good friday

Three moments I am most grateful for this past week. (No T1D allowed!)

1.  My Benny Boy, aka Ben Russell, is 7 years old today.  MY BABY IS 7!!!  And for that, I am grateful.  He is a true joy.  Compassionate and loving and busy.  Did I mention busy?  Yes, God made a boy who loves to explore and be on the move.  I am so thankful He chose me to be his mom.

2. I am lucky to be among some pretty cool chicks, one of whom opened her home at 4am this morning to host a royal viewing of the British nuptials.  I set my alarm for 3:33am, donned my jewels and woke up sleepy Maddi so she could accompany me to the royal event.  We dined on mini-quiche, berries and cream, and lots of coffee. 

3.  Celebrated the most joyous day on the calendar, Easter Sunday, with my wonderful church family.  Oh Happy Day!  Christ has risen.  Another magical moment of the day was when Maddi decided, on her own, to wear a skirt ::gasp:: for the special occasion.  The same skirt, I might add, that I wore 10 years ago to my high school reunion. :0

Now I am off to finish the boy's cake and if I time it just right, maybe even catch a little nap.  Happy Friday!



This week Ellie, my T1D, experienced a 'low' and felt alone . . . all while in a room full of her peers.

Ellie's class went on a field trip to our local science center and I chaperoned her and two other students. I drove separately as she rode the bus; after going to nurse's office to do a check before they left.  I felt good knowing she had her D-supply bag with her and I tucked a cell phone in there so she could call me if she felt the need.  SO not the school rules, but rules are meant to be bent and I took full advantage.  

Once at the museum, it was a free-form trip.  We walked around to the various exhibits and spent as much or as little time as the kids wanted in any particular area.  We did gather together for lunch and then a planetarium exhibit at the end of the day. 

Ellie had a great time being 'normal' while I toted around her D-supply bag and watched her closely for symptoms or reminders to test her blood sugar.  Lunch went off without a hitch, as I had packed her food and counted her carbs.  She dosed her insulin right at the table and only a few eyes noticed.  One girl asked what she was doing and Ellie just stated simply, "dosing my insulin for my food."

It wasn't until the very end of the trip, when all the kids were gathering for a group photo that I noticed Ellie seemed a little 'off'.  I pulled her aside and performed a quick poke to her finger . . . . 58 . . . crap. 

I grabbed a GoGo Squeez and she slurped it down.  Still pale and shaky, we waited 12 minutes and tested again . . . 59 . . . crappity crap.

At this point the other kids were all in place for the photo and a student teacher came over to tell Ellie to get in the picture.  I tried to explain that now wasn't a good time, but before I could say no, Ellie had squirmed her way into the crowd.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words?  They are right.

That pale face with the glassy-eyed stare just makes my heart ache 

Here are the major symptoms of low blood sugar (resource):
You suddenly become very hungry

Your skin color becomes more pale than usual

You feel shaky

You feel weak

Your heart rate speeds up

Your mouth feels numb

You suddenly feel very tired or sleepy

You begin to feel dizzy and have to sit down

You start to get a headache

Your thinking becomes confused and you can’t concentrate

You start to sweat for no reason

Your vision becomes blurry

Check, check and um, yeah . . . check.
After the photo, she slumped against and wall and downed a 4 oz. Juicy Juice in seconds.  It took several minutes of 'waiting it out' and by this time the other kids were lining up to load the bus.  I pulled a teacher aside and told her I was not going to let Ellie get on that bus because she was having a low blood sugar.  The rules are she was to ride the bus back to school.  I stood my ground and told the teacher I would get her back to school and check in with the nurse when we got there.  Once again, bending the rules.

Ellie improved during the 15 minute ride back to school and once last blood sugar test in the nurse's office revealed a 172.  Ahhhhhh.

Later on that night Ellie revealed to me how much it bothered her that the kids saw her 'low' and how they chided her about having to ride back with her mom.  I know the kids were just being curious, concerned, and just plain normal 8 year-olds, but Ellie felt singled out and alone.

This is one of those things they just don't tell you about in type 1 diabetes management 101 . . . that your T1D child will feel so alone when she has a low = a'low'ne.

