d-awchumness d-meet-up

Before I talk and share photos from the fabulous ThreeThirtyThree/My Sweet Bean and her Pod meet and greet . . . . . . ah, I'm just kidding. 

:: drum roll please::

I am happy and honored to introduce;

Ellie and Bean!!!

Aren't they so cute together?  I just love how they took to one another right away and didn't hesitate to show off each other's medical bracelets.


You want to see ALL of them? 

Geeeeesh.  P-i-c-k-y!

I am happy and humbled to present;

(from left to right) Ellie, Bug, Ben and Bean!!!!

Adorable!  They all got along smashingly.  Unfortunately my oldest was off exploring with her cousins during part one of our d-meet-up.  No worries . . . . Maddi met and approved of the whole Bean/Bug family later.


You want faces?

Look at the faces in the reflection!  It's (from left to right) Dave, me taking the picture, Ubergeek and Denise!!!


What is with the cartoon heart on Bug's bum?

Well, before we all met that cute little Bug was scooting across the stone fireplace in the lobby and got all sooty on her rear.  I didn't want the world to think Denise walks around with dirty-bummed kiddos . . . . cause she doesn't . . . I don't think.  And, I guess if you look close enough you will notice a dirty seat on my Ellie . . . . . but that is due to traveling and exploring and . . . . . ah, let's just change the subject.

I am thrilled and tickled to present;

(back row to front row) Amy, Denise, Ellie and Bean

Yes, I am really that short and no, Denise is not standing on a stool.  But look at the smiles!  The mountains!  The trees!  Look at anything but the height disparity . . . . can you tell I feel just a smidge inadequate?!

Back to the d-awschumness d-meet-up.

Bean and her family drove 5 hours (was it 5 or 4, Denise . . . I can't remember) EACH way to come and meet up with us.  Let me just put that into a picture for you:

See that green balloon letter 'A'?  That is where Bean and her family reside.  Follow that curvy yellow line?  That is the path they had to drive to get to Denali.  They had to cross a canal, drive through mountain ranges and criss-cross the same river all to meet a fellow T1D family.  THAT is the power of the DOC community, my friends.

It is not about judging how others treat a low blood sugar.

It is not about comparing A1C results.

It is not about bragging about who has the latest and greatest tech device for managing T1D.

It is not a place to gather the most 'followers' or host the most giveaways or boast about having the greatest and most diverse 'blog-stats'.


The DOC is about s-u-p-p-o-r-t and if you can get that support in the form of a real life hug . . . . . well, you go for it.

I have to be honest here and share my truest feelings.  I was not 100% excited to meet Bean and her family.  Um, I mean I WAS excited when we were making plans and getting closer to the appointed day and time and when we were texting details back and forth and all . . . . VERY excited. 


Also kind of nervous.  I had never meet anyone from inside my computer!  I felt like I knew Denise from what I read on her blog and heard of her crazy-cool song (on her home page) . . . . but what if she was psycho and her family was really a gang of crazy little people who were coming to tie up my family and torture us with bear claws?


What if we met and they didn't like us or thought WE were the weird ones?!


Once we got past the awkward handshakes and introductions (I know Ubergeek's REAL name, btw.  I bet you all are so jeal.  I pinkie swore I wouldn't tell and no amount of bribing will get it out of me . . . . fell free to send me cool stuff to see if I will buckle, though) and sat down to dinner, it was all smooth sailing.

We talked about meters, test strips, bs numbers, pods, foods, activity, highs, lows and all the in between workings and make-up of T1D. 

We laughed, we cried, we took photos and then we went back to Ubergeek's hotel room.  Hehehehehe


We did!  I thought about sitting on their bed but that would have been awkward so I sat in the one chair in the hotel room.  The kids ran around and Bug followed Ben while Ellie and Bean craft'ed it up with the fabulous kit Denise thought to bring along.

The wonderful Bean family gifted Ellie with an Eskimo doll, me with a grey T1D ribbon necklace charm, and the family with a hand-painted and pod-decorated flower pot with a package of Forget-me-Nots waiting to be planted.

So stinkin' sweet! 

We exchanged addresses so we could later exchange the large flower pot and I would have a change to reciprocate the kind gesture. 

It was all so perfect until Denise went home, dropped and broke the flower pot and then lost my address.  Hahahahahahahaha!  NOW we are talking friendship.  No, even better; kinship.  (That is something I would soooooo totally do!)

The evening ended too soon with my family needing to get some rest for a 7am departure and, honestly, it was obvious Ubergeek was in need of some beauty sleep ;).

