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, 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