Friday, March 8, 2013

Stuff and Nonsense

I stole the above title from the last song of an album I had on repeat when I was 11 years old. It was Belinda Carlisle, and although my 3rd favorite song (Band of Gold and Since You've Gone were my favorites) this song title has always stayed with me, and is completely fitting for this post!

Since I'm here, I'll go ahead and take a dip - without music - I would be horizontal and      d-e-a-d. I troll iTunes I especially look forward to Tuesday, because with each new one, I wake to brand new music!! I'm a lyric freak. There are no two ways about it. I'm also really annoying to drive with because I have no problem backing a song up 6 + times if we were talking and I wasn't exactly paying attention to the song that was on. Fun, right? Would you like to road trip with me? I didn't think so. I can't help it. It's my drug!! My crack. Gosh now that I'm thinking about it, my habit might be more expensive than crack? It's hypnotic, intoxicating. It's the best thing on earth...that and animals, of course.


Where I write is where I leave almost everything, and that includes some of the saddest, most desperate moments of this journey. I choose to share the down and dirty because I once found myself very alone. I felt as though I were the only one in the world that stepped off a plane and couldn't bond with her new little baby. That was definitely one of the lowest, and saddest points of my entire life. I found myself to be completely alone in my feelings, as all of us within our agency had gone through this new and exciting process together, but I was the only one who seemed to come out on the other side with this stark reality. 

Every which way I turned for help, I was greeted by another brick wall. I quickly learned the whole 'not being able to bond' with your new baby business was a dirty little secret that no one wanted to talk about, or admit. All I wanted to do was talk about it, to find someone who was going through it too, so I could find ways to resolve it. There was nothing I wanted more than to love our new little girl. My gosh, we had waited our whole lives for her!! 

So in all of my writing, I make a conscious choice to always include every aspect of what this is like on the inside. The very last thing I ever want is for anyone to ever feel as I have felt/feel in my life, and that is alone in their feelings.

So much can cause us to feel alone. A death, disability, divorce, disease, miscarriage, infertility, the list can be never-ending. I've been touched by many within that list alone. I think what is most important to remember is the grief attached takes an undetermined amount of time and usually comes back in varying waves for most. What we all feel, is what we feel and it should never be determined by another individual. What one person breezed through, may take a lot longer for another. Our grief is our own and no one else's. We all walk our own paths in this life. No one else's. Yes, we move forward and most get better and stronger. Our grief evolves. It transforms, but I venture to say it ever goes away, it just changes and we learn to better deal with it. I am of course speaking for myself only.

I have seen far too many people apologize for their own grief. My question is always the same...why? You will never catch me apologizing for my grief when I am feeling an overflow. I have learned the hard way, if I push it aside, it slaps me 22 times harder. I want healing, so I now know I must surrender to it. I won't hide my grief. If it's not, I won't act like everything is okay. I have never been one to pretend. With me, what you see is what you get...always. The only way to further the healing process is to walk through it. It sucks and doesn't feel good and often times I want to dig my heels in, but from experience - I know I better get walking.

Writing is where majority of the grieving happens, and as I was reflecting back recently I realized a funny thing. I don't even know most of you out there, but with you, I share what I don't even happen to with most of the people I do know. Not because I wouldn't, but because the opportunity doesn't usually arise. I was comparing my real life scenario to my writing life, and the two are quite different. Yes, with those I am very close with...I have a few break down moments here and there, but overall (aside from the goof girl), I'm even keel in my real life. When it comes to Aviana - we only really talk about her to people when they ask, which is almost never. So things around here are usually pretty normal life, light and airy. I guess that is why I am so thankful for the outlet of writing.


I eat chip sandwiches. They are my favorite. It all started at BBQs when they would be serving hamburgers and hot dogs, and because I don't eat meat, I wouldn't have much to eat. At some point many years ago, I decided to make them as normal, but fill them with chips in place of the meat. On the way to every BBQ, I actually started hoping they were serving hot dogs or hamburgers instead of tritip. I want one now, with extra, extra relish...please.


My face is a problem. It has staged a revolt against me. Dave and I laugh because it's like I'm a teenager all over again...but worse. After we're done laughing, it's not funny : ( I have tried just about everything. I tried the stinkin' Clarisonic that everyone raves about, and no it didn't work. I have tried that Clydamycin that my brother said was the only thing on earth that worked for him. I mixed it with Retin-A. This is what I feel like sometimes. These are the lengths I feel I have gone...

