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

Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015: A Look Back

It seems to be a trend to look back over the past year before beginning the trek into a new year.  So, here we are on December 31st.  On the brink of a new year, and reflecting back on the year behind us.  I figured I'd take the plunge too, and delve into a post about the high-lights of 2015.  I won't have pictures to go along with each high-light, but humor me anyway.  Hopefully next year I'll be more tech-savvy and will include more pictures as I go.


Linking up with Andrea at Momfessionals today.

January:

We all got incredibly sick, had our first trip to the ER with diabetes, I attended an insulin-pump training class, and Noah turned one!  We did not have a birthday party since it was scheduled for a day when we all ended up being sick.  Fortunately, Noah didn't care.  He ate two mini-cupcakes with whipped cream frosting and he thought he was big stuff!

February:

Valentine's Day?  I don't remember to much from this month. The boys got to return to the care of my mother-in-law since she was fully recovered from wrist surgery, and that meant I unenrolled the boys from daycare.  It was bittersweet, because I loved all of the teachers and staff there and they took great care of my boys.  But I was so happy to have my little guys back in the arms of my mother-in-law where I knew the three of them would brighten each other's days like no other. Also during this month, we started Michael on the Continuous Glucose Monitor.  This is a life saver.

March: 

I don't remember a whole lot about this month either.  I took a 5-day work trip to Baltimore, and got to spend some time with my grandmother in the process.  It was on this trip that I came to terms with my job and realized that I'm not cut out to be a manager.

April:

I stepped down to my former position at work.  Instantly, my stress level decreased.  I turned 27-- my favorite number. Why? I don't know.  Easter occurred in this month and we hosted lunch for our family.  Michael and Noah participated in the Easter egg hunt at church.

May:  

Endocrinology appointment with a devastating A1C.  Aaron and I made the choice to eat healthier foods (more whole foods, less processed, etc) in order to help Michael's blood sugar levels.

June: 

Michael got started on the Omnipod insulin pump!

July: 

Celebrated Uncle Bryan's birthday!  Celebrated 4th of July-- ironically, I can't even remember what we did. We had a date night, and our Boxer-- Merry-- got herself into some trouble.

August:

I got to start working from home and this was a life saver.  We celebrated Michael's 1 year Diaversary!  Had another endocrinology appointment with a much-improved A1C!  Michael turned 3!  We celebrated with a Construction theme birthday party (twice!)

September:

Attended Andrew's wedding where Aaron was the best man and Michael was the ring bearer.  We stayed in a hotel with the boys for the first time, enjoyed the swimming pool, and savored our time with out-of-town family.  My parents were super sweet to drive 4 hours to the wedding to assist me in watching the boys during the wedding reception so that Aaron could enjoy family time.  During this month, we also celebrated GG's birthday, Grandpa Randy's birthday, and Aaron's birthday!  Busy month!

October:

Aaron and I celebrated 6 years of marriage!  We got to have a night in our house by ourselves!  We even drove to Auburn that day and meandered through town and shopped a bit at Gander Mountain.  We took a nap and went to dinner at Outback Steakhouse and picked up the boys the next morning.  What a treat!  The boys participated in the Fall Festival at church the Sunday before Halloween.  Michael dressed at Thomas the Train, and Noah was Aubie Tiger.  On Halloween itself, we attended trunk or treat at the church affiliated with the daycare that the boys attended last fall and winter.  Michael dressed as Scooby Doo and Noah, again, was Aubie Tiger.  Also this month, Aaron's dad and step-mom moved across the country to live in our town!  We are so thrilled to have them here!  They are fantastic people!

