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, November 29, 2013


A doctor's appointment at 3 pm today with Asa turned into an ER trip that we finally got home from at 8:30 pm. I am so proud of Asa. There's so much more to talk about, he's been sick, vomiting, pale, happy, weak, silly, night terror, etc... since Tuesday evening.

Super long story short, he has a stomach flu and moderate dehydration.

He is asleep now and we are hopeful that he will be on the mend from now on.

Asa had to have an IV for fluids and anti nausea medication and after having the nurse dig around, trying to find a vein, finding a vein, poking it, getting it and then having it collapse the poor boy actually threw up from the pain. We got him cleaned up and the nurse had to move to his OTHER hand. I was just sick for him. I did my best to take his mind off everything and promised him a trip to Sunriver this winter and an actual sleigh ride. He had to endure almost the same thing all over again but at least then they were able to get the IV in.

All I want is for him to not throw up. We are aiming for a vomit free 24 hours. We only need 19 1/2 more hours to get there.

Asa is so damn brave.

Friday, November 15, 2013


Ever since we sold my Camry to Beya and Papa I was stuck driving Norms honking, huge ass Ford SuperCrew Cab that felt like I was driving a U-Haul truck. I hated it so much that it pushed me to put it up for sale even though I had planned on having it detailed and a few other minor things done. Well, those didn't get done. I put it up for sale on a Friday night. Eight days later, the next Saturday, it was sold. I had a call from some guy wanting to come look at it and about an hour later our truck was pulling out of our driveway forever. Norm just looked at me with puppy dog eyes (I swear they were filling up but he denies it) and said "I can't believe we sold my truck!" He loved his truck but there was just no use for it since all he ever uses is his company car. On the weekends we're always together so we just need one vehicle. Mom and Papa were kind enough to let me borrow the Camry whenever I needed it. After we sold the truck Norm and I had NO vehicle! In the span of two weeks we went from two vehicles to none. 

I have had my heart set on a newer Volvo XC90 for over a year and had been researching them like crazy. Two days after we sold Norm's truck mom and I went to test drive a Volvo. An hour later I was on the phone calling Norm to say "I just bought a car. Hope that's ok." Of course he was great, he trusted my judgement, he knew I wasn't one to fuck with when it came to getting a deal on a car and I actually had everyone in the dealership telling me that I was most likely the nitpickiest, read through every word, double check everything, client they had ever had. I'm quite proud of that actually. I think they thought because I was a girl they'd be able to pull a few things over me. WRONG!!!! At one point I was so frustrated with them I pushed my chair back and called in time of death for the sale. It was amazing how quickly they were able to remedy all the situations I had problems with at that moment. 

So Tuesday morning I picked up this:

My 2010 Volvo XC90. Notice my Halloween bat photobombing the Volvo. And yes, I still have a few Halloween decorations out.

I love my new car. I love it. But at the same time every time I see it I hear sissy telling me how happy she is for me, how this car fits me, how she could always see me in it.

Before she died I always wanted a Range Rover. She would tell me that she could see me in that. She told me how happy it would make her to see me in a Range Rover. She told me how a Range Rover fit me. I know that had she been alive when I made the change from Range Rover to Volvo (I needed the 3rd row seating) she would be telling me the exact same things. I hear her words countless times a day, telling me how the Volvo fits me. How happy it makes her to see me in it. How she could always see me in it. I've also had more moments than I can count of driving it and thinking "oh! I need to stop by sissy's and surprise her!" or "I can't wait to show sissy!" or "which seat is sissy going to sit in?"

I finally have the car I've been wanting for a year but it's so bittersweet. I guess that's how everything is but Jen is showing me by example more and more to realize that there IS sweet in bittersweet. It's also ironic that I know she prefers baking with bittersweet chocolate since I have asked for and received many a recipe from her and it always has bittersweet chocolate in it :)

My computer also died on me and I had to get a new one. There's a big long story with that but in a nutshell I bought three computers in 36 hours, trying to find the right one. I returned two and am now the happy owner of a new one. Also the one that crapped out on me is suddenly working again for mom! Poor mom, she keeps getting my leftovers; the Camry and now my computer. But she's happy with it and I'm happy she has a computer in addition to her tablet. It was so hard to replace my computer because I remember so vividly when I went to pick up my old one with sissy.

Trina won't ever see my new computer.

She won't ever see my new car.

Knowing this makes me want to hold on to the old stuff even when I need something new. One old thing I will never replace is my pair of Converse. They were my last birthday present from her. They are wearing out, holes starting to show and the rubber coming off in various parts. But I will gladly walk around with wet feet in order to hold on that piece of her.

And that is all sweet.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Thank You

October 26, 2013 Aviana flew away on her new wings and her ran on her old, healthy legs.

I've hesitated on writing anything about this because I just didn't know what to say. I don't know what to say when one of my best friends 7 year old child dies.

I just don't know.

What I do know what to say is to describe a little bit how Jen is. The past 4+ years we have gotten to know each other. We've laughed together on the phone and in person. We've cried together on the phone and in person. We've virtually hugged each other and in person. Although our situations are very different there has always been something that has clicked between us.

