Archive for the ‘Family Ties’ Category

Easter v. Christmas

April 18, 2009

For every kid, Christmas always always tops Easter. There is so much build-up starting even before Thanksgiving and you have the entire month of December to eagerly anticipate Christmas. You buy a tree, decorate the house, have a big Christmas party at school, watch your parents bring home beautifully-wrapped gifts, etc.

But once Christmas is over, you’re bummed. I remember feeling sick in the pit of my stomach whenever I saw one present left under the tree – and it was not for me. Greedy? Perhaps. But Christmas night is always so sad for me. It’s a whole 365 days until I’ll experience the magic of Christmas morning again.

But gradually, as things get back to normal, you find other things to look forward to like the Superbowl. 🙂

And then Easter just sneaks up on you! Suddenly, there is pastel-colored Easter candy, stuffed bunnies, and egg coloring kits filling the aisles. And you get excited again because, while it’s not on the same level as Christmas, Easter is a pretty cool holiday.

This year, though, Easter definitely topped Christmas. The main reason why: my grandma.

About a year about (in early May), my grandma was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer. STAGE FOUR! Now, my grandma is definitely, behind my mom, my favorite person in the world. Even when she was struggling through chemo, she still found time for her children and grandchildren. I want to be just like her when I grow up.

Anyway, my grand is 66 years old and went through 12 intense rounds of chemotherapy. In October, just 5 months after starting chemo, we found out that her cancer was gone. Well, DUH! This is my grandma and there is no way God would take my grandma away yet. He knows how much she’s needed here.

When I found out she had cancer, I was hopeful. I just knew deep within my heart that my grandma was going to be OK. She was strong and she had God fighting this battle for her. Of course she was going to make it! And she did.

She finished her last round of chemo (the most intense yet) on Christmas Eve so Christmas was definitely a blur for her. She says she barely remembers it. She never got dressed (she didn’t have the energy for it) and I filled her plate up with food (but it was such a small amount, it was insane). She sat in her rocker and ate her food.

Fast forward to 4 1/2 months later and it’s Easter. Grandma is cooking Easter dinner and looks like a completely different woman. Well, she looks like the grandma I know. She is full of energy and life. The best part of the whole dinner was everybody telling her, “Grandma, sit down and eat!” Just like old times, she was making sure everyone else had food and was happy until she got her plate and ate.

Priceless.

The other priceless news we received on Thursday before Easter was her PET scan returned back normal with no cancer. She’ll have another PET scan in 3 months and if that turns back normal she can wait 6 months before having another PET scan.

So, yeah, Easter definitely topped Christmas by a large distance. I have my grandma back.

No Father-Daughter dances for me

March 30, 2009

I knew it would happen. I had absolutely no doubt in my mind it would happen. But I let the thought escape my mind.

I was having fun. We were at the wedding reception, celebrating the union of Anisah and Andrew. We had just eaten a delicious dinner and all of the bridesmaids were barefoot and happy. We watched a performance of Hawaiian dancers and a fun little game about the who’s gonna be who in their marriage (Who is the better cook? Who wears the pants in the family?).

And then Anisah and Andrew had their first dance as husband and wife. They danced to “At Last” by Etta James and all of us single girls sighed and looked on with jealousy.

And then it was time for the Father-Daughter dance. And I had no doubt in my mind I wouldn’t be able to stick around for it. So, choking back a sob, I excused myself from the table and rushed to the bathroom and unfortunately heard the beginning of the song Anisah and her father would be dancing to, “Cinderella” by Steven Curtis Chapman.

As I stood in the stall, crying softly, it just hit me that I’ll never have a Father-Daughter dance. I haven’t spoken to my dad in 16 months and it seems as if he has forgotten I even exist. And even if we do somehow reconnect and reconcile, it’s not the same.

He was never a father to me. I’ve never had a father. When I was young and cute, sure. He liked me. He played with me. I thought he was handsome and strong and everything a little girl could ask for. But as I grew older, I realized how wrong that thinking was.

He never made me feel beautiful, just because I was his daughter. He never protected me. He never showed me how precious I was to him. I never felt pretty enough, smart enough, athletic enough for him. I remember playing tennis with him and my brother and just standing there as he hit ball after ball to my brother, leaving me to just watch. I remember telling him of my “new dream” of being a homicide detective (I was 14 at the time) and him telling me I’d never be good at that. I remember being disappointed by him time and time again (not showing up for weekends, telling us of a trip to Ohio that we never took, etc.).

So that moment of a father giving his daughter away to another man…that’s never going to happen to me. He’s already given me away. He isn’t holding on closely to my heart until the right man comes along and he willingly gives it to him. He’s already tarnished and trashed my heart.

