March 31, 2012

date night: skyping.

So we all know that I've been recovering in CA while Grant is still in TN.

So Saturday night sushi redbox dates have turned into Saturday night skype dates....this time I even took a few photos to share!

In this first photo, I like to think that Grant is so distraught we are so far away from each other.  In reality, I'm pretty sure he was upset nothing good was on TV.

 After the first photo (when he heard the camera noise), he decided to be a little more cheerful!

Although our current situation definitely isn't ideal, and being so far away from him and our home is awful, we're doing what's best for us right now so I can get healthy!

March 26, 2012

2,300 miles...yeah, we thought we were past this too.

Grant is still in TN and I am still in CA.

Unfortunately none of my symptoms have subsided. In fact, over the past 48 hours, some have gotten much worse. I've seen all of my doctors while I've been home. Some have been more wonderful than others. But basically none of them can do anything to help me through this process. I just have to wait it out. Today my doctor told me it could be another 3 weeks before I feel better. Fingers crossed it doesn't actually take that long.

I have to say, when Grant and I got married, we did not see more long distance in our future anytime soon. But we're back to phone calls, text messages, and skyping. It really sucks. We did this for a year already and neither of us ever wanted to do it again- it's exhausting, and it's not fun at all to be so far away. I think we both handled it better last year because we knew that it was our only option. And while we know it's our only option right now until I get better, it's frustrating that the doctors in TN aren't more qualified about the medications they are prescribing, and it's frustrating that my body isn't healing more quickly. And we know that this too shall pass; but right now we're kind of over it all. We just can't catch a break. Don't worry, Mango's keeping me warm at night while Grant can finally take up my side of the bed with no argument!

I'm hopeful that in a few more weeks I'll feel all back to normal and life in TN can resume as usual. And that with the warm weather on its way in, life might even be a little bit better. We're looking forwards to lazy afternoons by the pool, mixed drinks, more bucket list items, eating dinner on our patio, and hot pool swims before dinner. As long as we can avoid the spring tornado season things should be just fine. And God willing, we will only have so much time left in Clarksville. There's a new addition to our blog...has anyone noticed it yet?

Also, has anyone seen the April 2, 2012 issue of People magazine? Well you should check it out because there's an article about the Yellow Wiggle, Greg Page. He was sick for a while and actually had to take a five year break from the Wiggles because he was so sick. Doctors finally diagnosed him as having Orthostatic Intolerance which is very similar/basically the same thing as what my diagnosis of Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome. If you're interested, here's the press release the Wiggles released November 30, 2006 announcing his leave. Who knew?!

March 22, 2012

Gordon came to visit!

So in the midst of all the sickness we've been dealing with...Gordon was scheduled to visit! He was all set to come, but then I got so sick and mom had to fly out. So for a few days he was worried that his trip was going to get cancelled...When I got really sick in August we had to cancel a trip he had planned to come visit so Mom could come out for my tests. Needless to say he was less than pleased about this prospect.

Thankfully, he still arrived late Thursday night and Grant even drove to Nashville to get him. Friday we slept in while Grant was at work and Gordon was antsy to do/see something. After a quick drive around Clarksville and a stop at the grocery store, he looked at me and said "Wow Kiki, you're really slummin' it." Once Grant was home we all made pizzas for dinner while watching Moneyball and 50/50. For the rest of the weekend the boys played Fifa and screamed at the TV. Don't worry, they did pick up donuts, see post, and eat at Blackhorse.

Monday Gordon hopped on a plane back to Los Angeles, and the next morning he drove up to Northern California for Spring Break.

I would say we'll do more exciting stuff the next time he comes to visit...but who am I kidding.

March 17, 2012

old songs on ipod shuffle

I love finding songs I haven't heard in a while on my ipod. Today is was....

March 16, 2012

life update...sort of.

