Welcome to a piece of our sweet journey of life. This blog is about our family life-- my husband, my type 1 diabetic kindergartner, my spunky pre-schooler, my newborn baby girl, and myself! Enjoy!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

The New Way That I'll Explain Lows and Highs

A thought came to me yesterday and I reveled in its simplicity and directness.  This is probably how I'll choose to explain low blood sugar and high blood sugar to people who don't understand their differences and their levels on the scale of emergency.

Low blood sugars are akin to Tornado Warnings.
When there's a tornado warning, take shelter immediately.  A tornado has been spotted in your area. Things can progress quickly to an emergency status.  Take cover.  Do whatever you need to do to protect yourself and your family from the imminent danger.  This is real.  It's now.  Don't hesitate.  Don't keep sitting on the couch.  Run to the hall bathroom and cling to the toilet (for in most instances these days, the toilet remains bolted to the ground while bathtubs are aqua-glass and are formed from one piece of plastic which can be detached and blown away). Bring your babies and your dog with you and take immediate cover!
When a low blood sugar occurs, correct it.  Right now.  This instant.  Don't keep sitting on the couch.  Get up!  Run to your hall closet or kitchen cabinet and grab the Smarties or juice boxes.  Or in our case, run to the fridge and grab the jelly and fumble around in the drawer for a tablespoon.  Set the timer.  In 15 minutes, do a recheck.  Blood sugar not up into normal range? Run back to your hall closet, grab more Smarties.  Get another juice box.  Grab some regular soda.  Or spoon some more jelly or cake decorating icing gel into your kid's mouth.  Set the timer for 15 minutes.  Do a recheck.  If blood sugar isn't in normal range, repeat the steps until normal range is acquired.
Low blood sugars can happen quickly.  They can decrease rapidly.  They can bring on an emergency situation in a matter of seconds.  When you run into a low blood sugar, take action and do not hesitate. Just like with tornado warnings.  That tornado is in the area.  Take cover until that warning expires.  Keep treating that low blood sugar until the blood sugar is back into normal range.

High blood sugars are akin to Tornado Watches.
When there's a tornado watch, things have the potential to get worse, but it'll take some time.  The situation is progressing in a way that could eventually lead to an emergency status, but we've got some wiggle room.  Be prepared to take action, but for now, diligently monitor the situation.  Have your plan in place. 
When a high blood sugar occurs, correct it with insulin if needed.  Check for ketones.  Drink lots of water.  Lower the intake of carbs.  Monitor the situation.  High blood sugars rise over time.  Ketones build up over time accompanied by high blood sugar that doesn't decrease due to lack of insulin.  If left untreated, this could lead to diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA).  This is what happened with Michael when we found out he had Type 1.  We didn't know his pancreas stopped working.  Over time, his blood sugars keep rising since he wasn't producing enough insulin to combat these high blood sugars.  Ketones began to build up in his bloodstream-- slowly turning his blood acidic.  His body wasn't able to use carbs for energy and it began to use fat instead.  Upon diagnosis, he was in DKA.  For weeks and months after diagnosis, I shook with fear every time his blood sugar meter showed a high number.  My kid had been in DKA.  He almost died.  It was extremely rare for him to get diagnosed without first being in a coma or having a seizure.  I didn't want my child to ever be in DKA again.  I trembled at all high-blood sugar readings.  And then I was told,  "it takes time."  High blood sugars don't instantaneously cause an emergency status.  They can be corrected, and blood sugar can be rechecked in a few hours.  Now that we were aware of his diagnosis, we would have tools to help us combat high blood sugars.  I still feared them, but that was partly due to the fact that at that time, Michael hadn't had a low blood sugar reading since we received his diagnosis.  And the first time he did show a low blood sugar reading, I realized how much faster things could go from bad to worse and how much more of an emergency a low blood sugar is than a high blood sugar.
High blood sugars happen over time.  The potential for an emergency is there and could develop overtime, just like with a tornado watch.  The weather situation has all the necessary aspects to become a tornado warning and require more instant action, but at the moment, the situation just requires careful monitoring.

Tornado warning v. tornado watch. 
Seems simple enough to grasp.
I'll try it out the next time I'm explaining the emergency status of lows versus highs.

Until Next Time,

Much love, Reba

*I don't give medical advice.  Information related to Type 1 Diabetes found on this blog is what worked for us in our own experience.  Please ask a medical professional for the best path for you before undergoing treatments of lows and highs in your own experience.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Our First Trip to the ER

Well, it was bound to happen.  It’s one of those things in life that you pray and pray and pray never occurs and then one day it just does and you find yourself sitting in an ER Triage room watching your Type 1 child sleep on a hospital bed and you’re fighting every sensory overload you are experiencing and repeatedly telling yourself that it’ll all be okay.

