Monday, December 31, 2007
The plan--I need to work out at least 4 times a week. The catch, it needs to be an extended workout at least 60 minutes. This could be a mixture of things, but I plan to do yoga, run and ride my bike. Walking is also acceptable as long as I carry Daphne with me and it is speedwalking. Pushing Daphne in a stroller doesn't count. Pulling Daphne in the bike trailer does count.
The goal. When I lose another 15 pounds of baby weight, maybe I can get back to my high school days and lose another 15 pounds from there. At which point, I hope to be so happy with working out and running and things that it no longer needs to be a RESOLUTION to do it. I did need some kick in the behind though, so that is good!
Of course you can imagine how overjoyed I am. That makes me 15 pounds down from when Daphne was born, which is not too bad at all. That is exactly half-way there. Hopefully the second 15 pounds will come off more quickly than the first, but I'm just happier than I ever thought I could be because I didn't even have to try.
One note, I don't plan to be perfect. That is the flaw of resolutions. I plan to create a system in which the tracking of my resolutions will be turned into a statistic number. That way, I can try to do better each week rather than fail and then feel guilty and give up altogether.
Getting two teeth at one is a blessing and a curse. She is EXTRA SUPER grumpy, but she only has to be grumpy once instead of being grumpy twice for the two teeth.
After the tooth finally broke the skin yesterday, she discovered how to grind her teeth, so she spent a good part of the evening grinding away.
She is very happy that she can now bite into foods from both ends now!
Saturday, December 29, 2007
Jared has Ulcerative Colitis. There is really no secret about that. I guess the secret has been what kind of a long, long battle it has been.
There is a book written by Jourdan Reuben that is called "Patient Heal Thyself." The first chapter of the book documents his incredible struggle to stay alive in the midst of a serious case of Crohns' Disease. He talks about going to see doctors from all around the world. He tries every diet, every fad, everything. He is even told that he is one of the unlucky people on Earth that is affected by the satellites that circulate the earth.
I don't think it was until I read that book that I truly got the severity of what Jared was going through sometimes. Tough he doesn't have Crohn's disease, the effects of UC (ulcerative colitis) basically represent themselves in a very similar manner. One thing about the chapter I read in Reuben's book was that he always knew where the bathrooms were no matter where he went, he always knew where the bathrooms were. Jared told me that this was in fact the truth. I am always amazed when we are anywhere that he really does know where the bathrooms are. Besides the fact that it is annoying for him, it is kind of amazing for me, and dare I say handy?
To make a long story short, Jared has too tried a lot of things. There are a LOT of things people say that one with UC of Crohn's need to do to handle their disease and keep it completely under control. Some people say no grains with gluten (like in Celiac disease). Some people say no dairy. Some people say it is caused by parasites of this kind or another. Some people say it is hereditary and there is nothing you can do about it. Some say it is lack of smoking or exercising. Some people say it is caused by stress, etc., etc.
Everyone has their own solution to the situation. Their own thing that if you just do it will make it all better. They almost always have people that they know that have tried that method that are much better, and "see it worked for ___, why wouldn't it work for you."
These things are all wonderful. I am dead serious. There is nothing better than having hope that if you just stop eating eggs/wheat/ dairy/ sugar or start/exercising/getting vitamin infusions, etc. that everything will be better and you get to have your life back. I am speaking from co-firsthand experience. That is, I have seen Jared go through this whole thing, and I have helped him. I have worked with him to design special diets that try to fix one thing or another. The bottom line is that they just don't work, it just doesn't work.
In the past, I have been hammered by friends that had friends that had the disease. Their friend just did this and that was the solution. "You should do that with Jared, and that will fix all your problems." Though the advice has been given in the spirit of help and hope, it almost always comes back to the fact that it doesn't work AND you look like you just blatantly don't care because in the eyes of the friend that gave you the advice, it should have worked.
And it was disheartening every time something that was supposed to work didn't work, we were both left wondering what on EARTH was going on? Why doesn't anything we try work.
Eventually, this summer, Jared got so ill that we decided to switch doctors. We found a really wonderful Naturopath that did a really good job. She had an idea about all of the possible factors with the disease, and she had helped a lot of people that had it get better. Unfortunately, three months later, Jared was still not improving a whole lot, and we were again in a disheartened situation.
You see, I am the FIRST one to look to natural medicine to try to fix something. I have been to the doctor less than 5 times my entire life excluding my pregnancy and c-section, which was just a fluke. Jared was not interested in the medical route because the idea was that he needed to have his intestine removed 5-6 years ago. For someone that just turned 20, that sounds like an awful idea. This was why he turned to natural medicine, and I was certain that every time we worked with an MD that they just told us that he had tough luck that there was nothing that could be done for the disease but stay on Prednisone or have your guts cut out.
