Tuesday, February 17, 2015


Today is Brooke's diaversary.  Four years ago today we were told that Brooke has Type 1 Diabetes, and that our lives, and especially Brooke's life, would never be the same.

She blows me away with her willingness to deal with it all.  She's a rock star.  The tantrums and bits of sadness are few and far between.  She just rolls with it.  She's one of my heroes.

Brooke was diagnosed pretty early, before she got too awfully sick.  Don't get me wrong, she was still very sick.  But because we caught it early, she was able to avoid some of the scariest, most debilitating parts.

Read the list of symptoms below.  Really look at them.  Be familiar with them.  File them away.  I'm convinced that somewhere in the back of my head I knew most of these symptoms added up to Type 1 Diabetes.  I believe us realizing what was going on was the first step to an early, accurate diagnosis.

It was the first step to getting help.  It was the first step to Brooke feeling better.

Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes:

  • Extreme thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Drowsiness and lethargy
  • Sugar in urine
  • Sudden vision changes
  • Increased appetite
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Fruity, sweet, or wine-like odor on breath
  • Heavy, labored breathing
  • Stupor or unconsciousness

Call your doctor immediately if one or more of these symptoms occurs in you or your loved one. It is extremely important to receive medical attention—misdiagnosis or leaving your condition untreated can have tragic consequences, including death.    Source: JDRF

Today, I'm reposting what I wrote 4 years ago.  It tells the story of how Brooke was diagnosed. 

**Repost from Feb 18, 2011**

Well, hello insulin.

Remember when all the kids had the flu a few weeks ago? Remember how I declared Tamiflu dead to me because Brooke was so sick with it? Well, turns out, maybe it wasn't the Tamiflu.

It had been three weeks and Brooke still wasn't over the flu. She wasn't back to herself. She had no energy. The little Brooke spark was gone from her eyes.

Then we started noticing that she was drinking. Alot. And going to the bathroom. Alot.

And the emotional roller coaster was getting a little rough. One minute fine...the next minute snipping...the next minute fighting with her sister over nothing...the next minute...sobbing.

Her appetite was crazy. This, the child I felt lucky to get 2 good meals in her tummy, was eating me out of house and home. She was finishing her lunch and if I happened to be subbing that day, digging in to my lunch.

And then the headaches started. Severe. Making her feel so awful she didn't want to participate. Even if it was fun. And the vomit came with the headaches.

And even though her appetite rivaled her 11 year old brother's, she was loosing weight. Her clothes were hanging on her.

Wednesday night at church she had another sudden headache with vomiting. I had an appointment to see the doctor next week, but decided that since the headache was so bad, she needed to go in the next day. I had to work, but Honey was in town, so he was going to take her. He wanted a list of symptoms from me to make sure he didn't forget anything. I sat down Thursday morning to write down everything I'd noticed.

When I saw it all in writing, I knew what the doctor would tell us.

I cancelled my day and headed to the doctor at 9:15am. It didn't take long for them to tell us that she had Type 1 Diabetes and refer us to an endocrinologist. (Which, by the way, I spelled that without using spell check.) We were sent straight to the hospital and Brooke was admitted immediately.

It's been 36 hours since her diagnosis. 36 hours makes a huge difference. Her lab numbers are back to where they need to be. Her blood sugar is being tweaked and managed. The color in her cheeks is normal. Her body is being re hydrated. The Brooke spark is back in her eyes.
Honey and I know more than we ever wanted to know about insulin and pancreases and carbs. And we still have a lot to learn.
But for now we'll just take it one finger prick at a time.

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

I get by with a little help from my friends

Y'all, there really wasn't anything wrong with this house when we bought it. 

See?  The before was really pretty.

A couple of months before we moved in, we started working on our redecorating budget.  We had some money to spend on the house up front, so we focused on projects that would make the most impact and would be easiest done before the big move.

Number 1 on our list was paint all areas of the house but the bedrooms.  We ended up hiring this out and it was THE BEST redecorating decision we've made.  There are a lot of tall walls, aspen ceilings and square footage to deal with.  We left it to the professionals, and I'm so glad we did.

paint = BIGGEST impact

Number 2 on our list was to re-tile the kitchen back splash.  Since the biggest common area of the house is the big rectangle with the kitchen attached to one side, we decided that after the paint on the walls, the tile on the walls needed to go next.

I fell in love with the clean texture of glass subway tile.  It has just enough reflection that you feel like there's sparkle without actually having sparkly things.  I've been in love with some shade or another of aqua for forever.  So I chose an aqua glass subway tile.

Honey took a week off work. The first part of the week we planned on working and painting.  The second part of the week, my parents and brother came and we planned on moving.

