen and Dave are truly some of the kindest and REAL people I've ever met! They make such a great team and it's obvious what a fierce love they have for Aviana. And Aviana, what to say but that she is a beautiful child who has been dealt one of the most horrible, evil cards ever to strike an innocent human being. The way the family handles it is with grace, love and quiet frustration. I love them all.

Asa took this picture of Jen, Beya and me. Nice job Asa!


All three kids. Aviana was thinking "ugh, the only way I can get away from these kids who keep burying me is to fake falling asleep. Maybe then they'll leave me alone!" Valentina asks about Aviana several times a week so she was soooo excited to meet her and just loved seeing her. She still asks me how Aviana is doing and when can see her again. Some day Valentina, some day.


After lunch we had plans to have dinner at my cousin's house with his wife and their two kids. Their daughter has the exact same birthday as Asa but she's two years younger. Since their birthdays were in a few days M and B decided to have us over and do a small birthday party for all four kids. Because they live on the other side of Seattle we left downtown and headed over there. At four pm. On a Friday. Traffic was not that swift but since we had time we just relaxed and I showed Asa the hotel where Trina and Josh used to stay when they had money and we passed by the exit of the beach where they would camp out of sissy's Blazer when they didn't have money. We passed by the stadiums where the Sounders, Seahawks and Timbers play and where Norm and I went to see U2 only a few months earlier. We passed by the station where Norm and I used to take the train to Seattle. It was quite a trip down memory lane and since I had to keep my mind on not running into any cars I didn't have time to break down emotionally.

We finally made it across town and had about an hour to kill so we just drove around and the GPS showed that we were really close to a body of water of some sort. We followed the general map and before we knew it we were at a small park right on the Sound!


It was an unusually hot day but it was nice to get close to the water. You can see the kids made a beeline for the swings.



Oh the kids had such a great time climbing and jumping over the logs that had washed up. I kept yelling at them to be careful when in fact it was Papa that fell down!




Valentina has to have a collection of SOMETHING wherever she goes so naturally she found a collection of shells while we were at the waterfront.





We made it to M and B's house and the kids opened an insane amount presents. I didn't get their permission (I forgot to ask) to post pictures so that's why there aren't any clear pics of their kids. I'm not being a totally selfish mom and only posting pictures of my kids.


T and Valentina had a great time playing fairies. The last time they had been together was at Trina's service almost 22 months ago. We walked in the door and they picked up right where they left off. Asa ADORED their baby boy and now he's really wanting a baby brother. I keep telling him no but haven't told him it's not completely out of the question. At this time it is but if there's anything I know for sure it's that we never know what the future holds.

Asa telling us without words what he thought of the evening.

B's dad died suddenly about two months after Trina was diagnosed so it was so good to sit down and talk to her about it and talk about death, living after losing someone so close to you and our thoughts on what happens after you die. It was extremely good therapy to have dinner with yet another family who "gets it". I'm so fortunate to have such a wonderful family be part of my family. My cousin M, Trina and I all grew up together until I was about 7 so we have a bit of history together. He and Trina were really close so we have stories to remember together. He's the closest family member I have other than mom and papa who I have a history with that I talk to. Dinner was again full of laughter and tears. I hated for it to end but it was getting late and we had a two hour drive home so we had to finally shut down the party.

The kids were very excited to drive home in the dark......for about 5 minutes. Then they just wanted to get home, NOW. Of course we got stuck in construction traffic at 10 pm that held us up for an hour. We finally pulled into the driveway at midnight. It was an extremely long day but well worth it, even the screaming fit Asa had about 45 minutes from home and the resulting sobbing from Valentina. Mom and I had to just let go and laugh at them or else we were going to go crazy.

Thank you to everyone for such an amazing day that I will remember forever.

I just wish sissy could have been there.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Nicole

I "met" Nicole on the adoption.com message boards during the start of our adoption process. I had noticed that although we lived on opposite ends of the country we were using the same adoption agency. I private messaged her and found out we had quite a bit in common and some things were totally different. I told her I was envious of her "glamorous life" (she takes the train to work, how cool is that?!) and she loved reading about sissy's and my relationship.

