Wednesday, December 3

Celebrating a year in moments

The merriest of all holidays is here, and I'm feeling pretty darn reflective.

We've started the Christmas cards, Scott is working on his annual letter, and I've been thinking about how big this year was. It was both intimidating and exhilarating. God threw in a few surprises, but I've learned not to shy away from anything in His grasp.

So let the celebrations begin!

Here's a little ditty from me to you. Make it the best Christmas yet!

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Tuesday, November 25

All peanut butter'ed out

I made my umpteenth peanut butter and jelly sandwich this morning.

I have no idea how much umpteenth actually is, but in this case it means thousands upon thousands. Given how long my kids have been on this earth and of the PB&J-eating age, it's got to be at least that.

And I am burnt out, friends. For the love, can we just pack something else in a school lunch? Or can we abandon the sandwich altogether? Snacks are food, too! It's only November, and already the school lunch routine is taking me down.

this choosy mom would no longer like to choose PB, please.

I have a love-hate relationship with routines. There are some I can't live without, and others - mostly morning ones - that I'd rather change every day. But the thing is, I live by these routines because I find they're the most efficient way to get something done.

Have you been there?

Sometimes we are so engrossed in routines that we see no other way around them. The thought of changing becomes too daunting, even if we feel a tug to switch something up. It takes loads of intentionality to change.

Especially if you live in a home where no one else sees the need to change (ahem.)

But if you've done it - if you've made your move, either because you wanted to or you had to, you know. You absolutely know the exhilaration of building new routines around new circumstances and stretching yourself in ways that you haven't in a long time.

That's what happens when you toss the PB&J for the turkey-and-cheese rollup. It's dang exhilarating.

So why am I writing about this?

I fear I am losing my ability to think creatively. I know this isn't entirely true, but the sharpness is gone and the spark that ignites when I put a new idea into action is fading. It's getting harder to gear-up for the same-old/same-old. It's even harder to develop something new.

I've put a Band-Aid on the situation a number of times: my 40-by-40 list, and for-going certain traditions to see what new ones might crop up. All fun, all good stories to tell. But what happens when the list is fulfilled (it's still not, by the way) and old routines crop back up? All my efforts have spread me too thin and I feel more self-consumed than I want to be.

I don't want to be one of those people looking for the next big thing. I know greener grass isn't always on the other side. And mostly, I know that I should be (and am) entirely grateful for what I do have.

But wouldn't it be great to find that spark?

So I guess I'm already making my resolution for 2015: pare down and build back up, focusing on what will make an eternal impact. I'm already off to a good start (several weeks off of Facebook and I am still alive!)

Stay tuned ...

Wednesday, November 12


So I guess I left you hanging with that last post. Unless we know each other well - in which case this is all you have heard about! The Waterloo Pirates are the State Division 3 Champions!

Listen, I don't think I could really summarize last weekend and do it justice. About 50 amazing things happened, and I haven't wrapped my head around all of them. Let's just say that this has been years in the making at the Schumann house - and definitely for these gals - and it feels incredible to see all the hard work come to fruition in this way. And the Waterloo fans - man, oh man, they were awesome.

We made sure to give thanks where thanks is due.

This is the first big announcement I have made in long awhile without Facebook. When Peyton was diagnosed with T1D, Facebook was a lifeline of support to hear from so many people. Not having it in this case seems so strange. But we've been fielding all kinds of texts, calls, and emails with this news, and that's been great too. It's weird to shift your thinking and remember that the world no longer knows your news because you aren't broadcasting it. It definitely feels Stone Age to me, but yet more personal.

But back to volleyball.

The weekend games were intense, with the girls coming from behind in most sets. NAIL BITERS. HEART ATTACK INDUCERS. At one point, the girls were down 10 points in what seemed like a done deal for that set. But they came back. Every time. It felt like a miracle.

Since then, there have been TV and radio interviews. A parade into town that included numerous fire trucks, ambulances, and other such noisy vehicles. Pep rallies. Impromptu pep band concerts. Impromptu parent cheers. Celebration parties with friends. And a little exhaustion.

But it's all been good, good, good.

Thanks to all who helped us celebrate, especially coming to the games this season and supporting something that is such a big part of our lives each fall.

We are grateful.

leaving it all on the court. perfect.

Sunday, November 2


They did it! Scott's team is going to State!! This is as big as it gets in high school volleyball, and I feel like Scott and the girls have worked a bazillion hours for this opportunity.

I still can't believe it is real.

The first game was tough to sit through - a close set, and their play was not reflective of their actual ability. But they fought back and won that one 25-20, and then 25-9, 25-8. So flippin' great.

We'll be spending next weekend in Green Bay - hopefully all weekend long. They play on Friday at 1 pm; if they win, they will play for the title on Saturday at 11:30 am.

These games will also be streaming live somewhere ... will try to send a link when I find out where. Otherwise, check out for more details.

Or you could venture up to Green Bay and take in all the craziness of volleyball intensity!


PS - thanks for the support, game-watching, texts, and emails on behalf of Scott. It means a ton to him!

your sectional final champions!

Tuesday, October 28

My kid is high! and other diabetes adventures

I owe you an update on this guy.

10 years old. practically a man.

We've been managing Peyton's Type 1 diabetes since his diagnosis in January (his story).

And he isn't really "high" - not in blood sugars these days, nor on drugs (whew!).

Actually, he's been low or normal most days because we're still in what doctors call the honeymoon phase, where diabetes is new and more manageable and ... I guess, exciting?

Come on, aren't all honeymoons?

So here's the thing: Peyton has a really sucky disease. If I am real, then I should say the diagnosis wasn't a 2014 highlight. But - still being real - some good has come out of this, and I am concentrating on that.

I always get questions about his management. And by "his," I really mean Peyton's because he is on top of this thing. Blessing #1. He was old enough when diagnosed to handle this, and he's just controlling enough to want to do this mostly solo.

