Recent Accomplishments

Yesterday I got to thinking about how great my kids are. (Yeah, yeah, aren’t they all?)  But seriously, MJ and Ian have had some pretty great accomplishments in the past few weeks.  Here they are in random order:

1. MJ was selected to be on the Power of the Pen writing team at school. It’s a creative writing competition with several rounds in the next few months.  The first competition is Feb. 15th.  Wonder where she gets her writing talent? 😉

2. One of MJ’s  drawings from Drawing I is now hanging in the main lobby of our building.  I took this pic of it yesterday morning when the lights were out, but I like the reflection of the front doors.


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3. MJ placed 6th in the district spelling bee this past Tuesday. It is  plausable plausible she will never misspell a certain word again the rest of her life.  (My forever-word is opera!)

4. Ian’s Upward basketball team finally won a game. They played another 0-2 team yesterday and won 24-10!

5. Stats on Ian’s basketball career (since he informed me he plans to be in the NBA after playing for OSU.):

Week 1: 2 points (the ONLY basket) – The final score was 32-2.
Week 2: 8 points – His best game “EVER” despite a loss of 36-12.
Week 3: 6 points, 7 assists, 4 steals, and 2 rebounds (This is his unofficial report to me because, unfortunately, I was monitoring Saturday School and had to miss it.)

6. It would be unfair to not give a shout-out to my Bluebird. Like a new mother, I celebrated the first (and only) night he slept all night this past Wednesday.  His internal clock is amazing. He wakes me up at 2:10 every night to go out and then at 5:26 a.m. to eat.  I took his water away at dinner time the last few nights but it only worked that one night.  Suggestions are welcome!

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The look I get when I interrupt Blue’s nap…

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And when I let him sleep….

Here’s hoping for more great things the rest of the month!

Hey! You Climbed a Rock Wall!

When we went to Pittsburgh a few weeks ago, we spent a day at Carnegie Science Center and they have this awesome place next door called Highmark SportsWorks.  This place was made for Ian; he loves sports and he’s super competitive.

But what I want to write about is the unexpected lesson from my daughter.

My sweet, quiet, artsy MJ.

She’s always been the laid-back, low-key kid (except for three months of colic) and she balances Ian’s over-the-top enthusiasm well.

At times, you can see the excitement in her eyes, but typically, she is a quiet observer. She remembers details and images and has a knack for drawing, photography and writing.  She doesn’t talk much in class, but is a great student. She loves being in band and she loves her friends and family.

She is very much like me when I was younger.

But she is her own person too.

And she is also the girl who, unintentionally, has been in the background the past few months.  She has handled Ian’s diagnosis well and is always aware of his blood sugar and the rules. She knows about carb counting and she has a quietly protective (although she would never admit this).

Well, as we made our way through the exhibits, we come upon a rock wall. You know, the giant plastic rock attraction at sporting goods stores, Myrtle Beach, and amusement parks. Where you shell out extra money, maybe sign some sort of disclaimer, get strapped up in a harness and climb to the top to ring a bell.  And everyone stands around and watches you.

Yeah, one of those.

And MJ says, “Mom, can we do that?”

I chuckle, “WHAT?!?! Are you serious?”

Ian shoots down the idea quickly.”No way….I’m not doing that. I’m too little I bet.”  (He’s competitive, yes, but he has his limits.)

“Pleeeeeease mom. Let’s do it!”

And then I hear someone who sounds like me, but surely is not me, say, “Ok. Here, Ian, hold my phone. You can take pics of us when we get to the top.”

I look left. I look right.  I shake my head and although I make no sound, I hear myself yelling:

“Excuse me…what did you just say? We’re climbing a rock wall? MJ is climbing a rock wall? I’m climbing a rock wall?

Woah-woah-woah…wait one second. I’m sorry. I don’t do rock walls. Actually, I don’t do heights. I don’t do danger either.  I don’t do crazy things in front of a live audience. 

And I don’t let my kids do rock walls.  Like they would want to anyway!”

The next thing I know, a young guy in his early 20s is helping us pick out the right size of climbing shoes from a rack. Oh hey, I don’t do germs either!

Woah, what’s this…a harness? Ok then….This is supposedly going to keep me from plunging to my death while my 10-year-old catches it all on my iPhone? Please don’t let him #instavideo this!

While we are being fit with our harnesses, I appear calm and cool on the outside….because I am following MJ’s lead. She is as quiet as always and wide-eyed. She looks so small.

You can see the look of total disbelief on my face.

You can see the look of total disbelief on my face.

“Are you sure you want to do this?” I ask her.

She volunteers to go first. Hmmm….I guess so!

Listening carefully to the rules.

Listening carefully to the rules like a good student.

