Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Shopping with Teens

I haven't enjoyed shopping in a very long time. It is pretty rare for me to shop alone, with no children. I don't consider grocery shopping the same as 'shopping'. However, I rarely do that alone either. We have three teen girls who are always in need of something or other. I used to be able to pick things up for them without them being there. Now a simple size is no longer simple, they have to be there to try clothes on. Not to mention that I can no longer figure out what they like and what they don't like. I could buy something identical to a favorite shirt or the like, and they would hate it. Just when I think I have a clue what they like, they change their minds.

So, now I have to shop with them. We were in Target the other day shopping for bathing suits for the the 14 year old twins. As I sat there waiting for the girls to show me what they liked, holding a squirming 3 year old boy, I learned my girls aren't so bad. That was a surprise. There were a few other moms sitting as I was with serious frowns cementing lines into their foreheads as their daughters threw hissy fit after hissy fit over what they wanted versus what was appropriate for their age ranges.

My daughters liked some bathing suits that I would never have let them wear around the house let alone in public, but they didn't throw hissy fits. I would simply say "yes that's okay" or "no". One mom asked me how I got them to be so agreeable. I laughed and told her that they had to find a suit that I approved of or they simply wouldn't get one. She actually seemed confused.

I wish our girls were still built like this other mom's 14 year old daughter. She was a stick, no curves and no boobs. They were having a very difficult time agreeing on a bathing suit. I told her that her daughter would still fit into the bathing suits at Justice for girls. She laughed and said her daughter refused to even go into that store. Wow, our girls were frustrated they couldn't wear Justice suits anymore and I was frustrated I couldn't buy them a suit at the Justice prices.

We then went to our new favorite store, a second hand shop that is huge and carries great name brand clothes. My girls were in a dressing room there and another mom was arguing with her daughter loudly. I gave her the 'so sorry' look. She sighed and said, "I will trade you mine for whatever you have in that dressing room". I laughed out loud. Then I simply told her that I had twin 14 year old girls in there. She cracked me up, all she said was, "F*@#!"

I remember when our girls were much younger we would go out to a public place, like a play area in the mall. Parents would ask me how I managed with three toddlers. I would say one minute at a time. There are memories that I am pretty sure are mentally blocked due to sleep deprivation. The girls ask me things like, "what was our first words?" And I have no idea. I didn't sleep for five years. Someday I hope those memories come flooding back, but until then we have lots of pictures to help fill in the holes in my mind.

However, no matter how overwhelmed I was, everyone else's kids were a constant reminder to me that mine were not so bad. I am honestly surprised every time that happens. I am surprised and pleased that our children may be little brats from time to time, but they are good kids at heart. I may be the Candy Ass Mom, but saying no isn't that hard to do. Really, it's not.

I don't think I will ever enjoy shopping, especially with teenagers. However, I will always appreciate my children and their absence of hissy fits.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Sometimes you just shouldn't ask...

I am already a stay at home mother of five wonderful children. That's a lot.

We have health challenges with three of the five. Our oldest is a type 1 diabetic (but if you have ever read this blog you already know that), one of our twins has sometimes severe asthma and also Raynauds syndrome (which her pediatrician is currently working with the rheumatologist to find out if it is in fact benign or not as we previously thought), and our son has asthma and a sever peanut allergy. That's also a lot.

There are months that go by when we have almost no problems and things are easy. And then there are the last 12 months.

My daughter with asthma and Raynauds has added to her list and now is suffering from complex migraines that mimic stroke symptoms (exactly the same kind I have had since I was 16 years old). Our other twin has developed some sort of issue that seems to be the exact opposite of Raynauds, her hands and feet heat up, get flushed, and hurt at random times. The pediatrician is still working on this one although her blood tests all cam back okay. We have begun to joke that if the twins were able to clasp hands while they were each suffering from a flare up (Raynauds turns your hands and feet blue to white and your fingers and toes get very cold) that they could cause the end of the world....a physical yin and yang so to speak (we could make dinner time at our house into a reality show with the stuff that goes on).

Our oldest continues to battle with sever low blood sugars. Her A1C dropped almost an entire point in just three weeks. Which sent her body into a withdrawal of sorts. She has felt horrible and is also become afraid of her low blood sugars.

It is Spring, which means in our house that allergies are a flowing! So the months we went without any breathing issues and got lucky with very minimal illnesses over the winter are gone. Everything is blooming and our son is, well he is puffy, snotty, and itchy.

Okay, so that's a lot too, right?

Its like an infomercial or game show... BUT wait, there's more! And this time it's me. I have spent the last year ignoring and blaming symptoms that have increased on anything and everything I could. That's my way. I believe it's genetic. I take care of everyone else and put me on the back burner. I could type two pages of just tests, appointments, and such but let's just save time and shorten that up. I have some kind of inflammatory arthritis caused by my auto immune system. I found a wonderful doctor (which has never happened for me before) and she has calmed my nerves about labeling exactly what I have. It may take years she says to figure it out exactly. The two she has narrowed it down to are Lupus (which my grandmother, whom I love very much has) and Rheumatoid arthritis (which my great grandmother had) OR she says it may be both. let's be honest, that's more than a lot.

Okay, so I have begun medication to treat my symptoms. I needed to have an endoscope test because I have been nauseous for almost a year and she needed to know what limits on medications I may have. Well, I have Celiacs disease as well. Which explains a lot for the last year of stomach issues and weight loss. But I could have done without that diagnosis all together.

I have entered the angry phase for the Celiacs because of the cost of gluten free foods and the fact I can never again have a cheese danish. Sounds silly I know. I have a shelf in the pantry of stuff the kids are not to eat. I have talked to a few people about brands and types of foods like bread and noodles that are good. But I am still a bit in shock of it all. No more restaurants, no more random snacking, and no more carefree eating. Am I wrong to be angry? To be honest, I really don't care. I am just angry.

I should be thankful that everything I have is treatable and not life threatening such as cancer would be. I am not in that thankful space. Maybe I will get there. Maybe I will deal with it all more maturely in the future. Maybe not.

It took me some time to decide if I was going to share with the world (blogosphere so to speak) all of this. But then I realized, the amount of community and support we have gained from sharing our daughters diabetes has been life changing and we would not be where we are emotionally or physically without the sharing we have done. So I am sharing. I will eventually write about my Lupus or RA since everyone is so different and my story may help someone else. But let's start with this small (ha ha, yeah small. I know that's funny right?) amount of information.

I must say that the amount of support I have gotten from my immediate family and friends has been incredible. I am not alone in all of this. I know that. They have been great. I will continue to bake for my family and friends. I will continue to do all the stuff I love to do for them. I just won't be tasting or eating any of it myself.

I am hopeful to get some response from others dealing with similar issues. I am hopeful that someone out there will read this post and know exactly how I feel and will respond. I am hoping for a similar amount of support like we have gotten over the years for my daughter's diabetes.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Feeling LOW ~ Do You Pay Attention To Your Intuition? ~

Are you blessed with Mother's intuition (or women's intuition)? Do you get those gut feelings that wake you up in the middle of the night, that send you on a hunt through out your home looking for something that may be wrong, or that prompt you to randomly call your husband and children in the middle of the day just to check and see if everyone is okay? I often wish I was better at paying attention to those little butterflies. We have five children, three of which have life threatening challenges. We have one with Type 1 Diabetes, one with a very severe peanut allergy, and one with asthma. Having five children in itself is a huge distraction. I often wonder if my warning bells are drowned out by the noise and chaos that five children create. Or is it just a bunch of hooey?

Since the beginning of  last week we have been battling the chaos that is low blood sugars. Our oldest is sixteen years old and has Type 1 Diabetes. I wish I was blessed with the ability to know when my daughter had a low blood sugar. Well if I was granted a wish by the universe, I would wish there was a simple cure for Type 1 Diabetes, which would make my wish for the ability to know when my daughter was low useless.

Last week our daughter's friend Heather saved her life. I am incredibly thankful, but so frustrated that my Mother's intuition didn't catch what was happening. How did Heather save Macy's life? She came over to visit Macy. Yep, that's pretty much it. She came over and I directed her to Macy's room. Macy had been home from school all of an hour. Heather found her asleep. She tried to wake her up and Macy nodded when she said do you want me to let you sleep.

Heather could have just left. She could have just taken the situation for what it looked like, a tired friend taking a nap. But instead she came to me and said, "Hey, Macy is asleep and when I asked her if she wanted me to let her sleep she just nodded and rolled over". Heather knows Macy well enough to know that wasn't a normal reaction to her coming over. So we went back to Macy's room. I took with me some Jello and a banana just in case (we were out of juice). That way I wouldn't have to waste time going back upstairs if there was a problem.