 Last week at daycare, Noah’s teachers started telling us that they thought he was lactose-intolerant.  He kept spitting up his milk and couldn’t keep much lunch down.  Aaron and I did not side with their ideas of lactose intolerance simply because Noah had been drinking milk for a month at home with no problems with spit up.  We assumed he kept spitting up because his little 1-year old tummy was full. He’d eat what he could of the lunch provided, and then he’d be given a bottle.  It was just too much for his little tummy to handle.  So, he started spitting things up on Wednesday and this continued into Thursday.  Then on Thursday night, he threw up all of the supper he had eaten. 

Aaron was home alone with the boys while I was on my way home from the insulin pump class.  Shortly after I arrived home, Aaron started to feel sick.  He exhibited signs of a stomach virus.  This went on until after bedtime.  I was already asleep when Aaron got sick again and asked me to bring him a bowl. The time was 10:45pm. As I was on my way back to the bedroom with the bowl, I heard Michael scream.   Instantly I knew. 

I opened Michael's door and was smacked in the face by the smell of sickness.  He had vomited all over his bed.  He was screaming and scared.  It was only the second time he had ever thrown up in his life (which was about two months ago) and it was a scary thing to a two-year old.  It was a scary thing to a parent of a type 1 child-- vomiting and diarrhea are never good. 

I got him cleaned up and on the couch, which I covered in blankets and towels.  Aaron was stable enough to come out to the living room with us.  Then it all began again.  Michael isn't experienced with vomiting and isn't completely old enough to understand how to handle the situation-- meaning, if it's in your mouth, get it out.  Eventually, I called my dad because I knew he'd have his phone near him.  I asked if my mom could come spend the night at my house just in case I ended up having to take Michael to the ER.  She arrived within the half hour.  Michael had attempted to throw-up about two more times before she got there.  After she arrived, he had two more attempts.  He settled down to sleep on the couch and my mom went to the guest room to sleep.  I settled in beside Michael and had an alarm set for every two hours to check his blood sugar during the night.  I listened to his breathing and knew every time he was about to vomit again.  He probably had about two more attempts at vomiting before he really went to sleep.  The time was 1:40am.   

His appetite was good in the morning.  Blood sugar was okay.  I checked his diaper for ketones.  He had not urinated overnight, so I planned to check for ketones after he ate breakfast.  We thought we were in the clear.  Fortunately, my mom had chosen to stay at my house during the day just to make sure we were all okay. Michael ate well for breakfast, but then had diarrhea.  The diarrhea rendered checking cotton balls a useless event.  Michael ate well at morning snack.  Very shortly after eating morning snack, he vomited again and had more diarrhea.  I continued to put cotton balls in Michael's diapers, and each time, they would get soiled by diarrhea.  I called the diabetes doctor on call.  He told me that if ketones were moderate to large, I'd need to take Michael to the ER.  Ketones were the prime player and I needed to know what they were.  I called our local pediatrician office and they set out a urine specimen bag for us to pick up.  We could attach it to Michael and catch his urine without having diarrhea soil the cotton balls.  My mom left the house to go pick up the urine bag. 

I laid Noah down for his afternoon nap.  He was surprisingly better.  Aaron was worse and was laying in bed all day very sick.  My mom told me to check Michael's diaper every 10 minutes to see if he had urinated on the cotton balls, and to see if I could catch him after he tee-tee'd and before another bout of diarrhea came along.  At lunchtime, Michael wasn't hungry.  He laid on the couch to watch a TV show and I was able to retrieve two cotton balls with a tiny amount of urine on them.  I checked them for ketones.  Large.  My heart sank.  I called my mom and told her that we needed to go to the ER.  I told her I didn't want to take him by myself.  I went to talk to Aaron.  He was able to call his mom to get ready to come over so that she could watch him and Noah since my mom and I were going to have to take Michael to the ER.  I ran around and threw lots of diapers into Michael's bag along with shoes and socks for him and a spare pair of pants for me.  My mom arrived back at my house from the pediatrician's office, and we loaded Michael in the car and headed to the ER.  I drove and my mom sat in the backseat with Michael so that she could catch any vomit in a container we brought, and so that she could do blood sugar checks on our way to the ER.

Michael's blood sugar went from 114 to 110 to 98 on our 15-minute drive.  Yes, we checked him quite a bit on our way because he kept dozing off and was starting to become unresponsive.

