Happy T1D Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is coming, and that means family, fun, lots of eating, and making memories! But a holiday that revolves around food can be a daunting when you throw type 1 diabetes into the mix.

Last year, we traveled about an hour away to celebrate Thanksgiving with family. We didn’t have the technology we have today, and were giving Piet insulin shots manually, along with testing blood sugar with a glucose meter and finger prick. I’m looking forward to an easier meal this year, with our insulin pump and continuous glucose monitor!

The real craziness comes from guessing how many carbs are in everything. When we are at home, I calculate carbohydrates in everything when I cook(hahaha just kidding, I mean microwave). But when we are somewhere else, it’s not common practice to note nutritional facts on dishes. So, momma’s gotta SWAG.

Now, if you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, you know what SWAG stands for, and if you’re new around here, it means “Scientific Wild Ass Guess.”

So, Thanksgiving is one big SWAG-fest, and that can be scary, because too much insulin can mean low blood sugar(which is dangerous) and not enough could lead to high blood sugar(which is also not great).

But this year, I’m coming prepared with a Thanksgiving carb list, shown here.

Here are a couple tips I have for any newly diagnosed families:

1. Maybe low ball carb estimations. With all the fun and excitement, blood sugar might be running low to begin with. And how many times are our eyes bigger than our stomachs on Thanksgiving?!

2. Take it easy on yourself. Enjoy the holiday, and if blood sugars are running a little high, just correct them.

3. When a type 2 relative gives you advice about managing or curing diabetes, politely accept their suggestions, AND THEN EDUCATE THE CRAP OUT OF THEM! We have to advocate to lessen the misconceptions out there.

4. If you have ANY questions or need someone in your corner, don’t hesitate to reach out to your T1D community. Someone will be there to help, at any time, because ya’ll know we don’t sleep! If you haven’t found your community, message me!

5. YOU’VE GOT THIS! Be confident in yourself and your decisions.

I want to wish everyone a very happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy a wonderful day of family, fun, and making memories… oh, and eating LOTS of food!

Piñata Fiasco

We always give Ceci and Piet a joint birthday party, because they both celebrate birthdays in October. It’s easier for friends and family to make one party, and BONUS, less work for this momma.

October is a really fun month to plan a party anyway, and we have done costume themed parties in the past, but this year we decided to go a different direction. The kids are both really into the movie Coco right now, and so a festive Dia de los Muertoes party seemed really fitting! Plus, Target’s Dollar Spot is swarming with Day of the Dead goodies.

Fast forward to the shindig. Everything was moving along smoothly. Food was a hit, because who doesn’t love tacos, nachos, and margaritas? We knocked out the cake and presents, which meant there was only one thing left to do.

I was overly proud of myself for purchasing a $12.99 piñata on Amazon, and stuffing it with both candy and party favors. There were Reese’s and bubbles and Twizzlers, and I even went against my no instrument rule, and shoved little maracas in there.

I was a little hesitant about giving a dozen toddlers bats, but then some one pointed out it was a pull-string piñata! What a happy accident!

There was a plastic loop on the back of the piñata’s neck for a rope to go through, and Jacob began hoisting it up onto a tree. With one last jerk of the rope, the plastic loop ripped out, and the piñata slammed into the ground.

“That’s fine! Loop the rope around it’s neck!” shouted sister-in-law Erin. “You mean like a noose? Yeah, let’s really hang this thing.” I couldn’t help it.

Now the piñata is literally hanging in our tree, and the kids are wildly eager to bust this thing open. But, they did a great job taking turns pulling the streamers at the bottom, hoping they would be the one to unleash the contents.

We went until the very last streamer. What are the odds!? With one swift yank, my niece ripped the last string out. Nothing.

“Get the bats!” Jacob yelled.

“And the helmets!” I didn’t want a lawsuit on our hands.

These kids were just smoking the piñata. These weren’t just some little swings. Full blown pro baseball swings at this thing, and NOTHING happened.

“Just let Jacob finish it off!” Guys. I’m going to be honest. This was probably the moment Jacob has been waiting for his entire life. A chance to prove he’s still got it, because, I don’t know if you know this, but he used to play professional baseball… and he’ll be the first one to tell you that after he’s had 1.5 beers.

