Monday, December 27, 2010

Let's take this one step further....

First of all, I need to say a great big THANK YOU!!! to all of you who commented on my last post.  It was a rough one and I so appreciate all of your comments and insight.  It helps so much to get my thoughts written out and to hear the perspective and suggestions of others, whether they agree with me or not!  I actually emailed the post to my husband just after I finished it.  Neither one of us is very good at expressing ourselves when we're "in the heat of the moment".  I think writing it out helps me speak a little more clearly and makes it easier for him to understand.  It opened the lines of communication and we were able to work things out and have a great Christmas!

Second, I haven't been able to spend much time reading blogs in the last week.  We're packing up and getting things ready to head out on a trip to see my family tomorrow and I'll be MIA for a few days more.  I have been thinking of so many of you and I know a few of you are going through some rough spots.  Even if I don't get a chance to comment on your blogs, I'm thinking of you all and offering up prayers that things are going well and the rough spots are smoothing out!  You'll be in my thoughts as we're making the trek up north and I'm hoping I'll return to some fantastically wonderful posts about miracles and the little joys in life from those of you who really need a little light right now!

Remember that post I wrote about a week ago about how our children see how we react and learn from watching us?  Well, I want to take that one step further tonight.  And the argument with my husband actually ties in to that idea really well!  You see, my husband and I come from very similar backgrounds; single moms, abusive fathers, alcoholic stepfathers.  It's really kind of amazing how similar those things have been in our lives.  But, there's one major difference between our lives that have shaped us in some profound ways.  Our mothers are on two opposite ends of the "love" spectrum.  My mom would not be considered a wonderful mom.  But she was a serial dater.  She threw herself, whole-heartedly, into every relationship.  She rarely left a relationship without having first lined up a new one.  Her whole life revolved around whatever her boyfriend-of-the-moment was into.  My husband's mother was a fantastic mom.  Her life revolved around her children.  She had her faults, just as every mom does.  But, she did a great job of putting her children first.  In fact, once her second divorce was final, she made her children her whole life and didn't even go on one date for more than a decade!

How does that tie into the idea that our children learn from watching us?  Well, I learned from watching my mom how to throw myself whole-heartedly into my marriage.  I open my heart wide and give everything I have to give.  Sounds great, right?  Except for one can be absolutely smothering to the other person!  My husband learned how to hold himself back, he didn't learn how to maintain a romantic relationship with compliments and encouragement.  There are some serious flaws to both of our methods of maintaining a relationship.  When it comes down to it, our parents did not model for us how to have a healthy relationship based on mutual respect and consideration for the other person.  We're at a disadvantage.  It's precisely the reason why we're in marriage counseling and need help figuring out how to keep our relationship strong and healthy.

Now, I know we're not alone in this situation.  Many, many people come from single-parent families.  Very few people have good examples of relationships to base their own marriages on.  It can be hard!  But it's so worth the effort to figure out how to make a marriage strong.  It's worth the effort because not only does it make you happier and healthier to be in a good, constructive relationship, but it also provides your children with a good example of how to "be" in a relationship, how to work with someone, how to compromise and bend just enough.  We don't learn those skills if we don't have examples to follow and people to teach us how.  And our children won't learn those skills if we can't show them how those skills work!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A confession...

I have a problem.  A huge problem, really.  I have money-spending issues.  I'm way too impulsive and buy things for my husband and children without thinking about the final cost or how hard it's going to make things for the rest of the paycheck period.  My husband makes a great salary, but somehow, we're still living paycheck-to-paycheck.  We have a huge amount of student loan debt that needs to be paid off.  And here I am, spending way too much money on Christmas presents.  Not because the presents are important or necessary, but because I want to do something special for my children and my husband.  It's causing some really bad marriage problems for my husband and I right now.

Christmas means a lot to me.  It's the only time that really felt special when I was growing up.  With seven kids, you tend to get lost.  My mom didn't buy any special treats or anything for us throughout the year, but Christmas morning, we always knew we'd wake up to find one toy that we really wanted.  Christmas was always reserved for just our family.  We opened presents, ate some breakfast, played with our new toys, and all sat down to a turkey dinner together.  That's what I want for my family too.  I want that sense of wonder when they wake up and see that Santa came.  I want the time spent together, the meal together.  That stuff means so much to me.  It's what I live for!  Last night, my husband came home and informed me that his sister wanted to make a roast beef for Christmas dinner and that we were invited to go and have dinner with them.  In the past, I've tried to explain that it means a lot to me to have Christmas dinner for ourselves, but my husband doesn't react well and I have a hard time explaining.  He thinks I don't want to go because I don't like his family or because I'm being selfish and just want what I want.  So, I didn't see any way to say  no.  My heart was crushed.  Not by the thought of not having Christmas dinner the way I wanted it, but by the realization that my husband hadn't even thought that it might be important to me.  He hadn't even considered what my feelings on the matter might be!  I had to go immediately from that to confessing to him how much I'd spent on Christmas presents that day.  It wasn't pretty!  He told me to take a few of them back.  To be honest with you, I understand that I need to take them back.  I know we can't afford to spend as much as I did.  But at that moment, it felt like he'd just cancelled my Christmas.  My heart was already crushed, now it felt like he was just stomping on it!

We argued.  I tried to get him to see my feelings about things.  He told me I was over-reacting, which was probably true, but it didn't help to hear that.  It made me feel like he didn't think my feelings meant anything at all.  I said some things to him that were very hurtful and that shouldn't have been said.  He stormed off and I was left, sitting on the couch with my little girl while she shook and trembled and her blood sugar plummeted.  I hate fighting in front of the kids.  I hate how emotions affect blood sugars.  I had arguing in the first place.  And now I'm left feeling like there's no way to fix this.  There's no point in trying to work on a marriage with someone who doesn't care or try to understand my feelings, who just makes me feel worse when I'm already feeling down.  I know I'm over-dramatizing things and maybe I'll feel better in a few days.  But right now, I just can't see any light.

Sorry for the downer post.  I try hard to stay positive, but right now, I just can't find it in me.  We all have our bad days, don't we?

Sunday, December 19, 2010

What do they see? What do they learn?

I've been mulling this one over in my mind for days and procrastinating on writing it down.  It's a big, big, BIG topic and I want to do it justice.  Not sure if I'll manage to do it as much justice as I'd like, but hopefully you'll bear with me on it...

Before I get into it though....I gave myself a little pre-Christmas present.  A peak at the scale.  Would you believe that I'm down 19 lbs now?  Seriously!  And if things keep on track, I'll be down a full 20+ just in time for Christmas!  That puts me just under 240 for my weight.  And the funny thing about that?  When I was nursing Lily, the weight literally just melted off.  I ended up at about 190 by the time I got pregnant with Leo.  Would you believe that I'm happier with my body now at 240 than I was when I was 190?  I have more muscle tone!  My 240 lb body can go for nearly an hour and a half on an elliptical with my heart rate in the 80-90% range!  I actually shaved my legs this morning and marveled at how much easier it was to shave a muscular leg than a flabby one!  Gotta love the details!

Okay, on to the real post!  Leo always amazes me with how much he notices and sees.  If there is a teeny tiny picture of Elmo anywhere within visible distance, Leo will find it and call out "Elmo!"  He sees everything!  And so does his sister!  Quite literally, without exaggeration.  They see everything.  They see how I act, how I talk, how I eat.  They see if I respond with kindness or rudeness.  They see if I wrinkle my face with disgust over a stranger's smell.  They see (and hear) if I swear at people in traffic.  They see....when I give and give and give and never take a minute to take care of myself.  They see when I let myself become so rundown that I want to curl up in bed and cry myself to sleep.  They see.  And they learn from it all.  They learn to react to strangers with kindness if I respond to strangers with kindness.  They learn to be rude and ignore people in need if that's what I do.  If I say please and thank you and your welcome, they learn those phrases.  If I use food to comfort myself when I'm stressed and unhappy, they learn to do that too.  If I over-indulge, they learn to over-indulge.  If I take a few moments to take care of myself, to eat well, and to keep my stress levels within reason, they see that and they learn to do that too.

See?  I told you it was a big subject!  Really, it's enormous and all-encompassing.  You see, I had what I call an "epiphany moment" the other day.  State budgets are tight and things are being cut.  As a society, we value education and intelligence.  We educate our children in schools.  They learn concepts, how the world works, and the knowledge they will need to find a place for themselves in that world.  They learn work-ethic from watching their parents and from being taught how to work for the things they want.  Schools even teach them how to exercise and there's a big push lately for upgrading their lunch programs to teach them how to eat properly.  But....they learn how to nurture and how to care for themselves from us, their caretakers, their parents (my epiphany thought).  Just for clarification purposes, nurture isn't just what we do for our children.  We nurture each other. We nurture friends, strangers, and anyone and everyone we come into contact with, in some way or another.  It can be a good kind of nurture, like restoring someone's faith in people by offering a kind hand, a kind word, a kind smile.  Or it can be negative, like smirking, laughing at someone's misfortune, responding in a rude manner.  Our children learn all of this from us!  When we don't take the time to care for ourselves, they learn that too.  And so starts the cycle of parents who are too stressed, too tired, too burnt out to bother caring for themselves and really, who don't have the energy and emotional availability to care for their children in the best way possible.  In order to teach our children to be the best people (and parents) they can possibly be, we need to teach them that it's important to take those moments for ourselves, to maintain our own physical and emotional health so that we can give our all to our families the rest of the time.  We need to teach them that being a good parent does not mean being a martyr!