But then I went to the doctor and guess what she told me? She thinks I might be starting menopause! What the?!? I just turned 38. I was 37 when she told me that. Makes sense. I was about 27 or 28 when I was told I had NO EGGS in this body of mine! So, I am all out of whack! And so is my face. But, I will fight it, I am off to a really awesome aesthetician in the beginning of April. If any of you have any suggestions, I welcome all the help I can get.


We have been in a really good place with Aviana. Acceptance with the hardest and most bitter pill to swallow, but once we gulped it down - it was by far the greatest gift we could have given ourselves. I'd say we moved into this place a little over a year ago, and it was as though the world was lifted from our shoulders. Loving Aviana for who she is is where it's at. Not expecting of her and being pleasantly surprised by anything else she ever does in this life is the biggest blessing in itself. 


I have a cabinet in my kitchen that no matter how many times we clean it and say, "we are going to keep this cabinet in perfect order and never let it get messed up again" it always gets messed up, and fast. I'm convinced. It's possessed. It's like Monica's closet on Friends. It's the Tupperware cabinet. I can't stand it. It's my arch nemesis. My mom is coming over today. Maybe she will help me once again? I already know what she's going to say, "Again?!? Okay, I'll do this one more time, but keep it together this time."

Tupperware hates us,

and we hate it.

So there!

Wait a second Tupperware! Are you in cahoots with my face?


On Saturday Dave strung two sentences together that put one thought in this head of mine.

The first,

"Ray Girl, you're going to be 3 years old!!"

The second,

"Hon, what are we going to do for Rainey's birthday this year?

Rainey's big day last year.

A trip to the park with her friends Oski and Joey.

A homemade cake of all of her favorite ingredients.

As I was thinking of her birthday last year, and Dave's two hit me! Rainey is the age Aviana was when she was hit by a car. Let me re-phrase that. We have had Rainey as long as we had Aviana before she was hit by a car. Let me say this in words I can understand. We had Aviana as a healthy brained child for as short of a time as we have had Rainey as a dog. Let's see if my brain can stretch itself around this amount of time? We had Aviana the way she was, for as l-o-n-g as it's been since the last time I kissed Kama. 

Okay...I've got it.

"I don't know. How do you think we should celebrate our girl's birthday?"


I love the smell of lumber, and Tahoe. My dad is a General Contractor in Lake Tahoe so I grew up on job sites. I was in Home Depot the other night and there is nothing I love more than the smell of fresh lumber. Or the forests of Tahoe, because that's where the job sites were. The combination of the two is pure bliss. Sprinkle some rain drops on there, and you'll have to pry me away.


I wouldn't trade my life for anyone's. The highs, the lows, the happy, the sad, the agonizing pain, all the in between. I would and will take everything. It all is me and me is all I want to be.  I fully believe every single thing that has happened is as it should be. It is all by design. I am fully confident this is all for the betterment of myself, and those around me.

I know I share a full spectrum of thoughts and feelings on here, but overall - I have always felt in the deepest parts of my soul that if this didn't happen something far worse might have to us as a family. I don't know what, but something. I've had a hard time admitting it, because I have always felt that Aviana took the worst of the fall, Gary second, and like dominoes we fell consecutively in and for our family. I know that sounds strange. I know I have touched on this minimally before. I have so much more to say about all of this, but I do believe with my whole heart that everything in this universe is as it should be.

After The Institute program I used to wonder about Aviana, I almost never wonder anymore. I can now sometimes sit and stare at her for hours. I wish you could all try it sometime. They say the eyes are the windows to our souls. They truly are. She is such a blessing. Anytime I feel far away from her, all I have the do is lay down next to her, and look into her eyes.

Some are taken. Some are spared. I used to question. I don't anymore. She won't be here forever, but until she is no more...we are going to learn, love and enjoy.


The votes are in -



  1. Long-time reader and first time commenter. I love your openness and realness... and your pictures of pie. I'm finally being drawn out of lurkdome with an acne suggestion. On top of the topical antibiotics and Retin-A (both of which have helped me), a nurse recently suggested probiotic pills. It's such an easy thing to try (nothing to lose, no harm), so I've added that. And it makes sense that if acne is partially caused by bacteria (and hormones and who knows what else), ramping up on good bacteria might help. Good luck! I feel your pain!

