children, christmas, divorce, Holidays, home life, recipes, single parenting, Winter, Yule

On the First Day of Cookies

My true love made with me…
Italian Nut Balls …. or as some people may call them Thumbprint Cookies.
Before I had a million kids it was always so easy to whip out multiple batches of a dozen or so different cookie recipes during the holiday season. I have come to realize that the more children that are added to the family, the less time I have for anything that isn’t following after them cleaning up their paths of destruction. So, last year I decided that I would have each able child pick out a recipe that they would like to make with me and if I had time I would expand on that by myself. I’m sad to say last year we didn’t even make all the cookies that each child requested. In my defense I had just had baby 6 and was still trying to get used to adding another human to the family minus a husband.  I’m hoping that the 5 oldest kids will all get to make what they chose this year. 
Since the 4 oldest are still in school today and tomorrow before winter break starts, I thought Persephone and I could make her cookie choice. I am hoping to get the majority of cookie making done during the next two days because Wednesday is not only the first day of winter break, but it is also the Winter Solstice and I plan to have a little celebration with the kids!  We are going to do grinch night again with a grinchy themed feast and a showing of the Jim Carey live action movie.  We did it last year and they loved it. Well, Ophelia was indifferent but she’s also a high schooler. I also got the kids a little something warm and cozy they can open on the Solstice morning. Sally informed me he knows it’s clothes because he squished them! 🙂 haha

Then Santa will come by on xmas eve night and bring those fabulous children a gift. Later on xmas day the rest of the family will come by and we will have dinner and gifts with them. 
Persephone chose to the thumbprint cookies because she was excited about rolling the dough in to balls and smooshing her tiny thumb down 🙂 She is my go to gal when making and rolling meatballs as well.
Persephone helped me chop up all the nuts too! We’ve been practicing chopping with real knives. She’s so good about keeping her little fingers out of the way! I have actually noticed knife control improvement since the first time I let her help me chop a couple months ago. 



While the cookies were in the oven she took a break to wiggle on the floor.


After they came out I placed them on a cooling rack and she filled each cookie with jam. We did raspberry jam in half and blackberry jam in the other half.

Valentino watched, not so patiently. Thankfully he didn’t grab all over the cookies!


And since she didn’t have a xmas apron I let her have the last one that was in my shop. She loves the hungry caterpillar so it was perfect for her!

CHEESE!


Oh how she loves little baby ears! 🙂


Such a sweet big sister!


My little Krinkles (Valentino) with jam face! I let him lick the spoon when Percy Pie was done with it. 
I got this recipe from my mom years ago, and now to pass it on to you..

**I always use organic and/or local when possible.**
Italian Nut Balls / Thumbprint Cookies

Preheat oven to 350 F

3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup butter

2 egg yolks (reserve whites)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

* in a large bowl or mixer combine ingredients, mix well

2 cups flour

* gradually add flour until well mixed
2 reserved egg whites, slightly beaten

1 – 1 1/2 cups finely chopped nuts (we use pecans)

Roll dough into 1 inch balls. Dip dough ball in to egg whites, then nuts

Place on greased or parchment paper lined cookie sheet about 2 inches apart, make a deep depression in center of cookies with finger/thumb tip.

1/2 cup jam or preserves

Bake at 350 F for 10 – 12 minutes until firm to the touch and lightly browned. Immediately remove from cookie sheet, while warm fill centers with a little jam or preserves, allow jam to set before storing.  Store covered or in the fridge for about a week. 

Yield 3 – 4 dozen

(Today we got exactly 31 cookies)
Buon appetito! 

What are some of your favorite holiday treats?

