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

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



Tuesday, August 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.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Never Ceasing

The human brain never ceases to amaze me. It's as if giant parts of it just have to turn off because in order for them to work the amount of emotional pain it would cause would be just unbearable.

It never ceases to amaze me that I'm able to drive my car when my sister is dead.

It never ceases to amaze me that I can write that sentence without having a total breakdown every time.

It never ceases to amaze me that I HAVE to write that sentence.

It never ceases to amaze me that I'm able to laugh and actually appear normal when inside nothing could be further from the truth.

It never ceases to amaze me that my mind is constantly screaming at me that my sister is gone.

It never ceases to amaze me that we all lost such an integral part of our family.

It never ceases to amaze me that my life is real when it all seems so surreal.

It never ceases to amaze me that I don't have my sister.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig

That's what my grandma always used to say whenever we got home from somewhere.

We just got home last night after driving to Boise, Idaho and spending less than 48 hours there. Norm had meetings there Thursday evening, Friday and Saturday morning. We had nothing better to do and since Thursday was sissy's birthday we found the timing perfect to get the hell out of town and do something different. Mom and I made the 8-10 hour drive with the kids while Norm flew. Going down there it took us about 10 hours and coming home it was about 8.5 hours. It was just what we needed, when we needed it and there were plenty of things that went awry to make us laugh uncontrollably. There was also plenty of pain of not having sissy with us. All in all it made for a really great trip. I'll be posting pictures after I get unpacked and everything put away, which everyone knows is the worst thing about taking a vacation, even if it is for only three days.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Happy Birthday Sissy

I'm writing this an hour before your real birthday, August 18, but that's because I think it will be too hard to write it tomorrow.

I miss you terribly. There are times when it seems like a dream that you were even here. Even though you are CONSTANTLY on my mind, I spend a lot of time trying to shut it out because it's still unfathomable that you aren't here with me.

I'd like to think that you are watching over us and yet I don't want to think of you going on without us when we can't have you with us. I also find it a bit curious that there is ALWAYS a song playing wherever I go that makes me think of you or had significant meaning to the two of us.

Tomorrow you would have been 42. Remember when we were younger and people in their 40's seemed sooooo old? It's hard to believe that it was 12 years ago when I threw you your 30th birthday party. You had so much fun! I'll never forget the way you were drinking in the middle of a bunch of people, I saw you keel over and then pop back up exclaiming "I'm ok! I'm ok!" I think you went on to drink for a few more hours before you finally called it a night!

And that evening when mom, you and me were drinking on my back deck and we were trying to figure out a way to pay for a trip back to Barcelo in the Mayan Riviera. You came up with some pretty creative ideas! Speaking of which, the time we did go was my absolute, perfect vacation of a lifetime. Even with that ferry ride to Cozumel when I had a panic attack.

I talk about you every day to the kids. Oh man, you would be so enamored with YOUR Vali! She is so much like you it's eerie. She loves life and enjoys everything, just like you. She has plans to look up to heaven tomorrow and yell "HAPPY BIRTHDAY TT!!!!" She is so excited to get old, die and go to heaven to see you. I wish I could believe that's how it works but we don't know for sure.

Asa, however, is a bit more scientific and isn't quite sold on that idea. He has said that you are in space. He is such a little man. His reading is absolutely perfect! He's so smart and still loves to watch his science shows. His soccer skills are outstanding. He is his own person and yet sometimes I can't help but be reminded that he is your son, especially when he does something that is just like you.

I cut my hair and I hate it. You would have been so upset with me, you always told me to keep my hair long. This is the first time I've had it super short and I wish I would have had you to tell me how horrible it is. I went to the same place that gave you your mullet! The lady wasn't bad, she did a pretty good job with it given what she had to work with. I had whacked at it several times so it was pretty uneven.

OH! I bought the CUTEST pair of shoes!!!! I love them. I thought they were similar to the Christian Louboutins that Carrie wore on "Sex and the City" in the episode where Miranda has Brady but I actually found a pair of Badgley Mischka's online that are almost identical. My shoes were on clearance for $16!!! Remember how we used to say that there is no feeling like buying a pair of shoes that you love? I adore these and now I have a fake pair of Badgley Mischka/Christian Louboutin's and faux Manolo Blahniks.

I need a new pair of glasses but I don't want to get them because you helped me pick out my current pair. For a split second I think "I can't change them because sissy won't recognize me if I have new glasses." The same thing with newer car, I can't sell my car because it's what we always drove around in and I can't bear the thought of not having it anymore.

I still have your medication in my fridge. Remember how it used to be so annoying when it would fall out of the egg keeper whenever we opened that part of the fridge? Now I'm grateful when it rattles to the floor and I have to pick it up.