By "do this" I mean that he is:

  • Poking his finger with a lancet device 5-6 times a day to check his blood sugar before he eats.
  • Determining how many carbs are in the foods he eats
  • Knowing the best ratio of insulin to give himself based on food, exercise, and whatever else might be coming up in the next hour
  • Filling his own syringe
  • Stabbing himself 3-5 times a day with the insulin-filled syringe to cover the sugars (carbs) in the food. (He always does his own shots; can't remember the last time I did one for him.)
  • Prepping for bed with a snack that will keep his sugar levels up overnight so he doesn't have a nighttime low.

It's a lot. Scott and I monitor each of these steps. The routine of it is both comforting and frustrating all at once. Sometimes I'd love to say "just go eat that slice of pizza and don't worry about it." Sometimes I don't want to carry his meter and a man-purse full of supplies when we go out. But that will never be his reality.

(OK, we are working on replacing the man-purse ...)

Point is, he is doing good. Really good. Aside from some weird, unexplainable highs and lows, he is quite the healthy diabetic. And he still eats whatever he wants, although he has a hankering for most protein products. But never rule out chocolate peanut butter ice cream. As he says, it's always worth the shot.

The diabetes support group that is the rest of his family is also doing well. I am the Supply-Orderer and Flex Spending Reimbursement Seeker. Thank God for good insurance. Scott is the Great Explainer of All Things Medical when Peyton has questions. Thank God for him, too.

And we are training Sam in both our ways because she's back-up, as well as the Annoying Big Sister.

But I would be lying if I didn't say I still lose sleep over this disease. We don't check Peyton's blood sugar in the middle of the night --- currently. Due to the length of time between blood sugar checks, the body's unique chemistry at night, daytime activity factors, and nighttime insulin, Peyton's levels could drop low at night. Low is not good. Many mamas check, for many reasons. Because Peyton has been so consistent in recent months, we haven't checked since before summer. 

I don't know what will happen when the honeymoon is over.

Still, every single morning that I wake up, I visit his room first to see if he's still breathing. And 3-5 nights a week I wake up in the middle of the night to do the same thing. I don't check his levels because it is so incredibly disruptive to his sleep, and because he wakes up with an extremely consistent set of numbers.

But I won't pretend this is forever. We let him live his life - go to sleepovers, actively play sports, make some poor food choices (hello, he's 10!) and not disrupt his sleep when he doesn't want to be disrupted. 

It is hard to let go of the fear. 

We need a cure. Insulin is a HUGE blessing (this was a fatal disease before the 1920s) but it isn't a cure. A cure would mean that no one would need insulin again. For me, this is a cause worth rallying around.

But if we never get a cure, he still needs to live fearlessly. So do we. Heck, what I really want is a cure for fear. Isn't that what people with all manners of incurable diseases and permanent disabilities need? 

The courage to truly live big even when life has thrown you some disadvantages. 

Really working on this.


Thank you for your many, many kind words, texts, calls, and visits after the last post. Heart is hugely full. It's never easy to be real about the raw stuff, but there is so much freedom when you do.

And here is what else happened:

On the 26th, I wrote my first post in months. I pressed "publish," then grabbed a Sharpie and wrote 3 words on a Post-It that I wanted in my face for-freaking-EVER.

Hope. Because I had forgotten even how to do this. I placed self-preservation above hope.

Trust. Because I had become too jaded.

Adventure. Because God is always saying to me, "Go, do, and tell. Small things, big things, and a bazillion new things."

Then, on the 27th, I read this in Jesus Calling:

"Many people are so preoccupied with future plans and decisions that they fail to see choices they need to make today. Without any conscious awareness, they make their habitual responses. People who live this way find a dullness creeping into their lives. They sleepwalk through their days, following well-worn paths of routine. 
I, the Creator of the universe, am the most creative Being imaginable. I will not leave you circling in deeply rutted paths. Instead, I will lead you along fresh trails of adventure, revealing to you things you did not know."

YES. Tell me this is true. My longing to bust out of my current boxes is big and real and OK. I believe it is OK to feel restless - just as it is also OK to be content where you are.

Sometimes you need a balance between the two - GRATITUDE for what you have and MOVEMENT to leave behind what is no longer productive.

There I am.

Sunday, October 26

The post I kept avoiding

Oh man.

Isn't it totally annoying when someone blogs for awhile consistently and then disappears without another word?

So sorry.

I started 20-30 posts in my head between June and now, but I just couldn't sit down to write. The words wouldn't come - even today I am struggling.

I am in a valley right now. 

The reasons why aren't important. What is important is that I am letting the reasons consume me and my faith feels like it's fading and most days I have to remind myself to be more hopeful.

There, I said it.
Ew, that sounds awful.

Here's the thing: I know that this is simply a bad stretch. We ALL have bad stretches. You have all walked down a hard road at some point in your life. In many ways, my rock-strewn path is nothing compared to what some of you have journeyed through.

But there I go, comparing myself to you again. Let's call that Problem #1.

Problem #2 is more tied to a slew of disappointments. Mostly expectations that should never have been, and are hard to overcome.

Problem #3 is just some bad luck. Of course we have another medical bill. Of course the hot water heater is broken. Of course we took the side mirror off of our car.

And I find myself saying over and over that 2014 just hasn't been my year.


I am only choosing to see the bad, the hard. Truth is, lots of very amazing things have happened this year; it is absolute insanity for me to not be grateful for these.

And when I am really honest with myself - if I sit and recite those harder moments in my head - it's an embarrassingly shallow list of small problems that feel way bigger than they are. I don't say that to belittle ANYTHING tough, as if one problem is always harder than another. I say this to point out that my perspective is still in tact enough to see the difference.

But just barely.

So it's time to focus on getting healthy.

I'll be deactivating my Facebook site for awhile. I've tossed my Instagram. While I will miss keeping up with all of your lives, I won't miss wondering what's happening to mine when I play the comparison game. For me, that's a very slippery slope and incredibly distracting. Someday I pray it won't be.

But I have renewed my commitment to blogging because writing is soul-healing, and I forgot that. So don't leave this space! Bookmark the site or sign up to receive email notifications when I post.

Only if you want to, of course.

I vow to share all the ways God is taking the battered me and raising the better me.

And so we begin again.

