Saturday, December 26, 2009

Decking the Halls and Trimming the Tree: ROUND 3

Sunday we topped off the Christmas decorations with gingerbread-house-making at the Watts's.  Here are our finished products and Jared's.  Mine ...

Jared and Sam's ...

Sam wouldn't leave Jared alone. Two goofy boys!

Those weren't the only products ...

The gingerbread house making was lots of fun for the adults but the kids apprently needed some other things to keep them occupied.  So lucky me, I got Cooper and Jared had Sam (Estee's two boys).
Guess we will keep doing the gingerbread houses even if the kids weren't too interested.  We sure had fun!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Decking the Halls and Trimming the Tree: ROUND 2

Okay, so we really didn't wait really this long to finish the tree, but we were gone this weekend, which was really fun, and I will get to that later.  First off, we went to Joann's in the nick of time before closing and snagged two more set's of lights with their sweet 60% off sale (I know, I know it will be way cheaper by January, but we are celebrating Christmas with a tree this year - so I had to feel pretty good about the "deal") and headed home determined to finish up.  Jared skillfully finished the tree off . . .

And we finally had our finished product!  I have been getting home really late this past week.  Due to Christmas present projects and the serious "night owl bug" I got this week.   Here it is:

We are sure happy to have a tree and presents to put under it.  This year, I was a bit sad not to be in Oregon with my family, but starting out own traditions and being home together without any stress has been absolutely wonderful!  I feel so grateful and blessed.  Plus, it is just so much fun to start these things together! 
This weekend we had a fly-by trip to Draper then Provo, down to Mapleton, Manti, back up to Salt Lake City, and home to Logan.  It was ALOT of driving (my least favorite part)!  But smooth in our new car, which I am so grateful for and got to see lot's of family and friends.
Draper was good news.  I just finished my 15 weeks of going once a week and have just started going once a month.  December was my first time waiting three weeks and good news, I am still progressing without weekly treatment.  I can't believe we did all that driving without any pain! Yippee!!!  That evening we got to spend with Leah and Geoff, Isaac and Lucy.  It was so much fun to see them and their new house the next morning.  GORGEOUS and SUPER exciting!  We had the blessing of seeing Manti in the winter and going through the Manti Temple for one of my mission companion's wedding.  The temple is absoluetly exquisit and unique.  The ceremony was so sweet.  We were so pleased to be apart of it.   Then we raced back up to SLC for a wonderful dinner with so many sibilings (Matt,Jessica, Emi, Geoff, Leah), neices and nephews (Isaac, Lucy, Sophia, and Sage) who were so funny playing together, and my wonderful hosting grandparents (Virginia and Rudy).  We loved every  moment of it.  Thank you to everyone who made that trip so much fun and possible for us.

Have a very merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Decking the Halls and Trimming the Tree: ROUND 1

So, Jared and I have yet to decorate for the holidays, or any holiday for that matter.  We even have had trouble decorating our house period.  Somewhere between school, work, and well .... life, it just hasn't been on the top priority list for a while.  Don't get me wrong, I do want to decorate our house, but I don't know sometimes I feel guilty I guess putting money into our little apartment when I know we won't be there to long.  Besides, it sure has a lot of character on it's own.  For those of you have been there, not only is it older than Jared's 84 year old grandpa, who put the wood flooring in, but it has since then been covered in kermet the frog swamp green carpet.  Anyhow, we love our little tree house, and slowly but surely the decorating has taken stage.  It started this summer by finally putting up some picture from our wedding, in frames I had been collecting with weekly Micheal's coupons was further embelished with a wonderful gift from Jared for my birthday, when he refinished six beautiful sturdy old frames, cutting glass for them, and printing pictures, all of which we have placed around the house.  Decorating was topped off when we finally got one of my most exciting wedding gifts this summer from the Ditto's.  It's a long story, but on my mission I had this vision of a wall covered in favorite scriptures (instead of pictures of Christ only) and must have told Sara about it, because she had four of the scriptures printed and we got it up on our wall in the living room.  I will have to do a house tour later, but for now here is a picture of the wall.  Just pretend it's straight - these are way harder to do than you think.

