My Warrior’s Diaversary

One year.  A year full of ups, downs, and inbetweens.  A year I  never would  have dreamed up.

Still, I wouldn’t trade it.  My little warrior has been diagnosed for a whole year.  She is amazing.  And we are so blessed.

Had she been diagnosed in 1921, she would be dead by now.  One year.  That was all diabetics could expect.  Many got far less than that.

Then, the miracle of insulin in 1922–and countless advances since–have made it so my sweetie can live a long, healthy, wonderful life.

Though I wouldn’t have chosen this for our family, we have grown in so many ways.

Every child has had to learn to give, to share a bit more, to be OK with less of Mom’s time and less of the family resources.  They have been compassionate and understanding nearly all the time.

My husband and I have had to learn all things diabetes, from carb counting, to insulin, to highs and lows.  Syringes and test strips are a part of our life.  I can look at a plate of food and tell you the carb count without even thinking too much about it.  And I was led to the perfect job that allows me to earn some extra income to pay for the astronomical costs of diabetes care and still be able to take care of my angel.

And, my little warrior.  She has learned that her strength is limitless.  She has learned that she can do anything.  She has learned that she has the heart of a warrior, even though she has the pancreas of a diabetic.  She faces this disease unflinchingly every day.  She brings home class treats without even a nibble.  She gives her own shots, tests her own finger, and believes deep down that she won’t have to live with this disease for ever. That some day in her lifetime, they will have a cure.

We’ll be opening a new chapter in her journey with diabetes next week, as she gets her first pump.

Happy Diaversary, beautiful warrior princess.  You are an amazing example to us all.  fullsizerender

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Too Much Studio C?

My hubby and I took our girls to a great musical, White Christmas, at the local high school. My niece is in it, as is one of the neighbor girls whom I have the privilege of working with in my church. It was a visually dazzling production, with great sets and costumes, along with a talented, hard-working cast.
Four-year-old was having a hard time sitting still and paying attention. She did pretty well. She only got her shoe/foot stuck in the folding auditorium seat once (though she loudly proclaimed that fact), and she only asked me when it was going to be finished three times. For a two and a half hour show, that’s pretty great. She really only got bored during the dialogue. When all the songs were going on, she sat up, swayed to the rhythm and even tried her best to sing along. My apologies to the people directly in front and behind us. I did my best to quiet her, but sometimes, I guess, you’ve just got to sing! Even when you don’t know the words. Or the tune. Or the rhythm. Yeah. Sorry.
So, I was rather surprised that she was paying enough attention to know when adorable neighbor girl got stage kissed by her leading man. I was equally surprised that she had a certain Studio C skit memorized. She stood on her seat and yelled out in a perfect Mallory imitation, “Aww Yeah!” The people around us cracked up, at least the Studio C fans did. Luckily, enough other people were whistling and cat calling in the auditorium that her comment wasn’t heard by all.
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Still, maybe it’s time to limit the amount of Studio C watched in our house. Ah, who am I kidding? I love that four-year-old yelled it out. I would have done it myself if adults weren’t expected to have a filter. Check out the hilarious sketch that inspired my four-year-old’s outburst here. And go see White Christmas at local high school. And yell out “Aww Yeah” for me.

Saved by Studio C

My thirteen-year-old had a band concert last night. Last year, all the students were encouraged to wear Halloween costumes since it was a Halloween concert.

Before thirteen-year-old’s concert, I asked him if he was allowed to wear a costume again this year or if he needed concert dress. He assured me that costumes were fine.

Rewind a few weeks ago to the discussion of what thirteen-year-old wanted to be for Halloween this year. He had all sorts of ideas, all related to his favorite sketch comedy show, Studio C. (Check them out on YouTube. You won’t regret it.) We ordered the pieces necessary for his costume from amazon and got excited for Halloween.