But, before I could fully process that I was crushing his dreams, I ruined his day by just ripping that crepe paper bastard in half. Out spilled the brightly colored innards, and a wave of relief washed over me. Sorry, Jake!

As the kids scurried around, collecting treats, I shouted to our guests, “I hope everyone enjoyed this, because we are NEVER getting a piñata again!”

Empowering Women

Now more than ever, it’s important for women to empower, encourage, and strengthen each other.

This made me think, where do I get my strength from? Why am I the encouraged woman I am? And it’s simply because I am surrounded by incredible women, who have taught me what it looks like to be, not only a good person, but an empowered woman.

Listed below are 11 women who have molded me into the person I am today, and what invaluable lesson they have each taught me.

Andrea(my sister): Thoughtfulness. If there is a new neighbor moving in near Andrea, she brings them fresh baked goods. If one of my kids has a doctors appointment, and I told her about it weeks before, she remembers, and calls to see how it went. When Piet was diagnosed with diabetes, she brought him presents of t-shirts, insulin cases, and a medical ID bracelet. She inspires me every day to think of the people in my life, and what I can do to make their day brighter.

Allison(my youngest sister): Humor. Allison has been given the gift of quick wit and good comedic timing. Of course, so much of what I write relies on making others laugh, and she helps to cultivate my sense of humor.

Mom: Intelligence. My mom takes pride in her teaching profession, and continues to further her education. The example she has set for me, to embrace my intelligence, has been a huge part of who I am now. Not being embarrassed about loving Historical Williamsburg and Thomas Jefferson, but sharing my love with everyone!

Megan(my cousin): Determination. Megan is the most dedicated and determined person I’ve ever met. She is my oldest friend, and forever role model. I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t want to be just like her. I have never seen her fail at anything she’s attempted. She makes me want to achieve my dreams, like I watch her do every day!

Anny(my grandmother): Selflessness. My Anny does not have a selfish bone in her entire body, which goes against human nature 100%, but it’s the truth! Nothing brings her more joy than watching the people she loves, doing what they love. She has always been our biggest cheerleader, and NEVER misses anything. If it’s important to her kids or grandkids, then it’s a number one priority for her. She is a true angel on earth.

Grandma: Strength. I watch as my grandma lives her life as if she’s in her 30s. She loves socializing, exercise, playing cards, gardening, and the list continues. And my grandma is not only physically strong. She taught me it’s ok to deserve better, and push through hard times to find your happy ending.

Erin(my sister-in-law): Confidence. This is a lesson I still struggle with, but Erin inspires me to be better at it every day. She is unapologetically herself, and thankfully so, because she is an unbelievable woman. She has taught me to treat my body right, and to love it, no matter what stage of life it’s in.

Amy(my sister-in-law): Kindness. Amy thinks of everyone’s needs before her own, and maybe that’s why she’s a loving mother of 6. She is sweet to everyone, and would sacrifice her own happiness for someone else’s, in the blink of an eye. She inspires me to show kindness to everyone, as she does.

Lyz(my sister-in-law): Courage. I’ve watched Lyz pursue her dreams since I’ve met her. It has always seemed like there’s nothing she’s afraid of, and I am quite nearly the opposite. But since I began writing, she has been pushing me along, behind the scenes. She encourages me to step out of my comfort zone, and continue reaching for my dreams. She cheers me on, while achieving goals of her own. Incredible.

Margie(my mother-in-law): Unwavering Generosity. If at this very moment, I called my MIL and told her I needed her, while she was having tea with the Queen of England, she would say, “Sorry, Lady. My DIL needs me.” Zero hesitation. I’m 100% sure. The other night there was a tornado warning. She drove to our house to help me with the kids. In a tornado warning! This kind of generosity is exactly what I needed after leaving my family, and moving to a new place. Just whole-heartedly embracing me as one of her own children, from day one.

Amy(my best friend): Unconditional Love. The kind of love this woman has shown me, through all my bad decisions, life changes, horrible wardrobe choices, questionable Halloween costumes, and scary first mother moments has been life changing. She is the definition of a true friend, and I cannot believe I am lucky enough to have her as mine. Family has to love you, but friends can come and go. Sorry, Ame, but I’m not going anywhere, and it’s because you taught me what it means to love someone no matter what.

