Our long story shortened...

20 years of being in love

14 years of marital bliss

5 years of infertility

9 months of a high risk pregnancy

2 perfect boys (at the same time)

1 heart failure

1 type 1 diabetes diagnosis

1 happy life

To see the whole story click on the "about us" tab

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About me

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I am a stay at home mom who is raising twins. One of my guys has type 1 diabetes and one does not. I am writing this blog to unite type 1 parents or twin parents. Comment on my posts or in the "what's your high?" and "what's your low?" to join the community of parents just trying to do the best we can!

We won!




Who's your best diabetes advocate?

I admire people who can get up in front of a crowd and stir up the troopsCreate a rally to create change. My good friend Michelle is that type of person. She is a strong Italian woman who is willing to put herself out there every day, for the good of her Type 1 son Gino and other diabetic children. Rocco and I have been the beneficiaries of a couple of her rallies. She fights for the good of the children both in our school district and statewide. She has spoken at conferences and at meetings of school staff members responsible for the care of children with diabetes. She is the person to call if you are having trouble in your school,because she is not afraid. She is not afraid to go after school districts or legislatures. The world needs more people like Michelle. I, for one, want to thank her for her help and for the havoc she creates when children with diabetes are being treated incorrectly. I just hope she takes herself all the way to Capitol Hill one day, to get more diabetes awareness out there. She is the kind of strong force that every worthy cause needs. 

Thanks Michelle and the many other people out there who are willing to get their hands dirty. We applaud you!

If you know of someone in your community who you would like to thank for their work with diabetes, please feel free to mention them here in the comments section and then share the post on Facebook, Twitter or through your email! They need some love today!


all alone

This past weekend was my birthday. Michael took the boys fishing/camping at our friend's cabin in the forest “up north”. I was alone from Thursday at 5pm until Sunday at 3pm!!!


Happy birthday to me! I had dinner with my friends and family, I had a couple of girlfriends spend the night after we got fun drunk and I met some friends for breakfast and a lunch!  It was amazing!


I kept having people ask me, "Aren't you so excited to be alone?" I was. It was nice not to pick up a toy or to make a snack a half hour after we finished lunch. I didn't have to hear " hey mom! Look!" for three and a half whole days. It was nice to write when I wanted to and just be free.


However, something was off. I knew I just didn't feel right. Something was missing. At first I attributed it to the lack of my kids noise. Everything was so quiet. But, nope, that wasn't it.


Then I realized what it was on Friday. My girlfriend asked me, "Why do you keep checking your phone?" while we were at lunch. I replied that I was waiting for the text with Rocco's lunch blood sugar number(from his teacher). As soon as I said this, I smiled...


Ahhh, that's it! I was missing the numbers. There were no numbers coming. No text was on its way. Rocco was with Michael at a cabin in the woods. I was missing the numbers. The constant, every day, blood sugar numbers that I have grown accustomed to. The numbers that dictate our next meal (or not). The numbers that constantly tell me if I am a good mom (or not). The numbers that make us eat sugar or zero-carb foods. The numbers that have enslaved me.


Not today. Not for the next two days. No numbers. It was an eery feeling. Like after a pet dies and there is a stillness in your house. Or when the power goes out and you keep turning on the light switch. I continued to make the mistake of checking my phone throughout the day. At night, I thought about finding Rocco’s blood sugar monitor to go upstairs and check him. But then I remembered that there was no one to check. All of my routines and habits, on hold.


For the first time in a long time, I did not have diabetes by default. Once it was missing, I realized how much it rules my every thought. My every thought... It consumes our family as we focus on those numbers every day. I imagine the scene in Good Will Hunting where Matt Damon is up at the blackboard feverishly writing down numbers. Every day, I am Matt Damon at the blackboard, with all those numbers swimming in my head.


Ok, that last one is just plain old eye candy for my lady readers!

Those numbers belonged to Michael for a couple days. He is the only person on the planet that I trust enough to let myself off the hook. He knows how to care for Rocco in any scenario. If they were stuck in the woods, he would still know how to care for him. If they had something terrible happen, he would know exactly what to do. For this reason, I was able to let myself relax. For the first time in a long time.

The boys have spent the night at their grandparents, and both sets of grandparents do an amazing job. But I am still "on". Maybe through a text at midnight or an early morning call regarding breakfast. Either way, I am still married to the blood sugar numbers.


So, I was excited to not be needed as "mom" this weekend. But I was especially excited to not be needed as "diabetes mom".


Thanks Michael for wearing the ball and chain for a couple of days. It was a nice break!  But now I’m refreshed and ready to get back at it! 


the big pink ridiculous bike!