When we got to the ER, I carried him inside.  Although lots of people were sitting in chairs, I was not going to do so.  I said to the receptionist, "He's type 1 diabetic.  Two years old.  I'm concerned about DKA."  She said "come on in here and we'll start getting some information." My mom started filling out the electronic documents on a kiosk while I took Michael into a little side room to give information.  When we were almost done giving our info, Michael threw up. All over the counter, all over the floor, all over himself, my bag, and my shirt.  Yep, I totally thought I was prepared since I grabbed 20 diapers and a change of pants for myself, but no shirt.  So here we were covered in vomit. That totally got us a pass to head on back to triage. While in triage, he vomited again.

We quickly got put in a room.  The triage nurse whispered to me and asked me if I'd like him to bring me a scrub top to wear since I had smelly vomit all over my shirt.  I was very grateful and said "Yes, please.  Thank you so much."  Michael was put in a  hospital gown.  They attempted to check his blood sugar with their own lancet device.  Michael wasn't having any of it.  I asked if we could use our own lancet device since Michael was familiar with it.  They agreed.  It worked perfectly.  The plan for the rest of the day was for us to use our own lancet device to get the drop of blood needed for their blood sugar checks.  As the nurse was asking us background questions, Michael was sitting on my mom's lap on the hospital bed.  She interrupted the nurse to say "You've gotta get an IV in him.  His breathing is labored and he's fading out."  I leaned down to Michael's eye level.  I tapped his knee and said "Michael, buddy, look at Mommy."

A very tired two-year-old, who could barely lift his head, looked up at me with sunken eyes that were rolling back in his head.  "Get him an IV!" I said.  I clapped my hands to rush the process.

The nurse went to get the supplies for an IV, and the doctor came in to assess Michael.  Mom and I had the job of holding him "still" for the IV.  It seemed that all of the staff was grateful that Mom is a nurse and knows what she's doing!  After the IV was started, the machine beeped incessantly.  Since the IV was in Michael's elbow crease, and since he was throwing temper tantrums since his blood sugar was dropping, the IV wasn't inserting much, if any, fluid into his veins.  The nurse came back in the room and then left again to retrieve a styrofoam board to hold his arm straight.  This board was wrapped with blue medical tape all down Michael's little arm. 
Eventually, Michael settled in on the hospital bed and took a nap.  His cheeks were so flush.  His eye sockets were sunken. 

A tech appeared and wanted to draw blood for a blood culture.  We told her no.  My mom informed her that enough blood was drawn from the IV when they inserted it, and the tech could get a sample for a blood culture from that.  The tech wasn't happy.  I didn't care.  I wasn't going to let random people poke my son on his other arm while he rested.  We could see that the nurse was talking to the tech.  Later the nurse would tell us that the tech was able to get a blood culture from the "green sample" the nurse took at the start of Michael's IV.  We made the right call in not allowing Michael to be poked again.

I checked his blood sugar.  88.  I asked my mom what was in the IV drip.  She looked and noted that it was just fluid, no glucose.  She said they might need to get through the bolus of fluid first before introducing a glucose drip.

Five minutes later I checked his blood sugar again.  84.  My mom opened up our hospital room door and asked that they bring an IV with glucose.

I called the diabetes doctor on call at Children's Hospital.  I felt like things weren't moving quickly enough at the ER and I wanted to be sure we were taking all necessary steps to get Michael's blood sugar where it should be.

Ten minutes later, same regular IV fluid flowing into his veins.  Labored breathing.  I checked his blood sugar.  68.  I opened the door.  My mom went to the nurses station and told them that we were monitoring his blood sugar on our own and it was dropping and he needed a glucose drip quickly.  I held out our blood sugar meter so the nurse could see.

She arrived quickly with a glucose drip.  I felt so much better. 

The doctor stepped in.  My mom told him about Michael's blood sugar dropping quickly and the need for glucose, which is why he was on a glucose drip now.  The doctor looked at us and smiled.  "I did my residency at Children's," he said.  "I'm very well versed in pediatric type 1 diabetes care."

My mom and I both smiled.  "You need to make that the first thing you tell people like us!" she said to him.  "That would have made us so much more at ease!"  He laughed.  I breathed my first real breath since the moment we stepped into the ER.

It was immensely hard for me to sit on the hospital bed and hold Michael while he slept.  The smell of medical tape is a tough one for me.  Michael had so much of it on his arms while we were at the hospital in August when he was first diagnosed.  The smell of this tape also brought back a flood of memories of the time when my dad was in a medically induced coma following his motorcycle accident.  My mom and I had a good talk about how much we remember and how vivid the memories can be when brought on by the smells and sounds of a hospital.