"EVERYBODY is beginning again, every single day. Folks who don’t know that are missing out on the terror and beauty and power of a fresh start." -- Momastery

Monday, June 9

Epic strikes again

So, it is 9:40 pm.

Scott fell asleep on the couch a dozen times between 7:30 and 8 pm, before he threw in the towel and went to bed. It's definitely the last week of school.

Sam and Peyton are in the boy's room reading the Bible. Yep, the Bible.

OK, so it's the animated version that reads like a cartoon with thought bubbles and the whole bit but it captivates them both for some reason, but I get to say that they are reading the Bible on their own. Can't go wrong there.

And I should be in bed, too, but tonight I need to write. I left that part of me behind in the quest for "epic" weeks lately. But a friend came over Saturday and we talked about many great things, but among them was the reminder to take time to do the things that heal you. I am in need of a little healing these days, so here we are.

We've had many big moments since I last wrote.

On Memorial Day weekend, we took for first camping trip of 2014. Our summer season opener. It looked something like this:

Which is pretty amazing since the other years it has rained or been 40 degrees, and has generally been a hilarious adventure in and of itself. This time, it was sunny, warm, and just darned relaxing. God knows we needed it. We enjoyed wonderful food, had some solid fishing, and even hosted a campground concert (much to the enjoyment of all our camping neighbors). We returned to celebrate a friend's birthday, capping off the weekend perfectly.

All good, right?

But then you come back to reality. I have been having a battle with time again. We've had many "epic" weeks lately, with no end in sight, really, as we bound into summer. And it irks me that I haven't come up with a solution to jumping off the crazy train, despite having cut back in some areas. Hibernating might work, but I don't like that idea at all. Where do my 24 hours go, and how is there always so much to do, and why are we always rushing, rushing, rushing, and HOW IS THIS OK?

It's not.

I am working on that.

Part of the craziness is because some other big things have happened:

A co-worker and I had a big ole San Francisco Adventure that included a speaking engagement that was above and beyond anything I have ever done in my career. Nerve-wracking and challenging to say the least. It may not have even been any good. But we did it. Thanks to some well-timed prayers and lots of laughs to keep it loose, we got 'er done.

And had a little fun, too.

Then on Sunday, Sam decided to get baptized. VERY COOL experience. Heartland Church does this celebration really well. I am so proud of Sam for stepping out of her comfort zone and embracing what it means to speak her faith out loud. She's a good egg, that one. I've had a roller coaster of emotions at times with her, but these moments make me remember how unique and special she really is. Good things are happening here.

And lately I have needed that reminder. I find that I feel less grateful for these many moments when I am caught up in the petty day-to-day-ness of my life. My mind has been on the details lately and I am missing the big picture. How far we've come. What we have. Who we are becoming. How little some things matter in the big scheme of a life.

Sometimes I read teeny-bop novels. Total confession here. And I loved The Fault in Our Stars, which is now a movie, and appropriately so as it has somewhere around 100 sweet lines, including this one:

"You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I am grateful."

I want to be that grateful. Always.

And maybe that's why I chase time down to it's last precious seconds. When I was a kid, I would often sit outside in the summer as the sun left the sky for the moon, watching that last ray sink away. I waited and waited, wanting to keep every moment of the day. Sometimes I do that even now, stopping to watch a sunset before it melts behind the house across my backyard.

I want to remember to use every ounce of time in my numbered days, whatever that number may be.

I want to be grateful. Even when life gets a little "epic."

May your summer run deep and long, and be truly magical. Chase forever, friends.

Thursday, May 8

The courage to do and do well

A lot has happened since my last post. Including this:

surprise! (followed by "let's party!")

I'll get to that another day. Let me just say it was the Best Birthday Ever. Capitalized, bold, and italics for emphasis. Turning 40 was a week-long event filled with great fun, great family, great friends.

But first.

My head is swimming. I just returned from a learning + development conference in Washington DC, and am insanely inspired to make some great things happen both at work and at home. I can't get the ideas down on paper fast enough, am struggling to narrow them down to workable opportunities, and am - in the meantime - trying to get back to a routine that includes not eating 3,000 amazing, decadent calories a day, finding out which bills are due, and keeping up with the end-of-the-school-year rush that is concerts, meetings, open houses, teacher gifts, and any number of hamster wheel-like activities that fill my day.

But I digress.

One thing I did learn at the conference that will be sticking with me for a very long time? Courage. This theme appeared again and again, and I'm not sure the word was actually used in the descriptions of the classes I attended, but it was there. Over and over. Anyone doing anything dynamic in their organization is doing so because they have the courage to start, the courage to fail, and the courage to be different.

Is this not true for anything we do in life?

The courage to walk into that church for the first time in 20 years. The courage to tell a long-time friend some real truth. The courage to start a business. The courage to try a new exercise or diet.

The courage to put yourself out there.

first-hand lessons in courage and leadership this week.

The courage to believe that failure equals opportunity. I believe Disney calls this "successful failures."

The boldness and bravery to be different when no one else understands. (Maybe that should be a benchmark for going for it??)

The irony is that this could not have been more obvious this morning, when my daughter struggled to find a suitable pair of pajamas to wear for pajama day in her class that would be deemed acceptable or that she wouldn't be criticized for wearing by her peers. That was her perception, anyway. How quickly we believe that we are being judged. How quickly we learn to let it get to us. I am guilty of leading by example in this case. And equally sad is that I have probably been her harshest critic over the years.

We are all a work in progress, are we not?

My favorite conference speaker shared a story of traveling with her children internationally. The first time they watched a new custom together in a European country, her son quietly told her that what he was watching was "weird." She kindly told him that if he was going to keep traveling with her, he needed to use the word "different" instead of weird. Weird implies that there's a right way and a wrong way. And in many cases, this isn't always true, is it?

It takes courage to believe that.

If I can wish anything for my children, coworkers, friends, right now it's that they are - you are - we are bold. That we listen to that quiet, but persistent voice in our head that leads us along a strange, but promising path, and that we take it. Tentatively at first, but that we take it.

So where are you being led these days?