November: 

This month was a very tough one.  First, we celebrated World Diabetes Day by wearing blue on November 14th.  On this day, I also took the boys to the northern part of the state with my parents and younger brother to celebrate my nephew's 3rd birthday!  (Where does the time go???)  At this party, we visited with the family of my sister-in-law, and my mom's younger sister also attended since she lived in the same city as my older brother.  Not known to us at the time, but this would be the last family event we would spend together.  Not even 48 hours later, my aunt passed away of a heart attack.  We ventured back up to the northern part of the state later that week for her memorial service.  My sister-in-law and I sang "Holy Spirit" by Francesca Batistelli, and we were accompanied on the guitar by the music pastor from my church.  This was a heart-wrenching time for us and we're still reeling in the grief and sorrow.  My mom is doing very well and she is such a light to me during these days.
My parents welcomed in three foster boys to their home a week before Thanksgiving.  These boys are so fun to be around because they're so polite!  They've attached themselves to my younger brother and that brings my heart great joy.
My older brother turned another year older, and I sent him an appropriate Avengers birthday card (moreso to please his 3-yr-old son who is enamored with Captain America).
During this month, we also celebrated Thanksgiving at my mother-in-law's house (and can I say what a blessing it is to have your parents, your husband's mom, stepdad, dad, and stepmom all in the same house and being nice to each other???) Only the power of Jesus, people, and I'm so glad He's made this strong family a reality for us.

December:

We celebrated the birth of Christ and the Christmas season this month.  Our home was adorned in Christmas coziness and we watched our fair share of Christmas movies.  This year, Michael really caught onto the concept of gift-opening.  He was definitely excited on Christmas morning.  Noah reacted to Michael's excitement, and that was fun to watch. On Christmas Eve, we went to my mother-in-law's house for dinner and present-opening for the boys.  I got a fantastic nap that afternoon at her house and that was such a great GIFT!  Some of the best sleep I've gotten all year. On Christmas Day, Aaron's dad and stepmom came over to watch the boys open gifts that they brought.  That night, we hosted Christmas dinner for Aaron's dad, stepmom, mom, stepdad, and stepdad's mother and step-father.  :)  Again, such a great thing to experience so many threads of a family coming together as one!  We ended the day by singing Happy Birthday to Jesus as we tucked in the boys to bed.  This geared them up for the next day, which was Grampa Bill's birthday.  We spent the day at my parent's house to celebrate my dad's birthday.  I made a cherry pie for him and we got him a flannel shirt from Bass Pro.  My mom's parents arrived to her house that night, and it was nice to give some hugs to them and spend some time visiting before taking the boys home for bed.

And here we are today-- soaking in the last moments of 2015 before we embark into 2016.

I hope your year was filled with more joy than sorrow.  I know God is watching out for us and He has a plan for us all.  May 2016 bring joy and peace!

Until Next Time,

Much love, Reba

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The Cure

One day, they say, we will see a cure for Type One Diabetes.  One day.

People who have lived with this disease for years look at my son, or pictures of him, and they say "Maybe not in my lifetime, but surely in his."

And I wonder, what will it look like?

What will he have to undertake in order to be cured?

Will it be a surgery to implant encapsulated beta cells that are protected from the attacks of the immune system?  How long will it take those cells to start making insulin?  Will his liver properly deliver glucagon again if the insulin-producing cells actually function and insert insulin into his body?  Or will he have devastating lows as we manually have to make sure he doesn't slip into a coma or pass away in the night from a low blood sugar?  Will the fears of low blood sugar subside if insulin-producing encapsulated beta cells come to fruition?

Will it be a pill that he takes everyday?  What happens if he misses a day by accident (which is prone to happen to all of us.  I myself miss a day of Synthroid now and then, purely by accident).  Will his blood sugars sky-rocket during a missed dose?  Will he feel like he has the flu with no fever if his blood sugars soar because he missed taking a pill?  If he takes the pill a few hours late, will it mess up the next day's blood sugars by causing them to drop unexpectedly?

Will the only "cure" he sees be the Bionic Pancreas which he must attach to his body just like he already attaches his pump and CGM?  Will his skin continue to be scarred by cannulas and wires that inject into his tissue?  Does the Bionic Pancreas eliminate the need for finger pricks?  Or will his calloused fingers continue to show the silent black markings of dried blood beneath their skin?

What will this cure look like?

Will it be available to all people living with Type One?  Even those in developing countries who cannot afford the basic necessities that this disease requires for survival?