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children, divorce, home life, Ikea, journal, painting, single parenting, Uncategorized, Visitation

I’m Wide Awake

It’s the middle of the night and I should be sleeping in my warm bed with my children.  The past couple of weeks I’ve had all 4 little ones in the bed with me.  Besides my king size bed I have a set of bunk beds in my room.  Fiammetta usually sleeps in her own bed on the top bunk but lately she has been coming up with different reasons why she should sleep with us.. Mostly it’s because she’s scared of one thing or another. I’m ok with it.. I love having them all squished in there with me.  I think it’s most uncomfortable for her and Sal.  I keep me and the baby separated from the rest with a pillow between us.  That way the kids won’t roll over and accidentaly squish him.  I’ve been having trouble sleeping this past month.  I seem to fall asleep great, and some nights I can even stay asleep for the whole night.. (as much as one can while breastfeeding a 4 month old) But then other nights I wake up around 3 or 4 am and my mind is racing, jumping from one thought process to the next.  Tonight seems to be one of those nights. I think it may be because I have been falling asleep with the kids around 7 or 8 pm so by 3 or 4 am I’ve already had about 8 hours of sleep!
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Messy heap of blankets and babies

This past weekend the husband came down to visit with the kids.  He rented a hotel with a pool so the little ones would get to swim.  All three of them ended up staying over both nights with him.  That was a bit weird and sad.  I’m not used to sleeping with out them.  That was the only time besides when Valentino was born that Persephone has not slept with me.  I missed her tiny little body next to mine.  Every night she falls asleep holding my hand or putting her tiny chubby hands on my arms.  She’s very snuggly.  Last night I had her little hands on my arm and Salvatore fell asleep, next to Persephone, with his arm draped across her to hold my hand.  When I do wake up in the middle of the night I love hearing all of their soft breathing. They all have been sleeping pretty calmly.  It seems that if there is less of them in the bed that is when the wilder sleeping happens, when I will wake up with Percy upside down or laying sideways, to a little whimper, a sudden crazy scream, and less frequently there have been kicks or punches to the face from a dreaming little one 🙂  The latter three I can definitely live without!

So this Friday Alex came by to pick up the kids and take them out to dinner and they all decided they wanted to stay over night with him at the hotel.  So I packed them all up a bag and kissed and hugged my babes goodbye.  This is definitely not the way I wanted or imagined my family to be!  I knew it would be good for them, and for Alex, but it’s hard for me to let them go.  Saturday I was taking Settimio out for his early birthday date.  He wanted to go see Deadpool and I wasn’t sure it would still be out in the theatre at his real birthday a month later so we decided to go now when Alex would have the little kiddos.. Settimio and I went out to eat lunch at Anelia’s in La Conner, a Polish restaurant that two of my younger brothers work at; one as the Chef and the other as a waiter and prep cook. We had the brunch, Timio had the Joe breakfast hoagie made from french toast with bacon and home made sausage, I had a super delicious veggie omlete.  Ophelia stayed home and we took the baby with us, he had the breastmilk. After brunch before heading in to the movie we met up with Alex and the other kids at the mall.  He agreed to watch the baby for the 2 hours so I could watch the movie with Settimio.  At Salvatore’s birthday movie date in January we went to see the new star wars movie and I had to stand the whole time so the baby wouldn’t cry.  I really did not want a repeat of that so I asked Alex to watch Valentino for me so I could sit this time!  The 4 little ones and dad hung out at the mall playground for a couple hours.   The movie was pretty sweet.  Settimio covered his eyes a couple times during the less kid friendly parts 🙂 There was one sex scene, one strip club scene with boobs, a lot of crude humor and some pretty gruesome killing bits, way more than in the other superhero movies but Settimio is almost 12 so it wasn’t too terrible.  Definitely not a movie I would let the younger kids see. Overall we both enjoyed it!  After the movie I got Valentino, Salvatore and Settimio and we went home,  Alex was taking the girls to the daddy daughter dance that night!  This was his and Fiammetta’s 3rd and Persephone’s first time attending.  Little Percy has been so excited to go!  All year since the last one she’s been talking about going to the Daddy Daughter Dance.  They went out for dinner at Anthony’s, a seafood restaurant in town, one of Fiammetta’s favorite places.  After the dance they came by and got Sally so he could spend the night with them too.

