I Wasn’t Ready For This!

I thought I was, but I’m not…

My oldest, Adam, started driving on Saturday!!! I can’t believe it!
He wasn’t particularly interested, but is turning 17 at the end of July, so we talked him into it (nicely forced) so he can get lots of practice in before he leaves home.
Thankfully, he has to drive with us for six months before he can get his full license.
We live less than 10 minutes from the “big” city, but are out in the country, so he has had some state highway experience already. He’ll be doing interstate driving for an upcoming summer vacation as well.
I told him on Friday after he passed his test, that it would be a whole new world. In reply, he told me that I used to not be able to wait for him to get older and be able to do things for himself and now I’m not ready. So true! Very strange!
Babbling, crawling, talking, walking, bike riding, telling time, swimming, reading, plus more, are all life skills that are very important, but driving! Yikes!

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Second trip out, first with the whole family! (BTW, the vehicle was at a complete stop before he posed for the picture!)

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (ESV)
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

Furniture Feature Friday

Linking up with Furniture Feature Friday for the first time at Miss Mustard Seed.

Stripping and refinishing help needed, please!

We were told that our table is solid walnut. (Full history below pictures.)
The table and benches are very solid, but are in great need of refinishing, as you can see from the pictures below.
My husband is interested in taking it apart and using a biscuit joiner to put the top together again tightly. (Thank you Tom Silva from This Old House for the tool tips!)
We have never stripped or refinished anything and would like to do it well. I have a small bookshelf I could practice on if someone could please point me in the right direction!
Thank you so much!

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Our table, aka best e-bay purchase ever.

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Close-up of the end.

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And, the other end.

The history:
We purchased this table, after searching for quite some time, in April of 20007. We were a family of seven at the time and added another son in 2008!
My husband found the table on e-bay by searching for dining tables within a 200 mile radius of our home.
Our table came in just under the mileage wire and we were the only bidders. The table and two benches cost us the minimum bid, a whopping $50!
The owner had it stored in a shed and was in the process of moving. He told us his father had made the table 40 years prior.
My husband and oldest son, nine at the time, took the seats out of our 12-passenger van and loaded it with the help of the owner. (The owner taught my husband how to unlatch the doors on the back of the van so they would fold flat.)
They arrived home late and had to take the hinges off our back door to get it in. It was all the three of could do to get it into our kitchen.
The table is so heavy, that when our second son got up the next morning and tried lifting the end up he asked if it was bolted to the floor.

Thank you for your help!!

Colossians 3:23-24 (ESV)
23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.

Five Minute Friday: View

Five Minute Friday

Writing again for Five Minute Friday.

View
GO

The view gets a bit fuzzy some days in the tired.
Thinking yesterday afternoon when the blog engineer wanted to cuddle me and our youngest came in and talked and talked and asked so many questions in a 30-second period. These days aren’t going to last long.

Listening to a podcast yesterday evening, while adding up the last two month’s grocery receipts, I heard the encouragement from two mamas with children in their 20s to slow down, don’t wish these days away, have more fun with your children.

Thinking-how in the world do we eat so much? Well, there are eight of us. Two teen boys, a teen-ish girl, tween boy and two younger (can’t call them “little”) boys. It won’t last forever.

I am so going to miss these days. I don’t want to miss them now.
The view is clearer here in the early morning with a quiet house.
I’m going in a few hours to take my oldest to get his driving permit!
STOP.

I didn’t do well with five minutes this morning. I added three minutes to the timer, in one minute increments (Not recommended for optimum concentration!)

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This gift was on my photo stream. I found it early, while looking for inspiration before starting the timer. These two boys, the type-a twins separated by 11 years and 360 days and their triplet sister who snuck in, while on a walk in the neighborhood with Daddy last night.

Psalm 90:12 (NKJV)
“So teach us to number our days,
That we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

Diabetes Blog Week: Day 6, Diabetes Art

“This year Diabetes Art moves up from the Wildcard choices as we all channel our creativity with art in the broadest sense. Do some “traditional” art like drawing, painting, collage or any other craft you enjoy. Or look to the literary arts and perhaps write a d-poem or share and discuss a favorite quote. Groove to some musical arts by sharing a song that inspires you diabetes-wise, reworking some song lyrics with a d-twist, or even writing your own song. Don’t forget dramatic arts too, perhaps you can create a diabetes reality show or play. These are just a starting point today – there are no right or wrong ways to get creative!”

This post was “due” on Saturday and here I am sitting in bed at 10 p.m. on Monday. I couldn’t write anymore about diabetes. No more.
After a two-day break, I’m going to finish the course. Not the way I thought I would (which was either finishing a poem I had started a couple of months ago about John or talking him into doing something for me for the post), but with two links to previous posts involving John.
One from March about origami (actually the mess he makes creating!) and one from this past Friday, a *Five Minute Friday post with the prompt “song.

He is quite an artistic guy, and next year we’ll start earlier and come up with something fun!

*What is Five Minute Friday? The details are here.


