Tuesday, November 29, 2011

My new favorite TV Obsession: Once Upon a Time

Has anyone seen the new ABC show Once Upon a Time?  I LOVE it! 

Besides having a great cast including Ginnifer Goodwin of Big Love fame, Jennifer Morrison of House, and Robert Carlyle from one of the best British comedies ever; The Full Monty (among a host of others,) the story is, well, enchanting.

It's about this town in Maine called Storybrooke where all the fairy tale characters are trapped in our world because of a curse.  Oh, and they don't know that they are fairy tale characters... that is most of them don't know.

It's cute, clever, and much deeper and more intriguing than I'm making it sound.  Check out the Wiki description and the Imdb description... or better yet, check out an episode on Hulu.com.

This year must be the year of the Fairy Tale, because NBC also came out with Grimm... which is the darker side of Fairy Tales.  It's like the SUV version of fairy tales.  Its good.  I prefer Once Upon a Time because every episode leaves you wanting more.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Making SCD Yogurt... yum!

For the Specific Carbohydrate Diet that I started recently to heal the Ulcerative Colitis that I've been plagued by, I've started making homemade yogurt and its DELICIOUS!

David and I are both huge fans of its tart yet creamy flavor, and I am an especially huge fan of how easy it is to do.  In fact, it was so easy, I've decided that it's the perfect gift to give to friends for Christmas instead of hoards of cookies or bread that everyone usually gives and gets... delicious and nutritious!

For excellent (easy) directions and the great SCD approved recipe, check it out here and here.

I started out my SCD program by making yogurt in a yogurt maker my mom gave me years ago, which had been sitting in storage untouched.  It was super easy to use and it turns out awesome individual servings of yogurt, but we were going through it so fast I was making yogurt 3 times a week.  Although hooked on the yogurt because it makes my belly feel so good, I needed a way to make it less time consuming.

I tried making it in the oven, but I didn't do it right, and it turned out badly.  Oh well.  Then I read about making yogurt in the food dehydrator, which is another tool my mom gave me years ago and had been sitting in my basement unused... except for a few batches of apple chips I've made, so I gave it a whirl... perfecto!

I'd also been saving some glass Peanut Butter jars for a while and David was getting on me to either do something with them, or throw them out... they ended up being the perfect thing to make the yogurt in.  So, now I do both the yogurt maker for individual servings and the dehydrator for larger batches.  It's great!

Once the plain yogurt is made, I add honey and vanilla to mine, although you can add whatever you like.  David prefers adding cinnamon, and my friend adds fruit to hers.  Either way, it all tastes wonderful!

The yogurt is also great for making things like SCD approved cakes and frostings, which I haven't tried yet, but I'm planning to with my next big batch.  I've been using the Yogourmet yogurt starter, and its really nice and tart.  For the yogurt to be SCD approved it has to be cultured for 24-28 hours to cook off all the lactose.  This makes is more tart and also easy to digest.  I use whole milk, but you can also use any kind of milk including coconut milk, and nut milks as well.  Whatever works best with your system.  I'm planning to try a batch with coconut milk next because my doctor would like me to limit my dairy... I'll be sure to let you know how it goes!
Euro Cuisine Yogurt Maker

The Excalibur Food Dehydrator
As the great Julia always says, "Bon Appetite!"

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Post Turkey Day Report

Hello Everyone!

I trust you all had a lovely Thanksgiving!  David and I think it might have been our best one yet.  We did all the things we love to do, and of course, as cheesy as it sounds, we were together, and for that, we couldn't be more thankful.

We woke up slowly.  I got the turkey ready and into the oven along with the first batch of pumpkin bread. Once that was set, we met up with our new neighbors for a hike in the foothills.  It was the perfect thing to get us going.  The hike was followed by a visit our Boise family the Wilcomb's for an hour or so to watch the end of the Packer game... Go Pack!  By the way, has anyone else noticed how much better looking Aaron Rodgers has gotten in the past year... a stylist must have finally gotten their paws on him, cuz he's looking really good these days.

When we got home the house smelled delicious.  The turkey was cooking perfectly, and I started in on the second batch of pumpkin bread, the mashed cauliflower, and the kale salad.  I decided that I was too tired to make the upside down pear cakes, however, I think I'm going to try them tomorrow.