Within 20 minutes, Michael was awake.  The next step was for him to drink fluids and keep them down. He was offered apple juice, water, and gatorade.  "No thanks," he said.  "I'm not thirsty."  Earlier, we had put a urine collection bag on him to catch whatever tee-tee he produced so that we could check for ketones and have a big enough sample for the urine specimen.  We told him he would get to go home and see Daddy and Noah if he drank some water or juice.  "No thanks" he kept saying.

My mom and I alternated who sat in the hospital bed with him.  We attempted letting him watch cartoons on the TV, but turned it off and told him that we'd turn it back on when he drank something.

The doctor came in and said that DKA was ruled out. Praise!  He said Michael was severely dehydrated and the IV fluids would help with that. 

Quite a bit later, Michael decided that he wanted to drink the apple juice.  "Mmm!  Yum!" he said.  He drank the whole 4 oz container.  He kept it down.  Then he drank water.  Then more water.  Then he said "Oh!  I tee-tee!" and sure enough, the edge of the bag, which we stuck out the side of the diaper to monitor, was filling with tee-tee.  I let him finish and then I removed the bag, bounced over to the door, swung it open and waved it in the air and said "we've got a sample!"  The nurse gave a huge smile, clapped her hands, and jumped up to retrieve the bag.

Michael chose to watch a pizza making show on the Food Network.  "Cooking show!  Let's watch cooking show!" he cheered as we sat on the hospital bed again. 

Then he was interested in finding out exactly where all the tubes hooked to his arm were coming from.  Then he recited the numbers he saw on the screen showing heart rate, blood oxygen, etc. 

Shortly after he tee-tee'd, the urine specimen results came back and that was our ticket home.  The nurse and my mom delicately removed the IV.  Michael chose purple medical tape to hold his band-aid in place.  A new tech came in to get vital signs.  She asked Michael if he liked Lightning McQueen, Dusty Crophopper, and Thomas the Train (the girl knew her stuff!).  He chatted with her while Mom sneakily got a blood pressure reading.  We got one more blood sugar check at this time too.  He was comfortably in the 100's.  We changed him out of his gown and into his spare set of clothes. 

We loaded ourselves up with all of our bags, (my Mom's purse, my slightly thrown up on bag, Michael's backpack, and our plastic bag filled with soiled clothes).  We made our way past the nurses station where Michael waved to the doctor and nurses.  I paid our copay and the nurse walked by.  My mom said "Say thank you to your nice nurse, Tammy."  Michael looked at her, and whispered "Thank you Tammy."  She said it melted her heart.

We made it to our car, buckled everyone in, and headed home. 

I was enormously thankful that my son wasn't in DKA.  I was thankful that he was awake and alert and had a blood sugar within normal range.  I was tired and worn out from my family being sick.  I wanted peace in our home-- healing and peace.  No more sickness.  No more fear.  No more roller coaster of blood sugars.  I just wanted rest for my family.  We made it through the hurdle of an ER visit.  Hopefully it was our last.

Until Next Time,

Much love, Reba


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Popcorn and Pancakes for Breakfast? Oh My!

I'm in process of writing a description of the horrendous week that our family spent while recovering from a stomach virus.  Sicknesses coupled with type 1 diabetes are just no fun.  The climax of the sickness was a trip to the ER for Michael.  Hospitals are difficult places for me to be since it reminds me so much of the time my dad was in the hospital following his motorcycle accident.  Hospitals are a sensory overload of smells and sounds that I don't particularly care to remember.  So, I've been working on writing a post about the experience we had in taking Michael to the ER due to severe dehydration and concern of DKA.  I've been working on the post for nearly a week.  It's difficult for me to write too much at a time since it's an emotional process for me to work through.  I plan to have the post finished by tomorrow hopefully.  Until then, please enjoy a nice, light post about silly things Michael says these days!

I've started going a different way to daycare and work.  It cuts down on traffic by an exponential amount, which means that my stress level is greatly reduced!  So, now we take some back roads that wind through a couple of farms, and we see cows on our way to daycare now.  We pass by two farms around 6:40 in the morning.  Yesterday, a group of cows was huddled around a feed trough at the edge of one of the pastures.  The conversation went like this:

Me:  Look!  The cows are eating breakfast!  Did you know that cows eat breakfast?
Michael: Yes!  Pancakes!
Me:  Pancakes!  Cows eat pancakes?
Michael: YEAH!
Me: Probably grass.  Cows eat grass for breakfast.
Michael:  And pancakes!