Will we have to be on a waiting list?  Will we have to stand in line?  Will we have to sign waivers saying we understand if it doesn't work and that we're not looking to sue anybody?

I didn't have to sign a waiver in the hospital saying I understood that this disease will become a part of my family and will haunt me at night worse than any nightmare that could be dreamed up on the big screen.  I didn't sign a waiver that said I understood if my child doesn't wake up in the morning.  I didn't sign a waiver saying I understood that my insurance coverage was superb and would cover 70% of the cost of a Continuous Glucose Monitor-- the life-saving device alerting my husband and me to the deadly lows and raging highs of our son's blood sugars.  I didn't sign a waiver saying I understood that other parents don't have the luxury of letting their child wear a CGM-- that their insurance doesn't cover it and their jobs don't afford them enough money to buy one themselves. I didn't sign a waiver saying that the last good night of sleep I'd ever have would be roughly two weeks before my son was diagnosed-- before he starting crying out in the night because his sheets were soaked in urine from nearly fatal high blood sugars. I didn't sign a waiver saying my kid would look longingly at snack-packs of mini muffins that his daycare buddies ate while he had to eat a yogurt.  I didn't sign up for this!

But here we are.

And we're praying hard for a cure.

But....

the heart of this mom right here-- this 27 year old woman who has a 3 year old with Type One Diabetes--

I am praying for trust.

Dear God, 
Please grant me the ability to trust You in all circumstances.  Lord, I know You love my son more than I can.  Please keep him safe. I know You have a plan for him.  Please let me trust. 

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve. It will be 17 days until my youngest son's second birthday.  My oldest son was diagnosed 17 days prior to his 2nd birthday.  You best believe I will be in constant prayer over my children.  I never want to experience the horror of a Type One Diabetes diagnosis again.

Lord, let there be a cure.

But most of all, please let me trust.


Until Next Time,

Much love, Reba


Saturday, December 19, 2015

Town Tree Lighting

On Saturday, December 5th, we ate a quick dinner at our house and then loaded up the boys to head to our small town's Christmas tree lighting!  Even though we've lived here for 5 years, Aaron & I had yet to go to the town tree lighting.  This year I figured the boys would be big enough to enjoy it and I really wanted to go.  Aaron knew that, and he was sweet to make it happen.

We got there a little early, so we let the boys run around for a bit.  In our town, the post office shares a small brick building with the Town Hall and the Police Office.  Right next door is a metal building that houses the volunteer fire department.  Next to the fire department is a small grassy area where a Christmas-tree-shaped large bush resides.  The fire fighters set up a light display, and had two sets of bleachers set up for residents.  There was a trailer decorated with poinsettias and an American flag painted on a wooden pallet and a microphone.

Aaron and I led the boys to the light display where Michael pointed out what he saw:  "a reindeer, words, and a doghouse."  Translated, this means yes, a wooden reindeer figure, Christmas lights spelling out Merry Christmas, and a manger scene made of wooden pallets (ie, the doghouse).

I hardly took any pictures because I was pretty busy watching blood sugar trends on the CGM and making sure the boys didn't run into the side of the bleachers.

The boys ran around for a good while.  I had packed a Special K Pastry Crisp in my bag because we knew it was a possibility that Michael's blood sugars might go low as they tend to do when he's out of his element.  We let the boys run around for a bit until we could tell Michael was dropping.  So we let them choose our seats on the bleachers and we sat down and gave them their snack.  This was a free snack for Michael.  We chose not to administer any insulin because we wanted the carbs in this pastry crisp (ie, small, fancy Pop-tart) to raise his blood sugar.

Families slowly trickled in during this time.  Some kids were not well behaved and I gave myself a mental gold star for making sure my kids were momentarily tame.

Eventually the program got started and the fire chief (I'm assuming) spoke, and had a moment of silence for all the troops serving in our country.  Then the mayor spoke and welcomed us all to the tree lighting.  During this time, Noah decided he'd rather be running amok than sitting calmly in my lap eating his snack.  So, the entire time the mayor spoke, I was singing "row row row your boat," or "itsy bitsy spider," or reciting "patty cake," just to keep Noah quiet and contained.