Everything turned out to be amazing... except for the kale salad.  It would have been perfect, but for the olive oil I used.  Even though it was newly purchased, it had gone rancid, and the flavor destroyed the kale.  David was so sweet and told me it was delicious, but then I tasted it and almost spit it out at the table.  Oh well... not everything can be perfect on the first try... I'll just have to try, try again!   

I must say, this may have been our best turkey ever.  And definitely the best gravy ever.  I didn't follow the recipe exactly, but what I did made the bird the juiciest I've ever tasted... even the leftovers are juicy!  The pancetta helped keep the flavor in the bird.  Wow!  I highly recommend trying the recipe.
Best Gravy Ever!
My Cauliflower mashers still need some work, but they tasted great.  I should have used the food processor instead of the hand masher.  Oh well.

The pumpkin bread may have been the winner of the holiday though.  The almond flour made it light and the eggs gave it a moistness that was just perfect.  David almost devoured the entire thing... this is definitely a recipe I'll be cooking more often.

After eating we were stuffed, so we held off on cleaning the dishes until later.  Instead we watched an old movie and then worked on some of our creative projects.  Then watched another movie... the laziness was divine!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A SCD Thanksgiving Feast

First of all, Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

After much consideration, careful research and planning, I've come up with my Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) approved Thanksgiving feast thanks to the bloggers at Sunset Magazine, Elana's Pantry, Comfy Belly, and Roost.  Here's what their Recipes look like:

Turkey covered with Sea Salt, Rosemary, and Pancetta

Cauliflower "mashed-potatoes" with Herb gravy

Kale and Cranberry Salad

Pumpkin Bread

Upside down Pear Cakes with Vanilla Honey and Cardamom Cream

Sounds good right?!  I'll let you know how it all turns out on Turkey Day... wish me luck!

I hope you are all able to be with someone you love this holiday season!

Best Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is here, so our minds have turned
To what time has taught us, to what we’ve learned:
We often focus all our thought
On shiny things we’ve shopped and bought;
We take our pleasure in material things
Forgetting the pleasure that friendship brings.
If a lot of our stuff just vanished today,
We’d see the foundation of each happy day
Is special relationships, constant and true,
And that’s when our thoughts go directly to you.
We wish you a Thanksgiving you’ll never forget,
Full of love and joy—your best one yet!

By Joanna Fuchs

Monday, November 21, 2011

Getting Holiday(s) Ready

What are you doing for the holidays?

Well, David and I are going to be enjoying a quiet Thanksgiving by ourselves at home (which will at some point include the film Home for the Holidays because their family disfunction cracks me up and its a great way to start the holiday season).  My oldest nephew, Cody, usually joins us for Turkey Day with a friend or two, but this year he's 21 (and no longer needs us to buy beer for him, (wink!)) so he and his friends are doing their own thing together in Salt Lake City before he heads off to his first year of college in Lake Tahoe, NV at Sierra Nevada College.

I remember those first holidays away from home... they were not as sad as my family thought they would be for me, but exciting and different.  I missed my family and the traditions, but I felt happy to be on my own at the same time.  We'll miss Cody this year, but we hope he has a delightful time with his friends making amazing memories.

We also have a Boise State game to go to against Wyoming.  It feels a little anti-climatic after our big loss last weekend, but hey... we still love our Boise State Broncos.

For Christmas we will be with David's family in Charlotte, NC.  They've also invited my mom to join in the festivities, which is a special treat for both me and my mom this year. David is looking forward to re-connecting with friends from his hometown he hasn't seen in years during our visit, and I'm looking forward to all the Christmas lights and smells.  I've always loved Christmas lights, hot cider, pine needles, oh and Christmas carols- especially the Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers Christmas Album... Once Upon a Christmas. I'm sure we'll all be found old movies in the Lopez's den like White Christmas, which is my favorite Christmas movie, and It's a Wonderful Life, which is David's favorite.

There is so much to do to prepare for the holidays.   It's not even Thanksgiving, and I'm already feeling the pressure.  From making our house slightly (I'm not doing a tree this year) festive, Christmas shopping (although this year we are doing homemade gifts for the adults so that makes it a little bit easier- at least on the pocket book) to sending the gifts ahead of time, to getting a flu shot, to baking holiday treats for friends, to doing a run through with my house/dog sitters, to packing, and everything in between.