This was one of those times where it would have been a lot easier to freak out and panic. But I say, handle the problem and if you need to panic, panic on your own time, later when no one is watching and the emergency is gone. On top of that, Heather was there and she certainly didn't need to see me lose it. It wasn't until later she understood the seriousness of the situation.

So Macy was laying in her bed. She could respond some but was obviously experiencing a low blood sugar. So I fed her the Jello and the banana. Then I realized her test kit wasn't down there. So I sent Heather to look for it. It was upstairs in Macy's purse where she had left her backpack and stuff when she came home (she was probably beginning with her low blood sugar then which explains why she just left her stuff in the middle of the hall). By the time Heather had come back with her purse Macy had finished the Jello and banana. I tested her blood sugar. It was 28.

If you don't have a Diabetic in your life than that number may mean nothing to you. So for reference, the average person's blood sugar ranges from about  70-180. If a Diabetic is below 70, food is needed. If they are below 50, it becomes an emergency that must be taken care of immediately. Macy is usually not responsive or able to communicate at about 40 or below.

We needed more sugar and we needed it now. I grabbed her emergency glucose gel she carries in her purse. Why didn't we use this to begin with you may be asking yourself. Well, frankly because its gross. It tastes nasty and has a gooey consistency.  Macy must be really low for me to get it into her. Honestly, I don't blame her. We waited about 7 minutes after she swallowed the glucose gel and tested her again. This time she was 24! She went lower?! So as I ran out of her room I asked Heather to keep talking to her, trying not to panic.

Its amazing how fast a someone can be going up stairs, maneuvering around baby gates, and getting to the fridge or pantry and then back again. I grabbed 2 things of Jello pudding I had made the night before (which were half vanilla and half chocolate). Running back down the stairs to Macy all the time trying my best not to panic.

Macy sat up as I asked her to do, which was a good sign and pretty amazing. I began to feed her vanilla and chocolate pudding. I was cracking jokes and making fun of my abilities to feed someone because I kept missing her mouth and getting pudding on her face. Heather laughed and Macy attempted to smile, which just made me miss again. I was reminded she doesn't like vanilla pudding, at all. But she ate it and made big 'oh no' eyes when I offered more glucose gel instead (even though it was upstairs too. I knew she would say no.)We tested again, and she was finally up to 64. She snacked on some bunny marshmallows (something she had in her purse for school lows) to continue the rise into the 100's. It was the longest 20 minutes of my life.

I am so very grateful for Macy's friend, Heather. She paid attention to Macy and came and got me. This isn't a normal low blood sugar time for Macy and if Heather hadn't come over we would never have known she was asleep and low. Normally after school she spends time on her computer and does her homework quietly in her room. Since then we have had many lows that have blind sided us. To help fight this battle I bought 4 cases of juice boxes (120 juice boxes) to stash strategically around the house and for her to stash in her locker and purse at school. She always carries something in case she goes low, but she hasn't had a low issue like this in years.

I haven't slept well since this occurred. I randomly go down and test her in the middle of the night. Which are more of those mother's intuition times. Most times I found her low in her sleep. Maybe I am paying better attention to my butterflies or maybe I am just getting lucky. I don't know which it is.  My husband has also helped by waking her up much earlier than normal, when he gets up between 4:30 and 5:00 in the morning rather than 6:00. I am so lucky to have such a wonderful husband who will get the kids up in the morning for me since more times than not I haven't slept well or have been up at odd times in the middle of the night. As a stay at home mother I consider this my job since I am not leaving the house and working. But its really hard to keep up with when your not sleeping well, not to mention throwing into the mix a 3 year old toddler boy to keep me busy.

We normally battle high blood sugars. She is a teen girl who gets distracted easy and who tries to keep her Diabetes as hidden from the outside world as possible. Which all result in higher numbers instead of lower. High blood sugar isn't good for her either, but it is much easier to manage and is much less of a life threatening emergency. Her fear of going low of course has made her weary of letting her blood sugar drop below 175. If she could keep it at 80-100 than that would be the healthiest and best place for it. But it's also a lot easier to drop low from there compared to 175. I don't blame her for being scared. Snacks are a very important part of a Type 1 Diabetics life, balanced with protein, fiber, and complex carbohydrates. They can be the difference between life and death. Which sounds dramatic, I know, but a simple snack at the right time can help avoid having a low blood sugar all together. It's just a matter of when to eat those snacks. It's not as though a snack at 3:00 am is easy.

Heather is starting her job for work study this week at a nursing home near the high school. She has plans of becoming a nurse. And although my mother would say, " no, be a doctor" (since she just recently retired after 35 years as an ICU nurse.) I believe she is on track with a great career ahead of her. She pays attention and notices the things that help people. She will make a great nurse and she would make a great doctor too. Thank you Heather for being you. Thank you for saving my Macy.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Battling the Morning Lows ~Type 1 Diabetes War~

My oldest daughter Macy is 16 years old and she is a Type 1 Diabetic. We have many battles in our War with Type 1 Diabetes, but morning lows is our toughest battle by far. One of our challenges is our daughter is a teenager, so she likes to stay up late and sleep in late.

There is nothing as scary as trying to wake up your child and getting no response. Our wonderful Endocrinologist helps us fight our battle and tells us it is a very common battle. Sigh, well that just sucks if you ask me. (which technically by clicking and reading here, you did).

One of the ways we battle morning lows is a good snack at bedtime. Our doctor explained it in a way that made a lot of sense to us. How accurate it is I could care less. It made sense and helps us manage these lows so don't bother telling me whether he was wrong or not. What he said was that our bodies go into a recovery mode around 3am whether we are awake or not. Its a lot easier on your body to be asleep during this recovery mode. Basically its when your body does its massive cell regeneration and fixing (for lack of a better word). Even though you are asleep this mode actually uses energy. If you are awake because you are a teenager who is playing on your computer or watching movies or whatever...then you are burning even more energy because you are awake and in recovery mode. If you didn't have a good snack that provides the carbohydrates and such needed while your body is burning this energy then as a Type 1 Diabetic the result is a low blood sugar. (If you aren't then your body changes how much insulin is going through your system and basically adjusts things. With an insulin pump or long acting insulin in your system there is no way to adjust for it).

This is why a good bedtime snack is so very important! I was recently asked for some examples of a  high protein, fiber, fat, and carbohydrate snack that our daughter uses at bedtime. Why protein, fiber, fat, and carbohydrate you may be asking...well the slower burning the snack the longer the energy lasts, more or less. It takes longer to process so it creates a steady amount of energy for your body for a longer period of time. Think of those times you drank or ate something high in sugar and then you had the 'sugar crash'. Your body got energy from what you ate but it burned up so quickly that you crashed down to no energy afterwards. Regardless of whether you have Type 1 Diabetes or not, balancing your food and snacks helps maintain your energy levels and keeps you from being over hungry later (which just results in over eating).

Now I must remind you that I am NOT a doctor. I am NOT a health care professional. I am only sharing with you what works for us and the education we have received from our doctors and health care team. Never take anything you read on the Internet as law or fact for your situation, no matter how similar it may seem. Always ask your doctor prior to changing or using any new techniques! If your doctor has recommended balanced snacks and meals for your Type 1 Diabetic child, then the following list of our snacks may help you build your own and may even give you some new ideas.

So back to the examples. When I was asked I realized my daughter is now almost 17 years old and she is control of what food she eats and doesn't eat. So I had to look for our lists and I updated them based on what she normally eats for her snacks. The main goal is to get a child who is a Type 1 Diabetic to eat a good snack, while dealing with the normal childhood pickyness. Remember these are our numbers based on the products we use. Always notate your own exact information from the products you are using...they can vary and I don't want your child to have a high or low because of our numbers.

Some of the snacks we use for bedtime:

100% Whole grain whole wheat bread (1 piece) with peanut butter (about 1 tablespoon)
10g fat
5g fiber
9g protein
23g carbs

Quesedilla (one 10" flour tortilla) with cheddar cheese (about 1/2 a cup)
23g fat
3g fiber
20g protein
37g carbs

Special K red berries cereal (about 1 cup) with 2 % milk (about 1/2 cup)
2.5g fat
3g fiber
6g protein
33g carbs

Baked beans (about 1/2 cup) with a cut up chicken hot dog
10g fat
5g fiber
12g protein
32g carbs

1/2 bag of microwave popcorn, 1 medium size apple (with skin), and 1 piece of string cheese
12g fat
4g fiber
9.5g protein
23g carbs

substitute a med size pear instead of above apple
12g fat
6.5g fiber
9.5g protein
35g carbs

Tostitos scoops tortilla chips (24 chips) with salsa (about 4 tablespoons) and queso (about 1 tablespoon)
15g fat
5.5g fiber
4.5g protein
45g carbs
We add string cheese to many snacks simply because my daughter likes cheese, its easy since its individually wrapped, and really provides the needed protein and fat combo to almost any carbohydrate snack. Did you know a single piece of:
Sargento regular string cheese
 6g fat
0g fiber
8g protein
1g carb

Another great snack (if you can get your child to eat it) is Chobani Greek yogurt. Although there is no fiber in these yogurts they really pack a punch with the other components. There are two kinds, a child's style and the regular style. Our three year old loves the child's yogurt in very berry.