Not only did we use the same agency but for a brief time her son was in the same hogar as Valentina.

As is normal with life after our kids came home we became busy with them and our emails started to become less and less frequent.

Nicole is so kind and sweet and she emailed me periodically after sissy was diagnosed. She would cry with happiness and sadness with each peak and valley of sissy's cancer. After Trina died, as I did with 99% of my friends and family, I shut down and didn't talk to anyone.

I recently made contact with Nicole again and we have picked right up where we left off. She is once again leading a glamorous life, being profiled in a coffee table book on adoption!!!! I urge you to check out the link to the pictures that are being compiled to make up the book. You can see just how beautiful Nicole and her family are, inside and out.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Avoiding

I was watching Cookie Monster the other day on "Sesame Street" (yes Holly and Amanda, I actually nutted up and watched a fucking puppet show. I bet THAT'S what made me pass out!) and his way of halted talking cracked me up. Today I've had his voice running through my head:

Must stay busy.

Busy make neck and back hurt.

Hurting make me not think of emotional pain.

Emotional pain bad.

Physical pain better than emotional.

Busy, busy, busy.

Bake, bake, bake.

Cook, cook, cook.

Cater to children keeps me busy.

Beya really sick.

Beya not be with me.

Me miss Beya.

Must stay busy to not think of Beya.

Beya sick make me think of sissy sick.

Valentina grieving.

Valentina crying a lot over TT.

Valentina grieving make heart hurt.

Hurting heart not good.

Sissy gone.

Don't think of sissy gone.

Don't think of fun with sissy.

Don't think of sissy.

Can't stop thinking of sissy.

Me miss sissy.

Must stay busy.

Busy, busy, busy, busy, busy, busy, busy.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Therapy Already

No, I haven't seen my therapist yet but I had a GIANT therapy session with a total stranger Sunday. I have a "no soliciting" sign on our front door because we were getting at least 3-5 people a week trying to sell me something. One time I had some dude come by and try to sell me his landscaping skills. Purely for shock value (and it was the truth) I told him "nah, I have a Mexican who does it for really cheap", meaning papa. The look on this guys face was totally worth it.

Anyway, Sunday I had some Bible thumper come by. This isn't the first time I've had one come by since sissy died but the kids are always swarming me and I can't really have an in depth conversation. Sunday I managed to go out on the front porch, shove the kids inside and shut the door.

This was a conversation 21 months in the making.

I had SUCH a great time!!!! I almost felt bad for the guy. Our conversation went a little something like this:

Dude - Hi, we're (he had some 8 year old boy with him in a suit that was 3 sizes too big) just out talking about God's love and wondering if you had a few minutes so we could talk to you.

Me (arms folded, smiling smugly and gearing up for a conversation) - Actually my sister died of cancer 21 months ago.

Dude - Oh, I'm so sorry, I know what that's like, a friend of mine just died of cancer. Do you feel like God let you down?

Me - No. I know God didn't want her to die.

Dude (surprised) - Oh. So you believe in the Bible and God.

Me - No, I don't really believe in the Bible. I believe in God and I believe in miracles but we don't always get what we want.

Dude - So you have faith then?

Me - No. My sister had faith up until the day she died. The doctors gave her 2-5 years to live and she died 8 months later.

Dude (very sadly) - Oh, so you feel like God let her down?

Me - No I don't.

Dude (very confused now) - So you don't feel like God her down?

Me - No, I know God didn't let her down. There are people that get healed and there are people that died and we never know which way it's going to go.

Dude - So you believe that Bible shows you things, right?

Me - No. I don't really believe in the Bible.

Dude (now desperately wishing he had paid attention to my no soliciting sign) - Well the Bible is a very powerful thing and God has shown people passages in it.

Me - I know. I felt like God had shown me passages too but they didn't turn out. My parents were positive that God had shown them things in the Bible while my sister was sick but they didn't come true. The mind is a very powerful thing that can make us see and believe things that aren't there and aren't real.