Yesterday evening after I got home from work, we took the boys out to Target and to get gas in my car.  While loading them up in the car, I asked Michael "What do cows eat for breakfast?"  I wanted to see if he'd give the same answer as in the morning.

Michael: Pancakes!
Me: Wow!
Michael: Yep!  And sometimes popcorn!  Pancakes and popcorn for breakfast!

Other random conversations:

Me:  Okay, Michael, what would you like to do?  Read a book?
Michael: (scratches top of head).  Oh! I have an idea!  Turn on and off the lights!
Me:  No, that's not an okay idea.  How about we read a book?
Michael:  Ok. Honey Hunt.  Let's read that one.  Here, you sit on the couch. I'm coming.  Reading a book is coming up!

Aaron:  Ok, it's time to brush teeth.
Michael: No, I don't brush teeth.
Aaron: Yes, you do.  We don't want your teeth to fall out.  And then we put on pajamas.
Michael: No I don't wear pajamas.
Aaron: Yes, you do, because it's time to go to sleep.
Michael:  I don't sleep.

Michael: (walks into the living room.  Turns on the light. Claps for himself!  And throws a fist into the air).  Yay!  I did it!  I turned on the light!  Woo-hoo!

Me:  Okay, you eat your breakfast and I'm going to take these bags out to the car.  I'll be right back.
Michael: Okay, good luck!

Me:  I'm going to take this trash out to the trash can.  You eat your snack.  I'll be right back.
Michael: Okay, momma.  Good luck!

Me:  Somebody has a poopy diaper.  Who is it? Noah?  Or Michael?
Michael:  (who is clearly the one who pooped)  Not me!  I all clean!  (sniffs air)  Oh Noah!  Pee-woo!  You stink!

Michael:  I'm a baby.
Me: No, you're a big boy.
Michael: No I'm not.  I'm a baby.
Me:  Babies can't talk.  And you're talking.  So you must be a big boy.
Michael:  Goo-goo ga-ga.  See?  I'm a baby!

I hope you've enjoyed this random selections of silly conversations.  They happen daily in our house now and it keeps us smiling!

Until Next Time,

Much love,
Love, Reba

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Insulin Pump Class

On Thursday, my mother-in-law and I went to children's hospital to learn about insulin pumps. We attended the "pre-pump" class which gave a basic overview of four different kinds of pumps. The class is designed to help people decide if an insulin pump is the right choice for their family.

I had done a little bit of research prior to attending the class. I gathered information on pros and cons for each of the pumps that would be covered in class. Aaron & I found a pump that seemed suitable for an active & curious two-year-old boy.

At the class, my mother-in-law and I got to see examples of each pump and learn how each one would be attached to the skin. We learned valuable information via the power point slide show and the pamphlets given in class. One major thing I learned about was how much insulin I'd have to inject into pump every 3rd day when we'd do a site rotation on Michael.

Michael is a little boy and doesn't require much insulin every day. The pump that Aaron & I were interested in the most was actually the pump that allowed the least amount of insulin to be injected before the pump would even work. Still, we'd be throwing away so much insulin every 3rd day. It wasn't economical for us to pursue this route at this time in Michael's life.

When he's older and attending school, he'll need more insulin each day. He'd also be old enough at that time to leave the site location alone and not pull at tubes or pods. We feel at this time that we're going to continue with multiple daily injections.

I did learn more about the continuous glucose monitor (CGM), and this is what we're really interested in at the moment. It's a small sensor that's placed on the back of Michael's arm or tush and it sends a signal to a hand held receiver. This device can detect what the blood glucose level is in Michael's tissue. This would be an enormous help during the night when we'd like to know if his blood sugar is dropping, rising, or holding steady. This would eliminate the need for finger pricks every hour to two hours during the night. We could just look at the hand held receiver and see the trend. Manufacturers recommend that a finger prick always come before a correction. So, if the CGM said that Michael was low, we should get a blood glucose reading via a finger prick before we corrected the low blood sugar with a spoonful of jelly. Likewise if the CGM showed that his blood sugar was high, we should confirm with a finger prick before we administer a dose of insulin. Also we would still have to prick his finger before each meal just to calibrate the CGM and make sure we get an accurate blood sugar reading before we administer any insulin or food. But the pros totally outweigh the cons on this for us. We don't mind pricking his finger to calibrate the CGM, and we don't mind the need for a finger prick before meals. The fact that we could get "an inside look" at his blood sugars and see trends is so worth it. The removal of blood sugar prick every hour overnight when he's sick would be great. We could let him keep sleeping and we could just peek at the hand held receiver to see what his blood sugar was doing.