Chobani Champions Very Berry Yogurt (the child's style)
1.5g fat
0g fiber
8g protein
13g carbs
Chobani Blueberry Greek Yogurt (standard style)
0g fat
0g fiber
14g protein
20g carbs

Another item we keep on hand for our daughter is the Snickers fun size candy bars. Our Endocrinologist recommended them. No seriously, they work great for a snack or in a pinch a slight low while your out and about (like at school in class).  We don't use this as a bedtime snack, I just thought I would share it with you.
Snickers fun size candy bar
4g fat
.5g fiber
1.5g protein
10.5g carbs

I would love to have some feedback. What is your child's favorite bedtime snack or snacks? Do you battle with morning lows? If we all share then think of all the information we would have available!!!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Skittles Rainbow Cake!!!

I made the most awesome cake yesterday! I posted pictures of it on Facebook because well, dammit I was pretty proud of myself.

All I did was modify and add some of my own ideas to an existing cake I have seen on Pinterest. When I saw the pictures originally I thought talk about tasting a rainbow! Then it hit me, wait what if the cake was flavored like Skittles and you could taste the rainbow? I actually tried to think of what flavors to use for the colors to get it to taste like Skittles, then it just kind of occurred to me why not just use Skittles to flavor it like Skittles? That was easier than trying to find and buy the flavors at the store.

Friends and family members asked me how I made it and asked for the recipe. So I have decided to map it out for you and share how I made this incredible Skittles Rainbow Cake for my husband and children on Valentine's Day.

What you will need:

Space to cool your cakes,
6 jars or bowls
2 cake mixes (I used white cake mix with the whole egg recipe)
a 14 ounce bag of Skittles
food coloring
and patience

2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cups water
1/2 tsp cream of tarter
4 egg whites
1 tsp vanilla

You begin by separating your Skittles by color. I would recommend starting with the bottom of the rainbow and moving your way up since the syrups and cakes will cool in the same order. I used 6 small mason jars with 1/3 cup of water in each. (the only thing I wish I had done was save some Skittles to put on the top of the cake after frosting, its up to you whether you want to or not).

I used our magic bullet to grind each color up as I went prior to mixing with the water in the saucepan to melt them down. But you don't have to do this step. They will melt from full size. I just don't have the arm endurance to stir that long, so I ground mine up (dry) in the bullet. You could also use a food processor.

Over medium heat dissolve the Skittles with the 1/3 cup water (I prepoured mine to make them all the same and to also have a place to pour the hot syrup into when it was done). I brought mine to a boil briefly and then poured into the jar.
Rinse and repeat. In the last jar I mixed blue food coloring into the 1/3 cup of water, since there are not blue Skittles. This was the only layer in the cake that didn't have a fruit flavor.

This is what my Skittles syrups looked like when finished.
Warning! The syrup is very hot and also smells incredible. Be careful and don't get too close.

Now onto the cake. I did one box at a time to keep them as even as possible. I also only have two cake pans of the same size so I did two at a time. I mixed the cake mix as directed EXCEPT I did not add water. It is best to have a mixer for this since it is a stiff mixture. Separate into 3 even amounts. I measures the first one out and it was just under 3 cups, so I did just under a cup for each.

Again begin with the bottom of the rainbow so when you are assembling your cake the layers you need will be the coolest. I also spooned off the very top of the Skittles syrup, I am pretty sure this was the wax ingredient they use to make the Skittles. Its not harmful to eat and most likely won't effect the cake, but it looked icky to me so I took it out. It was about a spoon and a half of cloudy white waxy liquid.

In a bowl mix your cake mixture and one jar of Skittles syrup well. I added liquid food coloring to get the desired color of cake I wanted. I used the primary regular colors for the red, orange (yellow and red), and green. But for the blue and purple I used the neon food coloring. They have a pretty purple and I mixed the primary blue and the turquoise neon color for the blue cake.

Prepare your pans as you would normally for a cake (I spray and flour mine). The amount of batter in the pan will be less than normal, make sure to even the batter out in your pan so it will bake as evenly as possible. Bake each cake at 350 degrees watching very carefully. They are thinner than normal and will be done quicker. I use the toothpick method to keep from over cooking my cakes. (Dry cake is yucky). Depending on your oven, you may need to rotate them once as they cook. You know your oven, do like you normally do.

Mix, bake, and repeat. If a layer or two are different thicknesses don't worry, it will still look awesome. And don't worry about the colors of the cakes once baked. They look dull and blah on the outsides, but that's what frosting is for. Once you cut into them you will see the wonderful bright colors you mixed earlier.

While your cakes are cooling it is onto the frosting! You can make whatever kind of frosting you like. I made the fluffy white frosting my grandmother has made since I was a kid. It's sweet but not overly rich with butter.

Separate 4 egg whites into your mixer...don't turn on yet.
On the stove mix into a saucepan:
2 cups sugar
2/3 cups water
1/2 tsp cream of tarter

Mix it together and turn on the stove...once you have the stove on walk over and turn on your mixer to beat the egg whites until they have stiff peaks. You want the sugar mixture and egg whites to be done at the same time, which is why you want to turn them on at the same time. (Do not over beat your egg whites or you will end up with more of a divinity than a frosting. Once you can touch a spoon to them and they stick and peak they are ready).

Bring your sugar mixture to a boil. A good bubbly boil, but stop as soon as that happens (your not making candy here). I pour my sugar mixture into a large Pyrex measuring cup because its easier for me to handle the very, very, hot liquid and pour it into the mixture while its going in the mixer without spilling it all over myself. Up to you if you want to just slowly pour from the pan or not.

Your egg whites are ready and your sugar mixture is bubbly hot... while on a medium speed (not fast enough to spit it all out the sides but fast enough to actually mix and whip) slowly drizzle the sugar mixture into the mixer. Once you are done pouring it in you will need to mix for another 7-10 minutes. The hot sugar mixture slowly cooks the egg whites so don't worry you won't be eating raw eggs in your frosting.

It doesn't take too long to cool...so once it is cool enough begin assembling your cake. Remember red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple! So start with purple on the bottom. It works best if you have a spinning cake plate made for frosting (my daughter Macy's best friend, Heather bought me one for Christmas. I helped her make a lovely chocolate cake for her moms birthday and we used a plate on top of a bowl. I don't think that would have worked with 6 layers).
You do not need a lot of frosting in between the layers. The cake is a wonderful sweet flavor and it doesn't need too much. You could skip the frosting all together, but wheres the fun in that?But its up to you and your skill level of keeping the cake upright. Spin and frost. Stack and repeat!

This picture has my very eager-to-eat-cake children in it for a reference on the size of the cake!

Here is our finished product. I recommend refrigerating the cake and keeping it covered. Hopefully it won't last too long, but the frosting dries out if left uncovered and the cake will too. It really preserves the flavor and texture if you can find room for it in your fridge.
Good luck and most importantly, HAVE FUN! If it tastes wonderful, its perfect.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

How Much Soda Do You and Your Family Drink? **My Opinion Week 2**

It used to be that on a normal day when I cleaned, I would gather empty and half empty soda cans from all over the house and dump them into the sink and then into the recycle bin. Every half empty can I touched would irritate me more than the previous. Soda is expensive and my kids waste.

My husband has been hooked on Mountain Dew since he was a young man. My children have also always loved soda. When I was a little kid it was a special occasion to have soda in the house. And when I was a little older it was all diet soda and mostly for my mom. Again we were lucky to get any.

When I was a new mom and my kids never got soda. Then I became a single mom. Soda started showing up. First with my use, then I would give in to the kids requesting it.When my oldest became Type 1 Diabetic (which had nothing to do with soda) we used sugary soda and kept it on hand for low blood glucose levels and switched to consuming diet sodas for all of us for all other times.

I used to limit the consumption of caffeinated sodas. Kids are tough enough to raise without a caffeine high. Then as they got older the limits became less and less. They had their favorites and somehow managed to drink them one way or another.

Over the past few years I have tried many times to just stop buying soda. Have it when you go out, but not in my house. The biggest and loudest arguments came from my husband. He is an adult after all and can make his own choices on what he eats and drinks. Sigh. It was 6 against 1 every time the debate came up. (Some soda info and a rebuttal to that info).

