Sunday, November 2, 2014

Two Years...

Today marks the two year anniversary of Jameson's Type 1 Diabetes diagnosis.  There are times where it still feels new and scary.  But more often than not now, we sit in disbelief that it's only been two years ago, because it feels like forever.  

Once you have children, you forget what it was like before you had them.  Being a Type 1 Family works in much the same way.  I forget what it was like to just give Jameson something to eat and be done with it - not that I was able to do that for long anyway, with diagnosis coming at 16 months old.

It's hard for me to remember what it was like to go somewhere without making sure we had something sugary with us, as well as the glucagon, the meter, test strips, alcohol swabs, etc. I suppose that's similar to the diaper bag situation. :)

Anyway, I'm so proud of this boy.  He just takes it all in stride, and recently, he has really shown interest in wanting to take control of his disease.  

He checks his own blood sugar now.  How awesome is that?  Check it out. (The blood sugar in this particular video is VERY high.  This happens.  It's not worth freaking out about, and never worth blaming Jameson for.  As always, you just treat the number and move on.)

A couple of weeks ago, I had given him his breakfast, and he called to me from the table, "Mom, did you bolus me for my cereal?" I stood in the kitchen and just chuckled.  Never hurts to have another set of eyes on diabetes!

Yesterday, I watched this video on YouTube. ((Please watch it if you have 12 minutes to spare.)) Might have been a mistake to watch, seeing as how the first few days of November make me an emotional time bomb as it is.  :) Anyway, I was obviously in tears very shortly into it.  It got me thinking about Jameson's diagnosis.

Trick-or-Treating 2012.  On the way home, I thought he was just tired.  I had no idea what was really going on inside his little body.

Thinking about my baby - not even a year and a half old, un-responsive in his carseat as I drove him to the ER, I got angry. The tears were streaming down my face, not going to lie.  I fail to understand how this disease continues to go un-diagnosed and children continue to die from it in America, in 2014.

His blood sugar was only 382 (that's actually low for typical diagnosis BG's), but he was in severe DKA. Approximately 28 hours before I drove him to the ER, I had taken him to the pediatrician.  I presented this doctor with the classic symptoms: soaked diapers, extreme thirst, lethargy, vomiting.  She sent us home.  She sent us home!!!!! We got our diagnosis the next night.

I'm not one to get dramatic, so I hate to even say this.  But I'm not stretching the story or exaggerating in any way - we are lucky we didn't lose Jameson 2 years ago. We're also extremely lucky he didn't suffer any brain damage from the severe state of DKA and dehydration he was in. I remember listening to the doctor tell us that brain damage is not uncommon after such a blow to that little body and developing brain.

In the emergency room in Bowling Green, OH.  Not long after this was taken, we were life-flighted to Toledo, OH.

BUT, as the story goes, and as you all know, we have our sweet, silly goofball with us today and I could not be more thankful. I know God gave him his goofy and sarcastic personality for a reason, and that he's going to take every challenge and set-back in stride and continue to be the little superhero that he is.

Burnout is very real with this disease, since it permeates every second of every day of your life.  But giving up is never an option. I'll never give up, and I'll never lose hope for a cure.

You're so awesome, little man.  Never stop being my hero.

Saturday, November 1, 2014


Happy 5th Birthday Hendrix!

His defiant attitude makes me want to scream some days. 

But look at that kid. Is he not the most handsome thing you've ever seen??

He's become fluent in my favorite language: sarcasm. 

He's into magic, hunting, and rooting for whatever team is playing my Cowboys. :)

I love you, kiddo. I hope your birthday is awesome, and your 5th year holds amazing things for you. 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Exploring the Bike Trail

Hendrix learned to ride his bike without training wheels in August, and we have ventured out a little bit on the bike path in Rapid City. But not far. 

This afternoon, I had planned to take Hendrix to the park on a special date for just him and I, but he decided to whine, be ungrateful, and throw a tantrum like a two-year-old, so needless to say - I didn't take him to the park.

And that left me so frustrated.  Not only did I want him to be able to play, but I also wanted to sit in the sunshine and enjoy this beautiful 75 degree end-of-October day.  To work off my frustration, I hopped on my bike and took off.

I didn't wear my Garmin watch. I wish I would have, but oh well.  I'd imagine I rode between 5 and 6 miles.  Not a lot for serious bikers, but it was just such a beautiful day, I was simply enjoying the sunshine and breeze.

