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.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Happy Birthday To Me

I turned 39 on Tuesday. I've never looked forward to my birthday and it has become even worse the past 4 years.

Tuesday morning began even earlier as that is Asa's Highly Capable school day so he has to catch the bus super early. I was up getting ready, brushing my teeth actually, when mom came into the bathroom, her face lit up like a Christmas tree.

"Go back to sleep, it's your birthday" she told me.

"No, it's Asa's early day" I told her.

"I know! I'm up, let me do it for you" she responded.

"I'm already up too" I said, digging my heels in between spits of toothpaste.

"I'm taking the day off" Beya said.

I was speechless.

"No, no, no, it's too late, you have to work, don't get in trouble, go to work" I pleaded.

"I took it off!" she announced, her face even brighter. "I already have it arranged, someone is taking my place today! I'm all yours today! We can see a movie or anything you want!"

I smiled. I smiled and felt so happy. I felt happy like I haven't felt in the past 4+ years. I felt giddy happy. Mom and I were finally going to have a day together! An irresponsible, full of fun, day off.

Mom said I looked happy, I looked happy like I hadn't looked like in the past 4+ years.

And I was.

We went to Bath and Body Works.

We had lunch.

We saw "Gone Girl".

We picked up the kids.

We came home and watched the World Series.

Norm came home with Grasshopper pie and flowers for me.

I had a great birthday.

Thank you mom.

Sunday, October 12, 2014


The Holidays are upon us and they always bring an additional weight with them..

Yes, things are far different this year than even in bad years past.

Beya, Norm and I have been discussing our first upcoming major land mine. Thanksgiving. Ever since sissy died I have been talking about leaving town for Turkey Day and we just might do it this time. I don't know. We have several options that are we mulling over, among them having it at home and let the chips fall where they may although I am not looking forward to that choice.

Given all the talk about Thanksgiving I can't help but remember the last Thanksgiving sissy was alive. I've had the same image replaying on a loop in my head.

Norm, the kids and I went that day around noon to see his mom and that side of the family and we were there for about an hour or two. As we pulled into our lightly snowy driveway I had no idea what our house would hold. If mom would even be there or if sissy had been having an exceptionally rough day and needed Beya, if Beya would be cooking, if the house would be empty, if our home would be full. It was really kind of representative of where we were in our lives at that moment, everything in the air, never knowing where we were going to land or what was going to be waiting for us. Our lives the great unknown.

I opened the front door and my heart leaped for the scene that was upon me was one that I never could have dreamed of. Sissy was there, laughing while laying down on the love seat, a fire crackling in the background, warm, Thanksgiving-y aromas coming from a kitchen that Beya was keeping busy in and having a conversation with sissy. The kids, Norm and I bounded in, shaking the light snowfall from our coats, full of questions for sissy, how was she feeling, how long had she been over, when we were going to eat, when was Josh coming over, how long had she been up, how long since she had thrown up, if she was cold, did she need a blanket or a pillow.

This scene replays on repeat. Even though our evening ended not nearly as well as it started (sissy got sick, it took her forever to eat, all she could do was peck at her food in order for it to stay down, she became extremely weak and tired) the picture that is forever in my mind when I hear about anything Thanksgiving is walking through my front door, sissy in her green sweater, laying down oh so comfy and laughing, her bald head exposed.

So no matter what we decide to do this November I will be haunted, and desperately wishing for, a bald headed, green sweater wearing, laughing sister.

Thanksgiving 2009

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Asa's Annual Birthday Soccer Game

Just like last year, this year for Asa's birthday present Beya took him to a Timbers game. The Portland Timbers are our MLS team and given how obsessed we are with our soccer, we love any excuse to go to a Timbers game. 

This year it was Beya, the birthday boy, Norm and myself. It was the Timbers vs. San Jose Earthquakes last night. It was such a good game and as always got off to a great start:

The Timbers head coach Caleb Porter. I swoon over this man.

