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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Anniversaries are supposed to be happy

We've never really celebrated Elise's diaversary. Not for lack of wanting to, but because it comes two days after her birthday, the day before Mattias's birthday, a week after mine, plus it's mashed in there with school starting. There's just a lot going on in a span of a few weeks.

We always acknowledge it; praise Elise for how brave she is, talk about how far we've come, and how thankful we are for discoveries and technology.  The day is bittersweet, because it is not only the day our lives irrevocably changed, but also the day our daughter's life was saved.

Today marks a year since we lost Nicolas.  I have been dreading its coming for weeks, because slowly I was being transported back to a time of such intense bleakness and pain, I was afraid I would never emerge.

How to you acknowledge the passing of a life you never knew, except for the 17 weeks you carried him?  One that you loved from the moment you discovered he existed, but you never got to tell him? A life you've always wanted, but was never meant to be? 

Today he would be almost 7 months old.  Learning to crawl.  Discovering solid foods.  He would have attended his first FFL with us.

Just like with Elise's diagnosis, I get mired down in the "what ifs". And it's a dangerous spiral.  So just like with Elise, I want to try and look towards hope.

I know where he is.  I know I will see him again.  I know that he is not in pain and will never have to suffer the sadness of this world.

And I am thankful to the kind friends who have already reached out today.  Remembering that my son was here and will always be a part of my family. Acknowledging that his life had meaning.

It is this hope that will get me through.  And knowing that if Nicolas cannot be in my arms, then resting in the arms of Jesus is not a bad place at all to be.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

FFL 2015... was it worth it?

Due to mountains of laundry, a sick kid, Blogger eating my first post, and me not wanting to admit that FLL 2015 was over, this post has taken awhile to write.  But here it is, in all it's bullet-pointed glory.
  • Don't congratulate yourself on the foresight of planning your flights around your little one's nap time.  Because even though you may (or may not) have given him lunch, followed by a benadryl chaser, he will choose NOT to nap during his regularly scheduled time.  In fact, he will finally fall asleep just as the plane lands.  And then shriek at you when you wake him up as you get off the plane.
  • Forgetting a suitcase at home sucks.  Forgetting the suitcase that has all the diapers at home really sucks.
  • Thankfully, you have awesome friends (for life), that will drive you to Target. And put up with you as you scan every item with your cartwheel app.
  • Are we the only family that brings one suitcase solely dedicated to food?
  • Watching fireworks from the comfort of your hotel and not have to be in a crowd of people is the best.
  • I love it when registration finally opens and people start wearing their green or orange bracelets.  There is nothing like looking at someone and not having to say a word.  The "me too" echoes back loud and clear.
  • I didn't get any pictures, but my kids (and Fred) love to hang out at Sports Central whenever it is open. Thanks to all the great staff that make it happen!
  • I love meeting a friend that lives in my computer for the first time in real life.  I had no idea that Denise, Mom of Bean was going to be there, but I'm glad we got to meet.
  • Florida in July is stupid hot.  That's why even I will go to the pool.
  • I know this is only our third year at FFL, but going there makes me feel like I'm home, and the people make me feel like I'm with family.
  • Let's not forget how awesome it is to have someone else carb count the food for you!
  • One of Elise's favourite things every year is the Exhibit Hall, and the SWAG.  There were some fun booths this year! Unfortunately I can't really tell you about them because I spent most of my time chasing children around the hall.  And losing them. 

  • Sundaes from Ghirardelli are always a good idea.  Blood sugars be damned.

  • I loved seeing some of me old favourite presenters (Joe Solo), and some new-to-me peeps (the Osers). I did miss the Stress Management session though... I can always use some mediation.
  • I love these guys and all they are doing to make the Bionic Pancreas a reality.
  • Speaking of which, I was in the session where they unveiled the iLet (hee), and the collective gasp of delight from 300+ people was amazing. I just might have teared up a little.  Or a lot. Plus it was fun to see Elise's picture in the slides during the presentation... couldn't have picked a cuter poster child.  Just my opinion!
  • I got to hold it!
  • The banquet and dance was fun and I loved shaking my booty with my little girl on the dance floor.
  • Loved seeing Elsa with a green bracelet!
  • Dexcom threw a fun movie night for the kids.  They got soft comfy blankets to lie on (and keep!) as well as popcorn (5 kinds!) and drinks.  And of course, ice cream after the movie.  
  • Of course there's the breakfast with the characters before the CWD day at the Magic Kingdom.

  • Disney is NOT the happiest place on earth.  In fact, I think I met some of the most miserable people ever there.  I was afraid one guy was going to take a swing at me.  Nevertheless, as much as I don't like Disney, I love seeing it through the eyes of my kids.  I love that THEY love it.  And that's enough for me.

