Monday, June 27, 2011

Left behind

That's me. I've been left behind!

On Saturday, Ike left for the beach with my parents. He was so excited that he asked my mom if he could spend Friday night at her house so that they could leave earlier. Good thinking on his part because I wouldn't have been up before 8:00! Mom reported that at 5:08, he woke her up and announced it was time to go. He was completely dressed and ready and had his suitcase in his hand :)  He has been having so much fun and has spent about 1.2 seconds thinking of home. If that! According to my mom, he's running her ragged! I love that he has this opportunity to spend time with my parents and I hope they are able to have as much fun as he does! This is his second summer with a grandparent trip and I feel so comfortable with him away - Mom is so protective and loves him so much, and Ike is so easy going and pleasant and funny. Just a perfect match for a fabulous week.

On Sunday, Ana went to diabetes camp. This is a first because she's never been old enough to qualify. DJ and I were nervous because she is one of those kids that can have a hard time separating from us and I had visions of her crying and me trying to peel her off and calm her down. Yeah, that so didn't happen. Instead, she waited patiently while we went through the drop off process (which, let me assure you, is very involved when you are talking diabetes and kids) and wandered along with us to her cabin. She picked her bunk, helped make the bed and arrange her gear and then got quiet. I asked about us leaving, figuring that she was on the edge of breaking down. Imagine my surprise when she politely informed me that she was ready for us to go. In fact, she was rather pushy and suggested we leave. Politely. I was not ready. Not ready at all. Not even remotely ready. Leave my diabetic daughter for four days? Seriously? What was I thinking?!?! She agreed to a few hugs and then we left. Just like that.

I'll pick up kidlet 2 Wednesday morning. Kidlet 1 arrives home Saturday night. In the meantime, let me just add that this house is quiet. Very, very quiet!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

When you let the kids choose

As we do every Tuesday, the kids and I visited the library. I have a few books at home still and I have several books in transit so I didn't need to find much but I needed 2-3 fictions to tide me over. I wasn't motivated to look around, though. I grabbed one book from a display rack and then told the kids to each pick out one book for me.

Just like the day I let them pick out something at the grocery store, I was amused by their choices.

Ike was back first. It took him all of 2 seconds to announce, "I saw a book you will love!" and tear off down an aisle, only to return 5 seconds later with this. Yep. A Star Wars book. I don't mind sci fi...but Star Wars?! According to the cover, Luke Skywalker is married. I think I saw one or two of the movies many, many years ago but I didn't realize he was married. Give me a day or two and I'll let you know how their relationship is working out. ;-)

Ana headed down the youth fiction aisle and I was hopeful. There are several Harry Potter-like book series and she had been perusing them earlier. Seemed like I had hope of something better than Star Wars. And then she came back with this. A graphic novel about a witch who might be 8 or 9 years old. *laugh* Turns out that it was a cute read and it's part of a series. I think I'll request the others from the library because Ana would really enjoy them.

The upside of letting them choose my books is that Ike was wandering the library and was actually interested. And when Ana turned in her weekly books and claimed a prize, he was hooked. I cannot believe I am saying this but Ike checked out twelve books yesterday. Ana does this every week (she's prize-motivated and the Book Bingo game takes 12 books to complete, which means she checks out and reads 12 books every week in order to maximize her prize count) but Ike has never cared. Even more shocking - he has finished 2 of them and started on a 3rd! This one is almost 100 pages and it's text heavy but he is still reading it. Every word! I've waited years for this moment. Forcing my way through a Star Wars book suddenly seems like a small price :)

Monday, June 20, 2011

What I Eat

I mentioned a few days ago that I had checked out What I Eat at the library. I love everything this husband-wife duo has ever produced and was so excited. By the time I read the intro and the first few pages, I knew I was going to be doing my own version of this. Today was that day.