Our town hall area is next to our only four way traffic stop.  Across the street and caddy-corner from the town hall/ fire dept is an old post office building and behind it is a gravel parking area where tractor trailer drivers park to take a nap.  Once the mayor finished her speech, she led the town in counting down 3, 2, 1, and the tree lights came on!  Then the fire chief got on his walkie-talkie and gave the signal, and told us a special guest would be arriving.  Here comes Santa Claus himself riding on a sleigh pulled on a trailer behind a fire dept pick-up truck.  They were parked behind the old post office and waiting til the tree lights came on before they made their grand entrance.

Santa pulled in front of the fire department and went inside to his special chair.  The mayor invited everyone over to the fire department for refreshments and to see Santa.  How I wanted to take the boys!  I think they would have loved it!  There was a reasonable size crowd in attendance, but not an overwhelming amount. We checked Michael's CGM and he was still dropping despite his snack.  We knew we had to head on home in order to give Michael another snack.  We couldn't afford to wait in line. The mayor made a point of coming up to us and telling the boys there were cupcakes inside.  Thanks, lady.  Of course, this made Michael cry as we heading to the car because he knew we weren't going to get to have cupcakes.  I cried too, because diabetes was winning.  I buckled Noah in his seat with tears in my eyes as Aaron buckled in Michael while we tried to explain to him that we were going home to get a snack instead.

Next year, I told myself,  even if I've gotta load this backpack with jelly and spoons and juice boxes, I am going to make sure my kids get the full experience here and I will not let diabetes win. 

We drove past the lit Christmas tree and I made note that the boys enjoyed the experience as it was, and it was okay to go home before the crowds.

Here's the display of pictures I managed to take:






Apparently, I didn't get one of the tree after it was lit, but there it is prior to the lighting.  The spotlights shone bright enough on the wooden pallet American flag to make it look like a TV, but it's really just a wooden flag.

I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into small town life!


Until Next Time,
Much love, Reba



Thursday, December 10, 2015

DIY Ornapods

Today I'm linking up with Rachel and Astleigh for their Every Girl Link-Up: DIY Ornaments.



My oldest son, Michael, was diagnosed with Type One Diabetes in August of 2014-- just seventeen days before his second birthday.  Michael's pancreas no longer makes any insulin.  This is an autoimmune disorder where Michael's immune system received a crossed signal from his brain and it caused his immune system to attack the beta-cells in the pancreas that produce insulin.  Without insulin, Michael's body cannot convert sugar into energy.  Therefore, we have to manually inject insulin into him in order for him to survive.  There is no cure for Type One Diabetes.  Insulin is simply life-support.  There's a myriad of other things I could say about Type One Diabetes, but much of that info can be found right here on this blog in past posts for anyone who'd like to look them up.  And of course, I'm always available to answer questions about Type One.  The main thing to remember is that Michael did not cause this in any way, shape, or form and it's something he will live with (and as his parents, we will live with as well) until they find a cure.  So, since we have had to adapt our lifestyles to fit in the necessary role of insulin, we have a lot of medical products.  What better use for the used products than to turn them into ornaments!

This Christmas will be the first one that Michael has worn an insulin pump.  We are using the Omnipod pump since it is tubeless.  Having no tubes that can get caught on drawer-pulls and having one less thing for this pre-schooler to tug on is a winner in our book. Each pod lasts for 72 hours.  Every 3 days, we inject insulin into a new pod and place it on Michael's body.  (This is such a simple explanation for an insulin pump, so a more detailed description can be found here).

As soon as we were set on getting the Omnipod system (which we started in June of this year), I knew that I wanted to create ornaments out of the old pods.  You can imagine that since each pod must be changed every 72 hours,  we've gone through quite a number of pods since June 2015.  Every 3 days, I remove the old pod, insert a new one, and then I get to work "preparing" the old pod for us to use as an orna-pod later on.  No, we didn't coin the term "orna-pod" but I wish we had!  I remove the adhesive backing, and then I remove any remaining insulin.  I cut off the cannula and deactivate any alarm system of the pod.  I make sure the pod is dry and clean and I stick it in an old coffee canister for storage.

