Thank you, American Girl Dolls.

American Girl Dolls have been around for a very long time, since I was a little girl. The website says they launched in 1986 which makes the company, and their cherished dolls, a solid 30 years old. Amazing. The nostalgia washes over me just thinking about it. I remember wanting one so badly. I had read all the books about Samantha, she was my favorite, born in 1904, she was a charming girl with big dreams. Brought up in a very wealthy setting she refused to let anything stop her from being her true self. She climbed trees and ruined her beautiful gowns for the fun of it. At least that’s what I imagined. I adored her and her stories. I begged my mom and dad for her but they always said no. Perhaps price had a lot to do with it.

Soon I grew out of my doll phase and ventured on to other things.

When I had a daughter of my own and she began playing with dolls I found my way back to American Girl. Only this time they were better. This time you could customize them to look exactly like you. Find accessories that matched your interests and hobbies. A feature I never knew about when I was growing up. What a fantastic idea. Why wouldn’t a little girl want a best friend who was exactly like them, or maybe, exactly like someone they knew.

My daughter fell in love with the one that Santa brought her one spectacular Christmas morning. And in amazement she gasped at the fact that it looked just like her. Same soft brown hair, same big brown doll baby eyes, same sweet smile. She said it was like looking in a mirror and I could see the joy stream across her face. That feeling I had held in my heart for so long, yearning for a doll of my very own, was transformed into this beautiful moment watching my daughter play with hers. I thought nothing could be better. Until American Girl surprised us all…

Recently I had heard they’d come out with a line of dolls and accessories that helped to include girls who might be a little extra special. From darling little girls who might need hearing aids, service dogs, eye glasses, or even girls who might need that perfect companion while dealing with permanent or temporary hair loss. They have you covered. What touched my heart and hit so very close to home was their diabetes kit. As some of you might know I have been a type one diabetic for 10 years now. All of my daughters life she’s seen me check my blood sugar, give insulin injections, and overall care for a disease that can be overwhelming and tedious. I thought, wouldn’t’ it be neat to see her interact with these little tools herself.

So, my sister in law who was recently at an official American Girl store purchased a few accessories for my daughter. A soccer kit, because my daughter is a soccer super star, reading glasses, because we just found out that she needs them, and a diabetes kit, because diabetes is a big part of her life, too.

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It turns out, she was thrilled. She came downstairs this morning to tell me that she’d found out her doll was a diabetic. Shes a soccer playing, glasses wearing, diabetic.

“She’s just like me and you, mom!”

I explained to her what every little thing was and I watched as she checked her dolls blood sugar. We laughed about the orange glucose tablets, they aren’t my favorite, but her doll likes them so I can just give mine to her. I watched as she hugged her doll closely and told her that it was okay because her mom was a diabetic and she’ll help us figure it all out. And then I heard her squeal with excitement about it. Diabetes wasn’t some daunting thing. It was normal, and okay, and accepted.

For that brief moment while I listened to her explain to her doll what diabetes was I wasn’t ashamed of my disease, I wasn’t afraid of the complications, I wasn’t saddened. I was happy, I was proud, and I was a teacher. I’d never felt that way about diabetes before. My daughter wasn’t ashamed, or afraid, or saddened. She was overjoyed. She was happy to share with me and her doll a piece of her life that makes her and this whole family who they are. They are related to a type one diabetic, and it’s okay.

So, thank you, American Girl Dolls. For putting the hope, the love, and the excitement back in my heart and making it grow even deeper in my daughters heart. It means more than you will ever know to see my little one being so tender and caring with her doll and her diabetes. It lets me know that I am doing a good job.

Another huge thank you goes out to my Sister in Law for buying the kit for my daughter. Diabetes isn’t some horrible thing and you all make me feel so much better about it.

 

The Low Carb Life

When I was younger I ate what I wanted whenever I wanted. My parents would try to be strict with food but it didn’t phase me much. I was always a curvier girl and didn’t start leaning out until after highschool. After my diagnosis I thought maybe it was time to start changing my eating habits…

I didn’t, but it’s the thought that counts, right?

I suppose I didn’t really understand at the time the correlation between my diabetes and food. I didn’t quite get how they went together. This led to many highs and lows in my weight, my diabetes management, and my idea of self. Now that I am a bit older I am listening, understanding, and researching so much more. I started looking into this low carb lifestyle. So many of my diabetic friends do low carb high fat and I figured if it worked for them I should, at the very least, give it a try.

I cut out soda, bread, junk food, and red meat for the most part. I started slow with more fresh fruit and veggies. More fish and chicken. Less fried. It was a struggle at first especially since I didn’t see a need to make everyone jump on board. I encourage healthy eating but I still let the kids snack. My daughter still has pizza and Chinese food. But I also make it a point to add veggies and salads to the menu.