I gave Ellie a hug and told her she would never truly be alone.  With God in her heart and a rule-bending Mama at her side, she is covered.  Now, would that sparkly pink unicorn please produce a cure?!?!?!?


good friday

I am so happy to be back to posting 'Good Fridays'!  It's been so long since I have taken the opportunity to participate in this fabulous idea by Roselady.  It is best re-stated in her own words:
I came up with Good Fridays a few months back because I sensed some sadness around the DOC (diabetes online community), and I hoped that by making every Friday a time to reflect on three good things in our lives (things that have nothing to do with diabetes), it might help us to refocus away from the disease. I, for one, would much rather spend my time dwelling on things that make me happy than spending all my time bemoaning diabetes. I chose the name Good Fridays because I particularly liked the tie-in with my faith. I think when you believe in God, you just trust that things are going to work out. So, I'm not freaked out by diabetes.  Sure, there's a lot of scary stuff surrounding it, but I'll deal with it as it happens. I'm not going to let it consume me. I prefer to just accept our situation and make the most of it -- after all, that's how I ended up with our blog. 

Here are mine:

1.  I love living in an older neighborhood.  The streets come alive when Spring rolls around . . . the birds chirping, the flowers blooming, trees budding and grass growing.  Other furry friends often come all the way up to the back porch for a visit:

 We call him Stumpy . . yep.  Short tail due to not being so swift with crossing traffic ;)

 2.  Mailing out thank-you cards.  Well, what I am really grateful for is the reason I mailed out the cards.  The many friends and family that I wanted to reach out and express gratitude to for their thoughtful flowers, plants and food they provided for me and my family during the days following my Mom's death.

3.  Last Sunday we attended the Blue and Gold Ceremony for Ben's Tiger Scout Troop.  It was fun to see all the boys together, but most exciting was seeing my boy and my husband smiling and enjoying each other as they finish up a great first (hopefully 1 of many) year of scouting.

Christ has Risen!

Mark 16:1-8 (ESV)  When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back—it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid

Have a wonderful weekend!


death of a pancreas

Could it be?  Is this really it?  Is it possible that 207 days post diagnosis Ellie's pancreas has finally stopped sputtering random doses of insulin?

Obituary of an Organ:

Ellie's pancreas, age 8 years 7 months, died sometime during the 3rd week in April; the probable cause being Type 1 Diabetes, an autoimmune disorder occurring deep in the Islets of Langerhans.
 Born June 8, 2002, in Des Moines, Iowa, Ellie's pancreas was healthy and strong; happily secreting hormones until an illness or environmental factor 'woke up' sleeping auto antibodies. These nasty cells were on a one way mission to seek out, wreak havoc and ultimately destroy the insulin producing beta cells of Ellie's now defunct pancreas.

Survivors include her longtime companion, the stomach, and her trusty sidekick, the small intestines. Ellie's pancreas was preceded in death by 8 baby teeth and too numerous to count hair follicles.

Neither a viewing or funeral services will not be held since Ellie's pancreas must remain in her body to provide various digestive juices as part of the exocrine system. The digestive 'team' is ever so thankful for this honorable contribution.

Memorial contributions are welcome and should be mailed to the researcher who is closest to finding a cure for Type 1 Diabetes

My hope, very truly, is that the rollarcoaster ride of Ellie's 'honeymoon' period of pancreatic functions are now kaput. 

The last couple of weeks required a decrease in Lantus (after months of .5 unit increment raises slowly spread out over weeks at a time), as her lows were begging to be lifted.  Slowly, ever so slyly, her blood sugars rose and remained stubbornly high until we tentatively began the process of increasing her basal insulin . . . now by full units at a time.

I can feel it.  The death of Ellie's pancreas is upon us and we are c-e-l-e-b-r-a-t-i-n-g the milestone with balloons and beef sticks.

Bu-Bye rollarcoaster of not-for-any-good-reason-but-a-sputtering-pancreas blood sugars!  Wish I could say I am going to miss you . . . . no, not really.