A miracle happened when our Naturopath realized that Jared needed to go to an MD. Not just any MD, she referred us to OHSU. We ended up getting an appointment with the head GI doc at OHSU to see if there was any other hope. This hit me out of nowhere, because it would be the last place I wanted to go, but we were surprised.
In the meeting with the new GI doc, I came to a revelation. She outlined that there is a scale of the disease. When symptoms come on, if someone gets onto one of the crazy diets or the low-level drugs, it can really turn around and not be a problem. Diet could be a factor. However, there are some cases that low level drugs or special diets don't work for. Those are the people that are in Jared's position. He is faced with an aggressive and SEVERE case of Ulcerative Colitis.
Somehow, the lack of hope of it all was surprising. I was actually happy. I realized that all our efforts weren't for naught. For a lot of people, the things that we tried and that were suggested to us may have worked. That is why there are a lot of people out there with testimonials that their diets/supplements, etc. worked because they did. The fact was that we are dealing with a severe case of the disease and there are other solutions. These other solutions had never been presented to us because we were dealing with low level solutions.
To make an even longer story short, there is a new drug out called Remacaide that is given via infusion every 2 months. It acts to help the body keep the inflammation down and keep it from chewing itself up during bad times. We decided to try it, and it's not as bad as it sounds. We haven't turned to the world of drugs with no solution, we have found what works.
I've come to realized that the most important thing is quality of life. We have been slowly marching up a ladder for so long trying everything we possibly could. The thing now is that we are working with something that works. Jared has gained 14 pounds back in the past 3 weeks, which is a miracle. He is looking better and feeling better, etc. Not that we are out of the woods, but we are working with a solution that could give him his life back, and I wish for nothing more.
Friday, December 28, 2007
I have one confession--I listen to Dr. Laura on the radio. I used to do it for kicks. I told Jared once that I listened to her because I was so cynical about her views, and I wanted to know how bad it could get--that is, how bad your viewpoints on life could be. However, a miraculous thing happened, I started to like her. So now, I listen to her whenever I can, and, mostly, I agree with her.
Sometimes when life seems really bad, I listen to her show, and it changes my viewpoint a lot. One time, a wife called in and her husband had been sick for a while. The wife was really tired of her husband leaving his shoes in the middle of the floor. Dr. Laura's response was that at least he was still around to leave his shoes in the middle of the floor and maybe the wife needed to change her viewpoint. I think about that caller all the time, and realize how lucky I am.
My love of Dr. Laura started when I heard of the titles of one of her books--The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands. I liked that title. It really rang true with me, and though it may not ring true for a lot of wives, it really rings true for me in my situation.
You see, I am the wife of a husband that is ill with Ulcerative Colitis, and has been ill with it for the duration of our relationship.
Sometimes, I try to feel sorry for myself, like I got the bad of the stick or something, but when you actually look at it, I may be the lucky one. When Jared and I were first dating, he told me that he had a disease that was not a lot of fun to mess around with, and he suggested that we just stay friends until he found a workable solution to essentially handle the disease. He reminds me every once in a while that my response to that was, "hell no." If someone that I love is going to have to go through something that difficult and that complicated, they shouldn't have to do it alone. I told him essentially that he was not allowed to break up with me, and I forbid him from ever even suggesting it again. This shows how strong willed I have been in the past, and always gives me a chuckle myself, because, yes, that is just the kind of person that I am.
However, you can ask Jared this, I am not stoic. I am not one of those wives that sits by my husband when he is ill and show no emotion. You always see on TV or read in books how the wife is strong and as a side story or in the end, someone gives the wife (or whoever it may be) some extra support for being such a stoic and solid person, I am not that way. I wish I were. I wish that I could take everything that comes my way and process it and set it aside, but somewhere along the line, I decided that if we were going to be in a marriage that we would really have to work things out alone. The result is that my poor husband has to listen to me all the time nagging about how I think we should make this decision or that decision together while it is all he can do to stay sane and try to live a normal life.
Jared leaves a lot up to me. He lets me make a lot of decisions and run the house how I see fit. I find that I don't mind helping out or being the bookkeeper and not necessarily the one who makes ALL the financial decisions (though sometimes I do that too). I get to decide how to raise our baby and how we are going to pay the bills and how I want to clean the house and how I want to work and take care of the baby and make sure everything gets done. I don't get a lot of nagging from him, I get a lot of admiration, and that is nice. Meanwhile, I have been known to lord over him how right I am about this or that, kind of as a kicking him while he is down kind of thing. I guess what I need to be paying attention to is the fact that no matter if he is right or wrong, I am living the life that I want to live, and he is making damn sure that I get to continue to do so. So, doesn't that win him a few wrong points now and then?