I’ve already decided long ago that my brother is going to give me away. He’s been the father figure that my father never was and has done his best to try to piece back my heart that my father broke. Now I just need to find a really good brother-sister song.

On a much lighter note, I forgot to mention that I caught the bouquet at the wedding! I told Anisah to throw it to me (since I’m totally her favorite bridesmaid EVER!) and she threw it up, it got caught in the rafters, and I used my keen ability to catch it, screaming like a wild woman when I did. It was fantastic. And my groomsman, who is also Anisah’s brother (who requested me because I’m “pretty” and “nice”), caught the garter. Quite fitting, wouldn’t you say? 😉

Fingers crossed

February 4, 2009

I decided to break this post into 3 parts, since so much has happened in the past 18 or so hours.

Part I: My Dad
So, my dad got out of jail yesterday afternoon. And guess who he decided to ring up? My brother. My brother, who has a 4-month-old son that Dad knows nothing about. Well, Dad called Mark (after not talking to him in at least 6 months, but probably longer) asking Mark to go over to his ex-girlfriend’s house and get some stuff for him. That’s right. He wanted Mark to help him out. And my dad had the audacity to tell Mark, when it comes to calling each other, “It’s a two-way street.” Sure, yeah, OK. Let’s run-down the past 3 calls from my dad to Mark: (1) When Dad was in jail early in 2007 and asked Mark for money; (2) Called to say his life sucked and he was ending it; and (3) A call to say he was fine but needed Mark to help him out. Whenever Dad calls, it’s always when he wants something. I haven’t spoken to him in 14 months. I know he won’t call me because (a) he lost my cell phone number and (b) he knows I won’t put up with his crap. I was through with him when he went to jail when I was in high school and I told him so. I love him because he’s my dad but I hate him because he’s my dad. And Mark finally saw the light a few years ago but Dad still thinks he can mooch off Mark. And Mark’s not having any of it.

The sad thing is, my dad stayed for one night with one of his loser friends from back in the day and told Mark he’s going to a shelter today. It’s really sad because he has pushed away so many people and now has no one. He really had it good: when I was in 9th grade, he was living with my uncle free and going to school to become a barber. Unfortunately, he really messed that up. I wish I could reach out to him but I’m so afraid of getting my heart broken again.

Part II: Job hunting
In more happier news, I have a solid lead for a job. Today, after my morning class, I went to my old job because they were hiring. The minute I stepped into the building, I got this sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. I just wanted to leave. The director told me I had to have my CDA to work there (which I didn’t need when I worked there previously) so blegh. But, inside, I was happy. I was bummed because it meant I was back to square 1 but the director there is not a very nice person (she was rather rude to me). And tons of teachers have left because of her.

So I came home and called Payless, PETCO, and a bank to see if they were hiring. No on the first two and the bank was only hiring a loan officer, with which you need 5 years of experience for. So then I called another daycare since I had seen on my way to school that they were hiring. They were hiring full-time and part-time, and with the part-time position you don’t need a CDA. So I went in and applied and saw a friendly, familiar face. A girl I had worked with at the previous daycare was working there now and gave me a super-good reference. I talked with the director who seems soooo nice. The positions they have are 12 p.m. – 6 p.m. in either the infants or toddlers.

If I can get this position (especially in the infants room), I would be bursting with joy. I love, love, love, LOVE infants. It was my favorite room in my old daycare. So, fingers crossed! I should find out by Friday if I got the job. 🙂

Part III: The Dog
Well, today The Dog  had a nice, tasty treat. I was popping some popcorn and had a plate sitting by the computer on a low table. Well, on the plate were brownies (ugh, please don’t ask. We had WAY TOO MUCH food left over from the Superbowl) and the stinker ate one! It was one of those Chick-Fil-A brownies but halved so I looked online and it gave some common symptoms – none of which The Dog is exhibiting. A bad reaction would cause him to vomit, be extra hyper, and urinate frequently. He’s been sleeping for a while.

He had a really guilty look on his face, though. I stuck him in my room for a few minutes for time-out (but, really, all he does is get up on my bed and sleep…) and tried to see if maybe he didn’t really eat the brownie but I can’t find the other half anywhere. So we’ll be keeping a close eye on him! He seems fine right now.

Anyway, that’s it from here on the homefront. Gosh. I hope I get that job. That’d be sweet! The hours are perfect, too. I have my story that was due today already finished (so many people were still working on theirs…HAHA!) so I’m going to relax for a while and do a little homework. Tonight, I’m visiting my brother and precious nephew. I’ll try to get some pictures because he’s SO BIG! He’s about 18 lbs and just turned 4 months! Crazy, I tell you.

