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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, May 25, 2017

Galactogogues

Sounds like something from Star Wars, but galactogogues are actually things to help increase milk supply!  I used only fenugreek while nursing Michael, but used a whole bunch of stuff when nursing Noah, and am planning to use a plethora of galactogogues for nursing Avery too.

Here's what I've accumulated so far:


  • Chia Seeds-  Yes, like the "ch-ch-ch-chia! pets" that were heavily advertised when I was growing up, chia seeds have no actual flavor to me, and are easily added to lactation cookie recipes, oatmeal, etc.  The seeds themselves become a little slimy (and I hesitate to use that word because it sounds horrible, but it's not) when wet, but it doesn't bother me.
  • Flaxseed- This, like chia seeds, has no actual taste to me.  I have put it in pancakes, oatmeal, lactation cookies, energy bites, etc. 
  • Brewer's Yeast- I can taste this when I put it in oatmeal-- it's not an overpowering taste, but it's present.  When I add it to lactation cookies, I'm unable to taste it.  This is not actually yeast to make beer or other brews.  Although another galactogogue is very stout beer, I don't choose to drink beer, and am sure that a stout beer would not be my flavor of choice.  The Brewer's Yeast offers the same galactogogue benefits as a stout beer, and I feel like I can do more with it-- ie, baking-- than I could with a mug of stout beer. 
  • Fenugreek Tea- This is my favorite galactogogue to date!  When I was nursing Michael, my mom found this tea at Earth Fare-- a naturalist grocery store.  I'd buy two boxes or so every couple of weeks.  Our local Earth Fare closed down shortly after I began nursing Noah, but it never occurred to me to check Amazon for the tea!  We have a Whole Foods in our area now which might carry the brand, but it's super convenient to order this through Amazon, so I doubt I'll actually buy it from Whole Foods.   Fenugreek is a fine line for most people.  It took me a while to get used to it, but once I did, I didn't find that anything else worked as well.  The "tea" is actually just bags of fenugreek seed.  Fenugreek seed is yellow and smells a bit like Ramen noodles, or maple syrup-- kinda depends on the day. :)  It didn't bother me to drink the tea even if it smelled like I was sipping Ramen noodles.  I almost feel like the whole experience-- the smell, the taste, the warmth of the water it was brewed in-- added to my success in milk supply with fenugreek. I attempted to use the fenugreek tablets part-way through nursing Noah, but they didn't seem to work as well for me.  My sister-in-law uses the tablets and has mentioned having success with them.  So, there's options here with fenugreek. 
*Not pictured is Old Fashioned Oatmeal.  It is a galactogogue that is readily available to most people.  Eat it hot for breakfast, or use it in overnight oats, or add it to cookies or energy bites.  Very versatile and definitely helpful in the milk supply department.*

With the existence of Pinterest and Google, it's super easy to find recipes for all kinds of lactation treats.  I have a Pinterest Board called "New Mommy Advice" and I've pinned all kinds of things related to being a mommy of a newborn.  I frequently return to this board when I'm trying to remember tips for boosting milk supply, or to look up a recipe for a lactation treat.  

These days, you can buy pre-made lactation cookies, etc.  I haven't ever tried them because I've been able to whip up my own using recipes I've found online.  But if you're pressed for time or kitchen space, buying pre-made lactation cookies might be super helpful. 

Some of my favorite recipes include:

  • Energy Bites-- Sometimes I don't even roll these into balls.  I just eat some straight out of the bowl!  I've made these a couple times during this pregnancy just because I like the taste, and I left out the flaxseed and brewer's yeast just because I didn't want to open my packages of them yet.  I've added in 1/4 c of applesauce before.  And I've left out the toasted coconut more than once because I didn't have any on hand.  And I use regular chocolate chips, because in this house, we have no mini chips. :)
  • Chocolate Chip Lactation Cookies-- These were really good when I've made them in the past to help with the craving of sweets and the desire to increase milk supply.  I plan to make some of these ahead of delivery, and freeze them so that I already have them ready to snack on when I get home from the hospital with Avery. 

This website  has lots of lactation aid recipes for snacks and meals and smoothies, etc.  I plan to utilize a lot of things on here when Avery comes. 

This website has lots of natural ways to increase milk supply-- like drinking LOTS of water, which is totally key!!!!

This pin on my New Mommy Advice board talks about foods that naturally increase supply:



This site includes snacks to eat when breastfeeding that help keep up your body's nutrition. 

Foods to avoid include peppermint and spearmint, sage, and oregano.  I'll be more careful this time around in avoiding these things!


Hopefully this has been helpful, and I know that I'll be referring back to this post in August to gain a few reminders when I'll be extra-sleep deprived and maybe not readily remembering all the tips and tricks!

Until Next Time, 
Much Love, Reba


Thursday, May 18, 2017

Emotions and Coping: #DBlogWeek topic 4

Today's post for #DBlogWeek is: Throwback Thursday: "What Brings me Down. Thursday 5/18 
Today let’s revisit a prompt from 2014 - May is Mental Health Month so now seems like a great time to explore the emotional side of living with, or caring for someone with, diabetes. What things can make dealing with diabetes an emotional issue for you and / or your loved one, and how do you cope? (Thanks again to Scott for this 2014 topic.)"
Taken from the topic list page of Bitter~Sweet Diabetes.





Type One Diabetes is an emotional issue for me because, this is my child we're talking about.  Michael was diagnosed just 17 days before his second birthday.  That day was so awful.  And I realize it could have been worse.  The odds of being diagnosed under the age of two without going into a coma is 1 in 3 million. I understand it could have been so much worse.  But the pain that we experienced (and sometimes still experience) is still real and raw. 


When I returned to work a week after his diagnosis, I just cried and cried right there at my desk.  It felt like it took me months to be able to breathe. It took months before I could look at my sweet little toddler and see him as a child again and not a frail little boy who could die at any moment. 


Type One doesn't quit.  It doesn't take a holiday.  It doesn't offer a much-needed break.  It's relentless and cruel and doesn't play by any set of rules. What we do one day won't offer the same outcome on the following day.  This is an emotional battle.  We had to come to terms with this, and once we kind of understood that each day is its own battle, we began to learn to deal with it better. 


