Friday, July 30, 2010

Unexpected Consequences

Courage is the art of being the only one who knows you are afraid.  Being a mother takes courage.  Encouraging a child to be brave takes courage.  Unexpected consequences take courage.

There is tons of negative hype about vaccines.  I know all the reasons why I shouldn’t immunize my kids.  I know sometimes healthy children have developed cerebral palsy as a result of immunizations.  I saw a man who owned that story.  It’s tragic.  It’s also the exception rather than the rule. 

Many vaccines have been around long enough that I have not personally dealt with the disease they are preventing.  But I have seen people who were not so lucky.  My dad had a friend who suffered from polio as a child.  I do remember having chicken pox when I was 6.  Now there’s a vaccine to prevent it!  Parker had a nasty case of rotavirus as a baby.  When the pediatrician’s office explained to me that there is now a rotavirus vaccine and I could have Gwen get it I jumped for joy! 

I’ve heard people say that they know their kid doesn’t need vaccines.  They’ll just watch that child closely to make sure they don’t get sick.  No thank you.  There are ways to prevent horrible diseases – diseases that can even kill people.  Who wouldn’t want to prevent disease?  With all three of my kids I have taken my chances with vaccinations.  And until Tuesday, there have been no negative consequences. 

Parker was not enthused about getting shots.  I told him he needed it done so he could go to kindergarten.  I encouraged him to be brave even though it might hurt.  I swallowed my pride and told him it was ok if he cried but he needed to be brave and let the nurse give him the shots.  He agreed. 

The nurse prepped Parker’s right arm for a TB test as well as a shot.  I tried to get Parker’s attention so he wasn’t watching the needle go in.  I was unsuccessful.  The nurse did the TB test first and Parker was mesmerized by the whole procedure.  As soon as the nurse pulled the needle out Parker had the biggest smile on his face as he excitedly yelled, “I did it!  I was brave!  It didn’t hurt!” 

The nurse told Parker he still needed to do one more shot.  He had Parker look at me which I was grateful for.  Not that it would have mattered.  I just think it’s best not to watch someone shove a needle in your arm against your will.  So Parker stared at me for the brief second the nurse did the last shot. 

Now I could be making this up, and I probably am, but I swear the nurse rubbed the alcohol prep on Parker’s arm several inches lower than where he actually injected Parker.  I noticed it that day but because I couldn’t think of a reason why it was worth worrying about my brain immediately shoved the thought in the dusty box of useless long term memories in my brain. 

So we get home, I pay the babysitter and take her home, then we eat lunch.  Blah blah blah.  Parker announces he wants to play in the pool.  Cool.  I put sunscreen on him.  Now here’s where my memory is rusty.  I know Parker and I had an exasperating conversation about how the pictures on the band aid were just pictures and that they didn’t come from a movie.  Not everything needs to come from a movie!!!  But I’m also pretty sure the band aid was gone by the time I put on sunscreen.  I vaguely remember wondering if it was such a good idea but it was a small puncture wound in his shoulder and I have been injecting or infusing insulin into my body for 22 years now and never worried about something so trivial as touching the site or putting sunscreen on it later. 

So Parker plays and life moves on.  That was Tuesday.  On Wednesday I’m lathering up my kids with sunscreen so they can all splash around in the pool while I talk to my sister on the phone.  Parker winces and says his arm hurts.  I look and the injection site is pretty red and big and basically looks weird.  In fact his right shoulder was noticeably larger than his left.  I kind of panicked and really hoped Candi was home so I could ask another person’s advice about whether or not I should worry. 

Candi suggested I call the pediatrician’s office.  So I did and silently prayed they wouldn’t make me take him in.  The girl I talked to said that about one in four kids can have a reaction to vaccinations.  She said not to worry unless the swelling got worse, he had a high fever, or was extra “fussy” (her word).  She also suggested I draw a circle around it so I could easily see if it was getting smaller.

Thursday it had grown beyond the circle I drew.  I second guessed myself and thought maybe I couldn’t see clearly since I drew the circle on him when he was in the bright sun. 

I drew another circle and gave him some ibuprofen per Heath’s suggestion.  The “fussy” thing stuck out in my mind like a sore thumb.  Parker woke up determined to be grumpy and fight with everyone.  He whined all day long.  He refused to play at the park.  Whining to go home was more fun for him. 

Should I worry?  He’s kind of been a pill all summer.  They all have.  Too much family togetherness, I think.  I looked at his arm again when he was ready for his bath last night.  The redness and swelling had grown beyond the second circle I drew.  Awesome.  Heath and I agreed I better take him in. 

Oh, and did I mention the fact that Parker has been saying every day that he doesn’t want to go back to the doctor and he never wants any more shots?  The worst part is that he does have to go back for more shots.  For some reason I am unaware of, they had to split the shots over two different  appointments. 

Courage is being earned in our house this week.  Hopefully there will be enough excess to get through the next round of shots. 

I took my kids into the doctor’s office this morning.  I was irritated that I was charged another co-pay.  The appointment was related to the appointment I took him to on Tuesday.  The recepti0nist didn’t care.  I couldn’t help but wonder if the whole thing could have been avoided if the nurse had injected where he prepped.  Too mean?  I don’t know.  I am well aware that babies can get feverish and act sick after immunizations but I have never heard of anything like this happening.  Ever.  One in four kids have a reaction?  Really?  Where was that warning on Tuesday? 


