Thursday, December 31, 2009

Out With The Old, In With The New

I am forcing myself to write this post because I havent written much at all lately. I dont feel like writing right now, I have no inspiration and my muse is gone. Who knows where she went!

I feel strange starting a new year. Apathetic almost. Scared even. Scared to start over.

Every year since 1999 Barry has been there. And while he wasn't always there on New Years Eve with me, sometimes working, most of the last 10 years we have been together on this day. And even if he wasn't there in person, he was still "there", still in my life.

Starting a new year without my husband is hard. I feel like I am leaving him behind. Like I explained a friend of mine, Barry won't be there in 2010 and any year after that. 2009 was his last year, and I just dont know how I feel leaving him behind. There will never be another year where I can say "oh, remember in such and such year, we did this?"

All I have now are the memories, memories of the last 11 years that I have known him. The first IM I get from him saying "what's ska music", the time he proposed to me on the internet, the time we met in person and he proposed for real, when we got married, the time we spent in Germany, the birth of all of our children, buying our first home, selling our first home, moving to a new city more than a few times, going on vacation as a family this year, celebrating our 10th anniversary early. All I have are memories of our time together.

Now we start 2010 and start NEW. New memories, new experiences, new things, new places.

Despite all the fear that I have about starting a new year, I think 2010 will be a good year for us. I have plans for the kids and I that include, in no particular order:

  • Losing a lot more weight for myself. Getting a gym membership tomorrow or monday.
  • Buying a house and getting out of our rental
  • A trip to Disneyland sometime in 2010
  • Start my book at the very least, not quite sure where my focus is going to be on it, but I do want to start writing.

What are your plans for 2010? Are you planning on anything exciting?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Happy Anniversary Sexy Man!!

10 Years ago today, local Wiesbaden time at 9:30/10AM, I was saying my vows and married Barry in Germany. I had no friends there, just his buddies, and I wore a silver ball gown. But when he put that ring on my finger and said "yes", I was the happiest woman on earth. Barry you were a wonderful husband and I will always, always, love you and miss you. Happy 10th Anniversary Darling!!! ♥ BNB

Sunday, December 27, 2009

I've Been MIA

Well people I have been taking a break from blogging.

I have lost my inspiration lately, to be completely honest.

The past week was extremely hard for me, very emotional. Lots of firsts.

Here's what I did for the FIRST time by myself this week without Barry.

  • Cooked a Turkey (he ALWAYS did this)
  • Read The Night Before Christmas to the kids (again, his tradition)
  • Put up the Christmas presents by myself, well, with the help of my bro and sis, but he always helped with this
  • Barely persevered through our first Christmas without him.
  • Made our traditional Christmas morning breakfast of homemade egg ham and cheese McMuffins
I am so glad I NEVER have to relive that week again. Everyone says the first time is always the hardest, and it really really is. I had all these grand plans to do everything the same as we ALWAYS did it. But I didn't do anything the same. Everything was different this year. Here's what I did DIFFERENT:

  • I cooked the Turkey and it turned out freakin awesome! lol
  • We did stockings on the 26th instead of Christmas morning
  • Skipped out on all the baking. No no bakes this year or ANYTHING. Not even Barry's traditional trans-gender gingerbread man with boy and girl bits! HAHAHA
  • No Gingerbread house
  • No stuffing or rolls for xmas dinner because I forgot to buy it
Now the next big hurdle is our anniversary. I am dreading the 29th. Abso-fucking-lutely dreading it. I want to sleep through it. Why does it have to be this day? WHY must I have an anniversary so close to Christmas? This is going to be the 3d step of many, for the next few months of firsts that we will do without Barry. First we had Thanksgiving, then Christmas...then the anniversary. Then New Years Eve. And then in February we have the twins' 9th birthdays, and then in March we have his and A's birthdays only one day apart.

Then we get a reprieve for almost 3 months until May 1st comes along. That was a special day for our family, we always celebrate May Day and do something fun. Last year we took the kids to the Zoo in Seattle. Not quite sure what I will do with them in May, but I will be doing something fun. And then comes along my birthday in July, and finally E's birthday in October. Technically she's already had her birthday without him, because he was in the hospital and then died the day of her party, but it will still be a hurdle to pass.

I think the next few months will be the hardest for us, but you know what? We'll get through it.