I knew Sunday would be a long day!  My mom and I had plans to go to Ikea while Alex had the kids.  I suppose that is one good thing about the little ones being gone for the day, I can get a bit more stuff done!  Driving to Ikea from where I live takes about an hour and a half to two hours.  My mom drove down my brother’s empty van and I drove down my van with all seats but the the two front and the baby’s removed.  Ophelia and Settimio stayed home but we took Little V with us.  I was going down to get a couch, a rug, a bookcase and a bed frame.  We walked around and checked stuff out..It was crazy packed. I got all the crap I came for and we left.  That is the brief version because in reality that journey took all day!!  We got home just after dark and I had to unload all that heavy, heavy from the van.  Had the older two help while my mom held the baby.  It all ended up fitting in my brothers van so mine was empty.  No reason to have taken out my seats, but I’m glad I was prepared just in case!  Would have totally sucked if I didn’t take out the seats and ended up needing the room.  After we got every thing unloaded from the van and carried down the stairs into my house I realized that we grabbed the wrong size bed frame.. wah wah..  So this Saturday I will be making another lovely trip to Ikea to exchange the queen size bed for the proper king that I need.  I may buy a few candles that I passed up the first time.  When we got home Alex had already dropped the littles off and headed back up to the B’ham.  They were all watching t.v. when we arrived.  Good way to keep them preoccupied while unloading the loot.  I got the rug layed out  and the couch put together then headed to bed.. I was exhausted and my feet hurt from walking around all day on the concrete floor.

The past few days I have been getting stuff put together and painted.  I spray painted the shelf I bought a fancy gold.
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 I also did the same lovely gold treatment to some letter fridge magnets I have, classin’ up the place a bit.
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 The couch is in our upstairs living room.  I bought two white slipcovers for it.  That way when one is dirty, and I know it will be with my children, I can throw it in the wash and put the other one on.  I suppose we didn’t need a couch up here but I was tired of sitting on the chairs we have.
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My old “couch” wasn’t cuttin’ it.. though I did paint and reupholster those babies right after Persephone was born.

They weren’t too comfortable to sit in while trying to nurse The Newborn.  That’s what all the little kids call Valentino, I hope that remains his nickname until he’s an old man!!  We still call my little Joey brother Fetus, his nickname from babyhood.
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The new and improved version.. don’t mind all those canvases back there.. the gold shelf drying, the new rug nice and soft for fresh crawling baby knees, when that happens..

So now it is almost 5 in the morning.. hopefully I can fall back asleep and not feel too much like crap in the morning when I have to get up in one more hour to get the kids ready for school..

Goodnight world.  xoxo

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children, divorce, home life, journal, single parenting, spirituality, Uncategorized, Visitation

Freedom

When my husband and I decided to get married we had been together for about 6 years. We had 3 kids together (plus my 2 and his 1), so we were a family of 7 sometimes 8 when his oldest daughter would come visit. We also had known each other since we were 14 years old.  So this wasn’t a whim decision. We had our ups and downs but when we decided to get married I was in it to the end. I thought we would fight through everything together and come out stronger. All our issues we would work on together and in the end we would be a happy family working on our life goals together.

I was wrong. He wasn’t happy and instead of trying to make things better he came up with every excuse as to why he should leave. To be honest, we all were not happy. There was so much negativity in our household it was like a dark cloud of repression hanging in the air. When he finally left it was sort of like that fog lifted and we all could breathe again. He was miserable and he made everyone else around him miserable as well.

Due to the course of actions taken I have lost so much respect for him. It is hard for me to look at him sometimes or even talk to him. I know there is goodness in him, there were reasons I loved him and married him. But after all this I find it hard to see them sometimes. I am not going to bash him. He is a human and working through his own issues. Just as we all are and I am not perfect in any way. I just find it very hard to comprehend his actions and all the things he has done and said this past year and a half.

It all boils down to he doesn’t want responsibility anymore. He doesn’t want to be a husband and father on a daily basis. He loves the kids and wants to see them but he doesn’t want to everyday. He didn’t like being a father. He was so angry all the time.  Every little thing would upset him.  Even driving to the store would put him in a bad mood most times. I would dread his days off of work. We all had to walk on eggshells so we wouldn’t upset him. And once he was upset that would be it for the day. There was no going back. It was hard to live like that. His yelling and constant nitpicking of the kids, especially my oldest 2 and of them especially Ophelia, got worse and worse. It was like she couldn’t walk through the same room as him with out some criticism being thrown her way. Sometimes he would straight up ignore her. She would ask him a question and he would just walk away. Most nights at dinner he would wait until she was done eating before coming to the table. It was sickening. Then it started more and more with my oldest son, and then with our 3 year old son too. He never acted that way with our 2 daughters, to be fair our youngest was only a toddler. He would get upset sometimes with them but he treated them more delicately.