At first, my coping skills were to read as much as I could about it.  Three months into diagnosis, I had to enroll my children in daycare because my mother-in-law (who watched my sons during the day as I went to work) had to have surgery and would be recovering for three months.  So, from October 2014 to February 2015, I had to trust complete strangers to care for my sons, and to be taught how to care for my son with Type One and to keep him alive everyday.  I taught the daycare staff how to handle Type One Diabetes.  They stepped up to the plate and really did a phenomenal job.  We experienced our first holidays post-diagnosis while my boys attended daycare.  Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas-- aka class party x 3.  Although the staff did a great job, sending my sons to daycare were some of the darkest days of my life.  I did zero coping during that time.  I withered away until I wore a gray complexion on the outside as much as on the inside.  Once my sons could go back to my mother-in-law's care, I finally felt myself return to a tiny piece of normal. 


My husband and I didn't go away by ourselves for two years post-diagnosis.  It was at that point where we felt like we could mentally afford to do so.  Our family has been so supportive and eager to learn about Type One care.  Because of them, my husband and I were able to have a few days to ourselves.  It wasn't without phone calls and texts of a diabetes-related-nature, but just the opportunity to get away for a bit was refreshing.  I accidentally scheduled our trip over my son's second diaversary and I felt so much guilt.  It was self-inflicted and no one else felt that way.  My husband doesn't like acknowledging the diaversary because the memories of that day still bring so much pain to us.  So, to let our little boy just be a little boy on his second diaversary was kind of perfect. 


I don't feel like I cope as much or as well as I could.  I'm not really sure what to even do to cope with this.  I try not to let my son see the fear in my eyes or the frustration when I've attempted to treat a blood sugar (whether low or high) and it doesn't cooperate.  I never want my son to feel like a number.  I want him to always know he is valued for who he is and blood sugars don't define him.  I plan to be such a huge advocate for him in school to make sure he gets to be a kid and participate in parties and P.E. and all of the other fun things that diabetes could so easily rob him of.  We offer prizes to him for CGM insertion changes.  We let him pick where his pods go during pump-site changes, and he chooses to push the buttons on his pdm to activate the pod.  We never tell him "no" due to a diabetes reason-- so it's never a "no, you can't do that because of your blood sugar."  We may say to "wait"-- "let's wait for your blood sugar to come up before you go run around"-- but we never deny him the privilege of being a kid.  I'm not really sure of other ways to let him cope.  He knows he has Type One Diabetes, but I'm not sure he understands that not everyone else has it.  This fall when he starts kindergarten, I anticipate that I'll have to come up with some more ways for him to cope once he's faced with a classroom full of kids who don't have to do the extra things he does.


I think Type One will always carry emotional weight.  It's tiring and can be defeating on certain days.  It's still something that stole a carefree life from my little boy and I don't think I'll ever get over that.  I don't cry everyday, but I do still cry.  I still get nervous when it's time to order supplies for my son, because I realize that his life is tied to the pharmaceutical world. I still experience jealousy when looking at other kids who get to fill up on frozen yogurt with candy bar pieces all over it.  I still inwardly cringe when people talk about how tired they are because their kid had one restless night of sleep.  It's all still real.  And I'm not sure I'll learn to cope in any different ways than tears and brief episodes of time to myself.  Suggestions on coping methods are most welcome!  (for both me and my son)


Until Next Time,
Much love, Reba





Wednesday, May 17, 2017

24 and a half weeks

Today is actually 25 weeks, but we took this picture on Sunday which was the 24 and a half week mark.





Could be smuggling a beach ball under there.


Avery is very active and I'm super grateful for that!  But, like mothers do, I worry one day that I won't feel her move as much.  Doesn't matter if it's the first pregnancy or the fifth, all mothers worry about their little ones.


I cleared out some dresser space in her room over the weekend.  I had been storing sheet sets in the dresser since it was in the guest room.  But now, the guest room will be her room and she'll actually have need of a dresser.  So the sheets got the boot!  I shoved them (as neatly as I could) into some shelves in a white washboard that is acting as a nightstand in the room.  I'm not sure the sheets will stay there because they're kind of crammed, and we do use them, which will only mean things will get more disheveled as I have to take out sheets and put more folded sheets on a shelf, etc.  Also, I don't really want to store sheets in anyone's bedroom because I don't want to have to disturb anyone who is sleeping in the middle of the night if there's a cause for a sheets change.  So, I'll find somewhere else to put them.  My hallway closet is out of the question since two shelves in it are used for medicine and ointments, and the other shelves are used for Diabetes Central (where I've organized and stored all of Michael's diabetes supplies).   But for now, I was able to clean out three dresser drawers to start putting Avery's clothes into. 


I also got a wild hair last week to really clean my kitchen (minus the floors).  I wiped down all appliances and really cleaned the stove top.  I cleared clutter and wiped down all the countertops and sink.  It was super nice to see a sparkling kitchen!  I had a similar instance in our bathrooms as well.  Clean countertops, clean toilets, clean mirrors.  I'm hoping this isn't really part of nesting yet, since it's still a bit too early for that.  But I have been staying on top of all the laundry, and the kitchen is still pretty sparkly-- and those things make me happy!


So, this week, here's our update:


How far along? 25 Weeks today
Total weight gain/loss: +14lbs  I've maintained my weight for a week so far by eating lower carb and exercising 4 to 5 days per week.
Maternity clothes? Oh yes.  Today I'm actually wearing a t-shirt in a size larger than my pre-pregnancy size, but I'm pretty sure this shirt runs big, so I don't think it's an actual indication of true non-maternity sizing.

