Saturday, March 08, 2014

Its complicated

The past few weeks have been really some of the most complicated of my entire existence. I have accomplished many things and for that, I am truly proud.

I finished my internship.
I finished my college class.
(With a 99.2%)
I will officially graduate in May.
I am looking at programs for the fall- in social work, public health and in law. I am not sure if the time is right now but the wheels are spinning and plans will be made in due time.

I managed two CASA cases with visits and court hearings and many ups and down and lots of prayers.
Its cookie season for Girl Scouts and I am an assistant leader for Angelina's troop.
I attended a three day training with the Seattle Bar Association for Family Law GALs.

I had many teenagers with drama and trauma and too many moments to count.
We had the normal doctors appointments and medical stuff and managing a large family going on.
I attended a two day conference for Foster and Adoptive families.

My adult children really stepped up to help out as much as they could. Lauren was a rock star. Lauren was beyond a rock star. She was like the glue that held it all together many moments. Leishan stepped in whenever I asked and Matt even did what he could. I am so blessed with great kids. 

I logged on average 65-85 minute work outs at the gym, home, or walking 5-6 days a week. And while I worked out I prayed and I studied. I learned how to be a working Mom and student all over again. The last time I was a working Mom and student I was a single Mom, foster parent, and 22 years old. Now I am 40 and its different but still not easy by any means.

Five children had birthdays.
I filed taxes for "us"- which included doing taxes for 10 people.
I am planning the Moms retreat for my 'lelos'.
Plans are made for most of us to spend a month away this summer visiting family on the East Coast.
I attend an Oscar party and fundraiser for Starlight and Starlight blessed us with tickets to Cavalia. It was AMAZING.

Did I mention we have a puppy? (That means chewing and potty training and OMG puppy preschool.)

Sports. Yes- my kids do a lot of them.
Two in gymnastics
Soccer for 2
Wrestling for 2
Track for 1

This was all in the past seven weeks.
I'm Back! And I am so looking forward to what the future is going to bring for myself and my family. The possibilities are endless.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Famous AJ

You may have seen my AJ recently in some advertising for the company that makes her leg braces. Her goal is to be famous these days and I would say that she is well on her way. She makes remarks like "well like no one is asking for my autograph yet, but it will happen soon." I love this kid and her spunk. She is something else.

I am running away for a bit with Lauren and my four littlest munchkins for an adventure to my favorite local ish place. I have been sick all week with a terrible cold and Lauren has been sick now for two weeks so we are hoping that an adventure will do us some good. The littles are all thrilled with the idea of an adventure just in time for Valentines Day. The older kids will be home with dad eating too much chocolate and doing big kid things.

Sunday, February 09, 2014


Izzys ok

Miss izzy had her appointment with the specialists. She continues to have a large amount of blood in her urine but only a small amount of protein. They did blood work and things look ok. As long as she's not spilling a large amount of protein in her urine they aren't too worried. Once a month we will check her urine and if she does start getting higher amounts of protein then they will do a kidney biopsy and treat her with steroids.
Izzys blood pressure also looks good so this was reassuring that her kidney isn't being too compromised. Thanks for keeping her in your prayers!

We had an additional scare on Friday when we got a call saying that her urine sample from Tuesday did grow some bacteria indicative of a uti. The bacteria that grew is hard to treat in children without IV antibiotics. Really. Enough right? Since her sample from the specialist the day before hadn't grown anything they decided that they would wait the 72 hours and see if it grows anything on Monday if they need to treat her or not.

Thanks for continued good thoughts and prayers for sweet izzy.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Izzys health update

Two weeks ago Izzy had a follow up visit at the hospital with rhuematology. Things have been going pretty well for Izzy and her HSP issues. We agreed that she looked good and that we would continue to follow up with the urine checks to be sure that her kidneys weren't affected for TWO YEARS. Yes, two years.
Before we left the hospital we dropped of a urine sample and since we hadn't heard anything we thought we were in the clear. Well on my way into court two days ago for a CASA case hearing- I get a message from the hospital wondering why I hadn't taken Izzy in yet for the repeat urine test to see if there was still BLOOD in her urine.

Apparently they had faxed the results and orders over to our family doctor and they never got them so guess who didn't know for two weeks that her little girl had blood in her urine? Guess who was upset? (To say the least.) Izzy needed a first morning urine. We are working on potty training right now and figured that even if her nighttime pull up was wet on Tuesday morning we would be able to get a urine sample over to the doctors office.

