When We Met…

When you’re small talking it with someone, a totally normal question to strike up a good convo is “Where did you meet your spouse?” Such an easy question… such a complicated answer.

When Jacob and I were leading separate lives, we were basically both dumpster fires waiting to happen. I was recently separated from a toxic marriage, and he was partying it up, mid-20s style, with a string of questionable companions.

Cut to a bachelor/bachelorette party in Atlantic City, New Jersey. I was a bridesmaid in my friend’s wedding party, and was looking forward to a fun-filled weekend of escaping reality.

When we first entered our hotel suite, I was introduced to another bridesmaid, and sister-in-law of the bride. “This is Jacob’s,” she said as she retrieved a hat from the kitchen counter. That was the first time I ever heard his name. *tear* (If your not used to me being cheesy and sentimental… you’re going to want to look away now.)

That night we partook in normal bachelorette party shenanigans. I knew that in the morning, we were going to mix it up with the groom and his bachelor party for breakfast(morning drinks) at the Irish Pub.

The next day, we were walking down the boardwalk to our meet up, when we ran into some of the guys from our counter-party. One of them, in particular, caught my eye, and I was immediately drawn to him. I was brazen in my younger years, walked right up to him, and said, “Hi. What’s your name?”

The action and response that reciprocated my question, can only be described as a small child being scolded by his mother. “Jacob” he whispered in my general direction, dropped his head, and shuffled quickly into the Irish Pub. I hollered towards his back, “Ok! See ya later!” But really, who is this kid?!

That morning, we had an incredibly fun time! There was laughing and mingling and drinking. Good times had by all. But I couldn’t help searching for this “Jacob” character. I honestly thought I scared him away.

At one point, the person I was talking to got up to go to the bathroom. Before I knew it, Jacob sat down in the open chair. I was taken by surprise, but so excited to get to know this human.

Conversation came so easily, and a natural and quick connection formed. My first impression was that he was overly confident, bordering on arrogant, but later learned that is just him pushing through his shyness. But one thing was for sure, I was head over heels for this fool.

Now, we have to backtrack for a second. If you know me, you know a few things:

1. I am terrified of commitment. Despite the fact that I was a serial monogamist, and married at a young age, I would self-sabotage every single relationship I was in.

2. I am cynical about everything. I am the voice in your head that says, “Don’t trust that! It’s not real! There is nothing happy in this world!”

3. It’s nice to watch love in movies, but that’s not real life. #sorrynotsorry

4. I honestly was unable to comprehend when I was hurting other people’s feelings, because I had never felt strong enough about someone to have my own feelings hurt. I didn’t even know what that was like.

Cut back to our story. As we sat there, exchanging ordinary information about ourselves, the way I felt was anything besides ordinary. I realized I loved Jacob at first sight, which went against every fiber of my being.

We left the Irish Pub together and spent the day on the beach, soaking up the sun and each minute together. Later that evening, the first text I sent him read, “I think I’m in love with you.” And he never responded… because his phone was broken… from the sand on the beach.

But we were able to reconnect, and the rest is the fairytale we’re living out now, if a fairytale is two people, wildly in love, raising three small humans who frequently pee on the floor and yell at you.

Apart, Jacob and I were like two F5 tornados, spinning wildly out of control, but when we collided, we created stability for each other. Something we both so desperately needed.

We Like to Party

This weekend, we celebrated our youngest daughter’s first birthday, and fun was had by all! We had pizza, cupcakes, and a kick ball game.

Of course, our type 1 friendly menu was strategically planned by design, but our guests didn’t know any different. We had a thin crust pizza option, a meat and cheese tray, and mini cupcakes.

My plan isn’t for Piet to have a special diet, but I have learned that the unknown is terrifying, especially in a situation where I can’t be monitoring him with 100% focus. So, a birthday party, where he is running around(lowers blood sugar) and eating a lot of carbs(skyrockets blood sugar), is a recipe for unpredictable blood sugar.

Why thin crust pizza? Pizza has a way of spiking blood sugar long after it’s eaten. You’re coasting along, thinking, “Wow! I really nailed that insulin amount and timing! I am mom of the year!” Then BAM! You’re in the 300s.

Why mini cupcakes? The last thing I want is to limit my little man, but if his blood sugar is already high, I’m not going to throw another 35-40 carbs on that fire. But mini cupcakes are only 10g of carbs, and, BONUS, they can double as a low treatment.

What about the meat and cheese tray? Meat and cheese are free foods, or zero carbs, which means they require no insulin. WIN!