In the end, we always end up together, we always end up smiling. Now matter how far down he gets kicked, he is never too far down to tell me that I am a good mom and a good wife, he always finds the energy to compliment me.
Our relationship is other than the type of relationship that you will probably find in America today. I'm not saying that we don't fight about money or who gets to get out of the car open the garage door in the middle of the winter, we have our fair share of that. I think that despite our petty fighting and arguing now and then, we have a strong relationship. We've had to battle a disease that really isn't in to giving in, and though I haven't always been the most stoic or sensitive wife, I have always been there, and I think that is the most important part.
So, though I am not the most stoic and perfect wife, I hope that I am doing a good job.
I guess my new years' resolution list is going to include just being the happiest wife I can be to support my husband and help him kick this disease's butt. That would be nice. Then, maybe I can return some of the favors that Jared has given me by being a solid husband in the times of my flawed wifelyness.
My hope is that he will read this and see that I do see I am a shmuck sometimes and that I do try to love him as much as he loves me.
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Christmas is again here, and what a wonderful time it is. For everyone that I know, it brings different feelings. For some it is a busy time because of the necessity to sell things. Some it is a busy time because of the necessity to buy things.
This year, I tried to take a step back and enjoy the things that come along with Christmas. I enjoyed the music on the radio and in the stores. I enjoyed the look and the smell of our Christmas tree. I enjoyed the apple cider that I learned to make from scratch. I enjoyed the Christmas specials that play every year like "A Charlie Brown Christmas" and "The Grinch that Stole Christmas." This year, I really got a chance to even enjoy the new special, "Shrek the Halls."
I enjoyed hot chocolate and baked goods for breakfast. I enjoyed putting together a stocking for my husband for the Christmas season. I enjoyed putting together photos of Daphne to share with friends. I enjoyed putting together a gift for my sister. I enjoyed the cold that comes with this kind of year and the snow. I enjoyed toying with the idea of making gingerbread houses and putting it off till next year when we have hot water.
I enjoyed reading "A Christmas Carol" to Daphne while she talked back to me about the story. I enjoyed staying home and eating good food with my family.
There are so many things about this season that make it so much fun. I am glad that I took some time to appreciate it.
As I get older, I realize that it is about family and the spirit of Christmas, and the gift giving is second to all that. I received some nice gifts this year, which I whole-heartedly appreciate.
I had two family members donate to Heifer International. It makes me feel so good to know that somewhere in the world soon, a family will have goats and chickens and heifers to help produce food for their families. It will literally turn the lives of those people around.
My husband put together the materials necessary for me to make a spice rack similar to the one that Alton Brown has on Good Eats. I am happy to try that out because I am getting into the spice world a lot!
My mother-in-law gave me a scarf and glove set, which is wonderful because it is cold!!! It has been cold, cold in our house, and that will be very useful.
Brett gave me a set of bamboo cooking tools. I don't know that he knows how much I think bamboo is wonderful, but I do, and I am excited to use them!
My friend Melissa and I traded buying digital scales for our kitchens, so I can now weight ingredients much better, which will result in perfect meals!!!
I got some lotion and soap from our good friend Linda. I LOVE getting this! It makes me so happy.
I am grateful for all of the gifts that I got, and I am especially grateful for the fact that I got to spend this Christmas with my family.
Merry Christmas Everyone!
The things that new people find most interesting are my articles on things that are actually interesting like morbid fairy tales and saints and things. I will be writing more about all things, so that is good news!
If for whatever reason you can't view the videos be looking at the blog directly, you can go to my channel on YouTube and watch them there.
The link is http://youtube.com/christibale
That's not to hard eh?
I was happy to get these church bells on film after Melissa and I had finished walking the Freedom Trail. It was the perfect end to the day because it was snowing outside. It was totally wonderful.
The other star in the video is our long-time family friend George!
In retrospect, the year seems to have flown by so quickly, yet it was so full and rich that when it was the present we had plenty to enjoy.
February was filled with lots of waiting for when the baby was going to come because Chris was 9 months pregnant. Playing the “when will the baby come” game is a very interesting one indeed. Jared had his cell phone on at all times in wait and Chris did lots of walking.
