A Blend of Life, Family, Awareness & Tales

Posts tagged ‘Kids’


“I want to polish your nails, Mom.”

For just a second I flinched. It was the beginning of summer, flip flop season and I didn’t really want to walk around with toes like that… Wait a minute, I thought to myself, Toes like what?

Toes painted lovingly by my 10 year old daughter? Toes with slightly crazy colors? Toes with designs I would never think of or dare to paint?

What would people think of a 44 year old woman wearing such a pedicure? Suddenly I realized who was going to see my toes; a bunch of moms like me at Target on a Tuesday morning, or maybe at the school gym during my son’s basketball practice. Who cares what they think? (Well, I did.) But I realized I cared more about what my daughter thought. Weren’t the thoughts flowing through her head and heart more important than what a bunch of strangers think of my polish choices? And again, who really cares what someone thought about my nails, if they even noticed them at all.

I had quite an “aha” moment right there. Since when was worrying that someone may find me a little eccentric more important than allowing my daughter the joy of doing something special for me? How often had I said no to her doing my hair or makeup or makeup because I might leave the house later? The time we spend together is so much more important.

Right then and there I had an attitude adjustment.

“I would love for you to do my nails, sweetie.”

“Really?” She sounded astounded. “You’re sure it’s ok?”

She ran to get the polish and by the time she returned, I decided she would do my nails the entire summer.

This was the first, and I thought it was marvelous!

This was the first, and I thought it was marvelous!


And the second also very fun!

Fun for a vacation to the North woods.

Special for a vacation to the North woods.


Photo pre-clean up, but you get the idea!

So I have to say, I was a little self conscious of this one, only because it was worn to my Grandma's funeral. Grandma would have loved the artistry though, I am sure.

So I have to say, I was a little self conscious of this one, only because it was worn to my Grandma’s funeral. Grandma would have loved the artistry though, I am sure.

Probably my favorite!

Probably my favorite!

Although this one was awesome too!

Although this one was awesome too!


And lastly, the one my daughter calls the

And lastly, the one my daughter calls the “Galaxy.” It was a beauty.

I’m going back to boring old single-color nails for the fall. They hardly ever peek out anymore now that the weather has gotten cooler, but they had a good run. If I am lucky she will offer to do my nails again, and you can bet there will be no hesitation from me.


One Wish.

One Wish.

If I had one wish, it would be a wish for a cure for Type 1 Diabetes (T1D). It would allow my daughter to go to the park, or school, or wherever she wanted without worrying if she brought her test strips, her ‘poker,’ insulin, fast acting carbs, and extra supplies of all kinds. It would allow her to go to a sleepover without her mom. It would allow her to go to college without us worrying that she will check her own blood sugar at two in the morning or worse yet, not wake up. It would allow her to have a baby without constant monitoring and worrying about her unborn child. And finally it would allow her to grow old some day without the worry of heart disease, blindness, kidney failure or any of the other complications that are often caused by T1D.

One Wish.

It might be selfish, that if gifted one wish, I would spend it on my daughter. But this one wish is for the eighty people in the U.S., half of them just children, who are diagnosed each day with T1D. Nearly 30,000 people in our country alone each year are added to the 3,000,000 U.S. citizens that are testing, injecting, counting and treating all day every day. A cure would potentially eliminate the nearly $15 billion in T1D healthcare costs racked up in the U.S. each year. (JDRF)

Just this past week, I was put in touch with a mother hours before her son was diagnosed. They had not yet gone to the doctor, and after communicating with her I was 90% sure her son had T1D. I imagine she still had hope that what she had read, the signs that her son was showing were simply coincidences, it couldn’t be something that would happen to her son. Truly I wish they hadn’t been added to the T1D family.

One Wish.


