September 21, 2011

3 months until the big day!

We are officially at the 3 month mark. Can't believe how quickly December is approaching.

We have so many things to look forward to: Fall, October CA visit, my birthday, Wicked! in Nashville, Matt Nathanson Concert, the Ball, Veterans Day Weekend in Indiana, Thanksgiving in CA, the holiday season, Christmas decorations, Christmas shopping, Gingerbread houses, Bachelor and Bachelorette Parties! and then of course our trips back to CA to start the wedding madness and Christmas fun!

traffic school, yoga, pool therapy, fake lasagna

This weekend I had to attend traffic school. I got a speeding ticket on my way to my new teacher safety are the highlights I learned:

- In TN you are allowed to have open containers in your vehicle. As long as the passengers are holding them...

- TN is either the #1 or #2 state in prescription drug abuse (depending on the survey sometimes West Virginia is in the lead)

- TN has a road kill bill: If you run it over, it is yours to take home.

- And the kicker...if you are over 18 you do not have to wear a seat belt in the back seat. TN did not have a seat belt law until there was a lot of pressure from the federal government. This law was the compromise...

Last night was my first night of yoga. It was AMAZING; once I got past the funny position names, affirmations, and yoga-like music. At the end, I literally didn't feel any pain in my body.

But don't worry, today was my first day of pool therapy. So now my whole body hurts. And for the record, there is nothing hot about hot aquatic therapy. All that means is that you have therapy in an indoor pool. The water is still cold. I'm hoping this therapy will help with the achiness I have, and that doing yoga several times a week will help as well!

The past two nights Grant and I have eaten fake lasagna for dinner.

First make the pasta sauce/pizza sauce/tomato soup. I usually make a big batch every two months and then save it in ziploc freezer baggies.

All you need, is canned tomatoes, tomato paste, kosher salt, basil, oregano, and a little olive oil. Just put all the ingredients in the food processor and blend! It's not a perfect science so just add until it tastes right to you.

Just defrost to use as pasta sauce or pizza sauce. If you want tomato soup, just add some milk or lactaid milk while you heat it up!

To make the lasagna, first cook hamburger meat and then add to the tomato sauce. Cook those on low for a few hours to let the meat absorb the flavor! Then boil the pasta. I take a pyrex pan and layer pasta, sauce, pasta, sauce. After that, I just throw the pan in the oven on broil for about 15 minutes to make the top crispy!

We avoid the cheese, but you could add it if you want :)

September 20, 2011

early birthday, dunbar cave, and coffee crumb cake!

I have the best fiance. Hands down. He takes care of me when I'm sick (which unfortunately has been most of the time lately), he makes me laugh constantly, and he loves me more than I ever thought anyone would.

And on top of that, he got me my birthday present almost a month early because he knew I really wanted it and it would keep me busy while I get better. After a lot of research and tips from Ryan (the best yearbook friend/Junior prom date), we found a canon DSLR for sale on If you aren't familiar with you are missing out. It's basically an online yard-sale for military families. It's my new obsession ever since Regina told me about it at the 4th of July party she and Clay had. So Saturday morning after traffic school (blog post coming!) we met the guy selling the camera to pick it up. And I LOVE it!

It was such a nice day and I was feeling pretty good so we decided to check out Dunbar Cave.

Dunbar Cave is beautiful. You can't go into the cave right now. I think they found some sort of bacteria or mold with the bats in the cave. But you can still walk up to it and see how pretty it is.

We were glad we took the time to spend the afternoon outdoors, even though I was completely wiped out from the adventure, because it has been raining ever since we got home Saturday night. I'm not complaining; I love these fall days because it means that my favorite time of the year is rapidly approaching.

And this weekend, Grant and I decided to make another one of the box mixes my mom filled out pantry with when we moved in. I'm hesitant to even share this box mix because I will definitely me making it lots and no one would ever know it is from a box....

The Trader Joe's Cinnamon Crumb Coffee Cake!

It's beautiful, delicious, and so so easy. You literally mix the batter, dump it in a floured cake pan, and then pat the crumb mix on the top. Pop it in the over for 45 minutes and not only do you have a delicious cake, but your whole house smells wonderful!

Next trip to Nashville I will definitely be stocking up on this box mix.

September 19, 2011

Massages: My New Medical Treatment

I woke up this morning to rain pouring outside. Not drizzling...but pounding on the pavement, big rain puddles, rainboots are a must kind of day.

After spending the morning watching my reality smut, as Grant fondly calls my television shows, I made some more pizza sauce/pasta sauce/tomatoe soup (I'll post the recipe soon!). I decided to treat my body to a massage. When I was hired to teach, the district gave each of us a Clarksville Coupon book. I flipped through to see what I could find, and there it was, the whole section of personal of the coupons was 20% off a massage so I decided to try it out.