The very first minute we were in the house, I took before pictures of the kitchen.  While I finished photographing the rest of the house, Honey started tearing out the old tile.  We also took out the corner appliance garage to give us a bit more counter space near the cook top.  You can barely see it in the before picture, but removing it did give us what we wanted.

Our goal was to demo day 1, lay tile day 2, grout and move on to something else day 3.  Because it happened to be Homecoming weekend in our little town, that didn't quite work out, but we did finish in about 5 days.  We recruited a friend that is a professional to lend us his tools, help us get started, and rescue us from the hairy spots.

I've decided that another big impact thing can be changing light fixtures.  Months before we moved, I purchased new pendants for over the bar and I finally got to see them installed.

So, here's where we are today, minus the fall decor.  This picture was actually taken the first part of November, but we haven't done anything since then.  No, I haven't painted the other black bar stools to match the aqua one.  I will eventually...

Also, while planning for the new house, I fell in love with the two tone kitchen.  Mainly, the white upper cabinets and stained lower cabinets kitchen.  The cabinets in this house are all custom, wood, hand built and stained and installed.  Am I crazy to want to paint the uppers white?

Monday, February 02, 2015

She got her groove back

We've been in Colorado about a year and a half.  We're settling into our home where I hope we will live for many years.  We aren't the new people anymore.  Well, in some ways we are, but we are becoming less so every day.

I think we are feeling adjusted.  There are still things that feel different, and some stuff we're not used to, and every once in a while, we get caught assuming we know what's going on when we don't.  We still miss our TX people, but I think we've gained some CO people.  Gaining people is always good.

In early 2013 we started preparing for this move, and 2 years later, I am really feeling that the transition is ending.

For me personally, 2015 is going to be a year of rhythm.  I crave routine, I thrive on it, for about 2 weeks.  Then something happens to upset my routine, and it takes me a month to get back on track.  I start doubting and second guessing myself.  I let things go and then feel overwhelmed and don't know where to start.  Routine is harsh and unforgiving.  Sometimes routine is forced, sometimes it feels like fitting a square peg into a round hole.

I've learned that what I need is rhythm.  I need to settle in naturally.  This CO life requires that I do some things differently than I always have.  And that's fine.  Different isn't bad it's just...different.

Rhythm is flexible.  When one of the kids is sick and home from school for a week, routine blows up and pitches a fit because this was not part of the schedule.  Rhythm accepts it, does what it can, and extends grace when it can't.  Routine makes you feel guilty for all the things you didn't do.
Rhythm says what you did today was enough. 

I know there will be things that I'll still have to just buckle down and get 'er done, there is a place for routine in my life.  But in 2015, I'm trying to work with the rhythm of life, instead of feeling so forced by routine.

Mondays.  I've noticed that I enjoy Monday mornings.  It's when I pull it all back together from the weekend.  We tend to be a little lax on the weekends.  Lazy, if you will.  Or, we spend the weekends doing projects and there is no time for the little things like picking up socks out of the living room.  Monday morning is when I clean the kitchen, pick up the living room, change the sheets, wash the towels, go over the calendar, sort the mail...

After the weekend, I need some quiet to reset and prepare for the week ahead.  Monday mornings tell me what the rest of the week will most likely look like.  It's a rhythm.  

Thursday, January 29, 2015

The big rectangle

It's amazing how much just changing the paint color will change a room.

When we first started talking about our plans for making this house feel like ours, we prioritized by which projects would make the most impact.  In my head I knew that paint changed everything, but I didn't really know it in my heart until I actually saw it.

Our entry, dinning, and living area is basically a giant rectangle, under a cathedral ceiling, with a kitchen stuck on to the side of it.

Here's a picture of our living room before:

I'm standing in the dinning area near the kitchen.  When it's tile v. hardwood, tile will win every time.  It's just so easy to clean. When you live in the trees and the hills and the snow, you clean floors a lot.

Yes, tile is hard...and cold.  But right about the first time we got snow, I made friends with it.  Because I wasn't worried about how tile would hold up under melted snow, mud, and wood chips.  We're good now.

Here's what the living room looks like today:
I know, right?!  It looks so different!  All we did was paint.  Well, and move our stuff in.

The closed stained door in the middle is the laundry room, to the left of that is the master.  Then to the right are the stairs leading up to the loft and the girls' rooms, then the Ks are sort of in the entry way.

The wood leaning against the wall is actual barn wood left over from when my in-laws built their barn in 1978.  We don't have a mantle, so at Christmas, we hung our stockings on it.  It's been leaning against the wall in random places ever since.   

The basket on the floor by the couch is our electronics basket.  It has a power strip inside, and All The Things are plugged in there at night.  All The Cords are inside the basket and when I don't want to look down into the basket and see them, I just gently lay a pillow inside and cover it all up.  Honey drilled a hole in the side of the basket big enough to put the power strip plug through.  I LOVE IT.  When I find random electronics, cords, ear buds, charger cords laying around the house, they go directly in the basket.  LOVE.

