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Monday, November 7, 2011

Laughing in the Face of Diabetes

   Living my life as the wife of a diabetic can be challenging. I don't face same challenges that my husband faces, obviously, but though my own burdens are different, that does not make them less. It's his disease, obviously, and thus he is the one that suffers the physical consequences of his choices and the one who will reap the return on his investment in management of the disease down the road, be it large or small. But since I live with him, I'm often at the mercy of his glucose dependent mood swings, and of course, the diet of our entire family has been impacted by his needs. I worry over what his glucose levels are. I ponder over how to prepare our meals so that they suit his dietary needs. I worry over exposing him to germs, because diabetics can get sick easier, and have a harder time recovering. I even, with my sometimes ridiculous and overactive imagination, spend time worrying about the fact that if the world as we know it comes to an end, he's got an expiration date because insulin has a definite shelf date. Somehow the apocalypse doesn't seem nearly as fun without him in it.
Being a well managed diabetic comes with a lot of responsibility. Every bite of food that you eat needs to be accounted for. Type 1 diabetics, like my husband, need to check their blood glucose levels several times each day. Before he got his continuous monitor, he was testing approximately 6 times each day. Even with the monitor, it's still necessary to test at least 3 times each day, or however many times he eats, because he has to use his test results to gauge his insulin dosage. He takes a minimum of 5 injections of insulin each day; 2 doses of his basal, or long acting insulin, and a dose of bolus, or short acting insulin before each meal. He also has to take into account any physical activity or unusual stress because that can have a big impact on his levels. As you can tell, it is, as I said, a lot. We usually cope with the stress of it all with a lot of humor. In life, with these types of things, it's either laugh or cry, so we choose laugh. Sometimes, though, things really are funny. For example, most recently my kids have been discussing what they would like for Christmas. Eggy, age 8, has quite the impressive list of desires. He wants a netbook, an iPod, a Nook, and several dozen other expensive things. So far, our 6 year old, Punkinhead, however, has announced only one item that he wants on his Christmas list. Two nights ago, he explained to us that he hopes Santa clause brings him his own glucose meter and test strips so that he can test his blood sugar 6 times a day, just like Daddy. We had to laugh over that one. Apparently, to the 6 year old, all that finger poking seems fun! Or else, when you're 6, you want to be just like Daddy, no matter what. Either way, I'll be thankful if my little man never has need to poke his little fingers 6 times a day, regardless.   

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Halloween Paper Japanese Lantern Tutorial

   The fact that I'm writing this tutorial kind of cracks me up. My friend G. is slightly... Shall we say... Craft challenged. I recently posted a picture of the Japanese lantern jack o' lantern that my 3 year old daughter made (with my help) on my Facebook.

 My friend asked for a link with instructions. I didn't have one. I tried to explain how simple this project was, because, I mean, surely everyone knows how to make a Japanese lantern, right? But then, I remembered her own description of her ineptitude with crafts and thought that perhaps... Well, anyway. Here I am, with pictures, to demonstrate this simple, fun, preschool (or any age!), Halloween craft!

1. Okay.  So, first, you're going to need some orange paper.  We just used orange construction paper, but if you're terribly artistic, I suppose you could use scrapbook paper with a pretty pattern on it or something a little fancier.  :-)

2.  Our lantern needs a handle, so before we do anything else, we need to fold up a 1" (roughly) piece of the paper to give us a sort of straight mark to cut this off.

3. Trim off the 1" strip along the short edge along the crease that you made.  Reserve this strip for later use as the handle for your lantern.

4. Let your artist draw their jack o' lantern face onto the remaining large piece of paper.  In this instance, I was in a hurry, so I scrawled a quick one myself.  For young children, you might draw the outline, and let them color it in.  I am usually going for process over product, personally, so if I can convince mine to do it, I make them draw their own, even if they complain that it won't be "perfect."  Another option would be to let them paint it, or to have sponges pre-cut into triangles and let them stamp.  Anything goes.

5. okay, once the face is complete, you want to fold your paper in half, the long way.  (Hot dog fold.)

