Thursday, January 16, 2014

The SHINER dog

The SHINER dog

I fell in love with my husband’s aunt’s Great Dane, Shorty way back when.  Shorty had such personality and was just a great “gentle giant”.  So, when their other Danes had a litter of puppies, I knew one would be ours.  We planned on getting a female, but when Jerry saw the sire/father, he HAD to have a male.  (All I needed was another male in the house)! So, we took one of the two males in the litter.  Before he was even “home”, I came up with his name….Shiner.  His parents both had “S” names, and we love Shiner Bock.  Yes, we named our dog after beer!  Don’t judge us!

I held 13-lb Shiner Blonde Fuselier in my lap as we drove home with him on Halloween 2005.  He was the cutest and sweetest little baby.  I spent several nights sleeping on the floor with him teaching him “bed” and many days and nights scrambling outside to “potty”.  He trained very easily.  He quickly showed us what a sweet and docile personality he had.

Baby Shiner

The twins were 1-year-old when we brought Shiner home, and he quickly outgrew them.  If they were outside playing, that’s where he wanted to be!  Shiner wanted to be wherever his people were. 

Almost 4 months old.  Growing like a weed!

Taller than the twins

Shiner and Asa

Shiner and Squirrels

Shiner was a trustworthy, kind and protective dog.  He never destroyed anything inside the house, but he would eat an occasional He-Man if it was left outside.  His favorite thing to do outside was to chase squirrels.  It was so easy to get him rowled up by telling him “Squirrel”!  He would barrel out the door and bark up the closest tree!  The squirrels would flick their tails just outside of his reach.

Chasing squirrels was his passion.  He narrowly missed a few.  As he got older, we would say “squirrel” and he would bark, but he didn’t give chase as much.  In the last year or so, the squirrels have figured out Shiner was an old man.  They would literally taunt him and eat his food while he sat oblivious a few feet away!  Saying “Squirrel” would only yield a muffled bark.

Shiner’s jobs:

Shiner had quite a few jobs in our family.  Some were self-assigned, some were given to him.

·         When the twins developed wild imaginations and were scared of monsters at night, Shiner was assigned the task of eating all monsters and bad guys.  He had to have a big appetite for that one!

·         Shiner took it upon himself to loudly protect his territory.  His bark was loud and bellowing.  He once caused a UPS man to drop his package on the sidewalk and run back to his truck.  Shiner loved barking at trick-or-treaters on Halloween, and we took great pleasure in watching them run.  Halloween will never be the same!

·         Shiner barked at the bus every day.  Same bus.  Same time.  Every day.  He barked.  I always knew when the kids were home.  I’m pretty sure he shaved years off of my life by his loud startling bark.  Regardless, nobody was coming in this house!

·         Shiner was a vehement protector of his Momma-dog.  He loved me.  Jerry would taunt him by acting like he was hitting me.  Shiner would bark, sometimes nip at Jerry’s hand, and place himself between us.  He’d sniff me to make sure I was ok. He didn’t care so much if I whacked on Jerry.  He loved his Courtney-dog almost as much!  He nipped Gage on the leg, requiring stitches, because he thought Gage was trying to chase and hurt Courtney.
Where'd you go, Courtney-dog?

·         When Shiner was about 3, a drugged-out hallucinating intruder came into our home one morning.  Shiner barked crazily.  This kid’s failure to acknowledge or respond to Shiner’s bark let me know he was HIGH.  Long story short, the cops were called, nobody was harmed, and the kid went to the hospital for detox.  Everyone asked me if I was afraid.  My answer:  NO!  Shiner kept himself between me and that kid no matter where the kid moved in my house (‘cause he was trippin’ out).  If he’d made one move towards me, I have no doubt he would’ve been Shiner’s snack.

Shiner, Age 3

Gentle Soul with Such Personality

When Shiner was young, we brought home two kittens.  He was huge.  They were tiny and they were hissing scared of him.  Shiner lay on the floor for a long time, willing those kittens to play with him.   He was bone still so as not to frighten them.  One got brave, stalked, approached and swatted his paw.  He didn’t flinch.  After time, they realized he was harmless, and he was in hog heaven to have some playmates!