Then miraculously one day Tia came home and told me about an experiment they had done with cola in science class. She was disgusted and decided to swear off soda. She asked her father and I for help with alternative drinks to avoid soda. Well hello! Of course. (Now it was 5 to 2, in case your keeping track). She requested orange juice. So my husband started buying 1/2 gallons of orange juice every time he bought a case of soda.

Then the other kids wanted to drink Tia's orange juice. Oh, she was pissed. She wasn't drinking their soda so they shouldn't drink her Orange juice. A valid argument.

One day (not so long ago) there was an article about BVO, brominated vegetable oil. Yuck. I read this article and looked it up and read many more. My husbands soda of choice is Mountain Dew (yep contains BVO), when I drink soda I prefer orange soda (yep contains BVO), Coke and Pepsi do not contain BVO but those ones weren't in our house very often. Even my sister and my favorite soda of choice as teens, Squirt contains BVO. (We used to joke that instead of water in Heaven there would be Squirt).

So armed with this new information (and Tia) we took it to the masses (in our house). Do you know what your drinking? BVO is a flame retardant. Did you know in Europe there is a ban on adding it to food and drinks?

We got many different comments and just a stare from the hubby. I have to say Macy's humorous comment of teen boys lighting their farts would be safe if they drank Mountain Dew first, got more attention then our disgust at BVO. Oh well, back to the drawing board.

Then we found a really cool product, Mio. Mio is a product you flavor your water with. It comes in many different flavors, even green energy. I bought one to try out, thinking if I could get the kids to drink more water that would be great. (Most of them complain water tastes blah). They liked it. Yes!

The next step towrds the no soda in our house was a discussion about how much sugar was in a Mountain Dew and how many calories were being consumed with that Dew. Someone (I won't say who) decided they wanted to try and find an alternative. WOOOHOOO!!! (We are now up to 4 to 3).

I like seltzer water. Even Macy and Ethan like seltzer water. The other ones have made faces at me over the years wondering how I could drink it. I just like the bubbles. When I am thirsty bubbly water tastes great. If it wasn't so expensive I would buy Pellegrino by the case.

It occurred to me that the Mio they had already accepted in their water would work in seltzer water. So I bought a 12 pack of seltzer. Armed with Mio in multiple flavors I attempted to entice the children to give it a try. It took a few times. But guess what? They all now prefer seltzer water flavored with Mio, lemon, or lime.

The big hurdle was my husband. However as it turns out the green energy Mio added to seltzer water tastes just like a monster (at a fraction of the cost by the way).

All of my children now drink seltzer water, sometimes flavored. Ethan sat down and drank half a can unflavored last night. I think he just likes it cause it makes him burp. The main thing is that we are not buying soda. If we are out and they order a soda, OK. That counts as a special occasion. My husband still drinks soda away from home. But since he also works from home a lot, he is drinking only a fraction of what he used to.

Now I know that there are chemicals in Mio. It is sweetened with sugar free sweeteners. However its a tiny squirt and its a hell of a lot better than all that soda they were drinking. Oh and Mio doesn't have caffeine or BVO. Bonus!

The only downfall has been Macy. Macy has a strong concern for having a high sugar drink available to her in case of a low blood glucose. Which does happen 2 or more times a week. So far Capri suns have sufficed. (But I would love to rid ourselves of those too!) Juice is difficult to use for low blood glucose because 1. its perishable, 2. if frozen it takes too long to prepare for a low, 3.its also very expensive to always have on hand, and 4. having it on hand at all times means the children are drinking high sugar juice on a consistent basis.

I am thinking we will just switch to sugar water. Sugar water flavored with Mio. Ha ha ha ha (and juice boxes stashed in the car for on the go emergencies).

I am so very proud of my family for putting forth the effort and trying new things to reduce their soda intake. They have done a great job! (depending on the day we go from a 5 against 2 and 2 against 5 for the no soda in the house).
So how about you? How much soda do you and your family drink?  Are you willing to admit its too much? It doesn't make you a bad parent you know? Its like fast food, the more you eat the unhealthier it is. Once  in awhile is no biggie. (don't get me started on the fast food thing...bleh!) Have you considered a switch? Did you know there are products like Mio out there?

I would love to hear your opinions and comments. Just remember there is a no judgement and no conversions rule here... everyone is entitled to their opinions and beliefs.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

***Guest Post By My Daughter Macy***

The following story was written by my daughter Macy for her literary magazine submission at school. It is a non-dialogue short story. I am so very proud of her. She loves to write. Not a bad hobby to have as a teen girl! Someday she will be a professional author and people will line up for her newest releases!

I grinned as arms wrapped around my waist. His scent enveloped my mind as he put his face in my neck. He didn’t greet me with anything except the hug.
I loved when we didn’t need to speak to each other. I enjoyed speaking with him, but when we didn’t need words to communicate, I felt special… I knew how to speak to him without using my voice, which was a hard task, apparently.
I continued to work on my homework, him still holding my waist. I was about done when he started playing with my hair. He liked my hair, as he’s told me multiple times… I didn’t like it, but he did, so I’d leave it how it always was.
He wasn’t aware of things I did just to please him… I’m sure, he doesn’t know. I listen to what he says more than he knows, though. When he tells me he likes my outfit, I wear it once a week - especially the days I know I see him. When he tells me he likes the way my hair smells, I continue using the hair products…Just for him.
I don’t put nearly as much thought into what my parents tell me about my appearance anymore… No. He’s the only one who influences my dressing style.
I finished writing and he smiled against my neck, seeing that. I turned around in his arms and hugged him, correctly. I put my head on his shoulder while in the embrace, my breath tickling his skin. If I was looking at him, I’d be able to see the face he was surely making right now. The adorable face that showed I was, in fact, tickling him.
He made the most amazing facial expressions. He was quite like an open book and it was amazing to be able to tell his mood by just looking at him. His mood was generally happy, which was always enough to simply make me smile. He’s told me that I was the reason he’s always happy, but I don’t think that’s very truthful of him…He can keep saying it though, my opinion won’t change.
After a few peaceful moments in the hold, I pulled back to smile at him. He pushed a strand of my hair behind my ear, smiling. He cupped my cheek in his hand, murmuring the word beautiful, almost too quiet for me to hear. I scowled up at him, shaking my head, but he covered my lips with his own before I could argue. I didn’t fight the kiss, since he’d use other methods of keeping me from arguing.
We both heard footsteps coming into the kitchen, making our lips detach. Neither of my parents fancied him much, so we weren’t allowed to kiss - or touch, really - inside the house.
My dad glanced at the clock, almost smirking upon seeing it was four thirty - the time he was made to leave because dinner was served at five - and he told my boyfriend it was time to leave.
He nodded and asked me to walk him to the door, shoving his hands in his pockets. I complied, following him to the front hall. I opened the door for him, beating him to it, and he stepped outside. I was about to go back inside when he grabbed my waist. He slid both his hands into my back pockets and pulled me close for a kiss. When the innocent kiss was over, he grinned. He whispered that he loved me before skipping away.
I smiled and went inside and back to the kitchen. My dad started talking to me about something as I zoned off. I slid my hands into my back pockets while swaying in place, my eyebrows furrowing in confusion when I felt something in one of the pockets. I pulled whatever it was out of my pocket and smiled. It was a guitar pick with a turtle on it. I assumed he had slipped it into my pocket when he pulled me in for a kiss. He knew that I loved turtles. I carefully put it in my front pocket, smiling.
I love that boy.

A Child with Type 1 Diabetes Part One- Mornings

My daughter Macy is a Type 1 Diabetic. She was diagnosed at age 7 and she is now 16 years old. I have met many Type 1 adults in the last few years and it turns out the challenges my child has dealt with are exactly the same as these adults have. In ways that helps us feel better, but in other ways it is depressing as well.

A child with Type 1 Diabetes (and adults) must inject Insulin into their bodies by way of shots or an Insulin pump. There is no miracle diet or lifestyle changes that will make their Type 1 Diabetes 'heal' or go away. Anyone who says otherwise is a con-artist looking to make a buck off of another's suffering.

Type 2 Diabetes is a lifestyle and/or health issue that is due to other factors that slow down the manufacturing of insulin their Pancreas creates. Type 2 Diabetics still produce Insulin in their bodies. Just not enough to handle their glucose intake. There are oral medications and lifestyle changes that can improve their conditions. Some Type 2 Diabetics get so bad that they do have to inject Insulin into their bodies as well. They must limit glucose intake and manage their diets and activity levels to help their bodies keep up.

Parents of Type 1 Diabetic children go through a daily hell. We are strong and survive what needs to be done. But we don't get a break, ever. We must manage our child's medication, activity levels, food intake, and interactions.

