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.
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.
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.
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.