He started breaking dishes in his rage. Then some furniture and eventually punched a hole in the wall while screaming at Ophelia. That was around the time I got pregnant with our last child, baby 6. That was the final time he moved out. I told him he wouldn’t be able to come back unless he got counseling and anger management. We also needed more marriage counseling and family counseling, him and I with the children. He decided that the easier way was better.

At first I would have taken him back if we could have gone to counseling. But as time moved on and I was forced to take care of our family by myself my own anger and resentment toward him grew. His leaving I could have understood to some extent. He was overwhelmed with the large family that we had. But what made me angry and sickened me more was the things he would do or say when he would come around to see the kids.

My Husband lives about 40 minutes north of us, near his work, living off a coworkers couch. That has been his living arrangement since he left our home, and needless to say it is not very accommodating for visiting with children.  When he left us in January 2015 when he would want to come down and see the kids he would come to my house to see them.  I tried to encourage him to take the kids elsewhere and visit with them there but he would complain that he didn’t have enough money to take them out all the time, to feed them and to pay for gas driving back and forth. So I let him come here. But I hated it. After a couple months when the weather got better I had him take the kids to the park or beach as often as I could. I didn’t like him coming to our house and hanging out all day. Or taking naps on our couch or trying to in my bed. Most times when he was here he would end up spending more time with me than our children.  Occasionally he would help out by putting away our sons laundry or washing the dishes or sweeping. And I did have him help me prune and weed the garden once when I was 7 months pregnant.  Though those things helped, I would have preferred if he visited them elsewhere.  I did not want to hang out with him if he wasn’t willing to work on our relationship.  I didn’t feel like I needed to be his friend.  He left our home and family because he wanted to not be a part of it anymore.

But he wouldn’t leave me alone. He would tell me he loved me and missed me and try to touch me or kiss me. It hurt for many different reasons. I asked him to leave me alone over and over. He didn’t want to come back or to work on any part of our relationship or that of the children. He did not get to still act like he was my husband. He was disrespecting me by doing so. Treating me like my feelings didn’t matter. It made me angry with him and angry with myself for not be stronger and pushing away harder. It made me sick with myself when I would let him touch me, rub my back or my feet. I was pregnant and I was sore and it was hard to say no over and over. But then when he’d leave I would feel so disgusted with myself. He would try to kiss me and I’d back away and sometimes he would corner me so I’d have to push away and try to get by. He would tell me “I’m still your husband.” Or if I’d be giving the kids hugs and kisses he’d say “where’s my kiss?” After he’d leave I’d tell him over and over how bad it made me feel that he’d do these things and he’d apologize but do it again the next time he came. The whole situation was eating at me and I really could not take it any longer.

It’s come to the point now where I am telling him to come down just once a month and get a hotel to visit with the kids at. I absolutely hate the idea of them being away from me and our home but I don’t want to see him or talk to him. Sometimes I wish he would just go away forever. We implemented my one whole weekend a month plan this month, February. Before that he had been coming down for a couple hours on most of his days off (once or twice a week). So, I was barraged with all this every week for the past year, but I can’t do it any longer. It makes me sad, the whole situation. I grieved for a long time over the life we could have had. He was my husband and he did mean a lot to me, but I need to move on. I need to be healthy for myself and my children. I know that if I hold on to that anger and resentment it will grow a big pit in me and I can not let that happen.

