Wednesday, October 17, 2012

One Year Down

Enjoying the little painting bellies.

Well one year ago I was driving to St. Agnes Hospital at this time after I was given the most shocking and life changing news I've ever been given: my 2 year old has diabetes.  It has been a roller coaster of a year, but I'm grateful because I have seen God's hand through all of it.  I was told once at a CCEF conference on anxiety that God gives us the grace we need in the moment for the circumstances at the moment.  Similar to when the Isrealites in the desert receiving manna; perfect provition for today with the promise of provision for tomorrow.  Don't get me wrong; I become anxious, but I've remembered where to turn (with the gentle reminders of those around me).

Marian is thriving, growing, and learning.  She can tell you how to test her blood sugar and do most of it herself including change a lancet.  In the past month, she has correctly identified when she was low or getting low with more accuracy than previously.  This would not have ever been my choice for her life and I pray someday there is a cure, but our hope in life isn't set on a cure--it is set on Christ.  I pray that more than anything else she learns this. 

The popular song "Blessings" by Laura Story is such a wonderful reminder of how great God's love is amid tough times. 

We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love is way too much to give us lesser things

'Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
All the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we'd have faith to believe

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not our home

What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy
What if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Leaping Letters

Enjoying this BEAUTIFUL weather!

I have slowly been teaching Marian her letters.  We started back up again after a summer break.  Since its beautiful outside I have no desire to do workbooks inside (and neither do Marian or Sofia) so this morning we did one page then headed outside to play "Leaping Letters".

I chose 4 letters that we've been working on (f, b, m, s) and wrote them in capital and lower case forms in boxes on the sidewalk. 

I then made a starting line that the girls had to line up behind.  The girls would stand at the line and I would give them a command (also works on following directions :) ).  For example hop to the B, skip to the S.
Once Marian was on the letter she had to say the sound, give me a word starting with that letter, and trace the lower case letter (the book we're using doesn't teach writing capitals yet).
Marian had so much fun that we went outside and played it again after dinner. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Jesus Story Book Bible in itunes

I LOVE the Jesus Storybook Bible.  It was a gift to us from our pastor and his wife when our daughter, Marian, was born.  We have read the book until its falling apart and have bought another one so that both our girls have copies to read.  I haven't read a children's Bible (and we have many) that does such a good job bringing the Gospel into each story.  I just saw on facebook that until tomorrow the audio version of this Bible can be bought on itunes for $3.99. 

Click on the picture of the Bible if you're interested!  I can't wait to have it for the girls to listen to in the car on a trip!

The Jesus Storybook Bible

Thursday, August 30, 2012

He Hears Your Cries

Our Women's Bible Study discussed how helpful it is to remind ourselves of what God has done in our lives to remember his faithfulness to us and his love for us.  I have found this to be so helpful in my walk with Christ.  In college my roommate and I had a poster on the back of our door that we wrote answers to prayer on throughout the year to remind us of His faithfulness during a crazy time in our lives (I was student teaching with a not so hot mentor teacher and she was in her first year teaching).  I began this blog with the same idea, to remember all that God has done in our life. 

Today I'm getting ready to walk out of the hospital after about 2 and a half days of sitting here holding my little boy.  Monday night Timothy felt hot so I checked his temperature and it was 100.6 under the arm so I knew it was probably higher than what it was reading.  I called our pediatrician's office and they said to bring him into the emergency room.  My prayer the entire drive was protection for Timothy, one because taking him to a hospital freaks me out but also because I knew that kids under 2 months shouldn't have fevers.  Dr. Valente was wonderful.  He was gentle and patient when explaining the tests that needed to be done and the reasons why.  He tried hard not to alarm me while being honest...although the thought of a spinal tap on my 7 week old was alarming.  Every possible test was done to rule anything else out before doing a spinal tap and then he called our normal pediatrician, Dr. Plotnick, and she reassured me that it had to be done.  As a side note, she was on vacation and I'm sure we woke her up or at least messed up her relaxing morning!  By far she's the best doctor I've met and is worth the 35-40 min drive to get to her!  We survived this ordeal and then it was time to sit and wait for the results, however, because Timothy was obviously not looking well we had to stay instead of go home and wait.

It turned out that there were some white blood cells in the spinal fluid so we ended up in the hospital until all the cultures came back 48 hours later.  While I can't say I love being in the hospital, I appreciated the excellent level of care we've received at Greater Baltimore Medical Center.  Every nurse we've had was kind and worked with our schedules, such as working to pair taking vitals with either giving antibiotics or nursing so we're not constantly waking him.  I don't know that I've ever heard "can I get you anything" more frequently than over the past two days (except for after giving birth at Special Beginnings Birth Center).  The nurses and doctors have taken the time to answer my questions and did not make me feel dumb for asking them. 

I also was looking at the hospital from the standpoint of being there with a diabetic (if Marian ever has to come) and I appreciated that the meals come with a list of the carbohydrates behind each menu item and on the menu the carbohydrate amounts are listed behind it.  Plenty of healthy options are available. 

I will say this hospital stay has also been far different from the one we had 10 months ago with Marian.  I pretty much spent the past two days holding my little baby.  Once the iv was in there were not more shots, no entertaining a 3 year old in limited space, no having an incredible amount of information shoved at you while you're still processing the fact that your daughter's life and your own will NEVER be the same.  Just peacefully sitting in a quiet room holding my baby boy.  I'm grateful for the peace only God could give.  This peace allowed me to be grateful instead of frantic; to enjoy instead of fret. 