Okay, but here is the kicker.  We finally decided that, being here for Christmas, we really wanted to start our own traditions and do some Christmas decorating to get in the Spirit.  So we got a fresh tree from our forest here in Logan Canyon and then proceeded to buy and apply the trimmings.  After way to much searching we found a metal tree stand (everywhere was either sold out or $50 bucks!  Who in their right mind?...) an angel (from Global Village made of orange rinds - so cute! - our new tradition of one ornament a year together), and lights.  Lights.  One question: How do you know how many lights to buy?  Answer: Do not use my strategy of imagining wrapping the strand loosely like a candy-cane-stripe around your tree.  It will not be enough! 
So yep, that is what we did.  Bought one strand of 105 lights, 5 yards (seemed like plenty) and headed home gitty to decorate.  Well, after sawing the tree in our living room to make it not hit the roof, barely getting it's excuse for a trunk tightened into the stand, and wrapping the lights on, Jared proudly plugged in the string of lights, to illuminate ....

Yes, two feet of the tree a lite.  Oh well, we'll get this down.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Being Thankful

... we are thankful for so many things ... for each other, our eternal marriage and our family.....  Really I could go on and on, but something we forgot to post about was our summer.  We are so grateful for our summer!  Especially, with the unloved  stress of school right now!  We had so much fun in August driving in our sweet little green golf (we miss you!) out to Washington to visit grandma and grandpa Howe and the Ditto family!  Sara posted an awesome summary of pictures, see here!  But here are some other pictures for your delight and to remind us of how much fun we had.

Reading stories with the little ones.  Jared does great voices!

Learning to walk with the girls and our photographer Birch.

Hiking out of Boulder cave.  There was a lot of slipping - good thing we had enough adults to hold little hands.

Everyone together at the hike.  I love having babies in a pack!  I am looking forward to hiking with out own to someday.

 And making friends.
Then we were off to our grandparents for some beautiful Discovery Bay weather,  and a peaceful time together.  After a couple of days, Jared and I headed off into the Olympic National Forest just a stones throw from there house, to go backpacking.  What was planned to be three days, ended up taking us a day and a half.  Guess we underestimated our strength :)  But we had a blast.

Love those birds!

View from the bay.  Gorgeous.

Startin' strong, Feelin' good.

Sorry, turn your heads or your screens.  The trails were so lush and green the whole times.

We crossed a lot of water from streams to waterfalls.  Couldn't have asked for better weather.

View from 9000 + feet from starting at sea level.

Walking up!  I got out of the tent and Jared snapped this.  We camped at this beautiful spot that was full of curious bunnies, squirrels, birds, and a bunch of other little critters.  It was freezing when the sun went down though.

So yeah, we got to this ridge and the hair started doing the punk rocker with all the wind.  Jared thought it was hilarious.  Nice.

On the way down from the ridge.  It got a bit bare.

Dirty feet enjoying the ride home (a little earlier than expected ... surprise grandma and grandpa)!

Ah, miss summer time.  Love the warmth, though the snow is a bit exciting.  I still think it shouldn't come till after Thanksgiving though.  Snow belongs with Christmas, and I don't like rushing over Thanksgiving.  Miss you all, and wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 22, 2009


... or "Nambudripad's Allergy Elimination Techniques,

I was introduced to NAET several years ago by my sister, who's sister-in-law's daughter had severe milk allergies among others, and was treated by an NAET doctor in Utah. After, I believe two weeks, or something, she was eating a bowl full of ice cream, no problem. Part of me pushed it aside, because I was living in Logan, UT and Salt Lake City was a far way to go to the nearest NAET doctor when I didn't own a car. Plus, my insurance would never cover it. I continued to pursue just about every medical specialty out there to try and diagnose and alleviate my 12+ years of symptoms of muscular and joint pains. Since I was three years old, I have suffered from these sometimes debilitating and sometimes just plain annoying pains. There were times where I couldn't sleep for more than a few hours without being awoken by the severity of the pain. Times when I couldn't' exercise because I hurt to bad. And other times exercise and stretching helped. Essentially there were few patterns to my pain. All in all though, I considered myself very healthy and active, though I new something wasn't right. I fit some descriptions of autoimmune disorders like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, neurofibril myalgia ... you name it, but not one did I follow all the symptoms or test positive for. I am grateful that each doctor (as extremely frustrating as it was sometimes not to have answers though) couldn't diagnose me. Mostly I didn't need a name for what was wrong with me, I just wanted solutions, relief, anything!