Our children must interact with so many people, a large number of those people are ignorant about the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes. These people for whatever reason feel the desire to educate our children on what they are doing wrong. And in some cases actually bringing false hopes to a child. I classify this as a crime. There is nothing more heartbreaking than a child who must endure daily pain and is made to believe if they just did such and such it would all go away.

A normal morning for a Type 1 Diabetic child begins with waking up. Waking up is something everyone does, but what everyone doesn't do is battle with low blood sugars which make waking up difficult. In some cases a child doesn't wake up at all. Yes this sounds dramatic, but unfortunately many children (and adults) lose the battle with Type 1 Diabetes in their sleep. (This is referred to as Dead in Bed Syndrome.)

So my daughter wakes up and tests her blood glucose. This means a finger prick to get a drop of blood onto a test strip. If you have ever accidentally poked yourself hard enough to get a drop of blood you can understand how much this hurts. Based on what her blood glucose level is determines what she will do next. If her blood glucose is low, eating is first (even before a morning trip to the bathroom).

As parents of Type 1 Diabetics we have to try to make the healthiest choices available and encourage healthy choices. In this situation we must get our child to drink (if possible) a quick acting sugar, like orange juice or even soda. (Type 1 Diabetics may eat sugar. A very common misunderstanding people have about the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetics. Often times you will see a Type 1 child sitting over a bowl of candy. Although it's not as fun to eat when you have to.) The sugary drink doesn't always work because one of the side affects for many with a low blood glucose is being cranky. Getting our child's blood glucose up is the goal, we will make healthy choices later.

If our child is uncooperative or worse unresponsive a tube of glucose gel (or cake gel frosting since it is basically the same thing and often tastes better) is squirted slowly between their cheek and gums. The glucose (sugar) absorbs very quickly into the tissue of their mouth which will raise their blood glucose to a level that hopefully make them be more agreeable and easier to help. We try to follow the sugary drink with a snack that consists of carbohydrates, protein, and fiber. And then they must test again to make sure it has leveled out.

There are situations when Glucagon is needed. Glucagon is a hormone delivered in a shot. This hormone rapidly rises the blood glucose. Our Endocrinologist prefers to not consider it's use unless it is life or death. Very similar to an Epi-Pen it is very hard on your body and causes highs and lows to rebound all over the place for days. We have been lucky enough to not have needed to use one. We have had an ambulance come to help my daughter when she was 8 years old at daycare, but they used glucose gel and were able to help her that way.

Back to our morning. So she tests. Then after addressing whatever her blood sugar is we move on to getting dressed, packing for school, brushing her hair and teeth, and eating a normal breakfast. After eating a normal breakfast she then must figure out how many carbohydrates she ate and bolus (give herself insulin) for those carbohydrates combined with any adjustments needed based on what her blood glucose was when she tested.

Getting dressed for our daughter who uses an Insulin pump means that her clothing choices must be comfortable to her. My daughter prefers low rise jeans because her pump site is primarily on her tummy. Any waist band that rubs or even comes into contact with her pump insert is a no go. She also must have the right kind of pockets and/or belt loops to attach her pump to.

Then she packs for school. In her purse she has rapid acting glucose snacks in case of a low later in the day, her test kit (which includes test strips, lancets, alcohol swabs, the lancing device, and the actual monitor), her cell phone with a full charge (in case she needs to call home or for help), and then her other normal teen necessities. Then she must do a pump check. She must make sure she has enough Insulin for the day and enough battery life for the day. She must also pack what she will be eating for lunch. (This is one of our biggest argument areas as mother and teen daughter. My daughter would prefer to skip lunch altogether. But that's for another day) Anyway, that's a lot of things to check for and we have had many mornings that the chaos got the better of us and I got a phone call later to bring her whatever she needed and her school is 30 minutes away.

Every 2 to 3 days she must also change her pump insert and insulin reservoir. This requires filling up the reservoir with insulin (and no bubbles) and inserting a catheter like piece of plastic into her tummy. Of course there is a needle to get it in there. Sometimes it is just uncomfortable and other times it hurts like hell. When you have a good insert in you don't have problems with the tubing (similar to an IV. If you have ever had one of those I am sure you have had nurses dealing with alarms for the fluid not moving through the tubing, that happens too) or a problem with the site. Sometimes the insulin just won't flow or worse goes under the skin but not in the tissue. When these things happen you have to change the site again.

Then she leaves for the bus stop. My heart always jumps and I worry whether she has checked it all, even though I always ask. Sometimes I even send her text messages to make sure. She goes to school.

I decided to split this up into a multi post because detailing her whole day can get a bit monotonous in reading. This is just our morning ritual. There are so many things we have to worry about and be prepared for. If you have a child with Type 1 Diabetes I am sure your morning is similar. If you have a different special needs child then I am sure you go through many steps that the normal child doesn't have to deal with also.

Parents of Type 1 Diabetic children hope and pray for a cure soon. Insulin is not a cure, only life support.

Monday, February 6, 2012

"My Opinion" Weekly Topic - SuperBowl Commercials

As always, it's my opinion and I encourage all discussions on the subject. I am not interested in changing your opinion, only in sharing mine. I have no delusions about changing your way of thinking or converting you in any way.
I pride myself on being non-judgemental and accepting. With the only exception being (no, not when you disagree- keep reading) when someone tries to change my mind, is insulting, rude, judgemental to another, and/or tries to convert us to their way of thinking!

I have decided to make this a weekly blog post. No, not on the Superbowl every week. Geesh...I was thinking fun stuff and controversial stuff (to be really fun).

This week, week one, will be on the Superbowl commercials. Why? Because I love football. I watch football. I appreciate the money invested in Superbowl commercials and to be honest its the only time I don't fast forward thru them. I watched everyone of them. I have a favorite and some that I think were lame (other than those 2 that were obviously local commercials and so awful were not worthy of my time on a normal day let alone the Superbowl).

My husband rolled his eyes at me when I announced my favorite. I am pretty sure it was a "your so predictable" eye roll. And that's okay, because if I am not predictable to my husband than we have some other issues.

So let the opinions begin!

Commercials that made me laugh (in order that I recall them):

Hyundai Cheetah Commercial When it started I actually thought to myself, "get in the cage, get in the cage!" But I didn't see them going that way. I didn't think it would make me laugh. But it did.

Doritos Baby and Grandma Although I must admit I wish the baby gave a good chin kick before he went backwards to the little shit taunting Grandma and Baby. I love the little thumbs up sign Baby gives Grandma before she shots him towards the brat.

Acura NSX Seinfeld vs Leno Commercial I love The Acura NSX and I like Seinfeld. So I may be partial to this one. It did make me laugh though. LENO!

The Reinvented Camry Mostly I like this one for reinvented cops and rain...

Free To... That Tax One Another one I couldn't tell you the brand of even after searching for it. I am deranged for thinking this one is funny. Again, its the end when his sister gets back in the pool that I laughed.

M&M's I can't say why I think this one is funny, maybe its the line "Oh, its that kind a party".

I have an honorable mention because I did laugh at the end...and it's a cute dog commercial. Did I remember the brand, um nope. Took me a minute to find it because I couldn't remember the brand.
VW Dog (Vader) Commercial

Onto some of the memorable commercials that I enjoyed but didn't make me laugh (which is okay too).

I liked the Chevy Mayan end of the world commercial it was entertaining with the alien ship crash landed, destroyed huge transformer like robots, destruction everywhere...and Twinkies. But I liked it even more when I read about Ford wanting them to stop the ad because they said Fords aren't built to last. First of all truck commercials (all of them at one point or another) puts down their competition and second of all um, we don't take commercials as end all fact. Duh. Buy our stuff cause its better than anyone elses...that's what everyone says. We don't (all) believe it.

The Honda CRV commercial with Matthew Broderick in a Ferris Bueller parody is pretty neat. I love Ferris Bueller so why wouldn't I like this commercial? I am a child of the 80's and Honda has had so many lame commercials in the past. They haven definetly gotten better.

I really don't like commercials that just have scantly clad women in them...yeah it's the Superbowl and yeah millions of men are watching...but come on be a little more resourceful and creative would you?  I won't even name the ones that I disliked. But for the most part that was my reasoning.

Now, my absolute favorite commercial. Are you ready to roll your eyes at me? Why yes, I am a sappy person. I do love a good motivational piece that can be applied to every single person. My favorite (if you haven't guessed already) is Clint Eastwood's Halftime America Dodge/Chrysler/Jeep commercial.
"This country can't be knocked out with one punch..." what a great line! I will remember the brand because I was impressed with the commercial. They are so right. It is halftime America, our second half is about to begin.
It doesn't matter what religion, political party, race, or whatever you are...this commercial is 100% true for us all. Even if you haven't lost a job or haven't been financially affected by the recession our country has been fighting...you know someone who has. We are Americans, we fight for what we believe in. No matter what that belief is, we fight.