Monday, April 21

Run your race

I've got the bug.

With the warmer weather (slept with window open last night. ah-mazing!) and one of my favoritist races in the world right around the corner, all I want to do is run.

This morning, I punched the numbers for the free preview station for the Universal sports channel (thanks, Dish) which was covering the Boston Marathon. And between all the bustling excitement on the screen, the clearly perfect running conditions (no wind, blue sky), and the unmistakable feeling of a country overcoming right in front of my eyes, I just wanted to be there.

I watched the elites take off, and a mere 2 hours later - between answering work emails and fleshing out a PowerPoint - I watched the elites run in. And while I will never know that feeling - the true victory, how it feels to be first, how much it hurts to run sub-5 miles for most of the 26 miles (seriously?), winning a buttload of prize money - I still know that feeling.

How it feels to push even when it hurts. How it feels to hear a crowd cheering, the relief of crossing the line, the pure exhaustion after kicking into gear that last mile (which feels like forever no matter the race distance). The pay-off of weeks of training.

The after-party.

excited for this annual tradition this weekend! rain or shine, baby!

The decision to do it all again soon.

And I could be crazy, but I think I will regret not attempting a marathon once in my lifetime. Maybe that's just today talking. But sometimes "today" needs to commit to tomorrow. So, a marathon just made my 40-by-40 list.

That crazy, ole list.

What started as a goal to accomplish before I turned 40 has since become a goal of things to accomplish while I am 40. As it turns out, 40 new things is a lot to do in a short period of time. And, really, I have gotten a great start on the overall reason why I did this in the first place - to get out of my everyday-the-same-thing rut. To jump off the hamster wheel. To run a new race.

This I have definitely done. Here's a bit of an update on that.

22. A visit to Gulf Shores, Alabama. A first for our family - and a must-do again! I wrote about it in the last post if you want to know more.

23. My first tattoo consult. Yes I did! A few weeks ago I made a visit to a friend's house in Green Bay, and we made a pitstop at Tattoo's By Rick. Apparently they've tatted up a few Packers, so I thought it was a safe bet. They are booked out into summer now, and as soon as I finalize our camp/vacation schedule I'll make the call. Unless, of course, it happens in Madison first! (Don't worry Mom, it's a really small tattoo.) Story to arrive later ...

24. Have you ever tried oil pulling? I guess it's a thing! And we tried it (read about the benefits here). I am pretty sure I can't do this daily. I like coconut oil, but swishing it in your mouth until it liquifies for 20 minutes is not how I like to enjoy it. I guess I should keep at this if I want to reap all the benefits (toxin removal, etc). How bad do I want that?

I am stepping up my game after this. Scheduling a half-marathon in another state (who wants to go to Arizona in January?); planning out my marathon adventure; booking my next mission trip. Giving, giving, giving in a whole new way. This is one area I really want to change.

But first, I have a birthday to get through.

I do have one ask in this already really long and rambly post: I am involved with an organization that is doing some pretty amazing things in our community. Box of Balloons gives simple, themed birthday parties to children in need in our area. It is a wonderful little set-up that my friends so brilliantly developed, and it is so easy to be a part of the giving. A great, inexpensive way for your kiddos to get involved, too (Sam and I are going shopping for a little girl's present this week). Please check it out and get involved if you can.

Seriously, there are good things happening here. And this is REALLY worth celebrating.

Saturday, April 12

My son's honeymoon

Oh, Diabetes ... you are a strange and mysterious creature.

I started a post a couple weeks ago about Peyton's "honeymoon" phase - a part of his diagnosis where his battered pancreatic cells are forming their last stand and pushing out some of its homemade insulin. This means he has been requiring little-to-no fast-acting insulin with meals, and only 2 units of his basal insulin at night. Less shots, less meal monitoring, happier Peyton.

But like all honeymoons, this won't last forever. This stage is unpredictable, and as we recently learned, a little touchy.

Peyton had been in this stage about a month before we took off for a MUCH needed Spring Break getaway to Gulf Shores, Alabama. And because he's such a seafood lover, we were optimistic that we could maintain his honeymoon stage during that trip. He was eating high protein and loving life.

But maybe we got lax, because on the way home his blood sugar kept spiking after meals. We did give him the insulin he needed to eat, say, a sub, but we weren't having the same results on the backend. At this time, we also started a pen insulin delivery system (which includes smaller needles and fewer supplies and is easier for travel). Not sure if it was the pen adjustment, being stuck in the car and completely inactive, or a week's worth of richer foods catching up with him, but we had 2 days of extreme uncertainty when it came to the numbers.

And I had feared this also meant an end to the honeymoon phase.

Some patients, I've read, almost prefer this time to end because the crazy unpredictability may end with it. But I decided I'm not ready. I guess the fact that we haven't been checking him all the time or we haven't been giving him a shot with every meal almost helped me forget the diagnosis altogether. And I guess that felt good. And I guess it made me less fearful of the future since I felt like we were pressing pause on reality altogether. (Now you see why they call it a honeymoon?)

And just when I was accepting our new reality, we turned another corner. Apparently a couple of days of routine eating was all it took. Peyton's pancreas made another run for it; it's pumping out insulin again and he barely sits still now that the weather has improved, so now we're running low because we have no idea what his body needs these days. (yes, it feels as chaotic as this run-on sentence does.)

And welcome to Type 1 Diabetes.

Peyton, of course, is rolling with it and is not frustrated and handles himself really well - making judgment calls on how much he needs to boost him back up and what kind of snack might be good for the moment. He's amazing.

And here's what else was amazing - our trip!

I do believe I was in a bit of mourning this week after all the fun we enjoyed on what was a really excellent combo of family time and friend time. Not to mention a life in bathing suits, not snow suits, and bare feet, not boots. Time disappeared and we were constantly asking each other what day it was ("who cares!"). The weather was more than we could ask for, which meant beach time every day, lots of swimming, boogie boarding, skim boarding, kite flying, Blue Angels show watching, long walks, sand baseball and volleyball, fabulous seafood dinners out, and kids having the time of their lives with good friends.

And lots of sunburn. (I am not complaining, though!)