6. Now we're ready to start cutting.  You're going to make parallel cuts along the folded edge about 1" apart all the way across your jack o' lantern.  
 Be sure not to cut all the way through, but to leave about an inch of uncut paper at the top to hold it all together. 

7. Now that you've cut all the way across, unfold your jack o' lantern.  It should look something like this:

8. Now the assembly begins.  Loop your paper around so that the short edges are over lapping, as seen in the picture below.  You'll want enough overlap so that you can staple (Or tape, or glue, but I think stapling is the most expedient) each end.
 When you staple both ends and turn it around, it should look something like this:

 9. Attach the handle at the top with a staple on either side, so that the face is centered.  That's it!  Your Japanese lantern is complete and can be hung anywhere for a very cute holiday decoration!  :-)

I forgot a step!
10. Take a picture of your munchkin with their creation.   They'll love that they made this simple Halloween craft with minimal help from you, and they'll be excited to hang it somewhere to decorate for the holiday!

Happy Crafting!

Cute Halloween Treats... Finally!

   Where to start. I always thought that I'd be one of those moms who is always making the cute stuff for her kids' class parties. I supposed, before I was a mom, that I would always have homemade cookies waiting when they got home from school, and that I'd make amazing cakes and cupcakes for their birthdays... You know... I'd be that mom.
But, then I actually became a mom. I love being a mom so much that most of my focus is actually on my kids rather than on making cutesy snacks and stuff to make myself feel like a good mom. (I'm not calling out people who make cutesy snacks, here. I love you people. I wish that I had enough time and focus to do both. I don't.) Once my kids were born, I realized that babies, when you parent them full time, take up pretty much all of your time. It was shocking how much of your time you could spend simply feeding a baby. How can 20 out of 24 hours be spent caring for the baby, and the other 4 spent “sleeping?” (sleeping is in quotation marks, because I'm pretty convinced that that's a lie.) Anyway, I thought that, as my kids got older, then I would make the cute things. For awhile, I did make a few cute things. But, I seemed to always have babies. Then, instead of enrolling my kids in school, I decided to homeschool them, which means that our class parties are, well... Few and far between. So... That limits my excuses to make cutesy snacks and such.
But recently, a friend suggested that we turn our October homeschool roller skate playdate into an actual Halloween get together. She said she was bringing stuff to turn the usual humdrum snack table into a spooky Halloween scape, and that she wanted the rest of us to join her, if we would. I was stoked. Which brings me to my opportunity to show off my attempts at fun, Halloween themed, cutesy snacks. In a stroke of luck, I had recently seen a blog elsewhere showing off some very cute Halloween snacks. I put my own spin on them, and here's what I came up with:
These are Nutter Butter cookies, dipped in white chocolate, with mini chocolate chips for eyes.  Nutter Butter ghosts.  Tres cute, no?

Ghost Poop mini marshmallows!  Could you die from the cuteness?  

Mummy juice boxes.  Just wrapped them in crepe paper streamers and stuck googly eyes on them.  How stinking cute, am I right?  

My one regret? My friend saw these cupcakes before I did, and got the chance to make them before I could. Darn.  

Saturday, October 15, 2011

In Which my Husband Fails at Home Improvement...

