Wednesday, November 30, 2011

In Sickness and in Health...

For the first time in well, since I have known him, Chris was hit with something this week that found him in bed all of Monday, Tuesday and much of today. It actually started Sunday night when we were driving home from Seattle. By the time we arrived home he was as hot as a overheated radiator on a hot summer day. Which for him is rare. His temperature usually runs right around 98.0. He was at 101.9 with a stiff neck, the chills and so on. After a call to a health care nurse via our insurance provider we were off to the ER at her suggestion. Since I am of the mind set of rather being safe than sorry I encouraged the idea. Chris agreed and we headed out.

We arrived shortly after midnight and without even having to sit in the waiting room we were ushered into a room where the oh so sexy hospital gown awaited Chris. He quickly put it on, and though he would never admit it I think he liked it. After a visit with the technician, the nurse and then the doctor it was determined they would run a battery of tests to see what could be causing his fever and rapid heart rate which was sitting right about 120 for most of the time we were there. Blood work came back showing nothing more than a slight elevation in his white blood cell count which is common when the body is fighting some sort of infection. Urine test and chest x ray were clear. The doctor determined his symptoms were not serious enough to warrant a lumbar puncture, which is the test for meningitis. Thank goodness. So after a couple hours, blood work, chest x ray, urine test and a litre of fluids via IV we were sent home. Instructions given were to come back if the fever stayed at or above 101.5 even with the help of Tylenol. Luckily it stayed just below it. His fever has finally seemed to have come down, even though he is still a little warm by his standards. He is coughing up a storm which I suppose is a good thing since he is clearing all that crap out.

We have never had flu shots, but perhaps this is good enough reason to consider starting to join in on the fun. Maybe next year...

It has definitely been an interesting few weeks around here for us in the medical department. First there was our trips to the dentist which are not over yet. First were the cleanings, then came the fillings. My fillings were done today. I was not impressed to learn I need a crown on one of them that is going to cost us almost 400 bucks. Next week Chris has a root canal. I also need to have a procedure done where a graft of skin is taken from the roof of my mouth and put on my gums in the lower front where I have a pretty bad receding gum.

Last week I had a mammogram which I new was going to result in further testing. Most of you will remember my breast issues from a few years back. If not click HERE to read the blog post about it. I have two benign lumps that I need to have removed. Problem is I am having a heck of a time getting my medical records from the doctors in Boston. Now without them I need to have an ultrasound (AGAIN) and then perhaps even another biopsy. Although at this point I am hoping to avoid the latter and just have my surgery and they can test it once it is out. However if I could just get the stupid records then we may just avoid all that other fuss and just finally get my surgery scheduled. Fingers crossed.

On top of all that I have my eye issues. I feel like an old lady, for real. lol I have a degenerative eye disease called Keratoconus which you can read about HERE if you so desire. In short it is my cornea cones causing distorted vision. I have to wear medical hard lenses to help correct my vision. We have already paid a ton of money to try and get things moving in the right direction only to have to start over with a new eye doctor since our insurance changed. Hopefully by early in the new year I will have my lenses and will be seeing clear as day.

Last week also found me in the ER looking for some relief of excruciating pain in my left leg that had started in my knee and moved up into my thigh and groin. It had been going on about a week or more and I had reached my breaking point. My trip to the ER included an Doppler ultrasound of my left leg and thigh to rule out blood clots as the cause of my pain. Thankfully no such thing was found. I was prescribed vicoden and referred to an orthopedist to try and get to the bottom of my discomfort. While the pain has definitely gotten better I am still having tightness and swelling behind my knee. Fun times.

So there you have it. Mammograms, dental work, 2 trips to the ER and eye doc appointments. All within weeks of each other. We may seem like we are falling apart but I promise we aren't. Ha!

And I must not forget to mention that tonight is DAY 30 of NaBloPoMo in which my dear friend Carly and I signed up to challenge ourselves to blog everyday for an entire month and WE DID IT! Hooray! I dare say we are going to keep it up. I will do my best to continue to entertain you, as long as you keep coming back for  more.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Is it Really Almost December?

I cannot believe that December is upon us. I mean seriously WHERE the heck did 2011 go? I mean really!? It kinda scares me a little at how quickly time seems to be passing by these days. I feel like I blink and it's a new day, new month, new year. Sometimes I think it would be nice for time to just slow down once in a while.

This weekend will be tree time for us. I love driving around to the different tree lots to find the perfect tree for us. We will probably pop in a Christmas movie like Elf or A Christmas Story while we put up the tree and decorate it and the rest of the house. Hopefully Chris will be feeling well enough this weekend (he has been sick in bed since Sunday night) to get the lights up outside as well. I get giddy just thinking about all of it, I really do love this time of year.

Next thing on my list once the house is taken care of is our Christmas picture. I am sure you are all very aware that we send out a photo card every year and yes that photo includes Belle. Often we make her look silly with antlers or some such on her head. She is NEVER impressed with such antics.

What should probably be higher on my list is my Christmas shopping. I usually am way more ahead in that regard than I am right now. I usually have a lot of it bought and ready to be wrapped by now. Right now I don't even know what am I getting people. Definitely something I need to get busy organizing over the next couple weeks.

Now if we could only get some snow I would be one happy camper.

This time of year I also usually get into one of those reflective moods where I think of the past year and what I have and haven't done. Figure out where I need to get better in my life and set new goals for myself. I am sure there will be a post coming your way about this in the coming weeks. Until then, enjoy the beginning of this Christmas season. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Words are Better Without all the Letters

Do you ever notice signs when you are driving at night that have certain letters out? Chris and I always seem to come across some funny ones. At least for us they are funny, I am sure most of the time it is one of those you had to be there in the moment type things. Either way, we seem to always see ones that make us laugh really hard.