Dude (trying very hard to get me to admit that I was angry with God) - So you feel like God let your parents down.

Me (still very calm and holding my own better than him at this point) - No, I don't. God doesn't want bad things to happen. Horrible things happen all over the world every second of the day. God can't intervene in every situation. I don't blame God but I feel like the Bible is a giant game of telephone. Things always get confused and convoluted every time something is translated or revised. It would be impossible for the Bible to be that old and transcribed that many times and have everything still be exactly the same.

This went on for about 20 minutes before the dude finally realized he couldn't get me to be angry with God no matter how many ways he phrased it or asked it. He was very confused as to how I could believe in God but not take the Bible as, well, scripture. He finally walked away without handing me any of his paperwork trying to save me, I think he figured I was a lost cause.

It felt SO GOOD to say my beliefs, and somewhat lack of, to someone who considered themselves an expert and hold my own.

Now THAT was a good (and free) therapy session!

*I didn't re-read this post so please excuse any typos or errors in grammar.

Friday, October 14, 2011

McDone With McMexi

Yes, you read that right. I'm done with McMexi's office. I only see him in passing about twice a year and McGayer is my "doctor". He's not very good. He's not very sympathetic. I know nothing can be done about my chronic pain but when I go in there, crying with frustration over not being able to wash Valentina's hair, not being able to cook dinner without paying for it by being laid up the next day, not being able to travel more than 20 minutes without paying for it for a week and he simply waits for me to finish my sentence so he can tell me how he and his husband rearranged their furniture, well, I'm McDone with him.

I went and saw my PCP (primary care physician) today. He said he can write my prescriptions and handle my "pain management" for me. Because nothing can be done that's all that IS done. I know there's no miracle breakthrough, trust me, I KNOW there's no miracle coming, but all I want is for someone to listen and UNDERSTAND me when I bitch about my spine feeling like it's a corkscrew driving down my back.

I also had something else to talk to my doctor about.

I fainted.

Wednesday night Norm and I were getting ready to head to bed, I was going through my wallet to see how much cash I had when I was able to tell Norm "I feel a panic attack coming on". That's it. I went down. I don't remember anything after that. Norm had his back to me and the way he tells it is he heard a THUMP, turned around and saw me flat on the floor, my eyes rolled back into my head, arms over my head, money clutched in both hands. He laughed about it later and said he should have taken a picture (supportive husband, I know, haha) but at the time he said he was freaked out. I guess it took about 30 seconds for him to shake me awake. I felt kind of weak and fuzzy the rest of the night and in the morning but nothing major. However I was glad that I already had the doctors appointment made.

So, the verdict?

I need to grieve.

I've had four panic attacks and they have all been during something extremely emotional. My first one was at group grief counseling after I yelled at the 12 year old "counselor" who had never lost anyone close to him but somehow found himself qualified to lead a grief group. The second one was at the U2 concert. 'Nuff said. The third one was during one of Norm's work meeting dinners while we were in Boise and I wore my shoes that I wanted to badly to show sissy. This last one, well, I had a hard time pinning that one down but I thought about it and earlier in the night Valentina had talked a lot about sissy while I was putting her to bed and mom had told me she and papa were going to be gone this weekend. Bam! Double whammy.

So there you have it. Because I internalize things and I can only handle so much before breaking, it's coming out in physical ways. My doctor said I need to talk, think and work with my grief instead of pushing it to the side, trying with all my might that it's not real, that this didn't really happen. I had printed up some new pictures of sissy and me to put in my frames before Asa's birthday party but it's like I didn't SEE them. I saw them but didn't LOOK at them, I couldn't let myself look at them or remember how much fun we were having in the picture. McSoccer (my PCP, he used to coach his sons' soccer teams and always asks how Asa is doing in soccer so that's his name now) told me that I already have two strikes against me, my pain and my bipolar. If I don't work on this in about 5 years it will catch up to me and I'll end up in the loony bin.

