Kim: Over the River and Through the Woods . . .

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. . . to one of the grandmothers' houses we go – and then across town, over the freeway and through the suburbs to the other grandmother's house! It's that time of year again, when we make plans to gather together and celebrate Thanksgiving by feasting and spending time with both of our families. (That's what happens when both sets of parents live within eight miles of each other!) When I think of all of the "to-do's" surrounding Turkey Day, a lot of questions run through my mind:

 

  • How are we going to balance which family/friends we'll spend time with?
  • How much exercise am I going to have to do to make up for how much I'll be eating?
  • Do I start shopping on Black Friday, or sleep in and nurse my turkey hangover?
  • Will I need to cook two turkeys, two green bean casseroles, and two fancy Jell-O® molds? (Or should I sneak over to the store and buy some of it? Shhh. . . they'll never know the difference.)

And of course:

  • How are we going to keep good tabs on Kaitlyn's blood sugar levels amid all the feasting?

 

It doesn't matter which side of the family we're talking about: Just like with any holiday, Thanksgiving is one of those days that's often enjoyably chaotic. We usually have a gathering of around 12 to 18 adults and at least as many kids and a massive feast to go along with it. Getting ready for a dinner of that magnitude usually takes a good 24 hours of prep time baking pies, cooking turkeys and setting up tables and chairs. We all take our share of preparing for the feast, but it tends to be a crazy day for anyone even remotely involved, and this is where our biggest challenge comes with taking care of Kaitlyn's diabetes. It's not the kinds of food she typically eats on Thanksgiving—those actually tend to lead to really good blood sugar numbers. (The mix of lean meats, vegetables, sweets, fats and carbs seem to balance each other out, so that we usually don't see big swings in her blood sugar levels.) The real challenge is keeping an eye on dosing her correctly and checking her as often as we normally do, when we're all so busy working in the kitchen or visiting with family or involved in an intense game after dinner.

We all tend to relax when dinner time is done. The kids get sequestered to the living room to watch Charlie Brown's Thanksgiving movie, Grandpa dozes off to sleep on the couch, and most of the adults sit around chatting or get out a game or two while the kids enjoy running around with their cousins. It's all too easy to zone out when we get in the competitive gaming mode and forget to keep track of the time. Two or three hours go by really quickly when you're busy destroying someone's South American armies in Risk®, or when you're getting closer to your 10 victory points in Settlers of Catan®. (Yeah, I know—really nerdy!) Before we know it, it's time to check Kaitlyn's blood sugar and make sure she hasn't eaten anything without us knowing. Luckily, my husband Evan helps out a ton to make sure Kaitlyn and the rest of the kids are looked after. So even if we're bent on destroying each other's game strategy, we're on the same team to make sure we all have a healthy and happy Thanksgiving Day!

About the author: My name is Kim. My daughter Kaitlyn (the third of our five children) was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes just a few years after my nephew James was diagnosed with the same disease. I'm excited to pair up with my sister-in-law, Jen, to share our story with you!

Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the "typical" experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring. Jen and Kim are real moms of kids with type 1 diabetes and have been compensated for their contributions to this site.

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