I called and they said they could fit me in today! After a sixty minute massage at Bella Medical Spa, my body feels so much better. I still have some aches, but they are much less severe than they were this morning, and in some places I am totally pain free! They have an open house coming up so if you live in Clarksville, you should definitely check this place out!

Tonight it's grilled cheese sandwiches and homemade soup so we can fully embrace the fall weather we are having. Hopefully I can convince Grant to help me with the hard pieces of the Lake Tahoe puzzle I am working on.

so glad those days are over.

My friend posted this on facebook.

Simple Plan featuring Natasha Bedingfield "Jet Lag"

Makes me so glad we don't have to do this anymore. I got tired of being the girl crying/sobbing my way through the Atlanta airport.

But we survived 30 plane flights, 3,000 miles and a 3 hour time difference.

September 18, 2011

new favorite album...

I LOVE the new Lady A album "Own the Night." Still deciding which songs are my favorite...but check it out at

September 16, 2011

Road Block...

So today was my first day at the Vanderbilt Dayani Center. This was my first appointment so it was really just an intake and evaluation. I met with the physical therapist and the physical therapist student working underneath her. They were both great and very knowledgeble. However, they didn't really explain what my program will be. I'm hoping that the next time I go they will walk me through what my program will look like, and what my goals for physical therapy will be.

Then I headed back to the Vanderbilt Center for Integrative Health for my first appointment with the health psychologist. She was 15 minutes late and only saw me for 20 minutes instead of an hour. Not sure if this is normal practice, or if this again was just the first appointment so she was getting a feel for why exactly I was there. Quite honestly, I'm not sure what exactly I was supposed to get out of my time with her. She gave me some breathing techniques to practice that help with releasing the tension from my body and hopefully the achiness as well. But she is a psychologist and wanted to talk about the potential stresses in my life. I think this might be helpful for people who have worries or concerns about their illnesses, or who have trouble identifying the stresses in their lives. However, I know that at some point, this flare-up will pass, and I've accepted that Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and the auto-immune disease world will both be a part of the rest of my life and I am fully aware of the stresses in my life. Just because I can identify these things doesn't mean that I like them, or that I have worked through all of them, but I do know what they are, and after four years of dealing with this, have a very good idea of how they impact my body and my health. I'm hoping she will turn out to be more helpful than she was today. I could have spent twenty minutes on the phone with my mom having her tell me to take deep breaths from my stomach and saved myself another two hours in Nashville.

I think more than anything today was exhausting. Spending several hours in Nashville being poked and stretched by the physical therapists and then going to the other doctor wore me out. Looking forward to a weekend of relaxation!

September 15, 2011

Working my way through all these new ideas...

Today I took my first omega-3 pill so hopefully that will kick into my system in the next few days. Not sure exactly what it is supposed to do, there is lots of research out there saying it can do lots of things; but there is some research supporting the use of omega 3 in patients with arthritis and other joint pain. So hopefully it will help in a week or so!

I tried to start the gluten free diet, but that has proved to be problematic because they supplement most gluten free products with potato flour/starch. I can't have any of that since I am allergic to potatoes. I have emailed my doctor about this and am waiting to hear back. At this point I am going to work on limiting my gluten intake. I found brown rice pasta at Trader Joe's yesterday. Last night I made homemade meat sauce and let it simmer for a few hours. Then I took a pyrex pan and layered pasta, sauce, pasta, sauce. After that I put it in the oven (which was on broil) to let the top get crispy on broil. It was like a dairy free lasagna! There were lots of leftovers so I had it for lunch today!

Today I am dealing with the repercussions of a long morning in Nashville yesterday and helping lead Youth Group last night. So I'm still in pajamas. But did manage to bake chocolate chip cookies.

We use the Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips. They are free of the top 8 allergens as well as a few other things including potatoes!! They taste exactly like chocolate chips and no one can ever tell the difference. We like to freeze them and then eat them as they defrost. Then they taste just like cookie dough!

The CA trip next week has been canceled so I can keep working through this new treatment plan but I will still be home in October!

98 days :)

September 14, 2011

alternative medicine makes me giggle

Today was my first appointment at the Vanderbilt Integrative Health Center. The center helps people with chronic diseases and illnesses, as well as people who want to focus on being healthy in all aspects of the body and life.

I'm not going to lie. Walking into the office I wanted to laugh a little bit. It all feels a little too hippy-ish to me. The office is set up in a circular manner and the entire vibe is very calming. There is a library where patients can check out books and there are all kinds of healing rooms where different treatments take place.

