Friday, December 14, 2012

December 14th

Tonight is the eve of Livie's 3rd birthday.
Tonight I hugged my kids a little tighter.
Tonight I was thankful that it's "just diabetes".
Tonight I put together Livie's 3rd birthday video and shed a lot of tears,
Tears over all we've been through and all we've accomplished this past year.
Tears over not knowing if she'll remain diabetes-free in future photos.
Tears because the time is going by too fast.
But mostly tears for the children who are no longer with us and will never see another birthday again.
It was very bittersweet making this video tonight.
Happy 3rd Birthday, my Livie Love.

The professional photos in this video were taken by a photographer who's grown to become my friend, Amy Fink at Belliveau Photography.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Christmas officially arrived at the McMomma House on Thanksgiving resulting in a new holiday:
I finally gave in this year and figured everyone else does it, I might as well join in.
We have a fake tree (I'm a practical gal if you haven't figured that out already) so we popped that bad boy up the morning of Thanksgiving and I hung up a snow berry wreath scented ornament for all of you out there whose immediate response was:
But what about the SMELL???
As far as experience, my kids think a pop-up pre-lit tree is way cool. Maybe all of you out there who drag your kids to a real Christmas Tree farm are the ones missing the fake tree experience.
Ever think about that?
She can decorate and throw sass at the same time
Thanksgristmas Outfits

And then it was time to give wearing politically incorrect paper feathered headdresses, painted macaroni noodle necklaces and eating way too much turkey.
My girls have yet to appreciate Thanksgiving food, so it was pretty easy to bolus for a dinner consisting of olives, cucumbers, turkey, grapes and frozen peas. YUM.

I'm thankful for an awesome wife...and my ability to grow facial hair.
 I'm thankful for Tickles who caught multiple mystery lows Thanksgiving week...and that Movember is almost over.
I'm thankful for frozen peas and diet Hansen's soda...and that Movember is almost over.
I'm thankful for raisins...and that Movember is almost over.
 In all seriousness, what am I thankful for? Well, in addition to what I've mentioned before, I'm thankful that we're on THIS side of the year...10 months into life with diabetes and not on the other side of the year...brand new to diabetes and overwhelmed by the enormity of it all.
To wrap up the Thanksgristmas season, we made salt dough ornaments COVERED in glitter.
Which made an absolute mess.

She's very careful with the placement of glue
Livie is not so careful...with she is shaking the glitter off of her cookie and onto the floor that Domestic Divo had just also somehow ended up in her hair...and pretty much all over her...
But the finished product made it all worth it.

Home-made gifts are the best, I say. Especially when they leave little bits of glitter around that remind you of the holiday season all year long.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Ain't nothin' but a G4 thang, baaaaabay!

One, two, three and to the fo'
UPS man is knockin' at the do'
G4 ready to make an entrance, so back on up
[Cause you know we 'bout to rip 'betes up]

