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

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



Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Latest Pics Of Kids

I wanted a new picture of the kids together so I was snapping some today and when I downloaded them I found that I had several already on my camera. Since I have blogged primarily about the downer side of my life I thought maybe I should post what puts a smile on a face. A REAL, genuine smile ☺



This was I think last week when I took the kids out to dinner. It was just the three of us.


Valentina's eyes shut here........


.....Asa's eyes shut here......


......BINGO!


Having fun with the dirty mirror that was above our table.


Oh how I recognize this snarl. This is the face Valentina gives me just before she slams the door to her room shut, yelling at me for some horrible thing I did to her, usually telling her to pick up her toys.


SURPRISE!


Asa telling me "no sissy, don't take my picture" but his face tells a different picture altogether.


This was today.


Valentina tells me that she needs to wear her sunglasses to see clearly. This is the explanation I have given her when she used to ask me why I wore glasses.


Asa today telling me yet again "no sissy, don't take my picture!" while smiling the whole time.


Look at that mischievous face, I just love it!

Money shot. I had to bribe Asa with 10 minutes on the Wii in order to get them to take pictures together. I took about 15 before I got this perfect one.

So there you have it, my adorable kiddos who make me laugh, make me smile, make me frustrated, make me giggle, make me happy and most of all, make me love them more than anybody in the world. I have a saying that I tell them. I ask them "who do I love more than you?" and they shout in unison "NOBODY!!!" That is the truth!!!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Distractions

It has been almost 18 months since sissy died. A year and a half. I know I sound like a broken record but it still seems surreal that I can type that and not fall apart. When I had my ear infection I was in unbelievable pain. Pain that made me cry out and go to the ER twice to have them do something, anything, to help dull it. I felt like there was an ice pick jabbing through my head. I was taking vicodin and oxycodone, staggering them so I was taking something every two hours, and the pain was still unbearable. The whole time this was going on I kept thinking "my physical pain finally matches my emotional pain." My mind was also going back to the last time I had an ear infection this bad. It was April 2009, just a few weeks before the eight of us took our last family vacation to the beach. It is unbelievable how drastically our lives have changed in 26 months. But like Beya says, "I am grateful for what I have but mourn for what I don't." It is very similar to my Rose Kennedy quote, "I will not be licked by tragedy as life is a challenge and we must continue to work for the living as well as mourn for the dead." These are two very fitting quotes by two incredibly women.





I was talking to my aunt almost a month ago when she came to visit and she asked how I was doing. I told her the truth, not good. I explained to her that my life is no longer mine. I don't live for me, I live for the kids. I don't care what happens to me, I don't feel the joy I used to and I know I never will. That said I do my best to give Asa and Valentina as much fun, happiness and as carefree lives as I possibly can. Like I said, I live my life for them. The best I can do for me is to try to distract myself.





Case in point. Norm and I went out of town for two nights to see U2 a while ago. This was the concert that sissy, Josh, Norm and I were supposed to go to to celebrate Trina being in remission. This was the concert that was supposed to take place last summer but had to be postponed because of Bono's back injury. This was the concert that I struggled with the decision of whether to go or not go. The last U2 concert I had gone to it was just sissy and me and we had an absolutely fabulous time. It was one of, if not THE best night of my life. The energy, joy and sheer elation we both felt was amazing. I didn't know if I wanted to keep that memory sealed forever and have that be the last time I ever saw U2 live.





Well, I decided that Norm and I were going to go see them again. This was something I did for myself. I wouldn't have gone for any band other than U2. I wanted to feel a sliver of what I had felt for them in the past.





It didn't happen.





In fact during the opening act I had a major panic attack. I thought for sure that I was going to have to leave. I lost my hearing, I felt as if I was going to pass out and vomit. It lasted for about 20 minutes before slowly subsiding. I went into the concert having no expectations and I'm glad because otherwise I would have been awfully disappointed. I had a better time just spending some alone time with Norm than anything else. I'm not sure that I will go see them again. Luckily I won't have to make choice any time soon as they only tour about every five years.

I don't regret going but that's about it. It was only a slight distraction and I cried many, many times.


It just goes to prove my fact that things I do just for myself don't mean a whole hell of a lot. I live my life for the kids.