And, being a fat woman, I was a bit nervous. I knew immediately that I was going to be on my good behavior on photo day. However wrong it was, I planned to eat healthy foods and end with a decent caloric count. Instead, I woke up starving. *sigh*  Ate breakfast in the car (although it was packed and not McDonald's, thanks to this project). Discovered that the cafeteria was out of baked potatoes and French dressing at lunch and ended up with a hamburger and tater tots and just a small side salad. I don't mind raspberry vinaigrette but I don't love it enough for a full salad. ;-) Then, there is this fabulous coworker that keeps candy on her desk. Which is right next to mine. And did I mention I was hungry this morning? I can go days and days and never actually feel hungry...until I am admitting to every bite I take... Ugh.

Now that my excuses are out of the way...I present my "What I Eat" story. And yes, my coworkers think I'm a little odd for weighing and taking pictures of all my food today.

Sweet tea (Decaf Lipton with Stevia) - 24 ounces

Dove chocolates - 4 squares 

Cheeseburger with provolone
Tater tots -
Salad with egg, cheese and carrot
True Delights Blueberry Crisps - 35 grams
Sweet tea (Decaf Lipton with Stevia) - 24 ounces


Peanut Butter Crunch cereal - 112 grams
Leftovers (homemade mac and cheese) - 319 grams

That's 2,292 calories. Seriously. Who knew mac and cheese and Cap'n Crunch would totally do me in? And, for the record, who knew that bowl of cereal was FOUR SERVINGS??

Throw me in the mix of the What I Eat project and I would be number 22 of 80. Of course, "American Cubicle Farm Inhabitant" isn't unique enough to qualify so I think I'm out of luck for any future version of the book ;-)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

What's old is new

I recently decided that I needed a new way to chill. TV just numbs the mind and I hate that I spend so much time watching it simply because it's there. I wanted something portable, inexpensive and easy. Most important, though, is the requirement that I enjoy it.

And that, my friends, is why people often find me with my nose buried in a book :)

I was bummed to discover that my LibraryThing account only allows 200 books on the free accounts. I switched to GoodReads tonight and I am excited about finding new books to read!

In the meantime, I'm happy to report that it's already working! A few nights ago I kept giggling and DJ was giving me the "what's up with you??" expression. My book was so quirky that it actually made me laugh out loud. If you are looking for an amusing, quick read, check out Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk. I will warn you - if you don't like absurb and slightly profane stories, this isn't the book for you. ;)  Luckily, that's exactly my kind of book!

Today's visit to the library revealed a new (at least to me!) book from Peter Menzel and Faith D'Aluisiso! I loved Women in the Material World and What the World Eats,and What I Eat is no different. Oh, and Hungry Planet! Also awesome!

Any books to recommend? Any GoodReads users?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I want a day off.

A real one. A day without work, doctor visits, school work, dinner, whining children.  A day spent in pajamas with a pile of books. Oh, and if someone would cook me a fabulous dinner, even better. If my house suddenly sprouted an extra bathroom with a jacuzzi tub, that would be superb.

Ana came back to homeschooling in January. For the next four months, I did school with her on Wednesdays, Friday, Saturday and Sunday (I'm off on two of those days and work evenings on the other two.) The other days, I went to work. While I'm only part-time, it's still so time-consuming. Up early, spend 50 minutes getting myself and the kids ready, one on the bus and one to the sitter, commute to work, work, reverse route, get home and spend 2 hours going through backpacks, doing homework, starting dinner. I was exhausted. And my days off weren't really days off.

In my head, though, I kept telling myself that it was okay because summer break would eventually get here. I finished Ana's school and started doing more intensive work with Ike. His doctor appointments starting piling up, then school finally ended but Ana's appointments began.