A while back while out for dinner with Chris's parents we happened to be telling them about this very phenomenon. As we were driving home we saw one that showed them exactly what we were talking about. We were passing a Men's Wearhouse except it read Me Earhouse. The four of us erupted in laughter.

Last week as Chris and I were driving past an Applebee's up in Renton, WA Chris noticed the sign and said to me "hey, do you want to go to Apple?" I looked up to see the back end of the word had its light out. We of course thought this was just hilarious. That was of course till I noticed the other side of the sign and said "now it is just lebee's!" I thought that Chris very well may wet himself right then and there or at the very least crash the car.

Fast forward to Sunday night as we were headed home from Seattle. We were passing through Tacoma when Chris noticed a sign that said "Tacoma Elf Storage." LOL! How fitting given the season, Elf Storage. It totally made my day. So thank you Tacoma Self Storage for having your S out. Maybe they do it on purpose, maybe they don't. Either way. HILARIOUS!!!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

When Football and Muppets Become One

Growing up in Canada I pretty much lived and breathed hockey. Being from Edmonton, it was and always has been all about the Oilers. That will never change. I was 12 when the Oilers last won the Stanley Cup in 1990.
But with the infusion of young talent I, like most other Oilers fans am excited for the future. It has been 21 years, but something tells me we won't have to wait another 21. 

Hockey is really all we have in the great white north. Aside from Toronto there is no baseball, there is no basketball. The CFL doesn't really count as a pro sport in my opinion. Sure I find myself wanting to see how the Eskimos are doing throughout the season or watch the occasional game when the NFL Network plays a game here and there. But let's be honest, there is a reason those guys are playing in the CFL. The NFL is a far superior league with the best players in the world and so much more fun to watch. 

A huge difference between sports in Canada and sports here is college sports. College sports here are HUGE. Especially football. In some ways it almost seems to me that college football is bigger than the NFL. The average American male spends his entire Saturday watching game after game after game. Our team of choice is the University of Washington Huskies. 
I have always wanted to go to a college game. Watching on TV they seem so fun with the marching bands and the raucous crowds. So for Chris's birthday, I got tickets for us to go see the Huskies play the Washington State Cougars in the Apple Cup yesterday at CenturyLink Field in Seattle. The weather turned out to be decent, no wind or rain and not too cold. I am pretty sure that the hike up to our seats in row JJ of the 300 level burned off any extra calories from Thanksgiving. We had a lot of fun at the game. Of course the Huskies kicked butt and won 38-21.

The Huskies marching band did a tribute to the Muppets at halftime. It was awesome.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention that the Huskies have a live mascot, an Alaskan Malamute named Dubs. He leads the team on to the field and it super cute. Yes I spent much of the game wondering where he was and trying to find him on the sidelines. Dubs even has his own blog which you can find HERE
All in all my first college football experience was a lot of fun. Hopefully we can go to a few more games next year. Go Dawgs!!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Comments, Comments, Comments

Back when I was a blogging regular before my current resurrection, I blogged because I liked to write. I stopped blogging because I got lazy. Now that I have been back posting every day this month, I have realized how much I still enjoy to write. I realize it may not be the most entertaining stuff but it's what I got. For the most part I don't blog for the acknowledgement, I don't need my ego to be inflated because it's not about that. But I am not going to lie. When I write a post about something that is important to me and I feel like I worked really hard to share with whoever is reading and then after 2, 3, 4 days and still there are no comments it drives me absolutely batty. Like I said, it's not an ego thing, it is just nice to know people are actually reading and maybe once in a while even enjoy it.

The Queen and I had this conversation the other day. She too is lacking traffic to her blog. She had made the suggestion that with blogging "you get out of it what you put in to it." She is a wise one. So I have made an effort lately to read more blogs out there and leave comments in hopes of leading some of those people to my blog. If they are coming, they aren't letting me know it. I have made a point of linking posts on Twitter and Facebook and even with that there is still not much coming in. Yes--I realize there are people out there reading it, as I have a counter on my blog that allows me to look at a map of where everyone is visiting my blog from.

When I first started blogging back in 2004, it was mainly to keep all our family and friends out here on the west coast and up in Canada up to date on what was happening in our lives since we had just moved cross-country to Boston. After a while it became an outlet for me. Some days it was some in depth thoughts...and others it was about my dog playing with a frozen poop in the backyard! But back then it really didn't matter what it was about, I had a lot of traffic and a lot of feedback.

So the questions I have are the following:

1. Is it what I am writing about?
2. Is there lack of interest?
3. Is it just all of you who are too lazy to give me feedback any given day?
4. What can I do differently?

Now that I have started blogging here on a daily basis again, I feel like it is something I will probably continue with--at least for the time being. The lack of comments isn't going to stop me from blogging, but I can say the comments and feedback can only help me and push me to continue writing and entertaining you with whatever useless drivel I choose to toss your way. I mean, you don't want  to miss out on a moment of that. Do you?

So what do you say? Come out from the woodwork you lurkers. Let me know you're there, let me know your thoughts. Even if those thoughts are " hey Evey your blog is so boring I want to poke sharp things in my eyes!" At least I will know you are reading. And poking.

Friday, November 25, 2011

What's In a Name?

I recently found out that my good friend Carly has been called Bob the majority of her life. I have known Carly for about 6 years and I am not entirely sure how this bit of information never came up in conversation. And if you consider the background for this becoming her nickname (you can read about that HERE) and know what a lover of hockey I am then it becomes even more surprising that this never came up.

This got me to thinking about names, nicknames and the meaning behind them. When I was growing up my brother Dave called me Stinky. I am not really sure why. I don't remember giving him an actual reason for it. Who knows though, maybe I was a gassy kid. And if I was, I will own it. Although I think if anyone was actually stinky I assume it was him since he is a boy and all. To this day he still calls me Stinky, Stinky Stinkerson or any other creative names that include Stinky.