Izzy woke up at about 8am and I got her on the potty. I couldn't get the cup in the right spot and remembered that I had a "hat" in the closet to catch urine. I grabbed it and rinsed it out really fast hoping I could get it clean of fuzz from the closet and it would be sanitary enough and fast enough to get onto the toilet. What I saw collect in the "hat" was TEA colored. Not yellow urine colored. I knew then that we had a big problem.
I still had to get the kids ready for school and out the door and maintain composure knowing that I could SEE blood in the urine. That is how much was now in there. I also saw some fuzz from the hat and realized that I hadn't cleaned it out that well and that I probably messed up the first morning urine that they desperately needed. I also knew that I only had an hour to get it to the lab and that with the bus coming at 8:50 and the lab opening at 9am, I had better be there when they open.

I loaded up Izzy and Jude and the funky urine and we headed out to the clinic. Once we got there and I explained the hat situation and made them aware it likely wasn't as sanitary as it should be they had me re collect her urine. I was concerned that it wouldn't have as much blood in it being that it was diluted and not as accurate as the first morning urine. What I saw collected in the container this time was what looked like diluted tea. Still not yellow, but more tea colored. I was sure that there was still blood in it even if it wasn't as much as there was at the first morning urine.
I showed the tech and she said... "well maybe she is dehydrated" as not to alarm me. I appreciated that vote of confidence but knew in my heart what I was seeing. Once we got home I pulled out my test strips and tested her next pee and saw both blood and protein on the test strips. Double whammy. I had gotten the heads up that the results would be back by 1:30. I waited and nearly made myself crazy with worry.
At 1:30 I rang the doctors office and they said that someone would call me back. It was confirmed in that moment that they were having someone call me back that it wasn't good news. The doctor himself called and got down to business letting me know there were LARGE amounts of blood in her urine. I asked him what that meant. I explained that the last test at the hospital two weeks ago was 2+ and he said - it just says LARGE quantities- it doesn't say how much and its not normal and it doesn't matter how much- she needs to see a specialist asap. There was also protein in her urine which is a sign that her kidneys are definitely being affected and likely because of her HSP. Some children with HSP do go into renal failure. While the amount isn't huge its still concerning and we are wondering if Izzy is headed down that path or if this will resolve with medication or what?
I called down to the hospital an hour later and they hadn't gotten the referral but got us in the next appointment for "B" grade (need to be seen within five days) which is the level she was rated at. They also sent all the docs an email with her records to see if they could see her Wednesday or Thursday. Sure enough this morning I got a call that another doctor would be seeing her tomorrow morning.

While Izzy hasn't been sickly she has had a low grade fever. She has been slow to gain any weight since August when she got the HSP and only has gained a little less than a lb. She doesn't eat well, is pale, and sleepier than most children her age. All of these signs and things are flooding back to me like a whirlwind and I am hoping that this resolves or is able to be treated without too much trauma to Izzy. She has already been through so much. Too much. I will update more on the FB group or on here once we are done at the nephrologists tomorrow. Please keep her in your prayers! Thank you.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

My sister.

My sister found out a few days ago that she won't be able to donate her kidney to Gavin in San Diego. What does that mean? That means that Gavin needs a donor or that he needs to come to Seattle to have his surgery. (I am not sure this is even possible.) My sister has some spots on one of her kidneys that would need to be removed before being transplanted. They haven't ever done that before where Gavin lives so they decided to reject her kidney. Why not take the other kidney? Because they don't do that. If at all possible the kidney that they would take would be the one that happens to have the spots on it. Please pray for Gavin and his beautiful family and for my sister too. She is really disappointed after all these months and all this testing.  

A little inspiration


A few things happened today.

Angelina finally got Zoe. Since she got her Ipad she has been playing subway surfer and she has been saving her game coins up in order to buy the character Zoe. It cost like a gazillion coins. There are options to buy coins with iTunes money and then buy the character but since Angelina doesn't have a job she had to work hard for Zoe. Sometimes her younger siblings would spend some of her saved coins and she would have to work harder to get more. Well today it happened. She finally got Zoe.

Today Izzy had a follow up appointment for her HSP with rheumatology. She had a cold this last week and didn't get a flare up of spots! Woohoo! That was the first time in a long time she got sick and didn't have the hsp rage. We have two years of urinalysis follow up to check kidney functioning but so far things look good and like they are headed in the right direction. 