From a food aspect, the holidays are going to be difficult for us this year.  David and I are in the process of beginning a new dietary plan, The Specific Carbohydrate Diet, together to help with my health problems.  Many of our holiday favorites like mashed potatoes and stuffing are off limits, so I'm going to have to come up with some new holiday favorites to replace those with.  Any ideas?  Please send them my way!

I'm sure the holidays will go by like a breeze, but that doesn't make me any less stressed about getting ready for them.  In my humble opinion, the best way to have a great time in almost any activity is to be fully prepared in advance so everything during said activity is easy and fun.  And I am all about making this holiday trip easy and fun... so watch out as I cross things off one of my many super organized lists!

Traveling across the country during any holiday time from a smallish airport like Boise is never easy, especially in the winter, so say a little prayer that our flights are all on time and we don't catch colds from the re-filtered air in the planes and airports!  Last year after a little weekend trip to San Francisco, I caught the swine flu and was out of commission for two weeks or more, and even fell and cracked my skull open in my delirium- don't worry, I won't post that picture!  It was not good, and I'm not looking to do a repeat!  Maybe I should move to Australia where Christmas occurs in the summer?!

Anyway, best of luck with your holiday preparations this year!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

World Religions Series: The Christian Science Faith

Hello Everyone!  We got our next submission... yeah!  

The next person to respond to my questions about their religion was my older brother, Chet.  When I thought about having Christian Science as one of the religions in my search to understand World Faiths, Chet was naturally the first person who came to mind for me to ask for answers to these questions.

Chet is an incredible artist, lecturer, and spiritual practitioner.  He travels the world doing what he is most passionate about: discussing God and spiritually.  

I've always felt that Chet and I are the most similar in our interests of all of my siblings (there are 5 of us including me) - we both love creating art.  Chet's artistic eye, his desire to travel, and his vision for what is possible (everything!) is something I have tried to pattern myself after for as long as I can remember.  In fact, when I was little Chet was living in Africa, and I remember I would frequently go sit in front of this huge world map in our house and stare at Kenya where he was living at the time, and think, "I'm going to travel and make art just like my big brother Chet one day."  I really couldn't wait to start on my world adventures just like my big brother.

Chet and I have the same father, but different mothers, which is why Chet was raised in Christian Science and I was raised in the Methodist church.  However, because all three of my older siblings were raised by their mother in Christian Science, it has always been an influential part of my life.  I've always found it to be very loving and peaceful, and its always had a valuable place in my life.

The Manchester siblings... Morgan, John, Me - Anabel, Chet, and Katie
Check out Chet's lecture series here and here and here.

Chet Manchester
Thank you Chetter for taking the time to help me along in my journey and for your very honest and heartfelt answers to my questions... 

Without further ado... Chet Manchester and The Christian Science Faith:

What religion do you practice, and how did you come to practice it?
I grew up in a Christian Science Sunday School but didn't take a serious interest in its teachings until I was in my teens.  One of my dad's good friends was a doctor and one of my mom's close friends was a Christian Science practitioner.  So, when health issues came up, I got to "test" these difference approaches to healing in both ways.  After taking antibiotics for a serious case of strep throat, I decided to call a Christian Science practitioner for help when the same issuesr ecurred.  This time, instead of taking a few weeks to heal, I was completely well overnight.  I'll never forget the profound sense of God's love that I experienced through Christian Science treatment.  It wasn't just that I was better physically - I felt deeply comforted, healed of fear and anxiety, secure in the care of a good and loving Creator.  Love is the essence of Christian Science and it's why I still practice it. 

Tell me about your religion.  Describe what the tenants of your religion are in your words.
Christian Science is essentially the science, the daily study and practice, of what Jesus lived and taught.  Rather than seeing him as a miracle worker or a myth, we see him as a man who was deeply scientific.  He healed naturally because he understood the spiritual nature of life better than anyone ever has.  He began from the premise of everyone's innate wholeness and perfection.  He saw God as infinite Love and pure Spirit.  He taught that good overcomes evil and love disarms hatred - he even called evil a "lie" - a mistake or misconception.  Jesus healed people's fears and their mistaken sense of being "sinners" by recognizing everyone as the perfect, flawless expression of a perfect, flawless God. 

What does your religion mean to you?
It helps me put spiritual ideas into practice every day.  Christian Science is both a religious teaching and a system of healing.  It’s about seeing the wholeness and interrelatedness of our thought, body, experience – it’s all ONE.  So, it doesn’t even feel so much like a “religion” but as a way of BEING that is spiritually natural and naturally spiritual. 

