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.



Sunday, March 24, 2013

Easter Creaster

Easter is a week from today.

Ugh.

Or in the wise words of Liz Lemon....

Blerg.

I know I say this every holiday but I think Easter might be the hardest one there is. It was the last holiday sissy was healthy. She was pregnant. We were giddy with anticipation over how the next Easter would be with a new baby in the family. We had waited so long to have our kids and now we were doing it, we were raising our kids together, hiding their Easter eggs together during a break in the rain on the front lawn, we were two sisters closer than the pulp that was used to make a single piece of paper, we were living our dream.

The next Easter there was no new baby.

The next Easter there was no sissy.

The next Easter our family wasn't just shattered, it was blown to fucking smithereens.

The memories of our last Easter, 2009, haunt me every time the Cadbury commercials start to air a month beforehand.

Easter fucking sucks.

Valentina, on the other hand, LOVES any and all holidays. She is just like her TT in that regard. She is so excited to get dressed up and go out to lunch and attend mass with me. Well, she's excited to dress up but we're having a bit of "creative differences" as to what she's going to wear. I am insisting on the fuschia Marchesa dress I splurged on her. She isn't really fighting me on that but she is adamant that she wear her three year old sweater that is faded and three sizes too small. The thing is, I could go out and buy the exact same sweater in her current size and she would hate it because it would fit her. Valentina is pure Hispanic, she likes her clothes tight. Obviously this causes discord between us because I buy clothes too big, I want to get a full years use out of them instead of getting clothes in her exact size and have them fit her for only three months. Trust me, she will be BEGGING me to let her wear the clothes I bought for her last summer even though she's grown 5 inches and what was then a tunic is now a half shirt which is what she wanted in the first place.

But I digress.

Easter.

Oh, and yes, you read that right, I'm going to mass Sunday. It's been well over a year since I crossed myself with the holy water. Beya asked Valentina if she would like to go to mass Sunday. This was Valentina's exact response:

"Ugh, church is boring, boring, BORING! All you do is sit and sit and SIT. And you have be quiet. and it takes so LONG! And all you can do is sit on the hard bench and not DO anything! And it's just you and papa and it's BORING!"

Beya then played dirty and said "well, would you like to go if your mom went?" I shot mom the stink eye and it got worse when Valentina said yes, she would like to go if I went.

So off to mass I go on Sunday. I must admit that the fact that we have Pope Francis gives it a bit of a hopeful feel. What I would give to be in Rome on Easter and listen to His Holiness speak. I have hope again. I know there won't be change, per se, within the church and I will continue to disagree with the vast majority of what they preach but when I hear what Pope Francis talks about I hear love. I see him living the example he wants others to follow. He doesn't just talk about what people should do, he DOES the things he feels people should do. Again, I don't agree with everything he does but I feel like he's doing his best to make difference in the world. I didn't care much for Pope Benedict but Pope Francis gives me hope.

So I am taking my step towards becoming a Creaster (someone who only goes to mass on Christmas and Easter) this Sunday.

I will also be tormented by thoughts of Easter 2009. Thankfully I have no memory of the past three Easters other than the kids telling me after their egg hunt "that was the best Easter EVER!" and in a day or two I probably won't remember this one either. But I do my best to make each holiday fun for the kids and to hear them tell me that it was their best ever is all I need to hear.

I just wish there was another child saying it and sissy hearing it.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Rainbow Dash Birthday Bash

 Valentina's 6th birthday party was about a month ago. As I had lamented before, Valentina wanted a My Little Pony theme with a strong emphasis on Rainbow Dash.

I made the rainbow poufs and banner:






I scoured Pinterest for rainbow theme ideas and I loved the idea of layering candy. I did tweak it a bit and maybe the martini glasses weren't age appropriate but I liked them.


The entire reason for the party :)


Normally I do a full lunch/dinner for the kids' birthday parties but I wanted to keep it simple this time.



Rainbow fruit skewers. 


Standard veggie tray. 


White cake with rainbow candles. Now you might be thinking "What the what? It's a rainbow party but it's just a white cake????"


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Oh no, no, no, no. I labored the night before in making a six layer rainbow cake. Again, Valentina picked it out and had her heart set on this. The outside was supposed to be rainbow colored too but I almost left it like this after I had the layers stacked. 


After getting the cake halfway frosted I decided that I liked it just white on the outside. I thought it would be a great surprise to cut into this stark white cake and reveal a rainbow bonanza.