We've had a lot on our plate say the least. When Grant and I started dating, we knew that there would be lots of things we would not be able to control. We've always called them 'external factors.' With one of us in California, and the other one in Georgia, there were constantly things out of our control. We had a three hour time change, thousands of miles between us, and never enough long weekends.

This photo is the first one we have together.
We knew we were in for a ride; but we had no idea how much we would end up with on our plate.

But after one year and ten days of dating, I hopped on a plane and moved to Tennessee. I was the girl that was never leaving town...but high school graduating class even agreed when they voted me most likely to be a Moraga mom. (fingers crossed that will still happen) But in the midst of moving, planning a wedding, leaving my dream job, and Grant leaving IBOLC and going to Fort Campbell, we handled it quite well. I only cried a few times, and Grant managed to not cry at all...

After the move, we settled in well and even managed to enjoy the heat and humidity among a flurry of other things that were part of the massive culture shock that moving to the South entailed. Grant's foot had been bothering him since December 2010 and he was continuing to see doctors and have various limitations at work. And we were so excited when I got hired to teach right before the start of the school year! However, going to work full-time proved to only highlight and exacerbate my ongoing health issues. By the end of labor day weekend I was incredibly sick. More sick than I had ever been and had to resign from teaching. For me it was devastating, I gave up my dream job to move across the country, and less than a month into my new job, I (well really my body) was giving up another job.

But we handled it, Mom flew out for a week so I could have some tests done and Grant wouldn't have to worry while he was at work. I spent hours and hours seeing various doctors and specialists...we were beginning to feel like we would never know what was making me so sick when finally we got an answer! (See POTS post) Things settled down around our house. I got a couple new part time jobs, we got married, and life was pretty awesome.

Then Grant had foot surgery. The surgeon said it went as well as possible! Grant was on convalescent leave for four weeks and we kept our fingers crossed that there would be at least some relief or improvement. We were able to enjoy lots of time together before Grant healed up and returned to work.

Since then, God has really been testing us. We've always said after our first year together, there isn't anything we can't handle. And I still believe that. However, I have had to remind myself that I believe that daily. Before everyone freaks out, let me clarify, things could not be better between Grant and I. I keep falling more and more in love with him each day, and I am so lucky to have him in my life. As a couple, we have been forced to lean on each other more these past six weeks (maybe whole year) than most couples (I would argue) do in their first five years of marriage.

Now here is where I'm going to start leaving out some of the details. I love this blog, but there are plenty of things that the whole internet doesn't need/shouldn't need to know. So here's the cheap and dirty version of that very full plate I mentioned earlier...and someday when I decide to tell you the whole store, you'll eventually realize why our plate is so full!

Six weeks ago I started weaning off a medication I no longer need. Two weeks ago I took the last pill. I've been living my own personal hell since then. 30 hours after taking the last pill I was plagued with migraines, nausea, exhaustion, severe depression, and excessive crying. For anyone that knows me, you know that these symptoms do not describe me at all. Between Grant's busy and demanding work schedule, I was a mess while he was at work, and my doctors have been no help at all...their response "Go back on the medication". Really?!? My mom did some research online and while the doctors say the withdrawal effects from coming off this medication are minimal, the bloggers don't lie. One guy said coming off of his heroin addiction was easier than weaning off this medication. It's been a lot to handle. Nothing eases my symptoms at all and the fact that we are stuck in Clarksville for the next few years only makes my medically induced depression and severe crying worse.

But once again, Mom came out to help. She dropped everything...and even left her precious Kato and my Mango behind to come to the rescue!

Best mom ever.

She booked her ticket Monday afternoon and by Tuesday afternoon she was bringing us groceries from Trader Joe's. Don't let this mislead you. I pretty much have the best husband ever. He takes great care of me whenever he can. Unfortunately, the Army is only so understanding of outside things (like families...) so when he leaves for work at 5am and is gone until the evening, it can be really difficult when I've been so sick lately. So having Mom here meant Grant could go to work and not worry that I would spend the whole 14 hours he was gone crying in bed feeling crummy. We thought she would just stay a few days, but my symptoms have yet to ease up or go away. So yesterday we flew from Nashville to Los Angeles to Oakland so I can see a doctor here and hopefully rest up and get better quickly. Needless to say, Grant knew what a sicky I was before he married me, but God decided we needed a little reminder to kick off the first few months of marriage.