Feeling extremely blessed by the whole trip ... especially our time with friends and each other.

Luckily we transitioned back into Wisconsin just in time for a week of great weather. That made coming home so much easier.

I still have a suitcase to unpack, so I better get at it. Live big this week!

Thursday, March 6

Taking a bite out of a world that bites back

The last time I saw a yard full of grass was December 31, 2013. That's the day we left our Disney vacation to head back north.

The last time I saw MY yard full of grass was sometime in early November. I have witnessed a couple of patches peeking out around the edges of the house on the two days a couple of weeks ago where the temps managed to sneak up past 40 degrees.

But the smell of grass, the feel of it on my bare feet, witnessing it become a deep, vibrant green right before my very eyes? It's been awhile.

So, yeah, this week, when I awoke to a snow-covered driveway on two consecutive mornings, it was tempting to hole up, hide under the covers, rent a bunch of movies, and eat a few dozen boxes of Girl Scout cookies.

But I didn't.

I decided to bite back. Have a fist-fight with the gloom. Pretend that, while I was shoveling, I was erasing all of the cold to make room for the warm. Thank God that I even have the capacity to shovel.

And in a way, that's a lot of what tackling my 40-by-40 list has been about. Biting back. Not being satisfied with accepting what is, but instead wondering about what isn't and trying those things out. I love me a good routine shake-up.

So. Where did we leave off?

15. Take a spontaneous trip. I'll admit this was sorta on the list because I sorta didn't know how it was going to happen. And I am sure my original vision included a more exotic locale than the Kalahari Water Park in the Dells, but that's OK. Because I was as excited as I had been in a long time to accept my friend's last-minute plea to get our families the heck out of dodge during another bout of extreme cold. I love when last-minute plans actually happen - probably because I am such a planner, this feels more adventurous to me. It was a great day/night of swimming, conversation, games, and friendship! I felt very blessed.

don't they look so happy? we all were

16. Donate to a new cause. Well, this one came about pretty easy. I have my stand-by charities and had been researching new places to give. And then Peyton came down with the Big D, and it was a no-brainer: We donated to the JDRF because we are going all the way for a cure, baby ... (It's what Grandma wanted for her birthday present, too, so we made that happen.) There's a walk/run in our future and more research to do as we get behind the organizations getting behind a cure.

Let me interrupt my numbering to point out how blessed I am to have friends who want to take this 40-by-40 journey with me, and who come up with ideas to make it happen. Case in point - #15. Also, #17 and #18. See, we all need a little "new and different" in our lives.

#12: ice skating lessons I mentioned in a previous post. it was so dang fun. adults being kids again, only
without the need to impress and being OK with looking a little shaky trying something new. good stuff. 

17. Snowshoeing a Wisconsin trail. So the funny irony here is that we planned this excursion awhile ago, knowing the snow would be plentiful this "late" in the season. And wouldn't you know it that the only 2 days it got warm-ish were right before this outing, which made the trails icy. Snowshoes not required! But the trail experience was new and - as always - the company and conversation was amazing (again, blessed!). If you are a local, try the CamRock Sport Cafe in Cambridge. You can rent snow equipment there and hop on the trail right out their back door. And when it is all over, you can kick back with a drink by the fire. Which we did - and totally earned after realizing that neither of us make great navigators.

rock star hiking friend

18. Ferris Bueller's Day Off.
"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." - Ferris
Wise words from the 1980s, people. Another friend suggested a random, sorta planned/sorta not day to ourselves. A day where we tried a handful of new things and didn't play by the rules. We cruised all around town, trying a new breakfast joint for us (Lazy Jane's on Willy St), a new thrift shop, a new furniture place, a new nail salon, and a new brewery (Next Door Brewing on Atwood). Neither of us were able to find a parade float to hijack where we could sing but we did attempt to recreate the movie scene where they visit the lakefront.

Only ours was a wee bit icier ...

nothing says friendship like someone who entertains your own crazy schemes without batting an eye!
Ferris: Cameron, what have you seen today?
Cameron: Nothing good.
Ferris: Nothing - wha - what do you mean nothing good? We've seen everything good. We've seen the whole city! We went to a museum, we saw priceless works of art! We ate pancreas!

19. Walking on the frozen lake. I know, I've done this before, but never in Madison, and never on a lake this large (Mendota). And I am claiming it because I have always wanted to do that here. And also because it was unbearably cold so I feel like I earned a #19 out of it.

20. Try a new workout. I am so very excited about this one! I finally took the step to get outside of just running and spend more time toning, after talking about this forever. I joined a gym right down the street - Edge Fitness - where we do all sorts of circuit training in a group setting and I leave every time in complete exhaustion. It is awesome. Better yet, it is right down the street. No excuses.

21. Try cooking something bizarre. Well, thanks to the Big D, I have had the chance to explore the sugar-free world. Originally, when this idea came about, I thought I would choose a random fruit to incorporate into a meal or some strange cut of meat. But early in Peyton's diagnosis, when I was attempting to keep his carb count to a minimum to help facilitate lower numbers, I had to find an alternative to the post-dinner sweet he was accustomed to having. I came across a recipe for Mock Whipped Cream. The recipe called for gelatin and milk powder and other randomness I never tried to use in a recipe before.

I am here to tell you that this is nothing like whipped cream. And if it was me with diabetes, real whipped cream would be totally worth the insulin. Luckily, Peyton's not much of a fan anyway.

You are now caught up. Let me address the obvious here - I am only halfway there. And I have just about 1.5 months to make it happen (what?!)

I have plans. We will get there - somehow, someway.

Get out there this weekend and make some fun new memories, friends.

Thursday, February 27

This woman is manning up

I wish I was good at math.

Once, I tried to help Sam with her online math program because it was taking her forever to move past the subtraction module. Instead of helping, I made it worse. For real. I received a worse score than she did.

When I used to work in retail, I kept a calculator hidden in my little apron thingy so I could use it to make change should the register fail me. Which always seemed to happen at the rush of the Christmas season. Math and I have been battling it out for as long as I can remember.