Stretch marks? Yep.  I've started rubbing lotion on my belly after showers.  Not in an attempt to change the stretch marks that are there (because I don't think I can), but to hopefully aid my skin in the stretching it has left to do.
Sleep: It's ok.  I LOVE getting into my bed at the end of the day, but sleep is a bit sporadic.  I'm having lots of dreams, which I attribute to the pregnancy hormones.  I'm still using the two lumbar pillows-- one on either side of me, and that aids in back pain and belly weight pain from laying on my side.
Best moment this week: Feeling Avery kick and seeing it from the outside of my clothes!  Aaron really felt her earlier this week and that was a lot of fun for him.  Avery is pretty quiet when the boys are running around, but I know she'll soon be big enough in my tummy for them to feel her roll around.
Have you told family and friends: We sure have!
Miss Anything? I've been trying super hard to eat low carb since my glucose tolerance test is in two weeks, so I miss being able to bake cookies and eat a few without thinking about it.  My mom said she'll make some Christmas cookies (her rolled-out sugar cookies) for me to take to the hospital as a post-delivery treat!
Movement: Avery is so active and I love it!  I feel her many times a day, and I really feel her at night when I get into bed.
Food cravings: Sushi (which I can't give into).  Shrimp or fish tacos--this is SUCH a craving!
Anything making you queasy or sick: Smell of chicken cooking-- and sometimes the taste of chicken.  I don't think this really bothered me on either prior pregnancy.
Have you started to show yet: Yep.  I don't think I could hide it if I tried, which I don't.
Gender: GIRL! 
Labor Signs: No
Belly Button in or out? Out, not all the way, but about 75% out. 
Wedding rings on or off? Off. :(  Still so super sad about this.  
Happy or Moody most of the time: Probably more on the moody side.  This is compounded by issues at work and the nerves of making sure I have my ducks in a row for Michael's start of school this fall.
Looking forward to: Being off on Friday and hopefully all of next week (if that part gets approved by management).  My mother-in-law has surgery on Friday, so I'm taking off that day to be home with my boys.  And she'll need next week to recover, so I've input a leave-request for next week and I'm just waiting to hear back from management.  I'm hoping to be approved so that the boys and I can have some quality time-- play-doh creating, sand box time, coloring, movie watching, etc. :)


Until Next Time,
Much love, Reba





The B Word- Blame. DBlogWeek Topic 3

Today's topic is The Blame Game, and here's the prompt:

The Blame Game - Wednesday 5/17
Having diabetes often makes a visit to the doctor a dreaded experience, as there is invariably bad news of one kind or another.  And sometimes the way the doctor talks to you can leave you feeling like you’re at fault.  Or maybe you have a fantastic healthcare team, but have experienced blame and judgement from someone else in your life – friend, loved one, complete stranger.  Think about a particularly bad instance, how that person talked to you, the words they used and the conversation you had.  Now, the game part.  Let’s turn this around.  If you could turn that person into a puppet, what would you have them say that would leave you feeling empowered and good about yourself?   Let’s help teach people how to support us, rather than blame us!  (Thank you, Brian, for inspiring this topic.)
(Taken from the Topic Page of Bitter~Sweet.)


When the third word of your child's diagnosis is a word that carries additional (and incorrect) meanings, it's easy to find yourself swimming in the ocean of blame.  My son's diagnosis is Type One Diabetes.  However, that last word has so many negative connotations, that many people can't see the forest for the trees and hear the truth about what Type One actually is. We've had our fair share of people asking me if Michael got this because he ate too much dry cereal for a snack.  I've had people pat me on the back and tell me "well, at least he'll grow out of it."  I've had people say to third parties (who then tell me what they've heard) that Type One Diabetes is no big deal because they know someone who has it, and that person is doing fine.

Well, we've all seen ducks swimming on a pond and they all look like they're doing fine too.  We just can't always see their little feet kicking like mad under the surface of the water, just so they'll stay afloat.

We've had our disappointing endocrinology visits.  The ones where a student doctor comes in to evaluate Michael and ends up casting blame on me for how I've managed him.  These student doctors are asking why Michael's diabetes isn't controlled.  And I wonder, "whose diabetes is controlled?"  My mother-in-law came up with a jingle to be sung to the tune of "If you're happy and you know it" and the words are "We can only manage, not control."  Type One Diabetes can be managed from day-to-day but it is a feat to have it be controlled.  I think every pharmacist and every endocrinologist should have to spend an entire day with someone who has Type One.  Maybe then they'll get just the tiniest peek of what goes on to keep that individual alive.

I think the student endocrinologists need more hands-on experience before they assume the role of blame-caster.  They don't see the behind-the-scenes events that can affect one's A1C, for example.  This is just a snapshot of average blood sugars over the past 3 months, but it doesn't tell you what life events happened in the last three months.

If I could speak to the student endocrinologist that we saw in May 2015 (our second endocrinology appointment, by the way)  (more can be read about that here), I would tell him:

"Only we know if our kid had a major growth spurt (which can affect blood sugar).  Only we know that our child caught a nasty stomach bug that landed him in the ER to rule out DKA.  Only we know the fear that parents (and anyone who has or deals with Type One) have and how that fear can be haunting in the middle of the night when we have to make judgement calls on how much insulin we should give to our child to bring down a high, or how much juice or jelly to feed to our child to bring up a low (not to mention the guilt we feel over ruining his teeth by feeding him sweets in the middle of the night-- hours after teeth have been brushed).   Let me remind you that I have not been silent.  I have diligently called in blood sugars to the diabetes educators for 10 months now.  I don't fudge the data-- they see what the blood sugars are.  This isn't a surprise or a shock to them.  And I should not have to shoulder the guilt of this on my own.  The A1C doesn't indicate how well I can do my job as a parent.  But understand this, we are less than a year into a diagnosis that has changed our lives forever.  We are scared.  We are learning.  We are getting our son into blood sugars that are closer in range than he's been so far.  We are trying.  Do not cast blame on me for a disease that cannot be controlled.  And do not assume that an A1C is an indicator of how much I love my child.  I would take this disease from him in one second and I would NEVER regret my choice to do so.  I love my son and I have to fight to keep him alive everyday.  Every. Day.  Please spend some time with a family who deals with Type One before you ever make these same assertions to another family that you have made to me today."

That felt good.  Even after two years since that visit, the burden of that guilt still stayed with me.  It feels freeing to write down what I could have, and should have said.  No one knows the depth of my love for my son other than me.


Until Next Time,
Much love, Reba


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Cost of a Chronic Illness

The second topic for #DBlogWeek is about the cost of a chronic illness.


When Michael was diagnosed, we were on insurance through my job.  It was okay-- and it was all we knew, so we couldn't compare it to anything else.  We got all of our supplies through a retail pharmacy at first.  This was the breakdown (found in this post):

"For a 90 Day supply of the insulin and other necessary supplies Michael uses, this is the breakdown:

Glucagon:  (3 kits)    $45.00
Pen needles: (6 boxes)     $135.00
Lantus (slow-acting insulin)    $135.00
Humalog (fast-acting insulin)   $135.00
Ketone strips (for urinalysis) (300)  $51.84
Lancets (to check blood sugar)   $64.78
Testing strips for blood-sugar meter (918 strips) $135.00  (thanks to an awesome social worker who worked hand in hand with our insurance company to make sure we could get the strips at that cost.  Usually, they are $50 for 50 strips). 