By the way, have you seen the T-shirts produced by DiabeTees?  Oh my.  How have I missed this site of awschumness?  Leave it to a UK business to come up with these fabulously snarky tees. (Hi Jules!)  How ace of 'em.  I am so daft when it comes to slang!

Off to bake a cake, or more apropos . . .  a beefcake, to celebrate the changing of the guards from Ellie's pancreas to whoever wishes to step in and save the insulin crisis.


alaska ho!

Trains, planes, and automobiles (oh, and a cruise ship) . . . we are Alaska bound!

Or, as my good friend Ceesa puts it "I am taking a business trip" meaning; taking the horse and pony show (daily life and care of the kids) on the road. 

The best part?  T1D (type 1 diabetes) is coming along, too!!!  Yep.  Our uninvited house guest got himself a boarding pass and is jumping into our luggage. 

This is where you all (Midwest way of saying y'all) come in.

How do you travel with T1D?

Here are the details:

What:  Land tour by train and bus (including Denali National Park) followed by a southbound cruise along the shoreline of Alaska: 13 day Alaskan CruiseTour

When:  June 11th-26th, 2011

Who:  Our family of 5, Grandma & Grandpa (gracious hosts) and Sister-in-law's family of 5

~ 4 travel days; 2 to get there and 2 to get back

~ time zone changes

~ buffet style eating, restaurant, room service

Here is what I know:

Ellie is currently on a MDI (multiple daily injection) regimen.  We use a refillable cartridge Humalog pen that dispenses in .5 unit increments.  She takes Lantus at night by injection.  Her carb rations vary throughout the day and activity level.  We use a One Touch Meter and strips for blood glucose testing (8-10 times a day) and a Precision blood ketone meter/strips.   

We have contacted the cruise line and they know we will be traveling with T1D.  The cruise line will provide us with a Sharp's container as well as a travel fridge.  In addition, they will have a 24-hour on board medical doctor.  The pre-travel land tour will involve trains, buses and hotel stays, all of which will accommodate special medical requests.

I have our Endocrinologist's letter of medical need and list of approved medications and supplies.  I will also have access to and will travel with 2x as many meds and supplies we will be needing for a 15 day absence from home.

I am aware of TCA guidelines for flying with medical equipment and how to best pack medical supplies to get through screenings safely.

This will be the first MAJOR travel we have embarked on with T1D.

Here is what I don't know:

~  What are your tips and tricks for traveling with T1D?

~  We have never been on a cruise.  Do you have any advice specific to cruising?  (packing, sleeping, activities, etc)

~  What is your best advice about dealing with time zone changes?

~  Do you have a suggestion for a travel bag that will hold both medical supplies AND mom gear?

~  What type of simple sugars travel best?  I have a feeling with the excitement and extra physical activity she will be having her fair share of lows.

~  What am I missing???

* disclaimer . . . I pinkie swear promise to take any and all advice as just that:  Professional Pancreas Opinion not to be used in place or argued against medical advice.

** another disclaimer . . . . This is a trip of a lifetime.  We are not wealthy, nor are our extended family members.  The opportunity to travel like this was made possible by a generous amount of money left by a Great-Aunt.  I am saying this so you take that into consideration when you leave advice about additional purchases!!

*** one last disclaimer . . . . I love the DOC! (diabetic online community)  How cool is it that I knew I could come here and ask for such specifics!  I thank you in advance for helping me be prepared to have a great time with my family and not have to worry (so much) about T1D.



Word Origin: eujcaristevw

Phonetic Spelling Parts of Speech: yoo-khar-is-teh'-o


Definition: to be grateful, feel thankful, give thanks

Eucharisteo: Grace. Thanksgiving. Joy.

~ Ann Voskamp, author of “One Thousand Gifts" says;
“The root word of eucharisteo is charis, meaning “grace.” Jesus took the bread and saw it as grace and gave thanks. He took the bread and knew it to be a gift and gave thanks.

But there is more…Eucharisteo, thanksgiving, envelopes the Greek word chara, meaning “joy”…I whisper [eucharisteo] out loud, let the tongue feel these sounds, the ear hear their truth. Charis. Grace. Eucharisteo.

Thanksgiving. Chara. Joy. A triplet of stars, a constellation in the black. A threefold cord that might hold a life? Offer a way up into the fullest life?