Psalm 98:4-6
(ESV)
4 Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth;
break forth into joyous song and sing praises!
5 Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre,
with the lyre and the sound of melody!
6 With trumpets and the sound of the horn
make a joyful noise before the King, the Lord!

Diabetes Blog Week: Day 5, “Freaky Friday,” aka the Post In Which We Swap Auto-Immune Diseases

“Just like in the movie, today we’re doing a swap. If you could switch chronic diseases, which one would you choose to deal with instead of diabetes? And while we’re considering other chronic conditions, do you think your participation in the DOC has affected how you treat friends and acquaintances with other medical conditions?”

Since I am familiar with it, I think we’ll go with Celiac Disease. As I’ve said earlier in the week, John was diagnosed with diabetes in February of 2005. In August of 2007, his older brother, Luke, was diagnosed with Celiac Disease.
Celiac definitely puts a cramp in socializing. Everything revolves around food and it seems that gluten makes the world go round.
Taking our own food and being careful on those rare occasions we eat out as a family makes it more doable, though still complicated. I don’t like potlucks. Really I don’t. I have a fear of the unknown and I want Luke to feel well and be healthy.
With that said, I’d still take Celiac any day over Diabetes.
With celiac, as long as Luke has safe food, he’s good to go.
Obviously, with diabetes, just having insulin does not mean John is good to go. The testing, 8-10 times a day, the site changes, the night times (which his daddy, aka Super Daddy, does 90% of the time), monitoring exercise and illness.
No comparison as far as immediate health or long-term health.
From what I understand (and I am not a medical professional), a compliant person with celiac should have no ill health effects. Maybe ever.
From what I understand (and again, I am not a medical professional), a compliant person with diabetes can do everything “right” and still have issues. Anytime.
But really, what it there to understand about diabetes. It is a frustrating disease that can change on a minute’s notice. I feel like we”re in a bad Star Trek episode and being “beamed” somedays. Just when I get the blood sugars where I want them: “beam”–allergies, sickness, vacation lows, vacation highs, etc.

We have had more people express sympathy over celiac, it seems, just in the “Poor Luke, he can’t eat this gross, plastic-tasting birthday cake from XYZ discount store.”
Honestly, (and I have said this nicely) I would give the whole family (all eight!) Celiac if I could take away John’s diabetes. Yes, I would. In a heart beat.

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The Six Sibs going round without gluten!
On the front row, Luke is on the left and John is in the middle.

I will answer the second part of the prompt a bit differently than it was meant, since this week is really my first real “participation” in the DOC. I had never heard that term until the last few months. It was just after the 7 year diagnosis mark that we received an e-mail newsletter from Medtronic, which contained a review from Meri. I had been reading blogs for several years, but it didn’t occur to me that there would be diabetes-specific blogs.

Anyway, I would say that just having a child with a chronic illness has made me aware of others with chronic illness or disability. We’ve had people say things like “I don’t think I could do what you do,” But I respond with “You do what you have to do.” I look at children with autism, in wheelchairs, needing liquid nutrition, etc. and sometimes think the first sentiment, then realize that their parents probably echo my thoughts. They have been called to different trials and I appreciate them for their loving care and perseverance.

Romans 12:12 (NIV 1984)
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”

Five Minute Friday: Song

Five Minute Friday

Five Minute Friday: Song

My life has a soundtrack. Younger boys playing, deep voices of older boys, daughter organizing, siblings laughing. It’s all a song.
There is one in particular, John, who seems to live for vocal music.
He has a very sweet voice and uses it liberally. Most of the day, he provides a song via whistling, humming or singing. Hymns, Lord of the Rings songs, or nonsensical notes over and over and over. The latter, I have to ask for a pause. Sometimes the whistling too. I try to be patient. I enjoy it much of the time and I do miss the song when they are all out or I am out and I am alone in the quiet. It is our family song. I like the song of my life.
End

Psalm 96: 1-6 (ESV)
Worship in the Splendor of Holiness

“1Oh sing to the Lord a new song;
sing to the Lord, all the earth!
2 Sing to the Lord, bless his name;
tell of his salvation from day to day.
3 Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous works among all the peoples!
4 For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;
he is to be feared above all gods.
5 For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols,
but the Lord made the heavens.
6 Splendor and majesty are before him;
strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.”

Go here for the entire chapter.

Diabetes Blog Week: Day 4, Accomplishments Big and Small


“We don’t always realize it, but each one of us had come a long way since diabetes first came into our life. It doesn’t matter if it’s been 5 weeks, 5 years or 50 years, you’ve done something outstanding diabetes-wise. So today let’s share the greatest accomplishment you’ve made in terms of dealing with your (or your loved one’s) diabetes. No accomplishment is too big or too small – think about self-acceptance, something you’ve mastered (pump / exercise / diet / etc.), making a tough care decision (finding a new endo or support group / choosing to use or not use a technology / etc.”

