Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Enjoy the Silence

These gifts remind me of night time in our household (if we're lucky).  After the kids are down I can't wait to take a hot shower, put on comfy PJs and have some me time.  Here's some inspiration for moms, sisters, friends and neighbors:

From the top left:

Monday, December 13, 2010

I suppose there is still time!

OK I meant to post this weeks ago. But we have had some sort of bubonic plague rip through our home.  Again!  And it's been relentless.  Just when Pete and I think it's over another cycle of it begins, takes on different ugly forms.  Has anyone caught that Walking Dead show?  Well that's us.  We have the fever.

Anyhoo here are some cool things I found for kids on Etsy, in case you're still looking. Most sellers ship super quick so I bet if you shopped now you could have it in another week, with plenty of time to wrap and stick under the tree.

Hope everyone is in good health, staying warm and crossing a lot of their lists.  We still haven't even done pics for cards yet, which is hilarious considering all the sessions I did for friends.  Oh well.  Ours just may be New Years cards.

From the top left:

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Coolest Dollhouse Ever

Okay I can't take credit finding this one. I came across it over at Design Mom.  Welcome to the new eco-friendly era of modern, marvelous dollhouses.  Brinca Dada brings to the public its Emerson Dollhouse, both easy on the eyes and the environment. I don't know about you but I'm ready to shrink myself and move in. Be sure to check out the uber-hip matching furniture! 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

December First and December Third

Hey lookey here, it's the week of crappy anniversaries! December. Is it me or do unfortunate things happen more this time of year? Please pass the eggnog.

December 1, 2002. I could write a thesis about how completely painful and unexpected this week (month? year?) was, I imagine similar to having your front teeth knocked out while bowling. I was 26, had just started a new job as a copy writer for the Home Shopping Network. I was breaking for lunch during orientation when I saw my dad and brother pull up in the lot. What in the hell are they doing here? Seriously? Is this a surprise congrats-on-the-new-job-lunch?

Boy was it a big surprise. A big shitty one. They emerged from the car, faces red and swollen. Something was wrong. Very, very wrong.

Your mom is gone, Dad said.

Gone where? Gone back home?

Your mom is dead. She died last night. I found out this morning.

Where? What? What are you talking about Dad?

I'm sorry.

But see, I had just spent the weekend with her. So this news made zero sense to me. She was fine. I mean, she seemed a little quiet and distracted, like something was on her mind, but that's was how mom was. She was living down in Melbourne with her new husband. I hadn't seen her in a few months. We ran around Target during Black Friday and shopped for my brother Corey and my dad. She picked out a red sweater for me. We drove by an upscale assisted living facility - she joked about me putting her there someday. I talked her into sushi that night, something she'd never tried. She didn't like it. She thought it was funny I did. It was chilly outside, she wore an over sized coat. We walked through the mall. She told me I would always be her baby.

We planned on another day of shopping but in the morning mom said she wasn't feeling well. A stomach bug, or maybe the sushi? She looked pale, concerned. She checked her blood sugar a lot. She was a type 1, a diabetic since she was nine.

Mom insisted I go. I said no, but she thought maybe it was the flu. She didn't want me to worry. She wanted to rest. She said I'll see you for Christmas Eve, let me know what the plans are. She helped me and my dog into the car and then stood on the porch, waved goodbye. She stood out there waving until I turned at the end of her street. That was the last time I ever saw her.

I called her when I made it home, she said she was doing much better and able to hold food down. I called the next day. Three times. No answer. I had no idea she was in the hospital. Her husband never called. Mom went septic from a UTI. And being diabetic her little immune system couldn't fight the massive infection. It shut her whole body down. She died without any of us by her side. She was 48.

The next week was a big blur - a week full of phone calls to the medical examiner, visits to the funeral home. I remember my dad (not her husband) swiping his credit card for the expenses. I remember my brother and I. We drove back to Melbourne sometime in the middle of that week to collect her belongings. I was just there the week before...? We asked the husband if we could have her recipe box. It was packed with all the things she cooked for us as kids. He said no. Corey and I went through her closet and laid a handful of her clothes on the bed. We had to pick something to bury her in. We narrowed it down to the flowery dress she wore to my FSU graduation, or the little jeans and white t-shirt she wore all the time. We went with the more casual ensemble.

