Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Abbott Offspring Goodness

I could just talk about everything that I'm grateful for, but I don't think anyone would have the time to read it. Ethan certainly wouldn't give me the time to write it. But we do have good news! Derek got a job! He was hired the day after my last post, so our hope was well placed. The hours are good, he always gets Sundays off, he's home in the evening and he makes enough that we should be caught up with our finances hopefully around Christmas. Yippee!! Oh, if only I could adequately explain how wonderful it is that Derek has a job. Well, it just is! This probably isn't Derek's final career destination (hopefully not) but it's nice to be standing on a solid step instead of wondering how long the safety harness is going to hold out. Thank you our wonderful families for not letting us crash and burn!

This also means, that while we are finally able to dig ourselves out of a hole, we will not be able to fly to North Carolina for Christmas. You can probably imagine how I feel about that, so I won't try and illustrate.

Gushy enough yet?! Well hang on, things are about to get a whole lot cuter. Now, we all know how horrible Derek and I are at taking pictures. My sister Ashley would have kicked my butt long ago, if her legs could reach that far for our lack of photo sessions. Of course, she could probably make them reach just from shear sass, but I digress. Thankfully, Momma Abbott is here to save the day, and my bum. Applause. Through her efforts (and Derek's of course) we now have more pictures, and even a video or two, to post of Ethan in all of his 18 month old glory. So, here:

 I wish I could record everything that Ethan does, well almost everything, so I wouldn't have to feel so bad for not remembering to tell y'all about it all. He's doing so much, and he seems so grown up all of the sudden that I hardly know what to tell y'all anyway.
I know you've already scrolled down just to look at the pictures so I'll be done typing for the moment. Go ahead, look and enjoy.

Whew! Too much? The last two are short videos taken with Derek's cell phone. Derek's dad found some old walkie-talkies and we decided to try them out. Sorry the videos are so blurry, they where pretty small originally. We've finally toddler-proofed Ethan's room so he has somewhere to run amuck, and that's a happy thought for all of us. That's about it for right now. We're looking forward to Thanksgiving with family (the first in three years!) but I'm actually missing the snow. It has finally cooled down here, but I think I've been spoiled by a colorful Autumn and snowy white Winter not to miss them now. Oh well, there's always next year. Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 1, 2010

November with the Abbotts!

There has been so much going on, and so much that has happened, that I hardly know where to begin. Random side note: If I start to sound a little too proper or Jane Austenish, it's because I've just finished Emma and am now on Persuasion. Aah, the joys of a feminine writer when one wants a pleasant love story to calm the troubled mind.

Derek, Ethan and I are now living in Arizona. Derek's parents have been kind enough to take us in while things are so unsettled. They let us bring our cat and they're even submitting themselves to our gluten-free cooking! How cool is that! We don't know how long we will be here, and while we like being with them, I hope it won't be long. Halloween has come and gone and for the first time I did absolutely nothing for it. Not even a sad attempt at some scary goodies (that usually frighten more for their pun-like nature than being worth dying for). Being new here, knowing NO ONE besides Derek's parents, having dry 90-degree weather, and the holiday taking me almost by surprise took it's tole this year. Derek helped his mom paint a sign for the "fish pond" for their ward party, we watched some random Halloween flicks (both old, new and corny), we enjoyed some leftover candy, and made some wicked chocolate-chip brownies. Sadly, that was all. Derek wanted to make up a little for it by making and putting up some very last minute decorations on Sunday morning, but by then I figured it was too late. How I miss Autumn weather. Hmmmm....one day I will have it again.

Derek hasn't been able to find work yet, but we're hopeful that he will find a job that's exactly what we need very soon. Until then we're doing what we can and grateful for all the help that our families give us. I must admit that it gets really frustrating to feel that everyone has a job but you, but besides putting those jealous feelings aside, we're trying to do all we can. So, for now, we're still in the same holding pattern as before, just in a new location. At least there is a change of scenery.

Besides disappointment on the job front, day-to-day life is good. We try and make ourselves useful and worth having here and we're slowly learning how. Derek and I find things to work on, and Ethan finds things to get into that he's not supposed to. Derek's trying to figure out how to turn some of his ideas into a small business. He's busy planning, designing and researching, but everything we've tried so far has hit a wall. Of course, this is along side of tedious and frustrating job hunting. I'm still working out, and while I think I'm making progress with my weight-loss plan, it's slow. Maybe I shouldn't have made those brownies. I'm also reading, probably more than I should, trying to stick to some kind of schedule, and trying to get back into art. Guess what! We get to watch Big Bang on Thursday nights now! No more waiting for it to come out on DVD. Sweet!