Anyway, I’ll stop being so mother bear in my writing.  I just wanted him to be seen so I could know what to do to fix it.  The doctor measured the red swollen mass.  It’s 8 inches by 8 inches.  Pretty impressive for a skinny little 5 year old boy. 

She said that she had seen another child this week with a similar issue but it turned out to be just a simple site reaction.  She never went into much detail but she made it sound like Parker’s problem was a little more complicated.  He really did have an infection although she said there was no puss pocket that she could feel.  Then she prescribed antibiotics.  She said she is pretty sure that it will start to go down in a couple days but I should make him finish the ten days of antibiotics. 

She also said to call if he gets feverish with chills and vomiting or if there are red streaks down his arm.  I like specific symptoms to look for.  “Fussiness” didn’t do it for me. 

So back to the vaccination question.  Will this experience change my mind?  No.  It won’t.  And I would never encourage someone to skip vaccinations.  I just wouldn’t.  What happened is the exception to the rule.  The benefits definitely far outweigh the risks. 

Thursday, July 29, 2010

A Jealous Craving Satisfied . . . for now

What do you do when a reading craving hits?  Go to the library?  What a great idea!  Why didn’t I think of that?  Oh yeah, because my library doesn’t have anything. 

Oh it’s full of books alright.  Just nothing I am actually looking for.  My friends update their goodreads bookshelves and I get interested in a book they’ve reviewed.  Or I read someone’s book recommendation on their blog.  (Help 4 New Moms' Claudine Wolk has great book reviews and recommendations)  I somehow catch wind of a book that sounds great and I look it up at my library. 

Many times that book is not at my library (anything written by Dr. Laura Schlesinger).  Or it’s only an audio book (Lost Boys by Orson Scott Card).  More often than not the computer tells me to check the shelf.  When I do the book is not there.  I don’t know how many times I have checked for Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury to not see it on the shelf.  Good thing I’ve already read it right?  I just want to read it again because it’s a classic and I remember loving it. 

Trips to the library are frustrating for me.  I have craved reading so much that I will start pulling out books with interesting titles and covers.  Never judge a book by its cover?  Sometimes it’s worth the risk.  I’ve found some decent books this way.  I’ve found some real duds this way too!

The fact that my library not only had The Cure by Geeta Anand listed but also on the shelf was nothing short of miraculous for me.  That’s how bad my library is. 

Robert Fulghum recently posted about his new book Third Wish.  He said that the book has been available for over a year now and it’s not selling well in the United States.  It’s selling fine in other countries just not here.  Because of this Amazon has some killer deals on the book with free next day shipping.  If you’re interested you can read about it here.  Keeping The Cure miracle in mind I thought I would see if Third Wish was available to check out.  My library has no record of its existence.  Grrr! 

It’s ok because while I have read every book I own at least twice, I haven’t read all of Heath’s books.  His dad bought him Empire by Orson Scott Card for Christmas.  Since Heath already had the book in paperback he gave that copy to my brother.  The book has always looked interesting to me but I’ve never picked it up to read.  Until now. 

I am only about halfway through it and I have to say it’s the creepiest piece of fiction I have ever read.  I love it.  It’s calling my name right now.  Shh . . . can you hear it? 

I guess my point with this post is that I’m jealous.  I’m jealous of people who read a million books in a week like my mother in law or most of my friends.  I’m jealous because I haven’t figured out how to multitask well enough to read a million books a week.  I read a book in two or three days depending on how long I can ignore my adult responsibilities like showering daily and feeding my children.  I’m also jealous of people who can go to their local library and pick up whatever they want whenever they want. 

It’s ok.  Empire was a happy accident.  It’s now shouting my name so I think I’ll allow myself to be sucked into a reality that could very well be a reality one day.  Happy reading everyone!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Prayer for Dad

For every father out there who has had it up to here with work and just wishes he could play; this one is for you! 

Gavin:  Heavenly Father . . . we’re thankful for this day . . . please bless Dad so he can be safe from work . . .

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Bogeyman is Not Interested in Kids

For years I have lived in fear of the bogeyman stealing my kids.  I think every parent can relate.  My baby would be napping and I would jump at the chance to take a quick shower.  In the shower I would let the water run all over me soothing my new mother worries.  Suddenly my serene thoughts would turn to panic as I imagined in some detail some random stranger stealing my baby.  My hands literally flew in hyper speed washing myself. 

The soap dropped!  Ack!  I don’t have time.  My legs don’t need to be shaved at a time like this!  The bogeyman is in my house I just know it! 

With soap running down me I would jump out and quickly towel off.  Aware of the silence in the house I would stop and listen intently. 

Did I hear something?  No.  Wait a minute, why don’t I hear anything?

The towel haphazardly wrapped around me I rushed into the baby’s room flinging the door open wide in my haste. 


Awesome.  I just woke him up.  That’s great. 

Sound familiar to any new moms?  Well, as my kids got older I dialed down the crazy a little.  Not all the way.  But enough.  Every once in a blue moon I will be showering and hear wild thudding with occasional screaming. 

Holy cow!  What is going on out there?  It’s the bogeyman!  He’s come to steal my kids! 

Then I relive the hyper speedy shower scene described above.  The shower door flies open and I step out dripping and listening intently. 

Did I hear something?  No.  Oh crap!  I don’t hear anything! 

My children’s happy squeals shatter the silence and I count voices.  One . . . two . . . three.  Yep all there.  Whew!  A second later I hear angry child screams and stomping up the stairs.  Yep, definitely all there!  And in that moment I realize how foolish I am to worry that anyone would want to steal my children. 