And now here we are. Math is all about showing up daily in my new world, snickering behind my back when I carry the 1 on paper (hello, that's old math) and guess at half-units and hope the carb count totals to an even number so I don't have to do more math just to figure out Peyton's insulin dose. I just want to get it right. I have to get it right.

My guy is counting on me.

Thank God he is naturally good at math and will have no problem roughing out the complex "sugar alcohol minus protein plus fat equals a carb count for which I may or may not need to bolus" thing.

He probably won't have to do this:

oh lordy, don't inspect this for errors ...

So here's an update: We are in full Man-Up Mode. Every day is different. Some days bring a quiet normalcy, other days tired tears. Welcome to the world of Type 1 Diabetes.

I am an emerging expert in the delivery of a proper needle poke. I can de-bubble (my fancy word for removing air) a syringe pretty darn quickly. An app on my phone shows me the carbs in all sorts of fast-food options; Peyton is patient as a saint as he waits for us to find the right number before he dives into his meal.

The school lunch landscape has changed. I was pretty lazy about school lunches before this; now I have to plan each night and write the carb count for the nurse so she can easily give the proper dose.

I buy enough dairy to make me the truest Wisconsinite that ever was because my kid loves his straight-up protein snacks. I have Juicy Juice, fruit snacks, and glucose gel stacked by his bed - a quick high for a surprise low.

And other things have changed. Peyton is a different kid right now. He is choosing to be more of a recluse than I like, but I get it. He's trying to rediscover himself amid all the new rules of life. It will take time. But, man, there are days when I want his fabulous personality back. I love when it appears easily, without the darkness of the disease.

We are in a whole other world.

smiles with his buddies tell me he really is OK.

But we didn't enter this world alone. We have received a crazy amount of support. I can say that only now do I truly know what it means to really, really take care of each other. I know what it means to be chosen by someone who knew how important that card would be, that text, that phone call, that meal, that offer to help.

To be chosen is to experience the highest form of love. I know, without a doubt, that God has walked on this earth in the form of friends, family, and new acquaintances who have stepped into our world with us.

This is beauty from ashes.

But, hey, I'm not going to all-out "ash" this experience. Without pain, we may never experience pure joy. I know that every hard day has the light of a good one not far behind. There are days when I want to abandon all responsibility for 24 hours of pajama-clad movie watching, wine sipping, and moments of bitterness. I really do. But there are days when I don't even think about the D-Word much and I go about my job and other duties and feel like a mom who is just doing her thing.

And then there are other days - when I ninja-fight the D-Word and study the facts with a mind set on making the most of Peyton's diagnosis and preparing him to be a responsible young adult managing his disease.

I can't predict what day I will have at the start. I am choosing to let it all be.
"There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build ..."
Ecclesiastes 3
And, for us lately, there is a time to Man Up.

Along that note, I am still plugging away at my 40-by-40 list. It's been awhile since my last "report" and I actually have a lot to share. Having this activity reminds me that there's a lot more to life than what I am facing at this moment. More for the next post (I'm actually up past 20 new things now). For today, I'll give you one update ...

No. 14. Finding my inner strength. This one didn't make the original cut during the planning stages, but I'd say the D-Word counts as experiencing something new. I don't want to give it too much of a headline, though, because that doesn't seem right. But anyone who is fighting an unexpected, unpleasant something in their lives knows that there's a turning point when you accept and plow ahead, and that is an accomplishment in itself.

I guess sometimes life's adventures choose you.

Monday, February 10

I am now a pancreas

Moms are many things.

Boo-boo Fixer, Chief Cuddler, Religious Teacher, Cab Driver, Head Chef, Sports Organizer, and on and on.

Sometimes moms are called to be a little more. This post is about the "little more" recently added to my life - my role as a virtual pancreas.

About a week ago, my favorit-ist boy in the whole wide world was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. What a whirlwind it has been since.

I've been around a few children and adults with T1D over the years, but it isn't until you are faced with the situation right at home that reality hits you. On the outside, most folks with T1D show no obvious symptoms and live ordinary lives and although you may seem them using meters and strips, you really don't know what it means.

It means your kiddo no longer has a working pancreas. You are the working pancreas, doling out insulin at every meal. Keeping a watchful eye for the moments he might go too low in his blood sugars. Juggling the daily demands with "normal life." And this is no easy task. (we make our pancreas work pretty hard, people)

Let me interrupt here to say that, first, your support has meant EVERYTHING during this diagnosis. Friends who visited in the hospital. Friends who text and call to make sure I am holding it together. Friends sending me Bible verses, bringing Peyton fast-acting carb support. Family who check on all of us and are joining the fight for a cure. Friends who kept Samantha occupied while we were in the hospital. The connections so many of you are sharing with me of other mamas in the same situation as we are, just a little further down the road. The gifts from teammates and friends. Invitations to get us out of the house and back to "normal." This is life-saving.

We've gone through a ream of emotions. Peyton had been stoic and strong throughout the initial diagnosis, but we had a heartbreaking night of cry-therapy where he broke down. He wanted to know "Why me?" I am sure we will face more of those days, and more of the angry moments - but I will say this: most days, we will face everything Ninja Warrior style - determined, hopeful, and kicking T1D's butt by living full lives.

I was given some early advice to take one day at a time. Absolutely true. Every day is different here, and if I start thinking too far into the future - what about sleepovers and class trips? what about driving? what about his health as an adult? - I start to collapse. Worry is the enemy here, lurking at every corner. To keep it at bay, I read verses and avoid the Internet unless I need specific help. Sometimes too much information doesn't help me. Besides, I rather rely on people I know to pull us through, and my own instincts as a parent.

Many of you have had lots of questions about what this diagnosis means. Here's a little Q&A of what I know, which I admit is limited. But here we are, learning and growing. 

How did you know Peyton had diabetes?
I didn't! The credit goes to Scott. For about 1.5 weeks, we noticed Peyton was drinking a ton of water and going to the bathroom a lot. And I mean, like, 5 times in an hour. He looked a little pale (who doesn't right now, though?) and I thought he looked gaunt for awhile. But it wasn't very obvious. We don't know how much weight he lost while he was sick, but it appears to be a decent amount. When I look at photos of him from September and then again at Christmas, I saw how much thinner his neck and wrists had become. (Incidentally, since his diagnosis, he as put on more than 6 pounds!) He also tired very easily with his high blood sugar.