The insulin, the lancets, the testing strips are all required at that monetary level each and every month."

Later on, Michael got a CGM (continuous glucose monitor) and an insulin pump (we chose the Omnipod).  The CGM cost breakdown was this: "This piece of equipment (called a Continuous Glucose Monitor, aka CGM), along with it's necessary accessories (transmitter, receiver, inserters), cost us $542.00 to start-up, and it costs us $114.00 each month for the supplies. "

Once Michael got the insulin pump, some of our supplies changed.  More can be found in this post, but here's the basic breakdown:

"Humalog vials (we now use Humalog vials instead of Humalog & Lantus pen cartridges.  Michael no longer received multiple daily injections {MDI}, but rather receives Humalog all day long via his insulin pump.  We buy vials of Humalog and inject it into his pump every 3 days via syringe).  The cost of a 90 day supply of vials (3 vials) is $135.00

Glucagon (emergency kit-- 3 kits)   $45.00  (I don't buy this every 90 days, but these expire after a year, so I will be restocking some of the kits I bought last fall)

Ketone strips (for urinalysis-- 100 strips)  $17.00  (Again, I don't really have to buy these each time.  I can get up to 300 strips every 90 days, but can usually get by with just getting 100 strips). 

Lancets (to check blood sugar)  $64.78

Testing strips for blood sugar meter (918 strips)  $135.00  

When I order everything shown above, I pay about $396.78 to the pharmacy every 90 days.  Items that are not on this list include Lantus (slow-acting insulin) and pen needles.  Since he receives Humalog all day via his insulin pump, the need for Lantus is gone.  Also, since we are not giving him injections, we no longer have to fill the supply of pen needles.  I have a few spare boxes of needles in my cabinet, as well as some spare Humalog & Lantus pen cartridges for emergency purposes in case his insulin pump ever fails.  This is a recommended practice by the staff at Children's Hospital-- always be prepared for the worst. "

Once we started using the CGM and the Pod, we had to buy supplies through the mail for those items.  After we had used my insurance through work for over a year, we made the decision to switch to Aaron's insurance in January 2016.  

Switching to Aaron's insurance required that all diabetes supplies be purchased through the mail.  We saved a whole lot of money by doing this!  Michael's insulin (Novolog now instead of Humalog, and back-up Lantus pens in case of pump failure) are automatically shipped overnight at no additional cost.  They arrive in a cooler with ice packs and bubble wrap.  We pay $50 for a 90-day supply for each insulin.  This has risen from last year, but it's still a savings over what we were paying.  

We order lancets and testing strips through the mail as well.  These cost us about $50 for a 90-day supply.  I no longer get over 900 strips for Michael, but rather about 400-600.  With the CGM, we find it's okay to have a bit fewer test strips around.  

Our CGM sensors and our pods come through a Durable Medical Equipment supplier.  These items have greatly increased in cost from last year.  It costs us about $742.00 every 90 days for sensors and pods.

This year, our insurance no longer covers ketone strips, so I have to buy those myself in the store.  It's between $12-$20 for a tube of 50 strips.  

The mail rep on the phone one time told me that Glucagon is cheaper if we get it at a retail pharmacy rather than through the mail.  Our pharmacy of choice is no longer a covered pharmacy, but our grocery store pharmacy is, so I order glucagon from there.  They do not fill 90-day supplies, only 30 day supplies. For 3 glucagon kits at the grocery store pharmacy, it's $20.00-- so still a savings from the past. 

Diabetes is hugely expensive, and that's with pretty darn good insurance coverage.  But Type One Diabetes doesn't just cost money-- it costs peace of mind, and lifestyle habits, and dreams.  

The cost of a chronic illness is simply that-- chronic.  The cost is as chronic as the illness.  Michael is too young to understand that Type One can be a burden.  I ache for the day when he realizes this.  I understand that one day he will assume the role of Master of his diabetes and I will play a behind the scenes roll and try not to be a helicopter mom when he's grown.  But if I could take that burden away from him, I would!  I would do it in a heartbeat.  A heartbeat.  The cost of a chronic illness is that it took my little boy away from me-- it robbed me of the dreams I had for him.  It stole our spontaneous life!  It barged in and took up residence in our home and it will never leave-- even when Michael grows up and manages himself, my home will still stay stocked with whatever diabetes supplies I can purchase OTC and keep at the ready for my son.  The cost of a chronic illness is the future argument that Michael and I might have if he reaches diabetes burn-out.  Parents of non-Type One kids don't have to deal with that.  The cost of a chronic illness is sleep!  I will never again lay my head down on my pillow and sleep the whole night through.  Even when Michael is grown and on his own, I will still wake and worry if he's okay.  

The cost of a chronic illness, as I put it in 2015, is that diabetes can rob you.  Of money, of peace, and of freedom.  That's a pretty huge cost to pay. 

Until Next Time, 
Much love, Reba



Monday, May 15, 2017

Expecting the Unexpected: DBlog Week Topic 1

It's #DBlogWeek where people from all over write posts on certain topics all week long.  This is the first year I've actually caught DBlog week when it's actually happening so that I can write posts on the topics too!  The first topic is "Diabetes and the Unexpected."



Do you remember that episode of Full House where Jesse and Rebecca were heading out for a trip to see Aunt Martha?  It was their first time to take their twin boys out of the house on any kind of trip, and they weren't leaving anything to chance.  They packed up EVERYTHING-- baby swings and coats and hats and changes of clothes and lots of diapers and baby powder for the twin who had a diaper rash, and pretty much the whole nursery!  Mind you, they wouldn't be gone overnight-- it was just a day trip.  Just as they were about ready to start loading up their vehicle after lugging all of this stuff down the stairs from their attic apartment, Aunt Martha shows up at their door!