Any parent knows that each day is a bipolar array of feelings for one’s offspring.  They are so sweet when they’re asleep.  Awww.  Why do they constantly fight?  I never get a moment of peace around here!  I love sloppy kisses.  Again with the whining?  Is that the only tone of voice they have?  Look at them help each other!  Awww. 

Now imagine the bogeyman stealing your child/children.  Do you think he would last more than 10 minutes with that?  I don’t think so. 

The other reason why I believe the bogeyman is not interested in children is because parents think their own children are the bees knees but look at other people’s kids and see dirty, obnoxious, dirty, stinky, snotty, short people.  People can honestly tell a mother that her child is adorable/cute/smart/whatever but no parent actually looks at another child and thinks, Dang!  That kid is better than mine!  For all of our misperceptions of our own accomplishments, we see our own children as the only perfect thing we have anything to do with. 

I know what you’re thinking.  The bogeyman probably doesn’t have any kids and that’s why he wants to steal yours.  After all, your kids are perfect.  No.  The bogeyman may be tempted to steal your kids but I promise the bipolar display of five minutes alone with someone else’s kids gets old fast.  The bogeyman isn’t getting paid to take care of your kids.  He is not related to your kids.  He does not care about your kids.  Let me repeat that:


Kids are little monsters to anyone who is not actually their parent.  I promise.  Imagine your worst public experience with your kids.  You know the time you think of to gain strength.  The time you congratulate yourself on actually bringing them all home alive when you know darn well you could have driven into a tree or off a bridge or something just to end the misery.  Keep that moment in your mind and imagine the bogeyman having to deal with that meltdown.  You know he wouldn’t know how to handle it.  He’s not your children’s parent. 

Which is exactly why the bogeyman is not dumb enough to actually want to steal your kids. 

He is not waiting outside for the sound of your shower ready to pounce on the innocent victims running around inside.  He is not stalking your every move completely aware of when your husband is out of town ready to pounce on everyone sleeping in the house late at night.  He does not know you locked the deadbolt between the laundry room and garage but accidentally left the sliding glass door unlocked!  He doesn’t know because he doesn’t care.  To him your kids are dirty, stinky, obnoxious, snotty, short people. 

I have felt this way for years.  Now I have my validation.  A brazen thief stole a car with a child in the back seat.  As soon as he realized there was a child in the car he got off at the next exit and dropped her off at the corner.  Why?  Probably because she was crying, screaming, whining, reciting lines from annoying movies, calling him a stranger, whatever.  “I just want the car!  Don’t make me keep the girl inside!  Ack!  Get out, girl!  Find your own way home.  It’s that way.”  And he sped off. 

Sunday, July 25, 2010

There once was a girl . . .

My sweet Little Miss has a dark side complete with high pitched, incessant wailing and thrashing of feet. One moment she is sugar and spice and everything nice and the next moment she is a demonic holy terror. My mouth just gapes open at her and my eyes open wide. Although the fact that she is my daughter never escapes my attention.

My mom used to repeat this nursery rhyme to me:

Once there was a girl who had a little curl right in the middle of her forehead. And when she was good she was very, very good. And when she was bad she was horrid.


Now I have a little girl with lots of curls that I try to comb straight on her forehead. And when she is good she is so very good and when she doesn’t get her way she is horrid.

It’s not the terrible two’s. I don’t even believe in the terrible two’s. My kids do the terrific two’s and terrible three’s. Until now. I hope. Heaven help me if three is worse!

I don’t think it’s the terrible two’s. I think it’s more that she thinks she’s two going on thirteen. In moments of conflict it’s not a good thing. I find myself thinking several times a day, “You are two years old. I’m in charge here!” In her defense, she puts up a good fight. If only she can act that way if some guy tries to take advantage of her.

In moments of autonomy this whole idea of being two going on thirteen is interesting.


Today she walked to Nursery with her best friend. Heath asked me how Gwen got to Nursery today. The story I heard from my friend, Gwen’s best friend’s mom, suddenly took on a whole new meaning.

After Sacrament Meeting was over Gwen was very excited and asked if it was time to go to Nursery. I said, “Yes, you can go to Nursery now.” The boys and Gwen squeezed past me and ran off to Primary and Nursery. I thought Heath was right behind Gwen because he normally is.

Before Gwen got out of the chapel, Rebekah saw her and the two of them walked to the Nursery together. As soon as they saw their Nursery leader they followed her in to the room. Michelle, Rebekah’s mom, was proud of the progress her daughter has made in the last year. Rebekah used to cry and cling and hate to be left in the Nursery. Now she was confidently walking there with her friend. Alone. Two little two year olds acting like grown ups walking to class.

Meanwhile Heath and I were unaware of this whole situation. Heath took the quiet books back to the van and realized Gwen was not with him. He was slightly panicked. Where was his little girl? It’s a church building but still. She’s two. He thought maybe I took her. So he poked his head in the Nursery and there she was happily playing with Rebekah and the other little kids.

Now that we know the whole story we just laugh. Gwen is crazy. She thinks she can do whatever she wants.

Heath got some great video of Gwen last night at the Heritage Day Picnic. It’s a celebration of the Mormon Pioneers crossing into the Salt Lake Valley in Utah on July 24, 1847.