My husband Aaron and I decided to get to work in making some of these old pods into ornaments.  We plan to give several to our family members, and church family members & friends who have been so faithful in praying for us on this journey with Type One.  When Michael is older, I know he will participate in helping us turn these old pods into something that can be admired on a tree.  Aaron and I chose to put a magnet on the back of each orna-pod as well so that they can be magnets on the refrigerator just in case the recipient didn't want to put them on their tree, or just in case the recipient doesn't put up a Christmas tree anymore (some of our grandparents have gone this route).

We gathered some supplies at Hobby Lobby and we got to work!  We both had some ideas in mind of what we'd like to turn the pods into.  We aren't quite done with our stash for this year and I'm sure we won't be able to use every pod since we have so many.  But we'd like to send at least one orna-pod to each household represented by our family, friends, and church family.  We're going to include a note that will go something like this:

Here is an Orna-pod for your tree or your 'fridge.  This piece of medical equipment kept Michael alive for 3 days.  Thank you for your prayers and support of us as we journey through life with Type One. 

Here's a look at our progress:


All of our supplies:

 The back of a pod:

 The front of a pod:


 A reindeer that Aaron made.  He intertwined pipe cleaners to make the antlers. He added googly eyes and a fuzzy red nose.



Here are some "in-progress" pictures of my Santa suits and Christmas trees. 



Testing out the Rudolph magnet on our fridge. 


I forgot to glue ribbon to the backs of the ornaments yesterday, so I quickly glued a gold ribbon to the back of one of the Christmas tree ornapods, but it wasn't quite dry enough to hang by itself on the tree.  I nestled it in the branches to take a couple of quick pictures, and now I'm letting it dry completely before letting it hang on its own.




Thanks for stopping by today to read about our DIY Ornapods!


Until Next Time,
Much love, Reba


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Show & Tell Tuesday: Fa La La La Laaaaa!

Today, I'm linking up with Andrea for Show & Tell Tuesdays!


The theme today is Christmas Decorating Details!

Sleigh bells ring,  are you listening???  Yes.  Why yes we are.  Welcome to our home in all of its Christmasy adornment.


First up, a seasonal calendar and a season-changing wreath from an adorable Etsy shop Hopscotch and Honey


Paper-plate reindeer faces!


A handprint wreath.


Christmas placemats handmade by my Nana. 


Here's a close-up of the details. Isn't it gorgeous and festive?!?!?


My mantle-- pre Nativity set and stockings. 



A GREAT tree-decorator. 


See?  He's quite avant-garde and places multiple ornaments on the same branches or touching each other. :)  The joy of three year olds.  I really do love it. 



Completed mantle decor.


And the Precious Moments "Baby's First Christmas" ornaments.  My brothers and I each had one on our tree while growing up and I really wanted to have the same special item for my boys.  Here's Noah's First Christmas Ornament. 


Michael's First Christmas ornament. 


I made the quilted ornament at a recent Ladies Craft night at church.  I'm so happy with how it turned out!


The tree at night.  How cozy!


The "child safe" zone.  :)  We put all ornaments that the boys can grab at the bottom of the tree and we keep the breakable ornaments higher up.  Of course, not quite high enough to keep my three-year-old from grabbing a breakable one this morning, but all is well. :)





Christmas jammies!


I just LOVE this time of the year!

Thanks for stopping by today!


Until Next Time, 

Much love, Reba




Monday, December 7, 2015

Fall Photo Shoot

On Veteran's Day, I had the day off.  I decided, on that chilly day, to take a couple photos of the boys dressed in their Auburn colors (navy and orange) with the hopes of using one of the pictures for our Christmas cards.

I moved the bench on our screened porch into the middle of our back yard after lunch, and brought the boys outside for a couple of pictures prior to their afternoon naps.

