New Year, New Goals, New Blog (well, sort of)

January 6, 2020cookwcharacter

Warning, this is a long winded blog post. If you don’t care to read the whole story, here’s the brief recap and everything you need to know:

Cooking with Character is returning! But it is returning different than before. There will still be Disney recipes and other Disney posts. But there will also be general recipes, money saving tips, craft ideas, mom posts, and family oriented posts. If this is something you aren’t interested in, I understand. I hope you stay and give the new blog a chance, but if not, I get it.

Now, the long version:

2019 has been a year of changes. Big changes, little changes… just a lot. Some of them were good things, like the birth of our son. Others have not been as happy. And all of them have helped to shape what 2020 will be.

The biggest change is occurring as we speak. I have spent the last fifteen years in education. And then, just before Christmas break, I had a decision to make. Its one that lots of moms have to think about. Do I stop working and stay home with my kid(s). Can we afford that? Do I want to do that? So. Many. Questions.

Some of the questions, and there are so many, are easy to answer. I wanted to stay home with my son when he was born. But my FMLA leave ran out, and I went back to work and finished the school year. It was only two months, and then I was home with him again. I wanted to quit then, but we thought that if I went back, we could save some money and pay off some debts. Which we did… sort of. We ended up spending more than I would have wanted replacing some things that needed replaced. The dishwasher, a new TV stand (the old one was NOT baby safe), and a massive metal baby gate that cut off the fireplace from the rest of the room. All needed things, but also things that cut into that saving. And Christmas.

But here’s the thing: my son went to a daycare with lovely people. He always seemed happy to go, he never cried when he was dropped off, and the daycare ladies loved him. BUT – he was ALWAYS sick.

I know, you’re thinking that every kid in day care is sick all the time. And that’s true to a certain extent. But we’re talking all. The. Time. Like, he’d get sick, come home, take a three or four day weekend to get better, go to the doctor, and then go back to daycare, and two days later come down with something again. I started the school year with 10 sick days (because all of mine was used for the bulk of my maternity leave the previous year), and three personal days. We used one personal day for a family wedding. I used one sick day for myself. The rest of my days were gone a week before Christmas break.

Add to this the fact that we were referred to CHKD to see a pediatric pulmonologist because he had a cough that pretty much stuck around in one form or another for MONTHS. Then, before Christmas, I was at my wits end. I can’t tell you how often I cried the whole way home from work, or on the way to work. I was overwhelmed trying to be a good employee and a good mom and a good everything. I am not a crier, and the amount I was tearing up started to scare me a little.

But the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back was when he got a rash and fever before Christmas break. Not chicken pox, thank God, but maybe scarlet fever, maybe just a viral rash. And when I asked the doctor if it was normal to be sick so much, I didn’t even finish the question before she started shaking her head.

She told me, no. We were way past what was normal for any child in day care. And on top of that, she wanted blood work done to check his immune system, because she was concerned since he was so sick so often. If it turned out poor, she might refer us to an immunologist.

And I went home and cried, holding my son (who just wanted to go play) and asking myself for the umpteenth time if this was worth it.

The answer was no.

My job was not worth risking his health. My first job was to be his mama.

It was not an easy decision. I’ve worked since I was fifteen, and not working and the tight budget that presented terrified me. What if we couldn’t pay the bills? What if a car died and we had to buy a new one? What if? What if? What if?

But then there was the other side. What if I didn’t, and Asher got sick and ended up in the hospital? Would I ever be able to forgive myself? What if we found a new daycare and it was even worse than the one we were currently in? Chances were good – this one had three teachers and 9 infants. It was in a building less than 2 years old. What were the chances that we’d find something better than that?

I asked the doctor for a note I could include to work, and wrote my resignation letter. And then I sat on it. Doubt is a heavy thing, and I would talk to one close friend and be confident, and then talk to the other who would say something else that made me think maybe I wasn’t doing the right thing. I honestly thought it was more of a knee jerk reaction – I wrote it, I’d feel better, I’d think about it, and then I’d keep going to work.

But the decision became easier when the doctor ordered blood work and we discovered he has an immune deficiency. The doctor referred us to an immunologist and told us that anyone around him needed extra hand washing, and we should avoid large crowds, and so obviously daycare wasn’t an option anymore. And so I went in Monday and turned in my resignation. I cried, but it was the right decision. And I realized that at the end of the day, I can ask for opinions from friends and family, but we are the ones who have to live with that decision.

I made the right one. And if I doubted it, the very next day, yet again, he came home with what we thought was an ear infection the week before Christmas break. Dad was staying with him – I was out of days – and I got us into an afternoon appointment with the doctor. And then my husband called and said his fever had spiked to 103.5. Time to go to the ER. I will spare you the details. But we ended up having to go back to the ER the same day because his fever spiked after we got home to 105.2. It is not a thing I ever want to go through again. Its taken the better part of two weeks, several antibiotic shots, lots of Tylenol and Motrin, and lots of tears and snuggles for him to feel better again.

What does this have to do with the blog?

Well, because life has changed, the blog is changing. I love Disney. LOVE IT. But only doing Disney recipes wasn’t working for me before all this happened. Now I have more things that I can post – frugal recipes, kid friendly crafts, and all kinds of related things. There will still be lots of Disney content, and LOTS of food content. There may even be a YouTube recipe channel coming (if I can work up the nerve!). I hope that you will stick around, because I still have lots of great recipes to share!

And please, if there is something you want to see here, LET ME KNOW! I want to hear from you and know what you like (and don’t!) so that I can help make this a blog you come back to!

Thanks for listening to my long winded post.


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