Gwen is so funny. She amazes me with the things she wants to do like dancing and now jumping rope. She has never seen anyone jump rope. It’s nothing but I feel like I have my hands full with this little girl!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Not just for bread

Zucchini is my contribution to D-Feast Friday.  If you want to see all the other recipes submitted today please visit Karen at Bitter-Sweet Diabetes Blog and click on the D-Feast Friday button.  I’m assuming there are some succulent recipes but I don’t know yet.  I’ve been slaving over a hot stove all day!

OK, not really.  We planted zucchini this year zucchini-plant-001 and have enjoyed many different ways of eating it.  It sort of turned into this thing where I started taking pictures of everything we made with zucchini.  I was going to do a post about it at the end of the summer but then D-Feast Friday was born.  So here we are.  I know it’s a long post.  But seriously, stick around.  It’s worth it.  Her are six easy recipes.  They are soooo good. 

#1 Garden Salad

The first two zucchinis Heath picked were so little.  I didn’t think we would have enough to feed five people.  A stroke of genius made me decide to slice them up and put them in a “garden” salad.


May I just say this salad was so delish!  And I am not a food photographer.  So if it looks gross, just take my word for it.  The raw zucchini slices were fantastic in the salad.  I had never done that before so I was concerned about flavor and texture but it turned out beautifully. 

A lot of those ingredients came from our garden.  The spinach, onions and zucchini.  There’s also some romaine hearts that I found out I didn’t need to stretch the greens.  There’s grated cheese and boiled eggs, some sliced pepperoni just for fun, some crumbled bacon, croutons and dressing.  No tomatoes though.  We grow tomatoes but only Gwen and I really like them.

#2 Comfort Zucchini


This way of serving zucchini is my favorite.  It brings back such childhood memories.  I had to call my mom to ask her how to do it because I forgot.  She told me a bunch of things to do with zucchini and said that just about anything you do to zucchini makes it bad for you.  We agreed that we don’t care because this is fabulous comfort food. 

What I did was steam the zucchini slices.  Mom said to boil it but I didn’t want it to get too soggy.  Then I put in tons of butter margarine.  Butter may have been better but I didn’t have any.  I dumped in a huge handful of sharp cheddar cheese.  I’m going to assume that this would not taste as good with anything less than sharp cheddar cheese.  I also crumbled up a whole bunch of Saltine crackers and stirred it all together.  Don’t worry about measuring.  Just do what looks right.  That’s what my mom told me. 

Normally you serve it with sour cream dolloped on top but it was Gavin’s birthday and I forgot that part.  I also forgot that we promised him a watermelon but what are you going to do! 


Kid tested.  Mother approved.  For fatty, carbalicious awesomeness!  Seriously, you have to try this recipe with zucchini because it is the best comfort food you will ever eat with once healthy vegetables. 

#3 Deep Fried Zucchini


Holy party in my mouth that was good!  What you do is you slice thick coins.  Heath told me to slice them about an inch thick.  But, like math, I don’t measure in my head.  Some were thicker than others.  Don’t worry. 

Then you dip the coins in a mixture of flour, paprika, ground chili powder, salt, and garlic salt.  Don’t ask about measurements.  Heath just makes stuff up and it always turns out great.  I would say it was a pinch or two of this and that.  Just do what looks right!

Then dip the dusty coins in a bowl of beaten eggs.  That sounds weird.  You beat some eggs in a bowl so you can coat the coins and have the flour mixture stick. 

I know that sounds out of order to go into the flour mixture first but trust me it works better that way.  So dip the coins in the flour mixture, then the egg, then back in the flour and finally drop a few battered coins in the deep fryer.  For my fryer size I could do three large ones together or four small ones. 

Fry for 3-4 minutes and let drain on a cooling rack over a pan lined with paper towels.  They are far less greasy this way.  Oh, and wear surgical gloves (found in bulk at Costco) while dipping your coins before frying.  You will thank me.  When your fingers get too gloppy with flour and egg you can toss the glove by first removing it inside out.  Then put on a new one. 


This picture is more for my family.  This is to prove that I made these fried zucchini coins.  See my fingers holding the special fryer spoon?  Every once in a while I make stuff!  I did not make the next recipe.

#4 Grilled Zucchini


I may not be a food photographer but you have to admit that’s a great picture! 


Here’s another one.  These slices of zucchini are prepped to be grilled with olive oil, salt and pepper.


Smoking on the grill.  I have several of these types of pictures.  I’ll just stick with this one.


Check out those perfect grill marks.  Good job, Heath.  To achieve this look, grill on each side for about 1 min per side per quarter turn.  The quarter turn is how you get the perfect grill marks. 


These grilled zucchini slices were amazing.  See?  Heath’s face is all scrunched up because that slice was still pretty hot from the grill.  But oh so good.  They had a rich flavor with smoky charred goodness.  Yum. 

#5 Simple Zucchini


If you are thinking that zucchini is too much trouble.  Don’t leave yet.  I have a deliciously simple recipe.  All I did here was cut the zucchini into thick cubes and steam them with salt and pepper.  How long do you steam?  Just until they are fork tender.  Check after a few minutes. 


Stir them up with some butter margarine.  Whatever you have on hand.  Then enjoy the light, yet rich, amazing flavor in your mouth.  Each bite bursts in your mouth like fireworks on the 4th of July.  So simple and so good you will make yummy noises that sound like an elephant being run over by a mouse driving a Monster truck.  I did anyway.

#6 Scrambled Zucchini Eggs


This was sort of a happy accident.  Heath was out of town on a business trip earlier this week.  Whenever he’s gone and I’m in charge of dinner (because I’m usually not) I always make breakfast for dinner one night.  I usually make eggs.  There was a small zucchini sitting on the counter that needed to be eaten so I decided to chop it up and throw it in the scrambled eggs.  I didn’t know if it would work. 