That, folks, is diabetes preparedness.  As soon as Michael was diagnosed with Type One and our plans of a "normal" life flew away, the freedom of just taking my purse to the grocery store also flew away.  Now when we go to the grocery store-- or ANYWHERE-- we take a backpack filled with things we might need when we're out and about.  This includes his CGM continuous glucose monitor receiver), pdm (personal diabetes manager, that controls his insulin pump), a vial of insulin, a blood sugar meter and all its accoutrements like test strips and the lancet device with lancets, glucagon (an emergency shot in case his blood sugar drops too low for a fast-acting carb to correct it), snacks, and fast-acting carbs to treat low blood sugars.  These are necessities.  And, surely, like the Aflac commercial says "If you don't have it, that's why you need it."  Sure enough, if you leave your house without items to treat a low blood sugar, a low blood sugar will probably appear on your trip.

Being prepared is what keeps us relatively sane.  We ventured out of the house last week to take the boys to a park about 20 minutes away where there was an ice-cream stand.  On our way, Michael's CGM alarms for a low blood sugar.  As I drove, Aaron turned around in the passenger seat and checked a blood sugar and Michael was really low.  Aaron knew that we had something in his backpack that would help, and he quickly found the Skittles and gave Michael a whole handful to eat.  We knew we'd be getting ice cream at the park, but low blood sugars don't wait around for a well laid plan.  We had to act fast in order to keep Michael safe during our little trip.  Everything turned out fine and Michael was able to enjoy an ice cream cone and play for a long stretch of time on the playground.  These are little victories to us-- when things work out in the end and when we don't have to cut an event short in order to take care of diabetes related issues.  When we got home, I restocked Michael's backpack with another fast-acting carb-- Smarties, and I knew we'd be prepared again if this same kind of thing happens in the future.

I still get jealous of those people who can just toss a diaper or whatever into their purse and head on like nothing could ever go wrong.  I wish they knew how easy they had it.

Having Type One in our life and learning how to be prepared for what it can throw at us has taught us to be prepared in other areas too.  My younger son has a lot of different allergies, and some of them are just coming to light now.  He ate a tiny bite of a cashew on Saturday and within ten minutes, his top lip was swollen right where he had placed that cashew.  Since he has other allergies, I always have Benadryl (and most recently, Zyrtec too)  on hand.  I knew the "rescue dose" for Benadryl and was immediately able to give it to him.  Within half an hour, his lip was decreasing in size, and within three hours it was back to its normal size.  If I hadn't have been prepared with the Benadryl, our evening would have included a trip to the ER and a frantic mom-- me.  However, I've learned to be prepared for whatever may happen, especially when it pertains to my kids, and I can attribute that to living in a home where Type One Diabetes resides.



Until Next Time,
Much love, Reba




Wednesday, May 10, 2017

A Post About Noah


I talk a lot on the blog about the growing baby, and about things related to Michael’s Type One Diabetes. 


But I don’t really write too much about Noah, so today’s post is for him. 


He’s definitely not forgotten in our home by far!  He’s been making his presence known since birth.  He had APGAR scores of 9 and 9 upon birth, and his scream/cry has not lessened since then!


He is of average height and weight—if not a bit on the small side.  Right now he wears 3T shirts and pajamas, and can fit into 18-month, 24-month, 2T, and 3T shorts. He is totally potty trained and likes to choose his own underwear each day.  If he could pick his Chase and Marshall PAW Patrol underwear every day, he would.  On disappointing days for him, we have to remind him that his favorite pairs might be in the wash and that it’s okay to wear striped or superhero or Olaf underwear.



He is a superstar at self-entertainment.  He can play by himself for well over an hour.  He’s a guy of simple likes.  Video games do not appeal to him at all.  He will pay attention to a board game for about 5 minutes.  If a movie is in, it better be one that he’s seen a million times (like Despicable Me 2), or he has no interest.  He does enjoy watching “Phineas & Ferb” or “Pocoyo” and those are usually the shows of choice in the early morning while I’m beginning my workday. 


Noah is our early early riser.  This past week, he’s been getting up at 5:45am.  (cue the mommy tears!) This doesn’t allow me the quiet solitude I like in the mornings as I get my day started, but it does remind me to count my blessings, and Noah is definitely a blessing. On the weekends, he and Michael do a pretty good job of entertaining themselves for about an hour before they come into our bedroom.  However, since Noah is potty trained, but not quite tall enough to get on the potty alone, usually I’ll have to wake up to help him go potty first thing each morning, and then I can go back to my bed and rest until that hour is up.



Noah is the typical toddler snacker/grazer.  We didn’t get that privilege with Michael since he had to eat on a pretty strict schedule to manage his blood sugar.  Noah, on the other hand, gets the benefit of being the second child who we have the privilege of handing a snackie cup filled with dry cereal and letting him go to town on it.  His favorite cereals are Froot Loops (which he calls “dinosaur cereal” since the Publix brand has a dinosaur on the back of the box), and Berry Colossal Crunch (which is an off-brand of Captain Crunch, and Noah calls it “ball cereal”).  I don’t let him go crazy on the cereal and eat it all day long, and I do monitor what he eats, but I also know he’s growing appropriately and isn’t heavy by any means at ALL, so we do find it okay to let him snack on cereal.  (For those wondering, Michael doesn’t really care about snacking.  He’s more interested in his toys or imaginative adventures, or video games.  On the off chance that he does notice Noah’s snack and wants his own, we portion it out and give him insulin for it.)


Noah is allergic to a few things that we know of so far:  dairy milk, soy milk, almond milk, and dirt spores. He gets his dairy intake through Greek yogurt and cheese (occasionally), but we avoid milk when we can. When he insists on having it, and I don’t feel like denying my child something healthy like milk, we give him some Benadryl and then a small glass of milk – regular or chocolate.  We have Fairlife brand in our house because of its fantastic protein to carb ratio (good for Michael) and it is also lactose free (good for Noah).  



We buy the Trop50 orange juice because it’s about half the amount of carbs as regular orange juice—so it’s good for us to have around.  Michael doesn’t ask for juice to drink—he usually sticks with water and Crystal Light lemonade.  Noah is quite the fan of lemonade as well, but he’ll occasionally ask for juice instead and it’s nice to give him the Trop50 orange juice—knowing that Michael could have some too with just a little bit of insulin rather than a whole lot like regular orange juice would require.


