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.