Thursday, January 2, 2014

Two Too Sweet in 2013, A Year in Review

January 1, 2014
Two Too Sweet in 2013

I think I’ve mentioned more than once that 2012 sucked (
It wasn’t a complete waste, but receiving two Diabetes diagnoses and dealing with it was complete suckage.  I must admit, 2013 was so entirely much better!  So, I thought I’d recap month-by-month what made 2013 so cool.  Despite Diabetes’ intrusion on our lives, we had a good year.

In January I hosted the first annual “Come Hungry, Leave Happy” January family birthday party.  My daughter, her husband and my step-daughter’s boyfriend all have birthdays on the 22nd and 23rd.  It was a great and fun way to capture everyone, celebrate their special days, and eat well.  This definitely started a great family tradition!  Not to mention, my “baby” turned 21…which is so weird since I was still only 29!

Further, in January, I made a dramatic change in my work schedule.  I left the Weekend Warrior position so I could be home more on the weekends during “fun times” and have more dates with the man!  That was such a huge booster for my mood and psyche.  It took some adjusting for our pocketbook, but it was definitely a great change.

February marked Aiden’s One Year Diaversary. (  I certainly battled a lot of conflicting emotions surrounding that day.  However, dealing with those emotions sparked the idea for my book. We celebrated Aiden’s bravery and strength in dealing with this beast with a new teddy bear and ice cream.  I think I set the bar a little high as I fear I’ll now be held to the same standard yearly.  Do you think I’ll still have to buy him a teddy bear when he’s 25?

In February I attended the Austin Field trip with Jace (, finally got to see P!nk in concert and ran the Cowtown 5K.  (My daughter did a face plant on take-off, but she quickly recovered hoping nobody saw her…but I did! Tee hee)

March was the kick-off for Bon Jovi’s Because We Can Tour.  I needed them and missed them terribly in 2012. I was over-elated to take my little “music-man”, Jace, with me to Oklahoma City for my first concert of this tour, and his first concert ever.  He absolutely loved it, which made every penny spent SO worth it!  Because I love live music, I also was able to see Maroon 5 in concert again!  Bon Jovi and Maroon 5 both in one month sure made a non-sucky month!
Jace and me in OKC

March also marked my son Kyle’s 15th birthday and the start of Driver’s Education.  I cannot believe how big (literally…huge) he’s getting, and I can’t believe my little “Coo-Coo Boy” is almost ready to drive!

April.  Oh, April.  How April 2013 will forever be emblazoned in my memory!

My Bon Jovi buddy, Gennie,  and I hit back-to-back Bon Jovi concerts in Austin and Dallas respectively. In Austin, we sat outside the Circle (edge of extended stage) and I got to shake Jon’s hand for the first time in my 25-year fandom! We slept in Austin, then we high-tailed it to Dallas for another great night of our “dope”. In Dallas, we were in the fourth row (inside the Circle).  We did the pre-show Fan Club party and backstage tour.  Did someone say free food and drinks?!  After the concert, we hit the hotel where just by “being cool” we hung out with Jon’s little brother and a couple band members.  No Jon, No Tico or Richie…but wicked cool!  Great memories.

A week later, my Bon Jovi buddy and I hit the skies and landed in Vegas.  It was my first ever fan club trip (Runaway Tours).  We saw KA, went to an exclusive Fan Club Party, and just before the Vegas concert, got a photo op with Jon Bon Jovi.  HIGH.LIGHT.OF.MY.LIFE.  Finally, a dream come true!  I got to truly shake his hand, say hello, and have a cool photo.  I was tickled pink!  Frankly, this was just reward for the 2012 I had, and a fantastic way to recharge my batteries!  While there, too, we reconnected with a fellow Jovi sister who lives in San Antonio.  Our fun was complete with a genius double photo-bombing episode by my friend Gennie.  Laughed until I hurt.

All while I was gone, my cool hubby manned the fort and kept Diabetes tamed!

May in North Texas means Golf!  I started the month by being able to see Wicked at the Fair Park Music Hall.  Not bragging, but I’d seen it in New York City a couple of years back, and it was just as good in Dallas. Jerry and I were able to visit both the Byron Nelson golf tournament in Dallas and the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth.   I never cared for golf before Jerry took it back up as a hobby, but let me tell you, I LOVE being out on the golf course and watching live golf.  It’s a cool quiet atmosphere on beautiful grounds.  Oh, and there’s beer.  Win, win. 