Today I left for the hospital appointment after my children got on the bus, drove two hours there, had the appointment, returned a few phone calls, drove home two hours (stopping for lunch really fast) and made it home before my children got home from school. That was amazing. I never can do that. I think that I finally figured out how to conquer the one appointment day out of town successfully.

Today I got my grades back from my first week of school. I am doing pretty well so far despite feeling like I forgot to read the first week. It's such a different world to get back into writing APA style and to discuss things using references. I had a day or two of panic starting out but I think I have the hang of it and this semester will go off without a hitch. Did I mention I am doing the semester in the first half. So seven weeks of being really busy. I got this.

Today I tried to see the whole perspective when I talked to people having conflicts. Despite having my opinions and pre existing thoughts I tried to see things from a bigger perspective and I learned so much from doing this. I learned that perhaps I didn't know anything in the first place. 

Amd today I got a chance to blog.
A busy day. But a good day.

Sunday, January 05, 2014


Its the last night of winter break. Today was spent getting back packs organized and shopping for lunch box items. I am torn in two. Half of me is sad that the break is over and I will miss having lazy days all together of doing what we want when we want to. And the other half of me is having a huge party in my mind because of the little break I will have when my kids are back at school tomorrow. (Most of my kids anyhow.)

Three of my children in particular have a very difficult time with having a lot of free time without structure. For these children the winter break was dreadful and they made many moments dreadful for the rest of us. Even with new Christmas items they were barely entertained and when they aren't busy they create issues for everyone. Its exhausting. I felt that I had planned enough "things" to keep us busy during break but clearly... I was wrong.

I was really wrong.
Paying the price really wrong.

Books that were given as Christmas gifts were all read already, the library could hardly stand seeing our faces and the RedBox should have frequent flyer credits. We walked and hiked and ran and went to the gym and the play land way too much. We shopped the post Christmas sales and went on mini adventures and way too often I heard "I have nothing to do."

Next year I will be better prepared with plans for these three children. And I am already thinking about summer plans for them all to stay busy.

For the rest of the children winter break was busy with sports and volunteer work. With endless hours spent enjoying new games and building forts to play in. With hours of Lego's and soccer on the xbox with Dad. The general consensus is that they are ready to get back to school.

For us all.

Now hubby needs to get back to work ASAP.
I start school next week! I am very excited.

How was your winter break? I see on face book that many of my friends are getting an extended winter break because of snow. SO FUN. (or maybe not so fun for some)

Monday, December 30, 2013

Come and gone

This Holiday season has been a complete BLURR. After the few nights away with Nina, I came home to a whirlwind of Christmas preparations due to happen. We had such a nice Christmas. We spent the morning with the children at home opening gifts and enjoying one another and then in the afternoon all the older children came over for a late lunch/early dinner and dessert. My sister and her family came over as well. It was very laid back and low key and just perfect!

I did think a lot about last year and the big road trip and how it really felt that we had much more time to spend together. Also being able to visit relatives out of town made it super special. We all agree that next year we will plan a trip and focus on visiting family and spending time together. We aren't sure where we will go. The kids are all begging for Florida but I have encouraged them to look at a map- there's no way we could drive that far! (Not with only two weeks off school anyhow.)

Tomorrow is New Years Eve already. We don't have anything planned but Robert and I are talking about going out and doing something fun. Or else we will stay home and enjoy sparkling cider and watching the ball drop with the kids.

I got my very first CASA case and attended my first court hearing as a CASA. Its been a busy Holiday season. Its also been nice having the kids home from school and we have been tackling some household organizing issues that needed taken care of. The kids have been enjoying one another and playing with new toys. We have been going to the pool and doing fun activities around town. Later this week we have a surprise visit for the kids with some people that they love in Seattle. We are excited about that. I can't wait to see their faces!

Robert is still off work but has heard that they hope to get back working in the middle of January. I am keeping my fingers crossed! I am taking a Global Health class starting next month as well as starting a research project that I will tell you more about later.

We already have all the decorations packed away for next year. I am always too anxious to get them put up and then too anxious to get them taken down too. In the New Year we have another season of birthdays coming up. Sophie will be 16, Isabella will be 3 and Angelina will be 8- all in the next few weeks. Slow down time, please slow down.