This too shall pass.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

New Post Coming Soon

Sorry peeps, I've been pretty busy lately. I have a weight loss post coming up! I'm so excited to show everyone my progress, I feel really awesome about myself!!!

Look for it today or tomorrow.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

An Early Christmas Gift

Today I had a wonderful opportunity to visit with some old friends. And by old, I mean old old friends.

When Barry died, I went looking on facebook for some of his old army buddies, and only found two. Coincidentally, one of the guys that I found was a good friend of his when he was over there, and also was a witness in our wedding. On facebook I snooped at his friends list, and saw who his wife was and where she lived...well, I put two and two together, and raced to my phone book.

Want to know why? They live in the same town as me. Well, not officially, but they are in the next town over, which actually happens to be the next major street over from me. We live maybe 3 minutes apart. And you know how long they have lived there? almost 3 years. Three long years. We have lived here in the area since late 2005, and in this city for almost two years. So we have technically been "neighbors" for almost two years and never knew it.

Today we finally got the opportunity to get together. How bittersweet it was.

I heard the dog barking when they came in the yard, and raced out onto the porch to greet them. I said hello to his wife, and just beamed when I saw him. We gave each other the biggest hug. It has been 9 years since I have seen Aaron, the last time was when we left Germany. And then I cried and cried, and cried some more while we hugged hello.

I can't explain how great it was to see him. I felt like I had a tie to my past. Someone who can help me remember Barry, what our life was like back then. Aaron and I can tell some crazy stories about life back then (I lived in the barracks with all them for a few months before Barry and I got our apartment), and it was just so great to be able to relive that with someone who was actually there.

But at the same time, it was so sad for me to see Aaron and Shilo. When I found out they lived so close, my heart just dropped. To know that he could have come to Barry's funeral just made me feel sick to my stomach. To know that we lived so close for years, and now they're leaving in March :( I'll be honest, I feel like Barry is being taken away from me all over again because they're leaving. It's so hard to explain, but when you get such a reunion and a tie to your past like I did, then you don't want to let it go. But at least we will have facebook for after they leave, we can still keep in touch.

We were able to visit for an hour and a half, and remember all the crazy stories. Talk about people we knew from back then, all the fun stuff we did, and they did with Barry. He told stuff about our wedding day that I had forgotten. Do you know how wonderful it is to get someone else's perspective on that? It was the best feeling in the world. It was so healing to laugh

I have to thank Aaron and Shilo for coming over. I immensely enjoyed our visit, and I can't wait till we get together again. Aaron I don't think I can ever tell you how much it meant to me to see you. You are such a wonderful person, you were so kind and it made me feel great that you were so happy to see me. You are a tie to my past and I am so glad we know each other again.

When they left, I just had to cry and cry and cry again as we said goodbye. I don't even know why I was crying, but it was such an emotional visit. I am so glad I was able to do it.

Here's to Old and New friends! I love you all!!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Most Magical Place On Earth

Can you guess where I'm headed with this?

M I C K E Y M O U S E!!!

The kids and I need to get away. We need a distraction from life in general, where we can just focus on having FUN, and doing exciting things. We need something to look forward to.

Honestly, I was seriously considering going the Europe route. Barry and I always wanted to take the kids back when they were older. I'd love to do that now, but honestly, I don't think that the kids would enjoy it very much. And A being dragged around London and Paris and Germany at 4 years old? no thanks. That's a melt down waiting to happen. As much as I would love, love, LOVE to do that, I just can't right now. The kids wouldn't appreciate it as much as I would like them too, so that will be on hold for a few years. That way I can also ask my nomadic brother to come with us. I'll want to take the kids to all of our old haunts in Germany, see as much of England/Ireland/Scotland that we can, and also go to France and maybe even Prague. So you can see why that will be hard with all the kids, at this age especially.

So Disneyland it shall be. I can't go during May, because that's when the kids have their WASL testing. Our spring break isn't until the first week in April, but I'm thinking Disneyland will be too busy then. So my other options are between the 22nd and 26th of March, not including weekends (Early release week because of Conferences), and then the last week of March right before Spring Break, and then I would keep them out for two weeks. Anyone that's gone, when is a good time to go? I've always found Easter break to be easy too, which is when I went as a young kid and it was never too busy.