Boy howdy did it ever.  I served the eggs and when the kids asked what was in it I said vegetables.  That was good enough for them.  They ate those eggs so fast making yummy noises with every bite. 

I also made pancakes for them and some syrup got on Parker’s eggs.  He said, and I quote, “Mom those eggs are damn delicious in the syrup!”  Then we had a conversation about how that word is inappropriate and he should never say it again.  The point is, you have the alliterative approval of a 5 year old.  The eggs were . . . delicious and the kids ate every single piece of zucchini in their eggs.  They had mixed reactions to all the other zucchini dishes this summer. 

I hope you learned something new.  I hope you learned that zucchini is very easy and versatile.  It’s not just for bread.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Cure of Extraordinary Measures

The Cure by Geeta Anand was such a good book.  The movie, Extraordinary Measures, is such a compacted, Hollywood-ized, watered down version of the true story it’s based on.  The screen writers took an amazing story and simplified and fictionalized the major storyline tying up the conflict and resolution with a neat little bow.  Except for the Crowley family, there is not a single character in the movie cast that I recognize from the book.  The movie characters are actually several people all smooshed into one fictional character.  I’m surprised that John Crowley and his daughter Megan were filmed for short behind the scenes clips for the movie’s bonus material.  The movie is so loosely based on the truth it’s disappointing. 

Most movies are a disappointment compared to the book.  This is not newsworthy.  So let’s move on. 

The book was written by a reporter for the Wall Street Journal.  The story is so amazing it writes itself into a bestseller.  But even then I was very impressed with how well it was written.  She didn’t focus only on the heroism of John and Aileen Crowley.  She painted a full picture of what a struggle their lives have been.  My favorite scenes were the ones where she showed John and Aileen’s meltdowns.  That’s real.  Getting up in your 4 year old’s face in a store screaming that you don’t care she’s on a ventilator, she’s not getting the cards she doesn’t need – that’s real. 

Maybe that sounds weird to like that part of the storytelling.  The story could have been told much differently.  Anand could have showed how difficult and time consuming it was to keep the kids alive every day and that Aileen did it, with the help of nurses, day in and day out.  Then show how hard John worked at building a business to find a cure or at least a treatment for the disease threatening his children’s lives.  It would read like a fairy tale.  Instead Anand showed more reality.  She shared the stories where perfect Aileen lost it in the store and perfect John was too preoccupied to wait until he got to the locker room before removing his wet bathing suit.  She showed their jealousy of “perfect families” and jealousy of other children receiving treatment before their own did. 

Aileen’s dream was to be a mother and nothing, not even an incurable fatal childhood disease affecting two of her kids was going to stop her from just being a mom.  She packed up her kids with their ventilators and took them to the park.  She made vacation arrangements.  She bought parenting books when she was frustrated by her kids’ personalities.  She did everything a normal mother would do.  She also happened to know how to reattach their breathing tubes when there was a problem. 

The kids almost didn’t realize their disabilities because everyone around them treated them like any other kid.  This is how I was raised.  To focus more on ability than disability. 

What I was most impressed with was John.  Everyone thought of him as this self centered arrogant jerk.  For one reason or another people finally saw him for who he really was.  A goal oriented father racing the clock to save his children.  In those ah-ha moments they would realize that they would do the same thing in the same situation.  He was so selfless.  The carrot of a clinical trial was held in front of John for years.  In all that time his efforts paid off for other children and other families and John quietly waited for his own children’s chance. 

This is when I get all religious on this story.  After reading the book and getting a feel for who John and Aileen are, I believe that God had His hand all over this one.  I found it interesting that in the beginning of the book John didn’t believe that God handpicked people for specific challenges.  He was referring to the idea that God never gives more than one can handle.  John believed that challenges were simply a part of life.  God had nothing to do with it.  I disagree. 

I think John and Aileen were specifically chosen to have the children they have with the challenges they face because nobody else could have done what John did to jump start treatment for Pompe disease.  Nobody else could have waited the way he did.  But it was because he had to wait for his children to receive the Special Medicine that he stayed motivated enough to keep the company going.  Amazing things came out of that waiting game and the push to get the science just right.  It worked out the way it was supposed to.  That’s what I believe.  I believe that God wants us to discover solutions to problems.  He picks the right people to get the ball rolling. 

I’m still on the fence as to whether or not I believe insurance companies and the medical community overcharge patients.  It can be frustrating when the very things a person needs to survive are out of reach financially.  Sometimes people will not be compliant with their treatments because they can’t afford it.  My mom is an RN and she sees this every day.  I live it every day.  Being diabetic is not cheap.  It was very interesting to see the other side of the story by reading The Cure.  I had no idea how difficult and expensive it was to make something that would extend a person’s life and ease suffering.  It all comes down to money.  Everyone wants a piece of the pie so costs go up.  That’s life.  I don’t think that will end any time soon. 

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Hair Today Gone Tomorrow

Jerry Seinfeld had a set where he talked about how amazed he was with women and how they control all the hair on their bodies.  It is no easy feat, that’s for sure. 

Today I want to talk about HAIR.

This word can conjure up beautiful pictures or make one want to toss their cookies, depending on how it’s used.  Sometimes all it takes is adding an s to the end.  The word hair is one of those words that can be singular or plural.  There is usually no need to say hairs.  Yet hairs surprisingly means very few.