Grace, thanksgiving, joy. Eucharisteo. A Greek word…that might make meaning of everything?”

You simply cannot receive with a clenched fist.  You must first GIVE in order to release the grasp; pry open the fingers and be open-palmed ready to receive. 

~ I give thanks for being unworthy, so He may bless me with His grace.

~ I give thanks for life 'coming at me hard' the last 6 months, for in my weakness I received strength.

~ I give thanks for needing the support of my family and friends, for in asking I received in abundance.

~ I give thanks for the silence, for in that space I listen for His whisper.

Ann decided the best way for her to fully embrace the principles of eucharisteo was to begin writing a list of 1000 things she was grateful for;

“…windmills lazying in twilight’s last breeze…. soft wool sweaters with turtle neck collars…. the faint smell of cattle and straw….”

Oh how I wish I could write like Ann.  But since I do not, I will give thanks for her talent and offer up plan B for illustrating my own 1000 gifts.

I have mentioned before my personal angst with lists; so I decided, like many others have, to document my personal eucharisteos in the form of photos.  Are you surprised?  I have a nice little Flickr badge on the sidebar of the main blog page which will show the last 5 photos uploaded.  As of today, I am officially at 50 . . . . giving thanks for every one on my way to 1000.


quite possibly the longest post ever . . . . grab a cuppa

Your questions and interest in my 30 day vegan challenge were awschum!  In fact, one of you was so anxious to hear some details I received an email asking me to fess up and give her a few snippets early. Good thing I responded because that was just the motivation I needed to get my brain clicking and organizing (ha!) my thoughts.


On to the questions!

Wait . . . let me ease into this and give you a little explanation.

Wikipedia definitionVeganism is the practice of eliminating the use by human beings of non-human animal products. Ethical vegans reject the commodity status of animals and the use of animal products for any purpose, while dietary vegans or strict vegetarians eliminate them from their diet only

We (our family) chose to practice eliminating animal products from our diet, but not our lifestyle.  Early on I also chose to use honey (from a local source) and eggs, although I think we only ate them 2 times during the 30 days.

Now, on to the questions:

Nikki asked if 1) I had seen the Oprah show about her vegan challenge?

I did not see the vegan Oprah episode, but from what I can gather the show really focused on 'substitute foods' for dairy and meat. In my opinion, this is not the healthiest way to go about it (buying fake meat, cheese, etc) because of all the processing in those type of products. I am a huge supporter of Michael Pollen and his theory: "If my grandmother wouldn't recognize it, I won't eat it!" I did make a few exceptions like tofu and nutritional yeast (good source of minerals - used as a topping).

2) did I notice a difference in Ellie's (my T1D) blood sugars?

As far as the diet impacting Ellie's blood sugars, it was hard to tell. She is still honeymooning and prone to wild fluctuations in her numbers for no apparent reason other than her pity little pancreas. I was also fearful of taking away milk, cheese and all meat for her. Protein is difficult to get in if their little taste buds aren't accustomed to lots of greens and beans. She did, however, try everything I made. We would add a little cottage cheese, milk or some grilled chicken breast to round out her meals. She LOVED the addition of nuts and seeds and the variety of grains. I found the grains were spot on with her carb ratios and I felt like her numbers post meals really reflected that.

Jules wanted to know:

1) In your opinion would it be possible to do this alone in a family?

My friend whose arm I twisted who signed up for the challenge did just this. I think there were good days and bad days for her, as cooking separate meals is always a strain on the chef in the family. I know she added meat and dairy to the vegan recipe once she removed a portion for herself. This is a great way to introduce new tastes and textures to otherwise picky eaters.

2) Is there a good range of different foods?

Absolutely. In fact, we tried several new foods. This was a surprise to me as I felt we were a family who ate a big variety of foods. Here are some of the types of things that were on my shopping list. The theory maintained you purchased ingredients (filling your pantry) instead of ready-to-eat or boxed/bagged meals.