*update* I cannot believe I forgot to mention some of the loving nicknames I used to call my brother Dave. The most memorable one being a very long one that went in this order -- David Campbell Soup-Jelly Belly Floyd-Hamburger Helper-Chubby! I even put it in the form of a song. I am laughing at myself singing it right now. Ha!

Aside from being anointed Stinky by my brother, I have had many other nicknames. Pinky was my name back in my days working at our church camp. My maiden name is Floyd--so it makes sense. In high school it was Yivan. I currently go by three names--confusing yes, but I soldier on. I think it is MUCH more confusing for others. In fact when we first moved to Boston and started attending a new church, I had one friend who thought Yvonne and Evey were two different people. Ha! I had introduced myself to her as Yvonne and she always heard people talking about this new girl Evey. A lot of my friends back in Canada and a few here in the States call me Eve. Chris's entire family and most of my friends here south of the border call me Evey. My family and people who know me from way back when I was just a wee little thing just call me by my full name, Yvonne. I will answer to all 3. I am not sure I really have a preference, but I think I've just gotten so used to Evey, so that is the one I mostly go with but I am happy either way.

Even my dog has a handful of nicknames. Her name is Annabelle but for the most part she has always been Belle. Somewhere along the way we started calling her Bubba. I realize this is normally a name reserved for males, but if Carly can be called Bob then surely calling my dog Bubba is acceptable. We use Bubba so often when referencing the dog that she will now answer to Belle or Bubba. We even caught Chris's mom calling her Bubba last week.

Nicknames that drive me nuts are athletes. The lack of creativity sometimes amazes me. I have noticed this especially with hockey players. While some do have some fun and creative nicknames some are just plain pointless. For example if your last name is Conklin, Conks is your nickname. I'm just sayin'--that's dumb. Goalies are the worst for this since they generally have their nicknames on the bottom part of the front of their masks. Some examples; Conklin - Conks, Anderson - Andy, Dubnyk - Dubs. Really? That is the best you can come up with. Poor. What happened to good nick names? Maybe I am expecting too much, but I just want a little creativity. Maybe I could market myself and get hired as the "Nickname Creator" for the NHL. I bet there's good money in that.

So what are your nicknames and the stories behind them?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Ramblings of a Woman Full of Turkey

So I had this big ol' blog post planned in my head. But you see, my problem is that I leave it till too late in the day. By the time I find myself sitting in front of the computer, I am too tired to put any effort into it. Lesson learned--I really need to start blogging earlier in the day. So, instead of some thoughtful post this evening I will leave you with randomness from the last couple of days.

Yesterday I had my yearly mammogram. Hooray! Nothing like a stranger jamming your boobs into a machine and putting 25 plus pounds of weight on them. Not the most ideal start to the day. But you gotta do what you gotta do. It really honestly is not that bad. It is definitely uncomfortable but the truth is, it lasts for only 5 or so seconds at a time. If you end up with a nice, talkative technician then they get you talking so you aren't really thinking about the giant booby squeezing device before you.

Later in the day yesterday Chris and I headed north to Seattle for the Thanksgiving long weekend. I have been having some trouble with my leg the last week or so. I had been to urgent care for it twice, but it wasn't getting better. In fact on Tuesday night the pain was so bad when I was in the shower I could barely stand. Last night as we were at Safeway getting some last minute things for today's Thanksgiving celebrations, the pain again became so bad it took everything not to burst out crying right there in the middle of the store. I am sure had I done that, people would have just viewed me as some crazy lady devastated that the last pumpkin pie was scooped up by someone else or Safeway was out of rolls--which they were by the way--we had to go to Albertson's to get them. By the time we got back to Chris's parents house, I was in a great deal of discomfort and concerned something dangerous such as a blood clot could be lurking. So off to the ER we went.

Fortunately they were not busy, we were in triage and in a room in no time. The nurse was in, then the doctor who decided he would order a doppler ultrasound on my leg. He was also kind enough to give me a vicodin. That sure relaxed me--it made me loopy and sleepy all at the same time. Sadly for Chris I did not stop talking for a good 2 hours. Not only was I talking, but I was changing subjects at a rapid pace. I think it may have even been a record for me. Thankfully, the ultrasound showed no signs of clots. Thank God. Sadly I still don't know the cause of my issues, and the pain that has started behind my knee has moved up my thigh and into my groin area at times. It has been tight, uncomfortable and honestly just a complete pain in my ass. I will see an orthopedist next week to try and get to the bottom of it. Ideally, I hope it is cleared up before then. In the meantime, I have vicodin in case the pain is bad AND I have Chris to wait on me hand and foot. ;)

We spent today with Chris's brother Bryan, wife Andrea, and our 3 nephews Gavin, Trevor and Avery along with the cutest niece in the whole world, Annika. Andrea's mom Diana also joined us and we had a lovely meal (thanks Andrea), dessert and great day with the fam. Today was also Trevor's 10th birthday, so we of course celebrated that with cupcakes and presents. Good times. Love spending time with all of them.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I will leave you with some of the things I am thankful for. I am so thankful for turkey. Let's be honest, I love it, A LOT. I am thankful for my husband and my doggie. I am thankful for my families here in the States and in Canada. I feel blessed to have amazing friends. I am thankful for our church and some of the great people we have met there. I am thankful for boxed wine. It saves me a lot of money and it really isn't all that bad. I honestly have a much more thoughtful post in mind about thankfulness, but it is just going to have to wait for another day....because shockingly enough...its late.

Right now I think it is time for the big white pill that will make me happy and sleepy. And tomorrow, The Muppets. YES!!!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Booby Squeeze

How was your day?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Triumph Over Tragedy

TragedyAn event causing great suffering, destruction, 
and distress, such as a serious accident, crime, or natural 

We have all been touched by tragedy in some form. Whether it is something you have experienced personally or someone close to you has had tragedy strike in their lives, I think the initial human reaction is to be angry, cry, lash out and ask why. It leaves us confused, lost and grief stricken. 

