img_3720
christmas, Holidays, home life, single parenting, Winter, Yule

Visiting Santa at Skagit Valley Gardens

Since we missed the correct date to see Santa last year I made an appointment to guarantee we would make it this year! 
This last Saturday we made it down with time to spare. Valentino was not a happy boy!


 But I was able to get some cute photos with the other kiddos. Ophelia and Settimio didn’t want to be in all of them but the professional photographer got a few. I get to pick up the photo cd next weekend, with all the photos the professionals took. So for right now I just have the photos on my phone. 


My oldest brother and his son met us there and my nephew  Jacob got to be in some of the photos too.

Skagit Valley Gardens always looks so magical with the many trees dressed up for Christmas. It is one of my favorite places to ornament shop, though I have to admit this isn’t quite so fun with all the little ones!

He looks so sweet when he isn’t crying!

Afterward we went back home for lunch, then headed over to Nanas to decorate some shortbread cookies. I never seem to get photos of that! Always too busy either helping or trying to keep a baby distracted. 
A little less smooth running than in years passed but all in all it was a nice day. 
These might be the last photos you see of Settimio with his luscious hair 😔 he wants me to shave his head over winter break!!

Standard
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!
image
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.
image

 I also did the same lovely gold treatment to some letter fridge magnets I have, classin’ up the place a bit.
image

 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.
image
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.
image
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

Standard
20151025_173255
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.

20160121_095937

my sweet Valentine

 

All my love,

Mama

xoxo

 

Standard
handsome son blowing bubbles in the summertime
children, depression, divorce, home life, illness, journal, sick kids, single parenting

Our Hepatitis and HIV scare

IMG_1133

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!

IMG_1279

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.

SONY DSC

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!

20150107_105400

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.

20150113_201947

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.

20150114_123115

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.

20150403_155052

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!

20150404_201115

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.

20150527_102440

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.

20150405_120454

All dressed up and ready for Easter 2015

20150811_072157

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!

20150413_131818

The Glitter Mishap…. 2015

20150701_120502

look at that smile! 2015

20150729_084433

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.

20151215_103757

I love both their expressions..

20160113_193025

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

 

 

Standard