Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year's! Its hard to believe that it is already 2011! Where did the time go???? It seems as I get older, time passes by much more quickly.
Chris and I had a relaxing New Years spent at home, and we were joined by his mom. We did fondue (carrying on the Allen tradition) and just relaxed! Some much needed R&R!
I'm not one for New Year's Resolutions, but I thought I'd do some this year. One for the fact that I am in such a better place than last year and two... hey it'll be fun! :)
1. Organize. I really need to organize our house. Since we moved in when I was sick, stuff ended up just getting thrown in a closet or the basement. My goal is to organize EVERYTHING and maintain it.
2. Exercise. Chris and I got an elliptical for Christmas so I will be planning on putting it to good use. I'm hoping to try to do a "little" something every day. Hopefully by this time next year I will be working out like a "normal person" and have no physical restraints... here's hoping.
3. Stress less. This will be hard, but I'm going to try and not sweat the small stuff. We'll see.
4. ENJOY! I want to focus on the POSITIVE and the POSITIVE people in my life. I have amazing this already on the books for the year, from planning a baby shower to wedding shower, to watching one of my best friends getting married! I know 2011 will be a wonderful year full of many blessings.
5. BE HEALTHY. I have minimal control over this, but let's hope it'll work out in my favor. I'm slowly starting to feel like my old, feisty self!
Hope you have a wonderful start to a wonderful new year!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

I get by from a little help from my "friends"

So... as most of you know. I practically live in the "north pole," which we call Minnesota. Cold weather is not good for a condition like mine. So I thought I'd share little tidbits that I use to get through our harsh winters. Even if you don't struggle with arthritis or something along those lines, you still might want to try these out. 1. Spa H20 Sea Marine Sugar Scrub. Ever since I started going off prednisone, my skin has gotten VERY dry. But, my skin is also VERY sensitive. So salt scrubs do not work on me as they're too rough. So I turned to Spa H20 Sugar scrub. It does wonders. I use the original brand, as there isn't much scent. It leaves your skin feeling refreshed and hydrated. With the dry air here as an added factor, this has proved to do wonders these past few weeks. 2. Jessica Simpson's Ugg-like Slippers. Chris for Christmas got me these AMAZING slippers, as they are low boots with a fuzzy faux fur inside. I love them as they cover over my ankles and keep my feet extremely warm... which is KEY. He found mine at DSW.
3. Nora Roberts the Bride Quartet Series. The series contains 4 books. I read two before Christmas and two after Christmas. Lets just say if you like wedding and Chick, romance novels, you'll love these. I read each one in roughly a day so its a fairly easy, fast read. 4. Gap Body Sweat suits. Gap Body has the most comfortable lounge wear. It washes well and is super soft. Plus they have a ton of styles to chose from and its affordable. In the winters, this is what I LIVE in.5. No Crack Hand Cream. So my hands peel (it HURTS) and bleed due to my mechanics hands. Had the dryness of the winters and its no fun. No Crack Hand Cream has done wonders. I still have the peeling, but probably is cut in HALF since I started using this product. I found mine at Restoration Hardware (random I know).
6. Epsom Salts. This remedy my sister-in-law, Kelly, told me about. So all you athletes out there will like this one. Take a bath full of epsom salts. It is an old fashion remedy and does wonders! Love it! It truly helps with aching muscles. You can buy a large container at Walgreens for fairly cheap.
7. Russian Friendship Tea. I'm not a HUGE tea drinker. But I love this spicy, sweet mix. You can find the recipe by googling it on-line. It makes a large batch and I just make one for the winter and put it in a container. Its nice to have on a cold night and relaxes my chest.
8. Humidifier. Best thing for people with lung conditions. This really helps me stay not as congested in the night. If you have a cold, I suggest this as well.
9. Naked Juices. This is my new found thing. I have a small glass each morning with my breakfast. I usually get the "Superfoods" one or "Antioxidant" one. With a compromised immune system, I'll take what I can get. Plus it lasts long in the fridge. 10. Trader Joe's Oatmeal. Finally, my Trader Joe's oatmeal. I got my mom on this kick. Its organic, healthy and REALLY good. I try to eat oatmeal for breakfast as its a great way to jump start your day. I'm hoping to try Bethenny Frankel's healthy brown rice recipe this month, so I'll let you know what I think of that.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Our House