God was faithful in hearing my prayer and those of our friends and family.  He protected Timothy, our little boy had wonderful care and viral meningitis was a much better diagnosis than bacterial meningitis.  He was comfortable because his Mommy was able to stay with him thanks to family and friends that chipped in to meet Mark and the girls needs while I was away.  If we had a poster in our house with reminders of God's answers to prayer this week we'd have many things to write.

18 Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;
therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for him!
19 People of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you. 20 Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. 21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”
Isaiah 30:18-20  (NIV)
(Timothy has been out of the hospital a week already, but I wrote this while I was there it just took me a while to edit this post)

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Marathon Complete

Waiting patiently (at the time of this picture)...not so patiently by 38 weeks and really struggling with patience at 40 weeks!

Marian has been a wonderful helper and loves
to hold her baby brother!
Sofia continues to just love to shower
Timothy with kisses.

Well not a real marathon, I feel like pregnancy is a marathon (although I've never run one so its only my assumption of a marathon) and this race is done.  There is adrenaline when you start, sometimes accompanied by a sick feeling wondering what you just signed up for then the long haul of miles/months to get to the finish line which is crossed at a sprint (labor). 

Tuesday July 3rd Timothy Duraikan Samuel made his appearance at 5:24am after only 4.5 hours of labor.  Considering my past two labors were 28 and 18 hours you can imagine my surprise but also my joy at how quickly the finish line came up!  He was a bit smaller than his sisters at 8 lbs 13 oz and 20 inches long, but he looks very similar.  As our friend, who happened to also be our discharge nurse from the birthing center, said "He's definitely a Samuel baby."  It seems our babies all look alike. 
There is something precious about baby feet.

The name of our first male child has been determined since before Mark and I were dating.  At one point Mark had told me he wanted to name his first boy Timothy Duraikan, by the time we started having kids it was just expected that would be the name if the baby was a boy.  Mark liked Timothy because of the relationship between Paul and Timothy in the Bible.  Duraikan was Mark's grandfather's (Samuel Duraikan) last name but for some unknown reason, Mark's dad ended up with Samuel as his last name.  I guess the immigration system wasn't to blame after's what we've thought for years!   Since Mark's aunts were the only ones given Duraikan as a last name and their names were since changed due to marriage, the only way for the name to be passed down in the Samuel family is through middle names.  Mark's brother Paul has the middle name Duraikan, as does his son Nathanael.  Now Timothy has it as well.

We are grateful for all the help we received by family and friends that made sure Marian and Sofia were well taken care of so we didn't have to be anxious while focusing on labor and enjoying those first few hours and days with our newest edition.  Personally I'm grateful for the effort everyone put into learning how to care for Marian, God's peace that he's with Marian even when I'm not, and his grace in allowing a quick physical recovery for me.
My Little Man :)

Maternity and Newborn pictures done by Photography by Susie.  Love them!  Thanks ladies!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Printable Preschool/Toddler Activities

I found a link to a post about bugs on Money Saving Mom today that was too amazing to not pass along.

I'm printing the one relating to bugs since both girls seem to be enthralled by these little critters at the moment.  They are really well done, colorful, and free!

Bug Printables
You can find them at 3 Dinosaurs.


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Pouring My Brain Out

Do you remember taking a test in high school or college and studying really hard then pouring your brain out with all the information that you could on the test?  Or researching for a paper all semester then sitting down to write it and having trouble making sure all the important stuff is in there?  Has anyone else felt this way?

I'm beginning to feel like this and its been a while since I've had to take a test or write a paper!  As we prepare for the arrive of our third child, I'm trying to train the family members that will be taking the girls when I go into labor as well as those that will take the girls for a long weekend camp at "Grandma and Grandpa's."  The amount of things to think about for caring for Marian for more than a few hours is mind boggling.  I'm not sure what is important and what is something only Mark and I need to focus on because what if...  Ahhh gotta love worries and fears.  If I was honest Marian would probably be just as happy telling everyone else how to care for her than for her mom to write instruction sheets for how to do it ;)  I guess I can be grateful for a very independent 3 year old!

If anyone wants some of the items I've found useful online here are the links:
My Child Has Diabetes-Childcare Checklist
JDRF- Emergency Checklist

I've made a bunch of checklists and instruction sheets, if anyone would find them helpful I'm happy to email them to you! 

Off to keep packing because we leave in 2 hours!  (That means I probably shouldn't be typing a blog entry).

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Gratituesday- Music

I haven't done a post about something I'm grateful for in a while.  This morning I'm grateful for music.  Both my girls sing all....the...time.  I can't say I get tired of it.  They sing quite a variety too, kids songs, Bible songs, hymns, and songs of their own creation.  I had read somewhere when Marian was a baby that having music in the home helps everyone to keep a joyful attitude and it helps to show kids your joy in Christ when you're expressing it through song while working.  Now, my singing is NOT something that most people enjoy, however, I do enjoy singing, I just need some assistance from those more musically talented.  I'm grateful at how much Truth our kids have soaked up through music.  It's amazing.  I've also loved seeing them express their love towards babies through singing.  Their baby dolls are always getting sung too.  Their little brother while in-utero has has quite a few songs sung to him as well.  Sofia sings "Jesus Loves Me" to her baby brother at least a few times a week.  While she sings, she holds my belly.  This morning as she sang the baby kicked.
Sofia "holding" her baby brother.