Do you have a charging station at your house?  How do you corral All The Things when they need to be charged?

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Let's start with one of my personal favorites.

Hey!  It's been a while hasn't it?  Bear with me while I find my voice again.  I don't know if I remember how to write or not.

In October 2014 we bought a house.

It's our little house in the big woods.  I told Honey when we started our home search that if we were going to leave Texas and live in Colorado, I wanted trees, and hills, and to know that I wasn't in Texas anymore.

He listened.  And took my words seriously.
When I look out the windows, I see trees, and hills, and sometimes deer, and for the last several weeks, snow.

We've been spending the last few months making the house feel like ours. (And gathering firewood to keep us warm in the winter.)
Little projects here and there.
Just cosmetic stuff.
There's nothing wrong with the house.  We just want to put our stamp on it.  Hairdryer-ify it.

We are definitely still unpacking, putting away, going through, and settling in.  It's a process, and I'm not in a hurry.

The master bedroom has a sun room attached to it.  It's my favorite room in the house.  There is so much natural light and the view may or may not be what sold us on the house.  It's the sort of view that pulls you into the room and makes you want to stand in front of the windows all day.

Here's the sun room before we moved in.

See what I mean about the windows?  Love.

Behind me on the wall is a TV.  There are patio doors leading to the deck for the summer, and a pellet stove to keep it cozy in the winter.

Here's what it looks like today.

Even though you have to walk through the master to get in here, we don't consider it a private room.  It's an extra TV space, a craft room, an office, a puzzle room, a quiet room.  Brooke and Mary Tutu love it in here.  When we were still unloading the moving truck, Brooke disappeared.  I found her in the sun room, no furniture, with a jigsaw puzzle spread out on the floor just enjoying being in the house.

The hutch behind the couch was Mema's china hutch.  She gifted it to me several years ago.  It holds all of my scrapbooking stuff.  The built in cabinets and shelves hold the rest of the crafting stuff.

I slid a skinny folding table in behind the couch.  The crate holds all of the girls' pens, pencils, markers, paint brushes, scissors, etc.  They usually move in here to do homework or color or loom.

Hello windows.
The left corner of the built ins serves as our desk.  It's where I pay bills and balance the checkbook.  Just to the right of the chair is a cabinet door.  The sewing machine is stored in there.  It can pop up to counter level when you need it, and then be lowered back down when it needs to be stored.  Love!

Do you have a favorite spot in your house?  What do you love about it?

Monday, March 10, 2014

The Interwebs

Stuff I'm loving from around the interwebs...

- Meg shared this about the healthy changes she's making in her life.

- They say your taste buds change every 7 years.  I just ate a salad, inspired from a Facebook post that I can no longer find, made from spinach, feta cheese crumbles, strawberries, tomatoes, salted almonds, avocado, dried cranberries, and a vinegar and oil dressing. 

The tomatoes and strawberries are the only things from that list that were on my food radar even 3 years ago.

- I made this cheese tortellini soup recipe from Life in Grace.  It's delicious and makes about 10-ish 1 cup servings.  The only change I made was adding cooked chicken for a kick of protein.  That's a big deal for me considering that the recipe calls for chopped onion and diced garlic.  But it is SOOO good!  It's a light, filling, warm lunch on a fresh spring day. 

- 2014 is the year we're hoping to move out of the rent house and in to the place we can call our own and plan to stay in a very long time.  I've been dreaming of ways to put our stamp on a house, and I'm kind of obsessed with this light from Pottery Barn.  And also?  This ice machine.

- Anyone out there tried Daily Burn?  I've seen the commercials and they've piqued my interest.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Thinking Thankful

A friend and I are working through Kelly Minter's study Nehemiah, and the last couple of weeks have spoken to me.

Yesterday I read in Deuteronomy...

"When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you.  Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day."
Deuteronomy 8:10 - 11
God is bringing us through a season of stepping out in faith.  And we're learning that taking that first step is hard, but the steps that follow are also very hard.  Not bad or full of regrets, just hard.  Many days I struggle to find hope and joy when it's hard.

All of this has been on my mind and Nehemiah has encouraged me to stop and reflect on how far we've come already, and praise God for that.  We've found a soft place to call home for now.  We're making friends.  We aren't the new people at church any more.  Our little family of 5 has grown closer.

Nehemiah has shown me that we need a gratitude adjustment.  We need to stop and praise God for what he has done in our journey.  We need to remember that the Lord is bringing us through this journey...even the hard stuff.

And then yesterday Jeannette posted about their plans for Lent.  And even though we aren't doing the random acts of kindness thing, I did identify with the blog she mentioned that is doing the gratitude thing.