Apparently God also likes to stress out two type A individuals a lot too. Grant's foot continues to have made no improvements. He is in almost constant pain and we feel like we're running out of options given all the demands of the Army. He started Physical Therapy this week so fingers crossed that will help dramatically; and the doctor has a few more things to try out before we've ruled out all the options other than time!

We keep reminding each other that God is putting us through all of this for a reason. We just haven't figured out what that reason is just yet. And with all the things on our plate right now, I'm hoping that God is planning on teaching us a few lessons this time instead of just one.

Thanks for the calls, texts, emails, tweets, fb posts, g-chats (Allison!!!), visits, etc...I promise when I'm feeling better I'll return to the land of answering all forms of social media.

From Pinterest: The Best Blueberry Muffins Ever!

Found this recipe on Pintrest and it came from here!

"Blueberry Muffins
Recipe Source: Modified slightly from my friend Anisha who got it originally from Cook's Illustrated

**Cook's note-These muffins can be flavored with any variety of fruits and toppings. Using the muffin recipe as a base for any flavor you like!**

Edited 12/24/11--Add your butter gradually if you decide to do the streusel topping. More or less may be needed depending on the humidity in your area to create a nice crumbly topping. If you find it is too soft add more flour to achieve the consistency you need.

Sugar Topping

1/3 cup (21/3 ounces) sugar
1½ teaspoons finely grated zest from 1 lemon

Streusel Topping
3 T white sugar
3 T brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
5 T melted butter

2 cups (or less if you are me!) fresh blueberries, picked over
1 1/8 cups plus 1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon water
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
2 large eggs
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

If topping with lemon sugar, stir together sugar and lemon zest in small bowl until combined; set aside.

If topping the muffins with streusel, combine ingredients until it is the size of peas and set aside.

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. If your oven cooks on the hot side normally, reduce the heat. Some people have commented that 425 was too hot. I would recommend getting a thermometer for your oven if you aren't sure.

Prepare standard muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray or liners. Bring 1 cup blueberries, water, and 1 teaspoon sugar to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, mashing the berries with your potato masher or fork several times and stirring frequently, until berries have broken down and mixture is thickened and reduced by about half. This will take about 6 minutes. Transfer to small bowl and cool to room temperature, 10 to 15 minutes.

Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in large bowl. Whisk remaining sugar and eggs together in medium bowl until thick and well combined. Slowly mix in butter and oil until combined. Whisk in buttermilk and vanilla. Using rubber spatula, fold egg mixture and remaining cup blueberries into flour mixture until just moistened. (Batter will be very lumpy with few spots of dry flour; do not over mix.)

Using a cookie scoop or large spoon, divide batter equally among prepared muffin cups (batter should completely fill cups and mound slightly). Spoon teaspoon of cooked berry mixture into center of each mound of batter. Using chopstick or skewer, gently swirl berry filling into batter using figure-eight motion. Sprinkle lemon sugar or streusel evenly over muffins.

Bake until muffin tops are golden and just firm, 17 to 19 minutes. Cool muffins in muffin tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack and cool 5 minutes before serving."

Grant and I decided to try out this recipe one day this week when he came home from work and I was feeling ok. He doesn't even like blueberries so he was a real trooper. I'm thinking that next time I'll try making them with raspberries or apples and cinnamon to see if he'll taste them then. Overall this recipe was incredibly easy to make. And it is definitely one of those get every pan and measuring cup in the house dirty recipes. But thankfully Mom was still in town and volunteered to do the dishes! The muffins were DELICIOUS! And even made it back to California in a tupperware with us!

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