How long was he sick?
It was likely coming on slowly over a couple of months. That's our best guess, but I don't really know. It didn't get critical until the week we took him in to get checked, but he hadn't really been himself for awhile. So many things you see looking back, but they weren't terribly obvious at the time. I had noticed he didn't seem to get as excited about things like he normally did. It is so nice to see that part of him coming back.

Does diabetes run in your family?
I think so, but not in either mine or Scott's immediate family. I have a cousin with diabetes, though. Still, doctors believe that viruses trigger the T1D to turn on. I don't recall Peyton being sick at all in the fall, but that doesn't mean he wasn't carrying a virus. It will be hard to say for sure what triggered it in him. But T1D isn't preventable (I understand type 2 is, so be sure to be a healthy eater and take care of yourself!)

How does he get insulin and how often?
Before getting insulin, Peyton tests his own blood before breakfast, lunch, dinner, and at bedtime. He gets an insulin injection at each of these times. He NEVER protests about any of this. Pretty amazing kid, right? He gets an extra testing session now and again if he feels low. He also is tested at school before snack. We hadn't been doing this at home, but I like that we have those numbers to play with in figuring this all out. It is a crazy dance right now - watching his levels go up, come down, and shift when our routine shifts. This is probably hardest for me, as I am trying to find a balance between hovering over Peyton's every move and giving him space. And I was never very thorough at documentation. The doctors tell me that if we are relaxed about this diagnosis and handle it as calmly as possible that this will help. Um, trying...

What about the pump?
Some of you know other kiddos and adults with pumps. We will likely get there, too, if it makes sense. I don't know much about them right now - but I will tell you Peyton wants one. There appears to be a little more freedom in the experience, but first we have to learn how to keep him as regulated as possible. It may be for us, it may not. We are keeping all the options open.

What happens when he gets a low blood sugar?
Have you ever been REALLY hungry and shaky close to meal time? I used to get like this as a kid (these were the days before parents carried snacks everywhere; I swear we never had access to snacks like kids do now!). Peyton gets like this when he is low - the only difference is his regulation method. We need to give him sugar to keep him from going lower in these cases. Peyton can tell you when he is feeling low (and we haven't had super low numbers yet.) This is a step in the right direction. He is very aware of his body and what's happening.

What can he eat?
That's a good question. The doctors tell me he can eat anything as long as we can cover it with insulin. But here's the thing: we are using this opportunity to get healthier. Luckily Peyton loves his protein and dairy, which are great carb-free choices. It's helping us bring his initial numbers under control without enormous amounts of insulin. But pizza and cake and crackers aren't entirely out for him. We will be keeping these in moderation; that's a good thing for us all. I had NO IDEA how many food items we feed our children that are loaded with carbs. It is insane. We are slowly easing into making better choices. But I will say, dinner time takes a long time to prep. (How do people who eat this well all the time do this, especially with kids??)

Is this a lifetime thing?
Yes, it is. But we are incredibly hopeful there will be a cure in his lifetime. You won't believe the things researchers are finding out about this disease, just in the past couple of years. I think we'll see it. I don't know how it will work for Peyton, but that's one of those things I am choosing not to project about or worry about, but rather trust God in. We pray for a cure every night. Please join us now and again!

We came home from the hospital on Super Bowl Sunday. I can't get Russell Wilson's post-game interview out of my head, where he shared how his dad would always challenge him to be better and go for greatness by saying, "Why not you?"

Well, Why not us? 

Is there a reason not to hope for a cure? God performs miracles every moment. I know I will have times of anger and frustration and pity because we are dealing with this. But I don't have to stay in the times longer than a moment. I don't want to. We can have hope. Why not us?

God did some pretty amazing things through this process. It would be easy to be angry with Him for this (and Peyton certainly was) but I am not choosing that route. I am choosing to see - see that He allowed Scott to quickly identify the symptoms in Peyton; that He allowed me to start working from home the week before; that there a a few other kids with T1D at his school, which means the nurse is pretty great about taking care of him; that Peyton loves most protein food, so adjusting to new meals hasn't been as devastating as we once thought; that Peyton handled his own meter testing right away - he wanted to try everything himself. He was fearless about it, even though he was sad about the diagnosis.

I am sure there has been more than these examples, but my exhausted brain has failed to remember.

Many of you have asked how you can help. We are pretty tired from our 2 am blood sugar checks ... can you buy us some sleep? 


OK, here are some easier ways, since you asked:

1. Peyton is still eating me out of house and home! (I am sure this is only beginning for our almost 10-year-old) Beef sticks, jerky, cheese, and any fun low-carb options would be a nice care package if you want to give him something. Oh, and the kid loves pistachios. Random, I know.

2. We will be walking/running in the JDRF event in Madison of the fall. Be there with us to support the efforts going toward finding a cure. It would mean so much to us!

3. Samantha could use a little extra attention now and again. She has done so well, but I know it is stressful for her.

4. Keep praying, praying, praying. We feel each of these prayers and you are providing us a bubble of protection from fear, anxiety, anger, and collapse. You are giving us perspective. 

And we are grateful.

Thursday, January 16

It's a lot, I know

This post may be a non-sensical rambler. I've had 50 posts started in my head since the new year, and none of them have made it to the keyboard. And as much as I've longed to share, I've been doing therapy of a different kind.

You guys. This book is amazing.

I've been slowly savoring every sentence, and I haven't dared to speed-read once. There is so much there to love. I've wanted to share with you a hundred quotes, but I could message that every 2 minutes. Today's gem:

"Thanks makes now a sanctuary. And I take my vows: I will not desecrate this moment with ignorant hurry or sordid ingratitude. I will be Jacob and I will name this moment the 'house of God.'"