It’s so easy to compare yourself to the women around you, and feel envious of their strengths, but instead, try celebrating those qualities! The cultural winds are changing, and women need to band together, by lifting each other up, and loving one another.

The Surprise Ingredients

It’s been awhile since I reflected on being pregnant. Probably because I was pregnant for 31 out of 41 months. I tried really hard to be one of those women who loved carrying a baby, and embraced every second, but I just couldn’t do it. I had kidney stones, cholestasis, morning sickness, and my last kid almost ripped through my uterine wall.

But, I have one story that tops all the crap luck I had when I was with child. Let me set the scene.

I was pregnant with baby number one, just 14 weeks along. I was having a real meat aversion, and even the smell would be enough to send me into a gagging frenzy. At the time, we were living in a split level home, just the two of us.

One afternoon, Jacob generously offered to make us lunch. I wasn’t feeling great, so I quickly accepted, and I crawled back into bed.

After about 20 minutes, he shouted that lunch was ready. I could tell he was proud of himself, by the sing-songy voice he used.

I sat up, and gingerly walked down the hall. As soon as I hit the top of the stairs, an ungodly smell overcame me. I gagged, tripped, fell on my butt, and slid down the stairs.

Let me take this time to remind you, that it was only six stairs, and it was the most padded carpet ever installed. But I went into full blown, meltdown mode, immediately.

“You did this! The smell made me fall! This is your fault! What if the baby is hurt? I can’t believe you did this to me!” (High dramatics are kind of my thing when I’m in an even mildly stressful situation.)

Jacob, being the angel sent from Heaven that he is, took full responsibility, and catered to me, while I wallowed in self pity. “I’m so sorry! I just wanted to make you lunch. Did you fall too hard? Are you ok?”

How could I possibly still be feisty now? “I’m ok. The baby is fine. But I really need to know what you made for lunch. It smells like simmering vomit.”

The answer he gave still chills me to the bone, and it instantly takes me back to the feeling of becoming violently ill. “I made Cheeseburger Hamburger Helper, and the back said if I added mustard and relish it would give it some extra zing!”

Friends. He added mustard. And relish. To HAMBURGER Helper. Hard pass, my man. Hard pass. Needless to say, that’s the last time we followed the “extra instructions” on the back of a Hamburger Helper box.

Now, I want to hear from you! Tell me all the pregnant food aversions, funny food stories you have!

The 1st Annual Strike Out T1D Softball Tournament

This Saturday, Jacob and I hosted the 1st Annual Strike Out T1D Softball Tournament, and we were completely blown away by all the excitement and generosity of the participants and spectators.

Our son, Piet(pronounced Pate), was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when he was just 21 months old. T1D is a chronic illness, which means he will have it for the rest of his entire life. His immune system attacked the insulin producing cells in his pancreas, leaving his body unable to breakdown carbohydrates.

To combat his body’s inability to produce insulin, we inject insulin into him via shot or an insulin pump. Piet currently has an Omnipod insulin pump, and we input the number of carbs he consumes and his current blood sugar, and it releases the correlating amount of insulin.

Sounds pretty easy, right? WRONG! If Piet’s blood sugar is too high, that’s dangerous. If his blood sugar is too low, that’s scary dangerous. If he runs around a lot, his blood sugar drops. If he has a cold, his blood sugar skyrockets. It is a constant guessing game, with zero consistency or vacations.

Ok, now that the educational portion of this post is complete, we can get into the awesome tournament this weekend!

Seven teams participated, with players traveling from all over Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The tournament started at 9am, when Jacob thanked everyone for coming and explained why this fundraiser was so important for our family. While he spoke, Piet kept his head down on Jacob’s shoulder, too shy to meet eyes with the growing crowd.

But it was his turn to throw out the first pitch. At first, he wouldn’t let go of Jacob, but then heard his Uncle Luke calling from behind home plate. “Piet! I bet you can’t throw that ball the whole way to me. I bet you can’t even reach me!” It worked! His competitive spirit kicked in, and he was all business throwing the softball with all his might. The crowd erupted with cheers, and Piet immediately curled back up in Jacob’s arms.