And now for Ethan. How do I cover all the things he does now? If this post wasn't already so long I would try and be a little more detailed, but for now I'll try and remember some highlights. Ethan will be 18 months on the 11th and he is definitely going to Nursery next Sunday. Maybe then we can stay for all of church. He likes to use his imagination. He plays make-believe and I'm never really quite sure what he's imagining until he tells me to eat something that's not there. He's talking up a storm, though we can't understand what he says, and apparently he loves to tell jokes because he laughs at himself all the time. He's started singing. At first it was timid and quiet but he's slowly started to get louder. Last Sunday he sang along, as well as he could, with the hymns in Sacrament. He likes to dance too, but he won't do it if anyone is looking at him. We have to catch him out of the corner of our eyes. He likes to tell us what to do (this includes bossing the cats around), and loves to play with daddy. He's still teething and I think all of his teeth are floaters. It's so annoying! He loves peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and loves to watch Jeeves & Wooster. He has a huge temper but he is also the sweetest little boy I have ever met. I haven't even really got started, but I'll leave it here for now.

Here's a recap for you. We're in Arizona - hate it but love Derek's parents -, Ethan's amazing, Derek's working hard to find work, Polly's still alive and I'm still addicted to Etsy and chocolate. Ta Da!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Bald Chicken

Unfortunately, I have no big news to share. Our situation is pretty much the same as it was before. We seem to be in a holding pattern, but we have hope it will change for the better soon. In the meantime, I thought I would share one of the random moments of our lives.

We've been trying to economize lately and that included pulling the reigns on my culinary experiments. Sometimes good food can be expensive. So, Derek and I decided that for a week, or at least a couple of days, we would only use what we already had to make dinner. Tonight it's scrambled eggs with bacon and spinach mixed in. Sweet! I guess I could have made spinach omelets but ,oddly enough, I have no idea how and was too lazy to look up a recipe. Last night, however, did not go as planned.

We happened to have chicken strips in the freezer, and Gluten-free bread crumbs (basically cornmeal) left over from a recipe tried a couple of weeks before. What about chicken fingers?! I haven't been able to fry anything since I stopped using wheat flour and, man, something fried sounded really good.  Fried chicken!!!! How I miss fried chicken. The golden, crispy skin covering moist, plump meat seasoned and fried to perfection. The salty crunch of the first bite as it revels in your mouth. The joy of licking your fingers clean from a tasty chicken leg! Well, chicken fingers, but it's fried and it's chicken right? Sadly, I must wait a little longer for such enjoyment. I very lovingly breaded the chicken, thoughts of crispy joy dancing about in my head, and slowly began to notice that little corn capsules were forming around the tips of my fingers. If I didn't' know it was corn I would have thought it was thick, liquid concrete with an amazing amount of crazy glue mixed in. No matter, flour does the same thing right? That's where the similarities ended. While the chicken looked very nice breaded and laying on the plate, once they were in the oil they stuck to everything. The sides, the bottom, the fork, the chicken finger next to it, and if there was anything else to stick to I'm sure they would have just to spite me. By the time they were cooked and I was done wrestling them to the plate, most of the breading was gone, leaving behind huge bald spots that reminds one of a vulture with a bad molt. Well, maybe not, but it was pretty sad looking. As there wasn't enough breading left to classify the chicken as fried or fingers, we needed to figure something else to do with it. Thankfully, Derek had the solution. We had Jasmine rice, corn and peas & carrots, so we cut up the chicken, cooked the rice, warmed the veggies and combined them all into a happy bowl of goodness! The slight sweetness of the rice and what was left of the breading mixed with the textures and the veggies and rice were wonderful! Success! An enjoyable meal was had by all! So, sometimes the unplanned is far yummier than sad attempts.

The moral: cornmeal bread crumbs are not for frying, only baking. Oh, and Derek is a genius.

The End.

Monday, July 19, 2010

A little stressful

After a sabbatical from communication on the Internet, and consequently the world at large, I have returned! It's therapeutic to unplug for a while, and I quite enjoyed it, but the season has shifted and it's once again time to rejoin the gazillion data packets that connect me with those I love.

Our little family is at an interesting, and inherently stressful, turning point in our lives. We know that something big is about to happen (nothing can happen right now that wouldn't be a huge change for us) but we don't know when and we don't know what. So, we really don't know anything except this: Derek graduates in 5 1/2 days (Saturday included) and we may, or may not, have to move. That's it, the end. Derek has been, and is, applying for jobs like crazy, looking at possible housing options, and trying to find financial support but he's also trying to focus on his finals. I'm trying to do EVERYTHING and I'm not always helpful about it, and Ethan is trying to live with two crazy adults posing as his parents while attacking Polly at random times of the day. We're coping well and we're happy, but we have our moments.