This is all fine and good when I’m the one in charge of party plans, but what about when we’re attending a birthday party in the wild? Well, that’s a totally different scenario.

First of all, I am completely focused on the humans I created. No hostess pressure, we’re just there for the fun. This means we can take some chances with food and fun activities!

BUT, understand that I will still pack a full blown meal just in case, and we might have to turn down some food options. Don’t feel bad for us or be offended, it’s just what we gotta do, ya know?

Also understand that if there is a bounce house or play ground, we might have to sit out for a little if the blood sugar is low. Don’t worry! We’ll get right back out there as soon as we’re at a safe number.

As of now, we have not been excluded from any parties or events because of diabetes, but I have heard an alarming number of stories about children left out simply because of type 1.

As a T1D parent, I get it. Being in charge of managing T1 can be scary. Believe me, I understand. But, don’t leave us out. I will gladly come along and help chaperone, or teach you whatever you need to know, or help in any way! It melts our hearts when people are willing to learn about caring for our kids, and wanting to include them.

Birthday parties can be tricky because of all the unknowns. There’s a lot of SWAG-ging and dosage guessing, but they’re also really fun and we LOVE celebrating all of our loved one’s birthdays!

In closing, remember these things:

1. Bare with us if diabetes is drunk. We might be low or high or perfect, but each of those things means a different treatment plan.

2. We like to party. We like to, we like to party. Just like the Vengaboys, so don’t exclude us!

3. If you want a present fit for a king, ask us how to manage diabetes. We will be so moved, you will jump straight to the top of our favorite people list, between Nick Jonas and Jesus.

What We Really Want For Mother’s Day

1. Let us sleep until we are ready to take on the day. That might mean you will have to *gasp* get everyone’s breakfast ready. When we finally roll out of bed, don’t say, “Wow, what’s it like to sleep in?” We will hurt you. Here’s what you should do instead…

2. As soon as we wake up, simply hand us our coffee in our favorite mug, and let us drink the entire thing while it’s still hot. Unless you’ve choreographed a “Happy Mother’s Day” number with the children, just let us sit there, in total silence, enjoying our caffeine.

3. We don’t want to cook any food all day. We don’t care if you make it, a store makes it, or McDonald’s makes it, just as long as we didn’t make it.

4. If the children are about to smack down, step in and diffuse the situation. No one is allowed to yell or hit or wrestle on our day.

5. We want to watch adult friendly TV, like Friends or The Office. We will watch Moana and Tangled if the children need some quiet time. But if anyone so much as whispers “Caillou,” we will go on a laundry strike.

6. If you are going to buy us a gift, it should not be for cleaning or even remotely related to household chores. Unless, of course, it’s a Roomba… we definitely want a Roomba.

7. It would be really great if we could sit down and not have anyone say, “MOMMY! I need a drink!” the second we get comfortable. Like, one full hour of uninterrupted sitting would be a dream.

8. We want to bathe in peace, with no one knocking on the door, asking where their shoes are. The only thing we want you to say to us is, “Would you like to drink your coffee in there?” The answer is yes.

9. Don’t say things like, “Isn’t it too early to be drinking?” Or “Are you sure you want to eat that? It’s not on your diet.” Everyone knows calories don’t count on Mother’s Day.

10. We are looking for an atmosphere that equally balances not seeing any of our children, and also seeing them all the time. You will need to make this happen.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the great mommas out there! You’re all super heroes, and deserve a wonderful day, celebrating you!

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!

Poops-A-Daisy

Potty training is basically just one gigantic, for lack of a better term, shit show. So many “stages” and “phases” and “setbacks.” Any reservations you once had about cleaning human feces off the floor, need to be flushed down the toilet, because you’re about to deal with a crapload.

Before beginning the process, I made sure I had the right supplies on hand.

1. Industrial sized paper towels

2. Disinfectant spray

3. Rubber gloves

4. Multiple toilet options (training toilet, children’s toilet seat, actual toilet)

5. Underwear featuring princesses.

6. Diapers for when I give up.

I also waited until her third birthday, because experts say you should wait until their third birthday. Just kidding, it was because I had to mentally prepare myself for an entire calendar year. I just wasn’t quite ready to hear someone screaming, “I HAVE TO POOP!” in the middle of Target while I’m tryna get my Joanna Gaines on.

Once we got down to business, Ceci made the switch over pretty much the same day… which made me super cocky. “That was so friggin easy! Piet! Get over here! It’s time for big boy underwear!” I sincerely regret those words.

Hour 1: He pooped in his underwear.

Hour 2: He stood at the top of the stairs and peed down them.

