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, December 29, 2013

Bipolar..... wait ...... no, over there ...... what?????

There are times when I think I am not capable of having a complete, full thought. My mind is a giant bingo cage filled with bingo balls that crash and careen into each other. If this sounds familiar it's because I've used this analogy before. Poor mom and Norm have had to put up with my constant bingo balling which has been especially bad the past few days. This is just a portion of it:

I'm going to get an iPad, no the Product (RED) iPod I need a 64 gb no, I wouldn't keep it in my car, I'd still keep my old iPod in my car no, I need an iPhone what I would use the iPod for yes just for at home why buy an iPod that's it an iPad look on craigslist I need a 64 gb no maybe only 32gb since I'd only be using it at home maybe a 16 GB honey how many gb is your iPad maybe an Air no I can't spend that much money I didn't get a Christmas present this could be my present why not just an iPod touch why do I even want this I don't have anything fun I just spent $1,000 on my new computer I can't get another new electronic oooh look at this one on craigslist that's a really good deal but then it's used look on best buy there's one that's open stock no I'm back to the iPod do I want an iPad 3 or 4 what is the difference between a 3 and 4 yes I want the 4th or an iPod 5th well the Air is nice no that's almost as much as my computer do I really need this no I'm not getting it this is just insane well we were going to spend the night in a hotel and order room service that was going to be a few hundred dollars look here on craigslist there's a Product (RED) one how perfect no I want the iPad



Lather, rinse, repeat.

Again and again and again.

Anything to keep my mind busy not that I could quiet it anyway.

Christmas? Check

*I'm not spell checking or re-reading this post for grammatical errors because I'm going right into another post and I just want this one to be done. My apologies for any mistakes or errors. 

Christmas is done and over and I wish I could say that the holidays are over but right now we're smack dab in the middle of this emotional windstorm that every year threatens to blow us away. We've always stood strong and beat it but that doesn't mean we make it through unscathed.

New Years Eve? PARTY TIME!!

For us? The last time sissy had chemo.

New Years Day? HANGOVER TIME!!!!

For us? The last time I had a clear conversation with my sister and we talked about things I'll never discuss.

January 2nd? GO BACK TO WORK, UGH!

For us? Trina entered the hospital for the last time. She never saw her cute little house that she loved so much again.

January 2nd-9th for us? Reliving every fucking day that she as in that fucking hospital, dying.

January 6th? The day they told us she wasn't going to make it through the night.

January 4th? The day the doctor told her she was dying in front of me.

January 9th?

It's the most fucked up day of the year. (for some reason I keep saying that over and over in my hear to the tune of It's the Most Wonderful Day of the Year, how sick am I?)

 It doesn't end there, it just continues until February 16th which is Valentina's new birthday. Once we get that done and over with that's when we can take a breath.... until Easter and then we start all over again.

But that's not to say we don't have fun. On the outside you'd never know I was having a hard time. When Asa squealed Christmas morning, after opening every single present he had asked for, "IT'S THE GREATEST DAY EVER!!!" I mean, how can not enjoy life through their eyes? Yes, after that I wanted to hold my hands over my ears and scream "MAKE IT STOP!" but kids make you see happiness through them. I cannot begin to imagine living our new lives without them. They keep me sane. They keep me INsane. They make me laugh. They make me frustrated. They keep me ALIVE by making me experience all of these emotions.

It's not just the kids either. Jen. Holy hell, what can I say about her except that she always amazes me with not just her outlook on life but her ACTIONS with life. I read her Christmas post and just realized again how big my shortcomings are. I WANT to change. I WANT to be like Jen when I grow up. Never have our differences shown so much than when I called her to tell her we had just checked in to the hotel for Avi's service which was the next day. We were talking about things, she cried, I cried, she laughed, I laughed. Then when we were talking about how unfair it was as to why we were there she just smiled (I could hear her sweet smile through the phone) and she simply said "that's just how the cookie crumbles sometimes." I was speechless but the second I got my words back I said "no it's not! It's called the shit end of the stick! Sometimes you get the good end of the stick, sometimes you get the shit end! We both got the shit end! You can take your cookie crumbles and shove them up your ass!" She just patiently laughed at me and again I was taught another life lesson.