In the 8 years and almost three months since John’s diagnosis, I would say I have accomplished a few things:
1) Taking a “one for all and all for one” approach with our new normal. We had always eaten the same thing, so I couldn’t imagine singling John out and making him eat differently. Not gonna happen in this house. (This approach was tested in 8/07 when John’s #2 brother was diagnosed with Celiac Disease.)
The real world will be upon him before I know it and I want to give him a good grounding with lots of healthy food (and a few treats thrown in) in our family setting, with his favorite five friends and his favorite parents not only cheering for him, but being on the same team.
2) Embracing carb counting, in a big way, early on. My preferred method is weighing, second would be measuring, and only as a last resort will I guess. I know people that do, and I can, but it is not perfectly accurate, and since diabetes throws so many curve balls, for no apparent reason, I feel that I should be doing everything I can to keep The J healthy. I think I have bordered on being obsessive about it, so am trying to still be very precise and accurate, while a little less uptight ;)
3) Caring for John while he was a baby, then preschooler, while being pregnant, then having his two younger brothers (5/05 and 7/08).
To be honest though, I am sure that is the reason for some of the downs I experienced with the older three children and homeschooling. As I said in Monday’s post, no one can do it all.
4) Learning from #1 and through much prayer, learned to juggle a little better and began resurrecting/rescuing my relationship with the older ones, who had been expected to “keep on and carry on” while I was so busy with the younger guys + diabetes. It took years, but we are in a good place now. Well, most days. ;)
5) Starting per John’s request at about age four, to turn small areas of his care over to him. He wanted to start with testing and when he started on a pump at age 5 (11/05), he took to that like the jr. engineer that he is! He now can do everything for his site changes, except the actual placement. We are currently working on carb counting.
His nurse practitioner told us when he was tiny that he would get interested in taking care of himself, but I was really surprised when he did at only, age four. Of course, he was a veteran by then.

Whew, this has been an interesting week. Lots of brain, memory and emotion dumping.

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From yesterday’s post, playing at home, just before diagnosis.

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From Tuesday’s post, John testing prototypes of The Testeroni 5000.

Romans 8:28 (NKJV)
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”

Diabetes Blog Week: Day 3, Memories

I wrote the following as a comment to this post back in February.

“I really appreciate your thoughts, Emily. I think a lot about a diabetes diagnosis (February) this time of year. My son’s to be specific, 8 years ago next Friday. He was 18 months old and I was 6 months pregnant with baby #5.
His diagnosis was not as traumatic as yours sounds, his blood sugar was “only” 350 when he was tested at the pediatrician’s office after I noticed his increasing thirst and diaper wetting.
He spent two nights in the hospital and began taking four insulin injections per day.
I truly did not appreciate a nurses’s prophetic words that it would not be so bad because he wouldn’t remember life before diabetes. She was right, but I remember it and mourn for those simpler days.
I am a blessed mama and though I would drop diabetes in a heartbeat if I could, I have never felt angry at God, as I do know that he has a plan for my kind-hearted, beautiful-blue-eyed boy. He has diabetes, he is not a diabetic. We don’t let us define us, though it has definitely refined us.
Thank you again for sharing.”

I thought I would add to that, and I probably will someday, to tell the full story, but I can’t think about diabetes any more today, except of course in real life. :)

I am editing this post on Thursday…
Yesterday, I had included Emily’s reply, but kept thinking about it and didn’t have a peace about posting it. It wasn’t a private reply, but I didn’t have permission to post it here. It is on the post I linked to at the beginning. I know that was a long and rambly explanation. That pretty much sums up what’s going on inside my brain ;)

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Playing at The Discovery Center on February 15, 2005, a week before diagnosis.

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Playing at home, also before diagnosis.
He wore these slippers during his two-day hospital stay, along with the baby blue hospital gown that came to his ankles. (I couldn’t even imagine taking any pictures then–those hospital images are burned into my brain. Maybe John would have liked to see them though.)

Psalm 46:1-3 (ESV)
God Is Our Fortress

“God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling.”

Diabetes Blog Week: Day 2, John’s Dream Diabetes Device

The prompt I am using today is one of the wild card options, as the choice for today was to create a diabetes petition. I thought the wild card prompt sounded much more interesting, especially since I have enlisted John to help. I thought that would be the most fitting and fair, since he is the one being poked and prodded. Plus, he is an amazing jr. engineer, following in his daddy’s footsteps. :)

“Back by popular demand, let’s revisit this prompt from last year! Tell us what your fantasy diabetes device would be? Think of your dream blood glucose checker, delivery system for insulin or other meds, magic carb counter, etc etc etc. The sky is the limit – what would you love to see?”

Take it away John:

The Testeroni 5000

The Testeroni 5000 is a glove that has a tester on one of the fingers. You can’t even feel the test when it tests you!
You have a little tiny thing that beeps whenever you are low and whenever you are high. It gives you insulin when you are high and it tells you to eat something whenever you are low. You never have to take it off. It isn’t hot whenever you wear it, it is very comfortable.

Dictated by John, age 9, diagnosed 2/05 at 18 months.

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John testing prototypes of The Testeroni 5000

Psalm 121:8 (ESV)
The Lord will keep
your going out and your coming in
from this time forth and forevermore.