Blech.

But I don't wanna deal with it! (I always think of how Seinfeld whined "but I don't wanna be a pirate!). Like mom says though, "how's it working for you to not deal with it?"

Step one. Start seeing my therapist again. It's been over a year since the last time I saw him. I quit going because I didn't want to cry and deal with things and when you're in therapy you can't really avoid things. See? I avoid.

Avoiding isn't working. So I will start seeing my therapist.

Blech.

I still don't wanna deal with it. But I will for the kids because even more than I don't wanna deal with it, I don't wanna end up in a loony bin.

So I will start to grieve.

Blech.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Happy 7th Birthday Asa Boy!

I'm finally getting around to blogging about Asa's birthday party. As stated before Asa insisted on having a Star Wars theme surprise party. Asa was so shocked, surprised and very happy when he walked in the door to 10 of his friends and a house full of people.


SURPRISE!!!!!
I love how Valentina is trying to hug her brother.


All the kids at the dining room table. You can see my newly painted wall to the left. This was a pain and mom ended up painting it twice as I couldn't get the right color. I like the color we ended up with although I wouldn't have minded it a few shades lighter. We also painted the entryway the same color.



I stressed and obsessed over Asa's cake for about a week. After scouring the internet I finally ended up taking a copy of a clone trooper from one of Asa's books, blowing it up and cutting it out of these sugar sheets that I found at a craft store. I was pretty happy with how it turned out.


Chocolate cake and an ice cream sandwich makes for one very happy birthday boy.


Asa had been surrounded by all of his friends so this was the first time I had a chance to ask him what he thought of his party. I told him I loved him and he smiled at me said "I love you too sissy. This is AWESOME!" My heart melted and exploded at the same time.


The loves of my life and me.


Of course it's not a Fiesta de Cumpleanos without a pinata.

And it's not OUR Fiesta de Cumpleanos without it being McGhetto style!
As you can see in the picture with Asa, he has a pink scarf over his eyes. After he hit the pinata a few times we realized that it wasn't going to hold on much longer so Asa's soccer coach took the pink scarf and tied it around the entire pinata.


So that is how Asa's 7th Birthday party went down. I'm still waiting for my camera to be sent back to me so hopefully I'll be able to post our my lunch with Jen, Gary, Aviana aand Dinah. A great time was had by all and then we capped off an already great day with a wonderful dinner. More on that when I get the pictures. Thank you for your patience!

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Blech

We have been sick. Everyone got sick. I started it off Thursday night with some pretty violent vomiting. It was pretty bad and constant. I couldn't keep anything down yet I was so thirsty. The worst part was the fact that I couldn't keep my pain meds down which means I had no pain meds. In the past I've toyed with the idea of going off my pain meds, taking it easy and maybe try to get pregnant to have another kid. After what I went through with not being able to take my meds I know that is no longer possible. I was in the worst pain I've ever had. My spine felt like it was a giant corkscrew with a big 'ol knot at the top that just kept digging into my back. And my hips felt like they were a piece of fried chicken being ripped and gnawed apart. Mom kept asking me if I wanted to go to the ER to get a pain shot but I knew I wouldn't be able to make the drive. Luckily the throwing up and diarrhea last only "only" about 12 hours. I lost 10 lbs in less than 3 days. It was horrible. I literally slept 45 minutes Thursday night. Friday afternoon Valentina came down with it. Again about 12 hours of vomiting. Asa started it early Sunday morning along with Papa although Papa never threw up. Mom is feeling queasy but is okay. It's been almost a week and I'm still kind of weak and my stomach isn't back to normal.

So that's why I haven't written Asa's birthday post.

Asa just went back to school today. He's still a little queasy and not eating much, same as Valentina. In fact she was over it Saturday but Sunday morning she woke up vomiting. I'm so tired of puke!!!!