I'd be lying if I said I fell in love with Rapid City and the Black Hills the moment we moved here.  It took me a good 6 to 9 months to adapt.  But now, having lived here almost two years, I'm so in love with the sheer beauty of the hills and surrounding area.

Last October, fall was robbed from us by the Blizzard Atlas, as trees were stripped of their leaves while they were as green as could be.  This year, the brilliant fall colors were amazing, and the photos I took today are at the tail end of the color explosion, so you can imagine the way everything looked a few weeks ago.

Here are some photos from my bike ride today.

Rapid Creek.

"Near "M Hill."

Also near "M Hill."

Rapid Creek.

It's "Selfie Sunday." :)

I finished my day with a glass of wine on the patio.  The highs for the week to come are in the lower-50's.  It's looking to be nice again next weekend, but you just never know when winter will come to stay.  

What adventures did you have this weekend?

Do you have any amazing bike or hiking trails where you live?

Just for fun - where do you live?

Make it a great week, friends!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Breaking the Menu Monotony: Banana Bread

On a very rare occasion recently, we had some bananas over-ripen on us.  Bananas don't usually last long in our house, but they did this week.

So, banana bread - obviously.

I remember my mom making banana bread regularly when we were kids. Oh, it was so good. I won't even pretend that the version I made this week even comes close to rivaling hers, because
1) I made it and
2) it's gluten free.
While gluten free foods are tasty, they just seem to lack something, let's face it.
(Probably the gluten.  Eh?)

But anyway, I wanted to make a banana bread that all four of us could enjoy together, so gluten free was the only option.  I used this recipe.

I had a couple of very handsome helpers.

Alrighty, so the recipe I used called for a store-bought GF flour blend.  Well, you know me.  No can do.  So here's the blend I used. 

3/4 c. brown rice flour (ground myself)
1/2 c. white rice flour (ground myself)
1/4 c. corn starch
1/4 c. potato starch
1 1/2 tbsp xanthan gum

- TOTAL of 1 3/4 c. GF flour blend - 

So my kitchen assistants poured in the flour.  We only spilled about 50 cents worth of xanthan gum.  Geesh, that stuff is expensive.

Once our GF flour blend was mxed up, we added:

1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp baking soda

Once all the dry ingredients were mixed well, we transferred the mixture to another bowl so we could mix the wet ingredients.

Take a fork and mash your bananas.
The recipe called for 1 banana, but I added 1 and 1/2.
In the future, I'll add 2 whole bananas.

I followed the recipe and creamed together the following:
1/3 c. sugar
1/3 c. butter
2 eggs
the bananas

Turns out, the recipe calls for 2/3 c. sugar, but we spaced and only added half of that.  It works.  I think it would taste better to add the whole 2/3 cups, but if you're looking to lower the sugar content a bit, 1/3 will get you by just fine.

Also, in the future, I would first cream the sugar and butter together, then add in the eggs and bananas.  The way the recipe called to do it leaves the butter kind of chunky throughout.  Didn't ruin it by any means, just think I'd do it differently next time.

Once the wet ingredients were mixed thoroughly, I added about half the flour mixture, and once that was incorporated, I added the other half to create this sticky glob of dough.

If you've worked with GF dough much, you know that this is common.  I just scraped it off the whisk attachment, no worries.

That leg belongs to the KitchenAid switch operator and that hand belongs to the butter-adder.

My assistants and I scraped the dough into our loaf pan and it did this - another common thing when working with GF dough.  A sticky mound that doesn't spread.

Easiest way to get around this is to wet your fingers and smooth the dough out with wet fingers.  Works like a charm.  It leaves the top of the loaf wet and a little slimy, but that all disappears while it bakes.

350 degrees for 30 minutes equalled this beautiful brown loaf of banana bread - and a wonderful smelling house! shrivelled up as it cooled.  This happens to me constantly when baking GF.  Does anyone know the remedy to this, or is there one?

Regardless, it looked find once it was sliced.

And it tasted fine too!  Again, I'd add the full 2/3 cups of sugar next time, but this is a recipe I'll stick to in the future - yum!

Popped in the toaster, then buttered.  Divine.