You would never say:  My hairs are turning gray.
Because if you did it would give the impression that you have five single pieces of hair that you painstakingly comb and spray into a greasy combover. 

Rather you would say:  Some of my hair is turning gray.
As if your luscious locks have one or two strands of glistening silver.  Really we all know you’re one gray hair away from grabbing the box of Clairol from the grocery store. 

Maybe I’m only speaking for myself.  My hair started to turn gray in my 20’s.  I thought it looked kind of cool.  One or two random strands of white or silver nestled in with my dark chocolate locks.  Now I have so much gray I can’t hide it any more and I’m afraid to pluck any more of it for fear I will be bald in a week.  My brother’s black hair now has a salt and pepper look to it.  He’s only 3.5 years older than me! 

I think I’ve seen one or two colorless hairs in Heath’s head but he has blond hair.  He can get away with it. 

Isn’t it funny how the word hairs can make you feel sick to your stomach?  Maybe I’m only speaking for myself.  I just think it’s a gross word.  Hairs.  *shudder*

My hair has always been fine in texture but I have always had a lot of it.  Until now.  Well, I’m assuming anyway that I don’t have a lot anymore.  I keep finding hair everywhere.  They say a person loses 100 hairs a day.  Fine.  But most people don’t see stray strands in the kitchen sink.  Or worse, in the dishwasher! 

When I go to put the dishes away after the dishwasher did all the dirty work for me I see this long piece of hair curled up on some plate.  I try to peel it off but it’s hard because it’s wet.  And I have to wonder when the hair entered the dishwasher.  Did it fall in as I loaded the dirty dishes?  And then it swirled around and around dancing among the dishes, weaving its way through the fork tines?  Or did it happen to fall on a still moist plate when I was unloading clean dishes and all the dishes are fine except that one plate? 

Quite the dilemma, right?  Should I rewash everything or just the one plate? 

My hands are always full of little pieces of hair when I comb the kids hair.  Especially Gwen.  Her hair has been scattered everywhere in the house since she came home from the hospital.  She’s my daughter alright.  OK, so kid hair clinging to my hands and fingers after their morning do makes sense.  And my hair all over my comb makes sense too. 

But what about the handfuls that come out in the shower?  I’m not making this up.  I wash my hair and my hands are covered in long black hairballs.  My bathroom floor is covered in a carpet of hair.  I sweep and the dust pan is full of dusty hairballs. 

Our bathroom is big enough that we need two rugs.  One in front of the shower and one in front of the sink.  Before the dual rug action I would finish my morning routine and don my high heeled sandals for church.  Then I would take the shoes off so I could wipe off fistfuls of hair from my feet.  Are we sure it’s only 100 hairs a day? 

I know it’s not just me.  Someone else in the world has this problem.  In junior high I took my lunch tray to my table to enjoy eating with my friends.  I was pretty excited because that day the cafeteria was serving pink ambrosia salad.  I took a few bites here and there of whatever else I got that day and then decided to dig into the salad.  I took not one, not two, but at least three separate bites of this salad before I noticed the rat’s nest of a hairball calmly sitting underneath my next bite. 

There was so much hair wadded up I seriously had to wonder if someone actually cleaned out their hairbrush in the salad.  Did they do it on purpose?  Or were they blissfully unaware of their blossoming case of alopecia?  Didn’t matter.  I didn’t ask nor did I eat another bite of anything that day. 

Hair is disgusting. 

Men can be in awe of women and their ability to control all their hair.  But the reality is that hair is gross.  Combing, shaving, bleaching, etc.  Hair takes up a lot of our time and can take over our lives.  I have nightmares that my hair will unite into a thick rope and strangle me in my sleep.  It could happen.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Not Forgotten

Years ago, probably not long after I was diagnosed with diabetes, I watched a show with my parents.  It was about how insulin was discovered.  The three of us were in awe.  What a blessing these young arrogant scientists had given the world.  Kelly, over at Diabetesaliciousness, had this link on her blog today.

I have never forgotten how blessed I am to have Type 1 diabetes now.  Now when the medical technology is exploding with new and amazing ideas.  There is still no cure.  Maybe there never will be.  But the fact that I can live a normal life has never been lost on me. 

In junior high and high school if some acquaintance found out I was diabetic they would tell me I could never have kids.  That always worried me even before people predicted gloom and doom for my future.  Would my stupid disease that hadn’t stopped me from anything before really stand in the way of my greatest dream in life – motherhood? 

When I was pregnant with my first I remember a lady from church finding out I was diabetic.  She immediately said, “You’ll have a c-section because of that.”  I was so determined to prove her wrong.  Every once in a while I feel like a failure for having had all three babies via c-section.  I take comfort in knowing my diabetes had nothing to do with it. 

Knowing the circumstances that led to my c-sections fills me with more gratitude for being alive now.  Now when modern medicine allows people to survive childbirth. 

I look at my kids and I’m happy they are here.  Once upon a time I thought they never would be.  Now that I’m on the other side of pregnancy I have learned so much of what can go wrong with an unborn baby.  Recently I watched Extraordinary Measures starring Brendan Fraser and Harrison Ford and am now reading the book the movie was based on.  It’s all a true story. 

Learning the tiny bit I have about Pompe disease makes me grateful for my own naiveté before I had my kids.   Had I known everything I now know about childhood diseases and even what a mother’s diabetes can do to an unborn baby I may not have had such a fire to do it.  But I believe life should go on even when it’s scary to do so. 