All in all I HIGHLY recommend a d-meet-up whenever possible.  It is worth the awkward moment and extra time it may take in order to hook up with people who 'get' you.  Your 'peeps'.  Your T1D family.

Thank you Denise, Ubergeek, Bean and Bug for driving up to meet us crazy people from the corn state.  Or is it the pig state?  I can't remember.

But, I will remember the laughs.  And I will remember sitting across the table from Denise, making eye contact, and knowing she 'knew.'

Knew what it felt like to be a D-mom.

Knew what it felt like to be tired and scared.

Knew how much I love my child with T1D and would move mountains to find a cure.

She knew it of me because I knew it of her.

::sniff, sniff::

Next up I will tell you all about food poisoning, Mt. McKinley and seeing a cruise ship for the very first time.  Yep!  I've got more to share of our trip to the 49th state and I hope you will humor me in reading all about it.


discovering gold and striking oil


Following the Riverboat Tour and a quick stop to downtown Fairbanks for lunch (the Fudge Pot ~ would have been good except for so many buses being dropped off at the same time. The lines were long, my temper was short and Ellie's blood sugar was dropping.  All ended well as we finally got our food and were able to eat, relax and enjoy the beautiful weather while sitting outside in a common area.  We even had time for our first family vacation photo!

Don't worry about the apparent scowl on Dave's face.  He really is happy . . . . and he thinks he is smiling!  Also, that coffee you see me with was a MAJOR reason my mood improved.  Oh, and the backpack in front of my feet was our T1D lifeline.  It had insulated compartments on the inside and the straps were nice and wide for good comfort.

After the lunch stop we headed over to the Eldorado Gold Mine for an educational tour and panning for gold.  The open air train was pretty fun, even though it was raining off and on.

In true Alaskan weather fashion, just as we exited the train for a demonstration on how to properly swirl water to separate the grit from the gold, the clouds parted and the sun shone through to make the flecks all sparkly.  The kids had a blast going into the depot to weigh their find and daydream about hitting it rich.  A VERY family friendly tour I highly recommend.

The last stop of the day was along the Steese Highway for a stop and look tour of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline ~ Built in the 1970s after oil was discovered at Prudhoe Bay (1968), the 48-inch diameter, 800-mile pipeline links Prudhoe Bay on the Arctic Ocean with the terminal at Valdez, the northernmost ice-free port in the Western Hemisphere. The flow from this pipeline accounts for roughly 20 percent of U.S. oil production annually . . . according to here  Really neat to see and the cloudy sky was a phenomenal sight.


Day three of our 15 day excursion lead us to board the Alaska Railroad's touring cars.  As you can see from the photo, the windows are rounded up into the ceiling for a fantastic view of the scenery.  This train took us from Fairbanks to Denali National Park in about 5 hours.  A brunch was served on the lower level of the car (see Ben going downstairs) and you could get up and walk around. even opting to go outside to a viewing deck in between the cars.

The weather was cool and rainy, but I thought great for traveling.  Holding the camera up to the window provided some great photo opportunities of either the landscape or the water droplets on the window.  As for the motion, this was the day my tummy decided to be flip-floppy.  I do not know how people used to travel for weeks aboard a train . . . . definitely not my preferred method of transportation.

After a long morning and another delayed lunch we arrived at our destination . . . it took my breath away.  "Are we really going to stay here"  I wondered?  It seemed too good to be true, but the shuttle pulled away and our luggage was tucked into our room.  I breathed in the wonderful pine-scented air and took out my camera to try and capture the beauty.

The first photo on the right is the view from the lodge.  Incredible!  I wish I had a pandemic function (maybe I do?) but even then this is one of those places you just HAVE to go and see for yourself to appreciate the surroundings.

And, one of the best parts?!  We were just 24 hours away from meeting Denise and family of My Sweet Bean and Her Pod.  Yep!  Another Alaska D-Mom noticed I was traveling her way and contacted me for a chance to meet-up.  Unfortunately the tour was not stopping in her home city of Anchorage for very long (just for a quick lunch) so Denise decided to come to us in Denali.  How cool is that?!  She booked a room at the same lodge and I will tell you all about the visit (including photos) . . . . . . on the next post.  Hehehehehehehe. 


I have to leave you hanging so you want to come back and read more, right?!

Muahahahahahahahahaha.  (Evil laugh)


stories from the last frontier

I would love to say I am going to open my travel journal and quote you directly from my thoughts the moment they were happening . . . . . and I would be doing it very poetically.  I cannot, however, because I was never organized enough to BUY a travel journal, much less write down my thoughts as we drove, flew, rode, sailed, jetted, zipped and walked our way through Alaska.