What are five things you love about your religion?
1.  I love that it encourages a thoughtful, reasoned approach to understanding God, myself and others.
2.  I love how practical it is: both as a religious teaching and a system of healing.
3.  I love how universal it is and how it helps me see everyone as a brother or sister.
4.  I love how revolutionary it is: it challenges centuries-old assumptions about sin, death, evil, matter.
5.  I love that it puts no pressure on me to be anything but what I am. 

What are five things you don’t particularly agree with about your religion?
The disagreements I feel have more to do with the religious culture that sometimes surrounds Christian Science - or any church:
1.  That Christian Scientists sometimes think and act as if they "own" the truth
2.  That our culture can be too judgmental of one another
3.  That we are too focused on the "letter" and lack the spirit of love that is the heart of all true religion
4.  That we are stuck on traditions in how we hold church services and are afraid of trying new ideas
5.  That we are not humble and honest enough about our shortcomings

What are the most common misconceptions about your religion and how do you address them?
  • People often confuse Christian Science with Scientology because of the name but there is no relationship between the two.  Christian Science is a Christian religion founded by Mary Baker Eddy in the 19th century.  Scientology was founded by science fiction writer, L. Ron Hubbard in the 1950s.
  • People confuse Christian Science with faith healing or think that we are "against doctors."  There's no teaching in our religion that forbids us to use medical care.  The spiritual method of healing we practice is so consistent that we generally don't need medical help.  In fact, a lot of people turn to Christian Science for healing when they aren't finding permanent answers in conventional medicine.
  • Conservative Christian theology sometimes views us as "non-Christian" because our religious teachings are not mainstream.  Most Christian theology was crafted by an elite council of religious leaders hundreds of years after Jesus lived.  We study the same Bible, the same Gospels, as other Christians; we feel the same profound love for Jesus and for what he taught.  We just look at some of his teachings very differently.

How does your religion affect your family life?  Your work life?
It helped me through a tough divorce and through some failed business ventures in my twenties.  Christian Science lifted me out of depression and led to my meeting the woman I've been married to for 21 years.  It provides daily inspiration, stability and joy to our marriage and parenting.  Christian Science helps us solve little and big problems through prayer.  My work life now involves practicing spiritual healing as a Christian Science practitioner, so it's an hourly, daily focus on growing spiritually and sharing what I'm learning with others. 

If you could leave people with one idea that most closely describes the way you see and understand your religion, what would that be?
Christian Science is about seeing beneath the material surface of life to the reality of what an all-loving God has created. 

Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I'm so glad you're doing this project!  I just think we're living in a very exciting time spiritually.  That the more deeply we look into our own and others' faiths, the more commonality we will discover.  A century ago, there was such confidence in science and medicine that many people believed that all our problems would be solved in the 20th century - there would be no more disease, poverty, disfunction in society and no need for the "myth" of God.  Well, clearly, there's much more for us to learn!  I believe it's time for the artificial wall between religion and science to come down - for the world to discover that there is a true science underlying all religion and a religious dimension to all true science.  We're just barely scratching the surface in our understanding of the spiritual dimension of life.  If we can all speak from our hearts and from our experiences instead of from our theologies and our dogmas, the earth is going to be a much happier, healthier place!
Chet, Me - Anabel, David, Chet's daughter Moriah, and wife Anne at our wedding. 

If you haven't already, be sure to check out the rest of the World Religions Series... 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Champagne Holiday

David and I love Champagne/Sparkling Wine so much that we created our own holiday in its honor.  It's called the Champagne Holiday and it begins the weekend before Thanksgiving and ends on January 1st.  We honor Champagne by drinking it whenever possible at all social occasions and whenever it won't effect our work, driving, or health.  We also make a lot of toasts while we are drinking to add to the humor and festivities.

I usually go to Costco and purchase a few of the $6 magnum size bottles of Cook's Brut.  Some people don't like cheap stuff, but David and I do.  It's like having a soda.  Plus its a great mixer for mimosas and such.  Although, I'll admit, if I have an opportunity to get the good stuff, I'm the first in line for a glass.  There's really nothing like good Champagne!