The past two days my nerves have been shot. Gone. Nada. Asa's birthday is always so difficult to get through but I manage to obsess about the little things to keep my mind occupied and then I emotionally crash the day or two afterwards. Well I haven't had the time to since our whole house has been sick. Everything has been annoying me, my mind can't turn off and it's like every noise is amplified. Of course Valentina has been talking nonstop which is just dandy when I'm in these ruts. I even upped my xanex and it still hasn't helped.

Yesterday I had it. I was done. I couldn't take it one more minute. So what do I do? Why change my home decor of course! Down came all the teal and apple green things and up went the red and green. Normally the changing of the decor is so hard as it represents just another season without sissy but the visual of the summer things just shouted in my head "SICK!SICK!SICK!VOMIT!" so I was glad to get rid of it.

So that is what we've been up(chucking) to.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Seriously?

I hate it when people copy me. Now I know I'm super cool and all (sarcasm font please) but really, when I go to another blog and see that they have done the same thing as me, use the same phrases as me and do almost the exact same layout as me, well, it's really fucking annoying. And I know it's copied after me because it's someone I know and who knows me and has copied other things in my life too.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Whew!

Today is Asa's birthday so of course yesterday was his SURPRISE birthday party. It went perfectly! He was so surprised and all the kids were great. There were 9 kids and about 25 adults, just the right amount of people for the house to not feel cramped. Asa said it was his best birthday ever.

Friday was cram packed full.

We drove to Seattle to have lunch with.........JEN!!!!!! I can't wait to write all about it but in a nutshell I felt like I had known Jen all my life. We talk on the phone and when we (finally, haha) met at the restaurant I just sat next to her and it was like we had always known each other. She is one of the most genuine, REAL, extraordinary, funny, self deprecating, loving, (dingy) and generous person I've ever met. Friday deserves it's own blog post and I'm going to write it as soon as I get the pictures from my camera........which I have to wait til Friday to get since I forgot it at my cousin's house in Seattle. Luckily Norm is working there all week so he's able to pick it up.

Speaking of my husband, I feel like I won't remember who he is. He had to leave the party early to drive back up to Seattle for work this week. He no sooner comes home Friday night and then has meetings all day Saturday and Sunday morning he flies out for more meetings and won't be home until Tuesday night.

I'm so grateful to have my parents. Beya and Papa did more than help me for the party, they DID the party and Josh paid for it so really all I had to do was throw it.

I feel like I've been running on adrenaline for the past two weeks and now I'm totally going to crash both emotionally and physically.

So I have two posts to write, Asa's birthday party and Friday's Seattle trip so stick around.



HAPPY BIRTHDAY ASA BOY!!!!!

Asa, you are now my SEVEN year old boy and I couldn't love you any more than I already do!


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I GOT IT!!!!!!

I'm so damn excited that I won an ebay auction for Asa's AT-AP Walker!!!! I pick it up this afternoon. $36!!! No box but hell, $36 with no box or $125 sealed in box. Hmmm.... wonder which is better.....

Thank you sissy!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Shhhh..........

We've got a busy weekend coming up. We're going out of town for the day. We were going to be gone for 2 nights and then we changed it to 1 and now I think we're just going for the day. There are several (boring) reasons why we decided to just be gone for the day but we're going to see some super special people that I can't wait to see!!!! We are also going to see my cousin, his wife and their 2 kids. Their daughter and Asa have the same birthday so we're going to do a lowkey dinner/combined birthday party. I'm excited to see them also.

We also have a soccer game and Sunday is Asa's surprise birthday party!!! I'm hoping the weather will be nice so we can do it outside and so far the forecast is calling for dry but overcast. Anything other than rain and I'll be a happy camper.

Birthdays for the kids are always hard. I don't remember any of them since sissy died. I see photos of them so I have proof that we actually had a party but I have no memory of it. I was watching the news over the weekend and saw that both Kara Kennedy and Eleanor Mondale died on the same day, both at 51. Kara's daughter had a birthday just a few days later and mom and I gasped when we heard that. How horrible for them! How could they live through that? Not only did her family have to deal with her dying but then a birthday so close to it? I was just thinking "how? How can one family do that?"