  • Did I mention Florida in July is stupid hot?
  • What do you do when you bolus your child for a Dole Whip float, and she takes one sip and decides she doesn't like it?  You get her some ice cream.  And what do you do when half that ice cream falls off the stick and onto the ground?  You buy her a churro.  Thankfully there is no shortage of carbs at the Magic Kingdom.
  • Elise spent most of her day at the MK low. At one point we were searching for some lemonade and we went to the Pinocchio Haus. We asked a guy if they had lemonade, and he asked fresh or frozen?  Elise wanted frozen, so he told us to sit down.  A few minutes later he brought a try with three frozen lemonades, and two bottles of water.  When we asked how to pay, he replied, "it's the magic of Disney".
  • We spent part of our time at MK with another FFL family Elise and their daughter H had so much fun together.  And H's parents were fun for us to hang with too! Nothing like another D-family to have your back when you're dealing with Disney and BG craziness!
  • If my husband ever keeps my two older kids at the MK until 2:00 am, I will kill him.  Or seriously maim him.  Especially when we have to get up at 7:30 the next morning.  And fly home later that day.
  • Best Disney picture ever
So... Is FFL worth it?  It is.  Every child-tantruming, over-priced food, sleep-deprived, burst-into-flame hot, BG rollercoaster, friend-making, I-got-your-back, me-tooing, same-same moment of it.  Try it for yourself and see. 

See you in 353 days.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Happy 148th Birthday Canada!

It all started with a simple picture of my 10 month old daughter holding a Canadian flag.  Now 7 years later, all 3 of my kids proudly wave the maple leaf on Canada Day. 

Tell me what’s a Douglas Fir

Betcha never heard a bobcat purr

Have you ever seen a lobster crawl?

In Canada, we get to see them all.

We get to see the maple trees, maple sugar and the maple leaves,
We got the biggest wheat fields growing tall

In C-A-N-A-D-A, where we see the reversing falls
In Canada, we get to see them all.

Tell me, what’s a tidal bore,

Have you ever heard the ocean roar?

Just listen to that wild goose call.

In Canada, we get to see them all

We get to see the maple trees, maple sugar and the maple leaves,
We got the biggest timber woods so tall 
In C-A-N-A-D-A, where adventure ever calls,
In Canada, we get to see them all.

Have you ever heard a maple creak?

Betcha never seen a mountain peak.

In the land of the big snowball.

In Canada, we get to see them all.

We get to see the maple trees, maple sugar and the maple leaves,

We got the biggest wheat fields growing tall

In C-A-N-A-D-A, where we see the reversing falls,
In Canada, we get to see them all.

Have you ever seen a magnetic hill?

Or a lady on a dollar bill?

Betcha never seen the autumn fall.

We get to see the maple trees, maple sugar and the maple leaves,
We got the biggest timber woods so tall 
In C-A-N-A-D-A, where adventure ever calls,
In Canada, we get to see them all.

*Lyrics from the song C-A-N-A-D-A by Raffi

It's a day late, but Happy Canada Day to all my Canadian peeps out there. 


Friday, June 26, 2015

Making Food... Ninja Style

Once upon a time, one of my favourite things to do was to go to Costco and peruse their samples.  Fred and I even had a name for it... Redneck Dim Sum. 

Before you decide we're totally lame, let me preface that for you. We used to be broke.  Like totally and completely broke.  Our grocery budget was $20 a week.  One of the ways I would keep the budget down is we would take advantage of coupons, 2 for 1 meals, eating at the Costco food court, and when we had no money left... Redneck Dim Sum.  Yes, we would eat Costco samples as a meal.

Ah, the good old days!

And you could always tell it was going to be a good day if the "Blender People" were there.  The wonderful people that would churn out sample after glorious sample of yummy goodness.  If you parked yourself by their table you could get an entire meal... soup!  Smoothie!  Ice cream!  I vowed that one day I would own one of these machines.

So when I was offered the chance to try out a Ninja Blender (with Auto-IQ one-touch intelligence!), I was a little excited. And try it, we did!

The Machine
I won't lie to you, I was a little overwhelmed when I pulled it out of the box.  The base has lots of buttons.  The one you press depends on what you're trying to do.  Plus, as well as the blender pitcher, you also get 3 smaller cups of different sizes; 18, 24, and 32 oz.  So I had to sit and look at the manual to figure out what cup to use, and what button to press.  Sounds easy, but try doing that when you have three kids yelling, 'Smoooooooooooothie!" in your ear at the same time.