You should hear the car when it's just mom and me running errands. It's sooooo quiet without your constant chatter that we were used to. Oh how I miss giving you a hard time about that! I miss giving you a hard time about your bifocals, your toe sensitivity, our looks that we could give each other and know exactly what the other was thinking, your morning phone calls to me figuring out what we were going to do with our day, our nightly phone calls after the kids were asleep to rehash what we had done that day and most of all, just having fun and the sheer happiness we had together. We never took each other for granted and were always grateful for the time we spent with each other and our family. I miss joking with you and you gagging every time I would talk about how hot Charlie Gibson is.

You were always the best sissy I could ever dream of, the best TT your Vali could ever want, the best daughter mom and papa could have, the best wife and most of all, the absolute best mum mum to Asa.

I still can't believe that you aren't here for your birthday and I'm so sorry we spent your last birthday at a crappy, expensive diner. Then again we made a memory that we'll never forget!

I miss you so much. I wish so badly you were still here, not just for me but for all of us.

Most of all I love you. I will always love you. You were and are the only sister I ever had.

Happy Birthday sissy.

Love,

Sissy

Sunday, August 14, 2011

KKMoFo


A while ago my best friend Amanda had me read about Beyonce the Giant Chicken. I didn't find it as amusing as she did but the thing that got me was the "knock knock motherfucker" picture. That hit me in the funny bone more than anything. So of course we've texted/twittered/Facebook'd each other every so often with variations of "knock knock motherfucker". KKMoFo, Knock Knock Muthafucker, KKMF, etc..... My best friend Holly also got in on the action and created Knock Knock Motherpuffer. This was due to the fact that I was ordering some of her Kick Ass Bows and asked for a puff on some of the bows, hence the Knock Knock Motherpuffer.

So! That's the back story.

A short time after that (or two weeks, I have no idea, my sense of time is gone) I was on my cinnamon roll kick.


I was making these every few days. It kills my back but dayum, they are tasty if I say so myself. As I have explained (and shown) in the past, whenever I withdraw or get really upset or have a bipolar episode, I bake. And bake. And bake some more.

One day Amanda was going to be in the immediate vicinity of my house and I told her to stop by, I had some extra cinnamon rolls left. It turned out I was out running around doing soccer/fairy/errands so we didn't hook up. Later on in the evening Amanda texted me our usual "KKMoFo." But this time she followed up with "anyone stop by today?" I was confused and asked her who. She sent back a cryptic "I don't know, have you seen anyone :)" I got up from where I had planted my ass (probably watching "Breaking Bad", which I am totally caught up on by the way) and peered into the kitchen. Nope, the cinnamon rolls were still there, she hadn't broken into the house and stolen them. Well, she didn't need to break in, she has the code to our garage but that's beside the point. I was completely lost at this point but then again it doesn't take much to confuse me.

"What do you mean?" I texted back to her.

"Oh geez, look out your fucking kitchen window!" she wrote back, obviously exasperated with my complete dingy-ness.


Looking outside my kitchen window.......


......closer......


......closer, what the fuck is that?


SHE GOT ME!!!!! She Beyonce'd me!


My swing in front of the kitchen window. How the hell did she get Beyonce where she was perched? By this time I had called Amanda, laughing, and asking her, seriously, how she got the damn chicken there because I had no idea how to get it down.


The top of the swing. How the fuck?

Now it is my turn. I WILL Beyonce you, Amanda, and you won't see it coming.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

In Case I Had Forgotten......

I'm having a really hard time lately and have a whole, big, long ass post to write (or not, depends) with sissy being gone and I get up today and have this in my email inbox:

facebook
Hi Cameo,
You have 1 friend with a birthday in the next week. Help her celebrate!
Thursday, August 18th
Trina GonzalezTrina
42 years old ·
You can also use Facebook to plan a special birthday event.
Thanks,
The Facebook Team




Fuck cancer.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Conversation

A few weeks ago Asa asked me why I didn't adopt two kids instead of "just" Valentina. I started to explain why when we got interrupted and I didn't get to answer his question. So the other day we were in the car and we had the following conversation:

Me - Asa, you know how you asked why I didn't adopt two kids instead of one?

Asa - yeah.

Me - well, your mom and I had agreed to have the same number of kids. At first it was just you so I only had one kid. Then later on your mom was going to have another baby and then I would have adopted again. But then mom died so I have two kids anyway! I have you and Valentina!

Asa - I want us to have another baby.

Beya - What would you like, a boy or a girl?

Me - You don't get to choose.

Valentina - I want to buy a girl!

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Fashion Show

I originally wrote this post on Wednesday but for some reason never hit publish. In the meantime Beya, the kids and I went and bought some more clothes, winter clothes. The kidditos got long sleeved shirts and a few other things. So without further ado, here is a post that is four days old, oops!

Grama generously gave me some money to help pay for the kids back to school clothes. We were super busy today but we accomplished sooooo much!!! Beya, the kidditos and I not only went to lunch but we also hit Target for school supplies (check) and clothes (double check). Then I had a doctors appointment at McMexi's office.....AND I GOT TO SEE HIM BRIEFLY!!! I only see his assistant anymore since there is nothing they can do, it's just a case of trying to manage my pain, but today I SAW MCMEXI!!!!!