Our Jace loves golf, too, so we took him to Colonial for his birthday.  He wants to be Daddy and Tiger Woods.  (I really wish Jerry would quit hiding his golf winnings). He liked it, but he lost interest with all the walking before too long.

All the while, I was working hard thinking of creative ways to fundraise for our JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes Team and arranging different fundraisers.

On June 1, we had our first annual JDRF Benefit Garage Sale.  $300 raised for the team…and a lot of junk was cleared out of the house.  Win on two fronts there! We also took a family vacation to Galveston with the in-laws, and we had SUCH a good time.  Having them there was great as we had 2 extra sets of eyes to keep an eye on five boys at the beach. After bedtime, we were able to relax and visit as adults. It was a great bonding experience.

My in-laws take the boys for an overnight visit every other weekend, but being with them the majority of the week, three meals a day, several nights obviously opened their eyes to the degree of work it takes to manage Diabetes in two little boy…while still parenting five.  Granted, my goal was for all of us to have a good time. Goal attained.  I got my ego stroked the weekend after we got home when my father-in-law just grabbed me, hugged me, and told me how he noticed how hard I worked and how wonderful he thought I was.  They had no idea how much work was involved and how serious I take my job.  Sometimes recognition and validation is just what the doctor ordered.

Finally, we wrapped June up with the boys attending Cook Children’s Camp Aurora for the second year.  They had a good time, and it freed me up some time to spend with the other boys without Diabetes trying to steal the show (which he frequently does!)  

In July, we were able to send Mr. Jace to Golf Camp locally.  He so enjoyed golf camp and making them happy makes me happy.  I was also allowed a brief mid-summer Mommy Escape trip to Chicago for a weekend.  Any idea why I went?  If not, then you haven’t been paying attention.  I went to see Bon Jovi play a stadium show.  Our friend we caught up with in Vegas had tickets.  So, I got to explore Chicago some, which is a great city! I really wish I’d had more time there.  I got to see Soldier Field (I love seeing other cities’ ball parks and stadiums), and I got to see Bon Jovi.  Again, we hit the hotel and were fortunate enough to run into the band again.  Our experience wasn’t quite as good as Dallas, but Jon was there and we were able to breathe the same air and watch him just be a dude.  Regardless…wicked cool.
In front of the Circle, Chicago, Soldier Field

In August, I remained busy playing “Cruise Director” for my boys like I do each summer.  In addition, we spent time getting ready for school.  Granted, getting five boys prepared for school is a lot of work, but with Diabetes in tow, the workload is dramatically increased.  Clothes, supplies, shoes….and now, emergency kits, Diabetes supplies, snacks, 504 meetings.  It’s just quite the bowl of cherries!  First day of school at the end of August….I slept.

August marked the One Year Diaversary for Asa.  I was reminded by both twins what was expected.  I had forgotten about the teddy bear, but they had not!  We again celebrated with an ice cream and a new stuffed animal (because clearly the 192 they have isn’t enough!) (

Any spare day all summer was spent keeping up with Diabetes:  pediatrician appointments, Endocrinology appointments, Ophthalmology appointments, Dentist, Orthodontist.

Meanwhile, I worked on my book during any free moment, and I amped up the fundraising!

I kicked off September with the Labor Day 5K.  I have a goal for each race, and this race’s goal was “to not suck as bad as last year”.  Goal attained.  Diabetes has left me so exhausted that my gym and running days have been severely reduced. A few days later, I participated in the American Heart Walk.  I took Mr. Jace with me.  He was happy to spend time with Mommy, but only marginally impressed with the hot 3-mile walk.  Freebies made it all better.

September also marked my step-son Gage’s 16th birthday!  This little nugget entered my life when he was 20-months-old, now he’s almost a man…well, at least in age.  We celebrated with a Trampoline Park party with his friends, and we had a big party with family and friends…complete with one of our favorite meals, tabletas!  These Mexican short ribs have tiny bones that Shiner (the Great Dane) loves…and he loved them way too much this time.  We paid the price for that one in the form of dog diarrhea!  Wait, I’m talking about what was good about 2013, right?  No more Tableta bones for Shiner. I digress.

After all that, I saw Maroon 5 again at a different venue.  They always play well, but nobody touches a Bon Jovi concert.  My friend Kim and I did get a tear-producing laugh at her photo-bombing episode.