I have no idea whatever happened to that recipe box. It has been my mission for 8 years to find it, but I can't even find her then husband. I imagine it got tossed at some time. At Christmas a few weeks later we opened the presents she bought while shopping with me. I guess she'd wrapped them the night before the hospital. Her husband had passed them along to us at the funeral.

December 3, 2008. Mia turned 16 months old that day. I was up at the pediatrician to ger her a flu shot. It was a routine visit.

She has a runny nose, the nurse said. Is she sick?

Mia's had a runny nose for a few weeks now, but nothing else. Except recently I've noticed she's soaking her diapers. And she seems very thirty all the time.

Do you have diabetes in the family?

Yes. My mother had it. My brother is also type 1, diagnosed at 18. I know these are red flags. But she is too young. Could you check her sugar so I can stop worrying?

Mia's blood sugar is 587.

What does that mean?

I'm sorry.

So I don't really even know what to write from here. If you've read the the Mia's Story post you know where this all goes. I guess I just wanted to put it out there, how much this week hurts my head. And my heart. It takes my breath away to think about it. My daughter is fighting the same disease that played a big part in killing my mom. I hate diabetes. But I am lucky to have caught it in Mia before she got incredibly sick. I'm not sure how much more time would have passed until then? She was on her way.

And I am tired. The kids are asleep for now and there's clean sheets on the bed. Mia's blood sugar is 162. My alarm is set again for the 3 am check.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Do Not Feed the Animals!

Today was the Harvest Thanksgiving Lunch at Mia's Preschool. I decided the easiest way to do this was to head up there with my trusty salter scale and measure up the carbs as accurately as I could. I laughed out loud when Mia popped out from the playground with this little sign pinned to her shirt. DO NOT FEED ME. Oh but it's so appropriate! People everywhere assume hey you're a cute kid, here's a cookie. Last Saturday I had to chase off a Sam's Club employee who insisted Mia take a regular-sized candy cane. And when I said no thank you for the third time and threw in she's diabetic, the strangest look washed over the worker's face. She was clearly mortified and shocked. Luckily Mia has never had a candy cane - she didn't really know what she was missing. And we were in the toy section so Mia was easily distracted. In theory she probably could have had a bite, but do I even want to go there? I've been battling highs from hell lately and not wanting to start another train wreck. So I think I may keep this sign on her for Thanksgiving at our house. We're coming up on our 2-year diaversary, but not everyone gets it the way we do.

Anyway, wanted to share one more pic of Mia and Mr. Big Stuff, who turned 8 months today. I ran out of clean PJs for him (hello laundry!), so I put him to bed in old Children's Place 3T zip-ups Mia had to stop wearing because of the pump. Umm, they are not that big on him. It's hilarious and a little scary. Maybe I'll grab a pic of Kai in these 3Ts when he wakes in the morning.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Pretty things I do not wear

Every now and then I pop on over to Mod Cloth to torture myself.  They have a bajillion dresses, anywhere from about $40 to $130, all sweet and feminine and flirty.  One of these days I will say goodbye to my collection of Old Navy tank tops, hoodies, yoga pants and busted up flip flops! I will be one of those moms, one of the ones you wonder how in babypukehell they manage to look so put together. I get all excited just to grab a shower in the morning and make it out the door without having peanut butter smeared down my leg.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Party Time

Wasn't it just Labor Day last week? Where has 2010 gone? For whatever reason I thought we still had a bit more to go before Thanksgiving but nope, it's in a few days. And we're having it here, at our house. In a few days. Shite.

I know nobody will care as long as their bellies are full, but I want to make this fun, festive and affordable. And super tasty. I'll probably be scouring Target and Ikea for some cheap table wear and decorations, and also hitting up this site for inspiration. Where on earth do people find the time? And the patience? Or the money? I don't know, but it's fun to look at. Here are a few pics from Kara's Party Ideas. And to any of you reading that will be joining us on Turkey Day, our house probably won't look anything like this.

I do love this idea - simple and sweet. Have guests write what they are thankful for and display.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

World Diabetes Day was Sunday

I haven't posted as often in the last week because I've been pretty busy. And the kids have been crazy cakes. Kai cut tooth #2 and Mia's blood sugar has seen better days. She's been toughing out an on again, off again ear infection/stomach flu and taking antibiotics twice daily. It's driving Pete and I INSANE to see her numbers mostly in the 200s and 300s. Why. Why. Why. This scares me to think what it's doing to her A1C. I hate diabetes. And this past Sunday, Nov 14 was World Diabetes Day. Pete asked me what we should do that day, and honestly, to say this as delicately as possible, I just wanted to give diabetes the middle finger. I just want it to leave us alone already, to just let us be. To just let Mia feel as good as she should be.