How funny is this old advertisement I found?
Anyway, please join us in celebrating this year's most fabulous holiday beginning on Friday, November 18th at 6pm by buying a bottle of bubbly and raising a glass in a toast or two... It sure is a fun thing to do!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Changing my Diagnosis and The Specific Carbohydrate Diet

Earlier this month I wrote about the Ulcerative Colitis I deal with effecting my ability to get pregnant.  Just to recap, the doctors recently informed me to "look into other options" in regards to pregnancy, because they don't see me being able to have a healthy pregnancy on my own, especially with the medications I've been on (as of last Thursday, I stopped taking the meds due to a side effect that the doctor was concerned about.)  As I told you before, this baby news devastated me.  I've wanted to be a mommy more than anything for as long as I can remember.

I took the doctors advice seriously.  I've done and continue to do research on everything from fostering to adoption to surrogacy.  I've spoken to many people and David and I have pow-wows with each about all of our options on a regular basis.  However, in all of this studying, I figured out that I still have one more option before throwing in the towel.  It's called the Specific Carbohydrate Diet.

It's not an easy program, but if it means I can change my diagnosis, feel better, and have a healthy baby on my own, I'm willing to try it.  For it to be successful, I have to follow the program to the letter... with no cheating, for at least a year.  So now I'm trying to wrap my brain around all the rules.  I've read the book Breaking the Vicious Cycle, which David is reading it now too.  I love food and cooking, so what I'm doing now is training my brain to focus on cooking the SCD way from now on, and only the SCD way.  Everything else is poison to me.

The gist of the program is no grains, starches, or simple sugars, and lots of fermented (for a minimum of 24 hours) homemade yogurts and sauerkraut.  I've actually had a great time making the homemade yogurt... and its quite easy and tasty too!  I'm not thrilled by the sauerkraut because I've never liked the taste, but I'll try!

The program gets a little tricky because there are a lot of other "Illegal" foods like all canned vegetables (although frozen are okay), soy products, certain other beans like chickpeas and pinto beans for example, also whey, cream, etc. I can have flax oil, but not flaxseeds- the list goes on.  And the only sweetener I'm allowed is honey (and of course naturally occurring sugars in fruit).  It's definitely a lesson in ready labels!

I have to admit that I was really struggling with the idea of the program until I stumbled upon this wonderful blog called Roost.  The talented author, Coco, and her husband started living the Specific Carbohydrate Diet in an effort to heal his Crohn's Disease (the sister disease to Ulcerative Colitis), and they have enjoyed a 90% success in his healing with diet alone!  That's huge!

The Roost Blog gave me the crutch that I needed to get me started in the right direction.  She also provided links to a couple other very insightful blogs: Comfy Belly and Elana's Pantry which in turn had other wonderful links to support me as well.  I even wrote Coco a letter telling her my story and asking her for starter tips.  She graciously responded and I can't tell you how meaningful her insight and kind words were to me.

I showed all of my research to David and he happily agreed to do the program with me like Coco and her husband did.  Working together, I'll have a better chance of being successful- even the tiniest bit of "illegal" foods can upset the program, so its truly necessary to be vigilant about what goes into my body... so if I'm ever coming over to your home for a meal, please do me a favor and consult the food list and other online recipes.

The woman who created the program, Elaine Gottschall, created it for her daughter who had Ulcerative Colitis, but has since found that the program is healing for everything from bowel diseases to autism to multiple sclerosis and many other auto-immune diseases.  If you have health problems, particularly tummy troubles, you might check it out.

Wish us luck and please keep us in your prayers!  I've got a good feeling about this, and combined with all of the other beneficial things I'm doing like yoga and acupuncture, I'm going to change my diagnosis and have a healthy happy family of my own.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Rita Hayworth

Last night while reading through another blog in an attempt to find something I'd read ages ago on another subject, I found an entire post dedicated to my favorite starlet... Rita Hayworth... I was so excited!  The blog was wishing Rita happy birthday... I wish I'd thought of that!

Many of you who know me know that if asked, my all time favorite movie is the 1946 film Gilda.  And additionally, my all time favorite movie star is Rita Hayworth.  I'll watch really anything she's in.  Even some of her lesser quality films like Pal Joey or Fire Down Below.