Dearest Two Legged Creatures,
It’s that time of the year to wish all you a Meowy Christmas from the resident cat of the Hatch household. I hope all of you had a purrfectly wonderful past year and are looking forward to a great new year!
My owners, Chris and Maggie, swept me off to Grandma’s for Thanksgiving, as they went to Disney World for the holiday with the Allen family. I do not know what this place is that they speak of, but I am curious of this Mickey Mouse guy.
This year has been busier than all my past nine lives put together. Chris, aka Dad, continues to work all day in his marketing job at Thomson Reuters, while Mom, aka Maggie, and I play. But instead of coming home to bask in my wonderfulness, he has begun going to class. When he’s not at class, he’s studying in the den. I try to get his attention by curling up in his inbox on his desk, but nothing seems to break his focus. I’m not sure about this whole MBA thing. Mom said it’ll be another few years of Dad cheering for the Gophers. Gophers, huh, I could take them on with one swipe.
Finally, this brings me to Mom. We continue to have our morning cuddle sessions, but she has been more active lately. Something about going off of prednisone and enjoying what Minnesota has to offer. The new drug, Rituxan, that the doctor put her on as done wonders and made for fewer trips to the doctor’s office, and more time with me. Our family has been amazed at the continuous support from all of you. So… thank you.
Well that’s the news from my eyes. I’ve had a blessed year of contentment, free from any irritating fur balls. Hope your Christmas is filled with family, friends, and fun with the four legged creatures in your household!!!

From your feline friend,
Hannity Hatch (aka The Cat)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Celebrating the REASON for the SEASON!

The past two Christmases have been very difficult times for Chris and I. Last Christmas, we were told a fwe days before that my white blood count was VERY high and my blood cells were not normal, I would need to go see a hematologist to make sure it wasn't cancer. I was also having fevers and not feeling well. The Christmas before that... well I had just been diagnosed three months prior, and needless to say I did not feel good.

Its always hard as I do not want to affect those around me with the way I feel... a lot of times I have been able to "fake it" and put on a brave front, but needless to say Chris is the one person that can read me.

So with that being said, I am ECSTATIC that this year, for the most part I have been able to CELEBRATE the season. It has been a long time coming, and I am so thrilled that we are able to go to IOWA tomorrow to celebrate Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I haven't been with my parents for Christmas since before Chris and I were engaged which is about 5 years! I cannot wait to celebrate with them, do fondue, and smell my "familiar Christmas smells" of my mother's house.

We have lots to celebrate this year in the Allen household, and I am just thankful that we will be together to celebrate. Unfortunately, Brant and Kel decided to stay in Georgia. I think last Christmas' snow storm did them in for awhile! :) But we'll celebrate via Skype! I know Keegan is hoping Santa brings her a pink dollhouse and Mia wants a baby doll... I have on good authority that the big man will DELIVER!!! :)

My family is a very close knit family and we have LOTS of traditions that we have started throughout the years. Like Fondue on New Years Eve... something that we started way back when with family friends. This year, we are introducing my lovely mother-in-law to this tradition. As the Allens won't be together for New Years, well the Hatches are going to continue that tradition up North! I thought I'd share some of the "traditions" my family members started for me through the years.

One of my favorite traditions comes from my Grandparents, Mamom and Dooda. Every year till I went to college they would get me a silver sleigh bell. Every year I looked forward to unwrapping that gift and seeing what decoration was on the bell for that year. All the bells have they year on them and I have them from 1984 to 2003. My grandparents have been collecting them since the 1970's. Every year I love taken them out of their individual boxes and polishing them and reflecting on my amazing grandparents. My parents, have not started this tradition for Keegan and Mia.

My mother picked up where my grandparents left off, but since I already had so many sleigh bells, she switched to giving me the Lenox snowflake each year. I only have three, but I can't wait till I can do an entire tree of just sleighbells and snowflakes... imagine how pretty that would be! :)

Something my parents did for me growing up was each year they would get me a Department 56 house and my brother would get a nutcraker. I picked the Original Department 56 houses for back then. My mom stopped when I got around 16 as we had nowhere to put all of them! :) But now that I am older, and have the houses with me. Chris and I started the tradition to get my mom a Department 56 house. She now has about 7. She picked the Dickens Village. I'm very excited this year as we were able to get her the new "English Coffee House," which if you know anything about our household, we are all coffee nuts.

Here is my village this year, we decided to do it low key and put it on our sofa table, whereas last year Chris was REALLY ambitious and put it on top of our kitchen countertops. We had a problem though with Hannity wanted to be Godzilla.

Well just thought I'd share. Another fun thing I did this year for our neigbers was jars of Russian Tea Mix. It was super cheap, and something nice and warm to give to our neighbors, plus it is majorly kid friendly and I didn't have to mess up our kitchen too bad.

Oh...and no presents under the tree this year... Hannity LOVES the bows. They are hanging out in our guest bathroom until they can be safely transported to Iowa. They joys of a kitten! :)

Hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas... and just remember admist all the hustle and bustle of the season... remember the REASON! :)

Oh and yes... it is snowing on my blog! How cool is that! :)


Monday, December 20, 2010

Breathe in, Breathe out

So Chris and I ventured out into the Minnesota blizzard today to go to my doctor's appointment. Long story short a 2 hour doctor appointment crazy adventure to the mall of America and a 2.5 hour trek back home I am happy to report that my pulmonary function stayed the same and my inner lung pathway which has the most restriction improved a little bit! Whoo hoo! I'm not out of the dark yet as I'm waiting for my blood tests to return and hopefully all is well and I can remain off prednisone. Fingers crossed! Hope everyone is staying warm!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Charlie bit my finger - again !