I wasn't comfortable taking as much aspirin, Tylenol, or Advil as would require to have relief. So, I began researching on my own. I spent a lot of my youth (well still in my youth so I still do!) learning about the body, nutrition, disease, etc. Partly, all of this has interested my for as long as I can remember, part of me wanted to help others with what I was learning, and part of me wanted to find answers that I was getting rather skeptical of every receiving from any doctor.

While in Germany serving a mission for our church, my companion and I were teaching a man who was trained in Shiatsu. During a lesson in my second to last week serving, he quietly asked me if I was okay. I had been trying to conceal some intense pain I was having during the lesson. I don't know why I told him, but I briefly explained what was wrong. (Oddly enough my mission has been the only exception in my life, up until now of having relatively no pain whatsoever. I was actually surprised to have it during this lesson. I realized though as the Spirit softly had whispered to me, that it was the Lord's most merciful gift to me to take away this pain while I served His children, and to have this small episode after almost two years of relief was a reminder that I needed to seek help again. I also believe he was directing me to some alternative health care I had mostly not pursued officially outside of personal learning, nutritional changes, etc.) He took a moment to meditate, and then suggested that I pursue some treatment in the US, but also graciously offered to do some treatments on me free of charge. I thanked him, but declined feeling that that probably wasn't appropriate now, but wrote down some information and recommendations he gave me.

At home I started researching them, but again nothing was available near by. I moved back to Logan to start school, got married and when things started to settle down a bit started looking into options. That is when I remembered my sister's suggestion to try NAET. I looked it up, but again felt like treatment was to far and too expensive without insurance covering it. At the same time I was introduced to a wonderful LPN in obstetrics/gynecology who I began working with. Though she is a wonderful woman, and certainly takes a much more holistic and natural approach then most physicians I have met, she finally came to the conclusion that medically she couldn't help, and ultimately said I would do best to continue my healthy lifestyle and even up my workout intensity. All in all though, I left feeling upset and disappointed. I was now approaching 20 years of pain, had developed sensitivity in my diet and ate a very low grain/starch (though whole grain when I did), low fat, low sugar diet. I rarely ate a piece of bread after some stomach issues in 2006. I also have been a vegetarian officially since 2nd Grade, though my family can attest to my meat aversion since I can remember. It made my stomach hurt and was accompanied by headaches. Fat, starch and/or sugar began causing similar symptoms. Though some may think I sound super health, no grains isn't a good thing, and some fat in our diets is really important.

Anyhow, all this compounding, led me to start researching NAET from my sister's six year old suggestion. Here is a short description of NAET:
NAET "are a non-invasive, drug free, natural solution to eliminate allergies of all types and intensities using a blend of selective energy balancing, testing and treatment procedures from acupuncture/acupressure, allopathy, chiropractic, nutritional, and kinesiological disciplines of medicine...NAET® can successfully eliminate adverse reactions to egg, milk, peanuts, penicillin, aspirin, mushrooms, shellfish, latex, grass, ragweed, flowers, perfume, animal dander, animal epithelial, make-up, chemicals, cigarette smoke, pathogens, heat, cold, other environmental agents."

In my research, and with some prayer, I began calling various doctors in the SLC area that had NAET specialties I might fit under. I learned that what are referred to allergens are not just evident in the anaphylactic reactions we typically connect them with, but can be better described as "hypersensitivities" our bodies develop often like any autoimmune response, after a traumatic or taxing incidence or series of experiences that causes our body (in it's normally amazing defense) to fight against it's stressor but then "loose"control and began "fighting" other parts of our body, like organs. This spiral of events can create many connected, yet seemingly unconnected, problems. I knew something was wrong, I could feel if what a doctor was suggesting was right or just not the real problem, but I still didn't know what the cause really was.