So I guess the main struggle was jealousy. I wanted that pizza, that hamburger with the bun, that donut. I told myself over and over that I didn’t need it though. For dessert I started grabbing for the raspberries or black berries with a little whip cream to satisfy my sweet tooth. Over the past month and a half it has improved my energy levels, my overall health, and my outlook on things in general. It started getting progressively easier and now here I am. Looking up recipes and enjoying all my fruit. Not even thinking about looking back. My recent endo appointment confirmed that this new lifestyle is the way to go. My cholesterol is down a significant amount. My weight is slowly coming down and my a1c is awesome. How can I complain or gripe now?

The proof is in the pudding…

I know low carb isn’t for everyone but I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a little change. I recently tried this amazing chicken and black bean chili. It was only 18 carbs for one cup of it. So yummy, so filling, and didn’t hurt my blood sugars one bit. I am more and more impressed with this every day. The fact that I need less insulin and my numbers have improved amazingly. Look out low carb, because I’m sticking around.

What lifestyle changes have you tried? Were they successes? Or did you hit a few obstacles? I know I have hit that wall plenty of times. Don’t give up. Keep going. Because you are stronger than you think. Much love, friends.

It’s time for living.

warm summer days

Sometimes I feel bad for not blogging as much as I used to, or as much as I hoped I would. This was supposed to be an outlet for me to vent, connect, and all around work on my writing. Then, life happened. My oldest was in school all day, and my husband worked long hours so I figured blogging would be perfect for me. Then I had my son and that threw my world upside down. It wasn’t quick and easy lifestyles anymore. It was on the floor rolling around with a crawling baby while the laundry sat and the dishes piled up. It was reading “That’s not my monster” books over and over again to my almost one year old while trying to make dinner for everyone. Now he is fifteen months old and showing no signs of stopping. I love his energy and enthusiasm. I beg him to share it with me but no luck so far. My daughter plays sports so we’re gearing up for that soon. My husband has an even busier job life now and so I am left manning the ship that is home life.

It can be tough.

No complaints but I will say that at times I feel as though I get the back burner a lot. Not because anyone puts me there. I put myself there. It’s easier. I can get so much done when I am not worried about if I am eating, showered, or when I put my last clean shirt on. So, I have been making it a point to do things for me. I am going to church more and more now. I have been taking classes at the local parish so that I can convert to Catholicism. It’s been a truly eye opening experience. Come Easter Sunday this little journey that I started in August of 2015 will be coming to an end and I will be fully Catholic. Something that I thought about, prayed on, and discussed with many people. Something that I did for me, and I am proud of. I will also be trying to blog a lot more. I think it’s so important to take time out for yourself so that you can keep the sanity. Happy wife happy life, am I right?

Other things I started for me was living a healthy lifestyle. I have dieted in the past and then given up because I lacked discipline really. I lacked enthusiasm. Now I am giving it a go again. The difference this time is that I am taking baby steps instead of trying to leap into this new thing. I’ve slowly been exercising and not beating myself up if I can’t always get to it. I’ve also started low carb eating. Not starving myself, and not sacrificing taste. I have done my research and and done corrections for what works best for me and the way I live. I’ve cut out soda, bread, red meats (for the most part), no more junk food, or “comfort” food really. And, I can say that I am seeing the results. Which is an even bigger incentive to keep at it. Aside from losing 4 pounds, which isn’t nearly as much as I’d hoped, there are other positives. My cholesterol is down almost 200 points. This is beyond amazing because it was getting very serious. My vitamin D is good. My a1c is back to where it should be. And overall I am feeling so much better. My endo is slightly concerned with my thyroid but she wants to wait it out a bit before we take action. She’s hoping that this after pregnancy phenomenon that happens sometimes will kick itself out of my system. Until then we are keeping an eye on it. It’s sort of cliche to say it but this year is turning into the year of me. A healthier me. And I am very excited about it.

I am taking the time to care for me in every way possible. I hope you are doing the same. It’s easier to put ourselves last but not better. What are you doing for you lately?

 

 

JDRF One Walk

I am so happy and proud to be participating in my third walk for diabetes. It is such an amazing feeling to be supporting this cause but also to connect with so many others affected in some way, shape, or form by this disease. It’s truly overwhelming.

Normally when fundraising I turn to close friends and family to donate. I gather up my little walk team primarily made up of my husbands family and we get together to make t-shirts and just have an all around fun time. I typically raise anywhere between $200-$400 dollars which means a lot to me because I know that every single cent counts.

This year I teamed up with Buffalo Wild Wings in my local town and held my first ever fundraiser there. 10% of every diners bill went towards JDRF and my walk team. How cool is that? I won’t know until the end of the week what was raised but how incredible to know that just purchasing a meal that day would be helping so many people, funding all sorts of research for a medical break through..or a cure. So many people showed up and supported the cause and again I felt overwhelmed and overjoyed. I am really hoping to go above and beyond in my fundraising efforts this year and every year after. I like giving my all when it comes to things like this. It’s never about just me though. It’s about everyone.