  Picture by Photography by Susie.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Don't Stand Near Me

Tonight I had a bit of a mix-up with my youngest and oldest.  We arrived home way past bedtime and I was trying to get the girls ready for bed quickly.  We walked into the house I said "Marian let me test your blood sugar" for probably the millionth time.  I sit down to test her with both girls standing around me.  For some reason Sofia had her little finger out too so I grabbed it and pricked her with the lancet (little device that pricks the finger to draw blood for a glucose reading).  Needless to say the scream and look of confusion on her face brought me to my senses and made us laugh pretty hard.  It took a while for Sofia to get over the shock of what just happened to her, but thankfully she survived.  My guess is she will not stick her finger out anywhere near me anymore.  This is also a warning to anyone else that might be brave enough to stand near me when I have a lancet in my hand. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Diabetic Supplies Bag

I love to sew and I have an absurd amount of fabric. I figured I'd experiment with a diabetic supplies bag for the diaper bag, since I have a ton of free time ;). I like the little kit that the blood glucose meter came in but since putting a rubber safety cover on it, it doesn't fit easily and drives me crazy. I wanted to be able to fit all the supplies I normally carry in the diaper bag pockets into the diabetic bag so that I can easily switch to a book bag or another bag if Marian is going someplace without me. We're going away this weekend so I guess I'll try it out and see what needs tweaking or if I just need to go back to the old blood glucose meter bag. I will say this one is much cuter!

BG Meter Bag

My new version.  Room for extra batteries, insulin pen with extra insulin, snacks, and pump supplies.

All rolled up
I'll check back next week to give an update on whether or not this works and some directions on how to make your own.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

B is for Boat

Fun little project for a rainy day to review the letter B (and work on fine motor skills and shapes...its the teacher in me).

Such concentration

Sofia decorating the "b"

Marian's finished project
Materials: macaroni, glue, marker, crayons, and large paper
1. Draw a picture in permanent marker
2.  color the picture
3.  Put glue on various shapes to be lined with macaroni.  Marian wanted to add lines to her original triangle.

Original idea from Art Projects 1 from A Beka Book Art Series.  As a note I have NOT looked at this series, someone just gave the book to me when I was teaching art a few years ago.  I use adapted projects for the girls sometimes. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

So Excited!

Last Thursday I had a wonderful blessing.  I went to the introduction for the Bible Study Fellowship for next fall.  Oh, I'm so excited!  I wish I would have done the study this spring, but I was so nervous about leaving Marian I just couldn't do it.  God knew I'd need some help leaving her in a larger class and not just with friends so he provided a lovely lady named Ms. Clemens.  She is the assistant children's program director and she has type 1 diabetes!  She called me last Tuesday before the introduction class to go over Marian's needs and tell me the carbohydrate counts of the snack. 

I was blessed by the welcoming attitude of everyone I met and how they reacted to joyfully looking out for Marian.  That would have made my day if that was it, but then the lecture was so encouraging!  It was based on 1 Peter 3-5.  The teacher went over submission in suffering, refinement in suffering, leadership for suffering and service.  The topic was suffering!  A topic that Mark and I have spent a lot of time talking about in the last 6 months.  I was so refreshed after this 45 minutes, but then I went back to pick up the girls and they were so excited.  Marian talked for two days about all she did in her new "class."  I am so grateful for a place that I can look forward to digging into the Word, but also for a place that the girls are learning and growing in the Word as well.

Thank you to the ladies that were so welcoming at BSF and for my friends that are already involved and encouraged me to join!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

One Week Down

Week One is complete!  It's had both highs and lows. 
  • Less low blood sugars
  • No more injections! (except when Mom forgets to bolus after dinner and after we removed her infusion set for a change)
  • Giving insulin at night without even waking her
  • Being able to give a snack in the car without pulling over, taking her out of the seat, getting an injection ready, giving it, then rebuckling her. 
  • Lots of information and record keeping thanks to Diasend
  • Infusion set changes- these are not fun!  I didn't realize they would be way worse than giving injections, thank God they are only every 3 days!  I have hope that they will get better with time. 
  • Still don't really understand how to read Diasend so we have the information but not really the ability to understand it. :P
  • Changing our way of thinking about insulin, feel like I'm walking blind. 
  • More highs than we like to see, although we're told it will take a while to figure out basal levels.

Sunday, April 29, 2012


There have been few times in my life that I'm more petrified and more relieved.  The pump is live so tonight at dinner she shouldn't need an injection or a nighttime basal injection.  Really hoping we did all the priming right so there will be no infusion set (needle and tubes that carry insulin to her body) changes in the next 3 days and she can believe us that the pump means no shots!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Earth is Not Giving Way

As Mark and I began watching the One Touch Ping introduction video the other night in preparation for our training this past Monday we both felt panic welling up.  It made me feel better to know my typically calm, confident, technology loving hubby was feeling the same way, at least I wasn't overreacting!  It was an incredible amount of information (given in an informative but mind numbingly boring way) to take in and the importance of really knowing it was crucial. 

As I'm beginning to panic and question our decision to transfer to an insulin pump I have to remind myself this is what is best for Marian and I need to push through the anxiety to do what's best for her.  I knew I needed to sit in the Word so that's what I did.  "Do not be anxious but in all things cast your cares upon Him who cares for you," has been repeated frequently in the past six months.  At time and here is another day it's more a chanting plea throughout the day. 