   I love my husband. He has many fine qualities, not the least of which are an unwavering devotion to my own awesomeness that I find to be somewhat endearing. Call me crazy, but I enjoy the boost it gives to my ego. I make him read these blog entries, by the way, so he's well aware of the public defamation suit he could win if he ever decides to seek legal recourse against me. That being said, among the list of his finer qualities, you will not find anywhere a check mark or gold star next to an item praising him for his unwavering devotion to honey do jobs and home repair projects. You just... won't.
The funny thing is, most of the projects that he needs to do are very simple and would only take him a few minutes to complete, but he still puts them off as though he were avoiding a kitten execution or something. Case in point, a few years ago, I decided that I wanted a bookcase headboard for our king size bed. Not one of the ones with the huge shelves on both sides that take up a ton of room, just a simple bookcase headboard because we are both avid readers and it seemed like a practical choice. But, when we went looking for what I wanted, it turns out they don't actually make those, or at least they don't sell them anywhere near here. But I have this issue where if I can't have what I want, then I just don't want anything. So, we went without a headboard for awhile until I received an email from a freecycle group one day offering a king size bookcase headboard. It was intended for a waterbed, but I asked Hunny and he agreed that it could be made to work with minimal carpentry skills. So, I responded to the offer and we picked up the headboard and lumber and supplies to make my bookcase headboard dream come true. I was so excited about this project. We came home with all of the supplies, and carried them in, but it was a Sunday afternoon, and Hunny had to work the next day, so he didn't start on the project that day. No problem. We just sat the stuff in the hall and I waited patiently for my bookcase headboard. I waited... for nine months. When I was finally sick of cleaning around the stack of materials and so aggravated that I was ready to tell him just to throw the stuff out if he wasn't going to actually do anything with the headboard, he got mad and started on the project. 15 to 20 minutes later, I had a headboard. I was happy about the headboard, but completely flabbergasted that I had worked around the headboard, reading lights, and lumber for 9 months for this “big project” that he completed in less than a half an hour. Sigh.
At any rate, these kinds of things have happened here and there throughout our marriage. I don't even get mad about them anymore. It's actually just kind of funny exactly how far he'll go to avoid a project. I've come to determine that, in many cases it's because he's decided that he wants to turn it into this big production, and make it perfect, when I just want it functional. The headboard, for example, he had big plans for that. I just wanted it functional. Regardless, knowing his penchant for avoiding honey do projects like the plague, I've learned to be fairly self sufficient just in self-defense. But, sometimes it will still catch me off guard just how much he hates fixing things.
Which is why, when the flush handle assembly on our toilet broke, I didn't expect to be reaching down into the tank and flushing it by pulling on the chain by hand for a week. But, that's exactly what happened. I even mentioned a couple of times in passing that he should pick up a new handle thingie (technical term, that) on his way home from work. It didn't happen. This is another example of me not really knowing how big of a project we were looking at. I, like I suspect many of you reading this, don't give much thought to the inner workings of the toilet. I do my business, I push the handle, it makes the big whoosh sound, water flows down, and it flushes. Occasionally there's plunging involved, particularly with 3 small children in the house, one of whom has been quoted as saying, “I can clog a toilet with me eyes shut!” (That's actually a factual statement, by the way. No details, but really, it's impressive.) Anyway, finally, last night, we were going out to dinner and then to the store to pick up a few odds and ends, and Hunny demanded that I write a shopping list. So, amongst the other items, I scrawled “toilet handle flusher thingie.” I was hoping against hope that he would get the subtle hint that I was really tired of plunging my hand into the back of the toilet to flush it.
To my surprise, when we traveled to the plumbing aisle of our local Wal-Mart, the flush handles were under $5. In fact, I think we paid a whopping $2.86 for the one Hunny chose to replace the broken one. So much for my theory that he was hesitant to buy an expensive repair part. Well, it must be terribly difficult and or time consuming to put in, was my next theory. When we arrived home after our shopping excursion, I was putting away the few groceries we had picked up, and I sent Eggy to take the flush handle to his daddy so that the toilet repair work could begin. I had an ulterior motive. I had to pee and I did NOT want to put my hand into that tank one more time just to flush the toilet.
10 minutes later, Hunny was lounging on the bed, playing with his smart phone, and the handle assembly was still in it's package, waiting. Sigh. I picked it up and started into the bathroom.
What are you doing?”
Seeing how hard it is to fix a toilet since you haven't moved.”
Calm down. I'll get to it. I just haven't gotten up yet.”
At this point, I have visions of headboards and flat tires in my head. No, thank you, sir. “I have to pee and I don't want to reach into the tank to have to flush it one more time!”
Then don't.”
I heaved a long suffering sigh. He continued peacefully playing with his phone. My bladder gave a squawk. Really. This toilet stuff couldn't be that hard, right? No, it really couldn't. It consisted of screwing off the old handle and throwing it away, taking the nut off of the new handle, putting it through the hold on the tank, and threading the nut onto it. I did have to reach into the tank to attach the chain, but it was a 2 minute repair. Don't think I didn't question exactly why I'm married if I have to change my own flat tire and fix my own toilet within the space of a matter of days. Then I remembered he can still get things off of high shelves and the paycheck comes in handy. Okay. He can stay. ;-)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Chivalry is Dead, but I still WIN!!!!!