But, after an hour there, I think I might be hooked...or at least incredibly hopeful. My doctor was wonderful. Turns out she grew up in Moraga and went to Campolindo too. Such a small world. But after listening to my medical history, her response was informed and confident. Something that has been hard to find in the autoimmune/chronic fatigue realm. There just isn't enough research or information out there; which means there are very few doctors in the grand scheme of things that study these areas. After an hour of working with me, she developed a treatment plans that explores a lot of alternative options that the traditional medical route has not provided me with. Up first, trying a gluten free diet for a few weeks. Next, seeing a health psychologist to work on mindfulness. Third, therapeutic yoga. Fourth, hot aquatic therapy. Fifth, Omega 3 supplements. And finally, she said Grant has to give me massages to help with the constant aches. Doctors orders. She even wrote it down on my patient plan so he has to do it. :)

So excited to finally be moving forward. Thanks for all the texts, emails, phone calls, visits, etc. of support. It helps so much. And I'm pretty lucky that Grant takes such good care of me.

P.S. 99 days in case anyone besides Grant, Scott, and I is keeping track!

September 13, 2011

100 days!

100 days until the wedding!

So excited for everything that is coming up in the next few months.

One week until California!

September 12, 2011

Beth's Chicken Recipe

This is our family friend Beth's chicken recipe. I made them for Grant's party last week and everyone loved them! And they didn't require that much energy at all :)

5 lbs chicken wings and/or drummettes
1 cup soy sauce
1 cup water
4 tbl. butter
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 tsp. dry mustard

Lay chicken in a 13x9 glass dish in a single layer (I use 2 pans)
In a sauce pan on the stove combine all other ingredients, stirring frequently, until boiling. Once mixture reaches a boil take off stove. Pour liquid mixture over chicken and bake in a 350 oven for approximately 1 1/2- 2 hours. Turn chicken approximately every 1/2 hour.

Every oven is different so the first time you make it check often. In my old oven it would take about 2 hours, in my new ones it only takes 1 1/2 hours. Also, if you are in a rush, push up the temperature to 400 and they will be done in about 1 hour 15 minutes, just turn the chicken frequently.

September 11, 2011

Grant's 25!

It has been a very stressful couple of weeks around here...between Grant's work and my sickness, Grant's 25th birthday was the perfect reason to celebrate! We had a few people over for snacks, beer, and Wii!!! The boys started off with canoe races.

Once they started...things started to get a bit more serious...Jesse was defending Kiki's score so he had to stand up to get the best angle.

It was exactly what we needed. I have spent the rest of the week in bed trying to let my body feel better. Grant is off playing golf and enjoying the sunshine! Only a week and a half until I make my first trip back to California to see family, friends, and all my doctors!

September 7, 2011

big change.

As most of you know, I have been sick off and on since sophomore year of college thanks to my appendectomy. About three weeks ago I had a terrible flare-up and have been getting worse since then. On top of this, I caught a cold form Grant and will miss all of work this week. I've seen specialists and have found a great primary care doctor out here in Clarksville. They all seem to come to the same conclusion- that I have some kind of autoimmune disease, but since all of my symptoms fall into multiple categories, they settle on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

After long discussions with my doctor, Grant, and my mom, I have submitted my letter of resignation to my job effective two weeks from today, possibly sooner. Right now my body just needs time to heal and rest. Especially to get ready for all the excitement of December.

Just wanted you all to be kept in the loop!

September 6, 2011

Labor Day Weekend!

Sorry for the delay in posting. Grant and I have both been swamped at work lately. And I've been fighting off my recent flare-up. So between late nights working and lots of doctors appointments, we haven't had a lot of time to post.

This past weekend we went to Lake Maxinkuckee in Culver, Indiana where Grant's aunt and uncle have a lake cottage. The drive there was took us 8 hours to get there instead of the 6 it took us to get home Sunday night.

Here are a few of the awesome billboards we saw along the way:
- We saw several billboard for keystone light.
- "Like a frat party, only better"
- "think big: foster an older child"

We also discovered an old mixtape that a girl who liked Grant made which provided quite a bit of entertainment for a while.

We spent most of the car ride convinced Grant's GPS was broken...only to discover that Culver is actually one hour ahead of us and in fact the GPS was not broken. We had to call my mom is California to double check, but we were relieved to find out the truth.

We had a wonderful weekend relaxing, reading, catching up/meeting new family!, riding the wave runner, taking a boat ride, and exploring the town! It was exactly what we needed to recharge our batteries.

Before we were wet and cold...

Kingsley, Cousin Matt, and Grant

Kingsley, Cousin Matt, Grant, and Jane/Mom

Uncle John, Kingsley, Cousin Matt, Grant, Jane/Mom, and Aunt Sugar

It was so nice of them to host us and we can't wait to go back over another long weekend. I of course caught Grant's minor cold in the process and have had to miss work today and tomorrow to try and make it go away. So it's been lots of peppermint tea and Real Housewives of Orange County today!

In good news...the weather has finally changed here! It's been raining for the past 24 hours and it looks like fall may have finally arrived. Keep your fingers crossed! It should be only a few weeks until we are complaining about the cold.

And tomorrow....someone in this house turns 25...and it's not me!!!
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