After 3 days of early labor, 2 days of active labor and 5 hours of pushing, Daphne was born on March 5, 2007 at 10:36 a.m. via C-Section. The major surgery was a surprise to us all, but the best part was the fact that we finally got to enjoy our baby, Daphne Elle Anderson!
Chris spent 2 months recovering doing all the things a new mommy does and Jared spent the same 2 months by her side working away.
Chris started her wedding season on May 5 and didn’t stop shooting until November 4. She shot as few as 1 and as many as 3 weddings every weekend for the entire season. She is so thankful to have so many wonderful clients. The season went very well and she is excited to start getting ready to set up shooting for next year after the holiday season is over.
We outgrew our condo this year and moved into a wonderful house. The condo was proving to be too small for two offices and a baby. We found an adorable little house in Carlton, Oregon. Carlton is a quaint little wine town that is peaceful and wonderful. Our house is serving us well. We couldn’t have chosen better.
As Daphne got older, Chris and she connected up with some play groups, so they have been out on adventures from berry picking to sewing and photo shooting to exploring the latest new park. Daphne likes to get out and see new things.
Jared is working away expanding his company. He has had some major breakthroughs recently, which will allow him to service even more people at one time. We are excited about the expansion.
Jared has also been working very hard with the medical community to help get his body back into top shape. Through a stroke of luck, he was able to get in to see the top dog at OHSU (for GI stuff), and they are now working on a program that seems to be doing a world of good!
We had a nice little Naming Ceremony for Daphne on December 1. We have put the video on YouTube so that anyone that wasn’t able to make it can participate that way.
Chris and Daphne made a trip to the east coast with a tour through Boston and New York for the first two weeks of December. They had a blast and will be writing more about it on the blog in the coming days.
The most important thing about the past year is how much we have gotten to enjoy our little darling angel. We appreciate every second we get to spend with her, and we have so much fun seeing her progression from rolling over to crawling and now to walking. Chris takes tons of pictures of her because we know how fleeting this stage is. Chris has been keeping a blog since Daphne was born that has videos, pictures and little story tidbits on it. The address of the blog is http://ycplife.blogspot.com/ if you would like to follow along. It has the entire progression of Daphne’s life so far, and it gets updated on average more than one time per day! We would love to have you join us!
Our first Christmas as a family will be spent at home together opening presents, making gingerbread houses and cooking. Lobster is on the dinner menu prepared by Jared with several yummy side dishes Chris has in mind. We are so excited to spend this time together.
Jared, Christine and Daphne Anderson
Monday, December 24, 2007
First place in the youth division of the annual downtown Christmas parade on Dec. 8 went to a horse and buggy entry driven by Melissa Ward, far right, her son, Eli Ward, center, and her nephew, Jermain Johnson. The entry was a family affair as Melissa Ward's great aunt, Morgan Strang, is also pictured, far left. The Harney County Fair Board presented the parade with the theme, "Christmas at Our House."
Saturday, December 22, 2007
One day, I woke up to find that he had made breakfast and had even done the dishes. The dishwasher was running, and I thought that it was very nice of him. About 10 minutes later, my sister came running in and made me go look at the dishwasher. Apparently, dish soap was accidentally put in instead of the regular soap.
The kitchen was slowly filling up with bubbles and water, and my sister and I giggled and giggled while we cleaned it all up!
I didn't mind one bit, and I think my kitchen floor got a much-needed cleaning.
It was more funny than anything. I just wish I had taken photos of it!
She is a chubby baby. A very pretty chubby baby. Breastfed babies are so lucky to be so adorable.
Last night, I made crab bisque soup. I had never even seen a recipe for it, and I just made it up as I went along. It was super, super good.
Some people find cooking a chore, but I really enjoy it. It comes easy to me, and making great meals is my passion.
I've got a lot of other meals to make soon too. Christmas is a cooking time for me.
The menu includes:
- Egg Nog
- Mushroom Rissoto
- Lobster (or as they say in Boston (L AH b stuh)
- Broccli Au Gratin
Daphne and I are enjoying cooking together. We plan to make gingerbread houses on Christmas eve!!!
Monday, December 10, 2007
Her name is Rosita, and she is a wonderful little pony. Melissa and Eli are very excited. I am told that Eli drove her in the Christmas Parade on the 8th of December, which landed him in the front page of the Newspaper.
This is Eli the ham just after a shower.
Eli with his mommy in Portland.
Eli Sleeping. Too Cute.
Daphne really likes her uncle Josh. Every time he comes into the room, she will stop fussing and get really happy. Here they are walking around our house while they were visiting during mid No