Then I read
"God is our refuge and strength a very present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea...." Psalm 46:1-2

I began to laugh.  Seriously I'm not facing the earth giving way today (that I know of at least).  I'm facing a busy schedule, pregnancy, loving kids and hubby, and a little pink piece of technology.  It's helpful to have a bit of perspective!

As I read on God reminds me He's in the midst of this creation that he's with me and our families fortress. 

Verse 10 begins " still and know that I'm God."  So when panic arises when our lives begin to go out of our plans (but not God's plan!) remember He is our refuge and strength amid the biggest disasters or the smallest everyday events.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A Needed Rebuke

I've been thinking about the question "Am I willing to sacrifice?" a lot lately.  I think its comes with the realization of my own selfishness in caring for my family.  I'm seeing some needs in both my girls that are going to require more intentionality on my part, mainly in structuring our day.  To be honest I don't want to do it.  I like having a less structured day, its easier.  However, easier isn't what Christ calls me to.  He calls me to something so much better, giving up my own desires for those around me.  I have never experienced anything so hard, yet when I joyfully (without grumbling!) do it our whole family has a better day.  For example, I allowed the girls to play this morning for too long unstructured.  I knew I should stop my organizing and take them for a walk or do some school pages, but they were playing nicely and quite creatively together so I didn't (see picture of their "bonfire" below).  Just before nap time when I wanted them to do something helpful, it became a fight and all of us were frazzled.  I admit it was my selfishness of enjoying having time to get something done that led to this.  I knew what my kids would need, yet I made a different choice.  As I sat down to read some during nap, I checked out Desiring God's blog (their Grace at Home series is one of my favorites).  God knew what I needed to hear, a gentle reminder that the question I've been mulling over but not really wanting to make changes for was the topic today.  Will I sacrifice?  I can justify that I do sacrifice and list out the ways, the truth is, why do I limit my sacrifice when my head fills with excuses instead of joyfully persevere in making the changes? 

Here is the blog post by Christine Hoover.  The Everyday Question of Motherhood  I'm going to go regroup and begin anew after naps with a much better attitude.  Thank you for grace that is new every morning (and after naps!)

They built a "bonfire" out of blankets, toys, scrap wood, and some wrapping supplies.  Papa Keech would be proud.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Gratituesday- Momma's Little Helper

I was going to skip Gratituesday today and work on two other posts I've been working on but then I something adorable happened. 

Sofia awoke from her nap with the same words I hear every day at 3pm.  "I'm hungry 'gain."  Her snack choice was an apple or banana with peanut butter.  She went with her typical choice of banana with peanut butter, this kid would only eat bananas and peanut butter if given the option.  After her little snack she wiped her hands, walked over to the dish washer and neatly (yes neatly!) placed her plate in the dishwasher!  I'm pretty impressed for a 2 year old!  So today I'm grateful for the joy Sofia has in serving others and how absolutely cute it is to see her mimic something I do 100 times a day. 

Photo credit to Becky Hadeed (Another reason to be grateful!  She babysat the girls and took adorable pictures while doing it!)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Gratituesday- Breakfast with a Friend

A day late:)

I am by no means a techie, but I'm grateful for technology!  The wonders of skype has allowed me to have breakfast with my friend, Aly, whom currently lives in Malaysia many times.  She wasn't really having breakfast this time, she was eating a nighttime snack before bed thanks to the 12 hour time difference. 

It was a wonderful start to my morning to begin the day first having our girls talk.  We've taught our girls that they share the sun and moon. When one family has the moon the other has the sun, its the only way we've thought to explain why one family is going to bed while the other is eating breakfast.  Two and three year old skype conversations are quite amusing.  Typically conversation consists of showing various toys or books.  Marian played a rousing rendition of "Jesus Loves Me" on the harmonica this time.  Skype even lets you enjoy the fun of young children learning musical instruments.  Once my friend's kids have gone to bed and my kids are off playing (or sitting/climbing in my lap) the adults get to talk at least in theory.  Sometimes this works better than others.5
By far my favorite Ari and Marian picture:)  Picture taken 3 months before they left.

Before they left for Malaysia, I typically saw Aly 3-4 times a week.  It was a tough adjustment not getting to call her whenever I wanted, thankfully there is email.  This morning we were able to talk for a long time about everything from weather (its been quite an adjustment moving from Maryland to Malaysia) to language learning to homeschooling to what God's teaching us about Himself and ourselves.  I've always respected Aly's humility and joy in her relationship with Jesus and its been beautiful to see it grow greater as she lives in a foreign country.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

It's HERE!

New Meter with remote for the pump.
The One Touch Ping Insulin Pump in pink of course.

The Insulin Pump has arrived!  I have one excited girl.  I hope she's this excited when we start using it.
 Sofia's pretty excited too.  I think we're going to have to do something special for her when Marian begins using this pump.  Any ideas?

Praise God for...

the insurance company!  Not what you thought I'd say.  But I am so grateful for two things with them.  One: they aren't fighting us ordering the insulin pump a month earlier than their protocal dictates and two: its covered 100%.  Phew!  Another bonus the infusion sets are cover 100% too!  We are so grateful because we have been praying for a smooth transition into the pump and the first step was actually getting the pump shipped without problems.  Thus far Animas has been wonderfully responsive and so has our insurance company.  Thank God.  The next phase of this transition will be training set up for late April and then a week of saline in the pump and then off we go with insulin.  We're grateful for the first hurdle and praying for the next couple!

