Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Fort Morgan here we come!!!

I hope they can handle all 8 of us again. Amy and her family left this morning for the 10 hour drive and Ken and I with the boys will fly out in the morning. We are descending on the little town where we became friends and taking a little break from life for bit. Amy and I will go to the Sweet Retreat at the Sweetwater House for the Simple Scrapbooks weekend and the boys will spend the first 2 days hanging out with old friends. We are looking forward to seeing everyone and having some good ole "van der red" time together, LOL! This is the first time all 5 of my family has been back at the same time and the boys have really changed since we moved. It will be such a blessing to see all those people who supported us during some difficult times. I can't wait for them to see Jackson's new insulin pump and sensors and see how big Kaden is. It should be a good time! See you when we get home!!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Jehovah Shalom

Our current sermon series is on the names of God from the Old Testament and this week's sermon is particularly meaningful in my life. When life shakes and stirs me, I have Jehovah Shalom, which means the Lord is Peace. Really, I do. My core is peace even when my countenance doesn't always reflect this. Tonight it is clear Ken and I are both experiencing this peace as we grow Jackson to be a man of God. His blood sugar as I type is 457. 457?!? ***eta: his blood sugar actually went as high as 508 before finally coming down***How I don't know, but I trust that the pump will bring him down and if it doesn't that we have a plan in place to make him better right away. This event happens about every other day (does that seem right Amy? sometimes the days kind of run together) So tonight, as with every night, I am experiencing the Lord of Peace in my life. Without him, I just couldn't do it.

Another link I came across in my blog hopping this evening is an even better example of Jehovah Shalom. Get your glasses out girls because this man completely drew me into his life experience. Amazing stuff!
It's shaping up to be a busy week here in the Allred family -more to come on that ;) but I am praying right now for lowered blood sugars and less arguing around this house.
I will leave you with this scripture that really spoke to me this morning.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
John 14:27

Thursday, May 22, 2008

It is Thursday guess what that means ....

Grey's Anatomy Season Finale!!! We are so excited - 2 whole hours!! Who's going to be in, who's going to be gone? Where will Derek and Meredith's relationship go next? They better answer some of these questions!!! Jennifer joked that I will have to take a nap so that I can stay awake for the 2 hours - I will tape it when it is on in Texas so we can watch together when it is on in California - so it will be from 11pm - 1am my time. I will definitely be taking a nap with Rachel when she goes to bed!!!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

We're Having a Heat Wave ....

... and I think it is going to last for the summer!!! Today's highs are supposed to be 101F in Midland and 96F in Fresno. And those are just the forcasts - it could go higher (let's hope for lower) UGH!!!!!!

Here is what the map looks like - check out ALL that dang red where we both live. YUCK!!!

Last night just after Jason got home from work our power went out. It was so hot - 97 - and the air went out. It flickered a few times just to get our hopes up. BUT nope it was out - the house started to warm up - I started to worry. Jennifer looked it up for us on the computer and found there had been a car accident. Turns out a truck ran into a power pole and took out a transformer and several power lines. The accident was fairly close to our street - so no power for us. But the power company workers were quick to get it fixed and the power was back on in time to cool the house down for sleeping.

Friday, May 16, 2008


Last night was Rachel's Kindergarten graduation. This is something new to me - we did not have graduation from Grade Primary (as it was called where I grew up). But this was a full on ceremony. The kids did their end of the year performance - How my Body Works - which was totally cute with some pretty funny moments too. Then we had a short intermission while the teachers got the kids ready for their "graduation". The kids all walked in by class and sat in their seats.

The Superintendant of the school said a few words and then the Elementary principal introduced the speaker - who is a Pastor well known to the kids. He comes to talk at Chaple once a month. I was amazed that he was able to hold the kids' attention for as long as he did - given than it was 7:45 by that time. After "Mr Bill" was done talking it was time to receive certificates. The kids walked across the stage individually and received them from the Superintendant - then the President of the Board moved their 2008 tassles to the opposite side of their caps. Their principal read out their names and gave special certificates to the children who had made perfect scores on the Standardized tests from March.

While I am not sure that finishing Kindergarten is worth all the pomp and circumstance that it got last night - Rachel was sure proud of herself and looked SO cute!!

Friday, May 9, 2008

It's that time of year in the Allred (and van der Kooi) house

This is the letter we send to everyone we know in support of our dear son Jackson who suffers from the horrible life-altering disease of type 1 Diabetes. This won't be the last time you see this letter, we are just gearing up for this year's walk. If you have any spare money to give to this incredible organization we welcome it with open arms. Without further ado, here is this year's peek into our life.