The base feels very sturdy and has little cups on the bottom to suction it to your counter. The buttons are big and respond well when you press them. The Ninja is pretty loud when in use, but I think that's true of any of these types of blenders.

The Equipment
The blender pitcher is quite large and is capable of holding many servings of your creation.  The total crushing blades did a great job of pulverizing all the ice and frozen fruit I used in my smoothies... no annoying lumps!

I also really liked the smaller cups for making smaller portions.  My favourite things about those are that they double as a cup (it comes with 3 lids), and can be put in the dishwasher for easy cleanup.

Let's Blend!
Honestly, I haven't used the Ninja to make anything other than smoothies yet.  I will at some point, but let's face it, smoothies are pretty easy to make and my kids love them.  Our first creation was Elise's recipe:

We used the 18 oz. cup and used fresh and frozen strawberries, half a banana, 1/2 c of OJ, and about 2 tbsp. of the protein powder.  We weighed all the ingredients to figure out the carb factor (don't know what that is?  Click here to learn all about carb factors).

Calculating... and we have a carb factor of .10. I have notebook upon notebook with these scribbles.  

And the finished product.  Super yummy and smooth!  Elise really enjoyed it and has asked for it repeatedly.

The boys wanted a some more fruit in their smoothie, so I broke out the 32 oz. cup and threw in some frozen pineapple, fresh and frozen strawberries, half a banana, a peach, OJ and protein powder.

This one was definitely my favourite, the sweetness of the peach really came out.  If you read the instruction manual, it tells you exactly how to layer the ingredients so it blends well. 

For these smoothies, I used the "Ultra Blend" button, which pulsed the blender on and off automatically for 60 seconds at irregular intervals.  I'm guessing this method helps to blend it completely, because we never had any lumps in our drinks.

One thing I love about smoothies (and using blenders in general) is that you can sneak healthy ingredients in and the kids are none the wiser.  Spinach, kale, avocado are all things I've used in the past.  The Ninja came with a book of 25 recipes including several smoothies, chocolate mousse, and even a margarita recipe!

It also came with another book called Eat to Lose, Eat to Win. It also had some recipes as well as healthy eating tips, but I found the author's overall tone to be a little holier-than-thou and rather off -putting. The advice was good, but I didn't care for how she made it sound like she never made poor food choices, just everyone around her did (if she did, I might not have made it that far into the book... I just didn't care for her writing style).

So Joanne, is it worth spending up to $200 for a blender? That depends how much you will use it.  I have one of the older models of another big-name blender and I use it almost everyday.  I've made smoothies, soup, peanut and almond butter, butter, waffle batter, ice cream as well as varying types of flour.  For me, it's a useful addition to my kitchen and I can't imagine not having one. For me, it's well worth the money, and the Ninja blender will always have a spot on my counter.

My sweet boy and his smoothie.  My other two will rarely pose for pictures anymore

***Though I was provided the Nutri Ninja Blender for free, that doesn't mean my opinion can be bought. This review is comprised of 100% honest thoughts and feelings that are completely my own.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

It gets better

Yesterday I volunteered at the  JDRF's TypeOneNation Summit.  I was manning (womanning?) the table for our local support group, and had the opportunity to speak with many newly diagnosed families.  One in particular moved me to tears.

A grandma to a two-year old boy was attending the event.  She spoke to me about how overwhelmed her daughter-in law was and it reminded me of a post I wrote a few years ago.  I gave the woman the info for our support group, as well as the address of my blog.  I'm re-posting this with hope that she will read it and start to believe there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Good luck to you.  We are here for you if you need us.


Dear parent of a newly diagnosed baby,

Let me start off by welcoming you to one of the crappiest subsets of an already pretty crappy club. I'm guessing you stumbled here by googling something like "my baby has type 1 diabetes" or "babies with type 1 blogs". Those are some of the more popular search terms.

Can I just tell you that I know? I get it. I understand the emotional hell you are living in right now. The questions you have swirling around in your head; why my child? Did I cause this? How can I do this? Will my baby be okay?

I understand the pain of having to hold down your baby, who doesn't get it, to give them a shot. I know too well the worry of them not being able to tell you if they're low. The fear of putting them down for their nap and having no idea what their BG is.  And yes, I get how hard it is to check a BG of a child who is asleep in their crib.

It sucks. It's okay... yell it from the rooftops if you want to. Go on.  I know you want to.  Because I wanted to.  I wanted to scream the F-word as loud and as long as I could almost every day.

But, can I tell you something?  It gets better.  It does.