A note added 2/9/2012

How people linked this as a political ad I will never understand. Our times are so crazy that everything must be seen as an agenda. How about it was just an ad that the company wanted to put out there to raise their product visibility and send a good message? That's what I chose to believe. Whether its right or not who knows.
I do know this, Clint Eastwood is a Conservative and I highly doubt he would have done an ad that was going to be used as a pat on the back for a Liberal. I could be wrong of course, it has happened in the past.
I enjoyed his pep talk. Just like in a football game the past part of the game cannot be changed, but we can learn from it and move on. Be inspired, work hard, enjoy everything you can and live your life the best you can.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

It's A Boob and A Baby...What Are You So Afraid Of?

So, its Friday evening and I am kicking back relaxing. What that means is my three year old son is finally asleep so I can watch what I want on TV or play on my computer uninterrupted. Happy time for Mommy. I am having a lovely time and spent a little of it on Facebook. I came across a lovely picture of a new mommy feeding her baby girl. Now by my title you already know that when I say feeding her baby, I mean breastfeeding. And yes, the picture has some side boob and baby attached.

The comments attached to this lovely photo are thankfully overall positive. Which I will attribute to the fact that the people sharing the photo are sharing it because they think its lovely and it originated by someone who knows this new mommy and baby.

I am surprised by the negative comments. Not because they are negative, I expect that along with the positive comments. I am surprised because the comments are not anonymous. And lets face it, it takes a pretty brave person to wave their moron flag for all the world to see. Yep, I said moron flag. I really didn't want to argue with them on this lovely photo so I decided; Hey, I have a blog. I have been meaning to blog more. And I promised myself I would blog about things regardless of how offensive they may be to some people. So, I will use first names for the comments, their real first names. Not because I want to out or protect any one's moron flag from being identified, but because I simply don't want to get them mixed up as we go here. (although coming up with fake names would have been fun)

Oh, and those comments where someone said "I completely agree with such and such" and that was it. They don't even warrant being addressed. You have an opinion, are willing to say it out loud, but you can't come up with your own intelligent words on it? So I won't have one for you.

We will start at the beginning with negative comment number one.  Kori said, "Disgusting. Don't want to see that on Facebook".

So let me get this straight Kori, seeing a picture of a mother feed her child the way that nature intended is disgusting? Yes, you can see side boob. Yes the baby's mouth is on her mother's nipple (which you can't see). I have to disagree with you (shocking I know). I think this is the perfect place for this picture. Facebook is a social networking site for friends and families.
If a picture of a scantily clad (if that) clothed young (and often times not so young) woman with side boob, front boob, and her ass hanging out in a very suggestive pose is not considered offensive and we have to flip through those, then I can't see how this photo is disgusting. Did you post a comment on your last girlfriend's self portrait from above? Where you can see her belly button from the top of her shirt? Did you let her know that it was 'disgusting, don't want to see this on Facebook'? Yeah, didn't think so.

Negative comment number two: Jacee said, "I just don't understand why this needs to be on Facebook. I think breastfeeding is wonderful and natural, but it isn't for facebook pictures."

Jacee, somehow your comment concerns me even more than Kori's. You have made a deal with yourself that breastfeeding is natural and wonderful, however nobody needs to see it. If this picture were of mommy holding baby with a bottle in her mouth, I bet that would be acceptable to you. Why is anyone so afraid of this woman's boobs? She isn't concerned. She is happily nursing her new baby. Its not like this picture was posted in error or in a malicious manner. Have you looked in the mirror lately... with the lights on? You have boobs. Spend some time with them, they aren't scary.

Negative comment number three: Heather said, "unnecessary. I'm not even friends with this chic and her entire boob just popped up on my page. If you insist on sharing intimate photos like this then check your privacy settings! I don't choose to see your bare breast. Thank you."

Heather (not all Heather's can be awesome), first of all her bare breast and entire boob did not pop onto your page. Unless you are commenting on a completely different picture than the one on your updates. Miley Cirus showed just as much  (although she has less square footage) side boob and more in her magazine shoots. How is that acceptable over a woman feeding her child and showing some skin?
I believe that this woman is completely comfortable with her breastfeeding picture being seen, which is why her privacy settings allowed it to be shared. Your settings however are within your own control. If you do not want to see this woman's (side) breast,  then don't click on the picture to enlarge it and take the time to comment on it while staring at it. Yeah, you were staring at it...probably with your mouth open. Don't be jealous, if you ever have a baby your boobs will get bigger too. (Maybe I am onto something here...are all the women who find breastfeeding offensive just jealous because they dislike their breasts or feel they weren't blessed with enough?)

Negative comment number four: Amber said, "Absolutely beautiful thing, but this is something that should stay between you and baby. It's beautiful but should be kept private."

Amber, Amber, Amber. Amber is like Jacee
Again, if mommy was using a bottle to feed her baby Amber would feel differently. Moms who bottle feed their babies don't have people avoiding eye contact with them, they don't get all quiet and a wonderful calm environment to feed their child. Mothers who bottle feed their children quite often hold conversations with complete strangers about their child. These strangers have no problem complimenting mom on her adorable baby and asking questions. Yet the mother who is working her ass off to keep that blanket in place so as not to offend you with the sight of her breast or her child attached to her breast is in the middle of something that should not be interrupted and must remain private.
I belong to the breastfeeding moms club, although my children are all past that stage of life now. I have some very shocking news for you, we don't work so hard to keep ourselves covered for ourselves. Our modesty levels were adjusted quite abruptly during labor and delivery. Did you know that at home we don't even use a blanket? GASP! Shocking I know. Yeah that's right, we honestly could care less if you saw our breast. We work so hard so as to avoid having to deal with arrogant and ignorant people who are so uncomfortable with themselves that they are offended by a mother feeding and nurturing her child the way nature (and many might say God) intended.
Although yes, we do enjoy the quiet time with our darling baby while nursing. I would like to inform you that in public, in the nice sitting rooms Nordstroms provides, and such it is perfectly ok to make eye contact with us, it is okay to think our baby is beautiful, it is okay to hold a conversation with us. We can talk and nurse at the same time. We are like super heroes...we can do many things all at the same time.

Our final two negative comments, number five and six both come from the same person: Joey said (and I am quoting here) "awe fuck it...those are some Tig ole' bitties...okay, I feel better". And then later on down the line Joey made another comment. So lets just do these together. He also said, "aight Im look for some babymakin photos...see if all u treehuggers think if thats 'beautiful'".

First of all, I am so confused by how people communicate their comments. Joey appears to not be able to spell or speak for that matter the English language. But he punctuated ole' ? (He must have a smarter than him phone.)
We are all so relieved you feel better for getting that important comment out of your system. I am sure that nobody else, including the new mommy realized just how large her breast have gotten. What would we have done without your crude observation? It is possible that many of these negative comments are related to self esteem and breast size as I said before. When a woman has a baby and begins the breastfeeding process nature gives her bigger breasts than she had before. And its quite common for a woman's breasts to be larger than her baby's head. There is skill involved with breastfeeding, if it were easy everyone would do it.
Oh, and I think there is a very big difference between the making of a baby, which is a sexual act and the nourishing of that baby, which is a nurturing act. Most of the negative comments made by men in general regarding breastfeeding are usually tied to the inability to see a woman's breast and not react sexually. I suppose for men who are unable to separate the act of breastfeeding from being sexually attractive it may be rather embarrassing, in which case would explain the hostility they express with a woman feeding her child.
As for treehuggers? Although many mothers who do nurse their children do regard themselves as super liberal people, there are many many women who do not think of themselves as such. You don't have to be a "treehugger" to want to provide whats best for your baby. The more uptight you are the less comfortable you are with yourself. So I guess you may be more careful and less sharing of these type of moments. And that may lead to people believing that only treehuggers appreciate breastfeeding.
Fathers who are accepting, supportive, and see the beauty of breastfeeding are not all super liberal people either. Sure there are those who are, but a man who is mature and intelligent (regardless of treehugging tendencies) knows and understands how much healthier it is for his child to breastfeed, both physically and psychologically.
Thanks so much Joey, for making it clear that flying your moron flag is normal every day type of thing for you.

(And a very special shout out to Brittany who said, "I couldn't have said it better Joey"... I highly doubt that.)

Now I am going to 'out' my brother in law here because without him sharing this picture, I wouldn't be up writing this post. And I must admit, his comment made me laugh. It made me laugh because he is 100% correct and says things so very well. I love him.