Noah is stubborn to a T and picks up little habits here and there that become extremely hard for us to break.  Currently, he will take his cup of water or lemonade into his room or the hallway (which is hardwood) and he will drink a sip and then let it run out of his mouth onto his shirt and the floor.  He had this same habit about a year ago and it took forever for him to stop doing it!  And now it’s back. *sigh*  He’ll come down the hallway and the front of his shirt will be soaked and we’ll ask “Noah, did you spit out your water?” and he’ll respond “I’m not going to tell you.”  Which, of course, means yes.  On other occasions, we’ll walk down the hallway and step right in a puddle of water, or we’ll go into the boys’ bedroom to put away a toy or to tuck in the boys for the 50th time at night and we’ll step on wet carpet or see water dripping down the walls of his bedroom or see giant wet spots on his sheets.  It’s a hassle! 


Another thing he has picked up recently is the habit of saying “no” to me when I ask him to do something, like to come see me if I’m sitting in the dining room and he’s in the living room and I need to tell him something.  I’ll say “Noah, come see me” and he’ll say “no.”  He knows now that he will get a little spank if he says no for things like that. 



After my 4-year-old nephew came for a visit a couple of weekends ago, Noah picked up the habit of calling people “stupid.”  His favorite person to call stupid is me.  And Avery.  So, we’ve had to address this issue and tell him that we do not call any person stupid at all.  So now he knows that he will get 1 warning and then a spanking if he continues to call people stupid.  Sometimes he’ll come up to me at the end of the day and whisper, “I won’t call you or Baby stupid.” 


God sure knows what He’s doing when he puts ornery feisty kids in the cutest little bodies!  Noah has a smile that totally melts me & Aaron and we have to really stick to our discipline plans—otherwise, they’d totally get thrown out the window with each smile Noah gives! 



Noah still very much loves his blankie, which he calls “Bampeen” because he couldn’t pronounce “blankie” as a young little guy.  This is a 3ftx3ft plush white blanket with brown and blue chevrons on it.  He takes this thing everywhere and I call him Linus when he does.  Occasionally, he’ll forget it when he goes to my mother-in-law’s house for the day and I can sneak it into the washing machine! 


He absolutely looks up to Michael, but he doesn’t feel the need to do everything Michael does.  I’m glad that they both have their own personalities and likes and dislikes.  They play very well together and they like the same shows, which means they act out the same things when they play.  So, one of their favorite things to do right now is pretend box—which we don’t condone. But I’ll be sitting in another room and I’ll hear Noah say “give me your best shot!  Is that all you got?!?!” and I’m like “this is a 3-year-old talking here! Where did he learn that?!?”



I do think Noah will be a good big brother.  He is a good cuddler and is quite content to sit beside me on the couch and look at books, etc.  He is fascinated with baby toys and accessories like swings and rock-and-plays, etc.  He has mastered how to operate my 4-month-old niece’s pack-and-play when she comes into town every other month or so.  I bought a rock-and-play at the consignment sale this spring and he was ecstatic!  He actually peeked out of his room after I got home around 8:45pm to say “Mom! I see a rock-and-play!  I need to come out of my room and look at it!”  He will be our designated rock-and-play master, and I’m glad I have a kid who can easily crouch down and push the buttons on it!  He’ll be a good “assistant” to me, I’m sure!  We probably won’t let him be the swing operator if Avery is actually in the swing.  The rock-and-play does not go very fast—at all! But the swing is another story.  It can pick up some speed, and we don’t want Avery flying out!  I think many of Avery’s early memories will be of her seeing Noah sitting by the swing or the rock-and-play as she’s in them.


Noah says the funniest things and does the funniest things.  Yesterday, he was playing with the bucket of reptile toys Michael picked out at the Children’s Hospital gift shop.  He lined them up on an end table in our living room and yelled out like a carnival barker “Get your toys! Get your toys!” Another day, he was looking around for his cup and it was on the edge of the dining room table.  He kept spinning in circles saying “where’d it go?  Where’d it go?” and I’d tell him, “it’s behind you!” so he’d spin around until I was behind him and he’d turn around and say “You? You’re my cup?”  and walk over to me and try to pick me up!  His little personality is just the cutest! 



He knows his birthdate in January and told me yesterday that he will need cake on his birthday and not to forget his fork!  He knows that Michael is going to school in August.  He tells me “I will go to school with Michael in August.”  He doesn’t want to be left out.  He knows he’ll be four in January, but he’s not understanding that he can’t go to kindergarten until he’s five.  He also doesn’t fully grasp that he won’t be alone once Michael goes to school because Avery will be here.  But he tells me “I will miss Michael” and lets out a pitiful little “aww.”  I remind him that Michael will come home every day after school. I think Noah will enjoy being the only kid who can talk at my mother-in-law’s house this fall.  He won’t have to compete with his big brother to get in a word—he’ll be competing with a baby’s cries, but we know newborns sleep a great amount of the day, so Noah should still get plenty of talking time!


I can’t wait to see how God uses Noah and his personality to do great things!



Until Next Time,

Much love, Reba



Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Endocrinology Visit and School Tour

Yesterday, we started out by going to the elementary school and taking a tour!  Michael has told us he's "norvous" about going to school and we assure him that every boy & girl in his class will be nervous and it's a good time to make friends.

We began the tour by checking out the gym where the 4th graders were having P.E.-- archery, as it were.  The Pre-K through 2nd grade counselor, who was our tour guide, told us that kindergartners do not do archery in P.E.  Seeing the 4th graders use the bow and arrows was the highlight of Michael's trip. :)

Next, we went down the Kindergarten hall where the teachers were asked to keep their doors open so we could peek in as we walked by.  It was interesting to see a glimpse into the classrooms.  I'm not sure which of the 8 classrooms Michael will be in, but we'll get to choose his teacher based on who the nursing staff shows is most competent to handle the ins-and-outs of having a student with Type One in the classroom.

We visited the lunchroom and the group walked by the nurses office, and we actually popped in there really quick to introduce Michael to the nurses.  Not all of them were in the nurses office at that time, but at least Michael got to see where the nurses office was located.

Next stop was the music room-- with lots of Minions posters on the wall, which Michael loved!  There were all kinds of instruments set out-- bongos, egg shakers, tambourines, etc.  Michael is super pumped to learn how to use all of those instruments.