   Yesterday, I changed a flat tire. If that were all that I had to tell you, it would be a pretty short tale, but there's a back story that deserves some attention. Let me back up and tell you about the events leading to the great tire changing of Thursday morning.
Saturday, nearly a week ago, my sister was visiting and we had plans to go to a local festival. We got up and showered and dressed, preparing for our day of sisterly fun. But, when we went to load ourselves into my van, we noticed that one of my rear tires was flat. Not a huge deal. I'd picked up a nail a month or so before and we'd had it plugged, so I kind of assumed that the plug just didn't hold. But, I was already showered and dressed and I didn't feel like changing a flat. So, for the sake of expediting the trip out to the festival, we decided just to take my sister's vehicle instead.
Hunny was already at the festival, because for some reason that escapes me, people feel he is a responsible and upstanding member of society, and thus he has been entrusted with the youth of the nearest small town as our local Cub Master for Cub Scouts.
Yeah, he looks totally trustworthy.  (Teenage Hunny was NOT a Scout.)

So, he was set up in a booth selling popcorn for fundraising purposes. So, I called and notified him of the flat and went on about my day. Keep in mind that this was Saturday, nearly a week ago, and I changed the flat myself yesterday, Thursday, nearly a week later.
I didn't have any pressing engagements this week, so I didn't really have to be on the road. Not to mention that I was feeling a bit under the weather, so I really didn't want to go anywhere anyway. But, mainly, I had a flat tire, and I just knew that my husband was going to take care of that for me. You know, since he's my husband and all. True, I can change a tire myself. It's also true that I didn't actually ask him to deal with it. But, I presumed that, since he's supposed to love me, and since it is a much simpler job for him, that he would, when he got the chance, change the tire for me. Which brings me to Thursday morning.
The van sat, slightly uneven, on it's 3 good tires and 1 very flat tire in the exact same spot that I had found it in Saturday morning. Hunny had already been at work for a couple of hours and I was drinking a cup of coffee on the couch while the kids did some schoolwork online. I did what I usually do when I take a coffee break. I picked up my laptop and logged into facebook and the program I use to IM with Hunny throughout the day. He had his first appointment with his endocrinologist scheduled for that morning, and although I had wanted to go, I hadn't been able to find sitting for the kids, and I still had a flat tire, so I was planning upon staying home. But, when I log into IM, my conversation with Hunny goes something like this:
Me: “Hi.”
Hunny: “Hi.”
Me: “How's your morning going?”
Hunny: “Blah.”
Me: “Yeah. Here too. Not enough coffee. Too many children. You?”
Hunny: “Pretty much.”
Me: “Ha!”
Hunny: “When are you heading out?”
Me: “Where am I headed out to?”
Hunny: “My endo appt is this morning. Remember?”
Me: “I have a flat tire.”
Hunny: “You also have a spare.”
Me: “I also have a husband who hasn't bothered to change it since SATURDAY! It's not like I'm on the side of the road, here. It's in the driveway, man.”
Hunny: “I haven't had time to fool with it.”
Me: “Have, too.”
Hunny: “When?”
Me: “Anyway, I wasn't able to get a sitter, so flat tire aside, I didn't think that you wanted me to bring 3 small, slightly obnoxious children on your doctor appointment.”
Hunny: “I didn't get the paperwork that they sent me. I wonder how important that is.”
Me: “The paperwork off of the fridge that I filled out for you a month ago?”
Hunny: “Yes.”
Me: “I guess I can see if I can get a last minute sitter and change the tire. Sigh.”
At which point I went out to change the tire. Now, let me just say, I have changed flat tires before. I don't like changing them. But, I can change them, and I have before. I think that everyone should be able to change a flat tire in the event that they need to. However, if it's not an emergency, and he's available to do it for me, I also think that my husband should do it for me, because it would only take him about half the time it takes me. It just makes sense that if you are more developmentally capable of performing a task, then you perform that task, under normal circumstances. For instance, I will probably never ask him to breastfeed. I know that, given proper drugs and stimuli, he could, but I'm obviously more equipped to do that job. Sigh.
But, since he'd backed me into a corner, I went out to change the stupid tire anyway. Except, it turned into an even bigger production than necessary. A part of the jack was stripped. I had to go find a pair of pliers to hold the jack piece so that I could get it apart. Then, the lug nuts were on really tight and I almost couldn't get them off. The tire was apparently put on with an impact wrench, so it was really on there. I had to stand and jump up and down on the handle of the wrench to get every single lug nut loose to get the wheel off. The entire process took me an hour. It would have taken my husband 20 minutes. The whole time, I'm thinking to myself that he's very lucky that I'm not terribly good at being a girl, or I might have cried in frustration and tried to cut someone with a nail file, or whatever it is that real girls have on hand that's weapon-like. All of this, plus an injury to my thumb, just to take him his paperwork. I'd have scanned it in and emailed it to him, but I still haven't learned to use the printer he bought me, and frankly changing the tire seemed like the lesser of the two evils at the time. In retrospect, I might have been a little too hasty in my decision making. However, lest you're thinking that he got off easy, keep in mind that he got the company of three small, slightly obnoxious children for his doctor visit, and I made him take us out to lunch. I also told everyone who would listen, really loudly, about how I ended up changing the tire, and about how he passed out like a total girl when he had his blood drawn. So there you go. Even when I lose, I WIN! ;-)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Sick Day Schmick Day....