Dutchy-Wutchy

January 19, 2009

So I meant to write this post a few weeks ago but first I knew I needed to snap a few pictures of the baby before I wrote it and then time got away from me. But here he is: Dutch, my new dog.

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He is turning 7 years old on March 2nd but we got him free and clear from my great-aunt, who is in North Carolina helping her daughter with her 3 children. Dutch was developing a problem nipping the kids when they would provoke him so they decided they needed to get rid of him. And we got him! 🙂

Another picture?

Another picture?

He is such a fun, little guy. It’s funny because he is completely different from Minnie but then again, so similar. I love how each and every dog will have their own set of quirks. Like Minnie always had to have something in her mouth (i.e., a shoe, a piece of paper, a stuffed animal) when she greeted anyone at the door. You never knew what she was going to greet you with when you showed up!

Dutch has this quirk when he sleeps. He has to be under the covers. I’ll get in bed and pull the covers and he’ll nose his way under the covers until his body is completely under the covers. At first, I was worried about this and worried he would be smothered but he seems OK.

His favorite way to sleep

His favorite way to sleep

He is completely and 100% spoiled by us. We are dog people. We love spoiling dogs and he is definitely spoiled! I mean, we don’t go overboard but he is so cute and we just can’t help ourselves. I think I fell in love with him within 5 minutes. He’s that lovable.

Perfect little poser

Perfect little poser

We take him on walks everyday, which he loves. And he’s such a boy! He loves sniffing poop and lifting his leg every 5 minutes to show the world he. is. a. MAN! It’s cute, though. He’s cute.

We had to “discipline” him yesterday. He was in a grumpy mood (maybe he wanted the Eagles to win?) and my mom was just petting him and he snapped at her and made 2 little cuts that were bleeding on her fingers. So we put him in my room (i.e., the “naughty chair”) for 6 minutes where he whined the entire time. Seriously, I was like one of those mothers on Supernanny where they stand outside their child’s door as they’re being disciplined, biting their nails and wanting to cave but knowing they can’t. I’m going to have such a time disciplining my own children!

Anyway, Dutch is a blast! He is so much fun and he makes everything OK. He really does.

Just a little bit spoiled?

Just a little bit spoiled?

Oh, Christmas tree!

December 10, 2008

Ah, the joys of a fresh, real Christmas tree. I know some of you scaredy-cats go for a fake pre-lit Christmas tree. But, seriously, one-fourth of Christmas is the stress and anxiety that comes with taking a real Christmas tree and putting it in the stand and trying to get it to stand up (and straight, but that’s not really neccessary).

I am the biggest kid when it comes to Christmas. My brother and I both are. We love it. We used to try to stay up all night, waiting for Christmas morning to come. But he moved out 3 years ago so now it’s just Mom and me. And I insist on a real Christmas tree. There is nothing in the world like the smell of a Christmas tree when you come inside the house. You can’t get that smell with a fake one.

So we usually get our Christmas tree from Ken’s Christmas Trees and they work out good. But he is a little pricey and pretty far away. But he has a Christmas tree stand that is a thing of beauty. It looks like a regular stand but has a long pole up the middle of it. At Ken’s, they drilled a hole in the middle of the Christmas tree and all you have to do is slip it in the hole and voila! The tree is perfect. No screws or anything.

Unfortunately, this year we bought our tree at Target and they don’t drill holes there. Mark was with us so we figured we’d just get his drill and drill our own hole! Well, we had 4 hours to get it into water and Mark’s drill was dead and he needed to charge it. So we spent about 2 1/2 hours, waiting for it to charge and when it finally did, the drill wasn’t able to go very far into the tree.

So now we were at a crossroads. What to do? We decided we had to buy a regular stand. So we ventured off to Target again and bought the stand. Only one of the screws was made wrong and the bolt wouldn’t go on it right like the other bolts did. The bolt helped to hold the screw in place and without it, the screw had a mind of its own and wouldn’t stay straight.

Now it’s official freak out time.

The tree had to be in water and the stand was being stupid so we couldn’t get it upright. So, genius that I am, I came up with the solution to fill our first stand with water and just lean the tree against it for the time being. We’d come back in the morning.

Man oh man, what a night! Mom was really upset over it and her being upset caused me to be upset. It wasn’t a very fun situation on Saturday night. So what did we do? We went to Steak-N-Shake. We gorged. Would you like to know how many calories is in a double steakburger, French fries, a cup of chili, and a chocolate shake? Only 2,221! That’s it! Wow. Oh, and it only had NINETY-SEVEN grams of fat! Holy crap. They do have healthier options, but who wants to eat healthy when you’re stressed out and upset?