After we got home we went swimming and after coming in and getting dried off, the kids surprised me by wanting to try on all their new clothes. Of course I had to get pictures of them :) Please indulge me in showing off my adorable, handsome, sassy kids.





Asa INSISTED on having this pair of distressed jeans. Beya and I both prefer the darker jeans but Asa had to have these. He loved the patch on the hole and thought it looked so cool.



Valentina picked out all of her own clothes as did Asa.I've tried picking out what I want Valentina to wear and it doesn't go over very well, she will just refuse to wear it.



I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE these outfits!



Asa did get more than just this pair of jeans, he just didn't want to try the others on.


Beya found the denim vest for Valentina and when I saw it my mind instantly thought of sissy. Well, she was already on my mind, but I knew that Trina would have bought her Vali this vest. Trina's and my taste in our kids' clothes were different but I try to buy Valentina at least one outfit that I know sissy would have picked out.

I LOVE these cutoffs for Valentina, they have the cutest rhinestones around the bottom of the shorts. Poor Asa didn't get as many clothes as Valentina because most of Asa's clothes were "branded", well, as name brand as Target gets, haha. I, on the other hand, am perfectly happy to show Valentina the way to the mix and match sets displays that are $6 each. It does make me happy knowing that I am buying the brands sissy would have bought for Asa.


Asa you can tell, we're winding down on the photo shoot and the kiditos are getting a little restless!



I LOVED this shirt! It was so cute because I would show Valentina a shirt, ask her if she liked it and she would take it from me, track down Asa and ask "Asa, do you like this shirt?" If he said no she would put the shirt back. Usually Asa would answer "that's the most beautifulest shirt in the world!" Valentina HAD to get Asa's approval on all of her clothes :) They are so close and the sweetest brother and sister. If I can keep their relationship this close as they grow up I will consider my job as a mom a success.


I love this new jacket for Asa. As usual, he can't just take a picture, he has to always be a comedian!

Even though Valentina got a few more outfits than Asa I was shocked when I went through and tallied up the bottom line. Asa's clothes came to a grand total of $138. Valentina's were $139. One dollar difference! I couldn't believe it. Of course I still have my Kohls Cash that I need to spend and both kiditos need some long sleeved shirts but other than that THEY ARE SET FOR SCHOOL!!!!! It's such a great feeling and we all had fun.

Next week we get to see my friend Ruth and her three beautiful daughters she adopted from Guatemala. In two weeks we'll be trying to connect with Jaimee and finally next month we have a super special lunch planned with someone amazing and after that we'll be hooking up with my cousin, wife and their two adorable kids. Their daughter is exactly two years younger than Asa, both of their birthdays are 9/26 and their baby boy is about four months old. So again, life is busy but I wouldn't have it any other way.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Busy

Things have been busy lately and are only going to get more so. I can't believe Asa goes back to school THIS month!!! There were so many things we were going to do this summer! I feel like we haven't done any of them although this month is almost cram packed and we did do a few fun things. I feel like time is just running by me and yet at a stand still. Not one second goes by that I don't miss Trina. I mean that, not one second. She is always in my head, always on my mind, forever in my heart. I love watching Asa play with something and telling him a story about how his mom played that with him or if it's a toy, the story behind sissy buying it for him. I know as he grows up he'll know all about his mom but his memories of her and the stories we've told him of her will blur together and he won't know which is which.

We are going to get school clothes in the next few days. That was unbelievably hard last year as the five of us would always go together and have such a fun time picking out clothes for our kids. To be honest I don't even remember doing it last year but I know I must have. I don't remember buying school supplies as it was supposed to be both sissy and me picking out the things that Asa needed for his first year in school and instead I was doing it for her. I don't remember a lot of things. In fact I was listening to U2 and thought "man, I wonder it would be like to see this tour live." It took me a good 20 seconds to remember that I had seen them on tour just over a month ago. I have no memory of the concert.

That said, we are doing our best to give the kids a fun summer. We went and saw "Cars 2", we went to the mall, we've gotten ice cream while out and about, we've rented tons of movies and video games, we've played with the water hose, we've driven 350 miles in five days taking Asa to soccer camp (take him, go home, bring him lunch, go home, pick him up, go home), we've done Fairy/Princess Camp for Valentina, Asa has another soccer camp coming up, we're going to do a road trip, we've swam in the pool, we've played on the swing set, we've had BBQ's and Asa was in a wedding. I've had to discipline the kids (I don't saw "we" in this instance because mom isn't much help in that regard, haha) and we've seen some improvement in Asa's anxiety issues.

This summer is flying by and before I know it both kidditos will be back in school. I love them both so much even when they frustrate me by not listening to me (at this very moment they are each in their respective rooms for not listening).

So that is what we have done this summer and what we have planned for what is left of summer.

I love my family so much and yet miss so desperately the one person who isn't here.