My favorite positive male comment: Dustin said, "lol angry about breastfeeding pictures on Facebook. Talk about white people problems. I approve of breastfeeding and also boobs in general. You should too! They are good for you!

So if you are reading this post here on my lovely blog and you are uncomfortable or disgusted by a picture of breastfeeding or a woman who is breastfeeding in public (doing her damnedest to keep that blanket in place while baby pulls it this way and that) maybe you should look in the mirror and ask yourself why? Why are you afraid of boobies? They aren't going to get you.

If you are reading this post and do not think that breastfeeding is disgusting or needs to be completely private, welcome! I would love for you to kick back and stay awhile. The post preceding this one is a very light hearted conversation about Ninjas. You are the type of person I would love to have following and reading my blog.

Men, if you get aroused when you see a woman breastfeeding it probably means you were not breastfed as a baby. I am sorry you missed out on that. It may also stress the importance of breastfeeding our children to avoid this downfall. Hmmm.

For the woman who is reading this and completely disagrees, thinks that no one should have to see a mother nurse their baby. Not even under a blanket...because it repulses you, seek help. Please for yourself and for those poor people who have to live their lives coming into contact with you day in and day out. They are boobs, we were made this way, we were made to feed our babies with breast milk out of our boobs! There is something else going on with you if this truly bothers you and young  girls wearing next to nothing, taking pictures of themselves in the mirror, and posting them on Facebook never get your attention as unacceptable.

The toughest one is the woman who thinks breastfeeding is natural and beautiful however she thinks no one but mommy and baby should ever see it. Do you have some self esteem issues? No, seriously? Think about it, nobody has to know you stopped and thought about it. You can even leave me a nasty comment  to throw off anyone who might jump to conclusions. This is your opportunity to help yourself.
How is it more acceptable for you to look at pictures of friends, family members, strangers, and celebrities with their boobs and asses hanging out in suggestive poses? Why is a sexually alluring (well most on Facebook are not, they are just sad oh please tell me I'm pretty women who are in need of some serious attention) photo more acceptable than a mother feeding her child? And why do you care enough to leave a comment about the breastfeeding one and not the slutty pictures of your friends? Maybe it's time for a change, for yourself.

If by chance the lovely new mommy in the picture actually reads this (you don't know it could happen) Congratulations and enjoy your wonderful time with baby. Its a lovely picture.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Ninja's, Terrorists, and Comic Books Oh My!

Yesterday on the way to my doctor appointment for my messed up foot the conversation between my husband and I went something like this (you just can't make this stuff up):

Hubby: Honey, I know you want me to buy a Honda Accord for my next car, but I really think I want a Dodge Challenger.

Me: (Huge eye roll)

Hubby: What is it you don't like about the Challenger?

Me: I just don't see why you would want an unreliable vehicle that would immediatley lose more than half its value.

Hubby: Well what is it about the Honda Accord that you like so much?

Me: It's a reliable vehicle that will maintain its value.

Hubby: I just think the Dodge Challenger is more me. You know, its more who I am.

Me: (you can hear it coming can't you?) You mean your unreliable and  lose more than half your value immediately? (Yeah I actually said it with a straight face!)

Hubby: (Huge eye roll)

Me: (Now laughing uncontrollably)

Hubby: So how about we buy the Accord but they have to throw in a auction value American made sports car with it? Two for one.

Me: Many Honda's are assembled in America.

Hubby: I don't want to support terrorism. (chuckle)

Me: (laughing again) Japan doesn't have terrorists.

Hubby: Uh, yeah they do. Haven't you ever heard of Ninja's?

Me: Ninja's? Really? Ninja's aren't terrorists.

Hubby: Sure they are. They are sneaky little bastards that cause destruction, death and inspire fear.

Me: Ninja's opperate in secrecy, they don't claim responsibilty for their violence. Plus Ninja's aren't real.

Hubby: Just because they don't publically claim responsibility doesn't make them not terrorists. And they are too real.

Me: Ninja's are real? When was the last time you saw a Ninja attack? Or even heard about one on the news? No left over flying stars, no fleeing men in black...

Hubby: Did you not hear me? That's because they are sneaky little bastards!

Me: Ninja's aren't real, they are only in the movies. Like Superman and Batman.

Hubby: Superman and Batman are comic books. Ninja's are in ancient scrolls. They are real.

Me: Ancient scrolls are just another form of comic books.

Hubby: (uncontrollably laughing) So ancient scrolls are just comic books?

Me: Yep, one form or another.

Hubby: So what's the bible then? Just another form of comic books?

And I have to stop with the telling of the conversation we had at that specific point... This was a very real discussion we had on our drive. Just because laughter was free flowing doesn't make it unreal. I love my husband! And yes, he will probably start out with an 'American made' car to be replaced later with a Honda Accord when the 'American made' car breaks down repeatedly.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Bringing in the New Year...

Happy New Year to everyone! Its been a great year, plenty of ups and downs...we have been blessed with more ups than downs.

We are bringing in the new year with a football Sunday! With playoffs on the horizon The Red Zone has been on all day. We are a Steelers family (to each their own) so home field advantage would be an appreciated luxury for all Steeler fans and players.

With the exception of today's post of our Christmas newsletter I have been pretty absent on my blog. The last half of the year has flown by. For some reason my desire and ability to sit and write has waned. With the new year, I am working on being more active in my posts. I have cleaned up the clutter and eliminated the unnecessary. I even have my daughter working on a new banner for my blog. On top of that she is also working on a story she has asked to post as a guest here. I am excited to read her story and hope we all enjoy it.

For some reason I have become concerned that my opinions and the way I write may lose me followers and/or offend someone. I don't know why. To be honest, that's not a normal me thing. Somehow I will overcome this feeling. One of my new year plans is to ignore and/or overcome this feeling and get back to writing much much more. Watch out, opinionated, strong Heather will be back with a vengeance!Aha ha ha ha...

To all my friends, family, and readers... HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Our Christmas Newsletter Christmas 2011

Below is an exact copy of our Christmas newsleter we included with our Christmas cards this year. The black writing is my wonderful husbands and the blue is my comments to his writing. A lot of this my readers already know about, but since I haven't posted in so long the second half events are new. This is our twist on the common newsletter many families send out that highlights how wonderful everything is. Well in our life not everything is wonderful...but its not all bad either. Enjoy!!!

Well, it is again that time of year.  Christmas cards, family newsletters and people creating the illusion that their lives are perfect.  Well, to hell with that!  Heather and I are keeping with our wonderful tradition of the realistic family update.  And this year, like last year, she is letting me write our Christmas letter to everyone (and adding her own thoughts in the blue ink).  Like Ricky Gervais says when hosting an awards show, ‘settle in, be prepared to laugh, and say what the hell?’

 In no particular chronological order. Mostly because Doug doesn’t recall our years events in the order in which they occurred.

Heather had a couple of surgeries this year.  We won’t talk about them, but one of them resulted in NO MORE KIDS!!! (No, I didn’t get a boob job or a facelift). In celebration, I drank a cold adult beverage and did some dishes after I made dinner and vacuumed the house. Because he is the best husband in the world.

Speaking of surgeries, I finally had surgery in an attempt to fix my knees.  It didn’t work.  But I do have a nice cane collection started! We are hoping to find a surgeon soon who is willing to do the replacements for him. The argument is that a knee replacement will only last 20 years (+/-). Hello? 20 years is a long time!

So the boy, (otherwise known as Ethan [or Eator when he is in destruction mode]) figured out that laundry baskets make for great step stools (this was in January).  In an attempt to get into the cookie jar he slipped, fell, and broke his arm.  In his defense, this tactic had worked dozens of times without resulting in Heather coloring a cast to look like Buzz Lightyear’s arm. Everybody wanted one! He was very proud of his Buzz cast and showed anyone he could. Now that I am thinking of it, we really should come up with easy cast skins and patent the idea!

After Ethan’s arm was healed up he had a traumatic dental visit. Poor little guy lost 3 teeth that we had spent the last 12 months trying desperately to save. We were going to the dentist every 6 weeks for fluoride treatments in an attempt to avoid general anesthesia for him. The dentist did his very best trying to get me to believe that I had done everything I could and it wasn’t our fault. Don’t know that I will ever be able to forgive myself for his tooth issues though. So if you have seen any of Ethan’s wide smiles now you know why there is only one big top tooth in his smile. (We just had our 6 month cleaning and the good news is that he doesn’t have any cavities this time, a win for us. Since he will always be prone to tooth decay, so the dentist says. Every visit scares me!)
Tessa, our eldest daughters’ half-sister, came to visit for a few days.  Her visit was awesome and a huge surprise for the girls. One that we managed to keep for over 4 months!  The only bad part was that it was too short for our liking.  The next visit should be more permanent if you ask me. We are trying to get Tessa to move out here so we can help her go to college. We can’t afford to send her to college, but we can feed her and provide her with a place to live while she goes to school.