The big pink bike!


My favorite color is pink. Soft, pale pink. Always has been. Light blue is my second favorite, but pale pink is the first. But let's face it; this chickadee does not see a lot of that pale pink color. I am knee-deep in Legos, frogs, rocks and mud. Having some pink in my life would be a real treat!


I need a bike. The boys are becoming better on their bikes, and I am at the point where they ride too fast as I walk behind them. Ahhhh, I remember the days when a bike ride with the boys could end up in tears, blood and me carrying two twelve-inch bikes, with the training wheels banging into my shins, while Rocco and Zeke howled and limped home. Those were the days!


Not anymore! Let me tell ya! These two are picking up steam, and fast! So, it is high time I got a bike. I have a mountain bike from college that has been living in my basement with the wheels off for twenty years. Really? Sadly, yes. That bike is from a long-ago life, so I don't really feel a strong attachment to it anymore.


So, imagine my squeal of delight when I spied this pink beauty! 

Isn't she pretty? Yep! I wanted her! I just wanted to hop on her at Target and ride her through the store, straight to the checkout. But my practicalboring side won out. I thought, “I have a perfectly good (maybe) bike at home.”  "I am forty." "My neighbors are going to think I have lost it!" And finally, the unfortunate, ever-present thought - "i shouldn't spend money on something like that right now".


The boys were with me, saying "Mommy, you should get that! You love pink!  Just buy it! Dad works hard" (My favorite!)


But I walked away. Saddened, I came home and asked my husband to fix up the one in the basement for my birthday present.


As the days passed, I thought about my pink beauty, but I wasn't sure I could confidently pull it off - such a dazzling, daring bike! It was PeeWee Herman nerd likeIt had a basket in a salmon color that clashed with the light pink, and it had whitewall tires, for God's sake! And it was really pink!  But I still loved it. Secretly, I went back to visit it twice by myself at Target in the weeks that followed. I can't believe I just admitted that!


So, imagine my surprise and delight when I came home yesterday and there it was! With a big, pink bow on it! The boys had told my hubby and he went to get it! Even my close friend texted him and said "she really wants that bike, go get it". He said he felt so silly walking it up the counter. He said he wanted to scream out, "It’s for my wife!" The three of them were so excited to present me with their secret birthday present! It was a great moment for the family! I, of course, squealed with delight (again!).


So, if you see me around town riding the big pink bike, give a honk! Because at forty-one, I am going to ride my ridiculously fabulous pink bike with joy and confidence, because life can be boring with its trials and responsibilities! It's time to have some fun!


It's true what they say.  Hopping on for the first time in years was just like "riding a bike"!


New Summer's Resolutions!

Today, marks the beginning of summer vacation in our household! I have to tell you I am thrilled! I really thought I would be a lot more nervous about having two rambunctious boys home with me all day long. Especially two rambunctious boys that are now used to doing something all day long. But, I believe at this moment, I can handle it. 

I decided to make a list off all the things I wanted to accomplish this summer. I realized it was a little like a New Year's Resolution type list. So, I named my list New Summer Resolutions! Here goes:

I will: 

I will make them get dressed everyday.
I will do their hair and teeth at least once a day.
I will take them somewhere every day even if it is to go get McDonald's.
I will let them have a moment of peace everyday and not constantly bark orders all day. 
I will do one page from the Summer Bridge books everyday.
I will play games with them whereby I don't let them win every time. They are 6 now.
I will deal with the losers cries and not give in. 
I will let the Diabetes mom hat go once in a while and let the kid be a kid, even if it kills me!
I will teach Zeke to swim with his darn head underwater.
I will be patient during this process (even if it kills me).
I will make them wear their helmets when riding their bikes around the block.
I will get off my lazy A and go with them on said bike rides.
I will bring his monitor and glucose tabs everywhere we go. Lesson learned!
I will say yes a lot and not always no. Even if the request is ridulous. 
I will try to be fun. I mean, I will be fun. 