Hour 3: He wore diapers again.

Hour 4: He took off his diaper because “I want big boy underwear!” and pooped on the floor.

Then there was the time Ceci went to the bathroom alone, and I was busy taking care of the others. Minutes later, I realized she was still missing. I rushed to the bathroom, because I KNEW something was going down. And, going down, it was. She pulled a tampon applicator out of the trash, was sucking toilet water up into the empty chamber, and spraying it all over the bathroom walls. Should I be angry? Should I be proud? How innovative! How disgusting!

After that jarring incident, we had to put a childproof knob back on the bathroom door. Now every time she has to pee, I am forced to drop everything and personally escort her.

In closing, here’s what I’ve learned so far:

1. Turns out experts are right, three must be the magic number.

2. Never underestimate the lengths your child will go to spread germs.

3. Always assume your child is playing in the toilet water.

4. Boys can pee very far at an elevated height.

I know there are tons of awesome potty training stories out there, and I want to hear all the messy details. Let’s hear them!

SWAG Queen

Counting carbohydrates is a critical part of managing type 1 diabetes and can get kind of crazy. Sure, it’s easy to read the nutritional facts on the label of a box, but what about a banana? Potatoes? Restaurant food?

For every carb consumed, there is a correlating amount of insulin that needs to be injected through a syringe, insulin pen, or insulin pump. Too much insulin could result in a low blood sugar, and can be very dangerous if it goes too low. Not enough insulin, and blood sugar will trend high, and will need to be corrected with additional insulin after a few hours.

Ok, let’s get to it! So, my kid wants goldfish. 51 Flavor Blasted Goldfish are 19g of carbs. But is a two year old really going to sit there and eat 51 goldfish? And am I really going to stand there and count out 51 goldfish? Nope and no, thanks! So let’s cut those numbers right in half. 27 fish equals pretty close to 10g, and that’s usually what we go with.

What about cereal? Get out those measuring cups and add together the carbs from the cereal and also the milk.

For food that isn’t so easily calculated like fruit and potatoes, we have a food scale, and it is incredible! It came with a booklet of codes, and after placing the food item on the scale and punching in the code, all the nutritional facts pop up, RIGHT ON THE FACE OF THE SCALE! Take apple slices, for instance. There are different codes for peeled, cored, and varieties. Blows my mind. Every. Single. Time.

Of course some foods we don’t count carbs for, and we are always fully stocked with carb free treats. We don’t count for meat, cheese, peanut butter, most veggies, pickles, olives, and nuts. So basically, string cheese and pepperoni are a staple for us!

Now it’s time to live on the edge. What if we’re out to eat and Buddy Boy wants chicken tenders, a fruit cup, and an apple juice. Don’t panic! There are a couple options. Search the internet for the restaurant’s nutritional facts page, and if you’re lucky, it will exist. But I usually opt for this next option.

SWAG queen coming through! I make a Scientific Wild Ass Guess, based on previous meals and just hope for the best! I estimate each chicken tender is 5g and that he will only eat two of them, smothered in ketchup. No worries. Ketchup is another freebie as long as he doesn’t use a bucket full. Fruit cup: let’s say 15g because I know it’s soaked in sugary syrup. Lastly, apple juice… pray for a box… but nope! Dump out some of the cup until you hit 15g. And, believe me, all type 1 parents know what exactly 15g of apple juice looks like, because it’s a very common low treatment method.

And that’s a grand total of 40g. Boom! SWAG-boss up in this Applebee’s!

Counting carbs is just a regular part of our day and because it’s a habit, I accidentally count the carbs for my own meals. Next meal you eat, try to calculate your carb count and let me know how it goes!

Damsel in Digress: A Short Story

I never do this. I never just sit in a coffee house and enjoy a cup of joe while I read for pleasure. I’m positive this is the first time.

When I walked in and placed my order, I didn’t even feel like I was doing it right. I stumbled over the words, just happy for an adult to talk to.

“Oh, hi! Can I have a… sorry… an iced caramel latte? Large, I mean grande? Is that a large? Sorry, I don’t do this a lot.”

“Name?”

“My name? Yes, my name is Erin.”

When my order was up, I grabbed my cup and awkwardly chose my seat, reflecting on how painful that was for all parties involved. I’m just going to sit here, pretend I belong, and read my book. My very sophisticated, not at all trashy, young adult fiction novel. About vampires. And the angst of teenage love. Nothing to see here.

But it’s so quiet. Like I can’t concentrate, because Mickey Mouse isn’t blaring in the background and no one has cried since I’ve been here.