- almond milk (for cereals and cooking; I did not enjoy the taste enough to drink a glass like I would have with cow's milk)

- coconut oil or cold pressed olive oil

- tofu & tempah - for protein

- pasture raised chicken eggs farm a local source

- tahini (sesame seed paste)

- tamari (fermented soy sauce)

- gomasio (sesame seeds with spices and a little salt - awesome topping for lots of flavoring)

- Silk coconut creamer (I am a coffee drinker and my old choice of creamer was a splash of half-n-half (better than the chemically laded creamers) so I did suffer through several days of black coffee before I found a coconut milk creamer. I love it so much I will not go back to my old habit!)

- soaked 7grain mix for breakfast

- green smoothies

- fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables

- kombucha (fermented black tea with fruit juices for flavor)

- natural peanut butter

- sprouted and un-sprouted bread

- toasted sesame oil

- brown rice vinegar

- brown rice syrup (sweetener)

- long grained brown rice

- quinoa (red and white, grain)

- lentils, split peas, chickpeas, canneli beans, kidney beans, black-eyed peas, black beans

- soba noodles, udon noodles, linguine

3) How was eating out for you?

We only ate out a couple of times since I really enjoyed the cooking process (and the results!), but when we did we were just mindful of the ingredients we DIDN'T want in the foods and just requested they be left off.

4) Did you find yourself licking the butcher's shop window, or staring glassily at the cheese counter in the supermarket, or dreaming of steak like Alex the Lion in Madagascar?!?

Ha! Personally I did not experience cravings for the things removed from the diet. The workshop's creator, Heather, spoke early on about the theory to 'crowd in' new foods verses focusing on taking foods out. It was NOT about depriving yourself . . . . instead you had so many new choices of foods to eat you just didn't have room, and therefore crowded out, meat and dairy.

My husband mentioned he 'missed' meat a couple of times and felt like he was 'grazing' more (probably due to the decrease in calories and speed of digestion of all the fruits, veggies and grains). I encouraged Maddi to follow her body's needs and give it what it was craving. There were a few times she wanted cow's milk and asked for some chicken to add and I feel her growing body needed it.

The younger 2, Ben (6) and Ellie (8), significantly decreased their consumption of meat and dairy. I required them to try each new dish and much to THEIR surprise they found they liked it.

5) Would you do it again?

I would do the 'stricitly vegan' eating plan again if and when I feel the need to clean up my eating. Personally I lost 7 pounds during the challenge and have continued to lose during the transition.

I have found we are slowly introducing some meats and dairy back into our diets, but being very mindful of portion sizes.  Using the meat and dairy as an added texture or flavor to the meal rather than a stand alone portion.

Wendy was curious about snacks, saying "I feel like I need more than an apple for them after school...they're very cheesy kids :)"

My kids adjusted, as I believe all will, with the different snack options. If I have chips, cookies, gogurt, cheesy crackers, etc. in the pantry/fridge . . . they will scarf it up. If, however, the only choices are fruits, veggies (with a pureed bean dip or simply oil dressing to dip), green smoothies, granola, muffins, nuts, etc., then the kids adjust pretty quickly. A few complaints escaped their lips, but as long as I offered a variety of choices.

Hallie wrote: I want to know everything!!! Spill it!

How am I doing? Covering everything?

I know it would be helpful to include the recipes, but I feel that would be a disservice to Heather and all of her hard work to put together the online workshop. She provided a separate blog, 4 weeks of recipes, education on ingredients, shopping lists and oodles of inspiration throughout the 30 days. Her fee was a pittance compared to the wealth of information provided.

I will provide some of links of either books or website I used for additional recipes and ideas to carry this eating style into our life:

Simply in Season - I had this recipe book prior to the challenge and I fell in love with it again.  It is not especially vegan, or even vegetarian for that matter, but you easily remove meat and or dairy from most recipes.  The best book on eating seasonally, in my opinion.

Heidi Swanson's website 101 Cookbooks and her cookbook Super Natural Cooking.  Another book I had prior to the challenge.  Fabulous foods and photos, and vegetarian to boot.  Easily adaptable to vegan as well.  Heidi just came out with another book last week titled Super Natural Every Day.  Let's just say it is already in my Amazon cart. 