Dear Friends and Family,
It hardly seems a year has passed since we last wrote to you on behalf of our son, Jackson, however so much has changed in our diabetes life in the last 12 months. This year we would like to give you a tiny glimpse into the life of this busy family of 5 and how we deal with a disease that is overwhelming and heartbreaking. We would also like to share some of the blessings of the past year.
Not one member of this family is unaffected by Jackson’s diabetes. We all know that life with diabetes stinks for Jackson, but we wanted to share how it affects the rest of this family too. As parents, we struggle with the limitations placed on Jackson by the disease and the insurmountable task of caring for him. We desire for his life to be as normal as possible within the confines of diabetes care, however we, as his parents carry the burden and the sadness and pain on our shoulders every day. Jennifer often spends hours on the phone with the pump company trying to find better ways to use the insulin pump and sensors on a 5 year old. Ken faces the difficulty of how to effectively fit into our family diabetes routine while also being away from home at work. We measure and weigh every morsel of food he eats both at home or out in restaurants. We both spend longs nights up and down trying to get blood sugars under control that we can’t explain. And then we must get up and do it all over again the next day with the bravest face possible.
This all naturally places stress and frustration on both Kenny and Kaden, who don’t understand why we don’t have certain foods and drinks in our home or why we can’t leave the house on a pump/sensor change day. In Kenny’s words, “it’s really hard to be his brother, you can’t eat whatever you want, you can’t drink whatever you want, and you can’t do whatever you want.” And Kaden doesn’t even have the words to describe his frustration, but most definitely understands that there is something different about Jackson. By nature of the disease, they even get less attention from us than Jackson, which creates jealousy and tension between brothers. We try to maintain a healthy balance of medical attention devoted solely to Jackson with plain ‘ole mom and dad time. It is a battle we are constantly fighting and will never win.
We fight very hard for the best care and most up-to-date technology for Jackson. When we chose to manage diabetes via insulin pump last year our choice in pumps weighed heavily on the company on the forefront of research and development in the form of Continuous Glucose Monitoring Sensors, or CGM’s. What these little beauties do is check the blood sugar every 5 minutes (that’s 288 times a day!!) by converting sugar in the interstitial fluid to a blood sugar shown on Jackson’s pump. Without too much medical lingo, it means we don’t have to check his blood glucose by finger poke nearly as many times a day. Ken worked his negotiating magic on our insurance provider to cover the cost of the CGM’s and allow Jackson to wear them without FDA approval. By inserting a tiny sensor with a really big needle into his backside, we are given the freedom and security of “knowing” his blood sugar all the time. We can make choices for his care based on pages and pages of data every month. It is phenomenal and has simply changed how we deal with his diabetes on a day-to-day basis. On the down side, it also means we have yet one more thing to attach to our baby and an additional piece of equipment to troubleshoot. Even with the best technology available Jackson is still in danger of serious medical issues related to type 1. Nothing in this disease comes without pain and that fact is not lost on us. It is hard to understand that we must hurt him to help him. For this reason, we continue to raise the very funds that have changed Jackson’s life.
The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, JDRF, is the #1 non-profit funder of research aimed at FINDING A CURE for Jackson’s type of Diabetes-the same research that brought us the CGM’s. That is the reason we participate so fully in JDRF events, namely the Walk to Cure Diabetes. This year on June 14th, Jack’s Pack will join with the Fresno Falcons and walk to support this amazing organization. If you are interested, here are the ways you can help make a difference for Jackson.
1. If you are local, you can join our family team, known as Jack’s Pack, which consists of family and friends who collect pledges and walk with us. We provide a team t-shirt to every member of our team, young and old and have a great time celebrating Jackson’s life at the beautiful Woodward Park here in Fresno. Just give us a call and we will get you everything you need.
2. You can support our family with a tax-deductible contribution in any amount. You can either make a donation online at by entering Jack’s Pack and California under Support a Walker or mail donations directly to us (please comment and we will contact you with our address.

Thank you in advance for helping us reach our goal of $8,000 this year. We are blessed by the generosity shown on Jackson’ behalf.

God Bless You!

Jack’s Pack Ken, Jennifer, Kenny, Jackson, and Kaden Allred

The Cat can stay - she has earned her keep!

Well yesterday I was sitting at the computer typing when I heard the cat making noises with paper. When I went to get her - I did not see her - turns out she was asleep on the couch. Well I brought her into the computer room and she got instantly interested in where the noise was coming from. THEN I saw IT .... the little brown creature scurring as fast as it could.

EEEEKKK I DO NOT LIKE mice!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I got advice from my 2 sisters - Sarah told me to live trap it and put it in a cage as a pet. WHATEVER freak! Then Jennifer suggested - maybe it is a RAT. THANK-YOU Jennifer NOT!!!

Needless to say I was pretty insistant that the cat DO HER job. At the SPCA they said she was a great mouser. She spent the entire day ASLEEP on the couch. WHAT KIND OF MOUSER sleeps ALL day?!!! My sister told me there was no way the cat would ever catch the mouse. Watching dear sweet grey Jennifer all day it was becoming apparent that Sarah might be correct. I went to bed - still no progress in ridding my house of its newest guest.

I got up this morning and having completly forgotten about the mouse I went into the computer room. Jennifer was pushing something on the floor. Upon closer inspection it became clear that she had done her job. I will not put all the details - but she made a clean kill and left only a small part to identify. I think Jennifer (the person) might have been right - the nose looked like that of a rat.

So the cat can stay - she has earned her KEEP!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Happy Birthday Friend!!!

Happy Birthday to You! Cha, cha, cha
Happy Birthday to You! Cha, cha, cha
Happy Birthday dear Amy (Mamie)!
Happy Birthday to You! Cha, cha, cha

We wish we could be there to celebrate with you. Hope you day is filled with lots of fun and laughter. Have a fantastic day!
Love, Ken, Jennifer, Kenny, Jackson, Kaden, Reggie, Gordito, Paublo the Fish, and Hi!

Friday, May 2, 2008

He is Good - All the Time

And what better reminder of that than a Lincoln Brewster concert at our church tonight. WOW! Did I ever need it after the past week. It is awesome when you realize the Lord has brought you to a place because you are empty (and you really didn't even know it) and He wants to fill you up with his truth and goodness. The fact is that it is hard to be the mom of these three little guys right now and the truth is that God cares and is present in every moment of my day. He is Good all the time -through every struggle, tear, and worry. He is Good! Hallelujah!!! What a rockin' good time we had praising the Lord with our oldest boys tonight. The Holy Spirit was there and it was good.