I did, thank goodness, remember to bring along my trusty camera so I could SHOW you all the awschum (that's for you, Heidi!) and fabulous sights we discovered.


The actual traveling portions of the trip were much anticipated because my kiddos had never been on a plane, motor coach, shuttle or cruise ship.  I know, they are sheltered and abused ;). 

As you can see, Ben earned his wings and thought the flying part was super fun . . . . as did Ellie (this is a shot of our first take off).  Maddi did not enjoy the changes in altitude and pressure and used up our first of many Dramamine tablets.  We were too late in dispensing a tablet to Ben, as you can see in the third photo. He was pale and nauseous as we exited the plane in Fairbanks but was still giving a thumbs up to the flight.   

While Ben was recovering, I was busy heading to Fairbanks International Airport's Gate #3 to meet fellow D-mom, Amy of My Diary as the Mom of a Diabetic Princess!  Amy is a customer service agent for Alaska Airlines and had noticed from one of my Facebook posts that I was flying into her airport.  She just happened to be working late THAT night/early morning and was there to greet my very tired self at 1am (4am my time).  Unfortunately, we were only able to spend a couple of minutes chatting before I needed to get the family to a hotel for some sleep. 

The first thing I noticed about Alaska was that it was light outside at 1am!  Not day-bright light, but dawn/dusk sort of light.  In fact, I never did see the kind of nighttime darkness I am used to.  It would take several days for us all to get acclimated to constant light and once we did it was very energizing.  You just didn't feel like sitting around, even if you were tired.  My brother-in-law and niece even booked and played a 10pm t-time at a Fairbanks' golf course . . . . staying out until well after midnight.


Once in Fairbanks, we had a day to rest and tour the town before the official 'tour' portion of the trip was to begin.  We rented a car and set off to explore around the city of ~30,000 people. 

Our first stop was the Museum of the North on the University of Alaska's campus.

We had a great time both inside and out and could not get enough of the majestic mountain views.  The weather was so nice (about 60 degrees and party cloudy) we decided to find a hiking path.

Not only did we discover a perfect walking trail, we also met one of the most aggressive animals of Alaska.  No, not a bear or moose or fox . . . . . but hundreds of swarms of mosquitoes.  We quickly applied our natural bug mist and walked further into the woods but too soon noticed the mosquitoes were not only following us, but also pointing and laughing at our efforts to thwart them.  After being devoured, we ran back to the rental car and vowed to stop by the nearest drug store and pick us up some stronger stuff.  Better to be absorb a little deet than be laid up in bed with the itchies.

Day 2 in Fairbanks was filled to the brim with activities, as the 'land' portion of our Celebrity Cruise Alaskan Tour was revving up and rolling.

The first item on our agenda was to board the Riverboat Discovery ship and tour the river banks of Fairbanks, along with a couple of educational and discovery stops along the way.

We sent the men of our group to reserve seats aboard the top open deck while the women and kids shopped the first, of many, souvenir shops.

Along the banks we anchored to listened to Dave Monson of Trailbreaker Kennels talk to us about raising sled mushing dogs. One of my favorite places to learn about on the trip. 

The Chena Indian village was another stop and explore place along the route.  We learned about the ways the Indians smoked and preserved salmon, how they lived and flourished in this harsh area and climate.

No, not a real moose.  Nor did Ellie really ride a dog sled.  Bet yes, the kids did smile and enjoy the ride!

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Since this blog is used for the intent and purpose of educating and sharing information related to type 1 diabetes, you may be wondering just how Ellie's blood sugars were doing with all this travel.

Well, the answer is . . . . meh.  Which can equal very good!  Not too many highs and not too many lows.  We prepared by packing an insulated backpack full of everything we could possibly need in a day and we had it with us wherever we went.  We could not, however, pack full meals.  This is where the frustration and uneasiness came into play.  Sometimes Ellie just needed a meal and most of those times were not in coordination with the tour.  We did the best we could with what we had (complained quite a bit in the meantime) and moved on.

I wanted Ellie to experience an EXCELLENT range of blood sugars during the trip, but I soon learned that would be an unrealistic expectation.  We guesstimated the amount of carbs in her foods to the best of our abilities, crossed our fingers and shot the insulin.  We tested her blood sugar often and prayed thanks for getting through another round.

If you ask Ellie, she had a great time and doesn't feel like her T1D interfered with her experience.  What more could we ask for?!

The only major hiccup was forgetting to give her Lantus (long acting insulin given by injection once a day, at the same time everyday) on time.  We decided before the trip we would administer her dose at the same time we do at home, which equated to 3 hours earlier in Alaska.  Since our daily schedules and meal times varied, we often found ourselves late in getting her the medicine.  Sometimes she reminded us, sometimes Dave reminded me and other times we got it just about right.