As a side note I just got an email with the tracking information!  The pump and supplies should arrive today.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Gratituesday- Silence

I have never appreciated silence more than this current stage in my life.  I guess their are two types of silence in my life.  One is when the girls are silent I know something is wrong, thank God for those little indicators of mischief or disobedience.  The second silence and the one I'm REALLY grateful for is silence when the girls are asleep or I'm driving alone in the car.  I don't think I'm an introvert nor have I ever been one to seek out silence.  Music was always on in the car once I began driving and Mark and I frequently had music on in the house before kids.  Now, if I'm in the car alone there is no music or talk radio, just beautiful silence.  As a note I used to think my mom was weird for not listening to the radio, sorry mom; I totally understand now;) 

Today I had one of those really wonderful silent times while the girls napped.  I sipped hot chocolate, sat on the couch looking at the pink blossomed tree in front of our house while I read a very encouraging book (Faithful Parent by Martha Peace and Stuart Scott) and journaled.  The silence and rest was refreshing.

What are you grateful for today?

Gratituesday is part of Heavenly Homemakers

Friday, March 30, 2012

On Our Way...

Towards an Insulin Pump!  Wahoo!

Mark and I are so excited to begin this process.  While I'm a bit overwhelmed at having to learn a whole new system of care, I'm looking forward to not having to give 6-10 shots a day!  How wonderful it will be to bolus without having Marian scream at me because it hurts...some of this I think is manipulation not real pain, since it doesn't happen in public or when others give an injection typically. 

We decided to go with the Animas OneTouch Ping.  I thought it would be useful to list our thoughts on each because I would've appreciated seeing someone else's thoughts on deciding the pump they chose.
Here are some of our thoughts as we worked through which pump to choose:

Child has no access to pump controls
Less to carry
If we forget the meter no other options to get insulin into Marian easily
A bit heavy to be taped to body of 3 year old, most reviews seemed to indicate extra glues/tapes needed.

OneTouch Ping
Pink (this is the feature most important to Marian)
Can give program to give insulin using pump on body and through meter
We've used the OneTouch meter so its a bit less to learn
Marian will have access to pump controls
Marian must wear a belt or pocket with the pump

Monday, March 26, 2012


Wow, what a wonderful reminder to begin my Monday morning that God has my best in mind even if its not what I had planned or even wanted.  It's so easy for me to compare what God's given me compared to others and become dissatisfied.  So good to read this, this morning.  I needed it:)  Enjoy!

Dum-Dums by Christine Hoover on

Friday, March 23, 2012

I love the Zoo

Can't really tell but they are riding the lion at the entrance.

Pumpkin patch at the Fall Festival at the zoo.

For the past two years Marian has been given the Maryland Zoo family plus pass from my mom and grandparents for her birthday/Christmas present.  It is a wonderful present!  We used the pass about 15 times the first year we had it and this year we've already used the pass 5 times since January.  It's my favorite place to roam on a nice spring day, especially week days when there are so few people there.  It's a bit early in the field trip schedules so its even school group free at the moment!

Lying down with the cheetah is normal right?
My sister-in-law, Susan, got me hooked on the idea when she used to get memberships to the Chicago Aquarium and Brookfield Zoo when her kids were our kids age and take them almost weekly.  I've always wanted to do it with our kids because I saw the benefit with my niece and nephews.  Her kids didn't need a curriculum to introduce them to science, they learned it through experiencing God's creation.  Marian and Sofia have gained so much knowledge about God's creation through "meeting" the animals at the zoo.  They also have come to love reading fiction books about animals.

Since I love the zoo so much I figured I'd let people know why, because just about everyone I've met at the zoo asks me if a membership is really worth it as well as some facts that are nice to know when planning a visit, in this case to the Maryland Zoo. 

Why I love Maryland Zoo Pass:
Animal Encounter with a boa constrictor.
  • A tram ride each visit- my girls love it!
  • Completely preschool friendly with lots of climbing, hands on activities, and common animals.
  • Birds nests for the kids to climb in
  • Brushes to do something more than pet the goats
  • Saddles to sit on in the barn
  • The animal encounter areas allow the girls to interact with animals in a much closer environment than behind a glass cage, many times its just them and the keeper.  I've been really happy with how many of the zoo keepers and educators make an effort to tailor their teaching to the kids.
  • We can go as frequently as we want so I don't ever feel rushed, if the girls want to watch penguins for 40 minutes that's fine.
  • We choose to not put Mark's name on the pass yet, we can just put guest which allows two guests instead of one with the Family Plus Membership.  I always try to use those guest spots even if its just asking someone outside if they want to get in for free. 
  • Free zoo events (I don't do the ones that cost money) are a fun
Brushing the goats.

Information as you plan to go beyond the basics from the website:

In order to get to the animals, you have to either take a 1/2 mi walk or ride a tram.  Having a plan on whether or not you want your kid to ride in the stroller on the tram or not is helpful.  My 3 year old has gotten great at sitting in the seat, I don't trust my 2 year old in her own seat without me holding her.
Food- available near the barn area, but the food stand in the African Journey does not seem to be open during the week on a consistent basis.  I have bought food twice at the main food area which has been high quality and real meat (not pressed chicken fingers or something gross like that).  It has all the basics, costing about $6-$7 for a lunch.  I typically bring my lunch. 
Eating areas- There are many benches to enjoy a meal near the animals.  Our favorite is to eat lunch with the elephants.  The main eating area near the barn has a covered heated area, I'm not sure if its air conditioned. 
Riding the little red train as a special treat since Daddy was with us.