Gimme the receiver first, so I can get it charged
Dexcom and Omnipod together, now you know we livin' large
Ain't nothin' but a G4 thang, baaaaabay!
To make this Momma go craaaaazay!
Our Dexcom G4 Platinum arrived Monday.
Ella ripped it open like a package on Christmas Day
And immediately named it....Tickles...after its color "Tickled Pink."
I have yet to figure out how to make this appropriate in public.
"Mom....Tickles is vibrating and I feel high"
Anyhow, as soon as Tickles was charged up, we slapped the new transmitter on her and anxiously waited 2 hours for Tickles to go through her wetting phase...
Some of you will remember that we tried out the Dexcom7 (aka G3) but very quickly learned that we didn't work well together. She was wrong...a lot. Which lead to more blood sugar checks. And Ella was always leaving her here or there so she always gave me the "out of range" reading. I think we used her for about 2 weeks before we packed her up and put her out of sight.
So obviously I had reservations about paying $399 to upgrade to the G4, but I figured I had 30 days to try it out and return it if I didn't like it. Plus once Ella saw they had a pink one, she was "tickled" - nice marketing scheme, Dexcom.
Too bad you don't offer it in lime green or I might get one for myself just cuz.
We've been bonding with Tickles (Yeah...) for about 5 days now and I have to say I am in love. 
Here's my top 5 reasons why:
1. Accuracy - Other than some minor drifting that was happening around 8pm at night, Tickles has been darned accurate when Ella's in-range or high. There's still a lag when Ella's in the hypo range, so we set the hypo alert at 90 which is working better for us.
2. Range - Ella was HORRIBLE at keeping the G3 within 5 feet, which is probably why it was always so inaccurate. Tickles can be left on the kitchen counter and Ella can wander through the house and it will still pick her up. Right now I'm downstairs and she's sleeping upstairs and I'm watching a post-pizza high come down rather nicely on the color screen. G4 range is 20 feet, we've had it still working at around 50 feet when in an open area like at a park or outside.
3. The pretty ring tones. Seriously. I love that I know if Ella's high or low based on the pretty ring tone that either goes up or down.
 4. Size - the G4 receiver is much smaller and far superior to the egg-shaped G3 receiver. But would someone PLEASE make a rubber cover for Tickles (Yeah...see what I mean???) so I don't live in fear of Ella dropping it on the tile floor?
5. Ella loves it because it's pink and it looks a nano. Which makes me less likely to have to nag her about where it is.  
It's like this and like that and like that and uh
It's like that and like this and like that and uh
It's like this, the G4's the CGM with the most.
So jus' chill, 'til the next blog post.
PS - I blogged about my love affair with the G4 all on my own. I wish Dexcom would pay me for this...or at least send me a few free sensors on the side.
PPS - This is just our own unique experiences with the G3 and the G4. My results were not obtained via a well-designed and statistically significant clinical trial and most certainly would not qualify for a peer-reviewed scientific journal article. If you're interested in real results, I suggest you start here.  
PPPS - My sincere apologies to Snoop Doggy Dog and Dr. Dre

Friday, November 16, 2012

Thankful Trees

I am not a big fan of Standard Time.
I do not like that it gets dark at 5:30pm.
Mostly because I don't know what to do with the kids between dinner and bedtime if they can't play outside.
They love being outside. They will play for hours outside.
They fight A LOT when they are couped up inside.
So tonight I kept them busy with a craft:
Making Thankful Trees.
Livie's Thankful Tree
I did all of the cutting & writing.
Livie did all of the decorations & gluing.
When I asked her what she was thankful for, this is what she said:
Friends, Family, Almond Milk, Pizza,
This Pencil, Broccoli, Trees, My Life, Do not Let Your Heart Be Troubled.

That last one was a memory verse she learned about 4 weeks ago for Wednesday night church.
I couldn't believe she remembered it.

It's a good verse to be thankful for - it's something I need to recite every day.
"Do not let your heart be troubled. Trust in God and also in Me." John 14:1
Ella's Thankful Tree
Ella made this all by herself.
Did you see the leaf in the lower right of the photo?
I'm thankful for Diabetes Friends, too.
I don't know how I would have made it through this year without some of you.
And I don't even know a lot of you in real life!
And a lot of you don't even know me...or even know of my existence!
But when Ella was first diagnosed, I stayed up for HOURS reading blogs.
Reading and reading and reading and reading.
And thinking to myself:
Huh...these people seem happy.
If they're happy living with this, it means I can be happy living with this.
These people are funny, too.
You can still be funny and live with diabetes.
There is a light at the end of this dark tunnel!
Ella's also thankful for Family, Love, Life, Air, Best Friends Forever, Delight & Peace.
When she was done making her tree, she declared that every tree needs a star at the top.
My Thankful Tree
I didn't make a Thankful Tree.
Mostly because I was still cleaning up the kitchen from dinner while at the same time trying to keep Livie from cutting herself with scissors and gluing her fingers together.
But if I were to make a Thankful Tree, it would have a lot of the same things I was thankful for last year:
 My Family, Friends, Health, My job, My home...
With the addition of some new items like:
Insulin, Afternoon Naps, Glucose Meters, Access to Plenty of Blood Glucose Strips, My awesome Pediatrician, A good Health Care Plan, Crystal Lite, Insulin Pumps, Endocrinologists, CDEs, Nurses, Starburst, Skittles, Almond Flour, School Health Techs, Friends for Life Conferences (who's going in 2013?), Camp Conrad-Chinnock, Diabetes Friends, JDRF, Sansum Diabetes Research Institute, Dr. Faustman, DOC, Diabetes Research Institute...and on and on and on...
All too often throughout this year I've found myself dwelling on what we lost when Ella was diagnosed. Or dwelling on what we might lose if Livie gets diagnosed as well.
Then the other day I read this post from Moments of Wonderful 
and watched the documentary at the bottom of this post about Life for a Child.
And I felt like I'd been hit upside the head.
I complain about the 1 hour drive I have to take on the PCH Highway along California's Malibu Coastline to get to Ella's Endocrinologist.
Meanwhile, a little girl in another country walks 4 to 6 hours on a dirt path to get to a bus to see her doctor or get medical supplies.
I complain about having to deal with the online pharmacy when they ship me not 6, but 5 vials of insulin.
Meanwhile there are people who travel hours to get just 1.
I complain about the $100 copay for a 3-month supply of insulin or a 3-month supply of test strips.
Meanwhile there are people dying because they can't afford the medical supplies they need.
I need to stop complaining.
Yes, having a child with diabetes sucks and I think, once in a while, I'm allowed to vent.
Having 2 kids diagnosed with diabetes would suck a lot.
But I need to stop dwelling on what we lost or what we might lose and start being thankful for what we have.
Because we have a lot to be Thankful for.
Life for a Child Documentary Part 1:
Life for a Child Documentary Part 2:

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

November 14th: World Diabetes Day

Last year on this day I didn't know that...
  • Frederick Banting discovered Insulin
  • November was diabetes awareness month
  • November 14th was World Diabetes Day
  • Blue was the official diabetes color
  • A blue circle was the international symbol for diabetes
  • My daughter would be diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in 70 days
I've learned a lot in 11 months.
One of the favorite things I've learned is how to make diabetes fun & special for Ella.
So here's how we did our very first World Diabetes Day.
Last night Ella stayed up late decorating postcards for World Diabetes Day Postcard Exchange.
I put Domestic Divo & his mostache to work, too.
 Ella found and used every single rhinestone in our craft drawer. Each postcard got gaudier glitzier and glitzier until I'm pretty sure the last one weighed at least a pound.
By the way - if by some miracle you happen to read this blog AND you are the recipient of one of these beauties, please leave me a comment because that would be awesome.
First thing this morning we mailed our postcards. The people at the post office assured us they would make it through, rhinestones and all. Then they charged us more for the super glitzy one.
I wore blue from head-to-toe and slapped blue ribbons on Ella & Livie.
If you ask Livie what it stands for, she'll tell you it's to celebrate Ella's Diabetes.
You rock, Livie.
I snapped this photo of me in my office wearing blue and posted it for this special little girl we met at diabetes camp - Julia - hope you felt the blue love!!!
After work, I grabbed a bouquet of flowers for Ella and picked up a pack of  Pillsbury Crescent Rolls to go along with dinner.
This doesn't sound like much to you, but Ella used to love to eat Pillsbury Crescent Rolls filled with chocolate chips.
She hasn't had one since diagnosis.
After dinner we watched "This is America, Charlie Brown."
Next year I hope to do more.
Next year I hope to be organized enough to get Ella's school involved with wearing blue.
Next year I hope to do an activity with her classmates and educate them about Diabetes.
Next year I will ask all of my friends & family members to wear blue and send photos to Ella throughout the day.
Next year I'll do more.
But this year...our first year...
just seeing the smile on Ella's face holding a bouquet of yellow tulips (draped in her arms like Ms America) and how she gleefully shoved two 16-carb-each chocolate-filled refined flour crescent rolls in her mouth...
well, that was enough for me. 
More importantly, it was enough for her.  

Monday, November 12, 2012

Drinking for Diabetes

November is Diabetes Awareness Month.
I was not aware of this last year.
This time last year my biggest challenge was trying to get Livie to not eat paint...
or trying to convince Domestic Divo to shave off the Mostache he grew for Movember.
In case you're wondering, YES, he's growing it again this year and would love any support...
But this year I am all too aware that November is Diabetes Awareness Month.
Inspired by the fun time (I'm not kidding - the girls thought it was a blast) the girls had during our backyard clean-up day and the sheer giddiness they experienced getting paid $22 for recycling our glass, aluminum and plastic beverage containers, Ella decided to raise awareness locally while at the same time raising money for Diabetes Research by promoting what we are calling
Where we ask people to DRINK UP, save their recyclable beverage containers and give them to us. At the end of the month we'll sort them, take them to the recycle center and donate the money to a Diabetes Research Organization of our choice. We haven't settled on one yet...there are just so many out there we want to support...feel free to leave your suggestions and reasons why.
We made up some flyers and hit the neighborhood. Not only did we educate a lot of people about Type 1 Diabetes, but we also met a lot of super cool people that live right down the street from us. One lady even invited us in and showed us lots of photos of her family and grandkids and said she would recruit them to start saving cans for us, too!
We've also shared this with local family, friends, co-workers and facebook contacts and have collected several HUGE bags and have been promised lots more.
I can't WAIT to see my side yard FULL of bags of stinking old beer & soda cans at the end of the month.
I mean, really, what better reason to DRINK UP than DIABETES?
Even if it is just a Diet Coke.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Pumpkin Patch - The highs and the lows