I have a love-hate relationship with hurry and time and 24 hours. I hate being rushed because I don't think well in those moments. But I love the results of a flurry of activity. Still, there's rarely the feeling of pure joy even in those moments where I have accomplished everything on the to-do list - unless some of those moments came with God-centered focus. In this chaos, I rarely stop to discover where He is. I may usher a rapid-fire thanks when something goes unexpectedly well, but I forget to thank in every moment.

So that's where I have been the past couple of weeks. Stopping in the moments. Filling my head and heart with thanks. I have had to re-train my brain to do this. How sad that it doesn't come naturally.


And here's we we come to the rambling part of the post ...

Other posts I've not written, but will in short bursts now:

I love watching my kids grow up.

How we survived our Disney vacation.

An update on my 40-by-40 list.


At half-past 11 and half-past 9, the kiddos are blowing me away with their mini-adultness lately, and I love it. I can relate to this stage so much more than to the toddler one, which I swear I barely survived. Of course, this stage brings it's own challenges, especially for the girl variety. Maybe I say that because I was her not that long ago (really, it wasn't that long, was it?). I doubted myself and my abilities. I had many worries. I had many not-so-confident moments.

I still do. Double ugh. But I don't want that for them. I am evaluating what my actions are teaching them. Here's what I want to do:

Teach them to be brave.
Teach them to be honest, real.
Teach them to Let it Be (words I am testing out for a tattoo).
Teach them that relationships aren't perfect, but forgiveness is.
Teach them that moving on is OK.
Teach them that there's more to life than just here, but that contentment is living the now.
Teach them to dream. Big ideas are good.

You all know I am not really there yet, right? But I will try because they are worth it.


Disney was GREAT! It's a big trip, people. Lots of planning, walking, scheduling, maneuvering, and strategy. So, really, not a lot of relaxing. But the folks at Disney go out of their way to make this place magical, and it's really a good idea to take advantage of as much of it as possible if you aren't going back soon. I don't think we are? Who knows that the next few years will bring - a lesson in non-planning that I am quickly embracing.

Trip highlights: Swimming outside on Christmas Day; Sam braving her first big roller coaster; Peyton braving every single roller coaster he could, with deep belly laughs; having a ton of family together in one place!; seeing cousins we haven't seen in too long; watching the kids connect with new family members; experience Christmas moments all around us for days and days ... and then feeling like it was summer the other times.

A few of my favorite photos:

these were the only characters Sam really wanted to
meet, and the lines were outrageous. so we hovered
nearby to catch a glimpse. her face was priceless.

my fave ride. me and my little bro, with Scott and Peyton in the front.
face of fear before we went down was, again, priceless. that was
my face of fear, by the way. ahem.

universal does an amazing job of recreating movies in real life.
this Grinchmas display made my Christmas.

and if you go there, you really need to see this.
it's like being in a Harry Potter movie. as Peyton often says,
i didn't expect to love animal kingdom as much as I did.
best food and favorite rides. amazing scenery.
watch out world, here we come! at least we didn't all
have matching t-shirts. (but i totally see the value.)

no caption required. 


I'll make this one quick. A little more progress on the list, with much more scheduled already. I know it doesn't seem like I've gotten too far, but I am moving right along.

9. Christmas Eve gift opening. This was a first-ever at our house (as the Santa thing has been revealed), and something we had to do since we got up at oh-dark 3:30 am to drive to Florida from Tennessee on Christmas Day. It was a nice evening. I would do it again, although I still prefer Christmas morning.

10. Christmas in Disney. Need I say more?

11. First-ever quiet New Year's Eve. We rolled into town around 7:30 pm that evening from Tennessee and did literally nothing but order pizza and unwrap ourselves from our 20 hour sitting position from two days of driving. But this solitude was just the way we needed to begin the year. I even read a few verses of scripture before going to bed. All-in-all, probably a good start (although I missed my friends!)

12. Ice skating lessons anyone? In two weeks, these begin. I promise a photo or two of the embarrassing moments. A long-time friend suggested this to me as a way to mark something off the list that both of us wanted to try! Met the instructor the other day, and I can tell we will all get a long superbly!

13. First time being a telecommuter. Although I have split my time at work between working in the office and working from home for several years now, I am going to try working from home all the time. Many reasons for this, but hoping to successfully do this without missing adult time or going looney in my house. (Work isn't far away, so plenty of moments to be rescued should I need to see my peers.) Forever grateful to work for the chance to try this out.

That's all for now, much more on the way. Better be - only 3 more months till I exit my 30s!

Friday, January 3

Being new

The sky is the lightest hint of pink this morning. Baby blue streaks poke through, and the winter white that blankets the ground makes the whole thing look soft and wonderful.

If it's going to be cold, let it at least be beautiful.

It's also the perfect type of morning for this:

I am not one to make a list of resolutions, and when I do, I'm not one to stick with them long. I like to keep my plans somewhat vague, which goes against every goal-setting dialogue I've ever heard. So this year I have put a few specific goals into place. But I can sum them up as such:

More gratitude. Much, much more.

Less selfishness. Much, much less.

And more room for God to move. Infinitely more. My goal is to simply get out of the way, and act when I know I'm supposed to act.

This is hard for me. I haven't unlocked the formula that shows me which steps to take, and when to sit. In a moment of decision, I freeze. I need time to process and listen. In a world that moves at lightning speeds, I don't always have that luxury.

But - more often than not - I do have mornings like these. That helps.

Another stumbling block is my obsessive need to know what's mapped out for me. To follow sequences, plans. To know the next step. While my heart desires a life of witnessing miracles and being part of change, my head seeks only sure-things.

But maybe not in 2014.

Right now, I relish in not knowing all the answers but in discovering them. My mind is open to change, to exploring. I caught myself the other day planning my next step - when the children are this age and when we have this amount of money. I realized how foolish I sounded to God.

As if I made the plans.

As if I knew what was best.

As if.

Already, in the short 3 days of this bright new year, I have let a few situations go. God knows better. He knows more. This book has helped - a reminder that if I take the quiet moments to read and connect, I can act with more confidence, in more faith.

Wishing you an inspiring, awe-creating, blessed, and truly "new" new year.