Last night, as we pulled into the junior high parking lot, my husband and I immediately noticed something. All the other kids were dressed in concert dress– meaning a white shirt, a tie, and slacks or a nice dress. Somehow, my kiddo had missed the memo, the only kid who had. No costumes this year, concert dress only.

Thankfully, my son decided to be James dressed as the Lobster Bisque character, seen here:

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“Quick!” I told thirteen-year-old, give me the gloves, the glasses and the suit coat!” He handed over all the requested items, and voila, he was ready to go, concert dress:

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I can only be thankful that he decided on Lobster Bisque instead of Awkward Avoidance Viking, Captain Literally, or Ann the Librarian. (All choices that he was considering.) So thank you Studio C for having the Lobster Bisque character. Lobster Bisque saved his attire grade, and quite possibly saved my hubby and I from a concert spent hiding under the folding chairs trying to pretend that our son was not the sole kid who missed the no costume message. But what a photo op it would have been.

Best Bus Driver Ever

I never thought I would be involved in a car chase, but couple weeks back, I found myself behind the wheel of my mini-van, tailing a big yellow school bus. At least my target was pretty easy to follow. How and why did I get into that particular chase?

There are some things you don’t want to hear when your child steps off the bus. The phrase that came out of my ten-year-old’s mouth recently was one of them: “Mom! I just had the worst bus ride ever! I was eating a birthday treat I got in class, and I dropped my retainer!”

I got a little heated and said, “Why didn’t you stay on the bus and look for it?”

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She replied, “I didn’t know what to do! I just got off where I’m supposed to get off!” So, after the obligatory, “Do you know how much a new retainer costs?” lecture, and thoughts of squished, trampled retainers running through my head, I called up the district transportation and explained my dilemma.

“Well, since your driver needs to go to the high school next, you might be able to catch him before he leaves there,” answered the friendly voice on the end of the line. With a quick “thank you”, I hung up, strapped everyone in the mini-van and set off on what turned out to be a slow speed car chase.

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In driving towards the high school, we encountered the bus. I simply followed it until the driver stopped at the curb, waiting for his next set of students.

When he pulled over, ten-year-old and I jumped out, ran to the bus, arms flailing, and explained our situation.

“Oh,” he said, “whenever I get done with one route, I check the floor for anything. Does this look like your retainer?” He pulled out the retainer, miraculously intact and unsquished.

After many profuse thank yous and some reminders to ten-year-old not to put the retainer back in her mouth until it had been thoroughly sanitized, I thanked my lucky stars for a bus driver who went above and beyond, grateful to not have a retainer to replace.

Then, of course, last week during recess, another kid ran into ten-year-old, splitting open her lip and breaking a wire on the retainer in the process. I guess two retainer miracles in a month were too much to hope for. Still, a repair costs less than a replacement, and I now get to say that I successfully chased down a big yellow Twinkie on wheels.

How I Run Mommy School

After reading my screen time buck post, I’ve had a few requests for a post about my Mommy School. Your wish is my command.

I run Mommy School with three fifteen minute segments. More than that and the kids seem to get bored. Less, and they don’t seem to get enough in. Each segment they do something different. And each segment I focus on a different child.

For instance, in the first rotation, I have one child working on a workbook they can do independently. I choose something from the grade they just completed so it is just review. They might need a little help, but not much. That frees me up to work with someone else, so I have one child working with me on something a level up from where they are. Then, I have a third child reading to/listening to one of the younger two reading.

I try to focus on the subject that my child needs the most help with, too. That is different for every child. I looked at their reports cards and just knew from homework experience what they needed to work on this summer. I still review the other subjects, but the main focus is on their weakest area.

So today, it looked like this: Rotation 1: Six year-old read to nine-year-old while eleven-year-old worked with me on the essay he is writing about boat design. Two-year-old played and watched.

Rotation 2: Six-year-old worked in Kindergarten workbook on handwriting independently while I helped nine-year-old with adding mixed fractions. Eleven-year-old continued on essay. (He really needs to focus on his writing.) Two-year-old colored.