Extra activities- There are a many extra things to enjoy, however, many of them cost money beyond the cost of a ticket.  Example activities are the train, carousel, other amusement park type rides, and giraffe feeding.  We have ridden the train and it was fun, however, you don't see a plethora of animals (some sitatungua, chimpanzees, and a lemur). 

Bathrooms- With a potty training kid and being pregnant I haven't found them super convenient, in particular in the Maryland wildlife part of the zoo.  The African Journey area has 3 bathrooms.  They have recently redone one of the bathrooms that was quite nasty in the African Journey area.  The ones near food stands have sinks outside to wash hands which is great. 

Parking- Be ready to off road. I have yet to park in a paved parking area.

If you have questions feel free to post. 
Does anyone have any hints for how they make little field trips smoothly or a favorite place to go?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Cling to Christ

Wow, what an encouraging read today on Desiring God by Rachel Pieh Jones!  Being a woman in the midst of diapers, pregnancy, and training clinging is about all my brain can handle at times.  I'm pretty sure her points could fit for any stage of life but in particular the article is talking about the early child rearing stage.

Her first two points based off of Romans 7:
  • In a sense, we are obligated to obey the whole law, and to obey perfectly.

  • In our own strength, we are totally hopeless, unable to do the good we want to do.

  • Hit me hard, as a parent and as a mom with a diabetic kid.  I want to perfectly obey Christ in the raising of our children; I want to control Marian's blood sugars to give her the best care possible for her health and her ability to grow as a child of Christ (high and low blood sugars tend to make obedience even more difficult).  The past two days have been rough, with both my children.  A feeling of total helplessness has crept in.  Which in so many ways is so good for me!  My tendency in sin is to control and want to see kids that love Jesus and perfect blood sugar numbers achieved on my own (not really possible, just an fyi).  

    Her last few points from Romans 7 point to the Cross and Christ:
  • By faith in the gospel, we are united to Christ, we have died with Christ, therefore we are dead to the law and, by the grace of God and the power of the Spirit, now treasure Christ.

  • By faith in the gospel, we are united to Christ, we have been raised with Christ, therefore we can begin to bear spiritual fruit.

  • Thanks be to God — through Jesus Christ our Lord! — we are justified from the guilt of our sin.

  • Thanks be to God — through Jesus Christ our Lord! — the power of sin to rule over our lives is broken.

  • And yet I live a divided life in the tension between what I want to do and what I so often do or fail to do.

  • Thanks be to God — through Jesus Christ our Lord! — who will one day liberate me completely from the presence of all sin!

  • Thank you God for the chance to Cling to Christ! 

    To read the entire article:
    Diapers, Nursing, and Clinging to Christ

    Tuesday, March 13, 2012

    Gratituesday- Can You Feel the Mountains Tremble

    Can you hear the oceans roar?  When the lost began to sing of Jesus Christ the risen one...

    I love the sound of the ocean, I love that every time I see it I want to sing praise to its creator, and how time stops at the beach.  It's a nice pause in the speed of life, especially because at times I tend to go a bit too fast.  "Be still" isn't my strength and is definitely something I have to work on!
    This weekend my dad and step-mom let us use their ocean front beach house in Holden Beach, NC.  Ahhh, so wonderful.  It's a killer ride but oh so worth it.  We broke up the first drive by visiting Mark's brother, sister-in-law, niece and nephews in Norfolk area which helped. 

    It was perfect weather, warm enough to be out on the beach without jackets yet not blazing hot.  The water was freezing but Mark and the girls still waded in all 3 days.  I refrained because I've become my mom and hate cold water.  See picture of it hitting me while taking a picture:

    We all enjoyed time picking up shells, wading, flying kites, building sand castles, and eating meals on the deck.  It's amazing to have the privilege to teach our kids about creation through such fun play.  Sofia and I walked along the beach talking about who created the shells we were picking up and how the sound of the waves reminds us of God's might. 
    Mark looks good with the pink princess kite.

    24 weeks pregnant! I'm HUGE:)

    Our Object Lesson
    Sunday morning our family took a moment to sit on the porch (with coffee and chai for the adults) and worship our Lord.  What wonderful object lessons the crashing waves provided regarding God's greatness.  I'm grateful for a husband that leads us well. 

    What a great weekend!  What are you grateful for today?

    Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

    Monday, March 12, 2012

    How Our Journey with Type 1 Diabetes Began- Day 2 and 3

    Good morning sunshine! With a child that typically doesn't sleep past 6:30am I was thrilled that she slept until 8am after being up until after midnight. Of course breakfast wasn't served until 9:30 which caused some issues, but oh well. The food service was by far my main complaint with the hospital (you'll hear more about this later). 

    Mark arrived around 9:30am and our training began again around 10:30am when the endocrinologist arrived.  Although at each meal the nurses would walk us through the carb counting injection giving routine.  He loaded us with information, but was kind enough to not get into the "what-ifs" or emergency situations until the next day.  Our Endo kept it easy by giving us an acronym DIET.  D = diet I=insulin E=exercise T=testing.  He said focus on getting these things down.  During this training we met in the playroom so Marian was happy as can be to play in a huge room full of toys.  We spent a lot of time in that room during our stay. 