The CGM would also alarm if Michael got too high or too low. We plan to have the hand held receiver on Michael's nightstand while he sleeps, and we plan to set a baby monitor beside it. The parent unit of the baby monitor would be in our room and we could hear the alarm if it went off overnight during those unexpected lows or highs. This is invaluable.

There were three families in the insulin pump class-- myself and my mother-in-law; a mom, grandma, and thirteen year old boy; and a couple without their daughter there. When the couple without their daughter present was asked how old their daughter was, the mother replied "she's little. She's a baby. She's three." My heart stung a bit. Michael is only two. After chatting with this family a little later on in the class, we discovered that they were diagnosed right before their daughter turned two. It was so nice to meet a family who was in our boat of "child diagnosed under the age of two" and was surviving! At the end of the class, we both realized that insulin pumps weren't for our kids yet and the tiny amount of insulin they received each day. However we both realized that the CGM sounds like a miracle worker and we're both pursuing it. This class was a good experience. The couple applauded us for attending within a year of diagnosis. It was nice to give & receive the knowing smiles that come with having a toddler with type 1.

So although I won't be pursuing an insulin pump for Michael at this age, I will be fighting to get him a CGM.

Until Next Time,

Much Love,  Reba

Monday, January 12, 2015

Noah: One Year Old

Noah turned one year old on January 9th!  This was a Friday and we reserved the day to be family-oriented.  I took the day off work and kept the boys home from daycare.

During my pregnancies, I had never contemplated the idea of taking off work on my children's birthdays.  It was actually an idea I got from my boss.  He takes off work for both of his daughters' birthdays each year.  That is a day reserved for them to do whatever they'd like to do.  I thought that was such a neat idea.  Birthdays are special, and as long as I have the time accrued at work, I plan to take off on my children's birthdays.  Fortunately, Michael was only 8 months old when I decided to make this a part of my parenting plan, so I hadn't missed a birthday. 

My younger brother, Bryan, came over to our house around 9:00am.  We loaded up the boys and took them to the hospital where my mom works.  This is also the hospital where Noah was born.  Since my mom was working a 12-hour shift, she wouldn't be able to see Noah on his actual birthday unless I brought him to see her.  I wanted it to be a surprise visit, but I ended up asking her ahead of time if it was okay to swing by.  Bryan and I took both boys up to the floor where my mom works.  She introduced us to some of her coworkers who were around at the time.  Michael was able to tell them that Noah was one year old, and that he was two years old.  Sometimes, we say "Noah, Noah.  Noah, Noah" in a sing-song voice and Noah will bob his head to the tune.  He performed this little show to some of the nearby nurses and they melted in the cuteness overload.  We couldn't stay long; Mom had to get back to work, and the boys needed their lunch on time, but it was nice to have a visit with my mom.  Bryan enjoyed lunch with us at the house before I put the boys down for their naps.

The rest of the day was low-key.  Noah took a good nap-- turning one is hard work after all.  The boys and I enjoyed a peaceful afternoon as we waited for Aaron to get home from work.  Noah had his very own plate of mashed potatoes for supper.  He was quite distraught when we removed his plate from his high-chair tray, but he was quickly consoled as we set down a paper plate with two mini-cupcakes and whipped cream "frosting."  Although I was anticipating a mess, none came.  Noah is not a very messy eater.  He really did enjoy his cupcakes and Michael enjoyed his serving, too.  I chose to make mini-cupcakes so that Michael could have a couple with his dinner since a mini-cupcake is only about 6 grams of carb.  And, Noah didn't care that he had mini-cupcakes.  He's a baby after all, and mini-cupcakes are baby-sized. 

I invited every grandparent who lives nearby to come enjoy a mini cupcake with Noah at his dinner time.  Although no one was able to come at that exact time, my dad came to our house a little later on and Bryan came back with him.  They enjoyed some mini-cupcakes while the boys played and got ready for bed.

All in all, it was a super day.  Super relaxing.  Super happy.  A super way to ring in the new year for a sweet, smiley little boy.