This past month I have only had to see my husband once, and I feel better than I have in a long time!  I feel a sense of freedom. Two weekends ago he came and took 3 of our children out for a couple hours, and this weekend he will be coming to visit with them again. This time he will be getting a hotel and keeping our eldest over night while bringing our younger children home at night.  Then he will pick them back up in the morning for another visit. He won’t be taking the baby, our little one is still exclusively breastfed being only 3 months old.  Besides not wanting to care for an infant with out food on his own for a few hours, my husband has a small car and 3 children hardly fit in it safely.  I’m hoping in March it will just be the one weekend. I am flexible, if he wants them 2 weekends that is ok too. I just can’t keep having him at my house, and I’d like to keep the kids home some weekends so we can have some of the fun time too. Not just the worky weekdays when its all school routine and no movies and popcorn kind of life. I think I deserve to have some of the fun time with my family too.

I will always care about him and have a certain love for him in my heart.  But he is the one who wanted to leave and not work on the things that were wrong.  There is only so long I can hold on to hope that we can work it out before it’s time to let it all go and just move on.. And it feels really, really good.  I am actually a little excited to really heal and to start connecting with that inner spark of life, God, the Divine.. whatever one wants to call it..  at times I even feel a bit giddy!  🙂

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children, divorce, home life, journal

I’m a loser, baby…

I still wear my wedding ring. At this point in time my husband has been gone for 1 year and about 3 weeks.  But I still keep it on.  Not because of my husband, I have 6 kids and I’m by myself.

I inherited this ring from my Aunt.  As long as I have seen it on her finger I have always admired it.  It is delicate, beautiful, and has a vintage charm to it. My Aunt in turn inherited it from my Great Grandmother, my Grandpas Mother, when she passed.  It was my Great Grandmothers wedding ring.  It has a lot of sentimental value to me.  When I see it I think of my Aunt and I think of my Great Grandmother, whom I am partially named after.  I wonder what her life was like as I didn’t get to know her, she died before I was born.  I wonder about all the things this ring has seen.  But those reasons are not what compels me to keep my ring on.

I have 6 kids and I am by myself.  Or rather, I am husband-less.  I do have a lot of family that loves and helps us, especially my Mom.  Though, when I go out in public I don’t feel particularly fond of being judged by others.  Not that I think I am the center of their world, but In the back of my mind being judged is a worry.  I know that I should care less what others think of me, but for some strange reason right now it does bother me. The child support I get every month covers rent and some bills. If I got an outside job I doubt my pay would even cover my day care costs and then someone else would be raising my kids. I have to use food stamps when I go grocery shopping. Mostly, I wonder what the cashier or the people in line behind me think of me with all my children while I use a food benefit card or wic checks.  I wonder if my relatives think I am a freeloader on our government. I see all the negative comments on social media about single moms, or the bumper stickers saying “if you can’t feed ’em don’t breed ’em”.

This is not how I imagined my life would be.  I am trying to make the best of this situation and raise my kids to be healthy and hopefully never land in a similar situation themselves.  I keep telling my kids to be sure to love the person you make babies with.  I tell my sons it is not the noble thing to leave the mother of your children without exhausting every possibility of making that life work (except in the case of abuse, leave immediately!)  Take care of your children and spouses. I feel like once we make the decision to have children our lives cease to become ours. We must live to nurture, love, and take care of them and when they are old enough to care for themselves that is when our wants can come back into focus. Not saying we shouldn’t have a bit of time here and there for ourselves, we all need time to recharge our batteries now and again, but our FOCUS should be these little lives we brought into this world.

There are times when I think of moving my ring to the other hand. And maybe someday I will. But for now, there it stays. Not because of my husband, I have 6 kids and I’m by myself.

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children, depression, divorce, home life, journal, pregnancy, single parenting

My Unhappy Pregnancy

My Dear Little One,

When I got pregnant with you my marriage was falling apart.  Your dad had been out of the house for over a week.  This wasn’t his first venture out but it was going to be his last.   When you were conceived it was in a momentary lapse in your dad’s plans.  He had said he wanted to come home and try to work things out but changed his mind after about three hours of being home.  It was the day after the Super bowl and the Seahawks lost.  I didn’t find out I was pregnant until a couple weeks later when  I got that all too familiar sign of fatigue and sickness.. I was hoping that it was just the flu.. I was hoping my body was wrong. I did not want to be pregnant.  I did not want another baby.  My husband was leaving and I did not want to do this alone.  I did not want to be a single mother to 5 children let alone think about bringing another one in to our family at that time.  My youngest child was only 1 year and 4 months old.  I did not want to make her be a big sister yet.  I wanted her to be able to enjoy her babyhood a bit longer.  To get all the cuddles and love she deserved.  I was just starting to get bits of time to myself again as well.  I did not want to give that up.  But, mostly I didn’t want to be raising 6 kids on my own.