My question to leave you all with tonight....what are your children learning from watching you?

Monday, December 13, 2010


Give me a minute to stop laughing.....Reyna, when I read your comment calling me "hard core" I actually guffawed!  If I'd been drinking anything, it would have shot out of my noise!  Wow, do I have you people fooled or what?  Seriously, I don't know how to get this idea across to all of you, but I'm honestly the World's Biggest Cream Puff!  Really, I am!  I sit on my butt with books and crocheting and that's what makes me happy.  If my children would just let me read!  I miss my books!  You want an example of how much of a cream puff I really am?  Lily was just a couple months old when the last Harry Potter book came out.  I LOVED those books!  I had the book pre-ordered, delivered to my door on the day it came out.  I remember sitting in our big armchair, holding Lily's bottle with the same arm that was propped behind her head, and using the other hand to turn pages in the book as I read.  Scary stuff, huh?  I read that nearly 1000-page book in three days, in spite of having a newborn!  I sat on my butt that entire time.  Bad, bad, bad!  I used every excuse in the book to not make it to the gym, to skip exercising.

Something is changing now though.  I'm not sure exactly what it is.  But....I WANT to be "hard core"!  Seriously!  I wanna be a bad-ass, nothing-can-kick-my-butt kind of girl!  I want to be able to run for miles and still have the energy to go home and play with my children!  Saturday, we ended up getting 17.1 inches of snow. I somehow still made it to the gym.  And then, the next day, my husband and I dropped the kids off at Grandma's so we could go to the gym without them.  I burned 980 calories in 64 minutes on the elliptical!  Wonder if that and the 84-minute stint the day before will help cancel out some of the holiday baking I've been doing?  I tried to convince myself that baking qualifies as a workout, but very quickly realized that in order for it to qualify, I'd have to use the oven of the neighbor a mile down the road so that I could get a little exercise in between treats.  The treats kind of cancel out any amount of calories I might burn by mixing up cookie dough, huh?

Anyway, I just wanted to send up a great big THANK YOU!!!! to all of you who've commented.  You can't imagine how much it means to me to realize that people are actually listening to me.  And I don't want to keep harping on this and drive all of you insane, but seriously....if the World's Biggest Cream Puff can manage to take up exercise in a "hard core" kind of way, then anyone can!  You don't have to start big, just start!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

If only I'd known it was that simple!

Simple and easy are not the same thing.  Simple does not mean it's easy!  Simple is just plain simple.  So what am I talking about?  Well, today I was so determined to make it to the gym for a workout.  I'd missed the last three days, due to a minor stomach bug that I caught.  I woke up Wednesday morning and as soon as I opened the bag of Godiva Chocolate Truffle coffee grounds, I was hit by a wave of nausea.  Unfortunately, I didn't listen and attempted to drink a cup of coffee.  It didn't go well.  Thursday, my husband and I got so caught up in Christmas shopping that we didn't have enough time left to hit the gym.  And Friday....well, Friday, Lily vomited all over her carseat on our way home from the dentist.  And then did the same thing after I got her to eat a few bites of mac & cheese for lunch.  So, we stayed home.  I was determined to not make it four days in a row that I'd missed out on the gym!  So determined, in fact, that I put the kids down for a nap and had my husband warm up his 4x4 truck so I could head to the gym while the kids slept.  I drove the one mile to the gym in blizzard-like conditions!  The snow was up to my calves and my husband hadn't had a chance to plow our driveway.  But I went anyway!  And once there, I spent exactly 84 minutes on the hard-core, kick-your-butt, elliptical!  I increased the resistance several times, kept my pace as steady as I could, my heart-rate in the 80-90% range the entire time.  It was torture!  But I did it!  And I'm so proud of myself for it, if for no other reason than I just proved to myself that I could.  I burned 1200 calories at the gym today!  Take that, holiday baking!

So...where does the "simple" come in?  Well, here's the thing....two months ago, I would have taken any excuse to get out of going to the gym.  Got a stomach bug?  Well, I probably need a good week to recover!  It's raining out?  Yup, don't want to go outside.  I much preferred to stay curled up on the couch with a book, whenever possible.  Before kids, I couldn't tear myself away from my books to get exercise.  After kids, I spent my time attempting to read or sitting on the floor while they played around me, playing with them, but not really participating 100%.  The entire time, I lamented my inability to motivate myself to exercise.  I just couldn't figure out how to change it.  I wish I'd known how simple it was to change that!  Those first 30 days straight of exercise were no where near easy!  They were hard.  But, I pushed myself just a little bit and I held tight to the idea that I didn't want to disappoint myself.  And each day, I made myself do that one hour of exercise.  And somehow, someway, that one-hour a day for 30 days worked!  I'm motivated to exercise now.  I don't always make it, but each day that I don't, I feel a restlessness set in and each day it increases until I get to the gym.  I feel compelled to workout!  It's still not something I enjoy tremendously while I do it (although, Black Eyed Peas with a fantastic base does help).  But, I feel great afterward!  I feel happier, I feel healthier, I feel more flexible, more energetic, more whole.  It's incredible!  If only I'd known long ago that all it would take to get me more motivated to workout is the right motivation and 30 days of pushing myself!  I know, those things aren't always easy to come by and 30 days is a pretty big commitment.  But really, it's so worth it if it makes the rest of your life that much better, that much healthier, that much happier!

Off to test Lily's blood sugar.  We got her new pump and have switched all of her settings over.  So, I get a little extra work tonight, keeping an eye on things and hoping that the minute little changes I made with the new pump fix some of the issues we've been having.  Did any of you know that the new Medtronic Revel pump not only gives basals in .025 increments but also boluses?  How awesome is that?  Instead of doing .1 increments for bolusing, we can go down to a quarter of that!  I'm thrilled by that idea!  Maybe this will help balance out Lily's hyper-sensitivity to all insulin and carbs!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Holiday Traditions?

Lily has been asking me off and on over the last few days to make cookies.  Specifically, to make star cookies.  She says, "Mommy, I can make a cookie shaped like a star?"  And, of course, I cannot say no to her!  So, we're gearing up for a weekend of holiday baking.  My sisters have invited me to join them in their baking session on Saturday.  If the weather cooperates, we just might do that!  If not, we're going to be on our own and I'm planning on picking up the stuff to make some of our holiday favorites.  I'm also hoping to bake up some goodies for our D-family Christmas gift!  Diabetes be damned!  The holidays are for having fun and there's no reason why we can't indulge in treats just a little bit.  And really...even if diabetes weren't a factor, we still wouldn't be able to eat everything we wanted.  So, my view on diabetes and the holiday...everything in moderation, except for holiday spirit!

Here's what I've put on our list of baking ideas so far:

1. Cardamom Sugar Crisps...My husband and I fell in love with these last year!  They're a crispy sugar cookie, flavored with cardamom.  Super-easy to make (you squish the round cookie balls with a glass, sprinkle them with colored sugar, and bake) and so yummy!  Kind of a nice change from some of the overly-sweet treats since they just have that little hint of sweet.

2. Mocha-Marbled Fudge...Does this one need an explanation?  It has a nice caffeine-kick to it and is probably more appropriate for adult consumption!  And definitely not a bedtime treat!

3. Gingerbread.  Oh, I love gingerbread!  And just about anything flavored with molasses!

4.  Honey Caramels....This is one that I'm not entirely sure I'm going to make.  I've made microwave homemade caramels a couple of times and they're super-easy, but hell on the blood sugars!  Seriously, there's no amount of insulin that prevents spiking when you consume a caramel, is there?  These are a little different though.  Instead of calling for corn syrup, they call for honey.  I'm not sure if the effect on the blood sugars would be different, but they sound really yummy, don't they?

5.  Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix....I've found a recipe for this that calls for massive amounts of powdered milk, non-instant chocolate pudding mix, and cocoa powder.  Facebook friends have suggested adding in crushed peppermint and I'm debating on adding in some marshmallows.  This is actually an item I want to include in our D-family gift (let's just hope they don't mind!).  If I do both peppermint and marshmallows, I might just have to make two batches up!

6. Sugar cut-outs....Just for my adorable little girl!  Gotta let her cut out some stars!

So....what's on your holiday baking list?  I'm curious!