We have a few distractions planned for the summer, a couple of short trips with the kids.

I miss my life, my old life, my REAL life, but the kids are at such a fun age right now that I try to enjoy every minute with them.

I hear parents say "oh, I wish my kids could be babies again" or "that was such a perfect age" or "enjoy it now, they grow up so fast." Mom showed me that she enjoyed Trina and I at every age, every age was her favorite. Beya still says that, she tells me her favorite age with me is 35. I can honestly say the same for Asa and Valentina. I don't remember any other age they were except for THIS age. I love to hear Valentina making up stories with her dolls and I love listening to Asa read his books out loud. I even love hearing both kids getting a tiny bit sassy with a big dose of sarcasm thrown in at me. I love hearing the kids sing the theme song to "Caillou" together. I especially love hearing them tell each other how much they love each other.

It does enter my mind that Valentina is the age Asa was when Trina was diagnosed with cancer. Valentina is just a baby. I cannot imagine hearing that diagnosis with a 4 1/2 year old and being 10 weeks pregnant. I cannot.

So instead I try to distract myself. I distract myself with the kids. I distract myself with thoughts of our summer. I distract myself with trying to play every single game of Freecell on my phone.

Most of all, I distract myself with the Casey Anthony murder trial. I DVR the entire days testimony and watch it when I can, staying up until midnight if I need to (I don't watch it with the kids, obviously) in order to be ready for the next day of events.

I had written before that I had so much sympathy for Cindy Anthony. After watching her on the stand my feelings have shifted. I still cannot imagine the situation she is in so I will leave it at that.

So that is what is going on with me. I have piles of emails left unanswered from the past month. If you happen to be reading this (you all know who you are) I am sorry, it has nothing to do with you, I'm just trying to be distracted and that means, oddly enough, staying off the computer. I am on my BlackBerry and that's about it so I don't feel like writing out long emails on my phone.

No matter what, I can never distract myself from the fact that I love and miss my sissy.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Jen and Aviana

Those of you who know me know that I'm always talking about what an amazing person my friend Jen is. Her daughter Aviana was injured in a tragic accident. As I've said before, since sissy died I don't have much compassion or sympathy for many people especially when they bitch and complain about minor, trivial things that they won't even remember in a week.

I have ALWAYS had a tremendous amount of empathy for Jen. Her courage and continuing to fight and work for Aviana is unbeatable. She would literally walk through fire for her girl. One thing I especially love about Jen (okay two things) are A- her wicked, dry sense of humor and B- her willingness to be open and true. She blogs about her REAL life, the good, the bad and the funny. Jen puts herself out there and if people don't like her, fine, but she's not going to put on airs. That is a rare and highly admirable quality in a human being.

Her blog is one of the few I still read and her entry yesterday was nothing short of jaw dropping. All of her AND Aviana's hard work has shown itself in spades. I dare you to read it and not cry.



Jen, you are amazing and I love you.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Papa's Day

Dear Papa,

I love you. I'm grateful I was able to spend today with you. I miss you so much when you aren't here and appreciate all the hard work you do. Our house, yard, landscaping, home wouldn't be the same without you. You make it look manicured and fill our home with love. You had one day off and spent it working around the house.

I love you so much.

Camalia




Fathers Day 2011


I love how much Valentina looks like papa.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Trivial

I started this really heavy, get things off my chest, emotionally pain filled post early last week and it got to be too much. Well, not too much for me but life got in the way and I never had time to finish it. I'm hoping I'll be able to do it if not this week then next.

I do have a few highlights to touch on.

Thursday was 17 months since sissy died. I'm horrible with dates, they all kind to seem blur together and I never know what the date is. That is, until the 9th rolls around every month. Seriously. I could have not looked at a calendar for three weeks and it might even take me until after I have my morning coffee but it DOES hit me that it's the ninth. Every.Fucking.Month. About half the time on the 9th I still wake up in the middle of the night within 10 minutes of the time she died but it's not until morning that I realize WHY I had woken up at that time. I don't go to bed thinking "tomorrow's the ninth", hell, I'm usually falling asleep on the couch and am thinking nothing by the time I drag my ass into bed.

Anyway, so we hit that monthly milestone.