Usually I’m being bombarded by little humans needing me to do all the things for them. “I need a snack!” “Where’s my dump truck?” “Get me juice!” “Have to go potty!” That’s right. I’m a stay at home mom. It’s a full time, no chance for a break, lose your mind, can’t remember the last time you put on makeup, let alone showered kind of job, and I’m right in the eye of the tornado that is the child rearing years.

But today I needed a break. Somewhere between my son peeing down a flight of stairs and my daughter asking 972 questions before breakfast, I hit my limit. I just needed one split second to myself. So I dumped the kids with Grammy and escaped to the first place that my mind raced to. A quiet room where the caffeine flows freely. And I’m not calling it a break. It’s a vacation, because it’s the longest I’ve been away from my offspring in two months.

This beautiful, silent room. All these glorious people who are old enough to wipe their own butts and are capable of having an intellectual conversation. And this lovely clean, not at all sticky table. With a note on it. This definitely wasn’t here when I sat down. Who put this here? How could I have missed something like that?

“Hi Gorgeous. What are you doing Friday night?”

Oh my gosh. This can’t be right. Look at me! This is so flattering, but really, I’ve been wearing these same black yoga pants for three days straight. There is oatmeal smeared on the front of my sweatshirt. And, yep. That’s kid boogers on my sleeve. I don’t even think I brushed my hair today… or my teeth! And forget makeup. Unless this 50 shades of embarrassment counts. How is this even possible that someone finds all of this hot mess attractive?

How am I supposed to even respond to this? I mean, maybe back in my glory days something like this would have happened, but not now. Not since so many people have exited my body, leaving me stretched out and squishy. Back then, I would have tossed my perfectly straightened hair to the side, flashed my carefree smile, and brazenly searched the room for my admirer. But not today. Today I will discreetly glance around, trying to determine if someone merely made a mistake and thought I was someone else.

Ok, scan the perimeter. First person you make eye contact has to be the sender. Well, it’s definitely not “I’m a gazillion-aire, look how pretty I am with my Armani suit and guava hair gel.” Oh no. God, I hope it’s not that guy with the cable knit turtleneck and unmarked duffel bag. He is clearly hiding people in his basement. And for sure not this hippie over here who clearly does recreational drugs, strumming on his guitar for tips, and hasn’t seen the inside of a shower in weeks… you know what. Scratch that last part about the shower. I’m sure it’s been longer for me.

That’s him. That’s definitely him. It has to be. The way he is looking at me with those shy, piercing blue eyes is making me go flush all over again. Wow. I just want to run my fingers through his thick, dark blonde hair. I wonder if he’s been working out? He definitely looks like he’s been working out. He is the sexiest man I have ever seen in real life. Interesting choice of clothing. Is that a baseball t-shirt from middle school? I feel like I can probably overlook that because the butterflies in my stomach surely don’t mind.

And, here he comes. I know tucking my unruly hair behind my ears is doing absolutely nothing for my appearance, but I have to try something to make myself look mildly presentable. Maybe he won’t notice my snot sleeve. Who am I kidding? He will definitely notice.

“Hi.”

“Hi.”

“May I sit down?”

“Of course.”

“I see you found my note.”

“Yes, I did.”

“What do you think?”

“Well, I should tell you. I don’t always look this appealing. I usually have three human parasites clutching to me.”

“I don’t mind.”

“I’m glad you say that, because they’re 50% yours.”

“Why don’t we ditch them and I’ll take you to dinner and a play?”

“That sounds lovely. What will we do with the others?”

“I’ve already arranged a sitter.”

“That’s the most romantic thing you’ve ever said to me in seven years.”

His lips are so familiar, yet these kisses never get old. I feel unbelievably lucky that I can kiss these same lips from now until forever. A zap of excitement tingles me as I remember we are in public and not the comfort of our own home. Oh well. Let them stare. Let them all stare.

“See you at home, Toots.”

“Love you.”

Nothing Compares 2 the 90’s

This one goes out to all the fellas! And any 90’s babies in the house. Get ready for an end of the millennium recap that will make you want to resurrect your Lisa Frank pencil case. And it goes a little somethin’ like this… HIT IT!

Who didn’t have a Skip-it? That tubular, neon ball that could very well be used as a weapon against a pesky sibling. But seriously, I used to Skip-it for hours to see how high I could make the counter device. I bet my mom was diggin that quiet time. No doubt. But don’t try Skip-it today. The pain will be so real, you’ll need to ice, ice, baby.