Before I head to bed, I'll leave you all with some cuteness from my children:

Adorable, all bundled up, aren't they?  In that first picture, Lily's got a necklace-thingy on that I made for her. We've been noticing that when her blood sugars are running higher, she has a tendency to chew/suck on her lips and she ends up with sore, chapped lips and skin around her mouth.  So...that little necklace was made to keep her chapstick handy and hopefully prevent some of the chapping.  Anyone else notice this kind of a habit in their children?  I know I have a tendency to lick my lips more when I'm high, which leads to chapped lips.....

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Life is like a box of chocolates....

You've heard that line, right?  Everyone has.  You never know what you're gonna get.  Sometimes, marriage is like one of those chocolates.  You know that feeling you get when you pick up a chocolate, thinking it's your favorite one in the whole box.  And then you bite into is and find out that it's really your least favorite?  The one that leaves the nasty after-taste and never seems to go away.  Right now, my marriage is a bit like that nasty chocolate.  I promise I'll go back to being positive soon, but before I can, I need to get this off my chest.

In the last couple of weeks, we've had some issues pop up.  I said something to my mother-in-law that upset her.  Not intentionally, but I have a history of saying things wrong, not getting things worded perfectly, or just plain opening my mouth when I shouldn't.  I never intend to hurt anyone and I feel awful when I do.  But that feeling of awfulness and sorrow for hurting someone gets buried.  By my husband's onslaught.  I call it emotional abuse, although he doesn't agree with me on that because he doesn't say anything downright degrading or mean or hurtful.  But he batters at me, angry and hurt and frustrated, with his words, telling me that I'm uncaring of other's feelings, that I'm selfish and don't think of the hassle I've caused him by hurting his mom or whoever.  He never lets up until he hears me say that I'm sorry.  I have a hard time with those words, for some reason.  Not because I'm not sorry, but because I'm so flustered by his attack that I can't think straight.  This kind of argument never ends well.  It always leaves me feeling so emotionally drained and sad and hopeless.

A few days after that argument, another one popped up.  Here's a truth...I'm a horrible housekeeper.  Truly, truly horrible.  I have absolutely no memory anymore and if I get interrupted while in the process of doing something, I forget about it.  Not intentionally.  I could possibly just in the process of beginning a task.  And as soon as I'm interrupted, I forget.  The laundry, the dishes, cleaning up after lunch.  It frustrates my husband.  I never leave food lying around because that's one thing that I just can't stand.  But there are toys and clothes all over the place.  The kids drag toys out and leave them on the floor.  I have a pile of clothing in the living room that I've been intending to sort through and just haven't gotten to yet.  The kids' clothes need to be folded and put away.  It's frustrating.  And it makes my husband feel like I do nothing all day long.  He never comes straight out and calls me lazy, but he does ask me, repeatedly, to make more of an effort to keep the house clean, to get things put away, to get things done.  I always intend to try and accommodate him and often will go for several weeks, doing a good job of keeping him happy.  And then, it just ends up getting left by the side of the road.  And he just keeps getting more and more frustrated over it.

Final problem popped up today.  The day of that Massive Fail post?  Lily and I both woke up with high blood sugars.  I tried to explain to my husband that I didn't want to go to the gym just yet, that Lily was high and not feeling well.  But I forgot to mention that I was high and not feeling up to working out yet.  Diabetes can really suck sometimes.  Waiting for a blood sugar to come down is the worst.  And trying to think when your sugars are off just plain bites.  So, I didn't explain it well and made it sound like it was just about Lily's blood sugar.  Today, Lily's pump site failed.  Before lunch, she was in the 300s.  I gave her a correction and waited 45 minutes to feed her lunch.  She ate pretty well and I gave her insulin for her lunch before getting us ready to head off to the gym.  As a last thought, I checked her before we headed out the door.  HIGH.  Over 600.  I pulled out her infusion site, which gushed blood, and put in a new one.  Gave her a small correction and a large sippy of water.  Lily wanted to go to the gym and didn't want to wait, she seemed to be feeling okay, not high and sluggish.  So we headed off to the gym.  And called my husband on the way.  He freaked out on me, just a little bit.  He didn't understand why it wasn't okay to go to the gym when Lily was high last time, but was okay to go this time.  He accused me of making excuses, using Lily as an excuse, using diabetes as an excuse.

I love my husband.  I really do.  He has his faults, but he's a truly wonderful, kind-hearted, amazing person.  I think he's wonderful, not just because of his wonderful qualities, but because of his faults too.  But....this is starting to really get to me.  In the last couple of weeks, I've taken his words to mean that he thinks I'm selfish, uncaring, unkind, self-centered, lazy, and that I make excuses all the time.  I can't remember him saying one kind word, complimenting or praising me, in the last couple of weeks.  I have a hard time taking criticism from him.  I really do.  It's not pretty when he tells me that he's having issues with me. occurred to me today, maybe I would take the criticism better if I heard a kind word every now and then.  Lately, all of our interactions lead me to feel like I'm unloved.  How could he possibly love me when he thinks I'm selfish and uncaring and lazy?  How can you love someone when you think all of those things about them?  I feel like I'm not worthy of being loved.'s what it all boils down to:  In my mind, if you love someone, you accept them, whole and flawed, just as they are.  You don't nit-pick their personality, point out their flaws, and make them feel like less than they are.  You offer kindness and acceptance.  I very rarely get angry with the people I love.  It's a wasted emotion and it's not what I consider a "true" emotion.  Under that anger, really, you're just upset, hurt, frustrated, disappointed, etc.  It's not really anger.  For my husband, it's different.  It is anger he feels when I'm less than I should be.  I know he loves me and he makes a lot of gestures to show that he loves me.  But, I need the words and the affection.  I don't need him to spend hours on a weekend trying to pop a dent out of my car.  Or cleaning all of the bottles and pop cans out of my car.  Not that I don't appreciate those things (and especially sleeping in), but I need to HEAR what he finds attractive about me.  I need to HEAR that he thinks I'm a good person.

Anyway, there it is...baring it all and sitting here feeling just a bit naked with so many of my issues laid out for all of you to see.  My husband is the one and only person in my family that I've told about my blog and where to find it.  I'm kind of hoping he'll decide to take a look at it one of these days so he can see a bit more about how my mind works and how I'm feeling about things.  Maybe if he understood.....

Monday, December 6, 2010

Increasing difficulty...

Have you ever walked up a really steep, really big hill?  At Camp Needlepoint, when I was growing up, there was a hill just like this.  We called it Reaction Hill because the journey from the bottom to the top induced many, many insulin reactions.  We had to walk that hill nearly every day.  It lead down to the beach and then back up to the camp.  Life is just like that hill sometimes!  Diabetes is just like that hill sometimes.  You start out at the bottom with all the energy in the world.  You hit a plateau in the middle and get a tiny bit of a break and then have to start up on the hardest part to finish.  As you get closer and closer to the top, it feels like there's something pulling you back down, harder and harder.  This is how I've been feeling lately.  It's a struggle just making it through a day sometimes.  I have to push myself to keep on going.  Winter makes me want to crawl under the covers and hide until the sun comes back out and the temperature rises again.  Diabetes makes me want to crawl under the covers and hide until a miracle happens and a cure is found.  The thought of exercise makes me want to crawl under the covers with a pint of ice cream.  I'm resisting all of those urges.  For the moment....

So here's the first problem.  Lily was born in May of 2007.  Since then, I've had exactly one night away from my children.  For the first year, I didn't really take any breaks from her.  For the second year, I was busy with adding Leo to the family and didn't take many breaks then either.  After Leo was born, I made a bit of an effort to go out and meet other mommy friends for drinks.  But every time I went, I'd come home to my husband who was upset that I'd stayed out until 10:00 p.m.  Leo was awful back then.  He woke up wanting to nurse all the time.  He didn't sleep through more than a couple of hours and often, just wanted to remain latched onto me all night.  Breaks didn't do much good when I would just go back home to the same problems.  It got easier to take breaks as Leo got older, but lately, I haven't really bothered with any kind of break.  I've fallen out of touch with a lot of the mommy friends I used to talk to.  Many of them I don't stay in touch with because it seems like so few of them can even begin to comprehend what my life is like.  I'm disconnected.  So, if I take a break, it's most likely just an hour or two to myself.  Or dropping the kids in child care at the gym and working out.  Or my husband letting me sleep in on the weekends, which I appreciate so incredibly much!  Unfortunately, none of those things help me get back to functioning at 100%.  I'm becoming more and more emotionally exhausted as each day passes.  I keep giving more and more and more until I have nothing left.