Noah's party is planned for this upcoming Saturday.  We wanted Aaron's brother to be in attendance, and he is planning to be in town this upcoming weekend.  And, having it this upcoming weekend will enable my mom to attend since it won't be her weekend to work.  I'm planning the party at the total last minute, but I'm oddly okay with it.  The important thing is to celebrate Noah, and celebrate we will.  Low key is okay.  :)

Aaron will make a smash cake for Noah and he will also make a bigger cake to serve our party guests.  We'll serve light snack foods since the party won't be at a meal time.  The theme?  Why, Noah's Ark, of course!  Again, this is totally last minute.  Don't be expecting Pinterest perfection.  Not happening.  But you can expect to see pictures of Petersen perfection-- just perfect for our little family.  And by perfect I mean low-key on design, but high quality celebration full of fun and love.  After all, it's about the little guy we're celebrating.  Not about how cute a party favor or snack table can be. 

I will post pictures!

Until Next Time,
Much Love.

Love, Reba

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Michael Update

It's been a while since I've written a post about Michael and what he likes to do, eat, say, watch, etc.  He is growing so fast and his vocabulary daily increases by leaps and bounds.  I catch myself thinking "What did he just say? I didn't know he could say that!"  Nearly two and a half years old is such a fun age to watch.  He learns something new about the world everyday, and never ceases to give us lessons in compassion and patience.

Dear Michael,

Watching you experience the holidays was so fun.  We were so excited for Christmas morning when we got to watch you open your gifts and see your stocking from Santa Claus!  A few days before Christmas, you partially opened up a gift for Noah.  We had to remind you a few times that presents can't be opened until Christmas morning. 

The Christmas tree is still currently up, and you love looking at it with all of its "yights" and "or-ments."  You ask often if you can "hold that one?" while you point to whatever ornament has gotten your attention.  You stood at the base of the fireplace on Christmas Eve Eve, and sang and shook your stocking to the tune of "Jingle Bells."  Your stocking, of course, is covered in jingle bells, and you named off each color:  Blue! Green! Red! Pink!

You are all about the reason for the season.  You know full-well that Christmas is Jesus' birthday.  You play with a toy version of the Nativity Set and you are very careful to always lay Baby Jesus in the manger.  Shepherds and wise men may fight, and Mary's donkey might get chucked across the room, but one thing is for certain: Baby Jesus is asleep on the hay.

You sport so many of your daddy's expressions and you are a stubborn little guy.  Here are some of your stats.

Weight: 33 pounds.

Height: Over 3 feet tall.

Shoe size: Infant size 7.

Current Clothes sizes:  You wear size 3T shirts and pants.  Some of your 2T shirts still fit, and we keep letting you wear them because they're just so gosh-darn adorable.  You can still fit into one pair of 2T pants, so I am totally letting you wear them still. We might as well get all of the use out of them that we can before we have to put them away until Noah can wear them.

Diapers:  Yes, you still are wearing diapers.  You wear Pull-Ups at daycare, but your toddler thighs are still chubby and I don't find Pull-Ups to be very easy to get on or off of you, and isn't that the point of them?  So, we let daycare have all of our Pull-Up supply, and you wear diapers at home.  You're not interested in using the potty at all, so we don't force it.  We know the desire will come.  Even daycare staff is lenient with potty-training until kids are three years old, so we have a few months left.  You might be more interested in learning when you're with Grandma Chips and not around so many others.

Favorite Foods:  You love oatmeal.  In the morning when you wake up, the first thing you say is "I eat oatmeal?" or "Ok, I wake up. Let's go get oatmeal."  Sometimes you will ask to eat oatmeal for dinner, and sometimes for lunch on Sundays.  We buy the lower sugar varieties of oatmeal and have found that Winn-Dixie and Publix both make their own versions of this in addition to Quaker's version.  You love hot dogs and hot dog bread (bun).  You love milk and insist on drinking it out of your "coffee cup"-- a red plastic mug with snowflakes on it.  You call Diet Sprite "bubble juice" and you also like Mio Lemonade (sugar-free) and Crystal Light Raspberry Lemonade (sugar-free).  For snacks, you like crackers and peanut butter, string cheese, and 100-calorie packs of cookies. 

Favorite Shows:  During the Christmas season, we recorded a few movies on the DVR.  Ratatouille is a favorite-- you refer to it as "Happy Rats."  Your most favorite movie currently is "Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas" that you ask to watch over and over again.  You also like the movie "Arthur Christmas" and you call it "Christmas Robots" because the military-operation elves move with robot-like precision.  You hardly ask to watch shows now, but when you do, you stick to your original favorites of PAW Patrol, Wally-kazam, and Team Umizoomi. 

Favorite Toys:  Anything that belongs to Noah.  You're not too keen on sharing, but sometimes you surprise us with a streak of kindness to your brother.  You especially love all of his toys he got for Christmas.  When you refuse to share those toys with him, we remind you to whom they belong.  You also love the trains you got for Christmas, and the Little People barn complete with animals-- of which the horse is your favorite.