We are kind of each other's opposites.

During the past four plus years I have seen Jen as loving, passionate, frustrated, hopeful, giving, happy, sad, silly, dingy, stripes loving, grief stricken, obsessive, mama bear, direct, truthful, confused, honest, emotional and so much more.

Did you see what words I didn't write?

Angry. Mad. Unforgiving. Mistrustful. Bitter.

We are each others opposite.

I have learned so much from Jen. Other than sissy and mom, who rarely gave up hope of Trina being healed, the person I have learned the most from about not just grief but life in general is Jen.

Jen has an unbelievably wonderful way of looking at things. And I don't mean through rose colored glasses. I mean she honestly sees the good in everything. Again, not in that annoying way but in the way that makes you want to be like her. In a way that makes me look at myself and realize what my shortcomings are and want to change them. Jen has taught me not only by her perfectly well written words on her blog but by example in the way she lives her life. It is just the way she IS.

How did I learn all of this?

By "meeting" her through her blog which she started after Aviana's accident.

All of this life changing "stuff" she has taught me is actually through Aviana. We never would have met had it not been for Aviana. I never would have known how amazing and accepting "real" people could be. I always thought those sunny people didn't know how hard life could be, they hadn't experienced watching the person you love the most suffer through cancer twice. Oh no, Jen was able to show me grace under even worse circumstances.

All of this because of Aviana Reese Hodder.

Thank you.

Saturday, November 02, 2013


Jen has written the most flawless, loving, perfect tribute to her Aviana. I've never before read anything as beautiful.

Friday, November 01, 2013

Cameo's Camry

I sold my car.

I sold my 2000 Toyota Camry. The first (and so far only) brand new vehicle we ever bought. I loved my car. My car was me. It was just a car but it was a part of me as stupid as that sounds. It was exactly what I wanted. I had done so much research on it before we found it.

I've been needing a newer vehicle, my Camry is almost 14 years old. We've outgrown it. We outgrew it years ago but I haven't wanted to sell it. I've always had the irrational thought in my back of my mind "but sissy won't know it's me if we're driving around town separately and we see each other. She won't know about my new car. She won't see me in my new car. She won't know me." As irrational as this sounds just a few days ago I saw a truck like hers turn in front of me and I did a double take to see if it was her or Joshua driving it. Needless to say it wasn't even her truck (Josh has it parked) but whenever I see a truck like hers I always check to see if it IS her driving. I always have the first thought of "why is she out driving by herself? Whey didn't she have me drive? She always has me drive her around! What the hell is she doing on her own?"

Norm has fought me on selling his truck. He wanted and waited for his truck for so long and he finally got it June 2007, just before we went to visit Valentina. He loved his truck. Even after he got a company car almost 3 years ago he refused to sell his truck. His argument was that if we sold his truck and I got something for me then if he needed to go somewhere on the weekend and I was gone (yeah, that happens ALL the time ~eye roll~) then he would need his truck. I kept after him saying we didn't need his truck. If that rare situation ever DID happen then he could use the Camry. Norm finally countered that he'd sell his truck if I sold my Camry.


Almost three years have gone by since we have no longer needed his truck. We've used it only a handful of times.

Almost four years have gone since sissy died. There's no way or reason why she would need to know what I'm driving.

I've slowly been allowing thoughts into my mind about selling my car. My beloved car that has seen so many road trips both before and after sissy died. Road trips that the car and the family went on, even if I didn't. There were more than a few times that Beya and Papa would take it to California, Trina and Josh would take it to Seattle, mom and papa would drive it to the cabin, etc..... After Trina died and we tried to be out of town more and more on significant dates (second brain scan with these results, MRI reading, her birthday, tumor marker numbers soared, etc..) or just to get out of town for something, my car faithfully drove us while we cried and knew what we were trying to escape.

One such escape was hands down the best one. On September 23rd we went to have lunch in Seattle with Jen. That still remains one of the highlights of our road trips taken with Camry after sissy died.

I love my Stripey Jen <3 nbsp="" p="">

Anyway, flash forward to the past month or so. I started to almost purge. Save for the handful of things that were sissy's that I will NEVER part ways with, there is so much additional "stuff" that I don't need. I don't need my car to remember her. 

I started having discussions with Norm over selling BOTH vehicles. His truck. My Camry. Getting something newer for me with seating for 7. We haven't had a car payment is almost 10 years so that's a bit scary but if we were to sell both the truck, the car, add in the amount of what we were pre-approved for (and can easily handle the car payment) well, then the Camry may not be the  last brand new car I buy. 

I sold my car last Thursday in literally 5 minutes. 

My car is gone. 

I sold my Camry. 

The truck is up for sale as of tonight and less than an hour after I put it up we already had three people call on it, very interested, wanting to set up times to come by and take a look at it. 

Holy shit. We might actually have both vehicles sold and I won't have anything to drive. 

It's a good thing my parents just bought a great looking Toyota Camry. The person they bought it from was the original owner and loved it very much ;)

**** The last part of this post was Ambiposted so I apologize in advance for any grammatical errors or typos. ****