Gilda, however, is the embodiment of the Film Noir "bad girl".  In many circles, the character, whom Rita Hayworth created oh so well, is something of legend.  Her ability to make men weak has always enthralled me... but that said, her motto was "Lucky at cards, unlucky in love," and there is where we part ways, because I'm lucky in both! ;)

I have read her biography, If This Was Happiness: A Biography of Rita Hayworth I have a Gilda Poster in our bedroom, I have a journal with Rita Hayworth's face on the cover, I lived on Hayworth Street in Los Angeles for a while, I've visited her Hollywood Star on the walk of fame, and I've dressed up as Rita Hayworth on Halloween...(at quite honestly the best Halloween party ever... in LA... The theme was 'Dead Celebrities' so you can only image who showed up!)

Rita, although extremely beautiful, had a very tragic life.  She was abused by almost every man she ever met, she became an alcoholic, and in the end she died of Alzheimer's.  She's ben quoted as saying, "Men fell in love with Gilda but then they wake up with me."  Can you imagine how difficult it would be to have the world see you as this man-eating vixen, but in reality, your just a normal girl who was forced into fame by your family?  My heart always went out to Rita... or Margarita Carmen Cansino as she was born (Hayworth was her mother's maiden name).  

My favorite Rita films, apart from Gilda are, in no particular order, You Were Never Lovelier, You'll Never Get Rich, The Lady From Shanghai, and her small role in the Cary Grant film, Only Angels Have Wings.  Oh, and I almost forgot The Strawberry Blonde and Cover Girl were pretty great too!  I highly recommend all of them, especially if you like old movies like I do!

Do you have a favorite film?  A favorite movie star?  I'd love to hear what they are!

Monday, November 14, 2011

The week of guests...

Last week our little home was filled with guests.  It started with our dear friend Eduardo Placer coming into town for work.  Eddie is an actor with the Idaho Shakespeare Festival and Great Lakes Theater Festival in Cleveland, Ohio.  He also works with various organizations to provide tools for public speaking, job interviews, and other areas using techniques to further enhance their business.
The local branch of Merrill Lynch hired Eddie to give the office a tune-up, and so he came to town, and we were lucky enough to have him stay with us.  It was a whirlwind of a week though.  Between the three of us (David, Eddie and me) we were all pretty tired all the time.  Me because I'm up half the night dealing with my Colitis issues, David because I disturb his sleep and he still gets up at the crack of dawn for work, and Eddie because he's always going 1000 miles per hour with his various shows, his photography business, and his public speaking/ business enhancing business.  We had a few nice meals together, some great conversations, but overall, the time went too quickly.  Before we knew it, it was Friday and Eddie was off.

About three hours before Eddie left town, my father-in-law arrived for a weekend in Boise.  He comes to town every year to catch a football game with David.  It was a nice trip.  He got in around 1:30pm on Friday and we all sat in the living room chatting.  Damaso and Eduardo discussed Spain, family history, and gaining/regaining Spanish citizenship (which we are all attempting to do).  Then we all took Eddie to the airport together.  I was so sad to see him go.  David and I both say he adds such a tremendous spark to our lives and to Boise in general  there is definitely a void when he leaves.

David and Damaso wanted to watch the Carolina-Michigan State basketball game, so we headed down to David's favorite place to watch a game: Old Chicago.  After that, we walked around Boise for a while to walk off the food and the beer, and then headed home for the night.

Saturday was a big day.  We got up early and had breakfast as Cafe de Paris.  Then we headed back to the house and changed and I dropped the boys off at the football game tailgate.  I ran a few errands and then joined them. for some fun.  I have to admit, due to my constant need to use the bathroom with Colitis, and the incredibly small amount of bathrooms and port-a-potties available (the lines were 30+ long), I don't particularly have the best time at those things these days, but I try to distract myself and have a great time.
As I'm sure most of you have heard by now, but Boise State lost.  It was a sad day for us all.  Two of our starters we out with injuries- including David's favorite player, Doug Martin.  We gave up easy touchdowns,  and we didn't play like we truly wanted it.  And we lost by one point... because our field goal kicker missed... for the second year in a row.  It was heartbreaking.  But it was a fun game to watch.

Damaso and David had a great time, and I had fun talking to friends at the tailgate.  We headed back to the house a little sad, licking our BSU wounds, but also happy to see some competition for the first time in a long time.  Most of the games we see are blowouts.

That night we had dinner at this great new steakhouse in Boise called the Brickyard.  Dinner was delicious, and the waitstaff was very good.  We especially liked that they made your salads in front of you.  David and I can't wait to go back.