 Ella's been fighting a cough & sore throat.
According to her pediatrician, her right tonsil is "HUGE and red" but not strep.
So naturally we've been fighting high BGs.
Huge red tonsil aside, it was the first day Ella was feeling decent and it was the last day before Halloween for us to go to the pumpkin patch.
The girls had a great time picking out the "perfect pumpkin"...
Climbing the hay stack...

And getting lost in the hay maze.
So imagine my surprise when, after battling high BGs for the last several days, Ella says:
MOM - I'm STARVING and feel WEAK.
Meter count-down
When, oh WHEN will she start feeling low in the 60's ???
I shoved 3 Starbursts (Ella's current favorite low-buster) in her mouth and snapped this photo.
I think you can see the bulge of the starbursts in her cheeks if you look closely.

Disclaimer: I know I'm supposed to give her 15 carbs of fast-acting glucose. But I know my kid. I know my kid can fully chew and swallow and function at 35 - crazy, but true. And I know that 1 carb will bring her blood sugar up 10 bings. So 3 Starburst should have her sitting pretty somewhere around 135 - 160. This works for my kid. It may not work for yours.
And then she inhaled some stale Annie's bunny crackers that I had crammed in the back of my car from LAST YEAR's school emergency supply kit.
She was so ravenously hungry she didn't seem to mind.
I think she recovered quicker from the low than I did from the shock after learning the price of the pumpkins.
I'm there a squash shortage I don't know about?
 Because $45 for 3 pumpkins and one spaghetti squash just seems outrageous to me.
But it's not like I'm going to make my kids cry in the middle of the pumpkin patch by tossing out the perfect pumpkins they spent over 20 minutes searching for to tell them start over just so Momma can save five bucks.  
 Really??? $45 ????
My kids had better bust out some serious carving skillz on these pumpkins.
And they'd better contain some tasty seeds, too.
And some punk kid had better not even THINK about smashing my $45 pumpkins tomorrow night.
Happy Halloween Eve.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Screw You, Diabetes: We Did Disneyland

I posted a while ago about getting diabetes "firsts" out of the way during our first annual
Screw You, Diabetes Summer o'Fun
This past weekend we checked another "first" off of our list:
Over the summer, the family we went to Diabetes Camp at Camp Conrad Chinnock and had an amazing time.
Last Saturday night, the camp was hosting their annual fundraiser at the Disneyland Hotel Convention Center so we were able to get discounted conference rates to the Disneyland parks and the Disneyland hotel while raising money for a good cause.
We hit California Adventure on Friday. Ella's blood sugars ran in the 200's and 300's ALL DAY LONG (due to the excitement??) but it didn't stop us from having an amazing day.
Toy Story Mania
(I beat Domestic Divo with a whopping score of 240,000 hits & made him cry)
 Ready to ride the big Ferris Wheel

Next time I think I'll stand in the "non-swinging" gondola line.
And when Ella had a high blood sugar...
(don't you love when they wipe the blood on their clothes?)
...little sister Livie was there to give her a rest in the stroller.