7 month old Shiner wanted to play so badly

Shiner got a “baby sister” in 2008.  He was NOT impressed.  He was okay with kittens, but he wanted NO PART of another dog!  Shiner refused to sleep in our room or “talk” to Jerry and me like he usually did.  Once he decided Sookie was ok, he would still walk away and act like he wasn’t playing with her if we saw him.  Eventually, he came to forgive us and accept her.  He moved back in to our room.

Shiner did NOT want a baby sister!

But he came to tolerate her

Funny Anecdotes

Shiner was a local celebrity, and on many occasions people knew who I was or where I lived because of him.  It’s hard to miss a dog like him!  Shiner outweighed me and drug me whenever we went out.
Shiner was a nervous farter.  Anytime I loaded him into the van, he would fart the entire way to the Veterinarian or Petsmart.  He had to hang his head out of the window and gas me in!  Needless to say, we attracted a lot of attention driving down the road.

Shiner loved riding in the van and gassing me out!

Shiner loved the ride but hated going to the Vet.  Yet, as long as Momma-dog was holding him, he'd tolerate Dr. Jeff doing whatever he needed to do. It was less scary with Momma-dog there and he wouldn't even flinch.

I don’t allow my animals on the furniture, and Shiner knew he wasn’t allowed on the couches.  I kept noticing fur on the new leather couch and I could not figure out why.  When arriving home one day, he was in a deep sleep….past out like a college frat boy on the couch!  When I shouted his name, he jumped and scrambled to his feet like Goldilocks!  He never slept on the couch again.

If I was asleep during the day, Shiner had to sleep with me.  If Jerry was home and my bedroom door was shut, he’d lurk by the door and pace back and forth between Jerry and the door so Jerry would let him in.  He wouldn’t get up until I did.

Shiner in his bed...he hated when I took his picture

Shiner absolutely LOVED my dad!  He was SURE his Grandpa-dog were there to see HIM and him only!  I think he may have loved Dad more than he loved me!

Grandpa-dog was one of his favorite people!

Shiner had the most expressive eyes and could follow a conversation.  He’d alternate lifting eyebrows as he looked from one person to the other.  Almost every night, Shiner would come and put his head on my shoulder to be petted and let outside.  “Shiner!  I’m tired.  Go ask Daddy-dog to let you out”.  He’d go to Jerry and do the same thing.  And, if you stopped petting him, he would lift your hand back up and replace it on his body.  Clearly he wasn’t done being petted.

Shiner was the gassiest animal I’ve ever known.  He burped and farted like a grown man.  I never heard a dog fart until Shiner, and I didn’t know you could make so much noise without butt cheeks!

We have a “Shiner voice” we used to translate his doggy words into English.  He always knew when we were talking about him.  In addition, he knew everyone’s name.  I could say, “Go tell Kyle-dog” and he would walk to Kyle.  He was just so smart and perceptive.

Shiner wasn’t allowed in the kitchen because his head was counter level.  I placed freshly cooked steaks on the counter one day and stepped away momentarily. When I returned a steak was gone.  Jerry denied it. When I asked Shiner, he just averted his gaze away from me and licked his chops.  I think I found the guilty party.  At Thanksgiving this year, he lurked around the kitchen until everyone was gone and stole the carcass out of the trash.  Kyle had to chase him down to get it back!  He thought he was slick!

If Shiner got in trouble, he would refuse to look at you.  His eyebrows would dance, but he would keep looking away.  Also, he had a wicked sixth sense when I was up to something.  Just gathering the supplies to clip his nails or clean his ears would send him into hiding!  He hated it, but he would let me do it.  He was such a big baby!  If Sookie was getting a bath, you’d find Shiner hiding in the furthest corner of the yard or peeking out behind the shed.  He was hoping we’d forget about him!

Finally, Shiner loved grocery store day.  We tried every fancy brand of dog food, but he would puke it up or refuse to eat it.  I gave up and bought normal dog food, but I had to switch it up weekly or he would get bored.  His favorite was Ol’ Roy Dinner Rounds.  Fancy dog, crappy cheap food…he loved them!  Shiner would stand by his new food until I ripped it open and gave him some, or he would look at his food then the door…food,door; food, door. 

The End

Great Danes are prone to Cardiac problems and Hip Dysplasia.  Shiner’s ticker was strong.  But, as he got older, his hips got weaker.  He didn’t run as much and he slept more and more.  He was slow to get up.  In the past week or so, he wasn’t eating as much, and he was losing his footing as he rose.  We knew eventually we would have to put him down, but we thought he would live another year or two. 