Yesterday, I woke up with a terrible headache. I lounged on the couch with the quilt my grandma made me and tried not to die while the kids played and tried not to incite homicidal rage. They were actually very well behaved and, for the most part, tried to be considerate. Yet, around noon, I still found myself having to utter the following: "Let her out!  You can't lock your sister in the washing machine! That's completely unsafe! What were you thinking!" Which answers the question of why mothers can't ever, ever have sick days. Sigh.  I apologize for my lengthy absence on the blogging front and promise to attempt to do better.  I have no real excuse except...  Well...  I needed a break.  

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Revenge of the Lego Blocks

   Nothing says love like giving your 25 year old Lego blocks to your own children to play with. Correction. Nothing says love like spending hours scrubbing your husband's 25 year old Lego blocks by hand so that he can give them to your children to play with.
I had to fight tooth and nail to hang on to anything of mine from childhood. If I didn't hide it, my mother would throw it away, give it away, or yard sale it. Almost nothing from my childhood survived her. My husband, however, appears to have managed to save every scrap of anything he ever played with, wore, and potentially even looked at in his entire life. I'm not really sure how he managed that since it's an utterly foreign concept to me, but whatever.
Anyway, recently, Hunny and the oldest boy made a trip to visit and returned with the long fabled Lego's of his youth. Unfortunately, they'd been in storage for a number of years, and prior to storing, had been in the home of my father-in-law who, although now reformed, used to smoke like a freight train. A little scrubbing was necessary before I could hand them off to my children. It took me literally 4 hours to scrub all of these Lego blocks. Once I did, my children were in hog heaven. You would have thought I had opened a chest full of gold doubloons and placed them in the center of the living room floor for their enjoyment. Better yet, it was Legos. Oddly, once Daddy's Lego blocks were available, their own blocks lost all appeal. I have no explanation for this, although Hunny would argue that his old school Legos are simply so imbued with awesomeness that they eclipse even their modern counterparts. Whatever the reason, I have only one question. Is there a decorating style that's noted for it's liberal use of tiny building blocks throughout the floor space? Because I'm not allowed to put them away, and I'm starting to think I should just decorate the rest of the living room to go with the current theme.
I've tried to contain them to this beach towel and met with limited success.  At least 6 times a day, I have to go through and play Lego round up.  I know there's no such thing as too many Legos, but I'm starting to wonder every time I step on one....