I am craving some time away. I just want to leave to be completely honest. I want a break. No, I don't want, I NEED a break. We just need to get away and have fun! Go to Disneyland, go to Disney's California Adventure, Knott's Berry Farm, do all that fun stuff.

So my task for you is me plan! Give me advice on the trip, EVERYTHING about Disneyland that you can. Money is not really an object, I'm not worried about that. I'm planning on splurging a bit anyway, as this will be a first plane trip vacation for the kids.

Any help you can give me would be much appreciated.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Forgotten Milestone Day

I've noticed that the last few days I've been exceptionally cranky.

My attitude has been really crappy, I've been snapping at the kids, I have a very short fuse. And I'm just feeling under the weather.

But I couldn't put my finger on it, and today at MOPS a light bulb went off. I was talking to a friend there who asked how I was doing and I said I was OK, but it really comes and goes. I happened to glance down at my watch to check the time/date, and then it hit me.

December 15th. It was December 15th.

Exactly 10 years ago today I arrived in Germany to marry Barry. I left Edmonton, AB the night of the 14th, and arrived in Germany at 10:40 local time. And thus began the next 10 years of my life. We were married two weeks later.

Isn't it interesting how you forget days like this sometimes? And then it just hits you, and you realize that it affects you so much more than you realize. And the effects can last a few days even, as your body slowly recovers.

My appetite has been affected, as have been my moods. I was just exhausted this afternoon, and almost fell asleep on the couch. I had a headache as well, and a sore back.

Can I just sleep through till the middle of March so I can bypass all the sad days?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Meet My New Best Friend

I was able to get this baby on sale for only 101.91 plus tax!

How you ask me?

Well, Amazon had them on sale for $239.99, and then there is a rebate of $30. PLUS, when I cleaned out Barry's truck, I found a crap load of change. And I mean a lot. I took it to Coinstar where you can get free coin counting if you pick certain gift cards, and I picked an amazon one. With the change from his truck, I was able to get $108.08!!!! I also picked up a matching hand mixer in the same color for only $20. (not a KitchenAid, but the same red none the less).

I haven't used it yet, but I plan on it soon. I've been lusting after one of these for 10 years actually, and finally purchased one. I haven't had a new mixer in almost 5 years, so I am so excited to use this one.

I'll let you all know how it treats me!! I need to think up a good name for it. Any ideas?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Putting Up The Tree

Today I was finally coerced into setting up our Christmas tree.

You see, I've been dragging my feet. a lot. I just haven't wanted to bother with it at all this year, but for the kids, I did it.

So this cold Saturday afternoon, I hauled my ass out to the shed, and dug through the countless bins to find what Christmas decorations I could actually handle putting up this year. What came out with me was the HUGE tree box, and 3 bins of lights, ornaments, stockings and a few decor items. I just couldn't do anymore. I think I have another couple bins in there, but I did not want to bother putting them up this year. I decided to simplify.

We spent an entire afternoon putting up the tree and decorating. I was dreading putting up the tree. Absolutely dreading it. You see, I have NEVER put the tree up by myself. Not once. There has always been family there, or Barry when he was home to help with it.

November of 2001 was when we bought this tree. We've had it for 8 years now! I remember walking through Wal Mart with Barry when the twins were just babies, and I said to him we should get a smaller tree. But No, he INSISTED we get the biggest and tallest tree we could, just so we'd never have to buy another. So $80 later, we came home with this 7.5 foot tall, 5 feet wide at the base, monstrosity of a tree. And we still have it. And it's not pre-lit. sigh. Putting the lights on is the most challenging thing. I could have done more, but I settled for only 3 strands this year. I just couldn't do more as I despise putting on the lights.

In 2002, when E was just brand new, my sister was visiting us, and we actually all put the tree up on Christmas Eve. That was the day that Barry interviewed for his 2nd to last job at McLane Northwest, which he was hired for. We didn't get home that night till really really late, so we all pitched in and did it late Christmas eve. That was also the day that V said the "f" word for the first time, LOL. Ahhh such memories of Xmas 2002!! 2003 Barry was home, and we did it all together. 2004, I don't remember much of that, but I'm pretty sure my mom and sister were there (By then Barry was working for his "current" job, and was already over the road). 2005 we were at our first home, and my mom/sister and I did it together, same for 2006 when A was a baby. 2007 and 2008 were also subsequent years with my mom and sister, as we almost always did it Sinter Klaas weekend. Last year, 2008, my sister did most of it with me and she did a horrible, HORRIBLE, job. After her and my mom left, I actually took off ALL the decorations, all the lights, and re-fluffed the tree. Then I put everything back on, after buying more lights. I know she is reading this, and her and I had a good laugh about that tonight. She is a horrible tree fluffer, just horrible. I still love you though Mafido!