Then it hit me. WE did that.

Sissy died 5 days before Valentina's birthday.

Jen asked me a funny question when I was talking to her one day. "When is Valentina's birthday?" She laughed once she realized what she was asking me as I had just blogged how confused I get when someone asks me when it is. Jen followed up with "nevermind! I know how difficult that question is for you!" We laughed and laughed.

Sunday is Asa's party and Monday is his actual birthday. I'm getting all my melancholy shit out now because when I write his birthday post I refuse to have anything of a downer in it.

So that's it. Busy busy busy which is always good. And again, so far I love Asa's 1st grade teacher. We've really lucked out thus far. I'm both dreading and looking forward to next year when both kids are in the same school. I know Valentina is going to have a very hard adjusting to full days in school but it will be best for her. I want to cry just thinking about it and I know it's going to be difficult but I can't homeschool her, it just wouldn't be right for her. She needs to be around other kids and follow a schedule. It took her all year to get used to pre-school and this year she's doing better. I know "real" school is going to be harder but again, it's not about me and what I want, it's about what is best for her. Sucks being a parent sometimes and making those hard decisions, don't it?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

WANTED!!!!!

I'm on the search for a Star Wars Lego #7671 AT-AP Walker for Asa's birthday. If anyone has one or knows of anyone who has one or knows of anyone who knows of anyone who has one, please let me know. It doesn't need to be in a sealed box but it does need to have the box and all the pieces, including the minifigs. I'm stalking a few on ebay.

Thank you!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig

Beya and Papa went to the cabin yesterday. My great friend had told me Friday night that the house was safe and the fire was about a mile north of it. What great news! I know, the fire was a whole MILE away!!! Before that would have sounded close, now it seems like 60 miles. But mom and papa were able to get in yesterday. Mom said the sky was even blue. They contemplated spending the night but mom knew I would have fuh-reaked so they didn't put me though that. Thank you mom!

They packed up a few things just on the off chance that the winds pick up and the fire takes a turn. We got the pictures. a few things from Guatemala, a few items of my grandparents and oh, the most important, the kids' big bears. They SCREAMED with delight when mom walked through the door last night with those in hand.

So everything is ok and I'm glad the cabin didn't get burned up.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Fire Update Part II

The fire had hit the end of our driveway as of this afternoon. Our driveway is about a half mile long. There is only one way in and out of the cabin and that is where the fire is.

There is a list of people that the officials are notifying when that persons home or property has been lost. Fingers crossed, Beya and Papa are not yet on that list.

Again, a big thank you to my friend who is keeping me updated with the most accurate and latest information. Thank you, YOU! You know who you are!!! I love you.

Fire Update

Below is a map of the forest fire that is threatening Beya and Papa's house. I've erased some of the roads out of privacy. The red area is the fire. The yellow square is our house. Each square in the map is 1 mile. As you can see, it's right about a mile away. It all depends on the wind. The firefighters are amazing, they work around the clock and trust me, they don't do it for the money!!! One of my oldest and closest friends was a firefighter and let me tell you, it's in their blood. They are some of the most heroic people I can think of. So far about 30+ houses have been burned. It could go either way. And again, either way there's nothing we can do about it.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Alarming Fire

There's a big forest fire that was many miles away from my parents cabin. No more. I got a text from a really close friend with inside information and she's been keeping us updated.

The fire, as of about an hour ago, was a mile and a half away and headed straight for the cabin.

To lose my childhood home wouldn't be the worst thing to happen to us in the past 2 years but it still isn't on my top things of what I want to happen either.

I was talking to mom about it and I told her that I wanted the pictures. All of my childhood pictures with sissy are in the cabin. It's where sissy and I grew up together. It's where I lived from the time I was 5 until 17. Trina loved going to the cabin after Asa was born. I began to tolerate it after Valentina came home. It's out in the middle of nowhere and I just feel so isolated out there that it makes me sad but mom, papa and Trina have always loved it. Valentina and Asa love going there. I haven't been there since way before sissy died.