Second problem....working out helps tremendously with the emotional exhaustion.  But it is leading to a very physical exhaustion.  I'm taking breaks, taking days off when I'm feeling too physically exhausted, but it's hard to take a break from it because I'm still somewhat afraid that if I take a break, I'll revert back to old behaviors.  I'm pushing myself and trying to keep myself going.  Working out is still hard and feels like torture.  And I'm still having other issues.  For a very long time, I let some issues I'm having with eczema keep me from working out.  I have patches of eczema on my feet.  They've been there for about two years now.  They break out, the skin thickens and cracks open.  It can be really painful sometimes.  And so far, nothing has helped to clear them up.  No prescription, no cream or salve or ointment.  They just keep on persisting.  I have one particular spot that burns when I work out.  But I ignore it.  I'm also having problems with cramping in my feet when I workout.  It always starts about 15 minutes into my workout and lasts until 30 minutes in, if not a little longer.  The middle toes on my feet go numb after that.  In spite of all of that, I keep on going.  I need to keep on going.  I've been doing 60 minutes of high intensity exercise every time I make it to the gym.  I want my heart to be healthy.  I can't focus on the 60 minutes though.  I focus on 10 minutes.  I work for 10 minutes and then reverse.  Work for another 10 minutes and go back to pedaling forward.  Each time, I'm nearly exhausted by the time I finish the 10.  But then I reverse and find another burst of energy and keep on going.  I'm upping the resistance on the machine and I give myself permission to slow down if I need to.  For some reason, that usually keeps me going at the same pace I was at and rarely do I find myself slowing down.  I just keep going and going.  And somehow, I've found myself 15 lbs lighter now.  Which is an incredibly awesome thing!  And once I discovered that, I shoved the scale back into the closet.

Anyway, I just needed to get all of that out.  I'm finding myself rundown in so many ways and it's taking a toll. I need to find a way to recharge my batteries.  Anyone know of a good way to do that?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A semi-rant about pumps....

Lily had her 3-month check-up November 15th.  I absolutely adore her endo!  She's fantastic!  In one-hour, she managed to "fix" all the things that had me pulling my hair out for a month before the appointment.  Do you ever feel like the whole diabetes thing snowballs on you?  You start with one minor change...your child catches a bug or puts on an ounce of weight and you need to tweak things.  As you're tweaking one thing, five others pop up and require more tweaking.  Before you know it, you're looking at this huge mass of tweaks that need to be done and you have no idea where to start!  I wonder some mornings how it is that I still have hair on my head.  Anyway, the big old snowball....the endo fixed it, for the most part.  She made some changes, simplified some things for us, and then, after discussing the possibility of upgrading Lily's pump with her, she sent us on our way.  We've just had one problem since then....Lily is slowing trending downward at night.  It means I get no sleep because I'm busy worrying that she's dropping all night.  I adjusted her night-time rates down just that little teeny tiny 0.05 less.  Now she's trending upward.  Way upward.  She runs in the 300s all night long.  Drives me nuts because I know it's not a comfortable place to be.  So, we're trying to get her the new Medtronic pump that allows for 0.025 increments.  Sounds like the perfect thing for fixing this issue of Lily's night-time blood sugars.  And here's where the rant starts....the endo put in the paperwork and sent it off to Medtronic.  Medtronic Rep calls and says: Your case isn't strong enough for us to put it to the insurance company, but we can offer you an upgrade program that will only require you to pay $495 for the new pump.  Would you like me to start the paperwork?

Now, $495 isn't a ton of money, but we have insurance to cover it.  Why in the world would they not put our case in to insurance to see if the insurance company thinks it's worth upgrading Lily's pump?  It shouldn't be Medtronic's job to figure out if our case is strong enough or not!  My reply to the rep...."No.  Insurance should cover it.  There's no reason for them not to.  My daughter has a legitimate reason for upgrading her pump.  Not to mention that my husband works for Medtronic and I'm pretty sure they have some agreement worked out with the insurance company that they cover Medtronic devices pretty well for employees and their families."  Off the Medtronic rep goes to look into insurance benefits for employees in Minnesota and how that would affect "our case for a new pump".  Meanwhile, I'm freaking out and frustrated beyond belief because I haven't slept in weeks and I want what's going to be the absolute best thing for my child.  So, I call the endo's office and leave a message detailing what the Medtronic rep is telling me and asking if there's anything the endo can do to push this thing through.  It's so frustrating when you know something is going to help your child and the Powers That Be make it clear that you're going to have to fight to get it.  I put my psychological armor on and prepped myself for battle.

And then today, the rep called me back.  Less than 24 hours later.  And guess what?  Insurance covers the pump at 100%!  No cost to us.  They've faxed a prescription for the new pump to the endo for a signature and as soon as they get that, we'll be sent a new pump by 3-day FedEx.  All that mental prepping and now there's no battle to be done?  Great....but now, how do I get my armor back off?

Okay, quick question for all of you....I'm starting to get a little sick of my workout music.  I listen mostly to Black Eyed Peas.  Their album, The E.N.D. (energy never dies), has a great beat to it and keeps me going.  But I need some variety!  I did just download their new album, which just came out on Tuesday (yay!), but I only got to listen to 35 minutes of it during workout today before a low blood sugar hit and convinced me I'd better hop off the elliptical and find some sugar quick.  Anyway....question:  What workout music do you LOVE to listen to?  I need suggestions for new music to keep me going!  I'm hoping to make it out to the gym early tomorrow morning.  We're expecting more snow, which is so much fun and absolutely fabulous to have (because it covers up the gunky, funky, gray, exhaust-riddled snow that we've got along the roadways).  It's supposed to hit tomorrow afternoon and it'd be great to have the rest of the day to bundle the kids up and head outside to play and catch the flakes on our tongues!

Okay, off to test Lily again and then head off to bed.  Sweet Dreams, everyone!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Ever feel like you've misplaced something?

My brain.  I keep looking for it and just when I get close to finding it, I forget what I was searching for.  I think it took off with my sanity and they're having a torrid love-affair in the tropics while I'm stuck here in the snowy cold, brainless and more than half-mad.  At the moment, they're probably cuddled up under a palm tree together on some private beach, taking a nap in the shade.  Ah well...sanity and intelligence are over-rated, right?  Right?

Anyway, about that MASSIVE FAIL....I actually meant to talk about the whole calorie-counting endeavor in that post.  The massive fail was in reference to that and to how I was feeling about my ability to manage Lily's blood sugars.  I try my best and have such a hard time with it when she's not feeling well!  I try to keep reminding myself that at her age, the diabetes game is all about damage control and correcting the blood sugars when they're off.  It's not so much about trying to control them like I do with mine.  Still, it's hard to remember that sometimes.  As her mom, I just want to make things as perfect for her as I can.  Unfortunately, diabetes in a toddler/preschooler/school-aged child who still has a lot of growing to do is about as far from perfect as you can get!

Calorie and massive failure there!  Seriously.  I started.  And then I mentioned to my husband what I was doing.  I'd like to blame my complete failure to continue with it on him, but really, it was my choice to react as I had.  His response...."calorie counting doesn't really work; it's not like you're going to count calories for the rest of your life."  So, I stopped counting.  And haven't started again since.  That doesn't mean that I'm not doing other stuff though.  I'm watching portion sizes, eating healthier foods, snacking on things like grape tomatoes and carrots when I feel the urge to snack, and avoiding late-night snacking, which is one of my major pitfalls (I'm sitting here with a bottle of Mike's Limeade as I type this...).  In the month of November, I made it to the gym 20 days.  The other 10 days, I tried to do things like taking the kids to the Children's Museum and the Minnesota Zoo.  Even when we stayed home, we spent time twirling around the living room, dancing to music cds, giggling and laughing and having a good time.  It's made a huge difference!  I'm still trying to avoid the scale as much as I possibly can because I don't want to focus on weight lost as much as I want to focus on health gained.  But I did peak at it the other day and found that I've now lost 14 lbs.  Not bad!  But, seriously, not nearly as good of an indicator as the happiness I'm feeling, the energy I now have, the well-being and contentedness that is coming with having a body that is capable of physical exertion. That is so much more important than the weight-loss!

Okay, I need to head to bed.  But, before I do, I want to say something.  I've been struggling a ton lately with the effect diabetes has on Lily and her life and I've noticed that there seem to be quite a few others out there who are struggling with the same thing with their children.  It sucks, seeing diabetes take something away from your child.  But...I want to offer some hope for others too.  I feel like I'm in a unique position to do that since I've been diabetic myself for over twenty years (coming up on my 24th anniversary at the end of January).  I've never felt the kind of anger and resentment over having diabetes myself as I have over my child having diabetes.  I see what it has taken from her.  But I don't see what it has taken from me.  Because the reality has taken nothing from me.  We talk about how hard it is to live life with diabetes.  But you know what? Life is hard without diabetes!  Yes, diabetes adds another element of difficulty to it, but so do so many other things.  Every single person has their challenges.  There is not one person in this world who doesn't face obstacles and challenges in their life.  The truth is, a life without challenges would be boring and not worth living.  Challenges make life interesting.  They make us appreciate what we have.  They make us work harder to have the kind of life we want to have.  They keep us from becoming complacent.  If a cure comes along, I will be incredibly grateful for it.  I will feel blessed for it's existence.'s not going to be magic.  It's not going to make my life perfect.  It's not going to make my life easy.  It's just going to take away one element of difficulty.  That's it.  No more, no less.  So...instead of us all dwelling on what diabetes has stolen from our children, maybe we can take a few moments to think of what it has given them.  Would our d-kids be as compassionate, as strong, as determined, and as incredibly awe-inspiring if they weren't dealing with diabetes?  They are amazing, aren't they?  And diabetes just makes them all that much more so!