    Next was the dietitian.  She went over a book that gave serving sizes.  I can't say she was very helpful at all, but in her defense I didn't get the feeling she works with many parents who believe in feeding their kids whole, healthy foods cooked from scratch.  The book was useful to give portion sizes for 15 carbs so that I could get an idea as I cooked at home.  We had a lot of super simple meals for a while and I've done a lot of estimating and guessing.  I'm sure there will be more posts about cooking since I do it frequently. :) 

    My mom stopped by around this time on her way relieve my in-laws whom were caring for Sofia.  Marian was thrilled to have a visitor.  Mom came equipped with pumpkins to decorate which kept her busy until lunch came.  Our pastor arrived soon after my mom.  He was such an encouragement to talk too.  He was even more sympathetic than the average person because he's had type 2 diabetes for 20 years.  As a side note, his endocrinologist has now said his A1cs have been low enough for over a year that there is no way he can consider him a diabetic (he was controlling it through diet and exercise alone).  What a praise for God's healing in his body as well as giving him incredible self-control.  Okay back to Marian.  So within all this commotion lunch arrived for Marian.  I'm pretty laid back, but I went through the roof when I saw it!  A healthy lunch for a recently diagnosed diabetic (and every kid on the peds floor) was chicken nuggets (the gross compressed kind), french fries, fruit cup, two huge cookies, and juice.  I couldn't believe what I saw  Obviously we couldn't get Marian another lunch since they'd already set it down in front of her, but I made sure that no other meal was served without me determining what she as being fed. When I brought up the concern to the nurses, they said its standard to feed kids a meal they are sure to eat.  My question was how were we supposed to understand how her body reacts to insulin to make sure her dosages are correct if we feed her junk all the meals she's here (breakfast wasn't much better, but I figured it was a fluke).  I did take one of the cookies and the juice from Marian.  I appreciated the nurses respect in going out of their way to make sure I could choose the next few meals.  The other favorite snack at the hospital for a diabetic kid is sugar free jello.  Marian probably ate 4-5 things of it.  I cringed every time.  The amount of fake cancer causing sugars combined with red-food dye made me want to cry.  By the last day, I had almonds on hand for snacks and made sure she was eating those instead.   

    With lunch done and a super late night, Marian finally was ready to nap.  We put on a movie so Mark and I could get some reading done and help her calm down a bit.  She ended up falling asleep for a decent nap considering where we were.

    The next few hours after nap were spent playing in the playroom, going over a few details about how to count carbs, prepare an insulin pen and practicing testing blood sugar.  We also had a little visit from Mark's parents who kept Marian entertained until dinner.  I was beginning to get frustrated because I was having a lot of trouble focusing on all the information and processing what people were saying quickly.  I was looking forward to seeing Sofia and getting a good nights rest after dinner!  Around this time they removed the iv line in Marian's hand.  To this day she asks why they taped her hand to a board.  It's funny what kids remember.

    Marian was healthy enough to be super active.  I felt bad at the amount of times she ran or moved quickly up and down the hallway between her room and the playroom while so many other children were obviously quite physically sick.  I spent many trips praying for those kids and their parents while thanking God for my kids healthy state.

    Our last day's training was emergency stuff.  A bit overwhelming and scary but I think I was too naive to be really scared.  I was so overloaded with information causing little of it to sink in and I was bone tired.  Our Endocarb counting and injection instruction or not.  We ended up choosing to leave before dinner.  We arrived home to a meal of chicken and veggie stir fry with rice on the side thanks to my mom.  Mom and Sofia had decorated the living room with streamers, balloons, and a happy birthday sign for Marian.  It was wonderful!  She was so excited and it was nice to get the focus off diabetes for just a a moment.  Her 3rd birthday was a week away.  My dad also came down to celebrate Marian's return home.  She was so excited to see everyone.  It was a great way to off set some of the "you still have to get shots at home" issue.  She was proud to show off how brave she was for Papa and Grammy. 

    We survived our first night at home with Marian with only one call to the doctor at 2 am about whether or not to correct a high or not. 

    The next morning we woke up to begin adjusting to life at home with a diabetic.  We said good-bye to my mom.  Another piece of grace was Mark's boss allowing him to work from home for the rest of the week.  His boss's wife had been a Type 1 Diabetic, yet another bit of grace God gave us during this new beginning.  On a side note: I woke up longing for spaghetti that suspicions that had started at the hospital about pregnancy were confirmed.  The inability to follow simple math (I once taught math) and extreme exhaustion had given me some suspicions.  Should I tell Mark or give him some time to adjust?  I gave him a whole 12 hours before I told him that night I thought there was a good chance I was pregnant.  God certainly has blessed us greatly!  Not to say we weren't TOTALLY overwhelmed:) 

    I'm writing all this 5 months afterwards, but I remember the panic that threatened to consume me the entire time like it was yesterday, sometimes it still rears its ugly head.  I can see God's hand in so much of our experience from having friends with diabetes to call, family and friends that cared for us and our kids well, including visiting Marian in the hospital, Mark's boss being over the top generous with time off and working from home, doctors and nurses that took the time to educate us, and an unnatural calm (at least on the outside) the entire time which allowed us to get the information and skills we needed quickly.