Blood sugar at 330? No problem, sissy...take a rest. I'll push you.
Saturday day we decided to stay at the hotel and enjoy the remodeled pool area.
We love Mickey!
Exactly what is this kid doing?
And Saturday night we got gussied up to hit the Fundraiser Event
Where I didn't take very many pictures because the Jalapeno Cheese-filled pretzel I ate at Car Land on Friday didn't sit well with my stomach.
Yeah...I just admitted that.
In the end, we raised $200,000 to provide support & assistance for children and families affected with diabetes and to maintain the facility at Camp Conrad-Chinnock.
THAT, folks, is what it's all about.
Sunday we spent 14 exhausting magical hours at Disneyland where the kids hit every single Fantasy Land Ride and Ella discovered her love of roller coasters, experiencing Big Thunder Mountain and Matterhorn for the first (and second...and third...and fourth) time.
 Popsicle so cold my tongue froze to it...but I'm still smiling!
 31 Carbs of Deliciousness
 13th hour and still going strong...
I think we finally wore them out!
So there you have it, folks, the continuation of our "Screw You, Diabetes Summer o'Fun"
And yeah, we rocked it. And yeah, we had some high blood sugars. But look at the JOY on their little faces. Diabetes will NEVER take away that joy. Not as long as I'm alive.
In case you're keeping track, still on our list:
  • First trip to pumpkin patch (on the books for next week!)
  • First Halloween Candy Fun (October 31st, here we come!)
  • First Water Park Adventure...ummm...does the Disneyland slide count? No?
  • First Christmas Cookie Eating (December's right around the corner)
  • First trip to the snow/ski school (Booked! December 8th with Riding on Insulin)
  • First Sleep-over....ummmm....maybe 2013?

Sunday, October 14, 2012


I admit it.
I was getting a little too comfortable.
A little too cocky.
A little too big for my britches.
Ella's numbers had been cooperating. I think I actually said to Domestic Divo:
Huh. Weird. I don't think I've seen a number above 200 in a few days.
Then, last night, after a party full of carbs & cake, Ella was 148 at 9:00pm and I think I actually said to Domestic Divo:
Yeay. We rocked that one.
Then, at 11:00pm the madness started:
Omnipod said HIGH for the first time since diagnosis.
Well, hello there.

The accu-check gave us a number we could actually work with:
Now since this pod had been working beautifully for the past 2 day, I chalked it up to
and gave her an injection because she comes down quicker at night if I do an injection.
The rest of the night went like this:
1:00am: 299. Sweet. Another injection.
3:00am: 139. Sweet. Let it Ride
6:00am: 63. I'll take it. Pod MUST be working...a little too good...toss her a roll of smarties.
7:30am:  201. Hmmmm.... one roll of smarties shouldn't have brought her up THAT much.
Breakfast. Bolus.
9:13am: 305. Yeah....I think it's time to wave the white flag and do a pod change.
9:30am:  POD CHANGE
The rest of the day went like this:
I mean, really, have you ever seen such AWESOME numbers?
The 422 at 1:47pm I chalked up to:
Well, we MUST have accidentally been given the full sugar snow cone instead of the sugar free snow cone.
As obviously evidenced by the 370 a mere 1 hour later.
The correction MUST be working. This pod MUST WORK.
So imagine my surprise when, 2 hours post correction, she was back up to 436.
Again, I waved the white flag and admitted defeat. I told Ella we needed to do another pod change. She protested. I told her it was either a pod change or a Lantus injection. That seemed to work because she said:
POD Change. I will not Lantus Win!!
She hates Lantus.
And now, at 7:00pm, she's down to 330.
I never thought I'd be so happy to see 330.
Please let this pod change work.
I promise to never get cocky again.
I promise to never get too big for my britches again.
I promise that, despite a few good days of blood sugars, I will not forget that I am not the one in charge.
I promise to never forget that the second I do forget, diabetes will remind me by giving me this:

And I promise to remember to not beat myself up because...

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Saturday Work Day

My yard was starting to look like Sanford & Son Salvage...less antiques, more junk...
So I declared today a Saturday Work Day. No one was exempt.
The littles helped sort recyclables:
While the bigs (well, mostly Domestic Divo) got to work on the rest of the yard which looked like this:
Side yard
Garden box that hasn't been planted in 3 years
The "where everything ends up" corner
Messy backyard
Messy back of house
And by 2:00pm, our Sanford and Son Backyard has now been replaced with:
And I've got photos to prove it:

Side Yard
Garden Box
The once previous disastrous corner

Clean Backyard
Clean Back of House
The girls even earned $22 cash for recycling all of those bottles & cans.
We decided to add it to our "Cash for Cure" jar.

Now that the yards are all cleaned up and all of the recycle containers empty, I guess this means I need to go drink something so we can earn more $$ for a cure.
Oh, the sacrifices I make.