Through, what I believe was Heavenly Father's guidance, by way of peace, I was able to decide on a doctor, and when I called, actually had my call returned by the practitioner himself and just happened to have an opening the following day when we were already driving down to SLC in August. Dr. Allen (also a chiropractor) has been an extremely helpful in explaining what he is diagnosing as problems and treatments not only physiologically but also according to natural/eastern medicine philosophy. I have appreciated this, because though the technique is not your typical western medicine treatment, he does understand what is happening in my body and can explain that scientifically. He uses a series of acupuncture and acupressure treatment (with his hands, hand held machines and high energy infrared light) along with some nutritional supplements to treat me. I have been driving down to his office in Draper, UT every Friday since I started going (14 times) and am happy to report the increadible blessing of two weeks without pain, and counting! With the exception of my time serving a mission, this is the first time I have gone this long with out pain in 21 years. I thank our Heavenly Father every night. If you do the math, yes it has taken sometime to feel the effects of the treatments. I have been suffering from this chronic pain for years though, so really if one treatment is working off a year or more of pain, I have to say that is pretty "quick" and effective.

I am so grateful for Dr. Allen's expertise and commitment to his patients. He is an excellent doctor whom I would recommend to anyone with explained or unexplained problems, disease, pain, etc. Unlike most traditional allergy treatments, most people are told to stay away from what is causing their reaction to, milk, gluten, etc. With NAET though, the idea is to treat you for them, so that your body can be exposed to these substances or situations and react in a normal healthy homeostatic way. If you are looking for a practitioner in your area, click here. I would also be happy to answer any more questions you might have. Just leave a comment on my blog.

Lastly, I would just like to note: Most of our problems are not only physiologically caused or promoted but psychologically/emotionally too. It is so important to take an honest look at all the different areas that could be contributing to your suffering (even if it is minimal) and deeply consider if it may have other patterns. We often don't realize how much our body physically expresses the stress we are receiving and often creating. Understanding this, and working to honestly analyze this, alone, with my husband, and family, has significantly improved the way I feel. I don't mean that we mean to cause the pain we have, in fact I mean just the opposite. A lot of our body's reactions are not our doing, but we can aid it's healing by changing some of our attitudes, reactions, or feelings, internally. We are truly more powerful than we may believe we are. As a dear friend put it this summer, our bodies are the miracles, we just need to give them the right resources and they can often heal themselves.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Well, here is everyone hard at work carving their pumpkins. We had a fun Family Home Evening together last monday, carving away to get into the halloween spirit. My mind was on other things though. I bought a pumpkin we could eat, Jared and I worked together on the phase diligently, and now it is in the oven roasting fur what I prefer in the fall spirit, ROASTED PUMPKIN PIE! Yes, recipe coming soon, if you would like.
*Note: please excuse the scary red eye of mine. I guess the stress of reading and what not got to me, because my eye ball turned red. Guess, I should tell my teachers to stop giving me so much homework! Luckily, despite the increase in homework load, my eye is healing. I just have opted out of the glasses/contacts and gone semi-blurry for a few days.
* Double Note: For those of you who don't know, this is part of Jared's family, Estee, Aaron, son Sam and Cooper, the Drew and Sadie, as well as Carter. And yes, there was some pumpkin drilling because some of the pumpkins were so hard to carve!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Blueberry-Oat Bars (or in my case Cherry-Oat Bars .... or any other summer fruit)

Hey, I was just talking to mom about these. I made them last night. They were yummy and warm! I put my adjustments in parentheses. And just so you know agave nectar is a sugar replacement for vegan's. You could use honey or just brown/white sugar) if you don't have that on hand. I never do.
Anyhow, thought you might enjoy! It's like a cobbler crisp in your hands ....