Christmas Card Deadline!

I believe today is the last day to sign up for the Christmas Card exchange with Tracy!  Head on over and sign yourselves up!  

Sunday, November 28, 2010

MASSIVE FAIL! And about that Card Exchange....

It takes me a while to get a clue sometimes.  I finally clued in to the fact that Tracy over at The Superhero and the Princess has a Christmas Card Exchange set up as well.  And that she'd coordinated the exchange last year too.  So...if no one minds, I'm going to cancel the exchange through me and direct you all to head on over to fill in Tracy's Card Exchange Form.  She's ever so graciously extended her deadline to December 1st to accommodate the merger.  So head on over and join in the fun!

Massive fail....seriously, massive fail.  What a Thanksgiving holiday we've had in our home!  That trip we were supposed to take?  Cancelled.  Turns out that the weatherman predicted a possibility of blizzard-like conditions for the second half of our trip.  We've attempted that kind of drive a couple of times, pre-children and in some pretty dire circumstances.  It's not something we wanted to repeat.  So, we cancelled and stayed home.  But we didn't cancel until Wednesday morning.  So, Tuesday, I missed out on my workout and spent the day trying to prepare for our trip north.  Wednesday, the weather was too scary to go anywhere.  No workout.  Thursday.  Well, we all know what Thursday was.  I spent it in a bit of a funk, having dinner at my MIL's.  Don't get me wrong, I was grateful that my MIL was thrilled to have us and that we had an alternative to driving north in blizzard-like conditions.  But, Thanksgiving is the one and only holiday we spend with my family.  We never go north for Christmas.  It's too crazy and too cold.  We don't go up for Easter.  I absolutely love spending the Fourth of July up there (it's a whole community thing and is so much fun), but it rarely works out so that we can spend that particular holiday up there.  So, I spent the day sad and wishing we could have been with my family instead of just being grateful for what we have.  Awful of me, I know.  So, no workout on Thanksgiving.  Three days off.  It was bad.  And it didn't do my mood any favors.  Friday, Lily and I were both having some blood sugar issues.  We were doing fine on Thanksgiving.  I'm not quite sure what the deal was on Friday.  But Lily spent most of the day in the 400s, feeling awful.  I spent most of the day in the 200s, feeling awful.  My husband doesn't quite understand how blood sugars affect my ability to workout.  He was ready to head off to the gym first thing in the morning.  I had to pull him back and explain that we needed to wait until both Lily's blood sugar and mine had come down a bit.  At lunch, Lily was down to 299.  So, we ate lunch and headed to the gym.  Forty minutes into my workout, my blood sugar crashed on me.  We picked Lily and Leo up from the child-care center, tested her....426.  Home we went.  Changed her pump and finally got things back on track.  Saturday, we were all actually feeling pretty good.  Made it to the gym to workout.  Twenty minutes in, I was called to the child care center to change Leo's stinky rear.  I had to force myself to head back to the elliptical.  Ten minutes into my second attempt, I was called down to change Lily's stinky rear.  I'm still not sure how I managed to do it, but I did get back on the elliptical for a third time.  I did a 35 minute stretch and then headed off to the locker room.  I somehow managed to be 10 minutes late picking the kids up from the child care center.  I think, considering the two poops I was called in to clean up, they must have understood at least a bit!

Big sigh........gotta release all the pent up frustration I've been feeling.  It's been a rough couple of days.  Lily hasn't been feeling the greatest and has had some kind of stomach issue going on.  It doesn't appear to be a bug, since Leo obviously isn't suffering from it yet.  We're trying to keep an eye on what she eats and see if we can figure out what might be irritating her.  Between a cranky child, a tired little boy, an irritable husband, and my own disappointments, it hasn't been a very pleasant time in our home.

Okay, enough complaining!  Seriously, whining is not exactly productive.  And really, when it all comes down to it, I have no cause to whine and complain.  I have a fantastic husband, two beautiful and amazing children, a cozy home, a good life.  And since today is supposed to be devoted to our non-d children, I'm going to share with you some Leo.  He's guaranteed to make you smile.

I know, total picture overload, right?  But seriously, look at that face?  How do you resist it?  Leo is quite the character.  The kid cracks me up every day, in more ways than one!  He's always into something, always on the move, always trying to entertain everyone.  He's learned to open the dishwasher and use the door to give himself a little boost up to see and grab everything on the counter.  Oh, and to push the buttons on the stove.  We drop him and Lily off in the child care center at the gym and when we go to pick them up, he greets me with the biggest grin and an enthusiastic shout of "mommy!".  The workers there tell us of his escapades while he was there...the climbing the bookshelves, hauling toys around to give himself a boost up to the top of the gates, snuggling up with the pretty girls.  Leo is an ever-present reminder to not take life too seriously.  To lighten up and see the humor in each day.  To take a minute to sit down and snuggle.  He's my little snuggle bug.  My comedian-in-the-making.  I think he has a very bright future as a class clown and a ladies man.  For as much trouble as he can be, he makes up for it by bringing us giggles and kisses.  You should hear him read Curious George books.  There's a whole lot of animated gibberish with the occasional yell of "George".  That little face of his makes me just want to grab him up in the biggest squeeze.  And the best thing about him?  He idolizes his big sister.  Adores her!  She is his favorite person in the whole world.  She's the only one he says "Love you" to.  They have their moments and their little tiffs and struggles, but really, she lights up his world!  His humor, his caring personality, and his hero-worship of his all makes him a hero too!  He is my amazing, wonderful little boy!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Hats, turkeys, and blizzards....oh my!

We're heading north tomorrow.  Five hours north.  The Icebox!  We always drive up north to have Thanksgiving with my family.  Usually, I'm more than ready to go since we only make it up for a visit about twice a year.  I'm kind of nervous about heading up tomorrow though.  The entire state of Minnesota is under a Winter Weather Advisory.  Meaning, it could potentially get very, very nasty.  Rain, sleet, snow, all mixed together.  Yikes!  My husband is an excellent driver and I'm sure he'll get us there just fine.  But....the forecast still has me debating if going up is the best idea....

Anyway, before we head up, I wanted to share a couple of new hat pictures.  I realized a couple of days ago that this trip up north means my children need some heavy-duty headgear.  Something to keep their ears warm and toasty, no matter how nasty it might be.  Luckily, I was able to whip up a couple of hats really quick.  Here they are:

Okay, so Blogger doesn't want to let me add those pictures.  I'll have to try again in a bit.  I also wanted to remind everyone who wants to take part in the Christmas card exchange (yes, I do see your comments saying that you want to take part)....I need your addresses!  Send them to me, please!  You have until December 1st to do so!

Nope, it still doesn't want to let me load the photos of the hats!  Darn it!  They're so cute that I wanted to show them off!  Oh well....maybe I'll get a minute in the morning to post them.  For now....Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!  I'm wishing all of you a day of food, fun, and fantastic blood sugars, in spite of all that food, fun, and pie!

**Yay!  Pics are up!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Random Thoughts...

I'm in a quirky kind of mood tonight.  So, I'm going to share some random thoughts I've had this past week with all of you.  Give you a peak inside the very odd, twisted mind that I have!  Sometimes, I have great ideas that really make lots of sense.  Sometimes, they're just weird thoughts that pop up now and then.  And sometimes, there's just no making sense of them at all!

1. To the young "man" who worked out on the elliptical in front of me yesterday....PULL YOUR PANTS UP!  Seriously, I understand that this is a cultural thing that I have no hope of ever understanding (along with the desire to call yourselves "thugs" and the n-word, which I refuse to even type), but gym shorts have elastic waistbands and are meant to be worn at your waist.  It really defeats the purpose of working out if you have to stop every two minutes to retrieve your shorts from your ankles.

2. I saw T.R. Knight again.  I swear it must be him!  Looks just like George O'Malley, but with lighter hair.  It's got to be him!

3. The government should hire me.  I have great ideas on how to fix some of our nation's problems!  The obesity epidemic?  Give employers an incentive so they'll pay their employees to work out!  You work out for 30 minutes, you get paid for 30 minutes.  I bet this would increase production too.  Sitting at a desk job on your rear-end for 8 hours a day is not healthy and does not mean that you'll get 8 hours worth of work done! At least half that time is spent zoning out due to boredom and lack of activity!

4.  Coffee is an amazing thing.  I am seriously in love with whoever came up with the idea of crushing those little beans and pouring water through them to get an extremely caffeinated beverage.  Love it!