It was the theme of this year’s JDRF Gala in our chapter. I didn’t come up with the theme, but what a beautiful one it was. I am a member of our Gala planning committee, so I can say I am proud of what we accomplished again this year.  Our one beautiful evening, with the help of countless volunteers, donors and bidders, raised


Yes, you read that right, nearly a half a million dollars that will be used to not only improve the lives of those with T1D with better working technology and insulin, but also used for research that will one day lead to a cure. These dollars were the result of a collection local people and businesses and their generosity. The gala committee itself is diverse, and what an honor to be included. It was so fun to see one another at this grand event after months of planning. The donors, which ranged from local firefighters to a coach that lead our university to the Final Four this spring, are heroes in my book. We even had a beautiful young woman willing to share her T1D story with all of us, and I can say that more that once my eyes filled with tears with not sadness, but with all the hope that came with this evening.

One Wish.

So yes, I have one wish. A wish that we could all come together some day and say, “Remember when we used to plan that big party to raise money for a cure for Type 1 Diabetes,” and maybe someone new in the crowd would say, “Diabetes, what’s that?” That is my wish.

I really enjoy this video, and was so pleased to see it at the gala last night.

Thank you to all the Gala Committee members. It has been a true pleasure working with all of you, and look forward to next year. Plus last night was a blast!



Since my little girl was old enough to make friends I have been dreading the tear-filled conversation we were going to have when she wasn’t invited to an overnight party because of her diabetes. My concern that some Monday morning all of her classmates would be reminiscing about staying up all Saturday night, and then asking her why she wasn’t there.

Little did I know this was an unnecessary worry. My little girl is giggling in another room with eight other girls,watching movies and slowly settling to sleep. Little did I know how open and accommodating another family could be, allowing me to crash their party, eat their pizza and even sleep on their couch (and drink a little of their wine too!). I so appreciate the kindness of this family to not exclude our little girl just because it might have been difficult, just because they knew that I might have to tag along for the night.

Tonight’s act was one I might expect from family or my closest friend. While we know this family whose house I am in tonight, I am sure it is a bit uncomfortable having me stay in their living room! Tonight reminded me that our actions, no matter how simple, may have a profound effect on others. This family invited our daughter to a sleepover. I wonder what effect we can have on someone tomorrow?

Life With Louie.

I was a country girl when I was a kid. We had horses, some great barn cats and various dogs through the years – a great one, a mischevious one, two brainless ones and one who died much too soon. I went off to college, and then to my various apartments as a single girl. I really wanted a pet but my lifestyle was not dog friendly, I am allergic to cats and fish aren’t very snuggly.

I want to love him and squeeze him and...

A few days before Christmas 1994, my Mom and Dad took me out for dinner. We then stopped at a little business, and my Mom told me that she had picked out a bird for me. She had researched birds a lot, and determined the right breed and breeder to go with. We went into the shop and I met a young hand-fed Cockatiel. I also learned that a cage was already set up back home and all the toys and food were there too.

We took him back to my parent’s house for the Christmas holiday and we all took care of him there, but then I took back to my apartment. Much like having a baby for the first time, it was a bit nerve-wracking learning how to take care of the little bird. I asked myself:

  • Is he eating well?
  • He’s not eating vegetables, he’s supposed to eat vegetables. Why won’t he eat vegetables?
  • I’m gone a lot, is he lonely?
  • What should I name him?
  • Why does he keep pooping on me?

It took weeks to name him, and finally the name came to me, “Louie.” At the same time my boyfriend dumped me, I was working as a waitress for less than minimum wage with a Bachelor’s degree, and to be truthful, my roommate was scary.

Louie was my savior at that time. He was a crabby little bundle of feathers, but we grew to understand each other. He could talk a little (“Good Morning, Louie.”), he could whistle a lot, and he loved to look at his reflection in the mirror. We took afternoon naps together before I would head to my work shift at five pm. He sat on my shoulder as I watched reruns of Dougie Howser, MD.

Louie was there through relationship drama, several roommates, meeting the love of my life, planning my wedding, moving far from home, buying a house and having kids. During all of that time I was his person. He hissed at my husband and children, he tolerated my Mom only when I wasn’t around, and would occasionally sit on my Dad’s head (where I am sure he had plans to go to the bathroom if I hadn’t quickly picked him up).

Louie wanna cracker?