The final stop was the library where the kindergarten classes will come for story time once a week, I think.  The tour really helped Michael be more at ease at the thought of going to school this fall.  I left more nervous than I was before.  I don't hold the P.E. coaches to be of high enough standard to care for Michael's needs while in P.E. class, but I'll have to trust that they are.  And I'm hoping I'll get to meet with them before school starts.

We headed out to the car, got some gas, ran home for a snack, and headed up to Birmingham for Michael's endocrinology appointment.  We arrived around lunchtime and ate our picnic lunch in the main entrance to the hospital.



Noah, who Grandma Chips had picked up earlier in the morning from our house, was having a fun day being the only kid, and he got to go to McDonalds to get a Happy Meal!  Apparently, he talked non stop the whole day-- didn't have anyone to compete with, so it was all up to him!



Back at Children's Hospital, Michael picked out a toy for himself and a toy for Noah.  This is a highlight of the trip for him!  He chose a bucket of frogs and snacks and lizards-- very tiny little toys, but a good deal for the money.  He picked out a tank for Noah.  Aaron & I treated ourselves to a couple Children's Hospital t-shirts.

Michael's appointment went fast and very very good.  He was SO well behaved and we couldn't be happier with that!  The doctor is super impressed with our aggressive treatment of high blood sugars, and we made some more dramatic changes to further improve Michael's diabetes management.




We swung into a McDonald's drive through on our way home-- which we never do, but at this time the Happy Meal toys are Super Mario, so we wanted to reward Michael with an extra special treat.

We hit zero traffic on the way home, picked up Noah, and made it home in time to serve up some leftovers for dinner and get ready for my mom to come over to read a story to the boys before bed.


We are really hoping that our visit yesterday was the first of many visits to follow where Michael just does what's expected of him and cooperates so well.  It certainly renewed our energy as parents and we were commended by the doctor on how well we act as a team. :)

We got all of our paperwork ready for me to submit to the school here to get Michael set up with his medical rights plan for the upcoming school year.  Now, only a summer stands between us and having an official kindergartner!


Until Next Time,
Much love, Reba


Friday, May 5, 2017

Mom Pins

I have this board on Pinterest, "New Mommy Advice," where I've pinned lots of tips on newborn care, boosting milk supply, and words of encouragement for moms.  Here are some of my favorite "mom pins" and I like to look back over them and get a boost of encouragement as I am now mommy to a near-kindergartner and preschooler, with a baby on the way.











Reading things puts new spring in my step and serves to remind me that as moms, we're going to make mistakes, but it's normal and we can start afresh each day.  Children are a blessing from the Lord and I want to make sure I remember that at all times.

Until Next Time,
Much Love, Reba


Thursday, May 4, 2017

Opposites Attract


My husband and I are very different people.  That being said, we complement each other so well in life that when one of us has to be away, we literally feel like half of us is missing.

 

I joke with Aaron that we would not have been friends in high school.  He was a skateboarder who was friends with anyone he met, and everyone liked him.  I was a shy girl who had my group of misfit friends, and wasn’t noticed by anyone else at school. 

 

Aaron went to school in Washington state, where he grew up.  His graduating class was about 500.  I attended high-school from freshman year to the end of junior year in Hawaii—where my dad was a pastor.  We moved to Alabama at the beginning of my senior year when my dad changed churches.  My class was about 450+ in Hawaii, and it was 72 in Alabama.

 

Aaron has always had great self-confidence.  He was very athletic his entire time growing up. He did wrestling, basketball, and baseball in elementary and middle school.  He played baseball, tennis, and soccer in high school.  He has always been a laid back guy, and always one to stick up for those with disabilities.  The popular kids at school liked him because he was so confident, cool, and collected.  The unpopular crowd liked him because he socialized with them and included them when he could.  The jocks liked him because he was pretty much good at any sport and was an asset to any team.  The art crowd liked him because of his natural talen, sans cockiness, when it came to art projects and assignments.  Pretty much everyone in that huge school knew of him and knew he was a stand-up guy.

 

It took me a while to find my self-confidence.  I had been a ballerina for seven years prior to our moving to Hawaii.  Once we moved there, we didn’t really attempt to find a ballet class for me to attend.  Being a minority race on a tiny island only aided in the middle school awkward years.  We had a good size youth group at church, and many of them attended the same school system that my older brother and I did, but it didn’t always mean that the other kids and I matched up in our social circles. 

 

Prejudice in middle school hit hard.  Our very first day on the bus to go home, my older brother attempted to tell the bus driver we were new and where we lived, and she snapped at him and told him that she knew all the stops and to sit down.   After she passed our stop, my brother scooted over into my chair and told me to get off at the next stop no matter what.  We had to walk about a mile home that day.  My brother was furious, which made my mom furious and she immediately called the school.  The morning, the bus driver apologized and she never missed our stop again. I only attended the public school for my seventh grade year because it became evident to my parents that I was a target for prejudice—from teachers and students alike.  The final straw was a teacher screaming at me in my seventh grade math class because I asked to be excused from lunch duty (after I had already done it about 5 times, and was told I wouldn’t have to do it again—where kids of the majority race had not had to do it at all).  I had a history test that afternoon and was planning to use part of my lunch time for some final studying, and when I asked to be excused from lunch duty, the teacher (my homeroom teacher who was also my math teacher) flew off the handle and screamed at me for several minutes—all while a friend of mine watched from the doorway.  She immediately helped me gather up some quarters and we went to the payphone to call my parents.  That was towards the end of the school year, fortunately. In the eighth grade, my parents signed me up for a home school program through a Christian school in Florida where they’d send me videos to watch of a classroom and I’d complete the bookwork on my own.  It was a lonely year, but I was much happier to be by myself than in the public school setting.

 

In ninth grade, I joined my brother at the high-school for our district and instantly bonded with a group of misfits.  I tried to follow in my older brother’s footsteps by choosing band as my elective for freshman and sophomore year, but I wasn’t very good and in my junior year, I kind of found myself and chose Ceramics as my elective. I had much more self-confidence then. 

 

Once we moved to Alabama for my senior year, I found another small group of friends and was an office aid for two periods of the day—their elective choices were much slimmer at this school, and office aid was pretty much the only choice I had and I didn’t mind!  I had a lot of fun during my senior year, but it was all low key fun.  I was never a wild and crazy kid—and neither was Aaron. So we had that in common.