I will not:

I will not sleep in until 9 every morning while they watch TV. 
I will not, however, feel bad if I turn them off by turning the TV on in the afternoon for an hour and a half.
I will not drive them into the ground on our vacations by planning too much.
I will not try to make my husband go to every festival in our area.
I will try not to become glazed over with his diabetes care and I will count Rocco's carbs as religiously as I do when he is in school.
I will not their bickering get under my skin.
I will not kill them. No really, after three in-vitros and five years of infertility, they cost too much to make! 
I will not let the pretty flowers I planted in the front yard go and get scraggly by July.
I will not constantly yell "be careful!". Careful is overrated! 
I will not forget to bring my iPad to let them play games when we go to the ER for not being careful. 
I will not forget to take tons of pictures of the funny times for my blog. Pictures are fun! 
I will not do housework all day long. The summer is too short. 
I will not mess up all the cupboards and closets I worked all school year to organize.
I will try to stay present while they are repeating themselves, showing me something or telling me a story for the 1,000 time. 
I will not forget that they will only want to do those things for the next couple of years then they will only want to show and tell their friends.
I will not worry so much about what the kids will become and just let them become.
I will not worry so much how bad I look in a swimsuit. 
I will not worry so much.

Ok, I think I have enough. I know that last one is going to keep me pretty busy. What are your "New Summer Resolutions"?


my sister's breast cancer


I wrote this almost a year ago, but decided to just share it now.

What a kick in the gut! My sister just told me she has Stage 2 infiltrating lobular carcinoma. Beast cancer. Funny, I just typed beast cancer not breast cancer. Not sure why that is funny, but it kind of is.  We sat down with my mom over some chili cheese fries and a coney dog and she dropped the bomb.


I start to cry. She tells me to stop or she will start, with tears in her eyes. My mother stares at us both unable to speak. My sister assures us both that she is fine. She told the doctor that he "made her day",because he actually gave her a diagnosis. I am sure that made his day. He gave her something tangible that explains why she has felt so poorly for so long.  Now she can fix it. She can cut it, burn it, radiate it. Anything to help her get the crappy feeling out, so she can feel better.


She explains about three types of hormones for which they are still running tests. Progesterone, estrogen and something with letters and numbers. HER-2, yeah that's it, I think. I cant keep up with the technical part, as she speaks.


She says the results of all these hormone levels need to come back with two positives and one negative and then she should have a good success rate. We won’t find out until next week because the doctor is going on vacation. Really? Really??? Can't all cancer doctors just work 24-7 so people don't have to worry or wonder? They talk about “success rate”. I hate that term. It's like when they call a pregnancy "viable". Really? Must you?


So now I must plan. I am a planner. I need to get the facts on the situation before I can process or accept it. I need a plan so I can figure out a way to be helpful. I am nothing if not helpful in a crisis. I am overbearing. I am obsessive. But gosh darn it, let me just help! So I am waiting for the surgery. Is that what comes next?  When are we talking? How will they get rid of it? Where will my precious nieces sleep the night of the surgery? Will there even be a surgery? See? Here comes the obsessive part... Slow down, Shari.


My mother has her iPhone and is now frantically reading out loud to us as she learns about all the information on "www.y-me.org". She likes this website for the name and the simple answers it gives. My sisteis on her smart phonereading statistics out loud over the coney dogs and chili chees fries. She is saying in 2008 it was the second most common type and in it had an 88% success rate, so surely it must be higher now. Please let that be true. I tell her they just had the three-day breast cancer walk last week in our area, so there should be tons of money pouring in for a cure. What the heck? That was a stupid thing to say! As if that money goes straight to her doctor and he will hurry her "success" along faster. But oddly enough she looks me straight in the eye and says seriously "Oh, that's great!" I guess any positive thoughts are helpful at this point.


We talk about a free boob job. That might be a perk, she says. Not really freebut I am sure you get the point. It's all just really too much to take in. I am scared. I don't want my sister to die, and all indicators so far from what she is telling us say that she won't, thank God. I don't want my nieces to grow up without the one person who will guide them to be great women. I look at the familiar moles on her arm as she and my mother dig deeper into iPhone websites. I tear up again. I love her. She doesn't deserve this. What will happen next? How much pain will she have to endure? How is this happening! Is it really happening? I always knew it would. But now? Right now? Really!? This sucks....


Maybe I should start a website called www.y-her.com????

The Beach -a Week Later


So here I sit on the beach, on vacation. My sister is inside our rented cottage tending to my fever-stricken nieceShe should be visiting her doctor right this minute following up on last week’s news. But she decided to skip it. Just like, that she decided to skip it. One last week of freedom. Some might say no, go get yourself looked at so you will know what you are in for, but not my sister. She calmly, patiently says the heck with it.  "I will just wait till next week." Funny thing is I don't blame her. Not sure if I could be that calm, but I do remember during my last in-vitro fertilization feeling the same way. Just not wanting the news, especially if it was bad. Hoping time would heal all woundsNo one can predict, prepare or protect themselves from the stiffling satin that could be slipping quietly over us each and every day. I imagine cancer like satin because cancer just gently glides over you before you ever know it. Just like a satin robe. Or like sunburn on a breezy lake. You eat your blueberries and kale. Your whole grain bread and decaf non-fat lattes. But really, you just never know when it will glide right into your cells. This is the thought that scares frozen.