Elf on the Shelf

What is with this thing? I was all excited to grab our Elf on the Shelf at Barnes and Noble and start a little Christmas tradition every year. But the more I see this little dude, the more I'm not so sure if his intentions are for good or evil. Elfie reports to Santa how naughty and/or nice the little ones are being everyday. Every morning Mia wakes and sees Elfie in a different spot. And then she proceeds to run in the other direction. There is something very sinister about his gaze. Pete says he woke up at 3 am the other night to hear Latin chanting from somewhere in the living room. He flicked on the light, and the Elf on the Shelf smiled back. He might be the Elf in the Trash soon. I'm thinking a little Rudolph would be a lot less creepy.

Monday, November 8, 2010

I am Thankful For Cold Nights

Have I mentioned how much I love, love, love this time of year? I can't get enough of this incredible weather. It's why I live in Florida. We've suffered through six grueling months of dreadful heat and humidity and alas, it's gone. Arrivederci swamp hell. Hello pleasant and delicious. Hello open windows, so nice to enjoy you once again.

And all that cooler weather means cooler things to wear. We can retire the wife beaters and flip flops. Here are a few autumn-ish things I like from that site I need to stay away from.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Big Blue Test

November is awesome - there's the chill in the air, the pumpkin lattes, the not-so-out-of-reach playoffs and the tryptophan turkey comas. But November is also Diabetes Awareness Month. Did you know that diabetes kills more people in the US annually than AIDS and breast cancer combined? Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, the leading cause of new blindness in adults and responsible for 60% of lower limb amputations. One in every 400 to 600 children have Type 1 diabetes.

If you have two minutes, please watch the video above. For every hit the video receives, a week's worth of life-saving insulin will be given to a child that can not afford diabetes treatment.

From the D-Mom Blog:

The video is a collaboration between Manny Hernandez of the Diabetes Hand Foundation, David Edelman of Diabetes Daily, and Riva Greenberg of Diabetes Stories. “Roche has committed to donate $75,000 which will be split between International Diabetes Federation’s Life for a Child program and Insulin For Life, in proportion to the number of views the video gets between Nov. 1 and Nov. 14.” In order for Roche to donate the full $75K, the video must get 100,00 views between now and November 14th.

Please watch and share with friends and family. Tweet it, Facebook it, email it, etc. Spread the word. Thank you so much.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Halloween Madness

OK I'm going to try and keep from going overboard with the pics but truth be told, it was a wonderful weekend, and we are still all completely worn out. But that's how it should be, right? Here are some snapshots of everything from the playgroup Friday to Aunt Keri's Halloween Bash on Sunday. Thanks to Erin and Keri for offering their homes for the festivities, and thank you to Melissa for the insanely delicious cupcakes. Lots of fun was had with Cousin Alden and Livie! And in case anyone is wondering what we did with all the candy Mia collected, well she hasn't asked for it, we put it all away. Out of sight, out of mind.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Trick or Treating with a Diabetic

I'm not going to pretend to be an expert here, because really, I have no idea how this is going to work. Last year was a breeze because Mia didn't care. This year is an entirely different situation. She gets it. Halloween now equals skipping house to house, singing twick o tweet! and getting a bunch of sugary goodness. A big pile of it - the most she's ever seen!

Growing up all my parents had to worry about on Halloween night was razor blades and reckless drivers. I worry about blood sugar too, and breaking someone's little heart when she's told she can't eat all that candy at once. I'm thinking the best way to go about this is to let her choose two candies. The rest will go into hibernation somewhere and surface as after dinner treats now and then. I'm sure we'll keep a lot of it for lows too. Luckily Mia's endocrinologist handed us a two-page list of carb counts for just about every candy you can imagine, so that will help tremendously with boluses. Hopefully we can keep the blood sugar train from derailing.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Don't Cover Your Eyes!

I don't know why I like scary movies but I do.

Every now and then a Friday night comes along and Pete and I will talk ourselves into watching a horror flick. We're not fans of the slasher ones like the Saw series (gross) or The Hills Have Eyes (grosser). Those type of movies have no business in today's society. I'm all for freedom of expression and creativity, but come on, do we really need to be giving wackos out there any more grotesque, psychotic ideas?