Luckily, our hero saved the day! He came on Sunday morning and within an hour got our tree standing up, straight, proud, and regal. It is a beauty of a tree. So we were so happy that he fixed it for us. He’s amazing. (HE would be my brother…)

So, now here is our beautiful tree. It has so much character, wouldn’t you say?

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We also decorated the house for Christmas!

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Mom loves the snowman theme. Her stocking is the first one, then Mark’s, and mine is on the bottom.

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Our little Christmas table, filled with a Snowman Christmas countdown, our very own fireplace, a church, and, most importantly, a candy dish filled with Christmas candy.

Our little king has arrived!

September 25, 2008

Jovanny Alexander
Born: September 25th, 2008 at 12:56 p.m.
9 lbs, 7 ounces
21 inches long

Our little king arrived at 12:56 p.m. The waiting room played very cute, nursery music when he was born. How sweet is that? It was an exciting day. Jovanny has the chubbiest cheeks and he is so long. He has the softest skin. Man, he just amazes me.

If I’m this in love with my nephew, imagine how in love I’ll be when it’s my very own baby!

This is why my mommy is better than your mommy

August 26, 2008

I had to drop my mom off at work at 7 a.m. this morning, which is an hour and a half before she “officially” starts work. I had an orientation to attend at 8:30 a.m. in Tampa. So she had to get up early and wasn’t able to run, as she does most mornings.

THEN…she had to stay at work until 5:45 p.m., since I was stuck in Tampa until 4:45 p.m. She gets off work at 5 p.m. So that is a total of 2 hours, 15 minutes that she had to be at work for no reason.

I’m not done.

I picked Mom up at 5:45 p.m. Not to take her home. Oh, no. I picked her up to take her to her second job, where she will work until 9 p.m.

And when she gets home, she’ll make dinner for me.

This is why I, in some ways, dread becoming a mother. I could never come close to being like her. She is so self-sacrificing and completely devoted to my brother and I. I’m the luckiest girl in the world to have a mother (and best friend) like her.

She is definitely sacrificing a lot for my education. She wants me to focus on school and not have anything else affecting my schooling, which is why she’s working 2 jobs (about 60 hours a week) so I can focus solely on school. This semester, I can’t work at all because my final internship is going to take up all my time. And she’s sacrificing once again for me.

If I could even become HALF the mother she is, I would be content.

Baby Shower!

August 26, 2008

Saturday was Jenny’s baby shower and it was a blast! She is so beautiful and BIG. I love it. The shower was a lot of fun, although there were only 4 people for Mark and a billion for Jenny. I’m not very happy with my family right now. Only two people had excuses: My grandma (who is currently going through chemo which just zaps all of her energy) and my grandpa (he has to take care of her)! Everyone else had no excuse. Ugh.

Anyway, we played fun baby shower games, like “How Big is Her Belly?” which I placed 2nd in.

We also played a trivia game which I placed 1st in. I swear, I’m way too good at baby stuff! 🙂

Jenny opened her presents. She now has enough onesies to last her for the first 3 months of little Jovanny’s life. She got some really cute items. Of course, I spoiled my soon-to-be nephew with tons of presents, as you saw in my previous post.

All in all, a great day. It was fun, and I didn’t think it would be. I thought I’d be uncomfortable but I wasn’t. Jenny makes pregnancy look beautiful. I know I won’t look half as good as she looks at 8 months pregnant!

Overspending

August 18, 2008

In October, I’ll become an aunt for the first time. I always told my brother that if he ever had a child, I would go bankrupt because of everything I’d spend on him or her.

Famous last words, right?

The baby shower for my nephew is on Saturday and I think I might have gone overboard on gifts for him. I can’t help it! I see baby clothes or toys and I buy without even thinking. I don’t even want to think of what Christmas will look like for him. 😉

So, here is a rundown of his gifts:

Major Cutie Outfit2 by you.

Caterpiller by you.
This adorable caterpillar has different fabrics on each of his “bodies” and a cute little teething thing at the end of it. It’s actually an “Eric Carle” caterpillar, the man who wrote The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

onies by you.
My mom made me buy this. How cute is it?


This cute 5-pack of onesies had a onesie that said “I love mommy” and another one that said “I love daddy.”

pooh cap by you.

Classic Pooh™ Pacifier with Clip
The baby has a “Winnie the Pooh” themed room so we got a lot of Pooh Bear stuff. This is a cute Pooh Bear pacifier with a clip, which I know is a lifesaver!!!


This is a play gym that turns into a tunnel as baby grows up:

 

Bib by you.

Yeah, this baby is going to be spoiled.