How do I spend my days off? I spend hours in the car, drive all over, juggle tons of appointments and all their related paperwork. When the kids are sick, how do we cover it? Well, I work with a company that is always open and I have a job that is rather flexible so I cover everything. Not everything, I guess, but 98% of stuff. And that other 2% doesn't fall into my lap - it's stuff that I've specifically told DJ to handle.  I write Ana's health plan, I research diseases, I learn about diagnoses, I design the summer school program, read stacks of books about everything we're facing. I track logs and order meds. In case you haven't noticed, I'm basically pointing out that I have a serious Martyr Syndrome outbreak in my head. I've convinced myself that I am juggling everything. That everything is in my court. That the world would grind to a stop if I didn't do so much. Is that true? Nope. In fact, DJ handles our finances. He does 98% of the household stuff. With the kids each taking 1% and me doing nothing. ;-) He plays with the kids, teaches them how to ride bikes and listens to all the (really bad) jokes they make up. Do I want to trade jobs with him? Not at all. No way, no how. But, do I want to stop doing my jobs? Sometimes.
I've had Ana to the doctor twice and hospital once in the past 3 weeks. In that same time, Ike has been to two appointments. Our eye exams may fall in there somewhere, too. On my calendar, I have five more medical appointments in the next three weeks, plus I need to get Ana ready for camp and Ike ready for vacation. I have paperwork to complete for one of those visits and I have to make a two week diabetes log. That will be so much fun because we're having crazy times around here. Poor kid has been on multiple medications and have various infections (three labels so far) and each one has screwed with her numbers in a unique and unpredictable way. I'll take this log to the doctor and they will be appalled. And who will look like the crappy mom? Me. And since she's still not cured of everything, it's not like the charts are going to get any better.


I think my next completely unscheduled day is July 20. And I'll have both kids home with me all day.

Perhaps it's time to plan that movie day I wanted for my birthday :)

Or perhaps it's time to take a day off work and not tell anyone ;-) Drop off the kids, buy a bar of chocolate, pick up some new chick lit books at the library and just hide at home until it's time to pick up Ike and Ana.  You know, I think that's the most brilliant idea I've had in awhile. My little martyr self and I can hang out for awhile and then I can give her the boot!

Friday, June 10, 2011

I love the bread store!

I already loved the bread store...but now they take debit cards! Woohoo!!  Spent $19 and came home with 10 loaves of Nature's Pride bread (which has no HFCS!) in whole wheat, honey wheat, country white and extra fiber wheat and  6 packages of non-HFCS wheat buns. And did I mention that they take debit cards now? Because, seriously, my life just got one step easier :)

DJ asked a few weeks ago about going fruitarian-ish again this summer and I jumped on the idea. I love living on fresh fruits. I can go more fruitarian than the rest of the family since I don't like bread but even I'm not hard core. I try to increase fruits to an extreme amount, but I also include veggies (raw and cooked) and more grains (them more than I) and meats than the official plan recommends. However, my $52 at the grocery store included pink ladies and red delicious apples, lots of potatoes and carrots, bananas, a nice big watermelon and some applesauce. I'd like to get to the farm market early next week and I have frozen berries on hand for smoothies. I'm looking forward to fresh pineapples and raspberries the most!

While we were at the store, I told the kids that they could each take home one thing I normally don't buy - with the caveat that it still had to match our family food rules. ;-)  Kids were thrilled and checked every aisle for treats. I expected some type of breakfast bar or perhaps a candy bar. Instead, Ike chose a bag of bite-sized pizza rolls and Ana decided on a bag of breaded chicken patties. *laugh*  I apparently need to give them more credit because they made fairly innocuous decisions.

Thursday, June 9, 2011


It's official. Ana has been diabetic for 5 years. It may sound crazy to outsiders but I always celebrate the day. Don't get me wrong...diabetes sucks...  The celebration, though, is a way to remember that our reactions and our everyday actions can be positive. We can make it a part of life, work within the disease to keep her as healthy as possible and always be there for her when she is so tired of it that she can't deal with it anymore.

This is a huge knock-wood thing for me, but I greet each new anniversary as a time to pat myself on the back. "Another year without glucagon!" I proudly think. And knock on wood. "Another year without hospitalization!" I compliment myself. And knock on wood. "Ana is amazing!" I brag to everyone I know. Because, you know what? She is. She's been doing her blood checks for years. Since she was 4, maybe? Perhaps even earlier. She was handling all of own boluses at 6. At 7, she is starting to calculate her own carbs and will tell me things like, "The serving size is 5 crackers and it's 10 carbs so since I'm having 11 crackers it's 22 carbs." She's in that middle ground of knowledge - she's realized that diabetes isn't going to go away but she doesn't realize the dangers or complications of diabetes. She's so hopeful of a cure and has already planned what she will do, which is throw everything in the driveway and jump up and down on it and then tell us to drive over it. She tells me this with awesome joy in her hope and I hide the cynical part of my brain that says, "Honey, you won't need us to drive over it because there won't be a cure before you learn to drive!"