On Wednesday morning, when I tried to let Shiner out (like I do every morning when I get up), he wouldn’t get up.  I thought he needed coaxing or a little help, but he wouldn’t rise.  I lifted him up, and he fell back down.  After sending the little boys off to school, we put Shiner on a blanket and loaded him into the van.  I sat in the cold van just holding him, petting him, and telling him how much I loved him.  I knew the vet wouldn’t have good news or a miracle cure.  Shiner couldn’t move.  I made sure the big boys told him good-bye.  Kyle broke my heart as he petted him and talked to him about chasing squirrels.  He was hoping it would make him get up.

The Vet knows me well, as I mentioned, because Shiner stands out in a crowd!  Jerry and he carried Shiner inside and it was determined he had nerve damage and was basically paralyzed.  We don't know what caused it. We could have done things to prolong his life, but he would’ve just had to lay there.  He wouldn’t be able to walk, or get up to go outside, or follow his Momma-dog around, or chase squirrels.   That’s no way to honor his life.  So, with Jerry and I both holding him, petting him, and telling him we loved him, Shiner was put to sleep and my heart was broken in two. 

I’ve had many dogs in my life, but never have I had one like Shiner. I know none of these words will do justice to the way I felt about him.  I felt safe and secure with him around.  He had the most fantastic gentle and loving personality ever. He loved being wherever I was, and I loved having him there.  He really thought he was a people. I’ve never felt such a bond with an animal, and yes, he was the “favorite”.  I’m going to miss those big brown eyes!

If there really is a Doggy Heaven, I know Shiner will be the King and he’ll finally be able to capture all the squirrels he wants!

Shiner, you were much loved and will be terribly missed,


Aka Momma-dog
Shiner on his 8th birthday

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Mommy Gut Instincts

Mommy Gut Instincts                                       January 8, 2014

Your instincts change when you become a Mommy.  Ladies who could sleep through a tornado suddenly wake up after hearing a pin drop once they’re a Mommy.  A Mommy can tell the difference between her baby’s cries and what they mean. A good Mommy can instinctually know when something is wrong. Mommies’ communication systems with their babies is innate and invisible.

These Mommy instincts may even be heightened further when Diabetes takes hold.  Even when a number appears good, my gut, my rationalizations, my experiences, and my heart can tell me something bigger is going on to which I need to respond. My gut wouldn't let my mind rest Monday night, so I checked on the boys who I had only checked one hour earlier. 

At 8pm, both boys had a snack of Peanut Butter Crackers for which they received insulin.  For those who don’t know, a dose of insulin works for approximately 4 hours.  At 10pm, I went to check the boys’ sugars, as I always do before my bedtime.  Top bunk was 103, Bottom bunk was like 130.  They have to be over 100 to safely sleep.  I went to bed at 11pm.

Instead of drifting off to sleep as I should have, my Mommy gut kept me awake.  My instincts sprang into action. I have the Good Diabetes Mom on one shoulder, and the Overworked Fatigued Mom (aka Tired Mom) on the other…dueling each other, both taking over my thoughts and trying to persuade me to do what they want.  Good D-Mom wants to check; Tired Mom wants to sleep.  A lot.  For a long time.  Sleep.

Good D-Mom:  Wait, why is Top Bunk only 103?  His insulin still had two more hours to work when I checked that, so he’ll probably drop low.  I should check them both again now. 

Tired Mom: No, I just checked an hour ago.  I’ll just check when I wake up to use the restroom. 

Good D-Mom:  No, you’d better check now.  Top Bunk could be in danger.  He’ll be low for sure.

Tired Mom:  They were over 100.  Go to sleep!

Good D-Mom:  That was an hour ago.  He still had two hours of insulin on board.  How much protein did he eat at dinner?  He seems to drop lower in the night if he doesn’t have enough protein.  He didn’t eat much ham.  Nope, not enough protein.  He’s going to tank.

Tired Mom:  But, he had those crackers.  Peanut butter has protein.

Good D-Mom:   He only had three crackers.  Go check and put your mind at ease.

Good D-Mom won.  I crawled out of bed after contemplating this for about 15 minutes.  Bottom bunk was 105 or so, Top Bunk was 45!  Yikes!  Glad Good D-Mom won this battle!  I creaked my aching bones back down the stairs and returned with Chocolate Milk.  Like a reflexive baby, he slurps down enough to deliver 15-20g of carbohydrates without even waking up.  I give Bottom Bunk a few swigs just for good measure.