A good horror movie can be done tastefully and still scare the living poo right out of you. And you won't lie awake at 3am wondering if your seemingly normal but hopelessly neurotic neighbors really are inbred blood and brain - slurping cannibals.

I love the classic scary movies, the originals - you know the ones from the 70s and 80s that made some nights during childhood a living hell. I remember having a handful of friends over in junior high and watching The Shining for the first time. Our kitchen had a window out to the side yard. Some time late that night I was rinsing a dish. My dad was taking out the trash and thought it would be totally awesome to slowly rise up from beneath the window outside and quietly press his face to the glass.

Oh. My. God.

One of my most memorable Halloweens was at Florida State. Our good buddy Mario brought over Halloween I and II. All drunken commentary aside, we were beyond spooked in our little two bedroom loft that night - nothing like having to go pee while cautiously pulling back the shower curtain - you know, just in case there happened to be an escaped mental patient in there. So here is my list of all-time creepy flicks, in no particular order. Even if this is not your thing, I highly recommend stepping outside your comfort level, turning out all the lights and hitting play on the DVD remote. Some of these are straight - up terrifying, while others may take a little bit for the fear to settle in. Pick your poison.

Witches of Darkness

Every October my awesome Uncle Felix shares this poem he wrote for Halloween. With All Hallows' Eve being only a few days (or dark nights) away, here is a fun little medley to read with your kiddos. Enjoy!




Monday, October 25, 2010

Sweetfields Farm Pumpkin Patch

So glad we made our way up to the Brooksville area for some good 'ol country October fun! I highly recommend the Sweetfields Farms pumpkin patch. Last year we made the trek down to the Hunsader Pumpkin Festival in Bradenton, and while fun, I found it a little too over the top and crowded. Sweetfields was the perfect mix of timeless tradition and fun festivities to keep the family entertained for the afternoon. The sunflower maze is beautiful! So if you're looking for something more laid back and folky, head here. Go early because they put a cap on the crowds once the parking lot fills. No pets allowed.

Livie, Keri and Jaime met us there and of course, I had the camera snapping away! I'm hoping to get a new photoblog going soon where I'll include a bunch of these in a better layout template, but for now, here are a few from the Sweetfields adventure on Sunday. It was hot and sticky, but we had a great time!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Make Do & Mend

The last couple days have been tough for those of us in the type 1 community, so I thought I'd follow up the blog with a dose of bright and cheery. Happy thoughts, happy things. It's going to be a wonderful weekend - took Mia and Kai to the Disney store yesterday to get their Halloween costumes. Of course Mia wore her Belle princess dress for approx. 4 hours before Daddy could bribe her out of it for bed. And Kai wore his Toy Story Rex for 4 minutes before he'd had enough. Today we're hoping to head to one of the big pumpkin patches outside town, and tomorrow sounds about right for a little trip to the Children's Museum. Throw some football in the mix and we're good. What's everyone else up to?

Check out this pretty journal here and some other sunny Etsy finds below.

Friday, October 22, 2010

We need to find a cure -

Before any more lives are lost. I have had enough.

This is incredibly disturbing to me. I've been in a funk all day after learning of the little girl. No matter how hard we try and keep on top of diabetes, it can shut a system down in a moment overnight. This is why I don't sleep well anymore and why I feel like a neurotic mess some days.
Dead in Bed Syndrome

Someone with type 1 diabetes is found dead in the morning in an undisturbed bed after having been observed in apparently good health the day before. No cause of death can be established. This is the typical situation of the "dead in bed" syndrome, a very tragic outcome which leaves the family with many unanswered questions: Why, when, how, could it have been avoided?

After the first report from UK the observations have been confirmed from other countries. A number of young people with type 1 diabetes have been found dead in the morning without previous symptoms of illness, hyper or hypoglycemia. The number of deaths of this kind per 10,000 patient years has been estimated to 2 - 6. For a population of 100,000 persons with diabetes, this represents 20 - 60 deaths per year or approximately 6% of all deaths in persons with diabetes aged less than 40 years. A relationship to human insulin or intensive insulin treatment has been postulated but does not seem likely. Autopsies have not revealed the cause of death. However, the diagnosis of hypoglycemia is difficult to confirm after death.