This was my very first year putting it together on my own without any help, and I was scared. Just because it was the first time doing it without anyone, and the tree is not always easy to put together. I was cursing myself because I couldn't figure out what went were, but half way through assembling it, I found the diagram that Barry drew for me last year. I breathed a sigh of relief as I found that piece of paper, and tucked it safely into an ornament box for using next year, silently thanking him for doing that.

Now our tree is up, it looks beautiful and is our usual mish-mash of balls, homemade ornaments, bought ornaments, and my extensive collection of Hallmark ornaments. It was a bit emotional putting up the tree, remembering all these ornaments I had bought over the year. Seeing the first ones I had made for this tree, ones I had made for Barry, the one he made for E when she was just a baby, and crying softly while putting some of them on. A new addition to our tree this year was one special ornament I bought for him in October after he passed. A special spot on the tree, front and center, was reserved just for this ornament:

On the back it says "The true testament of a life well-lived is the love we leave behind".

That certainly is true.

******someone asked me where I purchased this ornament. I got it at Hallmark*********

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Two Months Ago

In Loving Memory
Barry N. Bender, Jr.
3-6-80 to 10-10-09

I will love you forever and always sexy man.

I've been writing this blog post off and on for the past week, gleaning bits of information from myself to write today.

Today is the magical number two. Two months. 8 Weeks and 5 days exactly. 87,840 minutes.

It has been that long since Barry died.

And you know what? I'm OK. I really am. most of the time. Today though, because it has been two months, I am sad. And I am crying, but I am OK. I am OK because I know that he loves me, and he will always love me. And I am OK because I know that I gave him his forever, even though he couldn't give it to me. I gave him the most love he could ever receive, I was a good wife, I was a good mother to his kids, I was his everything. He died knowing that I loved him, and that he was loved. And now in tribute to him, I am going to continue to live because that is what he would have wanted.

I still miss him terribly, but that awful heart wrenching pain has dissipated quite a bit. And for that I am thankful. I am thankful I can go to bed without crying, without feeling desperation all day, without feeling like I HAVE to grieve. I can go about a normal day and be a normal person. I love the picture that I posted of him. I took it this past summer at Fort Langley when we were visiting my mom. He rarely smiled in pictures, but in this one I can just see a smile coming out. I can look at it and see his mouth break open into a smile, while he looks at me. Even his eyes are smiling.

My cousin Heidi wrote a note on face book that really struck a cord with me. She wrote exactly how I felt, have felt, was feeling. She wrote about how you never think things are going to get better, and how it seems all you're going to do is hurt. But that time heals.

And it's true, it really is. Time heals all wounds, even though it seems like complete bullshit when you first hear it.

To quote Barry,

"But in realizing death, we must also remember to live. Time heals all wounds. Grief is normal, and it will pass"

I've had to repeat that to myself many times over the past two months. It seemed at first that nothing would get better, that I could never be happy again, that I would never get past this. And I really did walk around in a fog, just had this cloud above my head that was dark and thunderous. Eventually it started to go away, slowly, but it's gone now. Sometime last month, a couple weeks before I wrote my post about "It's Time", is when I finally started feeling normal. I still wrote grief posts after that, because I felt I had to, but not because I wanted to. I felt it was expected of me. Like I had to bow to society's standards about how I have to grieve. But you know what? Fuck Society. Really. I don't care what everyone else thinks. I'm an adult, I am independent, and I will make my OWN decisions and stop worrying about what everyone else thinks of me. I can thank Barry for helping me cultivate that attitude/view on life, because without him, I wouldn't have it. I will grieve in my own way, and if someone doesn't understand then they can just keep that to themselves.

Then I think about what he said, and I realize that time does heal all wounds. I can look back at him now and smile, and remember without my heart breaking. I still get teary eyed sometimes, and I will always miss him and love him. He'll never be forgotten. He'll always live on in us.