Sunday we went back to Cafe de Paris for another round of delicious breakfast.  When we got home Damaso and I sat down to work on the Lopez Family history.  He's kept notes on his family history that his mother told to him, and he translated them into English and wrote them out for me for a little project I'm working on.

Shortly after that, it was time to say goodbye to Damaso.  We had a delightful visit and We're looking forward to seeing him at Christmas, and having him visit us for another football game again next year.  Like Mamapalooza, Damaso's yearly football visits have become a little tradition, and we enjoy keeping it going.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

First Snow

This morning I woke up to find that our power had gone out in our sleep.  I was annoyed because the digital clock in our bedroom was flashing obnoxiously.  When I got up to find my cell phone to see what time it was, I noticed this:

I could hardly believe my eyes.  It was in the 60s here last week and now this!

Linus hardly knows what to do with himself now that his fur coat in finally being put to use.  He's prancing through the show like a stately horse... high knees and all.  It's hysterical.

The snow will all melt off today, as you can see its already started, and we can hopefully get all the leaves raked up off the lawn before the next round of snow.  But I think its safe to say that winter is almost here!

Stay warm everybody!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Beautiful Mountain Sunrise

This morning I drove David to work so I could have the car.  Yes, we only have one car, and its a hybrid- a Mercury Mariner to be specific, and we only have to fill it up with gasoline about once a month.  If we both need to be someplace, one of us (usually David) takes the bus or we ride our bikes.  It's worked out pretty well so far, and we've certainly saved money with gas prices the way they are these days.

Anyway... back to my story... Since Daylight Savings isn't until Sunday, the sunrise has been quite late into the morning, and this morning on my way home, I got to enjoy this:

It wasn't exactly the safest thing to take pictures while driving, but I just couldn't resist... it was so beautiful.  Such a great reminder of why we love living in Boise.

Have a beautiful day!  

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Lunching at HP with David... and The Trey McIntire Project?!

Yesterday David called me at about 11:45am just as I was getting finished with a business meeting.  He asked if I would be interested in joining him for lunch, and since I was out near his office anyway for my meeting, I happily agreed.  What fun to see my hubby during the work week!

When I arrived, David told me that there was a surprise at 12:30pm in the cafeteria so we were going to want to get good seats.  He also informed me that HP Boise has been doing major renovations throughout the building and this was also the grand opening of their newly renovated cafeteria.  The place was packed!

The newly remodeled eatery was very cool... somewhat George Jetson-like, which was amusing to see the big burly and completely un-modern factory workers sitting in the super-modern chairs, but I still thought it was great-surprisingly comfortable too.  And I have to also add that I actually thought the food was quite good as well.  Frankly, the selection was truly amazing.

As promised at 12:30pm the surprise: The Trey McIntyre Project preformed a routine for everyone in the middle of the cafeteria.  It was AWESOME!  Now that we've seen them perform twice, David and I are a bit obsessed with them.  If you have a chance to see them, GO!  Click here to see their performance schedule.

TMP was at HP as part of HP's Employee Giving Campaign Fair.  Boise is HP's top site for employee giving and you could tell from the massive amounts of charities who had booths set up there.

After the beautiful dancers performed, they got a bunch of people in the audience to join them to learn a dance routine.  I eagerly volunteered David and an older woman came over and dragged him onto the floor.  He was furious with me, but begrudgingly went along with it anyway.

If I do say so myself, my husband is an excellent dancer, despite the fact that he wasn't particularly thrilled to be out on the floor with all his co-workers watching him.  Unfortunately these are the only pictures I was able to take because I ran out of battery.

It was a fun day, and I must say, HP is a fun place to work... I wish I had the technical skills (and focus) to do what my hubby does... lucky David!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

What the Doctor Said...

Last week or the week before (I've lost track) while at the doctor's office, my doctor informed me that she and my other doctors have all gotten together via phone and chatted about my case.  I initially perked up at this... how very impressive that they would actually communicate with each other.  Apparently I've made them all very aware of how much I want to have children (haha, really?!), and through their joint conversation they have come to the conclusion and agreement that I will not/should not be able to give birth to a child of my own.

I'm heartbroken.  In fact, I'm not sure I could be more so, except, God forbid, if I lost David.  The hardest part is that its not that I can't get pregnant, in theory I can, its that they just don't think its safe for me or for the potential baby.  Not only would I be at great risk, but there is a high likelihood of birth defects and other problems due to the Ulcerative Colitis I have and due to the drugs I take for it.

