December 19, 2010

'Tis the Season of Kindness

Christmas time is my favorite time of the year!  I love all the decorations.  I love the smells of pine trees and cookies baking.  I love shopping and wrapping presents for special people.  And I love that the holidays bring about kindness all around me...

Since it is the season....I want to highlight a couple of special people who may not even know how much their kindness means to me.

The first very special lady is my friend Carey.  She is the mother of two beautiful twin girls.  We met last year when one of her girls was in Ally's class.  She is truly one of the most thoughtful people that I know.  I am so grateful to her for always thinking of Ally.  When she sends a treat in to school, she contacts me ahead of time to let me know - not only what the treat will be, but also the carb count for that item.  She even marked the carb count on the item that she sent in so that the school nurse would have the information too.  Same for her daughters' birthday party.  She planned a most fabulous and fun I know that it took a lot of preparation for this party.  Yet, she took the time to let me know what she would be serving at the party and, again, the carb count.  I don't know if she even knows how much I appreciate this...and how comfortable and welcomed it makes Ally feel.

The second very special lady is my friend Christina.  Christina and I became friends when Ally was in preschool with her son.  We were friends before Ally's diagnosis.  She knew me before.  (sigh.)  She still loves me today (sigh of relief.) - you know, the very much less together person than I used to be.  Christina often asks about Ally.  She tries to learn about diabetes and what that means for our family.  She listens when I just need to vent about diabetes.  Sometimes she even reads my blog :) (Won't she be surprised to find today's post!)  This past week I realized what a great friend she is...not just to me...but to another friend of hers, who, unfortunately, has a 12 year old daughter just diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.  She immediately started sharing the things that she had learned from us along the way.  She contacted me and shared my information so that I could be a resource to this newly diagnosed family.  She knew that her friend would need support.  Christina is a special person! 

And one more special lady neighbor Pam.  She lives just down the street; Our daughters ride the bus together.  The girls have recently begged to play together and have had several playdates.  Unfortunately, before this I did not really know Pam or her daughter.  The thing about Pam that really struck me was how much she cared about knowing about Ally's diabetes and wanted to learn what she needed to do in order to have Ally over to play.  She was honest and told me that she did not really know much about type 1 diabetes.  She told me that she was nervous.  I appreciated her honesty.  Many good-intentioned people tell me that they don't mind having Ally over, that they can take care of Ally.  But I have never felt the compassion that I felt from Pam...I could tell that she really wanted to learn and she did!  She listened to me, read the notes I had prepared for her, and asked me questions to clarify.  I wonder if she knows how much that meant to me?
I am blessed to have so many great friends...and today I am especially thankful for the kindness of these thoughtful ladies!

Happy Holidays! 


December 14, 2010

A Weekend Away with a Fun D-Rents Meet Up

Recently, the opportunity came up for me to take a weekend trip to Chicago (by myself - no kiddos, no hubby, no D!) and to meet a few fellow D peeps.  When I started thinking about whether or not I should make this trip I wondered if I really should spend the money this time of year?  I knew that I would be missing the JDRF walk awards banquet.  I would be missing Jessi's soccer game.  And probably the biggest drawback would be that I would be missing Ally's first piano recital.  So I pondered....But everytime I went through it all I came back to the same answer...I need a break more.  Plus, how often do you get the opportunity to meet the people who live in your computer?  You know, the ones that my husband refers to as my imaginary friends
So here you go, my Chicago Weekend Wrap Up:
Chicago in Winter...I know!  It sounds...cold...miserable.  But it wasn't...It was wonderful!  This was a perfect time to see downtown Chicago.  The streets were lined with trees shining brightly.  Christmas trees were everywhere.  Storefronts and store windows were decorated for the holidays.  Horse drawn carriages often passed by.  The snow just added to the beautiful architecture of the city.  Of course, you can't talk about Chicago without mentioning the crowds of people, crazy cab drivers, horns beeping, revolving doors and Giordano's pizza!

It was SO good for me to get away.  Not that I didn't miss Keith and the girls, but I actually got two nights of good sleep and a whole weekend free of carb counting!  I think that any parent can attest to the fact that taking care of kids is exhausting.  Sure it is the most wonderful thing in the world...but it is also exhausting.  The constant thinking about what other people need before yourself can also mess with your psyche.  Seriously, I think that every parent needs to take a short break once in a while - do something for yourself.  And, while I don't mean to whine and complain or to imply that I have it "worse" than anyone else, throw diabetes into the mix and my psyche is merely a psych-out!  So believe me when I tell you that I thoroughly enjoyed the drive - several hours in the car by myself.