Blueberry-Oat Bars (or in my case Cherry-Oat Bars .... or any other summer fruit)

If you prefer a sweeter bar, add more agave nectar, sugar, stevia, or your favorite sweetener to the blueberries as they are cooking. Or add a sugar glaze on top by mixing a little vegan powdered sugar with water until it's the right consistency for drizzling.

1 pint blueberries (pie cherries)
1/4 cup agave nectar (less than a tablespoon brown sugar)
1/4 cup apple juice (used the cherry juice)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla (plus 1/2 tsp. almond extract)
2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with enough water or juice to form a smooth paste

3 cups oatmeal* (regular, not instant)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon ( I was generous)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 ounces unsweetened applesauce ( I did banana's because I had some that were soooo black)
6 tablespoons (3/8 cup) agave nectar (again, a tablespoon or less of brown sugar)
6 tablespoons (3/8 cup) water ( I through in a little butter milk too, because I didn't have the liquid from the agave nectar or honey)
1 teaspoon vanilla (plus almond extract)

Preheat oven to 375F. Oil an 8x8-inch baking dish.

In a small saucepan, combine the blueberries, agave nectar, and juice. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. When it boils, stir in the vanilla and the cornstarch mixture. Continue to stir as the mixture boils and thickens. Remove from heat and set aside.

Put 1 1/2 cups of the oatmeal into a blender and grind it to a fine powder. Pour it into a medium-sized mixing bowl and add the remaining oatmeal, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt. Mix well. Stir in the apple sauce, agave nectar, water, and vanilla, and mix well.

Spread half of the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing well to cover the bottom of the pan. Spoon the blueberry filling over the batter, and cover the blueberries with the remaining batter.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned. Allow to cool some so that they stay together, before cutting into bars.

*Use gluten-free oats to make these gluten-free.

Makes 16 bars. Each contains 117 Calories (kcal); 1g Total Fat; (7% calories from fat); 3g Protein; 26g Carbohydrate; 0mg Cholesterol; 81mg Sodium; 2g Fiber. Weight Watchers 2 Flex Points.

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Watts and the Wrights

So this is a collection of the few pictures we actually took while spending Wednesday through Sunday with Leah and Geoff's sweet little kids. We had LOTS of fun playing on that swing, spinning around and getting real dizzy. Nothing is funnier than letting Isaac spin Lucy on the swing than having her hop off and try to walk to you! We are so grateful for the opportunity to have so much time to share with them. It was nice and hot, so the wet hair Isaac pictures are from our time playing in the sprinklers with the neighbors. Loved his hair. We miss you wrights!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

for the Fathers

Happy Father's Day Dad! I LOVE YOU SO SO MUCH ...

Kim, thank you for being such a wonderful Father-in-Law. I really couldn't be more blessed with such wonderful fathers. Thank you for your support, wisdom, and wonderful wonderful warm hugs. I love you very much.

Geoff, this is an old one, but a picture I love. You are a such a fun father, and I am so grateful to spend time with you more often. I will never forget the impression of the father I knew you would be, and the father you are, because of Isaac's baby blessing and the things you shared there. Thank you.

Ryan, It has been so fun to get to know you, mostly as a father to my sweet little niece Sage. Thank you for being the father Emily always dreamed of and Sage needs. Sorry to post a naked picture, but ironically it was all I had. We're still friends right?

Matt, I didn't' have a picture with you, but I did of your sweet little daughter. I know she will be loved to the same divine degree she is worth, because you have already shown that to me

Birch and Seth. You two have been wonderful examples to me of Fatherhood. Thank you for also being amazing brothers in my life as well.

Luke, you are going to be a wonderful Father someday.

Dad, you have instilled a life of loving excitement, the out of doors, challenges, people, culture, and differences. Most of all though you and mom have given me a roots in in the gospel of Jesus Christ, and a magnificent tree is developing slowly but surely. Thank you for this eternal gift. We love you.

And Jared my love, I know you love being a kid and want thirteen little ones real soon (wink wink - that is a total inside joke for the rest of you reading this). Even though we will wait a little longer, you can still play with the kids toys, but I would stick with the adult swings.
Sweetheart, I look so forward to that day, when you become the father of our sweet children. I love you, always and forever.