Side note, I remember my father-in-law giving me a hard time because I toast and butter my banana bread.  Am I odd in doing this, or do others do this to?

If you eat gluten free, I recommend trying this recipe, and share your experience!

Next up on the blog - I finally found an awesome gluten-free pizza crust that tastes just like the real deal.  Stay tuned!

Banana Bread - love it or hate it?

What's the last thing you baked?

Really though - how to I stop my GF baked goods from shriveling up when they cool??

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Cool Happenings at the Local Park

I currently work part-time, and I try to take the kiddos somewhere to do something fun on my 2 days off each week. On Thursday, I took them to our favorite park. Some really cool things happened that I feel compelled to share.

Since everyone seems to get so bent out of shape about every single opinion in existence, I'll preface by stating that everyone parents differently and I am sharing my own thoughts and opinions.  You don't have to agree with me.  I won't be hurt.

Anyway, helicopter parents.....ahh, helicopter parents.  That must be exhausting.  That's all I'll say about that.

I pushed each of my boys on the swings for about 10 minutes, and then sat on a bench to watch them play.  I wasn't on my cell phone, though it's no one's business if I would have been.  I was enjoying the late-summer breeze and watching my kids, along with a group of 8-10 year old boys, play while enjoying the sunshine on my legs.

The helicopter parents were abound.  Heck, there was even a helicopter grandpa there.  I was quite astonished at his energy level!  It even wore his grandson out, as he finally asked, "Can we not play the monster game anymore, grandpa? I want to climb on the ladder."  That made me chuckle.

While I was sitting on the bench observing, I felt the eyes of a couple heli-moms on me.  I'm sure they were aghast at my level of laziness and my utter disregard for what my boys were doing.  I was probably disgusting them with my self-centered presence at the park that morning.

But a few things happened Thursday morning at Vickie Powers Park.

Jameson - who has forever been quite un-graceful and hesitant to do anything daring - climbed up the steps of the jungle-gym, and proceeded to go right down the slide all by himself. Then, beaming with pride, he did it again.  After the small slide became super lame, he moved on to the bigger slides.

A few minutes later, he started hopping across the tires that are half-buried in the ground, whereas he wouldn't even get up on them the previous times we'd been to that park.

He also climbed up onto a ride-on horse toy, with no help from me, though he'd requested it - something else he's never done on his own before.

Hendrix saw another boy standing on top of one of those tubes designed to crawl through.  He asked me how to get up on top of it, and I answered that I wasn't sure, but I knew he could figure it out.  And you know what?

He did.

He got frustrated a few times, and he failed a few times.  But the other young boy ended up giving him a few pointers, and the next thing I knew, Hendrix was King of the Playground Jungle and he had figured it out without my help.

Again - everyone parents differently, but letting kids figure things out themselves really does them quite a bit of good.  And from the heli-grandpa paragraph above, sometimes I think they really do want adults to butt out and let them be kids. :)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Kamp for Kids 2014

I know I'm not the only person begging the powers that be for a "Slow the crap down!!" button for life. Can I get an amen???

Last thing I knew, we were returning home from our family visit in Iowa, planning out the rest of our lazy summer.  Now, half of the trees surrounding us are yellow and orange, and we're headed to the pumpkin patch this weekend.

I have about 6 drafts saved for blog posts, but can't seem to find 5 seconds to work on them, and I'm looking into getting a second job, so time isn't going to be becoming any more abundant in the near future, but I'm working on it, guys.  I promise.  

This post is 3 weeks late, but alas, here it is.  We headed to our first ever weekend of Diabetes Camp at the beginning of September! We knew about camp last summer, but Jameson was only 2 at the time, and we were still feeling really "new" to South Dakota, so we chose not to attend.

Through the last year, though, I made a few D friends, and my good friend, Amy, reminded me about camp in early August, so we registered and spent the next month in anticipation.  It did NOT disappoint.  Really, it was awesome.

Friday evening, after a spaghetti dinner, the Black Hills Raptor Center put on a very cool program about birds of prey. The presenter was very articulate, and did a fantastic job of explaining about each bird in a way that everyone could understand, from the 3-year-olds like Jameson, all the way up to the adults. She spoke about how birds of prey all have 3 characteristics: huge eyes, sharp talons, and curved, sharp beaks for tearing apart flesh and carcases.  Sweet, right?