If I'm ever down... I watch this. Literally, I've watched it like 20 times in the past month. I have now put my mom onto it. So I thought I'd share. I would love a little boy like that! :)

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Joys of the season

Chris and I last night off to do Monthly Mexican with our dear friends Marisa and Shea.  We are so excited as Marisa and Shea are expecting their first.  Let the baby shower planning begin!

Marisa and Shea have been such dear friends to us these past few years.  The crazy thing is that Marisa and I grew up across the street from each other when we were in kindergarten through second grade.  Our moms are close friends, luckily Marisa and I met up when I moved to Minneapolis three and a half years ago.  Marisa and Shea got married the October before us with a beautiful black and white wedding.  Chris and Shea have  A LOT in common and they are one of those couples we mesh with really well!

2011 looks like an amazing year with Baby Nelson coming and Molly and Neil's wedding already on the books... anyone that knows me knows I LOVE TO PLAN... so baby shower and wedding shower I think I shall! :)  So much fun!

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Thursday, December 16, 2010


So I haven't been feeling the greatest... part of it is the LOVELY negative temperatures here in Minnesota.  They do not go well with my arthritis and lung issues.  Anyways, besides that I have been really tired, thirsty all the time, going the the bathroom every ten minutes, and my skin has been EXTREMELY dry and itchy.  So... what we thought was a UTI, actually isn't.  So... I had to go in to have MAJOR blood tests yesterday morning, as the red flag went up when the looked at my symptoms that I might have Type 2 diabetes, that was induced by the prednisone.  Perfect timing... right a sugar freak during the holidays becoming diabetic.  I kept thinking God has a funny sense of humor! :)

Anyways, luckily for me all my blood tests came back negative, except my Vitamin D is really low, which it is every winter :)  So... don't know why I don't feel that well, but so far all my organs and everything checks out to be normal from their perspective.  I'm suppose to give it a month, as they think it is due to the prednisone being flushed out of my system.  I've lost 30 pounds since July, and it continues to drop.  25 more and I'm back to me :) smiles!  I have my goal, as Molly's wedding is the end of August and I want to look as normal and healthy as possible... fingers crossed! 

So... now tomorrow I just have to wait and see if all my numbers from the rheumotology office cleared and the fact that I get to remain OFF prednisone.  Always seems to be something, but in the end, as long as I don't have to go back up on prednisone, I'm a happy camper.

Hope everyone is enjoying holidays!  Its hard to believe that its Christmas next week!  Chris and I are looking forward to spending CHRISTMAS IN IOWA! :) First time I've been home for Christmas Eve in 5 years.  I can't wait to go late night church service at St. Paul Lutheran Church.  One of my favorite to sit and reflect.

The Evolution of the Fluid Face :)

July 2010

October 2010

 Thanksgiving 2010... with my lil Kiki :)

Beginning of December 2010

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Monday, December 13, 2010

Sorry for the lack of updates

I apologize for my absence.  Things have been a little hectic, crazy around our household.  My mom was up here last week and we did some Christmas shopping and she helped Chris and I around the house.  I haven't been feeling all that well since going off prednisone, and most of that we think its the fact that I still have a UTI infection! :(  So I had to go to the doctor on Thursday again and they put me on another antibiotic, unfortunately 5 days later and I'm still not feeling better.  Another phone call to the doctor tomorrow.

In case you haven't heard but Minnesota got hit with a major snow storm on Saturday.  In our city of Woodbury we got 20 inches of snow... so we were stuck in our house all day which was nice, caught up on movies and have my Christmas cards almost completed.  But Sunday morning we woke up to a FREEZING house, as our heater shut off... of course this was due to the fact that a snow bank was blocking the hot air from coming out of our house, so it automatically shut off.  Yep, never a dull moment at our house.

So this week our yards are mounds of snow, which most likely won't melt till March or April.  I am almost done with my Christmas shopping, which was much more enjoyable than the past two years, as I was actually able to get out of the house.

Anyways, though I am not feeling that well due to the temperatures.  Its harder for me to breathe when is this cold and my body aches.  So I'm staying inside in front of the fire as much as possible.

That's it for now, try to update how the holidays are this year.  I'm really looking forward to going home for the first time since we've been married.  Chris has never spent Christmas Eve in our home church or with my parents.  If any year I needed a year home, I believe it is this year.  Although its short, much NEEDED.  Hope everyone is enjoying the season! :)

This is a picture of our deck.  It actually got higher at the end of the day, but this is what we woke up too.  Needless to say Hannity was upset as he couldn't look out... even standing on his hind legs.

Few from our bedroom in the morning...

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