It's all in how you look at things.

Jen sees the vast amount of good that happens in the midst of bad.

I only see the bad along with tinges of things that aren't horrible.

The cookie crumbling conversation is something I've repeated several times since I've been home and now Asa says it all the time, "that's just how the cookie crumbles."

I have much to be thankful for. I AM thankful for it.

I am thankful for my children.

I am beyond thankful for my parents.

I am thankful for my husband.

I am thankful for my house.

I am very thankful for my new car.

I am even thankful that I was a sister for 34 years of my life.

But it's also what hurts the most.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Thank You Aviana

After Trina's funeral Beya and I vowed to never go to another funeral ever again. Norm's grandma died over the summer and although Norm and Papa went to the service, mom and I just couldn't bring ourselves to go. 

When Aviana died mom and I briefly thought of going to the memorial service but decided we just couldn't do it. Even though we weren't going to attend I still asked Jen to keep me in the loop as to when and where it would be. 

As the days passed I could tell mom was having second thoughts about not going. We talked about going to see Jen and Dave a few weeks after the service, the day after the service or a month after the service. You name it, we thought of it but it was always after the service. The closer the time came the more I could tell mom was being pulled into the direction of attending. We discussed it between ourselves. We discussed it with our therapist. I discussed it with my psychiatrist. They all said the same thing; there is no right answer, only our answer. I thought about it long and hard and after talking to Jen and countless conversations between Beya and I, we decided to attend Aviana's memorial service.  

I'll let Jen describe it when she's ready to but suffice to say it was filled with love. 

I'm grateful that we were able to see Jen, Dave and Aviana (and Rainey) both before and after Aviana left this earth. 

This was taken at lunch the first time we met the Hodder family. We went to lunch in Seattle (they were just passing through to a wedding) along with Dave's sweet sister Dinah. Asa and Valentina piled as many things as they possibly could onto poor, defenseless Aviana. I'm sure she hated every item but she was a good sport about it. 

Valentina trying to explain to Aviana why THIS doll was different than the 8,424 she already had.

After lunch. I love how papa is in this picture too. 

Jen and Dave were so kind and gracious to answer all the questions Asa and Valentina had about Aviana's injury with honesty and humor and never once avoiding a question, no matter how hard or blunt it was. You can see Asa was in big brother mode by keeping an eye on Avi.  

Here is proof Beya was there too. 

A year and a half ago we happened to be in their neighborhood and stopped by to say hi. Mom just couldn't wait to hold Aviana. I'm no expert but it seemed to be a one way street. 

The evening of the memorial service Jen and Dave took mom and I to a great Thai place where Jen requested a giant fork to eat with. You can't really tell but the fork she had was at least three times bigger than a normal fork. 

I didn't even think of having someone take a photo of all of us so Dave could be in the picture too but instead he was stuck being the photographer. 

All in all I can honestly say that I do not regret going to Aviana's memorial service. To those of you who haven't had the opportunity to meet Jen I can tell you that the love and sweetness that comes through her blog from her musings is exactly how she is in real life, as well as her humor and forgetfulness. Whether on her blog, on the phone or in person, honesty is the only thing Jen asks for and it is what she values most. Honesty, love and kindness is who she is. She is truly one of my best friends. 

And none of this would have happened had it not been for that horrible accident. I wish like hell it hadn't happened, that we never would have met, that Aviana would have been ok, that she wouldn't have died, that our lives would have never intersected. 

But they did. 

And Aviana, both as a person and through her mom, has made my life better for having known her family. I know that sounds cheesy when you say it.

But think about it.

Really think about it.