A really awesome site is Cookus Interruptus and the cookbook Feeding the Whole Family by Cynthia Lair.  You simply must go to her site and watch some of her how-to videos.  Humor and information all rolled up into yummy goodness.  This book also walks you through feeding young babies and adjusting the recipes as they grow.  I wish I had known about this book when my kiddos were younger!

These websites are pretty cool, too:
The Vegan Stoner
Moosewood Restaurants
Lunch Box Bunch
Chicken Tender

To sum up this epic post, the 30 day vegan challenge helped me and my family to hop back on the healthy and whole food bandwagon.  For me personally:

Overall benefits to my 30 day vegan challenge:

- more energy (I attribute that to drinking more water and eating more fibrous foods)
- quicker digestion ('nuff said)
- weight loss (as I already mentioned 1 lost 7 pounds in 30 days. . . quite a bit, but I have those and about 30 more to get rid of)
- desire to try different recipes and therefore a desire to cook again (I cooked a lot before, but was getting bored and tired of the same meals)
- taste buds changed, or lack of cravings for sweets and salty foods
- no more 'heavy stomach' feeling after meals

We will not continue to stay completely vegan, but instead will incorporate many of the recipes and habits into our home. I will continue to find new protein sources for Ellie (to balance out the carbs and have them last longer in her system) and wean off so much cheese ;)

Oh, and the best part E-V-E-R?  Our family purchased a share in one of our local CSA's (Community Supported Agriculture) . . . Blue Gate Farms(hi Sean and Jill) Beginning in June and lasting 20 weeks, we are signed up to receive a weekly produce box, eggs and honey.  This will be an exciting addition to our healthy eating.  As well, an opportunity to support a local farm and business.  In addition, I will be visiting our Farmer's Market to supplement and to support other local businesses.  WooHoo!  Only 24 days left until opening weekend!

Oh, I almost forgot . . . one last question:

Joanne asked:  Is candy involved?

Of course ;).  After all, Ellie needs to have quick, simply sugars to bring up her lows.  All in moderation, right?


go ahead and ask me

Just before Valentine's Day I was mentally preparing myself to try another round of :: insert company name :: 14 day'ish colon cleanse.

Wow.  Did I really just type that out?

So, you know the drill.  Lots of water, fiber pills, fiber drinks and vitamins.  Rebuild the lining of the yada yada and bada-bing-bada-boom your cravings for sweets, caffeine and junk food are g-o-n-e.

I say "another round' because last year this time I did said cleanse and promptly got very sick.  Because of the cleanse?  Despite the cleanse?  Who knows; but I do have the association of illness and the program so I was hesitant to repeat the cycle.  I did, however, enjoy the results of jump-starting a healthier eating regimen which lead to eating seasonally and locally and overall making healthier choices . . . . . consistently.

Then came Ellie's T1D diagnosis in late September of 2010.  We went on survival mode around the house and slowly all of the pre-packaged, preservative laden, shelf stable food crept back into the pantry.  I needed to know the carb-counts of e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g Ellie ate, thus convenience trumped healthy.

Oh how time, patience and practice changes everything, so before we knew it carb-counting got easier and I found tools to analyze my recipes so I could once again cook from scratch.  I no longer needed the crutch of a label on a box and we slowly weeded out the prepackaged foods once again.  This is our family's choice . . . I have no negative opinion about how you feed your own family . . . You do what works for YOU.

By February my body was screaming for the fresh and nutrient dense foods of months prior and I found myself considering the cleanse to jump start the process. 

Just as I was about to order the cleanse package, I found Heather's post about her online workshop titled:  30 Day Vegan:  A Cleansing WHOLE FOOD journey of healing.

And I said "Abso'freakin'lutely," sign me up.  Happy Valentine's Day, Honey!

I am so glad I did.  My family (as in ALL members) enjoyed some and endured other parts of the challenge. 

Did we complete the challenge?

Do you want to know more about it?

Do you have some specific questions?

Go ahead and ask me in the comments section and my next post will be chock full of answers.  Unless, of course, you don't give a lick about what my family ate . . . and didn't eat . . . for 30 days.  In that case, wait a couple of days and then check back in to hear me drone on about something else ;)


break time over

The yuckiest part about a blog break is that first post trying to hop back in where you left off . . . . except a whole lot of life happened while on break and it's mind boggling to figure out where to start.