Now it was time to play ball! The weather was perfect, and games moved effortlessly along. People were not just generously donating money. When a team was short players, others jumped in to play, without hesitation. It was incredible to watch.

Piet wasn’t the only T1D in attendance. Jacob and Kevin met when they played baseball together in college. They have maintained an incredibly close friendship. And because I’m in the business of busting myths, type 1 diabetes used to be called juvenile diabetes, but that term is not used any more, because it misleads people into thinking only children are diagnosed with it, or someday they’ll outgrow it. Kevin was 27 when he was diagnosed with type 1, and this Saturday, he played on Jacob’s team.

At the end of the day, The Wampus Cats took the trophy home. The team largely consisted of baseball players Jacob coached when they were in high school, and we are so proud of them!

We will be collecting donations through the end of the week, and then donating all funds from the tournament to Faustman Labs, and her current pediatric efforts towards finding a cure.

We are still emotional thinking about Saturday. It was such an unforgettable day, seeing all of our friends and family come together, and fight right beside us for a cure to this devastating disease. We want to thank everyone who participated, bought t-shirts, came to watch, and helped with the concession stand. Thank you, thank you, thank you! We love you!

How Moms Whole30

It’s not that you want to lose weight, it’s just you haven’t been feeling great lately. WELL NO CRAP! You haven’t slept in literally years. You drink copious amounts of coffee, not because you love it, but for straight up survival purposes. And the only thing you’ve eaten for months is leftover chicken nuggets, cold french fries, and candy.

So what’s a girl to do? Detox. And what’s the hippest way to detox? (Are people still saying “hip?”) WHOLE30!

If you are like, “What’s a Whole30?” here’s the fastest rundown ever. You can eat meat, vegetables, fruit, and nuts. But be careful of those legumes, they’ll trick ya. So, peanuts, beans, and most peas are out, maybe all peas? I don’t know, just avoid peas.

Before day 1, it’s imperative that you go grocery shopping. It’s not something you can go to bed one night, and say to yourself, “I think I’ll start a Whole30 tomorrow,” because then you’ll be stuck eating brown bananas, freezer burnt hamburger, and questionable lettuce with no dressing.

Alright! Now it’s time to get started, since you have a fully stocked supply of whole foods. The first day goes great, as long as you can choke down the coffee with the coconut milk creamer substitute. No one asked to share your food all day, and you consider that a victory alone. This is going to be easy!

The rest of the first week goes down hill pretty fast. The lack of sugar creates a change in your patience level that can only be described as, “Stop talking or I’m going to leave.” By the end of each day, you’re exhausted, your nerves are shot, and there’s no nighttime glass of wine to calm you down. Oh! That’s right. I didn’t mention that yet, did I? No wine.

Anyway, week 2 is better, a little. But washing so many pots, pans, and dishes is getting REAL old, so you start looking for ways to make it easier. You hard boil eggs, buy almonds in bulk, make egg muffins, and crock pot dinners are scheduled for every night.

It’s time to go to the grocery store again, and you’re left scrounging. You are forced to eat a bunch of grapes, 12 black olives, and a piece of lunch meat for dinner.

Ok! Now you’re back up and running for week 3 after hitting up the grocery store again. Your energy has been restored, and you feel awesome! Might as well call yourself Super Mom, because you can do anything!

Week 4, where everything comes to an end. You’re basically so tired of eating Whole30 compliant foods, that you’d rather just not eat anything. If you have to even look at another stalk of celery, you’re going to lash out. Every day that inches closer to the end, you think, “This is good enough, right?!”

Then day 30 hits, and you’re like, “What now?” You eat cheese for the first time, and immediately feel like garbage. Well, that was a mistake. And you’ve been craving coffee creamer, but after the first taste, you can’t get through the cup because it’s so sickeningly sweet.

In closing, sure, you feel great, and you look great, and your body is thanking you, but what about all the food that your kids didn’t eat last month? What a waste! You better make up for it at dinner, and waffles are on the menu.

The Pee Couch

Let me play out a scenario for you.

Kid A falls asleep on the couch, and proceeds to pee on it.

I strip Kid A and throw her drenched clothes on top of the pee spot.

Meanwhile, Kid B is pulling out copious amounts of baby wipes to “help” with cleanup.