My kids are proof to me that I can live a normal life in spite of diabetes.  If anything happens to my kids, if they inherit my diabetes or anything else, they will live as normal a life as modern medicine will allow.  Same as me.  I will never forget how blessed I am to have what I have. 

Some days I wish I could put diabetes in a closet for a few hours but in the end I know I am blessed.  I don’t consider myself some sort of hero because I’m just living my life.  I’m so grateful I can.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Master Manipulator

Gwen has this new trick of demanding things right when we’re about to close her door for the night. What bugs me about it is she will point in a general direction and say, “I want that.”

Me: What? What do you want?
Gwen: That.
Me: What’s that?
Gwen: That one.

Then I close the door out of sheer exasperation. She screams her head off until we finally go back in. It’s awesome because we are effectively teaching her that it’s ok to cry until she manipulates us to do her nefarious bidding.

Tonight was no exception. She asked for something and because I couldn’t understand her and I knew she was just stalling anyway, I told her she was fine and shut the door. For the next 10 minutes she screamed like her best friend had died in her arms. I committed a Mommy crime and went back in to try to talk some sense into her.

Me: What do you need?
Unintelligible scream sobbing that sounded like she said she can’t sleep.
Me: What? You can’t sleep?
Gwen: Yeah.
Me: Could it be because you are screaming?
Gwen: Yeah.
Me: Then you need to stop crying, close your eyes, and go to sleep.
Gwen: Ok, Mommy.

Her door has been dark and silent ever since.

Her other thing is to turn on her light and play after we've gone back downstairs. The other night it was about 11 pm when we went to bed. Gwen's light was on. As she heard her dad walk up the stairs she immediately turned her light off. But there were no tiny footsteps running for bed like we usually hear when she's caught.

So Heath went in to investigate and she was laying on the floor in the dark playing with her Little People zoo animals. Heath got her into bed and she started wailing and whining for her animals. He simply said goodnight and closed the door. Then he shut our door and eventually she fell asleep. That girl!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

King For a Day


My little man turned 5 yesterday. 

Lately the same thoughts have been on a continuous loop in my mind.  Over and over.  I think about how I feel on Gavin’s birthdays.  It never bothers me.  It always makes sense that he’s celebrating the birthday he is.  The fact that he’s now 7 seems perfectly reasonable.  It feels like it’s been seven years.  But to watch Parker follow two years behind is weird. 

When Gavin turned 5 it was exciting.  It meant he could go to kindergarten.  Now Parker is 5 and I don’t remember saying that was OK.  Parker has been ready for kindergarten for at least a year now but I’m having trouble wanting to let go of him.  I secretly wonder if I hold him long enough I can keep him as sweet and innocent as he is now and never have to let outside sources change him in any way. 

But it must be.  Kids grow up and each new stage brings blessings and joy never before imagined. 

Speaking of kindergarten, Parker has been looking forward to his 5th birthday since Gavin started first grade.  All year I told him he could go to school after he turned 5.  At one point yesterday Parker announced, “I’m going to school tomorrow because I’m 5 now!”  Heath laughed and told him to have fun since nobody would be there with it being a Saturday in July. 

Parker’s special day was every bit as magical as Gavin’s birthday was eleven days earlier.  Heath took the day off.  The kids love having their daddy home. 

We had asked Parker what he wanted to do on his birthday.  He would always get this vacant goofy smile on his face but never know what to pick.  So we gave him a couple of choices to get his mind going.  We suggested going out to lunch then bowling.  Or we could drive to Tracy and eat at Sonic.  Since it’s a long drive the kids could watch a movie of Parker’s choosing in the van on the way.  There is no Sonic near where we live so when we get a craving for it, not that it’s even that good it’s just not a choice, we drive to Tracy.

Bowling was tempting to Parker because he loves bowling.  But the option of watching a movie in the van was the more brilliant choice in Parker’s mind.  That boy is all about movies.  Lucky him he got to watch three yesterday!  The kids watched The Hobbit while eating pancakes.  Then two movies in the van. 

We headed out to Tracy with Toy Story playing.  Parker had chosen the original Toy Story because that one has Andy’s birthday in it.  How cute!  We watched the temperature rise to one million degrees.  Well, 101 but that’s hot enough.  Heath wanted to eat somewhere else so we could eat inside but we stuck to our guns and ate outside at Sonic.  There were tables in the shade with lots of fans overhead. 

The kids got Sonic slushes for lunch.  Had we known that was all we needed to get for them we would have.  But we got the slushes in place of a drink in the kids meals.  And then watched the kids pick at their food any time we reminded them to eat something.  They would make really good keynote speakers at a how to seminar for eating disorders.  “This is how you stir your food around a bit to make it look like you’ve eaten something.”

Parker’s gifts were opened in two different sessions.  I keep wondering when he’s going to realize he gets pretty much the same thing Gavin gets.  Oh but he’s still young so there’s a lot of anticipation.  Eleven days is a long time for me to wait for Parker to have his own stuff!  So I was pretty anxious about gifts this year too. 

We started with the Grandma presents. 


Gwen thought the presents were for her.  “My birthday!  My birthday!” she kept saying.


She was not amused to be told no. 


And started a sobbing tantrum.

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Parker was so excited to get his own swim goggles and beach towel from my mom.  He had been hoping for this stuff since Gavin’s birthday.  The boys were so ready to swim after Sonic.

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These are my favorite pictures!  And those special goggles from Grandma, do you feel special?  I do!