5.  Message I'd like to send to all of the politicians....Put your big girl/big boy panties on already!  Just because you've grown up doesn't mean you should leave the rules of the playground have to play nice, even if you don't like him/her!  A group project needs to be completed even if only half of the people contribute.  If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.  Put your thinking caps on and get to work on figuring out solutions to the problems.  Enough bickering already!

6.  While you're at it, remember this very important concept..."Power to the people".  It's not "power to the party who has the most votes"!

7. Godiva Milk Chocolate with Salted Caramel = divine bliss!

8. Even when circumstances suck and things aren't working out the way you want them to, we should all take a moment to remember this....LIFE IS FANTASTIC!

9. Instead of preaching about tolerance for people's differences....why don't we preach about accepting people's differences?  Is tolerance really the best we can aim for?  We should embrace differences, not "tolerate" them!

10.  Pppppppppppppphhhhhhhhhhhhhlllllllllllllllllllllllllleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeebbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbtttttt.
Sorry....just had to have one little nonsensical moment!  Wonder if lack of sleep is finally turning my brain to complete mush?  Oh well.....if it is, it is.  I'll just have a grand life as a mushy-brained d-momma!  Maybe we'd all be a bit better off with more mush in our heads....

Sunday, November 21, 2010

So did it work?

I'm going to bare some yucky stuff here before I get started on my post for the night.  This evening, my husband and I dropped the kids off at grandma's to go see Harry Potter (I'm a nut, seriously).  After the movie, we picked up Arby's for a quick dinner for the kids and ourselves.  My husband was trying to figure out the carb-count and he said he thought about 15 grams for the entire small curly fry order that Lily ate.  I didn't want to push, although I did suggest looking it up in our Calorie King book.  He gave her insulin for 41 grams of carbs.  Two hours later:

She's asleep with an empty water bottle.  My d-kid chooses a water bottle as her lovey!  Tested her...442!  Apparently, those small fries have 39 grams of carbs and our carb-count was off by 24!  Teaches us a lesson, doesn't it?  Never guess on the carb count!

I know you're all wanting to ask it, right?  Did the 30-day challenge work?  It's the question I get asked a lot in the last few days.  The whole point of the 30-days of exercise was to make it a habit and not just an option anymore.  And you know what?  The answer is YES!  But......

Here's the thing....when you think of a habit, the things that come to mind are brushing your teeth, combing your hair, maybe biting your fingernails....all little things.  Things that don't take much effort to do and take no planning at all.  Exercise is not like that.  It requires planning.  It requires effort.  You have to dress for it.  You have to pack a bag to go off to the gym.  You have to check blood sugars (x2 here).  I have to feed the kids a snack just before we go so they don't get hungry while they're in the child care center at the gym.  And the fact is...I'm just not a morning person.  It takes me time to get going each day.  So it's usually mid to late afternoon before we make it to the gym. the 21 days in November, I've only missed making it to the gym 5 times so far!  One of those days was my "break" day at the end of the 30-day challenge and it was spent walking around the zoo with the kids for a few hours.  Another day was spent running around The Children's Museum.  Even on the days when we don't make it to the gym, we are more active than we were before.  We get out and have fun and run around and enjoy each other's company.  And the ultimate truth....every day, I do get a feeling that I can only describe as being "compelled" to go to the gym.  I've ignored it once because I had a head cold coming on, but that's the one and only day that I've really just skipped it altogether.  Not bad considering that in the past year and a half that we've had our gym membership I've been lucky to make it to the gym even 5 times in a month!

It's husband and I have been together for more than 10 years now.  Every Christmas, Valentine's Day, Birthday, etc., I've asked him for the same item, which he's never once bought for me yet....a perfume that he would like me to wear.  This year, for Christmas, my wish list is very different.  Thanks to Reyna's sister's blog, I've discovered a couple of new items that she has made sound so fantastic that I want some too (and no, I have no delusions about running 100 mile races even if I do get these items).  Top two items on my list?  Snuggbuds for my iPod because I hate having to continuously push my current earbuds back into my ears.  And Mizuno running shoes.  They have an awesome program to help you figure out what kind of shoe would work best with your type of gait.  I'm seriously coveting both of these items right now!  Seriously funny that both of my top items are fitness-related this year when I've been using excuses to avoid fitness for so many years before this!  Just wish I would have figured out how good being in shape and exercising feels before I'd gotten as far down the wrong road as I did!

Friday, November 19, 2010

For those of you who bought hats....

I meant to include a little care-card in with all of the hat orders I sent out, but I wanted to make them look kind of fancy (cause you can't just type it up on a computer and leave it simple, right?) and so I didn't get around to doing them!  So...if you bought a hat from me, you probably want to know how to clean it, right?  All the hats are machine washable, preferably on a gentle cycle (but regular cycle shouldn't hurt them any either) with warm or cold water (not hot!).  Machine dry-able too!  Just don't use the highest heat setting.  A few common sense things...try to avoid washing it with anything that has velcro on it or with buttons that could snag the yarn.  Other than that, there are no restrictions!

Reyna, I'm tempted to take up your suggestion and set up an account on Etsy or something for people to order hats.  I just don't want to have to pay the fees!  I might have to see if my husband has an idea for how to set it up on here so that people can order and then give them a link for the Step-Out page to pay for them...something to think about anyway.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Being a PWD of a CWD

I've been feeling the need to write this post for a while, but I kept procrastinating.  Sarah's post the other day about her husband's confusion over her inability to look at her child's plate of food and just know the carb count reminded me that I've been putting it off (I hope I've interpreted that correctly, Sarah!).  I needed to find a night when I actually felt like talking about it, which is kind of hard to do.  Even tonight, I'd rather not.  But I know I need to, not just for myself, but for the other PWDs out there with CWDs.  That's Parent With Diabetes of a Child With Diabetes.  This might be a bit slow-going, but I'm going to try to get my main thoughts and frustrations out there in a way that other people can understand.....

When strangers first find out that Lily has diabetes, their initial reaction is sympathy.  I'm never bothered by that reaction.  I know most people are kind-at-heart and anything they might say or do that could upset me is usually done out of simple ignorance.  When strangers find out that I am also diabetic, the sympathy usually disappears.  It's not replaced with negative feelings though.  Just with a vague idea that since I'm diabetic too, Lily's diagnosis probably didn't devastate me in the same way that other parents, parents without prior knowledge of diabetes, were devastated.  Don't get me wrong, there are some benefits to being well-acquainted with diabetes at the time of a child's diagnosis.  I was still devastated, possibly in more ways than those of you who weren't as familiar with the disease.  But the long hours spent with educators and nutritionists, learning the ins and outs of diabetes, the hows and whys, the carb counting, and all those teeny little details that make such a big difference in our days....well, let's just say that the long hours were shortened into a few hours here and there.  I knew how to count carbs.  I knew about insulin-to-carb ratios, how an insulin pump works, why they're beneficial, etc.  But there's another side to that coin....

Being an parent with diabetes of a child with diabetes is like being the featured performer in a high-wire act when they only training you've ever had is years of walking the same familiar path.  There's a whole lot of emphasis on that analogy.  It's the absolute best I can come up with to describe what my reality is like.  You see, I had years of dealing with my own diabetes.  MY DIABETES.  I knew how much insulin I needed without counting up each little carb gram.  I knew what my blood sugar was before I tested.  It was a familiar path.  Sure, there were bumps here and there.  I knew, when I came to those bumps, that I just needed to move over as far as possible to the right side of the path and keep on going.  When those same bumps come along for Lily's diabetes, if I move over to the right, the high-wire is gone and I plummet to Earth, hoping that there's a safety net below to catch us all.  That plate of food that I look at and know how much insulin I need?  If I do that for Lily's plate of food and I'm off by even 5 grams, her blood sugar will either plummet or sky-rocket.  My diabetes and how I take care of myself has become "instinctive".  It doesn't require much of my thought anymore.  I know what's best for me and I do it, without thinking most of the time.  That's how MY DIABETES works.  One of the most difficult parts of being a PWD of a CWD is coming to the realization that MY DIABETES is not the same as LILY'S DIABETES.  Many of you are also followers of another blog titled Your Diabetes May Vary.  I love that title!  Because it is so incredibly true.  With LILY'S DIABETES, nothing is instinctive.  More often than not, I feel completely lost.  Because I'm her primary caretaker, the one in charge of her care from morning to night nearly every day, I've learned quickly that with her diabetes, precision is the key.  Everything has to be precise!  Food has to be measured into the smallest carb possible.  Insulin is doled out in as small of an increment as we can manage.  There is absolutely no room for error.  There is no looking at her plate and just knowing how much she needs.  Thirty extra minutes of activity that wasn't planned for and I'm left holding a little girl who's crying because she's terrified by the uncontrollable jerking that her body is doing.  One little piece of candy that wasn't bolused for and I have a little girl who sucks down water like she's been trapped in the desert for a week.  For Lily's diabetes, I have to walk that high-wire as carefully as I possible can.  I have no wiggle room when it comes to her health and well-being.