    1. Thank you so much for your compliments! I really appreciate them!! I have my eye on a couple of upcoming pies - Dave loves anything Reese's (part of the secret reason Aviana's middle name is Reese ; ) so I am going to make him

      and then this one -

      Your suggestion makes perfect sense!! I just popped one of Aviana's probiotics and will continue to! That makes PERFECT sense. Thank you SO MUCH!!!

    2. Now my stomach's growling at midnight my time! ;) -- Rosa

    3. I have to add...I told Dave about this idea, and that I had just popped a probiotic, and he said - you take probiotic everyday in your Vega One." I laughed. I do. I forgot. I drink a supplement shake everyday that has 1 billion CFU of probiotic in it, but I looked up how much daily and it looks like I can take more, so I'm going to and see if it helps!! So thank you!! I think that's a great, and healthy idea!

    4. Rosa ~ We made the Peanut Butter Cup Pie the other night and it was really good (I just had a bite before I walked in here actually). We have another Peanut Butter Pie I make all the time that we were comparing it to, and I think the other is slightly better, but I will post a picture of this one soon and link the recipe again : )

  2. Wow! I love this post. And I love seeing how far you've come. I can see it and I can feel it right along with you! Acceptance is the most heart wrenching and the most freeing. Indigo girls - Closer I am to Fine - summed it up for me.

    "Motherhood is about raising-and celebrating-the child you have, not the child you thought you would have. It's about understanding that he is exactly the person he is supposed to be. And that, if you're lucky, he just might be the teacher who turns you into the person you are supposed to be." ~The Water Giver~

    1. I don't know that I have ever read a more perfect quote about motherhood. No, I haven't. Thank you so much for sharing Shauna.

  3. Oh how we are so alike and so different. Someone once told me "grief is selfish." It means your grief is just that, yours alone and it is something that you have and will always have in your own way. It takes what it wants not caring what YOU want. It takes and takes and takes.

    Another one of my favorites is "things never stop being shitty, you just become more ok with things being shitty."

    I'm very fortunate, I had a few people I could talk to when I couldn't bond with Valentina, Beya being one of them. She had never told me before but she finally came clean that she had a hard time bonding to me after I was born. I also knew and was able to talk to a few other moms who had trouble bonding and I wrote about it on my blog. A part of me wants to go back and delete all of those posts because they aren't something I look forward to having Valentina read but it's also part of her story and I never know who might read them or might need to read them.

    You know I love your honesty :) I love it when someone can throw honesty as hard to me as I throw it to them! And can TAKE it!

    BTW, I'm still pissed at you for your chocolate cream pie. It IS easy to make and it is so yummy I make it about once a month. It goes FAST. Damn you Pie Girl!!! But you're a fun.Pie Girl, hahaha.....

    I love you, I love you, I love you and always (usually) know what you say and mean :)

    1. I get made fun of when I say this, but with you I know I won't...or will I ; ) We are the same difference!!

      I imagine that must have been so hard for Beya to tell you what she did. It must have broke her heart, but in the end - I bet it helped to bring you closer together (if that's even possible?) And who better for you to have then Beya to talk to and understand what you were going through. I love that mama of yours on so many levels.

      I'm sure your heart will break in the same way Beya's did one day when possibly a time comes when maybe Valentina will be in need of knowing the very same truth. At that time, you will be witness to a full circle moment and be able to use your and Beya's example in walking and talking Valentina through. My - isn't it so interesting?

      Take it. Throw it. Not it. That's what we do.

      Okay, so the Peanut Butter Cup Pie. I'll send it to you and you can see what you think. We thought it was really good. I'll pin it to your head.

      I so love you for (usually) always knowing what this loon is saying and thinking.

      ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

      Can you see my hearts?????

  4. That was a beautiful post!

    Here's my experience with bonding. I brought 127 newborns home from the hospital. Some I fell in love with the minute I saw them and some I never did. I know I took good care of all of them, but some never caught my heart. We group of fostermoms used to try to figure it out. One of them said falling in love with your baby is like falling in love with your's impossible to put into words. I think with your own child, bonding comes with caring and with time, probably more often than we know.

    I love, love ShaunaQ's quote from The Water Giver. Isn't it so true?