Watching my mum die from cancer was devastating. I was 18 years old and felt like my world had caved in on me. I was brought up in a Christian home with values that I hold dear. But at the time, I was so lost and angry at God and felt like the one thing I had clung to my entire life had left me high and dry. After losing my mum I went through other struggles within our family and on my own personal level. I chose to be angry and I let it define who I was for a long time. I chose to use my grief as an excuse for my actions. 

That is the thing about tragedy and grief. We have the power to CHOOSE how we move forward with our lives. We have the ability to learn from our experience and move in to the next chapter of our lives with our heads held high. It is up to us to take what we are given and turn tragedy in to triumph and be better because of it. Of course it is normal to have a time for grief, but at some point you have to make the right choice, deal with the issues and move forward in your life. 

On Friday night I had the privilege and honor to meet Abby Rike and hear her speak at a church in Bellevue, Washington. For those of you who do not know who Abby Rike is or what her story is, you can click HERE to read a little about her story. For those of you too lazy to click and read for yourself, here is the Readers Digest version: In October 2006 Abby lost her husband, 5 1/2 year old daughter and 2 1/2 week old baby boy in a tragic car accident. Abby's journey to healing led her to the Biggest Loser in which she was a contestant on Season 8. If you watched that season, you know that Abby gripped the hearts of all who watched this sweet woman try to reclaim herself, her life, and her health after a tragedy that so few of us can imagine. Abby lost 100 pounds and now spends her time travelling the country as a motivational speaker sharing her story and her heart.

The minute I learned Abby was going to be speaking close to me, I knew I wanted to attend. What I didn't know was the impact that night would have on me. It would be unfair to try and put into words the gratitude I have towards her. Having watched Abby on the Biggest Loser and read her book Working It Out beforehand, I knew I was going to enjoy every second of listening to her. She did not disappoint. What a blessing she is. 

 - I learned that courage was not the absense of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear - Nelson Mandela

While reading Abby's book, one of the first lessons I took to heart was to stop allowing fear to control me. In regards to weight-loss, I have let fear be in charge for way too long. I have been afraid to go to the gym, join a work out class of some sort or even run in my neighborhood because I am afraid of being made fun of. I am afraid of doing it wrong or failing. I think it is time I get over it. If Abby and the rest of the past and present Biggest Loser contestants can go on national television and bare their souls and stand on a scale every week in a sports bra and spandex shorts then surely I can go for a run in my own neighborhood. As long as I am afraid and worry what those around me will think or say then I will never move forward in my own journey to better health. 

In her book she writes, "a weight-loss journey is about losing so much more than physical weight. In order to become truly healthy, in all areas of your life, you are changed. It's not that you change your personality; you do however become the best version of yourself."

How true is this? I think so many times people who are overweight think if they just lose the weight then all will be good. We can't overlook why we got here in the first place. People don't get fat for fun.

I firmly believe we all have a purpose and path in this life. Sometimes we need to endure the heartbreaking reality of life to find our purpose and live out our truth. I know for me it is about time I do this for myself. It is time I stop sitting around wishing the weight away instead of working hard for it. It is time I open myself up to my current journey, learn from it, be better and use it for good. That is exactly what Abby did. While her story of losing her family is heartbreaking, her story of her faith and her triumph over tragedy should inspire us all to make the changes we need in our lives. 

"Even in your darkest hour, there is always hope" -- Abby Rike

I am thankful Abby has chosen this path in her life. Her faith in God and her determination to reclaim her life inspires me and pushes me. The timing of being able to see her speak could not have been more perfect. It was just the push I needed. 

Who inspires you? Who makes you want to make a difference? 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Reflections, Loss and Gratitude

I had a great childhood. I had parents who loved me, I had a brother who I wanted to be just like. I was raised going to church which I am forever grateful for. My parents instilled in me values that I carry with me to this day.  We were your typical family. We went to church on Sundays, we ate supper together every night and we went on family vacations every year. I wouldn't have changed a thing. Every day I am thankful for all my parents did for me and the memories I have of growing up in a loving home.

My dad adored my mum. He drove her crazy, but she loved him. They had a relationship that a married couple should have. Watching them while I was growing up I learned so much about a healthy and loving marriage. I am thankful to be married to a wonderful man who although he drives me to the point of insanity sometimes, he loves me, he takes care of me and he makes my life better because he is in it.

My mum and I were very close. I loved my alone time spent with her. One of our favorite things to do was walk to the mall, shop and have lunch or coffee at the Smitty's restaurant in the mall. She always pushed me and loved me and encouraged me to be the best I could be. We would have talks about the future and me getting married and having a family of my own. I cherish all of those conversations. Had I known I would lose her only a few short years later I would have listened more, I would have spent more time having those conversations with her and I would have appreciated them just a little more. That is the thing about life though, there are no guarantees and you never know when there will be a next time. In general we all need to learn to love a little harder, hug a little tighter and appreciate each other a little more. Don't wait for tomorrow.

I remember July 1996 like it was yesterday. A hot Alberta summer day when my life changed forever. The day I was told my mum had cancer and it was terminal. My world felt shattered. We lost her 5 months later. There are days it feels like it was just yesterday.

I wish Chris could have met my mum. In fact I wish a lot of people had the chance to know her. She was a great lady and everyday I am blessed that she was MY mum. I was beyond lucky to have 18 years with her. I wish it had been more but I would never trade the time I did have. Knowing her made my life better, she loved me and I know that in spite of all my mistakes and my struggles that she would be proud of who I am today.

It is easy in life to sit here and think about what we don't have, what we have lost and be angry and to let it define who we are. I will admit I have struggled from time to time, I think that is normal. But I also know that my path is what it is because of the things I have been through. I miss my mum everyday but I also know there is a plan and a purpose to everything in this life. And I know that I will see her again. I will talk more about this when I blog about my experience hearing Abby Rike speak this past Friday night.