That being said, there's just one other thing I've learned as a PWD of a CWD that I want to share with all of you....sometimes, you just can't be perfect.  I know as moms, we feel it's our job to make everything as perfect as we possibly can for our children.  We feel that a hundred times more when our children have a chronic illness.  We get caught up in the idea that it is our "job" to keep their blood sugars perfectly on track and we beat ourselves up whenever an off number pops up.  Unfortunately, with children as little as Lily is, off numbers pop up a lot.  Here's what I've "job" is not to keep her numbers perfectly in line.  As much as I would love to do that, it's just not possible.  Growth spurts, extra activity, germs, everything throws a kink into the mix (add juggling all of those balls to my high-wire act!).  My "job" is correct her off numbers.  That's it.  Right there.  I'm here to correct her numbers when they are off and to try to do my best to keep her happy and healthy while she's off being the kid that she should be.  I want her to be as carefree and happy as possible and I refuse to burden her with her diabetes just yet.  I will educate her as much as I can and prepare her for when she's ready for that burden.  But I'll be the one to worry and carry the load while she lives as every child should.  That is what makes my efforts and stress worth it!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Christmas Card Exchange!

Okay, I've had to take a couple of days off from blogging to get some work done on hats.  I currently have a two-tone green one that just needs some ends tucked in, a ribbed black hat with red stripes that is being blocked (it's where you wet the yarn down and stretch it out into the shape you want it to have and then let it dry), a deep red hat with cream stripes that I just started and am hoping doesn't turn out looking too much like a candy cane, and two more hats that I need to start up.  Good thing hats don't take too long to do!  I'm hoping I can have the two orders I have finished up and into the mail within a week!  Gotta get them done so I can start on my own hat.  I bought a lovely teal wool yarn and a silvery-gray yarn to make up a hat and scarf set, when I get a chance!

Okay, the Christmas's the deal.  Jill West (does she have a blog?  Someone clue me in, if she does!) organized a D-Family Gift Exchange on Elfster.  If you're interested in signing up, I believe the deadline is November 17th.  You can sign up by clicking HERE.

The Christmas Card Exchange!  That one is through me.  I always have lots of leftover Christmas cards after the holidays are over.  What better way to use those extras up and make even more connections than to start a card exchange with the D-OC!  Basically, all it requires of you is that you send me your mailing address.  I'll compile a list of all the addresses and then email it out to everyone who signs up.  You just have to send cards out to all those on the list.  Personally, I love Christmas cards.  They're the best kind of mail to get and are so worth the cost of stamps to send!  So, if you want to sign up and receive a few extra Christmas cards this year, just send me an email at  Write :Christmas Card in the subject line.  Deadline is December 1st!

I got my report card today!  Lily's A1C clocked in at 8.6, exactly the same as at her last check-up.  I'm so incredibly happy with that!  She's had a whole lot less lows and is doing really well with everything.  I was a little worried her levels might have gone up.  So this report card is quite the relief!  Her endocrinologist made a few changes to her basal and sensitivity settings since Lily tends to trend upwards at night.  Hopefully that'll do the trick to getting us back on track!  Until we're sure that the settings are right, I might have some long, sleep-deprived nights ahead!  So on that note, I think I'll head off to get some rest before the next blood sugar check!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Irony! And Mail Exchange postponed!

Big, big thank you to Joanne for cluing me into the Secret Santa, D-family Christmas exchange!  In light of that, I'm thinking I'll postpone the mail exchange until after the new year.  That's not to be confused with the Christmas Card Exchange though!  That one is still on and the deadline to sign up is December 1st!  Plenty of time yet, Reyna!  Although, the sooner people send their addresses to me, the sooner I can get the list going!  I'm hoping a whole bunch of you will sign up for that one.  I love, love, love Christmas cards!

I had a memory pop into my head the other night as I was crocheting a hat for one of my orders.  I thought I'd share it with all of you.  When I was little, I hated wearing hats in the winter.  Seriously detested them!  That might be partly because all of the hats we had available to wear were incredibly ugly hand-me-downs that had probably been worn by 15 other kids before being passed into our family.  Ew!  Unfortunately, hats are pretty much a necessity where I grew up (the Icebox of the Nation is the official nickname and the residents are actually pretty proud of that one).  One bitterly, horribly cold morning when I was 10, I missed the bus to school.  Since our house was only about 6 or 7 blocks from the elementary school, my mom decided that I should have to walk.  One way to teach me a lesson, right?  As I was running out the door, I do vaguely remember her warning me to wear a hat.  I didn't listen.  I walked those 6 or 7 blocks, without hat, in negative-double-digits weather.  My ears went numb.  When I got to school, I immediately headed inside to warm up.  What followed next was the absolute worst pain I'd ever felt up to that point.  It was the burning, tingly, pin-prickling, itching sensation of my ears THAWING!  Sometime during that short walk to school, the bitterly cold wind had frozen my ears!

Kind of makes it funny that I went from being so opposed to wearing hats that I froze my ears to making hats to raise money for diabetes!

Any takers on the mail exchange?

Deadline to sign up is tomorrow!  I still only have one person who has sent me their child's information.  If you want to sign up, send your child's name and age to

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

D-Blog Day!

I've been thinking about this all day.  I'm sure everyone has gotten the whole explanation from lots of other blogs today on what D-Blog Day is and the whole 6 things you want people to know about diabetes.  It's been so interesting to read everyone's thoughts and ideas!  I'm going to take a different approach though.  I think, being a diabetic myself as well as being the mom of a diabetic child, it gives me a different perspective on things.  So here are the six things I want people to know about diabetes...some of them are geared more towards the parents of diabetics and the diabetics themselves!

1.  Being a parent of a diabetic child is a whole lot harder than being a diabetic.  Seriously, in the 24 years since I was diagnosed, I never once cursed at the disease until the day Lily was diagnosed.

2. Diabetes can be a motivator or a de-motivator.  It all depends on the kind of life you want to live.  You can let diabetes hold you back and use it as an excuse.  You can allow yourself to be victimized by it.  Or you can throw yourself into life and be determined to live a full and beautiful life, regardless of diabetes.

3.  That full, beautiful life you want to live?  It's going to require that you take care of your diabetes and do the work that the disease requires.  Don't fool yourself into thinking that you don't have to take it seriously.  It is a lot of work.  But it's so incredibly worth it!

4.  Diabetes is a whole lot easier to manage in an adult than it is in our children.  Our kids are constantly going through growth spurts, viruses, emotional upheaval, and a million other things.  Their little bodies are still developing and in order to manage diabetes effectively, we have to be absolutely precise in carb-counting and insulin dosing.  But for my own diabetes, I can look at a plate of food, a snack, a drink, and just "know" how much insulin I need to take.  I know before I poke my finger where my blood sugar is going to fall.  Someday, all of our little children will reach that stage too.

5.  Ignorant people are an opportunity.  Whenever someone says something stupid or thoughtless about your child having diabetes, it gives you the opportunity to educate someone new.  Diabetes is spreading and becoming so much more common as each day comes and goes.  If someone says something dumb or asks a stupid question, take a moment and set them right.  You never know if that person is going to come face-to-face with this disease in someone they love.  You could be saving the life of the next child to be diagnosed!

6.  Diabetes isn't all bad.  If you let yourself embrace all of the opportunities the disease opens up for your children, they will grow up to have a healthy view of it and it's place in their lives.  Send them to summer camp for diabetic children.  Let them participate in life fully, even if it means you're going to have to do a whole lot of extra work and stress a whole lot more.  Take them to support groups and playdates and sleepovers and seminars and educational programs for diabetics.  Introduce them to other children with diabetes, point out celebrities and athletes who deal with diabetes every day.  You never know what seeds of information are going to take root in their minds and grow and develop into dreams and understandings and ideas and beliefs. Bombard them with information and see what they're capable of doing with it!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Beautiful focus

Today was Lily's first swimming lesson.  I have a feeling she is going to ADORE swimming lessons.  I was a bit nervous about how she would do since she tends to be pretty shy.  Guess I shouldn't have worried though!  She took to it like you wouldn't believe.  Not sure if that's just because she loves the water or if it's partly because the instructor was a young, fairly attractive guy named Rob.  I spent the entire 30 minutes terrified, she spent the entire 30 minutes having a blast.  The pool is deeper than Lily is tall.  For the kids as small as Lily and her two classmates, they put this white, plastic-pipe platform into the water.  It looks pretty flimsy to me, like all it would take for it to topple over is a kid being off-balance.  The other two students clung to the pipes while Lily danced around, bounced up and down, and did anything but hang on!  She was in her groove and nothing was stopping her!  It was really fun to see.  Rob took turns with each of the kids, teaching them to lie back with their heads on his shoulder, to float, to kick and paddle.  He'd come and get one of the other kids and as soon as he got back and put the current kid up on the platform, Lily would leap into his arms for her turn!  I'm pretty sure she got way more than her fair share of turns and time with the teacher!  Kind of made up for the other little girl, who spent the entire time clinging to the pipes and crying for her mom.  I'll have to get pictures next time to share!