“Wait!! Is this safe?” I ask the guy who is explaining the “rules” (How hard can the rules be? There is only one rule, right?…Don’t die!)

“Totally safe…when I’m on duty,” he says over his shoulder.

Haha real funny.

And there she goes.  MJ is climbing. She is climbing a rock wall and she just keeps reaching and stepping and reaching and stepping.  Hey look everyone, that’s my kid up there! 

17 1/2 feet up!

She reaches 17 and a half feet, tries her hardest to reach a little bit higher, but that’s all she’s got.  Her arms are not long enough (and she later told me her hands were getting sweaty.)

She looks down at the other worker, a young woman who provides moral support (and climbs up to save you if you freak out), and says she is ready to go back down.

Don’t let go!!

And then my daughter is pushing off the wall and dropping down through the air, suspended by a rope and she lands on two feet….with a smile.

“Now you go! It’s fun!” she says.

And what do I do?

I am sure you can guess.

I climbed a rock wall.

I had to.

I made it 15 and a half feet and I then I looked down and then I wanted to be done.  So I pushed off the wall (although the cheerleader girl came up to save me)  and landed the same way MJ did…with two feet firmly on the ground and a smile on my face.

As we were taking off our harnesses and grungy shoes and gathering our belongings, I could hear only two things:

The first: Hey! You climbed a rock wall!

The second: “Next time we will go even higher, right Mom?”

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“Well from now on I’m going to be
The kind of woman I’d want my daughter to be, oh
I’m gonna love myself more than anyone else
Believe in me, even if someone can’t see
A stronger woman in me”                                 ~ Jewel

Thought #50: Our first report card

As we anxiously awaited the first three-month appointment, one thing loomed…his A1C.

On Jan. 4th, his A1C was 12.6.

By April 24th, 8.7!!

We are doing something right! In fact, we are doing a lot of things right!

Thumbs up from the dietician who deemed us “Proficient in Carb Counting.”

A gold star from the endocrinologist who gave us the green light to start learning about insulin pumps.

Praise from Ian, “Wow! We ARE doing a good job, mom!”

Thought #30: Breathe in and breathe out.

You are such an active and energetic boy.

You love competition and you love to play hard.

As hard as it is for me to let you do those things now, because I fear the lows, I don’t want that joy taken away from you.

I am watching you play basketball tonight and watching your face light up as you learn plays and run around with the other boys.

My counselor suggested I do some breathing techniques to just clear my head throughout the day. She said i could breathe in positive thoughts, hold them, and breathe out negative ones.

So I breathe in….your energy and your spirit
1, 2, 3, 4

Hold it right there by my heart
1, 2, 3, 4

And I breathe out the fear
1, 2, 3, 4

Thought #24: You continue to amaze me.

The first day you met me at the car after school with your little post-it notes in your own handwriting my heart felt so big it could burst.

I was so proud of you. So amazed that you took your own blood sugar (under the secretary’s watchful eye) and wrote it down in your 4th grade hand-writing.

I could tell you were proud as well and that it gave you a sense of control over this thing that you really have no control over.

And then two nights later, you asked your sister to press the button on the lancet and pierce your finger.  You put it in place, you told her what to do, and you said, “Good job.”

Do you know how good that must have made her feel? To have a part in your care? To be included?

What an amazing person you are!

After that I asked her if she could measure your cereal and milk and peanut butter for your snack while I did your insulin. Again, this gave her a chance to do something for you and for me and I think she liked it.

Thank you for being such a good role model for me!

Thought #23: The good moments are gold.

Ian’s first basketball game was a huge milestone in this battle.

After a rough week of his lowest recorded blood sugars and being sick after practice, game day had this ominous feel to it.

But this boy shined out there on the court. He was happy and pumped and looked healthy and felt good. He made two baskets for 4 of the 18 team points and despite a loss, it was a good, good thing.

He was so afraid that he would feel low, be sick, or do poorly and for none of those things to happen…what a blessing when we needed it most.

Yesterday was, by far, my best day since his diagnosis, and I am hopeful that it is a sign of better days to come.

Even if we have a bad day now, perhaps we can hold onto those golden moments of yesterday when things felt almost normal.

Thought #20: This will not limit your future.

This is a huge hurdle and basically a horrible, no good, sucky thing….but we will not let it dash your dreams.

During your lifetime, you’ve mentioned the following careers: a NFL football player, a professional baseball player, a band director, president, and a bag boy at the grocery store.

Those are all still options.

On the second day, they told us there are only four things you can’t do when you grow up:

Be a commercial airline pilot.

Be in the military.

Be a semi-truck driver.

Be a scuba diving instructor.

Other than that, the sky is the limit buddy.