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Printer Goat Rope

On Monday, Hunny had the big kickoff meeting for his Cub Scout pack. That day, they had gone into the area public schools and spoken to the kids about the opportunities available to them if they joined scouting. He wanted to have a “Welcome Packet” available to give to each parent that came to the sign up meeting. Of course, in true man fashion, he hadn't actually finished writing, let alone printing said welcome packet until the day of the big sign up. So, in between his wanderings in the great wide world and his trips home, he mentions that he wants to print his glorious masterpiece on my printer. I'm fine with this. I have recently purchased ink; I have plenty of paper. Sure, have at it, husband.
And so begins the goat rope that is my husband's decision to print out 30 copies of his 12-page, front and back, full color, glorious, glossy, fantastic welcome packet. On my 6 year old printer. Less than 4 hours before he needs said copies. This is just poor planning and poor decision making in action. Let me preface this by saying, I love my printer. I use it all the time. I make at least 16 copies a day on it, and I print on it all the time. But, I print for personal use. Hunny is very obviously used to having an office quality printer at his disposal. He was horrified at the speed, or should I say lack of speed displayed by my poor little printer as it struggled to meet his demands. Meanwhile, I'm wondering if he thinks our living room is a Kinko's or something. I mean really? What was he smoking when he decided this was a good idea? More importantly, why didn't he share? But, I digress.
About ¼ of the way through this whole process, he has to leave to go to a class for his brand new dead pancreas. “Can you,” he asks, “finish this up for me?” Um... Can I finish your ill advised print project? “Sure,” I answer. Of course, halfway through, he's depleted all of my ink and most of my stockpile of paper. I actually have to load up all 3 of our kids, drive to the closest Wal-Mart, drop $50 on ink, and race home, realizing the whole time that these welcome packets are never going to be done on time, ever.
The Scout Meeting started at 6:30 that evening. At 6:45pm I phoned Hunny and said, “This is taking forever. Are you sure that you need all of these? I don't know if they're going to get done on time. Couldn't I just bring what I have?” He assured me that it was imperative that he have all of the packets. So, I dutifully continued to print. Meanwhile, our slightly OCD eldest child is pacing frantically back and forth like Dustin Hoffman's character in Rainman when he's late for Judge Wapner, going, “We're never going to make it on time. I'm going to miss the meeting. I'm going to be late. Can’t we just go? I really want to go.” Finally, at 7:15pm, all the copies are completed. I grab them and dash out the door, feeling every bit the conquering hero, confident that I will rush into the meeting and save the day with my glorious welcome packets. I pulled into the church parking lot at 7:30pm. The only people there were my husband and the other Cub Scout volunteers. There was one parent there who hadn't already left, and she was a friend of mine. I dutifully handed her one of the packets. Thanks, Hunny.
So what does Hunny have to say for himself? “I never paid attention when things were printing. I didn't realize it was that slow.” Which I think translates roughly to, “I have no concept of reality and as long as it doesn't inconvenience me,  the tribulations of your daily life are of no consequence to me as I get to escape the mad house almost every single day. What's for dinner?” Because, he always wants to know what's for dinner. Needless to say, on Tuesday, I have a brand new fast printer in the house. He can magic print jobs from it with his wazardly ways. Which is my way of saying that it's wireless, so he can do his very important job of holding down the couch across the room while simultaneously causing the printer to vomit forth anything that he a)beams to it with his iPhone, b)sends from his laptop, or c) emails to it from some other locale where he is also subduing some innocent piece of furniture that might at any second decide to defy the laws of gravity. He expects me to be pleased with him, but this just means I have to learn to use a new thing. I hate learning to use the new thing. Sigh.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Trying New Things

   Some of you may be familiar with my blogs on the What to Expect website.  I'm trying something new and branching out a bit with an independent blog over here on blogger.  I don't know how well this will work or how well I'll like it, but I think that it will be good for me to have a space all my own to report on all of the craziness of our lives.  I probably won't be posting as frequently on this site, but I promise to still try and update you with my kids' antics and try to put a smile on your face as much as I can!  Thanks for finding me over here, and I'll be back with more tales of my insanity soon!