I was miserable, mentally, emotionally, and physically. Thankfully my physical sickness with you ended along with the first trimester. In the beginning, before I could feel any movement, I kept hoping I’d misscarry. I had had 5 normal pregnancies with healthy babies as the outcome so I didn’t think misscarriage was likely. I did not feel that abortion was the right choice. As much as I didn’t want another child I didn’t feel it was up to me to destroy this life that was growing inside me.

But still I was unhappy. I was hurting. It made it worse that I didn’t want you. I felt guilty. As much as I didn’t want another child I felt worse about not wanting you when you were already there growing inside of me. I cried for you, I cried for my unwanted baby. I went through all the motions and I had to pretend to others that everything was normal or I was happy but inside I felt like I was dying. It killed me to not be happy for you. To wish you weren’t there.  To not wonder about my perfect little miracle. To not plan with excitement for your arrival as my belly grew bigger. To not anticipate your perfect little baby toes and fingers.. To not be so impatient to know you and hold you in my arms. To not marvel at each and every tiny movement or flutter in my belly. Going to the midwife and hearing your heartbeat was not the happiest thing in the world for me. I think the first time I heard it I said, “yup, well I guess it’s in there.” As much as I didn’t want you, it hurt me worse to not want you. The guilt ate at me and continued to do so even after you were born.

I would try to make myself be excited but I couldn’t.  I tried making things for you, getting spaced cleared out in the house so I would have a place for all your little clothes. Logically, I knew that after you were born I’d love you.. but it was the getting there that was the hard part.  My life felt like it was falling apart and I was trying to care for 5 other kids and myself.

I felt guilty that my negetive thoughts might be putting you in danger. That you weren’t growing in the healthiest of environments. That what if you made it through gestation and labor but then you die as an infant because I didn’t want you when I was pregnant. At 3 months old now, I know we are still not out of the woods with that but I pray and meditate on that often to keep you safe and healthy so you can grow into a man. (A well adjusted man who won’t leave his family because he has decided he doesn’t want responsibility any more.)  I felt guilty because there are so many people in the world who so badly want a baby  but can’t and there I was pregnant wishing I wasn’t.

I also developed this irrational fear of giving birth to you. I was terrified. Maybe in part that was because I knew that once you were born you would be here and I’d have to figure out a way to care for a brand new infant as well as 5 other kiddos by myself while trying to heal and rest and that seemed a herculean task!  The thought of going through the pain alone was almost unbearable.  I worried on it incessantly.

My fear of your birth was not unfounded. On November 1st after I went to bed I awoke to use the bathroom and I thought I peed myself. I know, gross. I kinda jumped out of bed because I was leaking. I ran to the bathroom and got cleaned up then went back to bed. I had to get up around 5 times because I kept thinking my bladder was failing! I had a midwife appointment the next morning and they confirmed my water had broke and I was actually in early labor. The contractions were mild but I was about 4 cm dilated. I went back home and layed in bed while they got stronger. By the early afternoon they were pretty regular and I decided to go to the hospital because mentally I was really unprepared to have you. Contractions stopped on the way there. My mind and my fears would not let my body work properly.  I ended up having to have pitocin to get them going again. I also had my very 1st epidural! You are my first child I ever had drugs with. It was nice at taking away the pain in my belly, but I felt everything else! I had to push you out for about 3 hours. Your head was turned the wrong way. At 12:16 am on November 3, 2015 you were born and your little hand came out with your head. You cried and I was so relieved to have that over. When I saw your face I loved you. Instantly. You were so perfect and so beautiful. Big dark eyes, lots of dark hair, perfect little fingers and toes. You were 9 pounds 12 ounces, my largest baby!  I could not stop looking at your face.  All my worries melted away when I got to hold you in my arms.  I knew that I could make it work.  I had to be a good mama for you and all my other children.