I quickly run upstairs to pick out new clothes for Kid A.

While I’m upstairs, Kid C grabs Kid A’s urine underwear, and begins wearing them on her head.

Kid B has completely lost sight of the mission, and is now throwing hundreds of baby wipes around like confetti.

Kid C needs a bath immediately, but the couch still needs to be cleaned.

I throw a damp towel on the couch’s problem area to signify “Don’t sit here” and also, “Stay away, children.”

After rushing BACK upstairs for Kid C’s new outfit, I come downstairs to find Kid C burying her face in the pee towel, and laughing wildly.

Kid B decides to join her, because it must look like fun making mommy so mad.

Now Kid A, Kid C, AND Kid B all need baths.

This is a challenging feat when all of my patience is in tact, but I’m already about to lose it.

After running the bath water, I go to find all three.

They scatter, naked, and wildly giggling.

I chase them for awhile, but I’d catch one, and then they’d slip away while I was in pursuit of the next.

Kid A and Kid C run into each other, and now they’re both bawling.

Kid B is hiding behind the pee couch, yelling, “Mommy! I have to pee!” but he only ACTUALLY has to pee 3 out of 10 times.

There are only so many fires I can put out at once, so I quickly console Kid A and Kid C. It wasn’t quick enough.

Kid B starts peeing all over the side of the couch.

I give up. On everything.

Everyone is crying. Including me.

Mom Shower

Moms are not known for their endless amounts of time to do luxurious things like bathe, but let’s imagine you’re in a dream world, and you’ve been given the gift of time to fully clean your body. Maybe your husband just said to you, “Go on, Girl. Get your shower on,” or your kids ACTUALLY fell asleep right at bedtime, and this is your opportunity.

First things first, debate bath or shower. You haven’t cleaned the tub in months, so that’s an automatic vote for showering. After taking off the clothing you’ve been wearing for three consecutive days, you avoid the mirror at all costs. You test to make sure the water is at a perfect temperature, and hop right in.

You just let the water hit you, and start to clear your mind. Wash away all the Goldfish crumbs and whatever this stuff is that’s stuck to your leg.

Since it’s a long shower, you reach for the shampoo bottle. As you mindlessly scrub your scalp, you start to think about your astronomically long to-do list. What’s for dinner? What bill needs to be paid today? How many days of laundry is there to catch up on?

When you bring yourself back into the moment, your washing your face. You didn’t remove your makeup from two nights ago, so you do some extra scrubbing under your eyes to get rid of the mascara residue. It’ll still be there, because mascara is apparently more permanent than a tattoo, so you move on.

Wait a second. Did you use conditioner? You figure you probably did just out of habit, but one more time won’t hurt. But your body has taken over. It knows that body washing comes next, and you automatically grab your loofa, and squirt conditioner on it.

Now you’re faced with a real dilemma. Use the loofa to apply the conditioner, or wash it off and start over. Then it hits you. This is probably why the shampoo always runs out first, so you decide to salvage the conditioner on the loofa.

When it’s time to wash your body, you think back to the last time you were able to really take your time, and get in all the hard to reach places. It’s been a long time. Too long.

Shaving. Ugh. There are some places that haven’t been shaved for months, and your considering your options, because a run-of-the-mill razor just won’t. cut. it. Literally. Maybe if you put on a new razor blade, so you switch it out. Your heart starts to race, because shaving with a new razor is the most dangerous thing you’ve done in months.

You get to work, starting from the bottom, up. Standing on one leg for extended periods is a lot harder now than it used to be, but you power through. It feels like there’s a lot more area to cover these days, so it takes awhile. Finally, the daunting task is complete, and you feel like a new woman.

One final rinse before you step out. Crap. You forgot a towel before you jumped in. Must’ve been too excited. You open the closet to pull out a full sized towel, only to find one hooded baby towel left. It covers approximately one square foot of your body.

While you drip dry, your mind begins to wander again. You really need to do that laundry. And pay the water bill. What’s for dinner?

Type 1 Diabetes Hacks

Along the way, we’ve picked up some things that definitely make our lives easier, and I want to share them with you! Here are our type 1 diabetes hacks.