I had to fill out some paperwork for Valentina to attend her first ever Vacation Bible School. It is affiliated with her current preschool. I figure I don't have the strength or ability at this time in my life to teach my child how wonderful God is and how He listens to you and answers your prayers, but I DO want her to have a solid Christian base that she can grow up with, along with the strong Judaism influence that is in our home with Asa and Josh, and as she gets older I will encourage her to ask questions, just like Beya did with me. I want her to have a base and then explore and decide what she feels is right for her, whether that be Muslim, Catholicism, Buddhism, Atheist or what I do, just read the Bible and chuck church all together. Anyway, my point that I was going to make before I went off in a tangent, was as I was filling out her registration form, I got to one question that had me stumped. Date of birth. Huh. Valentina's date of birth. Shit. I used to know this one. We've changed it within our family at least three times that I can't even keep track of it! How fabulous of a mother am I if I can't even remember my kids date of birth? Now I can never remember Norm's and my wedding anniversary but that's no biggie, we simply got married so the adoption paperwork would be a tiny bit easier.

Ok, sit down and think. When is her birthday? I know it's January. We changed her birthday to February to give us a month away from the month of when sissy died, as if that helped any (it didn't, by the way). Okay, so we changed to it to February 16, the date of her referral. But I remember that her name DID have a connection to Valentine's Day. Was it February 14? Did we just make that a connection with her name with the holiday? No, her birthday is either the 14th or 16th. I think. Ok, lets go with those two dates as possibilities for her birthday. Now the month. January. Yeah, I'm pretty sure it's January. Yes, it IS January because we had the private viewing of sissy the day of Valentina's birthday. The funeral was the day AFTER Valentina's birthday. Sissy died five days before Valentina's birthday. BINGO! Valentina's LEGAL birthday is January 14!!!!!! WOOHOO!!!!! I remembered my daughters date of birth! So what if it took me 10 minutes and a full page of scrap paper to figure it out, I DID IT!

Lastly, full disclosure warning, you may NOT want to read what I'm about to post in this last paragraph. I give you advance knowledge so you can skip it if you want. It has to do with Casey Anthony.




Okay. For those of you that are still around, is anyone else obsessed with the trial like Beya and I are? I find the whole thing fascinating! Dr. Arpad Vass has been my favorite witness so far with Dr. Neal Haskell as a close second. I tweeted that I would love to have a dinner party with those two as the guests of honor. I think there could be no better conversation or drier humor or a better time than if they were to grace me with their presence. It seems as if every day another bombshell happens. IF IF IF IF Casey Anthony gets convicted you know she has an excellent chance of appeal based on ineffective counsel. Up until now I think the State is doing a wonderful job at painting a picture of Casey as a lying, manipulative, narcissistic party girl who only cares about what happens to her. I try a few times a day to look at the evidence and testimony strictly from a jurors point of view and I think it's going well. However, we have no idea what the defense is going to do. But it's pretty bad when I plan my day around the trial and won't go to bed until I've watched the entire days worth of testimony and the hour long wrap up they do after court has recessed for the day. Mom is just as bad as me.

Again, my point that I am finally getting around to is, Cindy Anthony. I CANNOT imagine or even begin to imagine what that poor woman is going through. I feel so much compassion, pain and hurt for her even though I know it does her not one bit of good. THAT is a mother than has been broken in every sense of the word. I don't know how she manages to find the strength to get up in the morning. I cannot imagine what her day is like. I cannot imagine the intense pain she has to deal with day in, day out, never subsiding but at times swelling over and completely taking over your life.

Cindy Anthony is someone who is deserving of every scrap of normalcy she can possibly find.

Okay, that's it. A lot long than I thought but still shorter than my other one.

Love you dude, will call you one of these days, can't wait to talk to you!!!!

Amanda, same goes for you.

Jen, have a safe trip, I hope you can find an hour to yourself.

And Beya. Mom, mom, mom. I love you so much and cling to you as my life raft. The children are in the boat and I'm hanging on for them because I don't want them to be left to drift. YOU are the one behind me, making sure I stay holding on to the boat. Thank you for doing that.

I love and owe my life to my family, both those here and the one who was gone much too early but who will always be with me every second of every day for the rest of my life.