This year, since diabetes management is slowly sliding into her responsibility, I explained that I have always had a party to celebrate the anniversary because I'm so excited at how fabulous we are at kicking diabetes' butt. Then I told her that she's old enough to decide how to acknowledge the day...and even to decide that she didn't want to, if that was her preference. She happily picked dinner and ice cream at Friendly's. Ike was struck down by a massive migraine so she was able to pick her date and she happily skipped to the car with DJ.

While they were away, Ike was able to sleep for about an hour. At that point, his pain increased to the point that he woke himself up with his own screams. That's our worst migraine scenario. Ideally, he notices the migraine at early onset and we give him a painkiller and get him to bed. They make him tired and he can often fall asleep before it gets bad and then sleep it off. Not that night. He woke up, screaming, with full body pain, chills, sweating, abdominal pain and a massive headache. Nothing hurts a mom's heart like seeing their child suffer and knowing there is nothing they can do to help. I laid in bed with him, unable to touch him because of the pain and able to offer nothing but my presence. It finally went away and he drug his exhausted little body to bed to recover.

Ana's diabetes is there. It's always there. We never get a break. We think about her blood glucose levels all the time. Her pump administers insulin every six minutes, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It's such a massive thing and we have just absorbed it into our lives. She'll eventually move out, have roommates, boy friends, husband...she'll have this disease in her relationships and it will affect so much of what she does. Whoever loves Ana will need to understand and support and help her. She'll know this from day one of any relationship. It seems massive. And then I watched Ike's misery and pain and I realized that little guy doesn't have diabetes...but someday he'll have to disclose asthma, allergies, migraines, ADD (officially diagnosed last week), stomach issues, anxiety...and maybe dyslexia. Oh, and he's had a few surgeries...both for genetically passed birth defects. Ana has this one thing. This one huge thing. But Ike has so, so many. He'll need to learn how to juggle new relationships, exams, jobs...everything...against this list of randomly occurring issues. And the idea of a husband with that list of diagnoses seems huge...but it will be a reality for my someday daughter-in-law. They'll work through everything and adapt because that's just what you do.

Ever since she's been diagnosed, Ana has been the one whose health I've worried about. She's the one with this all-consuming disease. I've had this little part of my heart that allowed itself to actually feel sorry for her. And, in my mind, I've always thought of Ike as the lucky one just because he managed to avoid the diabetes prize in the health lottery. Five years in and I've suddenly realized that I spend more time worrying about his health. Ana's diabetes has become our 'easy' disease; Ike's litany of diagnoses has become my challenge. We'll never have a day to celebrate as things have evolved one issue at a time over the years but we'll eventually get everything under control and it will become so totally normal that in 5 years I'll look back and think, "I remember when this seemed overwhelming!"

And, Diabetes, if you are reading this, you had better watch out. I'm tough but Ana is going to be a ninja of diabetes control. She plans to stomp you out of existence. And I completely believe in her.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Happy birthday to me!

I'm another year older. For years, growing older was hard. When I was younger, I would dread my birthdays. Turning 25 was the hardest. When I turned 30 I was pregnant and that helped offset that milestone. Anymore though, I think of my birthday as a fun novelty - nothing extravagant, nothing to be dreaded, just a day to have a little fun. 