Our 10 year old birthday boy! Norm made a donation to the kids soccer fund and along with the donation came a scarf...just Asa's size!

The scarf came in handy during each of the THREE GOALS the Timbers made!!! With each goal everyone stands up, screams and waves their scarves. I was a bit hoarse when we left the game.

Thank you Asa.

Thank you for having a birthday.
Thank you for being 10 years old.
Thank you for wanting Beya to take you to a Timbers game.
Thank you for being such a wonderful boy.
Thank you for wanting me to go to the game too.
Thank you for just being YOU!!!!


Saturday, October 04, 2014

Grown Up Vacation

Norm and I have been flirting with the idea of going back to Cabo for the past few years. It is the only place in Mexico where only he and I had been to, no family, no sissy, just us. The thought of leaving my family, however, was enough to send me into a panic attack. Literally. 

It has been almost five years since sissy died and over the summer I began to feel ready. I finally felt as if I was ready to leave my family for a few days and just do a getaway for Norm and me. 

Sometime around June or July I booked everything. We were set for Cabo! We were going to go to Mexico! Norm and I were finally going to celebrate our 20th anniversary! 20 years together is a long time and it deserved to be celebrated. So we were booked!

Well wouldn't you know it, Hurricane Odile had other plans for us. The hotel we were supposed to stay at took a direct hit and suffered structural damage. They aren't even going to think of taking new reservations until mid January. What to do? I felt horrible for the residents of Cabo who had lost things, some lost everything they had. Terrible. 

That said, I realized just how much I had been looking forward to this trip. Both Norm and I needed to get away, work has been especially stressful to Norm and I just wanted a getaway. 

But we couldn't go to Cabo! 

I immediately began to look fast and furiously. We had only two weeks until it was time for our vacation and I had no idea where we would go. 

After much, much searching and my mind going buggy many, many days, I decided on Palm Springs. But where in Palm Springs?! I looked and looked and couldn't find something that had "it". They were all pretty and I found a lot of luxurious hotels and spas but they were missing something. 

Until one caught my eye. 

I took one look at the website, and then another, and then another and I was HOOKED! This was what I was looking for! A real 60's, kitschy, mid-century modern hotel that was reminiscent of the Rat Pack! I fell in love with it.

But what about Norm? 

He doesn't share my love of mid-century modern, he has fought me tooth and nail on redecorating the house in that theme so what was he going to say about staying at a hotel that looked like it? 

I was equal parts excited and apprehensive about showing him the website when he got home from work. 

But he fell in love with it just as I did. It took me about 30 minutes from the time I showed him the website until I had our flight and hotel booked. 

It was all booked! Now what to do? 

Second guess myself and stalk Trip Advisor. Every negative review that came in made my heart sink. Every glowing review restored my faith. 

Monday morning Norm and I did some last minute packing, I got the kids off to school, of course Valentina was kind of sick so I had the whole "I'm such a bad mom, I'm going on vacation while my child is sick" guilt, but that didn't stop mom from taking us to the airport. 

We got to the hotel around 7 pm and got a free upgrade to a jr. suite. Score! I was instantly reminded of all of the great reviews of the hotel when we walked in to our room:

What's not to love about this room?

Norm took a walk to a grocery store on Tuesday and we were set with snacks and alcohol.

For three and a half days this is what we did. Read, swam and hung out at the mostly empty pool.

At any given time there were a max of about 6 other parties at the pool. I considered it "cramped" if there were more than four other people swimming at the same time as me. The pool was big and super spacious with lots of little nooks and crannies for people to hang out in. Needless to say we had plenty of room to swim and relax.

What can I say, I'm not a selfie queen like Beya :)

Our flight landed just before midnight Friday night. Oh, and BOTH kids ended up sick while I was gone but Beya did a great job and I didn't have to worry. We were also able to skype and talk on the phone every day.

All in all Norm and I had a great trip and I learned an important lesson; instead of making our trip for four nights the next time I need to make it for five...... or more!

I'm very proud of myself for having a grown up vacation with my husband. It was well worth it.