All four girls combined have no grades lower than a B.  That is crazy.  When I was their age, I barely pulled off C’s because I didn’t care about my grades.  Glad to know they don’t take after me in that respect. We are so proud of them for continuing to do well in school. We do not harp or even oversee homework and such. They have managed to make it a priority on their own, and that’s the great achievement. We want to keep them on track to have college degrees as soon as they possibly can.   Speaking of college degrees, on night at dinner we were talking about school since Doug is so close to obtaining his bachelor’s degree. He was telling them how important it is to have a degree and said your mother has a degree. To which Toria replied, “yeah but all she does is cook and clean. So her degree doesn’t count.” Aren’t kids wonderful? Don’t worry, every time she asks me a question (above cooking and cleaning) I respond with “how would I know? All I do is cook and clean”.  She keeps telling me it was a joke, “jeez mom!”

Victoria was selected to be on the County Youth Council. It wasn’t an easy process. There was a 6 page application, teacher recommendations, an interview, and then the school board’s approval.  She is honing her leadership skill set early!  I honestly think she is just practicing for her world domination later in life. (President Victoria Robin *****).

Haley played soccer for the first time this fall. She did well. I don’t mean she was gifted at her physical talents and scored lots of goals leading her team to a championship. What I mean is she put in a good effort, was able to ignore the butterflies on the practice field at least 60% of the time, and had fun. Her team came in 7th out of 8 teams. This was Doug’s first time at being a father in the bleachers.  Micaiah (Haley’s step-father) and he only made a referee cry once (high school ref’s). But to be fair for guy to cry that quickly, he really must have had other things going on. J
We finally got a dog.  I don’t know what kind of dog he is, so I just say he is a golden brown dog (he is a hound mix. Looks like a Bassett/Beagle face with a coon hound body).  We named him, Tucker.  Ginger (Heather’s mom) said that every picture she saw of him, he looked tuckered out (and thank goodness, with 5 kids the family dog better not be bored).  And she suggested the name (It was also one of the first suggested by Macy).  Thanks Ginger!  J It only took us 4 full days of discussions, arguments, and bickering to name him. And the kids were almost as bad. Ha ha. We did get really lucky, Tucker is a rescue pup. He is so mellow most of the time. Ethan can be laying on the floor next to him eating a piece of bacon and Tucker will just stare at me with those sad eyes, not trying to snatch the food out of Ethan’s hands. And for those times he does get rambunctious, the squirt bottle works great. I have only caught Doug squirting Ethan 3 times, so far.

So, we had another visitor this year, Ginger, (remember the dog namer ? one of) came to visit.  She made me appreciate fresh herbs growing in the kitchen.  Believe it or not, it is quite a treat when Ginger is around. (I am so very thankful that my husband and mother get along.)  Maybe now that she has the “retired mobile”, we will get to see more of her (and John, her wonderful husband)!  J

Macy wore something that wasn’t purple.  No, seriously, it was a Tuesday.  Any day she doesn’t wear something purple is a calendar worthy event. (Yes, she is still diabetic. I get that question believe it or not. Many people don’t understand that once you have type 1 diabetes, you have it forever. She has been doing well with it though. Our big challenge has been low blood sugars in the morning, she can’t wake herself up and has had diabetic seizures. They are very scary! I am sure many of you have seen all of my diabetic awareness information on Facebook. The FDA is working on the approval of the artificial pancreas! It’s very exciting, even if it is still years away.

Heather started a garden this year.  I built her two huge planter boxes out of 2X6’s, stacked 4 high.  Her garden is about 24 square feet.  We got about 6 cherry tomatoes out of the whole lot.  WINNING!  Hahaha. They are wonderful boxes. We grew more than 6 cherry tomatoes, but I will agree that I need some gardening knowledge. I am hoping this next year will be better.

Ethan is officially allergic to peanuts. He went through the allergy testing at the beginning of this year. Regardless of how that sounds, it wasn’t all that fun. We now have to carry an epi-pen everywhere. So far peanuts haven’t been completely banned from the house. I made a deal with the girls and Doug. As long as they treat anything with peanuts in it like they would Drano, then it can stay. So now we have type 1 diabetes, asthma, and a peanut allergy in our home.

Ethan and Haley got a huge play structure thing with a fort, slide, rock wall, swings and a cabin.  I decided to put it together the day before I had surgery. While working on it I managed to lop off the top of my finger in the process.  My loving wife bandaged me up and opened the door for me and said, “Get back to it”.  Needless to say I didn’t finish it before I went under the knife. So I hired an incompetent handy man.  (Though, I didn’t know he was incompetent when I hired him.)  I had 1/3 of it put together in 4 hours with one hand.  It took these guys over 16 hours to finish it, and they didn’t even fully finish.  Haley and Ethan love it though, and the other kids get to enjoy it too.  When they come out of their rooms on those oh so rare occasions and go outside that is. The swing set was for Haley and Ethan’s birthday. There was a lot of combined help from grandparents which we really appreciated. Our next goal is to build a fence. Once we have a fence I won’t have to worry so much. That’s what I do, I worry.

Victoria started “dating” this boy Greg last year.  They are still “dating”. It’s very weird to me. Haley has 2 or more boyfriends at any given time. Jessie has yet to meet a boy worthy of her time and Macy, well Macy isn’t too impressed with the local choices. Daddy needs a shotgun! Greg is a good kid and he has a nice family, but it is scary to have Toria dating the same boy for over a year.

The Steelers lost the superbowl.  L Ah, it was still fun to watch.

Ethan has taken to stealing Heather’s Iphone and plays on YouTube all day long.  If she has ignored all of your calls since March, that is why. He is amazing on my iphone. He can navigate youtube and play games, while he does all of that we have an opportunity to watch things like football. I just received my new iphone from Fed-ex today. The ringer hasn’t worked in over 6 months. So, that could be another reason I may have missed your call. I am so excited to have a completely working phone! Give me a call.

Speaking of phones, Jessica’s phone committed suicide.   It jumped into a toilet. I laughed really hard until Heather reminded me that it costs money to replace it.  J then L  We are still working on getting that replaced, maybe for Christmas. Thankfully we have insurance on all of them. So it’s just a $50 fee to replace that one. We do need to get Macy a new phone, she has had the same one for over 2 years. That deserves a fancy new one (well no smart phones, yet.)

This next one I will never understand.  All the women in the house have colored their hair at least 6 times this year.  Pinks, Blues, Greens, Whites, Blondes, Purples…..  Yet I can’t find a nice shade of grey. Yes, we played with hair color. It’s much better than body piercings and/or tattoos. At least it slowly washes out. Jessie’s hair was my favorite, all of her hair was smurf blue. Haley has pink streaks in the front and for some reason it has lasted forever. Thankfully it’s adorable and it matches her personality.

The two movies that Heather and I saw this year were Cars 2 and Cowboys vs Aliens.  Both were amazing!  We don’t go to the movies very often, it’s just too expensive. For the cost of 2 tickets we can buy the movie when it comes out and everyone can watch it as many times as they want. Cars 2 was Ethan’s first movie. He loved it almost as much as the popcorn and soda he worked on during the whole movie.
As a father’s day gift, I got to go to the Baltimore Comicon, VIP style, where I met Stan Lee.  Stan Lee created the X-Men, Spiderman, Avengers and thousands of other comic book characters.  I got some memorabilia signed and my picture taken with him.  Doug wasn’t the only one who got the VIP service. His truck might as well as had its own room for the parking charges he incurred. But he had fun and got to do something he has always wanted to. Can’t get much better than that for a Father’s day gift.

And now I have saved the best for last.  The coup de resistance.  My adoption of Macy, Victoria and Jessica went through!   I am so very happy about this!  They are mine in heart, spirit, law and name!  We still haven’t gotten their new birth certificates yet. I envision one elderly lady in a back corner, who is responsible for all birth certificate corrections/changes in California (hopefully before they turn 18 we will have the right ones). It was a huge relief to have the adoption final. The girls did very well with their name change. Everyday for the first few weeks they would come home with a new way to make fun of ‘*****’. There wasn’t one that Doug hadn’t heard before. We are still working on Tessa. Doug told her she was welcome to change her name too. I think Tessa ***** has a lovely ring to it.

Well, that is about it for this year.  As always, have a nice day, holiday that is! We love you and miss you all. Have a wonderful holiday season!

~Douglas, Heather, Macy, Victoria, Jessica, Haley, Ethan and Tucker ~
P.S. We would have included Tessa’s name here, but she went back to California and didn’t stay…. Yet… J