    I have two good friends who have lost their children. Sometimes it's hard to talk about them, but I know most of us think about them everytime we're with their moms. I never think about you without thinking about Avi. I'm sure I'm not alone.

    And, Happy Birthday, Rainey, you beautiful girl!

    Love you lots,

    1. Oh Dixie...127 newborns! What a beautiful soul you have, are, everything. You are a true gift.

      Yes, with time...that's what I kept waiting and waiting for. I worked, tried, went to counseling and put in everything. Then I finally stopped and let it be. I should have just reverted back to my favorite bands and lyrics all the while.

      The Beatles
      Let it Be

      Van Halen
      There's a time and place for everything, for everyone
      You can push with all your might but nothin's gonna come
      Oh no, nothin's gonna change
      And if I ask you not to try
      Oh, could you let it be

      Once I did, it all began to happen...but then so did the accident. I couldn't believe it. I questioned if I had enough of a foundation with Aviana to care for such a severely disabled child. Divine intervention occurs, and thankfully with it - we rise to the occasion. As I sat by her hospital bed, day and night, my love grew in leaps and bounds, and now my only question is if I would ever have loved her as much as I do now if this accident didn't happen.

      Ray Bay's birthday is April 24th and she thanks you for the birthday wishes!!

      I meant to thank you for the Valentine's card. I had it sitting on my desk for weeks, so when I wrote you I could thank you and then we painted our office and when we disasembled the desk I put it in the guest bedroom. I then wrote you and forgot. I put all the stuff back and there it was. Smack to the head!! You are the sweetest EVER!!

      I love you Dixie Pants.

  5. Hi Jen. I've just recently found your blog and at times can't pry myself away from it. I think you are an amazing mother and have a beautiful family. Avi's little face might be the sweetest thing I've ever seen; she seems to be radiating serenity. So beautiful.
    I had bonding issues with my first daughter. It was such a shock, they placed this beautiful baby girl in my arms moments after I delivered her and felt a lot of things- scared, shocked- but the connection I expected wasn't one of them. That was 9 years ago, and I love her so much, but if I'm being honest, there's still a space between us, a little gap that sometimes I'm able to close, and connect with her fully, but sometimes not. And that OK.
    Also, I have adult acne:-) I don't let it bother me too much. Life's too short. I don't buy the fancy face washes or prescriptions, they feel violent towards my skin!
    I saw your post about A New Earth and Power of Now, I love Eckhart Tolle. I try not to worship him! I know that's not what it's about;-) Have you ever checked out EckhartTolle TV? I'd be lost without it!
    I'm so glad I found your blog! Thank you for sharing your beautiful Avi with us, and your pups and pies too!

    1. Oh must be going for one wild ride reading it all back to back ; ) I can't imagine! Thank you so much for your kind words. I really appreciate them.

      YES! I love Eckhart. I call him E-man for short. I have never heard of E-TV!! I'll have to look into it : ) : )

      Thank you so much for following along!! I'll post some new pies soon!

  6. I have PCOS and bad acne along with that. I've had it from 18 until now, my mid-thirties. I wish I had some advice. This acne is just so darn stubborn. I've tried a lot and right now I'm using Benzaclyn. (I think that's how you spell it). It's prescribed by my dermatologist. I have very oily skin and Credentials glycolic cleanser works well for me. I order it from dermstore. I've had very expensive chemical peels done on my face and had severe breakouts after all 3. I wouldn't do that again. But that's just my experience. They have before & after pictures at the dermatologist office so they must work for some people.

    Happy Birthday Rainey love!

    1. Channe!! Oooohhh...all very interesting! So good to know. Thank you for the tips. You know...I am one of those people that if things work for everyone else...they don't work for me at all!!!

      I've been thinking about you a lot...I'm going to write you off here, k : )

  7. First let me say that I'm glad Avi Washington won, because that was my pick!
    Second, I used to listen to that Belinda Carlisle tape over and over again in my senior year of high school (yes, tape...for those young people reading this blog...we didn't have CD's or iPods back then) Wasn't it called Mad About You, or something like that? Or was that just one of the song titles. Anyway, LOVED that album!! And Band of Gold was MY favorite song, too!! Okay, now I'm going to go add that album to my's been way too long since I've listened to it. Although I still have the tape in my closet. But nothing to play it on anymore. (why do I hang on to those old tapes??)
    Next I'm going to say that I think you're an amazing mom. I'm so glad to hear that you are able to enjoy Avi in the moment now due to reaching that "A" word -- acceptance. Sometimes I really wonder if I've ever reached that place with Audriana. Sometimes I think I must have, since life is so happy for me... but then there are other times when the accident memories and all that goes with her brain injury hits me like a freight train, and just takes me OUT completely. Luckily, those moments don't happen as often as they used to.