Who in your life has made you think "holy crap, that person is really wise. I understand their point of view and I never would have had they not expressed their real emotions and feelings" or "I never thought of life like that. I have a really shitty view of life. I need to be more sympathetic and forgiving in my own life" or "I never would have thought of things like that had it not been for this person opening my eyes to it this way." How many times and how many people do YOU have in your life that are able to, without judgement and scorn, have you see things from their point of view even though it's a total 180 from your own? Jen has a gift of being able to do that with loving words and kind, giving actions. She has never once lectured me. She has never once argued with me. She has never once told me I was wrong. She has, 100% of the time lived her life by example and with her eloquent, and almost hypnotic, words.

All of this from being the best mom to one very special girl, Aviana.

Thank you Aviana, for letting your mom talk for you.

Thank you for letting us watch your journey.

Thank you for letting us mourn the extreme disservice this life has done by taking you much too early.

Thank you for making my life better.

Thank you for the ripple effect you have had on the world.

Thank you for letting us use our bodies to do good when you couldn't.

Thank you for sharing your life with us.

Thank you. 

Sunday, December 01, 2013

A Week In Photos

A week ago Beya and I took a quick road trip. I was hesitant to do it as it meant leaving the kids for Norm to take care of, get ready for school, pick them up and have them for three days and two nights. Needless to say he did great and neither kid even asked about me much less missed me. Whenever Norm is out of town for work oh they wail and whine about how much they miss him......HE'S NEVER HOME TO BEGIN WITH!!!! I have to admit, even though he works long hours, from the time he walks through the door he is immediately in Daddy mode, spending every possible minute with the kids, playing with them, being at their beck and call and just being the "fun" parent. So of course, why in the hell would they miss me? 

They didn't. 

Here are just a few photos of our trip:

I love frost on trees, it makes everything look so much prettier. 

Beya and I stopped to get gas and this sign met us pulling in to the station. I couldn't stop laughing. 

These were a blast from the past! I didn't know anyone even had them anymore!!!

I was so scared that it wouldn't be as good as I remembered. I needn't have worried, I inhaled my food along with a neapolitan shake!

The reason for our trip. I love you Jen! I'll write about this in another post. 

Friday evening at the ER. Here Asa had already been pumped up with his IV fluids and he looked a thousand times better than he had when we originally took him to the Doctor. It's always a bit disconcerting when the doctor takes one look at your child, does a quick physical exam and then says "take him to the ER." 

Almost ready to be discharged from the hospital. What a difference anti-nausea medication and fluids did for him! When we got to the hospital Asa couldn't even walk. He was so weak we had to use a wheelchair to get him from the car in to the hospital and even then he cried and cried because he felt so bad. He's doing much better today, two days later, but will still be home from school at least another day or two. Poor thing, he was sick his entire Thanksgiving vacation and then some!

Saturday Beya and I did some quick shopping at a local store and I found one of these! I didn't know they even sold them anymore! I don't know which was funnier, seeing this or listening to the tweenagers arguing with the sales clerk over the price of the video game they wanted. They kept insisting it was only $29.99, not $45.99. They even went so far as to tell her they SAW the ad! It clearly stated $29.99 on Black Friday! I was laughing not so quietly as the oh so patient clerk said yes, it was on sale on Black FRIDAY. 

One of the things I was so excited to do with my new Volvo was to get my Christmas tree and strap it to the top of the SUV, just like they show in the Volvo commercials. Hey, what can I say, I find joy in the strangest things. One thing they DON'T show in the commercials is the tree sitting on a tarp but I guess in show business you don't have to worry about getting tree pitch on the car you've been lusting after for well over a year. 

For only the second time in 20 years, I DIDN'T get my tree the day after Christmas Thanksgiving. I have always put it up on Friday and after the kids go to sleep I stay up late and decorate it all by myself. Well, given I was in the ER with Asa my tree didn't get bought or put up until Saturday. I'm just very, very thankful that things calmed down so quickly that I was able to take care of it last night. 

So that's what I've done the past week, what about YOU? Tell me three things you've done and how your Thanksgiving was.