Here's the full set.


Michael warmed up to the camera, but Noah remained in that frozen position for several pictures as you can see. :)










But, I got my one successful picture and I chose this one below to use for our Christmas cards. 


These little boys keep me on my toes, but I wouldn't have it any other way. :)


Until Next Time, 

Much love, Reba

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Seasons Greetings

Wow.  Is it already December 3rd?  For those who've known me while growing up, you might be flabbergasted to know that I do not have up nearly enough Christmas decorations worth mentioning at all.

A Snoopy ornament and a Mickey Mouse Santa ornament take up residence on my kitchen counter as we await a weekend trip to the storage unit to get our tree out.

I have a hand-made ornament on my mantle alongside a paper-plate Christmas tree made by Noah, and two reindeer faces made out of paper plates that the boys created on Tuesday.  :)  I also have a faux bundle of mistletoe resting on my vanity dresser, but I'm not sure where to hang it that isn't cheeky.

When we drive home in the afternoons, I try to admire the Christmas decorations of homes along our path.  Michael was disappointed the other day during our drive and told me that we can't do any decorating because we don't even have a tree.  Bless him.  I reassured him that we do, in fact, have a tree and lots of ornaments, but they are in our storage building and we'll get them this weekend.

Usually, I'm completely Jessica Riggs from "Prancer."  I would play Christmas music all year long and watch Christmas movies whenever they came on TV.  In fact, Michael asked to watch Prancer on a few different occasions throughout the year.  It drove Aaron insane, but my heart let out an inner fist pump and my Christmas-loving soul was happy.

This year, it's just a bit different.  This is the first year we've ever had a storage building.  We only have one since we're trying to keep our house much less cluttered as we have it on the market.  So-- Christmas decor was sent to storage way back in June.  Also, a family came to look at our house the week before Thanksgiving, and there's talk from our realtor that they want to come take a second look soon.  So, we were trying to keep the house exactly as it was when they looked at it the first time.  This is why we have hardly any Christmas decor in our home.

If I was my normal self, I would be chomping at the bit to put up Christmas decorations shortly after Thanksgiving, but Aaron has a rule that no Christmas items can go up before December 1st.  I've respected that rule since we've been married.  This year, it's so odd for me to think that December 1st came and went and my house is still very non-Christmasy.  I mean, I have an advent calendar that I need to get out and do with the boys and it's already December 3rd!  Come on, self!  Get with it!

I have faithfully been recording Christmas movies, though. I have already watched one of my favorites "Christmas Under Wraps" and tried out two new ones "The Christmas Parade," and "A Holiday Engagement."  I have "Christmas Detour," "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year," "Jim Carrey's How the Grinch Stole Christmas," the legit cartoon "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," "The Santa Clause" and "Polar Express" on the DVR ready to go.  I'm part-way through watching "A Window Wonderland"-- which I watched last year but really enjoyed.  I'm waiting for "Christmas Vacation," "Holiday in Handcuffs" and "Arthur Christmas" to come on TV so I can record those. I already own Charlie Brown Christmas, Prancer, and the Christmas Classics (Rudolph, Santa Clause is Coming to Town, Frosty) to watch as well. In the evenings when we really need time to just sit down, a Christmas movie is quite the relaxing and festive way to wind down.

Today I've been listening to KLove Christmas stream. Usually I don't listen to music while I work, but this has been cathartic.

I've been VERY wrapped up in solving a medical supply issue for Michael (my 3 year old with Type One Diabetes) and that has taken priority over any blog update, or decorating session.  My heart is also heavy with the recent loss of my aunt (who also had Type One) and that makes this holiday season bittersweet.  I cherish the memories she spent at our house on Thanksgiving many a time when I was growing up.  Not having her around this holiday season is difficult, and I'm still working on compiling memories to write a remembrance post in her honor.

I think all of these things combined have halted my heart a bit from its usual decorating fervor.

Hopefully the decorating will fully take place this weekend.  Check back on Tuesday as I hope to reveal some decor pictures.

Until Next Time,
Much love, Reba