The birthday girl in her unicorn shirt from Beya. You can't quite see that she is also in a purple tutu that Amanda gave her last year for her birthday. She looked like a perfect little birthday girl.


HAPPY BIRTHDAY VALENTINA!!!!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Friday

Friday was 38 months since we buried my sister.

Luckily I don't remember 98% of it even though I gave one of the three eulogy's.

I don't want to remember.

Anything.

I don't want to remember how she used to answer the phone.

I don't want to remember how she used to walk in the front door as if she were walking into her own home.

I don't want to remember how this WAS her home.

I won't want to remember how she napped on my loveseat, especially after she got sick and was going through chemo.

I don't want to remember how our moods were dictated by her tumor marker numbers.

I don't want to remember going on adventures with her.

I don't want to remember how much fun we had together.

I don't want to remember the five of us crammed in my car like sardines because if someone had to run errands we all ran errands....together.

I don't want to remember how we used to go out to lunch almost every day.

I don't want to remember as soon as the weather became nice we would start hanging out on the back deck with her at the helm of the grill.

I don't want to remember how she would sniff and then turn up her nose at anyone else's cooking except her own.

I don't want to remember the pure joy on her face every time she would pop open a new beer.

I don't want to remember knowing exactly what she was thinking just by looking in her eyes.

I don't want to remember how she would call me first thing in the morning and we would decide what to do with the day.

I don't want to remember seeing her car pull up in driveway unexpectedly and thinking "yay! The fun is here!"

I don't want to remember how she knew what I needed before I could verbalize it.

I don't want to remember what an amazing mom she was to Asa.

I don't want to remember all the parenting wisdom she gave to me.

I don't want to remember the good times.

I don't want to remember the bad times.

I don't want to remember anything.

All I can do is remember.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Holy Smoke!

Mom saw that saying on the news ticker while we were waiting for the papal smoke. She kept laughing at it all morning.

As I might have said before, mom and I have been obsessed with the Conclave. I started following a Twitter feed and set it up for mobile alerts. I slept with my phone next to me last night. I kept checking the feed throughout the night to make sure I didn't miss a text. I almost turned on the tv at 4am when I DID get a text that there was black smoke. OB-SESSED.

I kept telling everyone who would listen to me that my prediction was that the third smoke would be white. I also predicted that the new Pope would be Cardinal Angelo Scola.

Well I was right about half of it.

I have also been obsessed with the Travis Alexander trial (I've decided to not give the murderer any more   publicity when really, this IS all about justice for Travis). After a five day hiatus, court started again today.  But we're on smoke watch! But the trial is starting again! What to do?! Which to watch? Luckily HLN, which was broadcasting the trial had a side picture of the smoke stack. Whew!

I told mom that my theory of us being so over the top about these two events that when they are all said and done and over will have absolutely no impact on our life is insane. But maybe we are obsessed about things that don't affect us because we have no control over the things that DO affect us.
(My apologies if I messed up affect/effect, I tried to look it up to make sure I was using the words correctly but still couldn't figure it out.)

You can imagine my sheer excitement when we saw smoke! WHITE SMOKE!!! I was whooping and yelling and so excited. Who would it be? Would I be right AGAIN? Remember, this was the third smoke and I said the third smoke would be white. Would it be Scola? How long until we could see the new Pope? I was full of anxiety waiting to hear the words Habemus Papam, to hear what his new Papal name would be, WHO would it be? The trial took a back seat (although I was recording it so I wouldn't miss any of the genius that is Juan Martinez) while mom and I were glued to the tv.

Now there are a few things to note here. I live for spoilers. I read the end of a book before I get even halfway through it. I need to know what will happen before it happens. I check to see who was voted out of "Survivor" at 6pm from the East Coast feed. These two situations that we were in the middle of made  spoilers IMPOSSIBLE.

Finally, after about an hour we had our answer.

Jorge Bergoglio from Argentina is now Pope Francis. 

Where to begin?????? A South American Pope! A Pope from Latin America! The implications from his papal name choice of Francis after St. Francis Assisi! He's so cute! The physical similarities between him and Pope John Paul II, who I really liked, were yet another reason to immediately fall in love with him. 

I am not Catholic. I would sooner call myself a narcissistic, selfish, horrible mother than refer to myself as a Christian. I don't know, or really care, if God exists, and will argue until I'm blue in the face to anyone who has the bad luck to pick this subject to discuss with me (which is rare). I was raised within a very conservative church along with sprinklings of Catholicism since that is what Papa is. 

Any faith that I had that was hanging by a string from the time sissy was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer on May 3, 2009, was completely severed on January 9, 2010. 