So, I will do what I always seem to do when I have too much to say: Whip out the bullets.

No, no . . . not those kinds of bullets. Bullet POINTS. Geesh.
Oh! And let's do bullet points in chronological order from my last post until now. Yes. That sounds good. Okay, here I go
MARCH 7th  My family embarked on a 30 day journey of eating as close as possible to a vegan diet. This meant removing all animal products (beef, poultry, fish, eggs, milk, cheese . . . etc.) and adding in boatloads of fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, nuts and seeds. We also cleared our home of highly processed foods (and didn't add fake meat and cheese products) and artificial sweeteners. WHY? Because I was interested in Heather's 30 Day Vegan workshop and what it could offer to clear out our systems (:: ahem ::) and lead us into Spring and Summer with a desire for fresh, local nutritious foods. More on this topic in the days to come.


MID-MARCH - My husband and I made the decision to homeschool next year. I went out and purchased a denim jumper . . . . . . yeah no. The short story? I have always been interested in the concept but didn't want to push my kids in that direction unless they wanted to homeschool or needed to homeschool. Well, now is the opportunity. Ben (my 6yo 1st grader) has struggled with attention issues all year long and his little spirit is just broken from all of the discipline from his teacher and from us at home. NOT punishment, just everyday efforts and subsequent failures in being able to stay 'on task.' He is a smart young man and has proven he can learn while wiggling and singing hanging upside down. Ellie (my 8yo 3rd grader) was diagnosed with T1D in late September and while the adjustments have been as smooth as we can hope for, the reality is she is missing important lecture and demonstration periods when she has to go to the nurse for a blood sugar check or to treat a low. I am excited for the opportunity to work WITH her T1D in the home setting instead of trying to work DESPITE her disease. Finally, Maddi (my 13yo 7th grader) will join us at home and explore other learning styles and opportunities that her schooling up to this point has just not been able to offer. More on this topic in the days to come.


LATE MARCH - I finished reading Ann Voskamp's; One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Life Fully Right Where You Are. Well, I should say I completed the book but am FAR from finished with the story. This book has been life changing and has sparked a new project I am now displaying on the sidebar of the home page of this site. I summarize the book by saying you first must get down on your knees in supplication to God; thankful to Him for all of your blessings, before you can ask for and receive the gift of joy. The author does this by challenging herself to write down 1000 gifts she is thankful for. My version of the challenge will be in photos. More on this topic in the days to come.

MARCH 31st - Finally . . . . and this is the most difficult to write . . . . my siblings and I had to make the extremely difficult decision to request power of attorney over our mom and cease her dialysis treatments. She was diagnosed with kidney failure nearly 2 years ago as a result of spending 40+ years battling an eating disorder. Due to other health issues, my mom was not a candidate for a kidney transplant and her mental health was deteriorating to the point where she was no longer able to make competent medical decisions. For the last 13 years my mom has gone from a vibrant working mother to qualifying for disability and living in independent to semi-assisted to full time nursing care. I drove to Omaha last Tuesday and met with my brother, sister-in-law, sister, and uncle (my mom's brother) and enjoyed 2 days spending time with my mom. By Thursday morning her health had taken a dramatic turn and by 3pm we were sitting vigil by her bedside as we waited for God to quiet her breath. My Mom found peace in the Kingdom of Heaven at 9:52pm Thursday evening. She was 60 years old and is survived by her brother, 3 children and 6 grandchildren. More on this topic in the days to come.

About 1966'ish.  Many years later I attended the same high school but much to my mother's disappointment it was as a band nerd, not a cheerleader.

No matter who you are, the glowing face of a new mom is noticeable from a mile away.  And yes, that is me.

One thing I will always know for sure . . . . my mama loved me.

And now I am all bullet-pointed out.  As you can see by the randomness of my words and sentiments, my brain is not quite in full-functioning mode . . . . heck, it may never be.  I do know I missed this place and all my friends in the computer ;).  Whether you like it or not . . . .  I'M BAAAACCCKKKK.