Rotation 3: Eleven-year-old read to two-year-old while nine-year-old worked on a typing game independently, and I helped six-year-old with sight words.

I really believe that letting the older kids teach the younger kids helps both sets out. And, it frees me up to still work with the older ones. If you have a toddler/infant, you can do Mommy School during a nap time. That is what I did for the past three years. I don’t have a napper this year, so I’ve had to adapt. I make up my own interesting essay topics, find math worksheets on the internet, and use workbooks from the dollar store to have them work independently. I also bought a learn-to-type computer game since my kids need to work on that.

One last note: if the kids have done all their work well (stayed on task, really tried hard, etc.), we will have a Fun Friday. We either do a science experiment or an arts and crafts day.

Hopefully this helps you to know how I run my Mommy School. Every family is different, but this model might spark some ideas for you own set of cuties! Here’s to learning and growing over the summer!

Screen Time Bucks: My Summer Sanity Saver

Happy Summer! Most of you probably have your kids out of school. If not, you soon will. Just thought I’d share what makes my summers pleasant and manageable: Screen Time Bucks

My kids are addicted to screen time and they will do just about anything to get it. But, I don’t allow too much. And, they have to earn what they get. So, to mesh these desires, I came up with Screen Time Bucks about three summers ago.

My kids can earn up to four screen time bucks a day. Each of these is worth 30 minutes of screen time. They earn them by doing four specific things each day.

1. One hour of exercise equals one screen time buck. We do this together every morning. I go to the park and run, they play. They are running, climbing, jumping, etc.

2. Mommy School: Every day after lunch for 45 minutes, we hold Mommy School. My kids work on what their report cards said they need the most. Let me know if you want a post detailing how I run my Mommy School. If you don’t want to do Mommy School, you can just have them read for 45 minutes.

3. Piano practice: My two oldest are taking piano lessons. Practice time earns them a screen time buck. My six-year-old isn’t taking lessons yet, so she does a small extra chore in place of practice time.

4. Chores: My kids have to complete their chores for the day to earn the final screen time buck.

All screen time bucks for the day must be earned before they can be spent. I set a timer once it is handed to me and tell them when their 30 minutes is up. They can quit or pay more to watch/play more if we don’t have other things going.

In an effort to encourage my kids to not spend all their screen time bucks, I have instituted a payment program. Every two weeks or so, my kids can turn in any unused screen time bucks for actual money. In our family, one screen time buck equals a quarter, not an actual dollar or I’d go broke, but use whatever money denomination works for your family. Below is a copy of what our screen time buck looks like. Feel free to print it off or make your own. (It took me about 30 seconds). I just write the child’s name in pen on it when they earn it so I know exactly whose is whose. I hope this idea helps your summer go more smoothly!

This Screen Time Buck good for 30 min of any screen, large or small, of your choice.

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Locks of Love From My Lovely

My sweet little nine-year-old has been growing out her hair for a long time, for a few specific purposes. First, she wanted to be Ariel at Halloween.

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Then, she wanted to be a ravishing, long haired vampire for a musical she was in.

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Then, she wanted to have long Tiger Lily braids for her role in her latest play. But most of all, she’s been waiting to grow her hair long enough to donate it.
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Ever since we read a book called Because of Anya, by Margaret Peterson Haddix, about a girl with alopecia who is trying to conceal it from her friends, my nine-year-old has wanted to give her hair to someone who doesn’t have enough of their own.

This past week, we went to our hairdresser and had it chopped into two piggie tails of love. It will be sent off to Locks of Love to make a wig for someone who really needs it. She’s hoping it will go to a child about her own age. She’s also hoping they will choose to dye the other hair needed in the wig to match hers. Whatever happens to it, I am pleased with my girl. She loved her hair and still sort of misses it (Mom does, too), but wanted to make someone’s life a little brighter by sharing a piece of herself. Hopefully we can all find a way to do that for someone else. DSCN1176