1. We protect our ever fragile-unbelievably expensive-liquid of the gods-insulin in an old pill bottle. It’s the perfect size and keeps it safe for traveling, or just avoiding an everyday clumsy situations.

2. Same pill bottles, different use. We keep an empty bottle in the diabetes bag for trash, including, but not limited to, pen needles, alcohol swabs, lancets, etc.

3. We use the insulin pump Omnipod. It is common for pump failure to occur when static electricity is present. To protect the pod from failing, we wrap the outside with duct tape. (This one was brought to us by our Beyond Type 1 pen pal, all the way in California!)

4. Our type 1 is only 2, so when his Omnipod is on his arm, there’s a possibly it will be knocked off while he’s acting like a crazy person. To ensure it doesn’t, we cut the top off a crew sock, and slide it onto his arm over the pod, creating a protective sleeve.

5. We always use an extra patch over Dexcom and Omnipod. It helps keep everything in place, especially because our guy is so active. We have tried a few different brands, but, by far, our favorite is StayPut Medical. We have yet to have a patch peel off, and we’ve gone up to 20 days with Dex!

6. In the summertime, when we go to the beach or pool, we like to be extra sure that nothing falls off or gets sandy, so we use vet wrap to secure Dexcom and Omnipod, if they’re on arms or legs. Amazon has very reasonable prices on vet wrap. *Side note: if you wrap Dex, do it very loosely. You do not want to create a compression low(false low reading).*

7. Our little guy is always going out of range from his Dexcom receiver. He now wears a Spibelt, a small, lightweight fanny pack, to carry the receiver with him. It can also hold a pump, and has a hole for tubing. The name brand is Spibelt, but there are generic versions for cheaper, and the Dollar Store has even been known to carry them.

8. Traveling with diabetes can be a lot. A lot, a lot. But, we found a way to carry all the supplies a little easier. For $10 at Walmart, there are plastic bins, with clip on lids with a handle, and inside there is a tray with several smaller compartments. It keeps everything protected and nicely organized!

9. You know how hard it is to carry around juice boxes constantly and NOT have a juice explosion at some point? There are Tupperware containers that are exactly juice box shaped, and perfect for preventing a messy situation.

10. When you’re dealing with little ones, who constantly want something to drink, juice carbs can really add up. And who wants to drink water when you get to have juice for a low, and know what that sweet awesomeness tastes like?! Kool Aid Squeezers have become our best friend! 0 carbs and you just fill up their cup with water, squirt a little flavor in there, and BAM! Sugar free juice!

Now, I know there are TONS of other hacks out there, and I want to hear them! Share something that makes diabetes easier for you and your loved ones. Can’t wait to hear from you!

Underwear Debate Settled

Remember how I was struggling between the comfort of cotton briefs vs. the sexy of silky cheekies? Well, I found the perfect solution, and I want to shout it from the roof tops!

I took commenters’ advice, and tried a few different brands, but ultimately landed on Aerie(American Eagle brand). It honestly feels like my under carriage is being carried by a team of angels.

One style in particular tickles my fancies, and it’s the seamless. I have a few different cuts of it, including brief cut and high waisted. The material is soft, and breathable. It stretches but doesn’t ride. Knocked this one outta the park, Aerie!

I do, however, need to take a minute to call out high waisted underwear. You are granny panties! You’re just trying to trick everyone with your new alias, but I see right through you. Don’t be ashamed of who you really are. You are amazing. Any underwear that doesn’t accentuate my muffin top is an automatic winner.

The seamless is my favorite, but the other styles did not disappoint! They are interesting, comfortable, AND sexy! At this time, I’d like to give an honorable mention to the soft stretch cotton. They’re soft, they’re stretchy, they’re cotton. It’s the trifecta of comfort.

Did I mention Aerie is also a great company? If they were a person, they’d shop local, always return their shopping carts to the designated area, and donate their time to food banks every weekend. They feature *real* models. Of course, my favorite is Evie. She has type 1 diabetes, and she’s an amazing advocate and role model for our T1 kiddos.

But back to the underwear. Between the sexy cuts, interesting patterns, and comfortable fabrics, you cannot go wrong with Aerie. If you’re in the market to upgrade your intimate drawer, take my advice. Go with the good guys. You’ll be able to enjoy the ride of life, without your undies riding up your butt.