Two words. Mall Madness. Or Girl Talk. Or Dream Phone. Because nothing says, “I’m a prepubescent tween” like sticker pimples, fake boyfriends, and elaborate board game construction. I still get weak in the knees when I think about Steve being my dream date. It’s for you!

Scrunchies and stirrups and Umbros. Oh my! It was fun to live in a world where glitter was appropriate at all occasions. And you oughta know that Limited Too was the hot spot to pick up a collared, teal and lime green striped sweater tee. That definitely made you sweat in the summa, summa, summertime.

Sure, we all loved Urkel, and, yeah, we all had a friend who was from “West Philadelphia, born and raised.” But no one compared to Zack Morris from Saved by the Bell. That’s as serious as “no hope with dope.” And obviously we’ve all re-enacted Jessie Spano singing “I’m so excited.”

Straight up now tell me, did you love New Kids on the Block as much as I did? Joey McIntyre was my first true love. I had the Joey Barbie and my sister had Donny. She’s still pretty pissed that I cut off his rattail following an altercation between the two of us.

My first cassette tape was Ace of Base, and my cousin and I were obsessed! We would round up our siblings, throw the tape into the nearest boom box, rip full grown tulips out of my grandmother’s garden to use as microphones, and do a rendition of “I Saw the Sign” that would be killing you softly.

Oh 90’s. I will always love you. You made big bangs, hammer pants, and the Macarena look so good. I’ll part with these words of wisdom from TLC, “don’t go chasin waterfalls.”

One love.

Bathing Suit Brouhaha

Ok, Moms. Summer is coming in hot and that means bathing suit time. I’d like to consider myself a suit shopping sorcerer because I’ve been pregnant for two consecutive summers and then just gave birth right before another. Here’s my HOT tips for a SIZZLING suit!

First of all, I never go “bathing suit shopping.” That is just a recipe for throwing yourself a pity party in a public place as you ugly cry in a mirrored box, watching your meltdown from every angle. And also, am I really looking at myself in a bathing suit with my granny panties hanging out of the bottom of a way too tight one piece?

Next, always online shop for swimsuits on reputable websites. I’ve been on the crap end of a poor fitting, dirt cheap, see-through deal, and it’s not pretty. Learn from my mistakes, and don’t just buy a suit on Amazon because it’s $9. My top three favs are target.com, oldnavy.com, and my current number one is cupshe.com. Good quality, good price, good selection.

Make sure you buy a couple options. Some days I want to wear black and keep it fully covered. Other days I want to show a little cleavage… emphasis on the little. And other times I just want to throw self doubt to the wind and rock a two piece. Tankinis are still cool, right?

It’s impossible for a bathing suit to have too much ruching. The more folds and creases in the fabric, the less obvious your folds and creases are. A high waisted bottom with ruching and a high waisted bottom without ruching is the difference between looking like a 50s pinup girl and looking like you’re wearing your grandmother’s underwear. Trust me on this one.

And finally, color matters. Just because yellow is your favorite color and $10 cheaper than the navy option, spring for the darker color. Your nipples will thank me.

But one thing’s for sure, you’ve got to buy the suit that you feel comfortable in so you can get out there and splash around with your kids. Because nothing says “I’m a cool mom” like feeling secure in your suit and starting a whirlpool like a boss.

The Overprotective Mom Files

I never really had a chance. Unwavering overprotection runs deep on all sides of my family. My great grandmother was only allowed to wear one roller skate at a time until she was 12.

In my family, we were told you could die doing anything. “Stop jumping on the bed! You’re going to fall off, break your neck, and die!” “Do not put those marbles anywhere near your mouth! You could choke on them, and die!” “Don’t turn the page of that book so fast! You could get a paper cut, it could get infected, and then you’ll die!”

It’s no secret that this is also my parenting style. Everything terrifies me to my very core, and in a way that’s super unhealthy. If I knew we were taking our kids swimming the next day, I would stay awake all night, stressed about the terrors of drowning. Crazy, right?!

Then something BIG happened. Something I wasn’t able to protect my child from. Piet was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at 21 months old. There was literally nothing I could have done differently or protected him in any way. It was just his destiny.

I was forced to loosen my grip. I took on a brand new outlook on life, and started practicing cleansing breaths. If my son was going to have a chronic illness and there was nothing I could have done to stop it, then I just needed to let my kids enjoy life.

There is no way I could have maintained my over-the-top overprotection AND managed type 1, so something had to go or I would absolutely go mad. Of course, I’m still a little crazy. No one is allowed to jump on beds, play with marbles, or vigorously turn pages… But, maybe someday kids.