    And last, Happy Birthday to your sweet pup! She's so cute, and SO lucky that her mama makes her a doggie birthday cake!! Heck, I don't even know what month our two dogs' birthday are in!!

    1. Yeah!! It was self titled "Belinda Carlisle." I just love you. You make me laugh. Wasn't Band of Gold the best. I have been listening to that album, cd, whatever you want to call it...out my Apple TV - since I posted this and it has taken me back, back, back. Doesn't it feel good to go back sometimes!! I know you know!!

      You are so sweet. Thank you Trina! I think I should clarify exactly what I mean by 'acceptance.' I still grieve HARD as you well see in my blog posts. I was a mess the second half of December. Avi was the 'invisible child' for the month and it took a serious toll. I completely understand it logically, but emotionally - it was REALLY hard!!!! I can handle it all year long and be the teacher and the bigger person and all that all year long. But this year, Aviana's Elves usually carries me through the holidays, but the delivery was early this year so that left the rest of the month to think and see, and remember, etc. By the end I was a serious MESS!!

      We accept that she is who she is, she has BARELY, and when I say barely I mean it (you can see it, you know) made any physical recovery since she was in the hospital in 09. All of our efforts have yielded essentially nothing. She will progressively get worse as the months and years go by. We have accepted this fate. A little over a year ago, we accepted that she will not make anymore progress. If she does anything we will be pleasantly surprised, but we do not expect her to do anything. It was a paradigm shift for us as a family. It changed the way we look at her. She was no longer a therapy machine. We enjoy her for who she is and not what she can or cannot do. We have looked beyond all the physical and have searched for the meaning of all of this, the blessings, the appreciation, the happiness we can find with her.

      That being said, it doesn't mean we are not sad for what we lost. And that I don't have massive waves that - like you said - hit me like a freight train, and take me OUT completely. I should use this and create a blog note and clarify. Like you said, they are fewer and farther between, but gosh they do sideline me. I can go through a run (like now) where I am feeling really good, and then I am just sad for what we lost. Because it's SAD!!! How can it not be? We are human!! We lost our little girl!! As you know, she died that day!! How can you walk through as though she didn't? There is such a fine line of honoring the one you lost and appreciating the one you have? And we have had to grieve the one we lost. It's complicated!! Especially when the one we are grieving is still here, to appreciate and love and so on, and so forth!!

      As you well know, it is in our face every single day. The pain is a visible, constant, tangible, reminder of what happened that day That part does not fade. That part is as fresh as the day it happened as things happen every moment to remind. That doesn't die. It lives....all the time. I'd say that is the hardest part of all of this. Would you agree?

      It's messy isn't it, and hard to explain if you're not in it, and even if you are to some, because we all walk different paths. But you and I have always seemed to see eye to eye.

      I thank you for always being there and always being so honest in your feelings, your journey, everything. I am so thankful for you. There are so many people out there that hide behind...well so much and it makes it that much harder.

      Too long to proof...we have to go drop the smashed up car off : )

      I love you Trina

  8. Oh my dear girl, It's Jess. I think more moms than you know have trouble bonding with their babies.
    I know I told you I was post-partum after the twins were born but I don't think I have told you this before; I would say I did not feel like I bonded with them at all in the first year, at all... I was exhausted, I was scared, and I was depressed beyond belief. I was also angry, so angry because this wasn't the way it was supposed to be when I had my children. The first year of my babies lives was hell for me and all through out it I wondering when am I going to feel that "in-love" feeling with these screaming things :)
    What I have come to realize now is that first year in some ways did not matter, the babies are almost 5 now and I have an unbreakable bond with them, ummm sometimes too much of a bond (picture kyle holding onto my leg while I am jusggling groceries in the store.). It feels horrible to say that first year I feel like I felt nothing toward them other than fear and trying to survive but it's part of my journey. If I had the chance, would I change it, maybe, maybe not.
    I love you girl, everytime I read you posts they are so thought-provoking and help me with my own journey.
    Lot's of hugs,