I was thinking about it this year after complaining to someone that it's so unfair that my birthday falls during the one week of the year that my allergies are at their worst. I realized that I have spent some birthdays in memorable (and not always pleasant) ways :)

When my mom was getting the house ready for my second birthday, I fell down two steps and started screaming. My mom took me to the hospital and endured four hours of waiting for them to fix me. Four hours of a screaming two year old with a broken leg. Since this was my third broken bone and I had a history of hospitalizations, Mom was viewed very negatively and with suspicion. Every time I think I have it bad, I remember my mom's stories about that day and realize I don't have it so bad ;)  Came home in a cast from thigh to foot and when people showed up at the party, they were stunned. (For the record, I was not abused. I promise :) Just one of those sick kids that the doctor's couldn't figure out based on the knowledge of the day.)

When I turned six, my mom and grandma made an entire tray of flower basket cupcakes for my class. I still remember them. They made icing flowers, arranged them on the cupcakes, twisted pipe cleaners into basket handles and tied little bows on them. I was so proud and excited when I passed them out to my class.

When I turned nine I was allowed to have a party and sleepover for my friends. With my mom and my grandma, we made personalized aprons for everyone. Sounds crazy but it was awesome. My friends loved them.

When I turned thirteen, my parents decided to put in a pool. They started digging on my birthday. I annoyed my brothers by telling them that the pool was my birthday present and it would belong more to me than to them. Just to be annoying, of course :)

When I turned fifteen, I had another sleepover party with my friends. We watched Nightmare on Elm Street on the family's new and exciting VCR. *laugh*  About 3/4 through the movie, we heard a scratching sound on the screens of the window behind us. I bravely pulled up the blinds and there stood Freddy Krueger. Okay, so it was really my dad with a striped sweater, a hat pulled over his eyes and 4 steak knives taped to his gloved fingers. There was a moment of panicked silence, broken when my dad flicked on the propane torch. The screaming and running ensued. It was a night every one of us probably still remembers. We were laughing about it years later. It's one of those crazy things that you had to be there to understand how fun it was....afterward, of course. It was a bit terrifying in the middle ;)

When I turned sixteen, I took the SAT. Most draining thing I have ever done. Including that calculus final in college. It came out okay and my scores were enough to get me the scholarships I needed...but what a miserable thing to do on a birthday.

When I turned eighteen, I graduated from high school. I was born at 1:44 PM and my ceremony was 18 years, 16 minutes later. My older brother and I were in the same grade and I remember gloating because I had twice as many presents - my birthday and graduation versus his graduation. I asked for, and received, a typewriter. I was telling my kids about this a few days ago and Ike said, "What's a typewriter?"  *sigh*

When I turned twenty, DJ gave me a small ruby ring and presented it as a promise ring. We had been dating for about 6 months and we knew we would get married as soon as I graduated. He was two years ahead of me and had to wait for me to finish up. He proposed my senior year and we were married the fall after graduation. 

When I turned 27, I was in the midst of my first bout of depression. I was a mess. I'd had my first miscarriage the fall before and my system was thrown completely out of whack. It couldn't seem to rebalance and I was barely functioning. I spent this birthday in therapy and on Prozac. I really believed that I would be back to normal 6 months later. At 38, I have a bottle of Wellbutrin on the counter. It's evolved into SAD but it's clear my hormones never figured out how to go back...

When I turned 29, I was a mom. Ike had been born that February. We were getting ready to start trying for a sibling.

When I turned 30, I was busy packing up my house to move. In the previous year, I'd been through another miscarriage, managed to get pregnant for the 4th time, listed and sold our house and bought a new one. Since the 2nd babe was a boy, we had painted the room blue and yellow and I had tons of stars painted and ready to go on the wall. Of course, in September we found out she was a girl and DJ was busy repainting for her November arrival.

When I turned 33, I was worried about my daughter. I had this idea that she had diabetes but it was too crazy to really consider. Within a week of my birthday she was diagnosed and we had spent a few days in the hospital with her. Life turned upside down for awhile.

And now I'm 38. I no longer schedule anything around my birthday. Just in case ;)  This year, I asked DJ for a day full of movies. One day, as many movies as possible. I get to pick them all :)  We don't have the day set yet as we need to find someone to spend the days with the kids but I'm looking forward to it!

Happy birthday to me!