I had my ring cut off on Monday. I didn't feel right wearing it anymore. I'm not married anymore, so why wear it? My fingers were too chubby to take it off myself, so I went to a local Jeweler, and had them cut it off. BUT BUT...I'm also having mine and his re-soldered together, so they are intertwined. Not sure what I'll do with them after that, but I'm not worried about that yet. They are very special to me, and we have the exact same ring, a plain gold band he bought from a German jewelery store. This way, if the kids want later in life, they can get them made into wedding bands for themselves, and have something special that was mine and Barry's. I've also gotten rid of most of his stuff. I've kept all the important mementos like pictures, cards, his wallet, knives/guns, last outfit he ever wore, his favorite t-shirt and one shirt for each of the kids. And I kept most of his DVDs, and his computers. But everything else went to goodwill. I don't want it anymore. I just needed to get rid of it, as it is cluttering up my life. I just can't have it around anymore. I'm ready to move on. I think he would be exceptionally proud of me for how strong I have been, for how I've held up in this time of adversity. I know he is proud of me. He ALWAYS encouraged me to become more independent, to stop worrying about what everyone thought of me, to be my own person, and I finally am. He would be extremely proud of me for standing on my own two feet!

In just under a month we'll be ringing in a new year. I'm going to make 2010 the best that I can. I'm going to Live, Love, Laugh, and Be Happy.

Monday, December 07, 2009


I can't think of a good heading for today, so Today it shall be.

Yesterday I went through Barry's clothes, and decided what to keep and what to get rid of. I'd say we're keeping a large majority of his stuff, but he didn't have a lot of stuff anyway. Most of the clothes are going to goodwill except a few select things we're keeping for memories. I'll be looking for a big tote today so that I can store it all in.

With everything that's been going on, I've failed to realize that Christmas is right around the corner. Oops! I have hardly any decorations up, but I am done with my shopping. Ok, not done, but I just have to get some stocking stuffers, and a gift for my step dad. Today I plan to get a few things, but I've also got to focus on the rest of my decluttering, and goodwill donations. Company is coming from out of town...duh duh duh two weeks, so I really really have to get on the ball with that.

How is everyone else doing with their christmas prep? I haven't even started any baking! That's another thing I need to do, get my Christmas baking list done and do the shopping for that too.

I'm feeling just a little overwhelmed.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Battle Of The Bulge

Something in me has changed these last couple months.

I have lost 33.5lbs!!! Only 11.5lbs more to reach my first goal of 43lbs, and then I can hit the big magic number that is 50!!

I will be the first to admit that before Barry died, all I did was snack, snack, snack and snack some more. Peanut M&Ms and Twizzlers were my friends, keeping me company at all times. *sigh*

When he died, I lost my appetite, and along with my appetite, my desire for sweets.

And now I don't care to eat them at all. Do you know, I can honestly say I can not remember the last time I bought myself a candy bar? a bag of candy? I really have no desire to eat it anymore, and I am so happy about that. But I think before this all happened, I ate because I was lonely. Because I had no one to talk to, nothing to do, nothing that gave me any purpose.

I'm not saying I am not lonely, but you know, I have made so many new friends and talked to so many people that I don't feel lonely anymore. And I have no reason to eat junk food anymore, why would I?

I think seeing yourself lose so much weight is just the motivation you need. In the grand scheme of things, what I've lost isn't that much for now. I still have a long ways to go, but I am getting there at a good pace and doing well with it. I've gone down two jeans sizes, and I'm about to hit my 3d within a few pounds more. I also think it's about time to buy some new bras and unders, as they're getting a bit big too. My shirt sizes have even gone down 1-2 sizes. My body is just eating up the fat like there's no tomorrow. And why? I just don't have much of an appetite. My body has gotten used to not getting sugar for energy, and is using it's own fat stores to fuel me.

I think I am going to add some exercise into the mix, but I haven't gotten quite brave enough to do that yet. I do have the Wii Fit, but I am also wanting to get a Gym membership.

Maybe one day I'll be brave enough to do a before and after shot, but not yet.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Miss Me?

I miss you guys too, but this week has been crazy! I haven't had time to blog at all, but I will be getting a post up SOON. I promise. I'll do it this weekend.

I've been very very distracted this week and I haven't been able to even think of what to write, or even when to write it.

Come back soon!