15 years. It is amazing how fast life really does pass us by. Wow! You never stop missing someone when they are gone. It does get easier but I will miss her everyday for the rest of my life. There are days I will think of her and cry. But mostly when I think of her now I smile, I remember the time I did have with her and I remember how much she loved me and the things she gave me. I remember how lucky and blessed I was to have her. I would take 18 years over nothing. The days I do feel sad I remind myself  that  "Joy comes in the morning" Psalm 30:5

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Giddy as a Christmas Turkey

I love Christmas and everything that surrounds it. As soon as November hits, I am usually ready for Christmas music and lights. In Canada I can get away with it because once November comes around, Thanksgiving and Halloween are over. Since here in the States we don't celebrate Thanksgiving till the 4th Thursday in November, it sorta delays my start of the Christmas season.

One thing Chris will not let me do is put up the Christmas tree before December 1st. That is fair, but as soon as Thanksgiving is done my Christmas music is in full swing and you can't stop me. I LOVE Christmas music. I am counting down the days till next Friday when I can put on my Christmas music and sing to my hearts content.

I have always been a kid at heart. As I got older I never really grew out of loving Christmas. I struggle with the need to peek at presents yet not wanting to spoil the surprise. I love to bake cookies and build gingerbread houses. If I could get away with sitting on Santa's lap and having my picture taken with him at the mall I probably would. For reals.
When Chris and I got married, he quickly learned that he would no longer be able to sleep in on a Christmas morning. I barely sleep Christmas Eve because I am so filled with excitement for the next morning. And not just opening my gifts, but seeing others open the gifts we have got them. Usually, on Christmas morning I am awake before normal people should be awake and it is all I can do to wait for a decent hour before I wake up Chris and beg him to get up so we can get the festivities started. There is definitely a lot of moaning and groaning on his part at first but he is a good sport and pushes through for my sake.

Growing up my parents had a fake tree. Every year when it was time to put up the tree, we would get the box up from the basement. Carefully we would take it out of its box, assemble all the branches and then of course decorate it. Now--I get that a fake tree that you buy once then use year in and year out is cost effective--but now that I am all growed up and married, Chris and I always get a real tree. I LOVE going tree shopping and carefully taking the time to pick out that tree that is just the right fit for us and our place. I will admit the needles get a little messy sometimes but it is worth that amazing smell greeting you every time you walk in the house.
Of course being a Christian, Christmas is more to me than just presents and trees. Christmas is also a time we celebrate the birth of Jesus. I am careful to always remember and put that above all else. But it doesn't mean I am not excited and going to always enjoy every second of the other stuff that goes along with Christmas. Even Belle gets in on the fun...although her expression may not seem like it.

Who else is a kid at Christmas? What is your favorite tradition?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Evey sucks

I dont want to blog. I am not going to lie. Im tired, I dont feel well and I want to sleep. I guess this counts as a post so hooray. Stay tuned for a post from the hubby, Chris.

Call to the Bullpen

Hello all, its Chris filling in tonight. We are up in Seattle for the weekend, and Evey isn't feeling well today so she called in the backup. Apparently according to her, "my name is on the blog so its counts."

I come from a pretty musically inclined family--my dad is quite the accomplished guitar player, my brother is a very good drummer, and my mom can sing the lights out. I, however, uhhh...can clap good. Sure, I play a mean drum set on Rock Band, but we all know that's not for real.

I like music. I like most types and genres, with the exception being country. I have really been getting into a couple of bands lately--most notably Death Cab for Cutie. They are obviously quite popular as well as from Seattle and probably my favorite indie rock band. I also love classic rock, with bands like Led Zeppelin, The Who, The Beatles, AC/DC etc. I also love techno--like Fatboy Slim and Daft Punk, and I just discovered "dubstep," which is kind of like slowed techno but with funky bass drops and beats. I like rap too, like Beastie Boys and Jay-Z. I'd be remiss if I didn't mention a couple more of my favorite bands--Radiohead, Weezer, and Kings of Leon. Heck--I even like a couple of Beyonce and Christina Aguilera songs. I'm not ashamed. Don't judge.

Now, you'd think that being a fan of all these bands, I would love going to concerts. Well, not really. Not that I hate going, or I don't want to go, but I have never really been into concerts for whatever reason. I guess whenever I look for live tickets, its usually for a sporting event, not a concert. The only concerts I have been to are as follows: Sarah McLachlan (which is one of my wife's favorites, so I bit the bullet) and U2. I like U2, but their shows are so big that I don't think you get a real feel for their music. I think I would much rather enjoy a smaller show...if I were to go at all. I guess its kinda like going to a football game--the experience is great, but you can watch for free at home, sit on your couch and drink your own beer and watch in HD.

Much like concerts, I don't even buy a lot of CD's (which are slowly going the way of the buffalo anyways). I guess nowadays you just buy it on iTunes and call it good. It's mainly the radio for me, which I listen to inbetween driving from store to store during the day. But I think next year I am going to make a resolution to go to a couple of shows--they don't need to be huge like U2, but I'd like to at least see Death Cab and being that we live in Portland now, its got quite the music scene so it should be easy.

What are your favorite bands? Have you been to a crazy show and lived to tell about it?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Girls Night Out

Tonight I had the opportunity to go See Abby Rike (former Biggest Loser contestant) speak at a church in Bellevue, WA. She is amazing and such a blessing. I will post tomorrow more about the evening and her story and her inspiration and impact on my life. Thankful!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Baby Fever

Realizing that this will be my 17th post in 17 days, I must admit I am a little shocked with myself. I know a few of my posts have been short, sweet and potentially borderline pathetic. But at least I have showed up and stayed committed to this NaBloPoMo thing. I do love to write and I am hoping that by doing this I will continue once the month of November is over. We shall see what happens. For now I will just focus on today's post.

