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.

Friday, June 29, 2012


Since Valentina will be starting school, real school, in the Fall mom said she needs to learn the correct pronunciations of the following words. I don't want to forget how she says them now so I'm documenting.

Ridiculous  - Ree-DICK-lee-us!!!!

Animals  -  Aminals

Food Court  -  Fruit Cork

Synagogue  -  Cinnabog

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Long Time, Finally See

Asa and Joshua got home today! They had been gone for 10 days. They went back East to see Josh's dad and took a side trip to Washington D.C. They left two days after Asa got out of school so I haven't had a "summer vacation day" with Asa yet. It was hard to have him so far away and for so long but they had a great time and we were able to keep in touch via phone calls and texts. Asa has learned how to text which makes me realize how grown up he is.

When I picked them up from the airport this afternoon it was crazy good to see Asa so excited to see us. He was fist pumping, jumping and shouting "YEAH! HI SISSY! HI VALENTINA! I HAVE A PRESENT FOR YOU!" Asa was anxious to see the family room and it did not disappoint him.

Asa is finally home and it's so good to have both the kids together again, just like they should be.

Monday, June 25, 2012

My Ship Has Docked

My family room is done!!! After six years of wanting to do it, months of trying to come up with a theme, months of Norm vetoing my preferred colors, weeks of planning the shades of colors, weeks of figuring out when to do it, it is D-U-N!!!! Well, not really, I still have some other things to put up and details to finish but this is the main reveal! After fighting with Norm over the colors and leading of you on a wild goose chase and not telling you my real colors, I give you my new, nautical family room. 

This is the before picture. Well, this is the room at it's before best. The room was overrun with the kids' toys and full of clutter. Mom moved everything out so she could paint. You can also see the 8 (eight!) color swatches above the fireplace. Please disregard the ceiling fan, I'm getting rid of it shortly and replacing it with something more modern.

AFTER!!!!! The coffee table is Michael Graves for Target that I picked up on clearance six years ago for  20 bucks, about 80% off the original price. I've had it in the garage just waiting for the right time to pull it out. I think it goes perfect in my new room. I've also since added photos on the fireplace and am repurposing my old mirror that was above the fireplace. There are so many little details that you can't see in the photo. The chair on the right was sissy's.

BEFORE: note those hideous 80's white plaster wall sconces that came with the house when we bought it. You can't really tell but the walls were a nasty "skin color". We had called it flesh toned but Valentina has discovered skin colors so she'll say her, Beya and Papa are brown and Norm and I are "skin colored". Mom and I crack up about it so we started calling it "skin colored". The couch was trashed by the cats we used to have, who have since gone bye bye by (eventually) humane means. There also used to be two shelves above the couch with a piece of unfinished wood acting as a bridge between the two so I could fit even more shit on it. I called it the death shelf because we had stacked the 10 newspapers that had sissy's obituary on it along with the bag we had received from the funeral home that contained thank you notes, a list of people who had come to the service and other various things to do with her passing.

Death shelves be gone! I also love my new sconces!  I need to take a close up of them but I love the way they reflect the light onto the ceiling. You also can't tell but the ceiling was filthy so it really brightened the room after mom painted it. I had originally planned on putting a navy slipcover on the couch but after I dyed it (twice) it came out purple. Horrible, ugly purple. Mom and I had a moment of genius and put on my red cover and I think it provides the perfect pop of color. I love the red.

Before the french doors had some old, dingy palm tree drapes. The TV was also in the corner and left so much wasted space.

You can't really tell but we moved the TV closer to the doors leaving a lot of room to stack up the 480 bins of toys the kids have. The new blue drapes are actually a shower curtain that I loved and thought pulled everything together. We're also going to add a red throw pillow to sissy's chair.

So there it is! My new, nautical themed family room!!!! You can't really see the nautical items but I will post some close ups that show that it indeed does have a nautical vibe to it. I absolutely love it. It's so bright and clean and looks so different!!!

Thank you to Beya for doing all the work, I simply worked as a director. When we started on Thursday I told mom "you know if Trina was here we'd be doing something totally different. The three of us could never agree on how to redo this room."

I wonder how it would have ended up if she were still here.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Scarlett And Therapy And Memories, Oh My!

Monday I had therapy......by myself. Mom was gone so I had to go alone. I told Dr. B I felt like I was missing an appendage. He laughed and said that mom and I were good at going in and saying "well I don't need to be here but SHE does."