Favorite Antics:  You love to take things, "hide them" and then come to us and ask "Hey, where did (such and such) go?" Lately, you hide Noah's Fisher-Price train.  Common hiding places include the laundry room and the Christmas tree skirt.  You have also taken the straw out of my cup a few times, thrown it in the sink, and then came to ask me where it was.  The conversation usually goes like this:

Michael: Hey, where's your straw?
Me:  In my cup.
Michael: No.  Not there.
Me:  Where is my straw?
Michael: I don't know.  Me either.  I don't see it around here.  Try the sink.
Me: (walks to sink, finds straw)

Michael: Hey, where's train?
Me: I don't know.  Where is it?
Michael: I don't see it around here.  Try laundry room.
Me: (opens door of laundry room, finds train)

Favorite Songs:  ABCs, Row Row Row Your Boat (which you refer to as rowrowrowyourboatgentlydownstreammerrymerrymerrylifeisbutadream), "Blue Choo Choo Song" which is code for the theme song for Thomas & Friends, Itsy Bitsy Spider, Happy Birthday, and Jesus Loves Me.

Favorite bedtime items: Your "mommy blankies" (white cloth diapers that youve had since a little baby), Lightning McQueen fleece blanket, and Twilight Turtle (specifically, the blue light as opposed to the green or brown light).  You've taken one nap in the Queen sized bed in your room, but you prefer to sleep in your toddler bed.  We'll work on the transition to the big bed once we are gearing up for you and Noah to share a room.

Michael, you are such a dear.  After each injection of insulin, I tell you that you're the bravest boy and I mean it with every fiber of my being.  I am so happy for the personality you are developing.  You are full of compassion.  You have a mischievous streak and sometimes you're stubborn to the core, but I love you more each day.  I'm excited to see how God continues to work in your life.  I love you, Bubby Doo.

Love, Mommy

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Reflections and Goals

The year 2014 brought one of our greatest joys and it also brought one of our greatest sorrows.

The joy was the birth of our youngest son in January. The delivery was fast and furious but perfect nonetheless. Noah is one of our greatest joys & I am eager to see what plans God has for him. We seriously can't imagine life without Noah and I am so thankful for his arrival.

This weekend, we'll celebrate his first birthday. It's hard to think a year has passed! We are so blessed with him in our lives and we are thankful for the joy and exuberance he exhibits each day. He'll be a handful of a toddler, I'm sure, but we're ready!

The sorrow was found in August when our oldest (not quite two years old at the time) was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. This forever changed our family. We have dealt with more fear, anxiety, stress, trauma, emotional roller coasters, blood sugar roller coasters, sleepless nights, and constant questioning than we ever realized we could go through. In the end, this has made us stronger.

Through the diabetes diagnosis, I lost who I was and was empty for a while but have now found that I am back. I'm different, but I'm stronger and that's okay.

For weeks, I viewed my two year old as a fragile being who I was in charge of not breaking and I was terrified. I wondered if I could ever look at him as a regular boy again. One day in November I realized that I can and I had. Somewhere along the way, I started seeing him as a little boy again and not as diabetes in toddler form.

This past year, my husband and I have grown in our marriage. He has remained my rock and my reminder that God is in control. He is such an even keel kind of guy and I am beyond blessed to be his wife. We laugh together and joke around and come up with silly dance moves in the kitchen. We watch TV shows together while I'm snuggled up under a blanket and he leans on the couch pillows. He plays Xbox after I fall asleep on the couch (at 8:30 sometimes!). Sometimes I catch myself thinking "Wow, we've been married for over 5 years and I feel like we're still dating." We have fun together and that's not something that will change. He's my best friend and he completes me in a way that only God could design.

As I look back over 2014 and look into 2015, I’m constantly reminded that God provides.  He’s Jehovah Jireh.  Although we have faced a lot this past year, and will continue to face our share of trials this year, He will never give us more than we can handle with Him.  I never saw type 1 Diabetes coming.  It smacked us in the face and we had to learn to live while reeling in the grief and uncertainty it brought.  I know that we will encounter new things this year with diabetes that will wear us out and keep us guessing.  But I know for certain that I don’t have to wonder who’s in charge.  I know God is holding us, and He’s got an extra tight grip on my sweet little boys—the one with diabetes and the one without.  I trust God to meet our needs this year.  And I know He won’t disappoint.  

Until Next Time,

Much love, Reba