Someone asked me once why, other than being diabetic myself, doing the walks and advocating was such a big deal to me. I thought it seemed like an awkward question. I smiled and simply said that, JDRF, the DOC, and every single person I have ever come across living with this disease made me rethink my life, my choices, and outlook on everything. I learned that most people felt exactly the way I did. Alone, vulnerable at times, and overall like no one really got it. I am but one voice in a sea of many but if someone could hear me then they were listening to others through me.

On a more personal level JDRF opened my eyes to the possibilities in managing my illness. My very first walk I learned about insulin pumps, cgm’s, and so much more. It gave me the initiative to research, review, and grow.

Over the past couple of years I have seen what this organization does for others and I know its the right place to be. I wish I could do even more. If I had the time to invest I’d volunteer, I’d be out there everyday. For now, I’ll fund-raise and donate and continue advocating for myself and other diabetics. Because it is important.

I like to think of it this way. If I want change, hope, or a cure one day, then I need to be that change and that hope. I need to step outside my own comfort zones, I need to be out there doing what I can do and doing it to my fullest potential. So that when that bright and shining day comes where Type one becomes Type None I can say with confidence that I did my part. We all did.

With that being said, if you’d be interested in donating some your pennies to my walk please let me know and I can send you the link.

Have you participated in any walks? What was the best part of it all for you?

Monday Mantra.

positive thinking

It’s very easy to say you will do something. It takes a totally different part of the brain, or maybe just the heart, to actually do it. Actions speak louder than words. A truer statement could not be spoken, or written. I’d like to say that I live a positive lifestyle but I would be lying to you. There are times where I get into funks. I am only human. So with that come doubts. I doubt myself, my capabilities, my worth, my choices. I doubt life in general sometimes when it all appears to be going too well. I worry too much about everything but mostly things I can’t control. I am only human. What I will admit to is trying my very best, at all times, to shake those negative thoughts and fill myself up with positive ones.

This is not always as simple as it sounds. Sometimes those self loathing, self doubting thoughts can be like roots in the soil. Clinging to all that they can. Trying to ensure that you will not leave them behind like the miserable little beasts they are. Through prayer, self assurance, support, and encouragement a lot is possible.

I wake up in the morning with a thankful heart. I wake up in the morning excited to see my children. Excited to hear the silly stories my daughter comes up with. Overjoyed at the mere sound of my youngest giggling over his reflection. I wake up realizing that even if this day doesn’t go exactly as planned I can appreciate that it happened. All of it. Every tiny second. I wake up and I say thank you, Lord for this day and another chance to be a better person than I was yesterday, a better wife, a better mother, a better sister, and a better friend. We take for granted all that we are to ourselves and to others. One smile, one kind text, one hello it all means something. So who am I to let a sour thought enter my mind and ruin all the potential just one day has.

I wake up in the morning and I forget about what I might have been upset about before bed. I wake up and I smile and I greet the day, I greet my life, with cheer and an abundance of hope that it will be magnificent. And if for some reason it isn’t. If for some reason I let the doubts cloud my vision. I know that tomorrow will be better. Always.

I hope you all are having a wonderful Monday.

Stay safe and don’t forget to wear that smile. Someone else might be looking forward to it, too.

Pump it up.

pods

Life without my devices wasn’t terrible, though my A1C would disagree, I did feel a certain amount of freedom. It was nice not being hooked up to stuff. (I think that meant more to me than anything else) It was nice not having to stop everything for all those annoying beeps and whistles. It was nice that my only middle of the night alarm was my one year old. Though kind of scary because that is typically when I would go low. I pushed through. For a brief moment, before reality set it, I even contemplated never going back on my Omnipod or Dexcom. With a little one constantly clawing at, climbing on, or tugging me around I figured the less that could get ripped off, or broken, the better.

Irony: The whole reasoning behind me even getting the pods and cgm’s was so that I could feel safe, secure, and alert when it came to my blood sugars. I specifically picked the omnipod for it’s ease in use but also because it is tubeless. All the things that made me love my devices in the beginning eventually made me hate them.

Now here I am with my pod on my arm, clicking away in my ear, ensuring that my body has a constant drip of insulin being cycled into it. My blood sugars have started looking very attractive as of late and I am overall feeling less like I’ve been on a roller coaster against my will and more like I am just drained from chasing my one year old around the house.

Not an awful trade off really.

On my Facebook page, The Diabetic Mommy, I had discussed why I had initially been excited for MDI again. I complained about the data overload, which can be a lot to take in when you are new to these gadgets, I also commented on feeling like such a robot when I was out and about. Looking back I realize just how trivial these things are when it comes to the bigger picture of health and wellness. I had always recommended pumps and continuous glucose monitors because I know the amazing affect they have had on individuals but now I am even more on board after seeing such quick results post pumpcation. I think with a lot of research anyone, if truly interested, could find a pump that works for them and their lifestyle. Next month I start back on my Dexcom and I am even more excited about that. My guard dog at night against low and high blood sugars. I should never have taken you for granted.

Have you taken a pumpcation, whether it be for personal or financial reasons? Did you reunite with your gadgets? How’d that feel?