This is one of our hotel room set-ups - a Sharps container (for needles) provided by the housekeeping and our trusty Salter scale which we didn't get to use often enough.

One other thing I noticed in Alaska.  All public restrooms have Sharps containers on the wall!  We don't have that here in Iowa.  How about where you live?  Is this a common thing?

Okay, enough for tonight.  The next post will be full of photos and stories about panning for gold and exploring the Alaskan Pipeline.


home at last

Woo-To-The-Hoo!!!!  We are officially home and settling back in after a whirlwind 15 day vacation to Alaska.  While I attack the mountain of laundry, find homes for the souveniers and upload a bajillion photos to shutterfly I will leave you with a top 10 list of our adventures.

Top 10 things we discovered in Alaska

1.  The air is unbelievably clean and fresh . . . . so noticiable and fabulous I wanted to bottle it up and bring it home.  It reminded me of the air in higher altitudes of Colorado, but minus the huffing, puffing and stinging of the lungs when you walk up an incline.

2.  You cannot go more than 50 feet in an urban setting without seeing a ginormous stuffed bear.

3.  Sticker shock at the prices of goods and services will cause you to inhale sharply and grasp your chest and make you think you are having a heart attack.

4.  Yell and wave your hands at a bear, run from a moose and take 1000 photos of a whale's tail.

5.  Prepare to meet the medical team/room onboard the cruise ship due to your child's T1D, then be suprised when your other child meets them first to get stitches.

6.  Fully understand how the words to "America the Beautiful" perfectly describe the scenery of our 49th state.

Mt. McKinley

7.  Zip lining through the trees of Alaska with your teenager daughter is a fabulous way to spend a morning.

This is a photo from the zipline's website - I did not take my camera due to the high probability it would become a falling 'rock' and be destroyed

8.  The mosqitoes are big, aggressive and laugh at your botanical 'all-natural' bug mist.  Deet is required.

9.  21 hours of light and 3 hours of dusk a day perk you up more than a trenta double shot latte whole with whip.

10.  Cruising along the coastline of Alaska will cause your stateroom window to be smattered with noseprints.

I will be posting many, many, many, many many, (did I say many?) more photos in the days to come . . . . including ones of 2 D-Mom meet-ups!  And, to break the suspense; T1D did NOT rule the vacation.  It certainly came along for the ride and demanded attention at times, however, for the most part behaved well-enough. (for being the ugly-forever-colicky-newborn it is)

Glad to be home and ready to start attempts at catching up with everyone!!!!


v-a-c-a-t-i-o-n . . . . come fly with me

Once I get you up there where the air is rarified

We'll just glide, starry-eyed

Once I get you up there I'll be holding you so near

You may hear angels cheer 'cause we're together
Come fly with me, let's fly, let's fly

Pack up, let's fly away!!

You would think from my absence we would have already left for vacation!  Ah, sadly no.  I have missed 2 'good fridays', writing about many funny anecdotes or sharing T1D related stories.  Why?  B-U-S-Y.  Yep.  Summertime is here and we are loving being 'untethered'.  Staying up late, sleeping in, VBS, dog-sitting, swimming, and playing.  Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh . . . . I love you, summer!

Today we are off to explore our nation's 49th state . . .

Where the state motto is 'North to the Future" . . . .

Where the official jemstone is jade and gold is the state mineral . . . .

Where coastline's run for 33,000 miles . . . .

Where I will have the opportunity to meet up with 2, count 'em 2 D-mom's (photos to follow) . . . .

Where our family will make fabulous memories . . . . . .


Come fly with me, let's fly, let's fly

Pack up, let's fly away!!


rev-ving it up for summer

Nothing says summertime like Country Time lemonade . . . . and . . . .VBS! (vacation bible school).  Last year we had such a great time attending and volunteering at Saylorville Baptist Church that it played a major role in our decision to become members.  This year our entire family is attending all five evenings; with me, hubby and Maddi volunteering in the snack area while Ellie and Ben participate full throttle.  Yep, we are ready to Rev It Up and have some fun.

We headed up to the church this morning to take stock of the snack supplies and decorate the kitchen 'pit stop' area.  As we were arriving, we pull into the parking lot to find three of our pastors racing go-carts.

If you have kiddos between the ages of 6-12 and are a local reader, I urge you to sign up.  As one of our pastors said, "This is the best week of their lives!".  Just fill out the form here and come 1, 2, or all 5 nights.  VBS runs from this Sunday, June 5th through Thursday, June 9th from 6pm-8:30pm.  There is no cost to attend and we would love to see you there!