    Sunday, March 4, 2012

    How the Journey with Type 1 Diabetes Began- Day1

    I can't believe I missed the signs!  Of course I wasn't really looking at them for my 2.5 year old.  I figured the behavior issues, incredible amount of peeing and drinking water were part of the age and possibly a gluten intolerance.  It made sense since my family has a history of it, so I put Marian on a gluten free diet.  It sort of worked but she was drinking like crazy, once she even filled a cup out of the toilet.  Completely embarrassing mom moment, didn't I teach her anything?  But also a very sad moment looking back at how desperately thirsty she must have been.  Finally I took her to the pediatrician.  She agreed that the signs I saw sounded like gluten and dairy problems.  She also asked to test her urine just before we left the office.  When she came back and said she found ketones, I knew that wasn't good.  I have been pregnant and have friends who have experienced gestational diabetes I knew what ketones meant: diabetes.  Three nurses proceeded to try and attempt to test Marian's blood sugar.  Marian was a champ!  This brave little girl did not even cry until the 8th time they pricked her.  Yes, it took three nurses not because my daughter was a raging toddler but because they couldn't figure out how to work the machine.  The doctor came back in and said what I already knew.  Marian has diabetes.  I was totally cool up to this point.  Then she said I need to go straight to the hospital so she can be admitted.  That's were I lost it, I started to cry.  I called my husband and told him.  He'd decided to work a bit late so he was still an hour and a half commute home.  Then got the information for which hospital and walked out crying the whole way.  Marian kept asking why I was crying and Sofia just wanted to give me hugs.  It was amazing at the moment to see Marian's compassion because its not always been her strongest trait.  Sofia tends to be the compassionate one.   God has used being in the hospital and having diabetes to grow Marian in compassion.  I'm grateful that this hardship is producing righteousness instead of selfishness. 

    That night we were supposed to have our small group Bible study over for dinner.  Mark sent an email to everyone telling them what happened and that we had to cancel dinner.  I am so grateful for this group.  Our friend Julie called and said "how can I help."  "How soon can you come to our house?"  was all I said.  I was supposed to be at the hospital within the hour.  She came over right away and Sofia was thrilled to spend time with her which made leaving easier.  As I drove to the hospital I called a friend, Lauren, who is a nephrology doctor at Johns Hopkins.  I figured she could answer some of my hospital expectation questions.  I have never been in a hospital nor spent much time in them...they give me the hebe gebees (we just watch Madagascar for those who also enjoy this movie).  I have enough sense to know I want the nurse on my side!  So I asked her what to expect when I arrive at the emergency room, what can I expect doctors and nurses to do for us, how not to be a crazy parent, who will I be meeting (doctors, residents, etc.) and how to tell the difference.  She was amazing.  She walked me through what to expect and she told me its okay to ask questions repeatedly until I was satisfied. 

    Marian and I arrived at the emergency room to be admitted and get her iv and blood work done.  I kept thinking why am I here there are SICK people everywhere in here!  I just kept praying  for protection  from getting sick and told Marian not to touch ANYTHING.  I had had enough foresight to pack a boatload of activities since I figured I'd be sitting in an emergency room waiting room for a while.  Gratefully we were called back within 5 minutes of getting to the pediatric waiting area, which was kind-of embarrassing since the place was practically standing room only. 

    The emergency room nurses were wonderful at talking with Marian as they took blood put in an iv and ran various tests.  Marian was a trooper!  She barely cried and didn't fight when they took blood or put the iv in.  It broke my heart to see the fear in her eyes though.  Mark arrived with our computer and a movie after we'd been in the emergency room about an hour and a half.  We broke our no movies for the kids rule and allowed her to watch Madagascar.  It got us through the next hour and a half until they were ready for us on the peds floor.  It was now around 8:30pm, an hour and a half past Marian's bedtime.  The residents that came to pick her up, asked her to sit on my lap in the wheelchair.  She looked me and said "I want to sit by myself."  At least diabetes hasn't broken this girl's spunk! 

    We arrived in our room and began to get settled in.  Around 10pm we met our endocrinologist.  He came in from vacation to give us our first instruction session.  I can't remember a whole lot of what he said other than "just dive in and give her her first injection, you'll sleep better tonight."  He was right although I think my heart was pounding through my chest.  I was relieved to see the needle was so small!  I was expecting a much larger and longer needle.  My only experience giving injections was with horses so I guess my perspective was a bit skewed;)  I still hate giving shots.  Marian has not ever been horrible about her injections, most of the time she has sat and taken them well, but it breaks my heart to have to do something to her 6-10 times daily that causes her pain.  I remind myself that I need to be grateful this helps keep her alive!  100 years ago we'd be in a whole different battle.  After our initial injection and training session Marian finally was able to get something to eat.  I think her hunger was worse than the shot at this point.  Mark went home since only one parent could stay with her and I couldn't stand the though of leaving her at this point.  She was all ready for bed and in come the residents on rounds.  They wanted to hear the whole story again and check her out.  It's about 4 hours after her bedtime and she's pooped (so is her momma).  Finally my girl can fall asleep, unfortunately we had to wake her up 45 minutes later to test her blood sugar.  I finally got to bed at 1am.  A cool moment among all the doctor visits was looking out at the Baltimore night scape and talking about what we saw.  She still remembers that scene and loves going into Baltimore and pointing out things she could see from her hospital window. 

    Well that's the end of Day 1.  I'll post about the rest of our hospital stay in the next few days.

    Tuesday, February 28, 2012

    A Diabetes Milestone!

    Tonight I covered up the Hypoglycemia chart with my baby to-do list!  That means I'm confortable enough recognizing the signs that I don't need a picture chart.  Yay for progress! 
    When I taped up these charts I was pretty sure I'd never cover them.