Even now, 3 months after your birth and you are one of my favorite things to look at.  You are one of the most beautiful humans I have seen.  And boy, are you a lot of trouble!  You are the most particular baby I have had.  You are so dang picky!  You are a perfect little Scorpio.  If I have to put you down for whatever reason you just cry and cry and will not stop until you are picked up again.  Even if I can’t pick you up for 20 minutes.. (having 5 other kids means I still have to make dinner and do laundry) You are not the kind of baby who cries themselves to sleep.  Every night instead of nursing to sleep in our bed like all my other children did you want to be held and rocked or nursed in the rocking chair.   And you hardly nap during the day.  But I love you dearly.  You have won me over, and stolen my heart.  I would do anything in the world to make you happy and just to get to love you.  I still can not get over that beautiful little face and perfect body.  Your smiles fills me with so much joy.  I am thankful for you and what I have gone through to have you in my life.  I am so happy you chose to come to me.  Although, it may have not been the best time in my mind, I’m sure you came to me when you did for a reason.

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my sweet Valentine

 

All my love,

Mama

xoxo

 

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children, depression, divorce, home life, illness, journal, sick kids, single parenting

Our Hepatitis and HIV scare

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Dirty Sal playing at Persephones baby shower 2013

This past summer I received a letter from The Children’s Hospital in Seattle. The letter informed me that due to cleaning routines not being followed properly any child seen between 2011 and 2015 were at risk for contracting HIV and/or Hepatitis.  They said the risk was low but they were informing all patients and their families and paying for blood tests.  I was scared!

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Sally became a big brother today!! 9-14-2013

At the time my son, Salvatore, was 4 years old and had been seen at The Children’s Hospital on two separate occasions.  The first time being when he was 1 year old.  He had developed a crossed eye all of a sudden.  It was weird and worrysome so I took him in to our doctor to have him checked out. He seemed healthy but she made some calls and we decided to have him seen at Children’s to rule out any brain damage.  That was a scary time! They ended up putting my little guy to sleep to do a cat scan and spinal tap. All the results came back that he was normal and healthy.  They concluded that a nerve in his eye had been affected from a virus and stopped working properly. After a couple weeks his eye function went completely back to normal, as they predicted.  That day was full of worry!  It was also extremely hectic running around from doctor to doctor and finding care for my other three children while I focused on my baby.

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handsome son blowing bubbles in the summertime 2014

Our second procedure came about when Salvatore was 3 years old.  It was soon after his 3rd birthday that we had scheduled a routine surgery to bring his undescended testicle down in to his scrotum. The doctor assured us it would be a quick and easy procedure as his testicle was down, it had just missed the correct position so it was sort of floating just outside the scrotal sack.  🙂 poor guy, telling all his secrets!  The operation day came and I had care arranged for his 3 older siblings.  Our baby came with us but dad came along to help out.  I wanted to be able to be there just for Sal as he went asleep  and woke up after his operation.  Every thing went extremely well and Sal got to wake up to some presents.  He was trying to get up out of the bed to walk around almost immediately. He was still a bit wobbly but after a bit I let him up and just helped him so he wouldn’t fall.  I imagined he might be in pain but as soon as we were home he wanted to be up playing. I could hardly keep him down over the next couple of days.  He was back to bouncing off the furniture and walls!  Sally is a very energetic boy!

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mama & sally 2015

When that letter came about possible HIV infection if felt like my heart stopped. I knew the risk was low but it made me sick to my stomach still to think there was any sort of possibility.  Hepetitis we could live with. Yes, it would be terrible but at least it wasn’t a death sentence.  I didn’t want to imagine my little guy only getting a life up to his teenage years and those years be filled with disease, medication and an abnormal childhood.  It broke my heart. I always hoped and wished for him, and all my children, a long, happy, and healthy life! Now this was possibly being taken away from him, from our family. I cried. A lot! I was so worried. I immediately called my mom.  She calmed me down a bit. I started to think rationally and got online to look in to where I could take him to get his blood drawn.