I've been, and to some point I still am in denial.  In fact it took me a couple of days to even tell David.  My Functional Medicine doctor says, "Well maybe in four or five years or so it would be okay to try... if you've been in complete remission for a while and are off all the medications, of course."  You see, those medications I'm on all clearly say to stop taking them if I'm pregnant, nursing, or planning to become pregnant"... and more specifically, "can cause birth defects."  Oy!

First, thats a HUGE "maybe," and second even if I am able to carry a child, am I going to end up dumping all sorts of chemicals and birth defects into it from my ill-performing body?  I not sure I could handle a truly unhealthy child on top of my own issues.  What's more, the doctors have even encouraged me to "look into other options," and even my Naturopath isn't giving me much hope at this point, although, she's happy to tell me and David that "37 is a great age to have kids... if you can get off the medications." Which, PS, my Gastroenterologist told me I would be on for life.  I want to scream at all the catch-22s with these people!

Okay... So what does "other options" mean?  Adoption or gestational surrogacy... I've reluctantly started looking into both.

I have a beautiful nephew and niece that are both adopted and I've never looked at them in any way other than that they are my family just like all the others.  I also know many people that are either adopted or have adopted children and its always been a beautiful experience.  The thing is, the process can be difficult and overwhelming, and there are a lot of unknowns.  Considering what I'm dealing with in my own health, frankly, the unknowns makes me somewhat nervous.  But then again, there are many many many babies out there who need loving homes, and I'm certain we could happily be one of those homes/families.

That said, gestational surrogacy is in many ways a safer bet (or maybe "safer bet" is the wrong way to phrase it... more defined option might be a better way to put it).  It's our baby, its just being "cooked in someone else's oven" so to speak.  But there are two things, its very expensive ($60,000+) and how does one maneuver in a relationship with a surrogate?  I mean, is it my blood coursing through our baby's veins, or is it hers?  Is the mother-baby bond the same?  Does the surrogate have to stay in the baby's life after the baby's born, I mean, she's not technically family, so is it awkward?

And then there are all the feelings and questions that go through your head... Inadequacies, worries, etc. What is the surrogate/intended parents relationship supposed to be like?  Do I really want to be "buddies" with the person gestating my baby?  And weirdly, I'm already feeling jealous of a woman (who at this point doesn't even exist) because I won't get to feel the baby growing inside me as she will... kicking and rolling and such.  And then there is the silliest thought of all, but I'll admit, its still there, swimming around in my head: Will my husband still love me the same even though another lady is carrying our baby and "doing the work" for me?  Am I still worth the effort?

I think I've seen too many TV shows and movies, because when I think of having a baby, I think about the hours of labor that you and your spouse go through together... the pushing and the encouragement and the team work, and in the end the sweet bundle of joy all that toil produced.  The tears and the bonding and the accomplishment that goes with it is what I've always thought made the family unit stronger... and oddly, something I've always wanted to experience. Am I wrong in thinking this way?

And then there are still the "what ifs".  What if they're all wrong?  What if they find a cure for UC?  What if I get better like I did before... will I be okay for a pregnancy then?  What if..."

In my research, I've looked to my sister, who's strong faith has always guided her in the right direction.  Katie adopted two beautiful children and then found out that she was pregnant with her third child days after getting her second one home.  Its worked out beautifully, and they have a lovely and loving family.

I also look to people like, as cliche as it sounds, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.  At least from the outside, their family is a real tribute to loving adoptive families of all shapes and sizes, and they are such an inspiration.

In my gestational surrogate research, I stumbled across this article in the New York Times about the writer and her husband's journey into surrogacy.  It seemed like such a beautiful, yet slightly emotionally overwhelming experience: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/30/magazine/30Surrogate-t.html?pagewanted=all , but isn't having children an emotionally overwhelming experience in general?

I love my husband... we have a beautiful life together and I feel so incredibly lucky to have him, but frankly, I'm also feeling disoriented at the moment.  The one thing I've always wanted to do more than anything is have my own babies... I've always felt, in many ways, being especially good with kids is what defined me.  I guess now I have to figure out how to wrap my brain around this idea of family in a new light.

Obviously, we're just barely scratching the surface of our journey on this path.  Please keep us in your thoughts.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Rabbit, Rabbit!

I hope you have a fabulous, and LUCKY November!