I think about cancer as many times as men think about sex. It is my greatest fear except my children dying. My closest friends know this about me and some understand and live under the same cloud. But others just think I am weird. But it consumes me. Most people may not think about it at all. For me, it creeps into my thoughts several times a day. I eat things or don't eat things, I take vitamins or not, so I don't get cancer. And here my sister sits with it. My worst fear realized. I feel stifled by it and want to run and hide. It's like putting a person afraid of heights on a plane and saying "JUMP!!!"


Truth be told, I am so frightened about it that I want to stop this vacation and drive her to the doctor’s office myself. I need to know the plan. I need to know what's next. I need to know how bad it is. How deadly. But it is not about me. And I cannot make it about me. It is her battle and her struggle, her reality,and if she wants to put her head in this sand on this beach for one more week feeling normal, then I must sit here next to her talking about how we will organize our closets once the kids go back to school, as if that is the most important topic of our day.


I want to be amazing for her. She is the most giving person you will ever meet. She has sacrificed so many things in her life for so many people. But one person she has never sacrificed for is herself. I hope I can be as good to her as she is to others.  



The Prognosis and the Plan - Week Later


The good news is she has "the good kind" of cancer. She is ER and PR positive and HER-2 negative. The doctor said the tumor is small, only 8mm, and that they want to run some more tests to know what they are in for once they are in the surgery. She and my brother-in-law went to the appointment and conferenced in my mom and me in their car on the way home (my how things have changed). They were chipper. They were laughing and happy. Hopeful and relieved. The doctor said it was a disease not a death sentence. The nurse told her, "This is what we do".  Basically, just sit back and enjoy the ride was kind of the way they put it. The doctor also told them that there was something called a flap surgery,which meant she could have the double or single mastectomy and then he could take fat from her stomach and put it in her boobs as the reconstruction. It would be a tummy tuck and boob job all in one. She was actually excited. Ok, so what to worry about? Hmmm, doesn't seem like cancer is as bad as I thought. We shall see.  The other options are lumpectomy and single mastectomy. The doctor said lets double check to make sure it really is as it currently seems and letdo some genetic testing tlook for the "breast cancer gene".  All of this will provide more information as the basis for upcoming decisions. The decisionon which surgery will be totally up to her. As she tells me this, the doctor made it sound empowering.  Maybe not! He may be playing “tag” and saying "Not it!!" Seriously, are doctors somehow hesitant to give an opinion on course of care? Are they so scared of being sued that they have lost the main point of their job? Have they simply become test orderers and results readers? The whole thing is a mess. At scary times like this, one doesn't feel like making decisions on their care. They did not go to medical school. Just man up and give me your best educated guess. Enough already! Sorry, I digress...


One Year Later (June 2012)


Ok, this is the point where I changed my mind a year ago about blogging my sister's breast cancer. As she went for tests and MRIs, I just felt like I would be exposing her for my benefit rather than hers. My intentions in the beginning were to honor her by helping others out there maybe get through similar circumstances. But as the chemo started and the results came in, it suddenly got very personal. It was her cancer and I felt like a slimy reporter for wanted to expose her struggle.

I apologize if you as a reader feel let down. I just felt protective over her struggle and decided to let this journey be her own. 


But, now we are a year out and I can tell you some good news. She was did amazing with a double mastectomy, a port, drains, three rounds of chemo, hair loss, wigs, expanders, a second scare and a second surgery to get rid of what turned out to be just fatty tumors (thank God). The next step is to go back in three months to make sure the cancer is still all gone. I am on purpose not writing anything about being "cancer-free" or "in remission" or even "it's over". I do not want to jinx her. So I will simply say "She is truly amazing and doing well so far!"


I took pictures along the way instead of writing. My nature is to be a chronicler. I like to record things to help people relate to each other. So, even though I respectfully stopped writing, I couldn't help myself but to take pictures.  

Here is the story in photos. 

This is her at lunch before her first chemo. 

This is her at doctor's office before first chemo.

This is her during her ninth poke to try to get IV in her "terrible" veins. 

Finally, got it! Phew! Ever see anyone so excited to get chemo? This is a true picture of her character throughout the entire beast cancer process. 

New wig!

Hair growing back! 