On to what I want to talk about tonight.  Working out is not a beautiful thing.  Seriously, I think I sweat more than what is humanly possible.  By the time I'm done working out, I've sweat so much that it looks like I've wet my pants.  It's just that bad!  I used to worry about this.  Not anymore.  If people look at me funny, I don't really notice anymore.  I'm there to sweat and they are too.  If they have time to look around and judge me for that, they aren't working out hard enough!  Which is really kind of hypocritical of me to say because I love spending my workout time watching the people.  And yeah, I do judge.  Mostly, I judge on whether or not someone is attractive or interesting.   A little update for all of you...the woman at the gym who is 100 lbs dripping wet and has D-implants is now sporting a baby bump.  It's an odd look to have boobs that big with a big belly underneath and sticks everywhere else!  Anyway, back to the beauty of working out.  Even after this challenge and starting to establish working out as a new habit, it's still not easy.  Some days, it's hard to get myself going.  It can take quite a bit of talking myself into going before I actually make it to the gym.  So here's the truth that I've come to...there is no beauty in working out.  Working out is hard, sweaty, mind-numbing work.  No one really enjoys working out.  Those people who tell you that they love running?  They're lying.  They don't love running.  Not really.  But....they do love the feeling that running brings.  And even I'm at that point now.  I don't love working out, but I do love the feeling I get afterward.  That feeling is BEAUTIFUL!  Seriously.  Before I go to the gym, my body is sore, my muscles are weary.  When I get to the gym, it takes me a while to warm up.  I have to keep my focus short.  There is absolutely no way I would be able to log in 60 minutes on the elliptical if I focused on that 60 minutes.  For the first 10 minutes, I focus on the 10.  Once I reach 10, I focus on the 15, which is about when I'm starting to feel loosened up and actually into the workout, like I can keep going.  At 15, I start focusing on 20.  At 20, most days, I switch to using the elliptical in reverse mode to work my muscles a little differently.  I focus on the 40.  At 40, I go back to exercising forward and I focus on the 50.  At 50, I focus on the 60.  I can never focus past the current 10-minute increment that I'm in.  I just can't.  If I did focus on the end, I think I'd probably give up and quit a whole lot sooner.  So I focus on the 10 and tell myself that I can keep going, I can do it.  Good workout music is a huge key too.  The quicker the beat, the faster I can go.  My favorites right now for working out....The E.N.D. by Black Eyed Peas (fantastic beat for working out, even if they aren't one of my favorite bands to listen to) and The Twilight Soundrack, which has some good high-energy songs as well as some slower ballads.  Twilight is my choice for the days when I need to take it a little slower.  BEP is my choice when I know I can push myself a bit, add in a challenge.  They both keep me going.  And before I know it, those 10 minute increments add up and I've reached the full 60 minutes and can hop off the machine to go shower.  That's where the beauty comes in.  The beauty in working out is the feeling at the end.  The feeling of pride in what your body has done.  The feeling of muscles that have been worked and loosened up with exercise.  The feeling of relief that you're finally done with torturing your body with exercise.  That's the beauty of working out.  That's what makes people keep going to the gym and keep running and keep moving.

My point tonight....don't fool yourself into believing that some people find it easy to go and workout.  It's not easy.  Finding the motivation, the energy, the mental focus to go and workout.  Not easy at all.  But, once you get used to feeling that beautiful feeling at the end of working out, it does get a little less difficult.  We all still struggle sometimes, but making that effort is so worth it when you get that beautiful feeling at the end!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Truth, in black and white...

I've been debating about doing this post.  I keep going back and forth and procrastinating.  I feel like if I keep going on about what I want to talk about in this post that people will think I'm being preachy.  I don't want to preach on things or to keep going on about the same things all the time.  I've seen people popping on now and then and leaving comments every so often.  I appreciate all of the comments so much!  I read each and every one and they mean so much to me.  I just hope I'm not losing people or running people off by writing some of what I write!

Before I start tonight, I just want to say...Wendy, I'm so incredibly proud of you!  The fact that you're not compromising on your time out for exercise is a huge, huge thing!  Even just a few minutes of exercise can make a huge difference!

Okay...the truth!  I honestly don't quite know where to start on this one, so if it rambles a bit, I hope you'll forgive me.  This touches on several things and I need to bring them all together in order to make it all make sense.  Bear with me, please.  I promise, it will all be worth it in the end.....

My husband and I started dating more than 10 years ago.  From the moment I saw him, I was ready to throw myself into our relationship, whole-heartedly.  We dated for a year before moving in together.  From the moment we started co-habitating, I did it all.  I cooked, I cleaned, I did every little thing I could to make him happy.  Except for one.  I didn't take proper care of myself.  I never worked out.  I took care of my diabetes in a half-assed manner, but never really took it to the degree that I should have.  I ate without thinking and without consideration of what was healthy for me.  But I did everything I could for him.  I gave and gave and gave.  Six years after we first went on a date, we were married.  A year later, we had a baby.  A year and a half after that, we had another baby.  Through it all, I gave and gave and gave.  But I never did the one thing that I should have done for him....taken care of my own health.

Please don't get me wrong and think my husband wasn't doing the same.  But the fact is, women and men are very different.  I think it is just a woman's nature to give and give and give.  I know I'm not the only mom who does this.  Moms just keep on going and going until they hit burnout.  The reality is, I think moms have lots of mini-burnouts along the way.  Moments when we're tired and worn down and we just want to cry.  We hit those points a lot sometimes, don't we?  I think maybe men are better at recognizing when they're nearing emotional burnout, when they are getting close to having nothing more to give.  My husband was good about asking for breaks when he needed them.  He'd go out with a friend for a beer, go to the gym for a workout, go look at books at the bookstore.  Anything that sounded good and relaxing to him.  When I asked for a break, I spent the time doing dishes or laundry or going to the grocery store.  Not at all the same thing.  I never once asked him to watch the kids while I went to the gym by myself.  In fact, I used him as an excuse for not going to the gym.  I didn't want to ask him to watch the kids because he works hard all day and I didn't think he'd want to watch the kids.  I thought he'd resent watching the kids for me while I went to the gym.

The truth...I underestimated my husband.  I did him a huge disservice by assuming that he would resent watching the kids so I could do something for my health.  The truth....because I failed to take care of myself, little kernels of resentment built in my marriage, inside my husband.  He resented the fact that he felt guilty for taking care of himself, for doing anything for himself, because I never did anything for me.  I never asked for the support so I could do something for me.  This whole 30-day challenge's been fantastic for my husband too!  He's gotten to spend more time alone with the kids, establishing more of a parent, authority-image in their eyes.  He's gotten to play and bond with them.  And he's enjoyed that opportunity!  He's been inspired by my challenge.  He's gotten to see his wife in a new light.  He'd given up on the idea of me ever taking proper care of myself.  How sad is that statement?  And now, he has pride in me for what I've done, for what I've accomplished and for what I'm now capable of doing.  He's proud of me for the mother I am to our children and he's always been proud of me for that.  But now he can be proud of me for the person that I am too.  And that is an incredible thing for our relationship!

Okay, now onto a quick summary of my 30-day challenge.  At the beginning, just walking a couple of miles at a moderate pace just about did me in!  The first few days, I walked two miles.  Then I started doing three miles while pushing the kids in the stroller.  Then three miles with steep inclines while pushing the stroller.  Baby steps.  It was never more than baby steps.  I pushed just a little bit each and every single day.  And on that 30th day, I was able to do an hour and ten minutes straight on the elliptical!  At the beginning, 10 minutes was more than enough on that particular piece of torture!  At the beginning, if you saw my shadow in profile, it looked like I had three sets of boobs...the one set with two large rolls underneath.  I still have those rolls, but at least they're not looking so much like extra cleavage now!  I've got a booty now!  Not just two lumpy, blubbery, cottage-cheese consistency mounds of flesh that droop down into my thighs.  Nope, now I have muscle in that area and there's an actual definition between where my butt ends and my thighs begin!  I have muscles in my legs, calves, arms, back, everywhere!  And it feels great!  I'm no longer dwelling as much on the parts of my body that I don't like.  Instead, I'm marveling at all that has changed in this short amount of time.  I'm marveling at what my body is capable of doing.  I did bring the scale out of hiding.  Turns out I lost 8 lbs in that 30-day time period.  I'm more than happy with that.  Especially when I consider that the 8 lbs lost was all fat and that it doesn't include the number of fat lbs that have been converted to muscle.  It's an amazing feeling to take care of myself!

Okay, one quick reminder....mail exchange deadline is coming up on Friday!  Right now, I only have one person who's sent in their information for it.  If you want to sign up your children, diabetic or not, send me their names and ages to!

Off to check Lily again and then head to bed.  Nighttime blood sugars are depriving us both of sleep lately!  I think she must be hitting another growth spurt....