The Hairdryer family is giving up ingratitude for Lent.

They don't know it yet, but tonight at dinner they will.  Every evening, each of us will use a sticky note to write something we are thankful for, a praise to God, or remember a way the Lord our God has worked in our life this year.  And then we're going to stick the note on our windows so we'll see them throughout the Lent season.

We did a version of this a few summers ago.  Remember this?

So very easy, such enormous results.

Is your family celebrating Lent?


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Chicken Parm is the new Spaghetti

A long time ago I started making baked spaghetti.  My kids loved it, and it became one of those meals you could make in your sleep.  It's entirely possible that I did make it in my sleep a time or two.  And it is so fast, I could make it start to table in 25 mins.  We ate it about 3 times a month, and for a while, my kids took the leftovers to school in their lunches.

I posted the recipe here.

When we needed a little break from baked spaghetti, I wanted to replace it in our dinner rotation with something equally as quick and easy to make.  The kids kept suggesting Chicken Parmesan so I've been making something that the kids all eat and is still ready in a flash.  Because ready or not, baseball season is here.

1 pkg frozen chicken patties
1 regular jar Prego Traditional
1 sm can tomato sauce
2 small zuchinni sliced
2 c mozzarella cheese, grated
dried oregano, basil, and minced onion to taste
salt, garlic powder to taste

Because this recipe is designed for "fast" and "brainless activity" I buy it all canned, jarred, pre-packaged, and frozen.  Sorry.  Don't judge. And feel free to do what works for you.

1. Lay out the frozen chicken patties like this:

(That small pan?  That's what Bubba eats. All by himself.)

2.  Heat the spaghetti sauce and tomato sauce in a medium sauce pan.  Add the desired amount of spices.

3. When the sauce is all bubbly and warm, pour it over the chicken patties.  Layer the zucchini slices over the sauce and top with cheese.  I probably use a bit less than 2 c. of cheese.  Just add as much as you like.

(I haven't added the cheese to Bubba's yet.)

4.  Bake at 350° for 40 mins our until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbly.  We serve with a salad and a side of noodles.  This meal is probably 45 mins start to table.

What is your favorite, go-to, it's baseball night, mom has a headache, crowd pleasing recipe?

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


I know it's not Throwback Thursday, but today Bubba turns 14.  He still has the same sweet face, dark eyes, and quick smile.  He likes to remind me, almost hourly, that he's taller than me, even when I wear heels. 

He also likes to remind me that he will be starting high school in a few months.  I can't even...

He desperately needs a haircut.  He's always singing.  He's always having fun.  Last night, he helped us with the 4th grade math homework. 

He wants a double decker pizza from Papa Murphy's for supper tonight.  Well, of course, he is fourteen.

He's finding his way in this new place and is doing it with grace and perseverance.

Happy birthday, Bubba.  We couldn't love you more.

Friday, February 07, 2014

A few of my favorite things

We're getting a bit of winter here in our corner of CO.  The only thing I have to say about that is...FINALLY.  I was beginning to think someone just transplanted some mountains and pine trees in West Texas, because we've been having a TX winter here in CO.  I might feel differently in a few hours when I have to get out and pick the kids up from school.

This TX girl has had to find some new winter favorites.  My thin, no show socks just aren't cutting it.

- Smart Wool socks
I do not have a drawer full of these, but I have a few pair and they keep my feet toasty.

- Merrell Waterproof shoes
Waterproof is the key word.  I wear mine almost every day.

-Gilligan & O'Malley pajama pants
These aren't necessarily Colorado warm, but they are SO comfy.  I don't have words for how comfy they are.  And you only wear them inside, where it's already warm.

- house shoes
I have these. Honey and Bubba have these.  Here in the mountains, you take your shoes off as soon as you step inside.  But you need something besides thin Texas socks on your feet.  We may or may not have a hard time remembering to change into our outdoor shoes before we leave the house.

- humidifier(s)
Because the heat runs a lot here, and it's dry.  Dry, dry, dry, dry, dry.

-Crabtree and Evelyn hand lotion
To be fair, I found this at a hotel where we stayed over Christmas.  I only have the small, hotel-sized bottles that I could scrounge from the 3 rooms the family occupied during our stay.  It keeps my hands hydrated, but not greasy.  And a little goes a long way.

- Thanks to some Barnes and Noble gift cards, I just finished reading The Ashford Affair by Lauren Willig and I enjoyed it. 

I plan to start Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin this weekend.  The movie version just came out.  I don't think the book version is for the faint of heart, my Nook says that it's 650 pages.  What?!

I'm also going to read Labor Day by Joyce Maynard, also a movie coming soon.  I just decided that I always like the book better than the movie, so why not find the book?

What are your winter favorites?  Please share...even if they're more TX and less CO.