When Chris and I first got married back in 2004 I was 26 years old. In fact we both were. Back then all my friends were married way before us and it seemed as though a new friend was popping out a little one every month. Clearly I am exaggerating, but at the time it seemed like a lot and I felt a lot of pressure that I had to start a family right away. We moved to Boston the week after we got married and it was there that any pressure I felt disappeared. 

Once we were settled in Boston, found a church and started making new friends, I started realizing that I was surrounded by couples older than us, none of whom had kids. We became good friends with a handful of them, and they were all older than us. The more time I spent with them, the more I felt at ease about our decision not to rush in to starting a family. It seems to be becoming more and more common these days for people to start families later. People used to make me feel like there was something wrong with me, or assume I didn't want kids and yes--on occasion--I have been told I am getting old. 

Truth be told, there is nothing wrong with me, we DO want kids and I am NOT old. Women are having kids later and later. I fully realize and understand things can become more difficult with age but I also know with the technology in our day and age it isn't as difficult as it once was. I am not concerned about my age. I truly believe if and when Chris and I are meant to be parents we will be. Whether I am 33 or 38. God already knows, so why question it? 

It seems these days I see babies EVERYWHERE! More than usual. It's like they seek me out. I can't even count how many people I know who have had babies in the past 6 months or are currently pregnant. In fact 2 of my best friends are due in the next week, one of whom is at the hospital as we speak waiting for her contractions to start after being induced today. So yeah, my baby fever is in full swing. 

Chris and I have enjoyed the past 7 years of our marriage--just us and of course our dog Belle. And we will continue to enjoy the way things are until the time comes when we add to our family. I think we are probably more ready now to start a family than any other time in our relationship. And no--that doesn't mean we are taking immediate steps to make that happen. It just means we are getting closer to taking that step. That being said, I would never trade one day of our lives together so far just the two of us. 

I need to get my health in check, my weight being a big part of that. I am not at a healthy weight, and I need to work harder to move myself towards that. I also still need to have surgery to have 2 benign lumps removed from my breasts. On top of that, I am due for a mammogram and hope things continue to be healthy in that regard. I need to take steps to make sure my health is where it should be, and then I can think about bringing a baby on board. 

I know whenever it happens for us that we will be beyond excited. I know Chris is ready to be a dad and what a wonderful dad he will be. He loves kids and equally they love him. And when I say kids equally love him, I am not messing around. There was a little girl in a highchair at Panera Bread two weeks ago that was literally just staring at him from across the room--even their parents were laughing about it! I am lucky and blessed to have him as my husband and our kids will be just as lucky to have him as their dad. 

And for the record this blog post isn't my secret way of dropping hints that we are pregnant or even that we are trying, because we aren't. I'm just simply letting you know we are thinking about it, so don't get all crazy on me. And if anyone tells me I am old and need to hurry up I will be forced to punch you in your face. 

I can't be the only one with baby fever? So fess up, who else is suffering from it? 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

From Sherwood Park to Mumbai

Some of the greatest friendships are those that happen in the oddest of ways: a chance meeting, or a simple hello that turns in to a life long friendship. I have been blessed to have a few of those come my way. In fact that is exactly how I met the Queen. A chance meeting on a boat at a friends wedding. At the time she happened to be dating the best man. Thank goodness she was, because it allowed our paths to cross. To this day she is a very dear friend, and I am thankful to have her in my life. She herself met her best friend in line at a winery. That is the thing about friendship. Sometimes you just never know where it will start or where it will end up.

It has been almost 15 years since I lost my mum to cancer. I think about her a lot this time of year. I generally think of her often, but this time of year it is a little more frequent. Thinking of her and that time in my life always reminds me of a dear friend of mine who is very close to my heart.

While I was going through the devastation of my mum's illness and knowing her time with us was short, a girl who I went to high school with was killed in a tragic car accident. I knew her--not well--but I knew her enough to know the incredible loss those close to her were going through. One of those people was her best friend Tania. Tania and I had mutual friends, but we didn't really know each other and probably had never even spoken to each other. Tania worked at a local coffee shop that my friends and I frequented. I felt drawn to her knowing she was dealing was an incredible loss in her life and knowing that soon I would also be dealing with a loss beyond anything I could ever describe. I had decided to buy her a card to let her know that although we didn't know each other, I was thinking about her and praying for her. I explained my situation and told her if she needed anything to let me know. I gave it to her one night when my friends and I were at the cafe for coffee. I really didn't expect much to come of it, I really had no idea the amazing friendship and journey that would begin from that simple gesture.

As we were getting ready to head home, Tania approached us and thanked me for the card. She asked if I wanted to stay and chat and she would drive me home. So as my friends left, I stayed and the rest was history. While our stories were very different--and perhaps our grief was different--we were both hurting. We both understood the depth of what the other was going through. Long after the last customer went home and she had shut the place down we were still talking. We became each others confidants. For me, she became a life line. As many amazing and loving people I had in my life at that time, I often think had it not been for her I don't know where I would have been. She was everything I needed, whenever I needed it. It was her house I was sleeping at the morning my dad called to tell me mum was gone. It was her who drove me and my dear dear Lori to the hospital. It was her who after my mum's funeral took me home and sat in the dark with me for hours in total silence. My friendship with her is one I never have and I never will be able to adequately express in words.

Given the depth of struggle at that time in both of our lives, our friendship went through a lot of ups and downs--some of which, at the time--I am not sure either one of us thought we would be able to overcome. But 15 years later and a whole lot of miles between us, a long time between phone calls and emails, and 2 or 3 years in between visits she is still as important to me as she was that first night at the Coffee Cafe in Sherwood Park, Alberta. We both know what we mean to each other, and we both know that place we hold in each others lives is never going to change.

Tania lives in India. She has been there doing AMAZING things for the children living on the streets and slums of Mumbai. She turned a chance meeting with some children over 10 years ago into an amazing organization. Please take a minute to read about her and One! International. Click HERE for the website.