Again, I'm not Catholic. I don't believe in 99% of what the Catholic church stands for. I don't believe in organized religion for MYSELF. I highly doubt I have any faith and I'm fine with that. I no longer pray. 

All of that said, I must admit I felt an emotion today as the day progressed while watching Pope Francis. Hearing how he has lived his life. Seeing his humility. Watching the tradition. Knowing that "one of us" i.e. a Hispanic, is now His Holiness. 

I feel a bit of hope. 

And THAT is a miracle. 

Friday, March 08, 2013

Human Ungrowth Hormone

When I went and saw my PCP last week I had a question posed to me that took me by surprise.

"When was the first day of your last period?"

Hmmmm.......

Ummmm.......

Ok, let me think.

When WAS that?

I've always had irregular periods so it's not unusual to go a long time in between. I had to finally relent and tell the nurse I had no idea, it had been months.

Wednesday evening I headed to my bedroom to do something and inexplicably picked up the scissors.

WHACK! went my hair.

Unlike other times when I keep cutting to "even it out" I stopped after cutting off about five inches. Hey, I've learned my lesson. Mom always says I cut my hair when I get my period, it must be a hormone thing or something.

Sure enough, I got my period.

Thank goodness I DON'T have it every month or I'd have no hair at all.


Tuesday, March 05, 2013

This, That And Everything In Between

First off, am I the last person to discover fun.? Holy shit they are amazing! After the Grammys I listened to their a couple of their songs, downloaded "Some Nights" and am slowly working my way through it. Right now I'm still on their three main songs, "Some Nights", "Carry On" and "Tonight".

Second, while I'm on the subject of music, I found this on FB and found it to be very accurate, at least for me :) After all, given my aversion to organized religion I've frequently stated that I worship at the church of U2.


Also fitting with this theme, my therapist gave me one of his daily calendar pages from the New Yorker. It had a picture of Jesus talking to the masses with the caption "If you believe in me, divide into sects and kill and hurt as many from the other sects as you possibly can." This came up in conversation during my fascination with the upcoming papal conclave. I know, I know, I am a study in contradictions. I don't believe in Catholicism or any religion for that matter. I sent Valentina to a Catholic preschool for 2 years. I'm obsessed with the conclave. I love predicting who will be the next Pope. I couldn't tear myself away from the tv when Pope Benedict left the Vatican for the last time. I would love to be at the Vatican to see the white smoke and see the new Pope walk out for the first time. I have no idea, nor do I care to really put the effort into figuring out, if there is a God. I love the tradition of Catholicism. I don't go to mass. I'm very glad my kids have a strong base of believing in Jesus/God. I explain to the kids that there is no one "right" church. My kids don't go to church. I will argue with anyone until I'm blue in the face that the Bible is just a book and a giant case of the game telephone. 

Third, I'm still trying to get in to see my psychiatrist about my current bipolar episode. I've never had to wait this long on the cancellation list which leads me to believe Dr. H is out of the country. He goes on vacation quite often and has told me that I can always call the office and request that he call me back no matter where in the world he is but I would never do that. It's been 11 days since I got on the list. Usually it's only 3-4 business days but not this time. I did, however, go see my PCP on Friday. I considered it an emotional band aid. My PCP is very sympathetic and he understands bipolar at bit too well. He reassured me that yes it will pass but it's "the nature of the beast" and I have to just hang in there. He did increase my mood stabilizer and made sure I had enough of my anti anxiety meds. Both he and my therapist told me that while it's very difficult to be in the midst of the agitated/depressive state I'm currently in, it will pass even though it feels like it won't. Dr. S (my PCP) said it typically lasts about four months and right now I've been in it for about five months. It started in October and I kept telling myself I need to hang in until after Valentina's birthday, then I can "lose it". I did a little with Dr. S. I actually broke down and cried which as we all know I despise doing. I'd much rather shove thing down and jump on top to tamp it down nice and tight. Intellectually I know this is just making things worse but emotionally I keep hoping it will just stay down. My rage, however, keeps building up and has erupted several times but for the most part I manage to keep it internalized which is something I have perfected over decades. 

Finally I am trying to get around to posting Valentina's birthday pictures. She stuck with the My Little Pony/Rainbow Dash theme. Although it was a "normal" theme I think it turned out pretty cute and as quirky as I could make it. 

So that is about it, or as much as I feel like writing about. I'm trying my best to mix things up and not just write my "woe is me" shit because I DO have much to be, and am, thankful for. 

Thanks to everyone for sticking in there with me.