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The boys opened their presents from Grandma and Grandpa together.  They changed their clothes immediately!  And Parker wore the outfit again today.

The second birthday present party was poolside. 


Paper was flying in an excited frenzy. 


Could it be?


Yes!  It is a Lightning McQueen remote controlled racecar! 

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The scooter Parker had been begging for since March paled in comparison to Lightning McQueen.  Goggles and towels were ditched for the car.  The scooter box sat forgotten on the picnic table outside the rest of the afternoon. 


The grilled pizza Parker requested for dinner even took a backseat. 


Birthday cake and Lightning were all Parker could think about. 


Being King for the day lasted until 9:30 pm.  The stars in his eyes and this genuine smile made every moment of the day worth it.  My boy is now 5.  He couldn’t be happier about it.  Happy birthday Parker.  We love you!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Hickey Update

As if you all were wondering, I changed my site last night and the tape came up no problem.  The cannula came out no problem.  It looks mildly red like sites do when I change them but there is no hickey with little raw, red bumps.  My own ring around the rosies rash from the first infusion set site change is healing quite nicely.  It’s a good thing I took those pictures when I did. 

And after an evening of swearing I was bolusing sugar water because my blood sugar kept climbing and climbing, I am finally low.  Julio (my cartoon trainer) and I will have to get together in a little bit.  Then it’s Operation Happy Birthday for Parker. 

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Lazzzy Days of Summer

Last night Parker fell asleep on the couch.  I carried him up to bed and wanted to cry because I loved holding him like that.  Who said my cuddly Parker could turn 5 tomorrow? 

Today Gwen climbed right into bed after she changed out of her swimming suit.  I decided not to rock the boat and remind her I was going to give her a snack and then make her sit on the potty again before her nap.  If she was going to be that tired I was going to walk out of the room and never look back.  Well, except to give her a great big hug when she asked for one. 

The house is quiet. 

How did my babies get so tired?  Part of it is because yesterday was the beginning of several days in a row reaching one million degree temperatures. 

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I made homemade slurpees.  I turned my back for five seconds to grab my camera.  As soon as I opened the door I heard Gwen screeching at the top of her lungs and the boys yelling, “Mom!  Mom!”  Gwen was still sitting in her chair where I had left her.  I was wondering what could have possibly happened.  Then I saw.  She had accidentally dumped the slurpee on herself and between surprise and being covered in icy lemonade, she was screeching.  No biggie.  I scooped it back into her cup.  Then hosed her off and she enjoyed the heck out of slurping it up the straw. 


I wedged the cup between her legs because she’s too short to reach the table easily.  She looks so tired.  Poor baby.

The other reason why the kids are wiped out by the end of the day is we’ve been playing hard this summer.  Parks in the morning, riding bikes and playing in the pool.  Sometimes with friends and sometimes just us. 


Gwen decided she was finally OK with playing in the pool.  Get the air hot enough and anyone would want the refreshment of cool water. 


The water wasn’t even cold on my toes today.

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This picture is my favorite.


This one too.  I love the smile on Gavin’s face.  I love the foreshortening in his legs.  It makes him look like a little boy.  I have always had the hardest time seeing Gavin as his true age.  He has always seemed so much older to me.  I’m probably too hard on him as a result.  I have to remind myself that he’s only 7.  He’s still in the pre-operational stage.  He’s not all grown up yet.  I still have little kids and I need to remember that.  They are so sweet. 

You can’t see it in the picture above but this boy is a nice golden brown color.  Since my scale for summer fun is based on how tan I get, I know at least Gavin is having a blast!  He’s getting really dark.  I hope the other two will find some melanin soon. 


One last picture.  Body prints.  This is how the kids warm up after being in the frigid water on days that don’t reach the triple digits.  They also do a couple of these before they run inside to drip all over my floor while they race to the bathroom.  The body prints don’t dry them enough but they think it’s faster than a towel when they’ve really got to pee.  This is a great picture of body prints.  This one will make me smile when I see it on screensaver in the winter. 

All of those pictures explain why we all crash every night.  It’s been a beautiful summer.  How has everyone else’s summer been?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Nice Hickey!

As fashionable as this isn’t . . .


I have to say that this is infinitely worse . . .


I apologize for the fuzzy picture.  What you are looking at is the hickey left behind by my new infusion set. 

Last night I needed to change the site.  I re-watched the tutorial trying to figure out how to pull it out.  The tutorial spent more time on how to take the reservoir out of the pump than it did on removing the cannula in my body.  The cartoon person simply pulled the thing straight out.  How hard could it be right?

So I disconnected the tubing from the site and started to pull up on the little circle of tape surrounding the cannula that was still inside my body.  Hmm.  The tape was on there pretty good.  Remember how I said that it stayed on in the shower?  Well, it was on there for life, apparently.  I don’t know if I’m supposed to use paint thinner or what but that thing was not going to come off without a fight. 

When I finally got most of the adhesive backing up on one side the cannula came out.  But not straight out.  No, as I continued to tug on the other side the cannula bent backwards and ripped out that way.  I don’t know if it hurt because my nerve endings were concentrating more on having my flesh slowly torn off by permanent adhesive from hell. 

The good news is that it didn’t feel like a nasty mosquito bite afterwards. 


This is an old site on the other side of my abdomen.  My sites itch like crazy even after everything has been removed.  Cortisone only takes the edge off the itch.  So I think that’s why I have ugly red spots all over my body.  But that hickey . . . wow.  That thing is something else. 

If anyone knows the trick to removing the Quick-sets please let me know.