When Chris and I were living in Boston, we had the opportunity to twice meet up with Tania in New York City. This past year we were able to meet up with her and her mom in Bellingham, WA for lunch. I miss her dearly and think of her often.

Who has made an imprint on your life? What friendships happened in a chance meeting that today stand as some of the most special ones?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Words Escape Me

We are on day 15 of NaBloPoMo and I will be honest, I wasn't going to post today. But then after I thought about it, I realized that I can't quit now. I really have nothing to say today. That may shock some of you considering I have been known to talk, A LOT! In truth I am just being lazy, I don't feel well and I am just not feeling it. But alas, here I am. I still have nothing to say though so I will just leave you with a few thoughts. 1. People who are crappy pet owners really bug me. 2. I am super excited for turkey dinner on Thanksgiving. 3. I ate all my pumpkin seeds, that makes me sad. 4. I really REALLY hope we get some snow this winter. Ok, that is all you get. A post is a post, right? Till next time...

Monday, November 14, 2011

To Wine or Not to Wine

It is no secret that I love wine. In fact, I am currently sipping a glass as I type this. But, it wasn't always this way. In fact there was a time when I really, really disliked wine. There were times I would drink it when out with friends, but even then it wasn't really wine. It was some super fruity white zin, and let's be honest--that's NOT wine. I had always tried to like wine as a social thing but I just never could. I really hated it. But that all changed the day I met Chris's lovely Grandma.

It was an evening in 2002. Chris and I had only been dating a few months, and I was in Seattle visiting him for a weekend. We were having dinner with his parents and his grandparents (who I was meeting for the first time). As we sat down to dinner, there were a few different bottles of wine on the table and immediately glasses were being filled up. Grandma asked me if I would like some, and I politely declined stating I was not really a big fan of wine. But of course she insisted--and given this was the first time I was meeting her--I didn't want to be rude. I reluctantly said yes, and as we were eating and chatting I choked my way through that first glass. Of course just as soon as it was empty Grandma was filling it up. Again--I didn't want to be rude. By the time I was done eating and finishing my third glass of wine I excused myself from the table. As I headed downstairs to see Chris (who was downstairs with his nephews) he took one look at me and said, "what is wrong with you?!?!" My eyes were glossy and my face was flushed! All I could say was, "your grandma got me drunk!" True story. If you are not a wine drinker, wine can hit you fast and hard. Funny thing is I never realized in that moment the favor that Grandma had done for me.

Sitting here almost 10 years later it amazes me that there was ever a day that I didn't like wine. It was definitely an acquired taste. Much like coffee and beer. The truth is, marrying in to this family I really never had a chance. Chris's uncle Kevin is the VP of Vineyards for a large winery conglomerate in Eastern, WA. I don't remember a family event since I showed up that didn't include wine.

Over the past 10 years I have learned more about wine that I ever thought I would. Even today I would love to take a course or two and learn even more. For those non wine drinkers out there that may sound silly to you, but the truth is there is so much more to wine than just pouring a glass and drinking it. How it is made, what pairs with what, how long it has aged and so on. It is all very interesting to me.

Last year Chris and I had a weeks holiday down in Northern California in the heart of wine country. It was amazing. We went to so many wineries while we were there and tasted so many different wines. It was so much fun. A trip I won't soon forget. Most recently we had a family wine tour weekend out in Eastern WA and it was a blast.

I am not really a big white wine fan or sweet wines. My favorite wine is Syrah with Cab Sav being a close second. You can usually find me sipping a glass while eating dinner, in the tub or hanging out with Chris on the couch while watching TV in the evening. I have definitely learned that you should never assume you don't like something. Give things a chance, you just never know what you might be missing.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

I was asked by her royal highness Queeniecarly to post how I make roasted pumpkin seeds. So here you go. Learn, roast and enjoy.

1. After you have cleaned all the seeds out of the pumpkin, wash as best you can. Be sure to get most if not all orange pumpkin goo or strings off of the seed. I would suggest laying the seeds out on cookie sheets to dry over night. I wouldn't suggest laying them on paper towel as they seem to stick.

2. Melt 2-3 tablespoons of butter and mix with 1 teaspoon of salt. I generally mix the seeds in a bowl with the melted butter and salt to make sure they are coated well. You can also use vegetable oil if you would prefer that over butter.

3. Spread seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet.

4. Bake in oven for approx 40 mins  at 300 degrees F till golden brown, stirring occasionally.

5. Eat and enjoy.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Picture Perfect

I took the above picture a few years back while visiting Martha's Vineyard. I specifically remember seeing this dock and the sun setting over the water and immediately wanting to capture it.

I love to take pictures of all sorts of things but seem to always been drawn to scenes like the one above. Capturing a sunset over a body of water is simply put, breathtaking. I don't have the greatest camera, but that doesn't stop me. Perhaps investing in a really nice camera wouldn't be such a bad idea if satisfies my photography needs. I have often thought about taking a photography course. I would love to really learn my way around a camera. To be able to know the correct angles, how to use the light, shadows and so on.

New York City at night from the top of Rockefeller Center

Rockaway Beach, Oregom

Tree outside our bedroom window

Sunrise in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

For now this is just a hobby, but who knows what the future may hold.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Battle of the Bulge

The fact that I need to lose weight is no secret. I am not exactly the picture of health and fitness. I am not putting myself down, I am merely pointing out a fact. I wasn't always overweight though, in fact I spent the better part of 20 plus years skinny. Even though I haven't always had the best of eating habits, it didn't matter because I always kept very active and was in great shape. Somewhere a long the way I became less and less active but my eating habits stayed the same. You do the math.