I cried at therapy, something I rarely and hate to do. I hate to cry period. If I don't cry I'm not grieving. If I'm not grieving my sister hasn't died, she's just absent from our life at this time. I told him how I had found a picture in my desk of sissy, Beya and me. It was just a picture of the three of us, we were all making dinner together in my kitchen and having fun. I explained to Dr. B how I shoved it away as fast as I could. Not only was it a picture of her but it was a picture of her in what we buried her in. I also told him that I didn't throw the picture away or move it away from my desk, I just pushed it behind some things. Dr. B said that pretty much describes my grief right now, I'm not only pushing away my grieving but I'm also pushing away any memories of her. In short I'm doubling my grief. He also told me I was emotionally handicapped. I tell ya, he has a way of saying things that are so honest and so true and something I know but is still so shocking to hear out loud.

Disassociative Disorder

Bipolar Disorder

Severe Depression

Acute Anxiety

Detached From Reality

Emotionally Handicapped

The latter means that I have an unusually close bond to mom and if mom is gone from me for any significant amount of time (more than a day) I begin to really separate myself, go to another place mentally, and it causes me not just emotional harm but it is so severe it actually causes me physical harm.

The past few weeks have been increasingly stressful. Mom and Papa were going to be gone for anywhere from 10 to 30 days. As you can imagine it threw me for a fucking loop. I was having anxiety attacks all day, my bruises came back on my legs and my neck/back pain was so severe I was taking pain meds every 90 minutes just to try to keep it bearable. Stress makes me tense up and causes my pain to become worse. The muscle spasms in my neck are so bad they have actually changed the curvature of my neck.

So yes, the past few weeks have been horrid.

But the exceedingly good news is that it turns out mom and papa will NOT be gone!!!! Hell, I even said an "Amen" when mom told me.

I've been reading "Gone With The Wind". I've read it so many times, the first when I was about 12 years old. I always identified with Scarlett, never more so than right now. I told Dr. B that I see the similarities between us. He agreed......to a point. He said I don't use people the same way she did but I do "think about it tomorrow". Then again, when my back is up against a wall I can fight like hell, just like Scarlett. I can scratch, claw and bite as well as the rest of them. I have no idea who "them" is but I can do it like them! Mom finished the book a few weeks ago and for Mothers Day I bought her the movie. We finished it today. We can never just watch a movie beginning to end because something always interrupts us. At the end of the movie I told mom "you know damn well Scarlett got Rhett back because when she puts her mind to it she always gets what she wants and he still loves her so much." Mom agreed with me. I had read the sequel when it came out and I prefer to end it my own way. See? I make things fit my mold of how I think they should be.

Anyway, school is almost done for the kids and I will miss both of their teachers. I am looking forward to having both kids in the same school in the fall though. Asa is so excited to have his little sister in his school! He brought home all of his reading journals that he had written throughout the year and in them he is always talking about his little sister and how much he loves her. It is really quite cute. They are so close, closer than sissy and I were at that age. We were close but we would also fight quite a bit. We would go all afternoon without talking to each other but by night-time we would have made up. I remember talking to her at night when we were both in bed. After Beya and Papa added on to the cabin and we each had our own rooms we would still talk to each other through the door that was between our rooms. That was when I didn't sneak into her room and ask her if I could sleep with her. Oh how she hated it when I slept with her, she said I would take up the whole bed. Yet there were only a handful of times when she said no compared to the hundreds of times I asked.

Okay, enough of that, I'm starting to get emotional and I can't do that!

So that is what has been going on.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Wake Up

Things have been stressful around here lately but it appears that mom and papa will not be gone for a month like they had thought. I'm so glad!

This morning, however, I woke up and realized I had just had the most bizarre dream about sissy. It was horrible. She was up, walking around and having me take her to lunch but she still had cancer and she had it in her brain. She would talk to me and then all of a sudden not know me and just start talking about other things because she was with this woman (me) who she didn't know and she definitely didn't know me as her sister. She died at the end of my dream and for some reason I had to put her on a plane ala "Weekend At Bernie's". After I left the airport I realized what I had done and ran as fast as I could to get the seat next to her on the plane just so I could spend a little more time with her even though she was dead.

I hate waking up to these dreams, they haunt me for the rest of the day.