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make a wish birthday boy.. 2015

At this time I was around 5 months or so pregnant with Valentino and Alex had been moved out of the house those 5 months as well.  So I was going through this all alone. Just me and the kids and all my pregnant hormones.

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Salamander got into the Halloween makeup! 🙂 2015

We got into the blood draw clinic within a few days and Sally was very brave when he got his blood drawn. He whimpered a bit but didn’t cry when they took the 2 or 3 vials of blood from his arm. He sat so still in the chair. I was very impressed.  Before we went in I talked to him about what would happen so he would be prepared.  I also talked to him and the rest of my children about why we had to do this.  As my oldest daughter was 14 she was able to understand quite a bit more than the younger children.  They all got the information, just worded differently for different ages.  I wanted them to be aware of what was going on and to understand why I was so upset or emotional.  We had to wait for over a week for the test results.  To make the situation more intense I was the one who had to keep calling different doctors offices to see who got the information first. Was it our primary care physician, or the blood clinic, or Children’s Hospital. No one seemed to know!  Finally our primary care doctor called me back with the news.  Sally was hepatitis free…. but unfortunately when we were drawing blood they didn’t get enough to test for HIV. No one thought about calling us to let us know as soon as they realized this. To make it worse my primary care doctor had even called the blood clinic a couple days after the blood was drawn to find out how long it would take to get the results and they told her they would have to send his blood work away for the HIV test as it was a special kind of HIV test and it would take additional time to process.

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Squeaky clean! 2015

So, I explained to Sal and all the other children what had happened. Salvatore started to cry. He didn’t want to go get blood drawn again. I hugged him and loved him and told him I knew and I was so sorry but we had to. It was too important and we needed to get the results back to make sure he was healthy. He understood but was still upset, and rightly so!

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those are some beautiful eggs! 2015

I made another appointment and we waited yet again! They told me since it was their mistake I should be able to get the results sooner than 1 week. We did not. They actually took longer than the 1st time. During this second wait time I got a call from a doctor at Seattle Children’s hospital informing me that my sons hep test was negative but we didn’t have enough blood to run the HIV test.. better late than never I guess! I told the doctor I already knew and we had already gone in for the second blood draw. He was surprised I was so on it. He was very nice and helpful with all my questions and very understanding of my worry and anger about the whole situation.

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My little prince! 2015

The week passed with lots of emotion and we finally got the call from our primary care doctor that Salvatore was HIV free as well. It came back negative. So much relief and happiness! I let my boy know and hugged him tight! A few days later I got another call from the children’s hospital doctor. We talked a bit and he told me up to that point no one who had been tested had a positive result. That made me very thankful that no child had been impacted negatively because of the hospitals negligence. I couldn’t imagine having to go through our lives had the outcome been different. I am so thankful for the health of my children, my family and all those other little children and their families out there that had to go through this ordeal.

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All dressed up and ready for Easter 2015

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sleepy time 2015

I asked the doctor if I had vaccinated my son for hepatitis if this would have even been a concern for us. He told me no. If I had Sal vaccinated he would have had no chance of contracting hepatitis. Of course there is no vaccine (that we know of) for HIV so there still would have been a risk factor there. I have always vaccinated my children though I do it on a delayed time scale. I don’t want them getting a plethora of shots at one time as an infant so I spread them out. The hepatitis shots I have been waiting until my kids reach middle school years. As I also do with chicken pox. After this scare I have decided to get all my children caught up much quicker than previously planned. I have gone in to our doctor and started the kids on their heps series. I do not ever want to take that risk again. The Children’s hospital doctor told me that kids can catch hepatitis from being bitten by other children. This isn’t something that happens regularly at home but I know can happen quite often in daycare and preschool settings. So far my younger kiddos haven’t attended preschool or daycare but Salamander might be enrolling in preschool for a couple months before kindergarten starts next year. So his hepatitis vaccine is one less thing I have to worry about!

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The Glitter Mishap…. 2015

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look at that smile! 2015

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such a sweet boy

 

Now if we could just get rid of all the sick wackos who go shoot up schools 😦 How someone could do that to small, innocent children is beyond me. I can not fathom it.

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I love both their expressions..

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How old is Sally?! Many, many more to come!! 2016

 

 

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