I think we all have that "oh I will never get fat" attitude. I know I certainly did. But the reality is, that one or two pounds here and there very quickly add up. Before you know it you're 100 pounds overweight...and feeling like crap. Don't think for one second that it cannot happen to you, because it can and I am proof of that. One of the most frustrating things I have realized is how much faster and easier it is to gain 100 pounds than it is to lose it. Gaining is super simple. Sit on your butt and eat crap. Losing, however, requires a whole world of motivation, hard work and dedication. It requires you to dig deeper to parts of you that you never knew you had. Clearly I have struggled to stay motivated and find my own inner dedication.

I suppose I could take the easy way out and take some "magic" pills or have major surgery. Oh wait--no I can't--because I am very against both of those options. While I fully realize that there are some people who genuinely need medical intervention, there are so many others who either just don't want to do the work or who simply believe they are not capable of pushing their bodies to do what is needed. I myself am learning that the human body is capable of so much more than we think. I sometimes wonder if people really understand how much they still need to change, even WITH surgery. I wonder even more why some doctors are so quick to perform such procedures like gastric bypass and lap band surgery without exploring the safer option of exercise and diet. I guess the big fat paycheque makes them so quick to accommodate regardless of the outcome for the patient. I am tired of hearing tragic stories of people dying from such procedures. And for what? Just because you couldn't be bothered to eat a salad or go for a walk once in a while. I feel the easy access to such things and the media leave people convinced it is the only option. It may be the fastest option, but it is far from the safest and so often NOT needed.

Over and over I see stories of people twice my size or even more losing hundreds of pounds the old fashioned way--with blood, sweat and copious amounts of tears. Whether it be on reality shows such as the Biggest Loser or Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition, or someone at 350 pounds choosing to do the work on their own and lose over 100 pounds in less than a year. And yes it is possible because one of my best friends did just that. In January 2010 she weighed 350 pounds, but by October she was down 118 pounds. She did that in 9 months by eating right and getting off her butt and working out. What more proof do we need that it CAN be done the old fashioned way?

My highest weight ever was a few years back at 248 pounds. The last few years though, I have hovered in the 200-220 range. I have done well and gotten under 200 at times, but always seem to fall off the wagon and then end up super discouraged and I don't really ever get back on. Over the past year I have started to run again, not nearly as often as I should though. We have ran numerous 5k's and I always surprise myself at how well I am able to do even when I am so far from being prepared for it. I need to continue to push myself and do better each time.

I am once again in that place where I am ready and needing to get this weight off. I hate how it makes me feel, I know it isn't healthy and let's be honest, I am tired of not being able to wear some of the clothes I want to wear. I don't want this the easy way. I want it the hard way. I want to push myself beyond what I thought I could ever do. I want the satisfaction of accomplishing this and being proud of it. When I reach my goals, I want to be reminded of how hard it was so I never go back. It is time to finish what I have started so many times before, and I give you all permission to remind me and push me and kick me when I need it. Hopefully this time next year I will be able to blog about my success, to look back at what I have accomplished and be proud of the journey.

“Why choose to fail when success is an option?” --Jillian Michaels.

This time I refuse to choose failure. This time I will kick failure so hard in the face it won't know what hit it.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Buffalo Wings and General Hospital

When I was a kid, I definitely went through a tomboy stage. Most of my cousins were boys--plus I had 2 brothers. I would spend hours with my cousin playing Hot Wheels or GI Joes. And it was so much fun. But then on the other side of it, I would go home and play with My Little Pony or my Jem dolls. I was honestly happy playing with either. My mom always had me in a cute little kilt or pink dresses for church and special occasions. But I was probably happier in jeans and a t-shirt. But I made it work. Half girly-girl and half tomboy. I really don't think I fully grew out of it.

There are days when I love putting on my makeup, doing my hair, and putting on a cute outfit. I love the color pink, I love a bubble bath with a glass of wine, I love escaping through terrible soaps like General Hospital and Days of our Lives, and I love a good chick flick or tearjerker. I get excited when I am shopping and I see a cute purse, a new perfume or a funky new nail polish.
On the flip side, There are days I would rather put on a headband and a pair of sweats. I LOVE sports. Hockey (Oilers), baseball (Mariners) and football (Seahawks), in that order. I am happy and content spending all day Sunday relaxing at home with Chris watching all the NFL games. I have real hockey and football jerseys, NOT the "female" ones and they certainly AREN'T pink. I have been known during many an Oilers game to stand and yell at the TV screen. I love beer, action movies, buffalo wings, and video games. I reeeeally like video games. Sports ones are a big hit, but I also love first person shooter games like Medal of Honor, Call of Duty and so on.
I like to think it balances me out and saves me from being stuck in the typical everyday routine that is expected from women. Why can't it be okay to sit back with the boys, watch the game and enjoy a few beers? I would not have done well back in the 40's. A classic time where women were classy and always dressed to the nines. I would have hated it. I would have wanted to be at the bar with the boys drinking scotch and smoking a cigar. (Not that I do that nowadays--that's just what they did in the 40's, right?)

Luckily for me I met and married a man who loves both sides of me. He loves that I can be girly and look nice when we go out, but he also loves that I will sit home, drink beer and yell at the TV with him--unfortunately, being a Mariners and Seahawks fan this happens often.

So which one are you? The tomboy? Girly-girl? Or both? Obviously I am both and I wouldn't change a thing.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

To Cook or Not to Cook

I am not really sure I think I am "good" at cooking, but I like to do it. Tonight I made the above pot roast and it was AMAZING. Yeah I am tooting my own horn. TOOOOOOT TOOOOOOOOT!!

I have often thought it would be fun to take a cooking class and find some direction in the kitchen. But then I remember what a hot mess I am in the kitchen, how messy things get and I realize I do not want to expose the outside world to that. Sort of like me doing zumba. No one should see that.

I think maybe I would like to start tackling a new recipe each week. I have the perfect test subject. Like Chris is going to complain. Well as long as I don't try to feed him nuts or fish that is, since he is deathly allergic and all.

So any ideas on what my first new dish should be? Who has good recipes? Lay em on me....