This is Icarus. She's grouchy, all the time. She tried a couple times to fly off the presenter's gloves.

Remember this little guy - you'll see him again in a second.

This is Little Red Riding Hoot.  She was molting at the time of the show, and had a big poof of feathers around her neck and everyone in the room wanted to grab her and put her in their pocket, and love her, and pet her, and.....  Yeah, she was adorable.

This is Phoenix.  I didn't get a photo of the action, from picking my jaw up off the ground, but we watched this guy demolish half of a rat.  I'm not even lying.

Told you you'd see this guy again!  His name is Hendrix.  Clearly, MY Hendrix thought it was so very cool to meet a bird of the same name, and when he spoke up during the program that he and the bird shared a name, the presenter insisted that they take a photo together once the program was over. :)

After the raptor presentation, we all went out behind the lodge for a big bonfire and s'mores!

Saturday morning was just gorgeous.  It had frosted a bit overnight, and everything was crisp and cool on the ranch grounds.

After breakfast on Saturday morning, there were several sessions for everyone there.  Matt and I were able to sit through 3 different sessions, knowing that Jameson was taken care of by other diabetics who understood the whole shebang.  Way cool.

A lot of the sessions were for parents of older diabetic children, but it was still good to be a part of them, giving us an idea of the issues we'll face in the future.  One of the sessions was on depression and the emotions of the disease.  One mother shared the story of her daughter's depression and talk of suicide.  She stated that she didn't realize it until she went to pick up her daughter from school one day, but that her daughter was considering suicide and had the weapon for the job right in her hand: her insulin pump.  My emotions got the best of me when I was listening to this story and I just cried.  I can't imagine. We also had a session about Diabetes support groups, and how to go about finding support when you need it, because God knows we all do.

We met several other D families, one of which had a 3 year old daughter, (she is 6 months older than Jameson) and another with a 5 year old son. I'm still trying to locate those families on facebook, but I hope to be able to get the kids together sometime soon!

I went out to check on the boys between sessions, and that's Jameson, on the far side of the parachute in the yellow shirt, bent over, having the time of his life. My heart still flutters when I think about watching him in that moment.

Lunch on Saturday was eaten with the Cosmopolitan Club of Rapid City. They are an organization that fights diabetes.  They represent a huge portion of the donations that are given to Diabetes Incorporated each year.

Jameson was showing his pump and meter to the Type 2 diabetic gentleman seated with us.  They were comparing their goods. The gentleman pictured, along with his wife and another couple were just cracking up at the character of my boy!

The Cosmo Club presented Diabetes, Incorporated with a $10,000 check after lunch that day!

Saturday afternoon was spent playing games, having races, and riding horses!  Or, *almost* riding horses, I should say.  We enjoyed petting the animals while they boys were waiting their turn to ride.  The horse that Hendrix is petting in the photo below was such a clown.  He sneezed all over Hendrix, everyone flipped out and busted up laughing, and the horse spent the next 5 minutes or so opening up his mouth like he was going to sneeze, then faked us all out with no sneeze at all.  It was so funny!

Ready to ride!  Maybe??

These boys looked forward to the horse riding all weekend, mounted the horse, stayed up on the horses for about 30 seconds, and then got off.  Silly kids.

After the almost-horseback riding, we meandered over to the paintball guns!  This was something else Hendrix had talked about for 3 weeks leading up to camp!

On Saturday evening after dinner, there was a dance. Please, if you do nothing else today, check out Jameson running around with all the teen and tween  girls dancing to some Taylor Swift.


Hendrix chose not to go to the dance, and wanted to watch Frozen instead.  Jameson and I joined him and Matt later to watch the movie.  After that, we all fell into bed out of exhaustion!

Sunday morning was a lot of relaxation.  We chatted with friends, the kids played, and then we had lunch and headed home.

It was such a fabulous weekend. We are so very blessed with family and friends who support us on all levels.  But it was so heart-warming to connect with other Type 1 families who truly get the 1 AM alarms, the sugar-stash in the cupboards, the placing cardboard sticks in our kids' pee, the fear that a common cold strikes in our hearts.....because they do it every single day, just like we do.

I laughed.  I cried.  We connected.  We formed new friendship bonds.  We had fun. We CANNOT WAIT to go back next year.  Thank you, Diabetes, Inc for a fantastic first year at Kamp for Kids!