In September, I hosted the first annual Pure Romance Fundraising Party.  It was a unique idea, and a fun way to hang with the girls and raise a lot of $ for a good cause!

October was kicked off with our annual anniversary vacation.   This is made possible by the generosity and devotion of our parents.  Jerry and I had such a quiet and relaxing time in OK in a remote cabin.  We needed this reset and respite badly.  Diabetes didn’t stay away completely (, but enough for us to rest and reconnect. 

I had my last Bon Jovi hurrah of the tour in October.  I jaunted down to San Antonio and met up with my Jovi friend to see Bon Jovi.  We were in the 3rd row towards the end of the row.  Halfway through the concert, Jon comes out and walks right near our seats to “appear” mid-concert on the Circle.  I knew he was about to walk past, so I alerted the couple next to me.  It was obvious to me the chick was totally digging this and had NO idea what was about to happen.  She did what I said, and she was able to shake Jon’s hand…and he handed her his sweat towel.   She was thrilled! 

She hugged me and kissed my cheek..twice…which was a bit hard for this touch-me-not.  I should have asked her for half of the towel or shared custody.  When I told my friend Gennie about it, she felt I gave too much!  J

I darted out of San Antonio bright the next rainy morning and sped to Dallas.  I arrived home in time to clean up, feed the twins, and head back to Dallas for another concert.  For the first time ever, I had to take Diabetes with me to see Bon Jovi. I was a nervous wreck about it, but it all went smoothly and well!   It was a fun experience to take my twins to see Bon Jovi; they loved it, and it was a great way to celebrate our very close birthdays! 
The twins and me at Bon Jovi in Dallas

Shortly thereafter, I hosted a family October birthday dinner party.  We have so many birthdays in October, so, like January, it was a great way to get everyone together and celebrate all together!

I started November with an overnight trip to OK with my mother to see our old favorite, Reba McEntire, in concert at the WinStar resort.  I had a great time just hanging with my mom, alone, with no distractions.  We talked for hours, and after telling her my great photo-bombing stories, right on cue, I accomplished a beautiful photo-bomb that even elicited giggles from Mom!

On November 9th, we participated in the JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes as The A2 Team.  Our team was one of the top 10 Family Teams. I was very proud of that!  All my fundraising efforts had paid off in a good way, except now I’ve set a standard.  There’s no going back!

We had a great Walk with good support from family and friends. Our team grew from last year, and I hope to keep the size of the team and the amount of money raised growing yearly! 
The 2013 A2 Team

Annually, I do Thanksgiving for the family at my house, and two days of cooking and preparing yielded a lot of full and happy bellies.  To make the event sweeter, my two nephews who have lived out of state for years moved home and were able to celebrate with us!

Their blood sugars after Thanksgiving feast were only marginally crappy.

Finally, in November, I finalized and published my book. ( Another dream realized in one year!  It was therapeutic to write about my experience, and I hope the book helps others, entertains others, and raises good money for JDRF!

After surviving a busy October and November, in December I focused on Christmas.  Decorations, presents, wrapping.  As usual, all my spoiled brats received way too much, and I feel so fortunate that we are able to provide happy childhood memories and good Christmases despite the huge expense of funding Diabetes. 

Gage finally got his license, which adds worry, but also feels good. It fosters his independence and frees us up from having to tote this social butterfly around everywhere!
He's unleashed on the general public

We celebrated New Years with an early family party where we had snacks, watched a movie and did an early countdown for the boys complete with hats, horns and poppers.  A perfect wrap to a good year!
Happy New Year!

Huge Scores:  Both boys remained healthy throughout the year.  Neither were admitted to the hospital or had to seek ER care for Diabetes complications.  One bout of Strep throat was solved in the pediatrician’s office.

Goals for 2014:
1.        Convince the boys to go to Lions’ Camp so they can learn more about caring for themselves
2.       Learn more about Diabetes Care and Management and hopefully see an A1C in the ever-elusive 6.0-6.9 range.
3. Raise more money and grow the JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes Team.

On January 1, 2013, I told 2013 I had my dukes up.  I had already been kicked down and beaten, and I was ready to fight!  I battled many sleepless nights, but succeeded in learning more and keeping my family together, my marriage alive, and my twins healthy.  I call that a win!  I’m ready to rock 2014!


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