The pictures. I want the pictures. Then again like I told mom instead of growing old with sissy and being able to talk about all of our escapades all I have is a fucking notebook with things written down.

I still don't want our house to burn. I really don't.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Missing

I haven't blogged in a while. I mean really, emotionally laid things out there. There's a couple of reasons.

First, I hate for this to be just a dumping ground. Nobody wants to read that. I hate to be so negative all the time with my writing so when I get really down I don't like to write.

Second, things have been busy. Kids starting school, kids starting soccer, kids getting sick from starting school, making lunches, schedules again, etc....

Third, my back and neck were super bad. I never recovered from the drive to Boise.

Fourth, I've been struggling to find the right color for my entryway and one wall in the dining room.

Fifth, Asa has decided that he wants a suprise birthday party. As luck would have it we're having the party the day after we get back from a little getaway.

So that's the gist of it.

Busy, busy, busy, sad, sad, sad, stay busy to keep from being too sad, repeat.

However one thing that has SUCKED is the last three nights I've had dreams of sissy. I cannot stress enough how much I hate dreams like this. They are always in the same. She's been gone and she comes back but only for a scant amount of time so we have to cram as much talking and laughing into this short amount of time because at any given moment she's going to die again. And when she comes back she's healthy, she doesn't have cancer but she's going to die. In one of them we were on the phone talking and I laughed to her "I had forgotten how much it was just to talk on the phone with you!" It's the little things I miss so much about her. I (mom) painted the entryway and I didn't like the color. I wanted so badly to ask sissy what she thought of it. We BBQ'd over Labor Day weekend and the table would lapse into quiet silence every so often. You wouldn't think that it could be so quiet with 9 people (two of them children) but I kept thinking "if sissy was here we'd be laughing so hard".

I miss her. I miss her so much. I miss having a sister. I miss having someone who grew up with me and knows me inside and out. I miss teasing her. I miss her teasing me. I miss her voice. I miss the scar on her hand. I miss the way she would hug me and I always thought how small her body frame was. I miss talking to her about tv. I miss the two of us getting so excited over the Fall TV Season. I miss being normal. I miss Asa saying the word mum mum. I miss Valentina saying TT. I miss the phone ringing and having it be her on the other line. I miss mom's cell phone ringing and her answering the phone in the tone that always let me know she was talking to her oldest daughter. I miss us. I miss the family we used to be.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

In Our Future I See, A Road Trip To Boise

Norm has to travel for meetings at least one weekend every three months. We've decided (for him) that we're going to tag along on these quarterly travels. He never used to let me go as these were his "guy weekends, full of work and I wouldn't have any time to spend with you", not understanding that that would be the whole point of me going with him, for me to get away from everything! But since sissy died (and with the help of our marriage counselor) he has seen that we need getaways too.

So! Thursday, August 18 was sissy's birthday. It was also the first day of meetings that Norm had in Boise. Papa had to work so Beya and I packed up the kidditos and drove the 400 miles to Boise, Idaho. We left at 7:30 am while Norm's flight didn't leave until 11 am.



The four of us stopped about 80 miles into our road trip for breakfast.



About halfway to Idaho Valentina had had enough. She is so hot blooded (I know people say this is a myth but I believe it when it comes to her, she is ALWAYS hot) and of course her side of the car was in the sun.


This was our lovely view of dry sagebrush for almost 2 hours. Where is the sarcasm font?


Finally! The green cornfields of Idaho! Plus we passed into a new time zone which I think I was more excited about than the kids.

We pulled into the parking lot of the hotel at 6pm which means it took us 9 1/2 hours to drive there. Never mind the 30 mile detour we took to find a Dairy Queen but it is mandatory stop on a road trip with our family (i.e. me). I called Norm to see what room number he was in and wouldn't you know it, he hadn't even checked in yet, he was still in the lobby. Technically he didn't beat us, despite flying there.