And, I wait. I lay in bed for warmth and plan to recheck in 30 minutes.  Sleepiness starts to win its battle over necessity, so I slink out of bed after 20 minutes to recheck.  I want to make sure Top Bunk’s blood sugar has risen sufficiently enough for me to sleep soundly.  He was a whoppin’ 60!  More carbs needed. More time awake.

I snap, crackle, and popped my knees back down to locate a juice box only to find we’re out.  I didn’t want to go to the garage for more because I was afraid the doors would wake my husband or the very loud-barking dog (which in turn would wake the entire household and the neighbors!).  I opted for a Quick Stick. 

Now, getting a boy to slurp on a straw in his sleep is easy.  Pouring what equates to a large Pixy Stick in his mouth while sleeping is an entirely different feat. I got most in his mouth, some on his pillow and some on his shirt.  Maybe it will absorb through his skin.

And, I waited again.  This time, I chose to check emails, crush candies, and whine on Facebook while I waited. 

Twenty minutes later, I rechecked and Top Bunk has spiked to a respectable 183.  I know it will fall over the course of the night, but he’s got some “flex space” now.  He’s out of danger.  I can sleep.  I crawled back in bed next to my warm sleeping husband around 12:15 a.m.

And, the dueling duo started on me again.  These hags are like feuding sister wives and they won’t quit. We all have to live together and learn to get along.  Instead, they compete for my attention and favor.

Good D-Mom:  You know, Bottom Bunk was only 105 with still an hour of insulin on board.  You should’ve probably rechecked him too just to be safe. It’s been over an hour since you checked him. What if he’s now getting low?

Tired Mom:  You gave him some swigs of Chocolate Milk.  That should cover him.

Good D-Mom:  What if that wasn’t enough?  I’m not going to rest until I check him, too.

Tired Mom:  You can check him when you wake up to pottySurely he’s fine.

Good D-Mom:  NO!  I’m checking him now because I want to sleep through to the alarm at this point.

I listened to the argument for about 10 minutes.  Finally, Good D-Mom won.  For the 7th time of the night, I listened to my bones moan and groan about climbing the steps.  I checked Bottom Bunk and he was safely at 131.  NOW, I can sleep.  And, I did.  For five whole hours.  I know.  You’re jealous, right?

This is only one scenario of many nights like this.  I check the boys and analyze their current glucose level; take into consideration the amount of insulin still working; divide that by their last meal and/or protein/fat intake; add their day/evening activity levels; stir it with some doubt and worry; sprinkle in some math, voodoo, sorcery, science, and luck; and, what you get is a semi-rationale conclusion on an unpredictable disease topped with paralyzing fear!  See, it’s simple!

Way too many times I’ve awakened from a dead sleep with the need and urge to go check the boys.  It does no good to ignore it.  I’ll just worry myself completely awake.  Plenty of times, they’re perfectly fine.  Way more than I’d like to admit, they’ve been way too high or too low and required middle-of-the-night interventions (for no good reason).  Less often, on other nights, when all pieces of the equation fit, I sleep.  I’ve dreamed of low blood sugars, and awakened to find one.  I’ve dreamed of wearing an insulin pump on my calf.  I’ve dreamed of the boys needing their Mommy, or not being able to get to them…and find they need my help in reality.  It’s sort of freaky. 

Despite Overworked Fatigued Mom’s objections and rationales, Good D-Mom wins almost every time.  Why?  Because if only ONCE I listened to Tired Mom and my boy(s) really needed me, I’d never be able to live with myself.  What if?  What if I woke up to use the restroom in the middle of the night and didn’t check? What if I startled awake with a worried gut and didn’t check?   What if I didn’t listen to the messages in my weird dreams?  What if…the one time I ignored it was a time when he was desperately low and declining?  What if, because I ignored it, my baby did not wake up in the morning when the situation could have been safely dealt with earlier?  What if?  It’s a thought I don’t even want to ponder.

So, as I mentioned, either those instincts have been wickedly heightened…or I’m turning into a scent hound and should be given a vest and leash and branded a Diabetes Alert Dog.  Mommies…listen to your gut because with this beast on board, we always have to err on the side of caution (and worry, and sleep deprivation….)

Arf Arf,


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!