 

I attended Auburn University the summer after graduating high school.  Aaron’s mom & stepdad moved to my parent’s neighborhood the day after Aaron graduated high school.  During that time, Aaron moved to Seattle with some friends and would travel to visit his grandparents about an hour away (by ferry) where he would work for his grandpa as a logger to earn some money, and then head back to Seattle until he ran out again. 

 

It was not until the summer of 2007 when Aaron was visiting his mom that he and I met.  He moved to Alabama in December of 2007 after the log market fell, and his stepdad offered him a job in construction.

 

We both attended the College & Career Sunday school class at the church my dad pastored—where Aaron’s mom & stepdad had chosen to attend.  We went on outings as part of the Sunday School class, but we really didn’t start to get to know each other until fall of 2008.  We started dating officially in January 2009, got engaged in July 2009, and married in October 2009.  Sometimes, you just know, you know?  We are absolute best friends and just knew that we were meant to be married to each other for life.  

 

Lots of things are still totally opposite about us, and some things have become clear that we share in common.  His love languages are Physical Touch (back rubs, and neck rubs are a way to tell him that I really love him!) and Gift Receiving (even picking up a Coke or a candy bar for him shows him that I am thinking of him and care about him). Mine are Words of Affirmation (when he tells me I’m doing a great job as a mom, or employee, or wife, etc) and Quality Time (he knows that sitting next to me on the couch and watching a show with me really shows me he loves me).  We enjoy our separate things and hobbies, but we most enjoy being together.  Our parenting approaches vary a bit since we were raised in different ways, but we are finding our way and what works best for us as parents. 

 

Doing life with Aaron is such a phenomenal treat.  Sometimes, I’m still in awe that a skateboarder with so many friends would be attracted to me—a shy girl who has two solid best friends and a pretty sheltered upbringing.  God knew what He was doing though and I am so glad He does!

 

Until Next Time,

Much love, Reba


Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Kindergarten Registration

I remember when we were pregnant with Michael-- probably about 30 weeks along-- and Aaron says, "People say babies grow up so fast and that we should enjoy every second because it'll be gone soon.  Now I'm sad."  I smiled and looked at him and said "Michael isn't even born yet-- we have all of this time to enjoy."

Well, somewhere along the lines, someone flipped my calendar five years forward!  And, sure enough, that time slipped away and here we are with a near five year old!

On April 19th I attended kindergarten registration!  Eeks!  This school had a few days parents could choose from in order to come fill out paperwork.  This made sure that no one had to wait a very long time to complete the registration.  No one was around when I filled out Michael's paperwork.

The registrar was very nice and sat me down at a table in the hallway of the school outside the front office.  I filled out his paperwork, which basically said the same things and asked the same questions (what language do you speak at home, how well does your child get along with others, etc).  When handing in my paperwork to the registrar, she discussed the Kindergarten Tour, which of course, takes place on the day we have to go to Michael's next endocrinology appointment.  Since there are three time slots for the tour, I told the registrar that we'd most likely be able to attend the first tour so that we can leave straight from there and head to Michael's appointment-- at a hospital over an hour away. I asked if we could see the nurse's station during the tour and the registrar asked why.  When I told her that Michael has Type One Diabetes (which is marked on his paperwork), she said "Oh, we need to take you there right now!  They have to know he's coming."  She was super nice and led me down the hallway to the nurse's office.

There are three nurses at this school, and all three of them had heard of me.  One, I've spoken with on the phone.  One heard that Michael was coming through the other two nurses.  The final nurse-- the head nurse-- has spoken with my dad who is a bus driver for the school.  I spent about 30 to 45 minutes in the nurse's office discussing Michael's care and what to expect at school.  Each nurse was so super nice, and once the registrar found out that they already knew about me and Michael, she left me there in good hands.  I sat down with one nurse and she made a list of what they'd provide for Michael (small refrigerator to store extra insulin, snack boxes for Michael for his classroom, PE, nurse's office, and bus) and what I'd provide for him (meter, meter supplies, pump supplies, low supplies, etc).  We talked about how they'd handle lunchtime and snacktimes and even talked about how they'd assist us in picking Michael's teacher to make sure he got the best one who'd pay most attention to his symptoms.  I left the nurse's office feeling SO GOOD about sending Michael to school!

After we go to the endocrinologist's office next week, I'll bring back the medical & legal paperwork Michael will need to attend school safely this fall-- it will include specific instances where Michael will be given help during the day.

At the beginning of August-- hello, huge pregnant belly!-- I will go to the school and help them learn how to use Michael's insulin pump.  The two other type one students at the school currently are on Multiple Daily Injections (MDI), and the school had one student prior who was on a pump, but it was different from Michael's.  They've never encountered anyone with Michael's specific pump, so I will train them in how to use it, and I think they'll like the convenience!

Aside from meeting with the nurses, and having my list of medical supplies to get for Michael to keep at school, we have an entire page of supplies to bring just for kindergarten alone!  While we lived in Hawaii during my teen years, we learned that if you see something in the stores-- you buy it right then, or it might not be there when you go back.  I apply this a lot to supply lists.  I don't want to wait until July and August to buy all of his supplies because, holy checkbook!  But I also don't want to be competing with everyone else in the surrounding three counties, plus our own, to be buying all of the boxes of crayons etc.

This list is extensive, so I'm taking it a bit at a time.  I'm buying supplies as they go on sale (ie, 2 containers of Clorox wipes were on sale at Publix this week), and I'm adding in things we already had on hand (we buy our paper towels and Kleenex in bulk from Costco, so I was easily able to spare 4 paper towel rolls {yes, 4!!!} and 2 boxes of Kleenex from our stash).  I'm applying the same plan for Michael's low supplies-- so I bought juice boxes (fast acting carb) when they were BOGO at Publix, and granola bars (slow acting carb) when they were on sale this past week).  I plan to add in 2 things each week so I'm not overwhelmed in July and August.  So far, it's working out pretty well.

Here's hoping the Kindergarten Tour goes well next week, and here's double hoping the endocrinologist's office is on top of it when it comes to the paperwork.  Lots of changes are ahead, but one thing is for sure-- I'll certainly be taking my time to savor these last few months with Michael at home before he starts school.

Until Next Time,
Much love, Reba