Are you wondering which of my imaginary friends who live in my computer that I met?

Heather from Sweet to the Soul, Lora from My Diabetic Child, Marc from Jonathan's Journey, along with his wife Bobbie, and their two beautiful children. 

Heather, Lora and I shared a hotel room.  It was great D Mama bonding time!  Here is what I learned about my fellow D Peeps:
  • Lora has cooler boots than me - and she lives in a much warmer climate than I do!
  • Heather has never flown on an airplane and this trip was her first train ride.
  • I am older than both of them.
  • Marc and Bobbie's kids are troopers!  They walked and walked with us without complaining.
  • Both Lora and Heather like Mary Kay cosmetics.
  • Lora lives a few miles from where my husband proposed to me!  She also has relatives that live in the same state as me...When are you planning to visit them??
 Not a long list is it?  That's not because we didn't get a along or weren't's because I KNOW these people.  I know their tired eyes.  I know their wandering minds.  You'd think it would be awkward meeting people in another city when you don't know them, but it wasn't.  I feel like I do know them.  I read their blogs.  I know their kids.  I know their T1 story.  I know their triumphs over D.  I know their setbacks....and unfortunately I can relate!  When we first met in real life, we hugged.  They were not strangers to me. 
We did some fabulous shopping on the Magnificent Mile.  So why is it when I have the opportunity to shop for myself I choose to spend all my money on the girls?  Actually, I was so late getting started on Christmas shopping this year that I took advantage of this opportunity to shop for gifts.   Disney, Sanrio, American Girl...there may have been purchases at these stores...but SHHHH!  Christmas gifts remember!

I will say that my favorite stop was the American Girl doll store.  I wished that my girls could have been with me for that one.  It was so cute to see all of the little girls carrying their dolls around with them.  I did not go to Chicago planning to buy an American Girl doll.  Ally has asked for one for a couple of years and I just hated to spend the money.  Well, I couldn't help myself!  Lora, remember how we talked about guilt buys...Do you think maybe this was mine?

And the food in Chicago!  Yummy!  Just take a look at some of the wonderful things I ate on this trip.

I also treated myself to a Starbucks or two..maybe three!  On the last morning of my weekend getaway, my brother-in-law, sister-in-law, neice and nephew drove into the city to meet me for breakfast.  We ate at a cute breakfast restaurant.  I was so happy to get to see them while I was in town, even if for a quick visit.  The food turned out to be the biggest  Eggsperience of my life!  I did not need to stop for lunch on my drive home, that was for sure!

 My Chicago Weekend Wrap up would not be complete without mentioning the Santa Speedo Run.  We did catch a "flash" of some speedo wearing folks running by as we were walking down Michigan Avenue.  It was not until I got home and  read this article
(thanks Marc!) that I learned that these people were freezing their buns off to raise money for the Chicago Diabetes Project.  

(This photo is actually of the Boston Santa Run, but I wanted you to get the idea!)

This is what Diabetes News Hound had to say about the run....
"Hundred of Chicagoans braved the bitter cold this past weekend, running down the street in next to nothing all in the name of diabetes.

The event is called the Santa Speedo Run and the proceeds go to the Chicago Diabetes Project. Last year the event raised $5,500. The race is a little more than a mile and took place on Rush Street in Chicago and finished on Michigan Ave. Participants were encouraged to wear holiday themed speedos, although runners wearing any holiday-themed clothing were welcomed. Many donned Santa hats, red or stripped bikinis and speedos."
It was a wonderful weekend!  It was so much fun meeting some fellow D Peeps in person.  I hope that we will get to do it again soon. 

I'd like to thank Lora, Heather and Google Images for sharing your pictures with me.  I did not have my camera on this trip because I left it at home for Daddy to take to Ally's first piano recital!  Don't forget to check out what Lora and Heather have to say about our trip!

And lastly, it wouldn't be fair to talk about this trip without talking about how wonderful my husband is!!!  Really!!  He never balked at the idea of me going to Chicago, not once!  When I came home this is what I with showers/baths, the floor was mopped, no dishes in the sink!  He did awesome!  My mom even said that Ally looked so cute for her piano recital...Daddy did good!



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