FYI, if ever in Boise, Idaho, do NOT stay at the DoubleTree Riverside. I sure it was a rockin' hotel back in it's heyday of 1972 but I swear it hasn't been cleaned since then and it obviously hasn't been updated as evidenced by the giant, heavy, oak table as seen in this picture. I finally introduced the kids to room service. Again, I was more excited about this than they were. After our trip I asked them how they liked room service. Asa's answer was "I didn't care for it much." But boy he sure gobbled up the food! One upside to being in an old "Mad Men" era hotel is that the prices don't seem to have changed for the kids menu. Everything was either $2.99 or $3.99. My turkey sandwich, on the other hand, was $15. I guess that's because I special ordered it. Who the hell doesn't have a turkey sandwich on their menu? Plus I didn't ask for any side items so I assume there was a "no side surcharge" for that. It was a kick ass sandwich or else I was super hungry.


Friday we met my friend Jaimee at a park. Jaimee and I became blogger friends during our adoptions through Guatemala. Her Bela came home a few months after Valentina. I was so happy to finally meet her after almost 5 years of emails and blog posts. She was so busy and had meetings up the wazoo all day but she made time in her schedule to see us and bring her three amazing kids.


This picture of Valentina cracked me up because I didn't know that there was another one of these "horns" on the other side, just out of sight of this picture, that she and Asa were talking to each other through. Here I thought she was just randomly shoving her head into a cone.


I liked this picture of the back of Dominic, Asa, Diego and Valentina. I just wish Bela had been sitting down too.


There's Bela!


I took at least five pictures of the five of them and yet not one of them all smiling and looking at the camera! L-R is Bela, Valentina, Dominic, Diego and Asa.





Jaimee has blogged about how funny Dominic is and I didn't understand it until I met him. Oh.My.Gosh. Beya and I laughed so hard at him! He is just a comedian. He would stand at the far end of the park and start yelling at Jaimee "MOM! CAN I GO OVER THERE? MOM! CAN I GO OVER THERE? MOM! CAN I GO OVER THERE? WHY NOT? WHY NOT? WHY NOT?" Jaimee was great and brought juice and goldfish boxes to the park and again, Dominic would ask loudly with his big floppy lips that made me laugh "MOM! IS THAT MY JUICE BOX? MOM! CAN I HAVE ANOTHER JUICE BOX? MOM! IS THAT MY GOLDFISH?" Of course the more mom and I laughed the more gas it added to his comedic fire. I could have just sat and listened to Dominic all day.


But alas, Jaimee had to go back to work and we had a date with the pool. The hotel was shitty but the pool was great!


It's not a pool day without sissy's favorite chips and salsa! The kids didn't really want them but I bought them anyway and whaddya know, the kids ate them up! Mom and I also had a drink and cheer-ed to sissy.


Saturday morning we packed up and were headed to breakfast when we ran into Norm in the hallway. His meetings were done for the day and his flight wasn't until 4pm. We ate and headed home. About 15 minutes into our drive Valentina started crying. She wasn't feeling too good and sounded like she was going to throw up. Oh boy, this was going to be a long drive home! Because she did so great on the drive there I had completely forgotten that she gets carsick. I gave her Tylenol, let her pick the movie for the portable DVD player and shortly thereafter her nausea stopped. Whew! Close one! Asa had one meltdown at the first rest area we stopped at but that was it.

Crossing back into Oregon and back into our time zone.

We got home at 7:30 pm and clocked in at 883 miles..... and still beat Norm! I had to pick him up at the airport.

It's been over a week since we got home and I still haven't recovered physically. Poor Beya has been running around taking up the slack since I've been laid up.

This week school starts, soccer starts, appointments for this, after school schedules for that and the like. We are making time for a mini getaway next month. We're going to see a few friends and family members.

So that was our road trip to Boise, Idaho. We were there less than 48 hours, spent about 18 hours on the road, the bottoms of our socks turned brown in the hotel room, it was also a room where brass and oak went to die BUT the food was good, we got to meet Jaimee, Diego, Dominic and Bela, the pool was awesome and we had a great time during those 18 hours in the car.

It was all good.