My son liked Louie, even though Louie would have bitten him if given the chance. He talked to Louie, tried to feed him and wished that he could pet him. They were starting to make some headway, but then in the Spring of 2010 Louie began to show his age with weakening and confusion. While his door was always open, he never left his cage any longer. One morning in July of that year he flew over to me to scratch his head. When he flew back to return to his cage he didn’t make it. I picked him up and he was gasping for breath. I held him for just a moment before he died in my hands. My then four-year-old son asked if he could finally pet Louie. I let him hold his limp body and he gently scratched Louie’s ear as he had seen me do so many times before.

Louie was a one of a kind chap who was there with me through some of the most significant moments of my life. I will probably never get another bird, but I so appreciate the 16 years he was here and he will always hold a special spot in my heart.


As the Christmas season comes to an end, I wanted to reflect on one of the greatest moments of our family’s celebration this year:

The 12 foot tall Santa.

Sure, there were great times with family and friends. Our kids learned some important lessons in sharing and caring for others by donating gifts and money to those in need. There was even the gifts for us. But nothing could compare to the moment we first fired up (let me say it again) the 12 foot tall Santa.

12 feet of inflatable fun!

Sure, I know the photo doesn’t look all that impressive, and we were so in awe of big ol’ Santa that we forgot to take a photo. But to put it in perspective, his lower hand could pat me on the top of my head.

We didn’t go out looking for an inflatable decoration this year. A few weeks before Thanksgiving I visited Home Depot with my parents. I saw Santa up on the high shelf and I was in love. I went back and forth in my head like I seem to do with so many purchases.

“Oh man, we have to have that.”

“No, that is too much money.”

“But it is so cool.”

“Do we really need it?”

“But the kids would love it.”

Then a second voice joined the conversation, it was my mom who noticed me staring at that handsome man in the big red suit.

“You should get that.”

That pretty much pushed me off the fence, but first I had to drive my husband nuts with several texts where I again argued with myself, while he simply said “Sure, let’s do it.”

Thanksgiving weekend came and we were all so excited to put Santa up. As he began to inflate, I swear I could hear a drumroll just like the one in Christmas Vacation. Fortunately for us, putting up Santa was a much simpler and more sucessful endeavor than it was for the Griswolds.

Thoughout the Christmas season, I was often approached with the statement, “Are you the ones with the Santa?”

Proudly, I would reply, “We sure are!” That was my 15 minutes of fame, and I liked it. Cars would often slow, and our neighbors’ dogs even expressed their delight in his presence. (Ok, so maybe they were not actually delighted!) It was a great couple of weeks.

But all good things must come to an end. So tonight as Santa sits deflated, drying out in our lower level, we remember the air-filled fun he provided us all the Christmas season.

That'll do Santa, that'll do.


Two weeks ago we became the very proud parents of a daughter who earned her first belt in Mixed Martial Arts, the White Belt with Gold Stripe.

As proud as we are, no one is prouder than our little lady herself. In September we signed her up at our local Martial Arts school on the recommendation of several current students. We knew it was a good school, as we had heard good things. What we had no idea about was how great this school for teaching not only Martial Arts, but just teaching about life itself. Our little girl has always been a fantastic kid, but it is so cool to see her embrace the respect and attention that this has required of her.

“Graduation” night came and she was so nervous. My Mom ironed her uniform(I don’t own an iron. I suspect my Mom is appalled by this). Grandma, Grandpa, Brother, Dad and myself squeezed into the very crowded room. As I watched our little girl(with a pack of Smarties in my hand just in case her blood sugar went low), I thought about how awesome it would be if she continued her training. I daydreamed that she would earn her black belt someday. Thought about how one day in college she might encounter a less than desirable young man who would quickly learn his lesson if he tried to be too aggressive. I pictured her competing Karate Kid style, in front of a large crowd chanting her name. Heck, maybe she could even be a role-model for kids with Type 1 Diabetes…

I came back to the moment. I have a tendency to dream big, but that night I realized that what we had right there was enough. We have a great daughter, a daughter with a “White belt with Gold Stripe,” and you know what, she already is a role model for other kids.

We’re proud of you Pumpkin. And you should always be proud of yourself too!

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