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.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Ghosts of Thanksgiving

She couldn't help but think of the way Thanksgiving would be had that horrific incident hadn't of happened.

The house would be full. There would be three children running around, ages 10, 7 and 5. A houseful of six adults and three kids, the table leaf installed and stretched out to the max. Even then there wouldn't be enough room to accommodate their large family requiring them to add on the odd round table in addition to the oblong one that came from her grandparents.

Three women laughing and cooking in the kitchen. Chaos. A wonderfully happy chaos with the tv in the background. First a parade and then football that her sister paid attention to while making her own dressing as their mom's dressing wasn't good enough. Nothing was good enough for her sister, in fact her sister required a roast instead of turkey so they made both. The oven was overflowing with separate dishes that met everyones tastes. Her husband weaving in and out, his fingers in everything while the sisters and their mom talked wordlessly with their eyes, annoyed by his arrogance of thinking he could do better yet having to keep quiet since he did make the best gravy. Occasionally laughter would break out between the three of them, all agreeing without words that he was driving them nuts.

The crystal bowl of olives set out in what had been their grandmothers. The cranberry jelly jiggling in matching bowl, her sister using a burner to obstinately make her own homemade cranberry sauce that only she would eat but she insisted on using the precious stove space anyway.

The crowded way of setting everything on the table, the corraling of the children and getting them to sit down, each of them arguing where they wanted to sit. Calling the men to the table, having to yell at their father since he was hard of hearing and it was difficult to tear him away from the roaring fire he had built.

The tangle of elbows and hands as dishes, most of them multiples of each other, handing things around. The unusual gift her sister had of talking incessantly while eating. The way she and her sister made each of their children's plates differently as each of the three kids ate different things. The talking of how stuffed each of them were after dinner yet still managing to eat pie. The stack of Black Friday ads that were looked at and the conversation back and forth of whether to go or not to the stores. Depending on their manic state she and her sister would mutually decide whether or not to go and battle the crowds. They would eventually, one Thanksgiving, decide to give it a go, considering it a once in a lifetime thing they had to do. They didn't even think twice of leaving the kids with their mom.

She couldn't help but think of how this was supposed to be their present.

Most of it erased.

Yet still thankful for what was left.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Hungry For The Games

I love The Hunger Games. I loved the books and I love the movies. I've read the books several times and watched the movies multiple times. Last month I saw that our local theater (the good one, the one where they take your order and deliver your goods to your seat) was having a movie marathon of the first two movies and ending with the premiere of Mockingjay: Part I. I told mom about it and she agreed she wanted to go so of course I immediately bought three tickets before I could talk myself out of it (I bought a ticket for Norm even before I talked to him about it).

Our marathon was Thursday and lasted all day. The first movie didn't start until 2pm but we got to the theater, which is in our mall, at 11:30 am. There wasn't a line yet so we did a bit of shopping and after an hour we decided to go get our seats. We were handed a special lanyard that declared to the public that we were, indeed, movie nerds. Papa was gracious and watched the kiddos until we got home at 10:30 pm. It was a once and done kind of thing, I don't think we would do it again unless it's the Oscar Movie Marathon but it was an experience. Of course the kids were still up when we got home but I was so proud of Asa. I called home before the third movie started and he said both him and Valentina were already in their PJ's and had fed themselves dinner. I was glad they were awake when we got home, even if it was more than an hour after their bedtime. I missed them and I missed papa.

Which leads me to this next anxiety ridden thing that we are going to do. Papa and I are going to Philadelphia in September to see Pope Francis. I'm not sure if Beya and Norm will be going but I'm already freaking out over leaving the kids that far away. I'm also going to miss Asa's birthday for the first time ever. Damn Pope had to pick the 26th and 27th to make his appearance. This is something that has always been on my bucket list, to take papa to see the Pope. The pull wasn't as great when it as Pope Benedict but I felt as if my chance had come and gone when Pope John Paul died. Then we got stuck with a dud of a Pope but after Pope Francis took over, well, it was a no brainer that if he came to the United States that Papa and I were going to go see him, no matter where in the country he went. I'm both excited and terrified but talk about a once in a lifetime opportunity. I've been fortunate enough to experience several possible bucket list items. I've been 10 feet away from the Olympic torch. I've touched the hand of a Vice President and just barely missed touching the hand of a President. I was at Cesar Chavez' rosary. All of these things had an impact on my life in one way or another. They all made imprints and I'm so thankful that I was able to do them. The chance to see the Pope, no matter how far away we are from him, just to hear him give mass, is something I can't give up.

So that's about it. Hunger Games marathon and mass with Papa and the Pope. That is what I've been up to.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Holiday Surprises

This is going to be a mish mash of of  a post so hang on.

Holiday surprises.

Beya and I went shopping today and I bought the kids some of their main Christmas gifts. They each got a big Lego set plus Valentina got a few other items for her stocking. It is so hard for me not to tell the kids what they are getting. Their main present will be an XBox 360 with Kinect and a game for each of them. Asa will be gone for Christmas so there won't be any arguing about who gets to play the first game. It makes me sad to have yet another Christmas without Asa but there is nothing I can do. I can, however, spoil Valentina and put all of my time and attention towards her. I forbid anything Monster High for the past few years so of course that is all she wants. I've slowly been letting up on my rule and for Christmas I bought her the one thing she has wanted for literally over a year, a Monster High movie. This is the hardest thing to keep from her because I know she's going to flip when she opens it, or in her words "this is SICK!" Her vocabulary just cracks me up. I know she gets part of it from school and part of it from what she watches on TV but it still makes me laugh. It's making me SICK hiding the movie from her!

Last week Norm was in Seattle for meetings all week. Beya did the kindest and best thing for me; she watched the kids and pushed me into going with him for four nights. I'm really glad I went. I had four nights of R&R&R, rest, relaxation and room service! I had things down to a science. I would get up, have my coffee, watch some news, Norm would stop in in between meetings, we'd catch up a bit, I'd get dressed (in my "lounge wear", aka nice PJ pants and matching shirt) then settle in to watch Grey's Anatomy followed by General Hospital and ending up with Castle. In between everything I'd take a nap and in the evening when Norm was done with his meetings we would go out to dinner and have a cocktail (or two). It was absolutely decadent and I enjoyed every bit of it. The last night we were there Norm had to be gone during dinner time so I had room service by myself. It was one of the best steaks I've ever had! I'm sure it had nothing to do with the fact that I ate it in bed, feeling so luxurious. It was a great time. Thank you Beya and Papa for taking my job over and watching the kids.

So that is about it. Now we are just getting ready for Thanksgiving.

Happy Turkey (Gobble Gobble) Day!*

*one time when Asa was a baby Trina was feeding him turkey and cheese. She would ask him if he wanted cheese or turkey next. If it was turkey he would say "gobble gobble" instead of turkey. To this day we will usually refer to a turkey as "gobble gobble" instead of the correct word.