In a recent review, clinical reports strongly suggest that nighttime hypoglycemia is a likely prerequisite of the event, but that the death is sudden and probably caused by cardiac arrhythmia. It is postulated that early signs of nerve damage (autonomic neuropathy) can result in a disturbance of the autonomic nervous system.

If  it's caused by severe hypoglycemia, why doesn't the person wake up? There has been an increased concern about the phenomenon of hypoglycemic unawareness, which is defined as a hypoglycemic episode without warning symptoms of the decreasing blood glucose level. Increasing evidence has been shown that hypoglycemic episodes as such precede the development of hypoglycemic unawareness. Hypoglycemic unawareness will increase the risk of having a severe hypoglycemia.

We know from recent studies with continuous glucose monitoring that nighttime low glucose values are much more common than previously thought. Most often, this is quite asymptomatic and the person does not wake up with hypoglycemic symptoms. Often the glucose value returns to normal or even high in the morning (so called Somogyi phenomenon) so this pattern is difficult to discover without taking nighttime tests every now and then.

Taking the wrong type of insulin before going to bed can contribute to severe nighttime hypoglycemia. We know this has accidentally happened to many young persons with diabetes. If a large dose of bedtime insulin (not uncommon in puberty/prepuberty) is replaced with a similar dose of regular or rapid-acting insulin this will lower the blood glucose considerably and could presumably trigger a severe hypoglycemic reaction which in turn could be further complicated by cardiac arythmia.

What can be done to avoid this from happening?
Checking a nighttime glucose value will give you an impression of the risk of hypoglycemia. If you use pen injectors, make sure the pen for your bedtime insulin looks and feels quite different from the one you use for daytime meal doses (not just another color that may be difficult to observe in the dark). If you use syringes and vials, store daytime and bedtime insulin in different places. When mixing insulin, be extra careful not to take the often higher bedtime dose of the wrong type. For physically active persons, it is important to check for late hypoglycemia after the exercise, particularly in the night and to have a rule of decreasing the bedtime dose after more strenous exercise, especially if the person does not practice this regularly.

From the Parents of Children with Type 1 Forums:

With the heaviest of heart, tremendous sadness, and with the family's permission I share that beautiful, clever and talented 13-year old Eilish, daughter of Mel and Charlie, and sister of Ella, passed away today. Mel and Charlie have always been conscientious and proactive parents. They absolutely did a wonderful job attending to the diabetes care of Eilish, all precautions were taken, due diligence and protocol followed, pump checked, blood glucose checked all in the most timely manner. Type 1 diabetes took Eilish from the world today.

Although we may have questions that really cannot be answered, now is the time to extend our heartfelt prayers and loving support to Mel, Charlie and Ella.

Monday, October 18, 2010

To the Cleaners!

I'm on a quest to find an awesome coin laundromat in the Tampa Bay area. Something fresh and funky with a touch of 1950s fun. That may be a stretch, so I'll opt for spacious, clean and functional. Why you ask? Because I want to use it as a location for a photo shoot. I have so many ideas for this, I may be a little in over my head - but the playful atmosphere, shiny machines and excellent lighting could really work. I took the above pics today at a hole-in-the-wall place we came across. Their one and only paying customer seemed pretty entertained. What do you think? Anyone know of any cool laundromats in the area? Let me know - leave a comment below.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Princess and the Red Balloon

Before iPhones, iPads and XBoxes, there were balloons. Who new the uncomplicated engineering of latex, helium and ribbon could keep a child entertained for hours? Someone handed Mia a red balloon while at the Hyde Park Fall Festival on Saturday. And they became best friends. All the way home, all day long, Mr. Balloon and the little princess were inseperable, dancing and skipping about without a care. Mia even tried to share her apple sauce with Mr. Balloon. But he didn't have a mouth so she insisted Daddy draw him one, with two big boogley eyes, so he could eat, talk and see the birdies outside. And that was super duper cool.

You can only imagine how very sad it was when Mr. Balloon met his demise later that day. I wasn't there for it - I was shopping at Publix when I got the phone call, a distraught Mia choking out the words "Buh. Loon. Buh. Loon. Popped!! Daddy do sumsting!!" Her little heart was broken.

I found her another balloon at the store, a red heart that said I Love You. And when I walked through the door with that thing, everything was right with the world again. I'm beginning to think if the only thing Santa brought this year was a balloon, she'd be perfectly content. I just better have a few as back-up.

D365 - A Quick Check