I know right now it consumes your thoughts.  Your brain is bogged down with carb ratios, correction factors, carbs, blood sugars, ketones.  Diabetes constantly is swirling in your thoughts.  Everything you do, you have to factor diabetes in.  Your diaper bag, once used for normal baby things now is weighing you down with all the tools of the diabetes trade in it.

But there will come a time that you will actually forget that your child has diabetes.  For a few moments anyway.

You will be able to watch other children freebase apple juice without a jealous rage welling up inside of you.

You will stop living and dying by every number.  You will learn to interpret the story those numbers are trying to tell you.

Leaving the house won't seem so overwhelming.  I remember being so scared that I was forgetting something vital, but pretty soon you can tell you have everything you need with a single glance. 

You will become you again.  Not the you that you were before your baby was diagnosed.  But a better you.  A stronger you.  A more compassionate you. 

And the flow of tears will ebb. You will notice the times between emotional breakdowns will grow longer, and the breakdowns themselves; shorter. There will always be sadness residing in your heart, but with the passage of time, it will take up less and less space. 

Don't get me wrong, diabetes is STILL hard, and almost 7 years later there are days when emotionally I am transported right back to the beginning. The difference is, I am better equipped to handle it.  I have learned to not live in the darkness, but embrace the light of all that is good in my daughter's life.

To answer your questions; I may not know why any of our babies were chosen to first crawl and later walk this path, but I know this: You did not cause this anymore than I caused my daughter to have type 1 by only nursing her and making her homemade baby food with organic ingredients.

You can do this. Check out the many people on my blog roll who are also doing this.

And yes... your baby will be okay. Mine is. Just look at her.

I may not know who she would have been if diabetes had never entered our lives. But I do know that she has grown to be the sweetest, wisest, most loving and caring little girl.  She is truly a mother's dream.

She is absolutely incredible.

So are you.  You can do this.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

All Stocked up on crazy here, thankyouverymuch

Sunday - Crazy Stories (wildcard)

 Diabetes can sure bring some crazy moments. So tell us your Top 3 craziest D related stories! If you can't think of three, don't worry. We're just as happy with one or two . . . .


The post below is one of my weirdest "d-mistakes" stories.  Looking back, it makes me chuckle...

It was a lovely Thanksgiving afternoon.  Turkey et al had been consumed, insulin bolused, and the kiddos were outside playing a rousing game of soccer.

The adults were still gathered around the table, digesting our meal when it happened; the long, continuous screech of death which tells you diabetes has decided to screw with your holiday.

As I jumped to my feet, I realized that it was not possible for me to be hearing Elise's pod, since she was outside.  Either I had developed the hearing of an owl or the PDM was the source.  Sure enough; PDM error.  Still sucky, just not as sucky as a pod failure.

For you non-podders (or podders who have never encountered this), when you get a PDM error, the pod will continue to deliver the basal, even though the PDM (once reset) won't recognize the pod that is being worn.  This was great because we were a ways off from dessert, and I didn't want to interupt Elise's soccer game.

I reset the PDM, and when Elise came inside, we changed her pod.  As per our usual routine, she left the old pod on until we could put baby oil on the adhesive to get it off.

The rest of the evening, Elise hovered on the low side.  I ran negative temp basals, bolused for half of more pie, and still she remained stayed low-ish (80s - according to the CGM).

When we got home, I turned off her basal entirely; since we had been free-basing smarties the whole ride home.  I think her basal stayed off for almost three hours.  She came up to about 100.  I was worried about ketones developing (since she wasn't receiving any insulin), so I turned on her basal at 50%.  She went low again.

That night, Fred and I were up checking her almost every 30 minutes.  We alternated between turning off/down her basal and giving her carbs. I was flummoxed... how could she be receiving no insulin, eating smarties and her BG still go DOWN?

Any pod people care to chime in here?

Finally at 6:00 am, I sat bolt upright in bed after just laying down from a BG check and subsequent smartie-feeding.  I yelled, "THE OLD POD!  IT'S THE OLD POD!  IT'S STILL DELIVERING BASAL INSULIN!!!"  I ran to Elise's room, turned the basal off completely on the new pod and gave Elise 12g of yogurt.  Finally, she rose above 100 and stayed there.

Remember this picture from this post a few days ago?  That was this night.

The funny thing is, right before I woke up to check her at 6:00 am, I had a dream that Fred and I were driving down a highway and passed two factories right next to each other.  The factories were somewhat dome-like and both had chimneys with smoke rising from each one.  I remarked to Fred how strange it was to see smoke from both chimneys, because usually there was smoke from one or the other; not both at the same time.

Looks like Lenny and Harold are alive and well. Maybe next time guys, help me figure out my mistake a little earlier, mmmkay?