Last week, as we dyed her new hair pink, I got brave enough to admit that I originally wanted to blog about it all.  She said "Why didn't you?" I told her about the respect and slimy reporter feelings I had. She said, "Oh, don't be ridiculous! If I can help people through all of this, it will make me feel like it was all for some reason. Go ahead!"


So, with permission, I am sharing the pictures of her struggle. I hope it helps all of the people affected by breast cancer. If you are also going through this, my sister and I are sorry for your struggle.


Last week, my sister came over and pulled a Barbie doll out of her purse. I started laughing harder than I have in a long time when she told me my five-year old niece cut the Barbie's hair and gave it to my sister and said "Look mom! Breast Cancer Barbie!!"  My sister brought it over and said, "Let's put it in the blog!"



Getting "lost" in the woods!

My mother-in-law is a unique lady. She and her parents came over on the boat from Italy to Canada seeking greater opportunity. Her parents didn't speak English and she was three years old. Since then, she has been super-productive as a nurse and an attorney, while also doing an exemplary job as a wife, sister, daughter and mother.  She has done her duty in looking after her parents, her Type 1 diabetic spouse, her three sons and a plethora of horses and stray dogs and cats. Her boys are all smart, self-sufficient, talented and confident.  They are true family men, they know right from wrong, they work hard first and then they play hard. They are the kind of men I want my boys to be. So, even though my mother-in-law starts many conversations with "You should...” I know that this is done out of love and tons of life experience.


To be honest, all that advice was a little hard to take when I was a newbie in the family, but once I realized that love and good will were the backdrop for every comment, I settled in, opened my ears and my heart and listened to her. I still do. My style of mothering is a combination of her "tough love for the greater good" and my own mother's "love no matter what". These two amazing womens' wise approaches are helping guide me to raise healthy, happy and well-adjusted kids. I am fortunate to have such great role models.


One of the best pieces of advice my mother-in-law gave me so far came in the form of a book. I was actually on bed rest waiting for the boys to be hatched and she gave me a book called "Last Child in the Woods - Saving our Children from Nature-Deficiency Disorder", by Richard Louv. 

When I got the book, I instantly liked the title. It spoke to the love and respect for nature that are a key part of my personality. I am a girlie girl, but my attraction to the animal world has been a constant since I was a little girl. The smell of a forest is my favorite smell (besides The Sweet Pea fragrance at Bath and Body Works!) I am in awe of the way an ecosystem works. Michael and I spent our honeymoon in the rainforest of Costa Rica. His love of nature goes even beyond mine! It seems only natural that the apple(s) shouldn't fall far from the tree(s).

So, after I read the first couple of chapters while on bed rest, I was convinced! Above all else, my kids were going to be in tune with nature. The magic that happens when you are in a forest exploring is something I wanted them to feel and discover. Now that they are six, I am not sure if their own love for nature was due to nature or nurture (pun intended!)  

Even as babies, I dragged the out on the trails, beaches and rivers! 

Zeke loves all of the inanimate objects that exist in nature. He is truly in his element when he is with rocks, sand, dirt or water. He becomes calm and gets lost in the uniqueness of each object. He is a visual learner, so he takes it all in while he holds each rock and squishes mud or sand between his fingers and toes.


Don't make fun of the ridiculous tank top. It was mine and all I had to hide some of the sun. Obviously a futile attempt. Give me a break, I had two, hot two-year olds on the beach all day! 

Rocco is more externally sponge-like in his learning, and his preschool teacher says he learns best when in touch with nature. He loves animals, mostly the ones without fur. Strange but true. He has always been enamored with frogs and toads. 

Here he is actually touching his first toad! I know, I went right to the salon after the trail to chop that hair, don't worry...


Lucky for me or lucky for them, I love nature and so do they! So it all works out.


On Sunday, I took them to a river and then we walked a trail to a swamp. Here are some pictures and videos from our day.


Click here for video #1

Click here for video #2

Isn't it truly amazing when you get a child into the woods to be one with nature?  They just kind of melt intothe scenery. Have you ever noticed how your child just gets calm on a beach when he/she plays in the sand? I swear nature is the best babysitter. It stops the "Moms!" and the "I'm huuuungrys!" It stops the health problems from coming when they watch too much TV.  So, I think this summer you may see a lot of blog posts from me reporting from the forest or the riverside. I was getting a little nervous that I wouldn't be able to find the time to collect any thoughts to blog about while they were both home and in my face all day. But, I think I will take them to the woods, let the trees, rocks and creatures babysit them while I sit beside them taking my own moment to write. I will have to check out the wifi signal at the swamp!

Send me your favorite story of your child being one with nature! Just press the word comments below and share away!