Ethan, besides dealing with all the random stress, is showing more of his personality everyday. He's so much fun! He loves to play games, blow kisses, throw things around, dump everything on the floor, run, tickle, laugh, pretty much everything. There was a while he would just walk backwards until he hit something. Then he would lean back as far as he could and throw his arms out and grab whatever was there as if he was thrown there by some invisible rubber band. That, or he would walk backwards, in circles, for ten minutes at a time. Now his favorite things are tickle fights with daddy.
There are a lot of other kids in the complex not too much older than Ethan, so I take him out as often as I can to play. The problem is that while Ethan is very people oriented (he would rather talk and play with you than toys) the other kids are very toy oriented. This leads to a scene where Ethan will go up to another toddler and try to have a conversation (or whatever a toddler version of that would be). Instead of really reacting the other toddler will try and take a toy if Ethan has one, or go somewhere to look for one if he doesn't. Ethan gets confused but not mad, and I like that he keeps trying. If the kids don't play with him he usually starts interacting with their parents instead. Public School will definitely be interesting.
He seems to get smarter everyday. Sadly, that usually means he's trying to find ways around Daddy and I telling him 'no'. I can't describe how cute he is! Oh, I love him and instead of going on and on, like I'm doing, I'll end now. When I have more time I'll take and post pictures.

Stay tuned because somethings gotta give...soon.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A Dangerous Place to Sit

If you have come to visit our little haven you know that, until recently, we had been harboring a dangerous item. Though unassuming in appearance (I did buy it some camouflage after all), it was only a matter of time before our couch turned on us.

We got the couch for free through some wonderful friends of ours. Only time, and coincidence, revealed that its possible previous life included years of abuse from college-aged boys, and it showed. Still, it was doing its job, and being tight on cash, a couch cover was the best fix for the moment. The heinous fabric and dubious stains were covered up and almost forgotten. Almost. I knew that as Ethan got bigger and more mobile the couch could prove a hazard, but I tried to be content. Finally, the time for action came. The other day we found a scratch on Ethan's arm we couldn't account for. We looked everywhere for what could have caused it. I even interrogated the cat until she was reduced to a whimpering ball of fur (to bad that part's not true). Then Derek looked under the couch to find weapons hidden in the dark that seemed related to the goedendag or morningstar. All of the support beams had fallen to the ground and each one was studded with more nails than thought necessary for an essentially peaceful piece of furniture. While Ethan took a nap Derek flipped the couch to see if he could replace the beams, or at least, remove the danger of the nails. It looked like similar repair jobs had been attempted way too many times before (the image of a cheap landlord comes to mind) and the more Derek tried to make things better the faster the couch started to fall apart.

Necessity demanded a newer, safer couch. I cannot say that I was surprised, or upset for that matter, but as these things generally do, it came at a financially inconvenient time. I won't bore you with the details of our shopping exploits; but I will tell you that, after much debate, I was able to talk Derek out of buying one from D.I. I won't lie, it was a close one. Not too long after, we found a quality couch we both liked and that fit into the low end of our budget. So, I got accent pillows! How cool is that! It's like we're grown-ups! We were even blessed with Ben and his great moving know-how that got it from Idaho Falls to here without a single blemish! Sweetness! I took a couple of pictures so I could show it off a bit. Fabulous isn't it?!

Warning: Instead of being taken to the dumpster like I'd hoped, I've been informed that our old, very dangerous, couch (maybe at no fault of Ben's or Derek's) was taken to, and accepted at, D.I. Beware!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Trying Something New

Inspired by Derek's new film blog, I've decided to try something new. While I will continue to update this blog as much as I ever have, I've also started a blog for me called "Run-off Words." Thankfully, its not biographical. Its just a simple blog where I can practice my writing skills. I would love feedback on my writing, but I understand that may be asking too much at the moment, from a blog especially. This is more of a creative outlet. I'll be posting soon so take a look, there's a link in the right column.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

No-Bake, All Bite

Thank you, Derek, for the title. :) Those of you who know me have been privy to the sad fact that I, very rarely, have suffered from injuries resulting from odd circumstances. You have been supportive and caring while laughing your heads off and telling as many people about them as possible. You know who you are. You will be glad to know that I now have another black stain on my record. As with the past, I again have been a victim of someone else's bad karma. Let me explain.

In years past I was involved in an incident, barely worth mentioning, in which I encountered an ill-tempered, furry harbinger of death and disease. I see this as a result of my standing in the way of someone else's bad karma. During a certain trip to Colorado, a squirrel was 'done in.' I was later shocked out of a pleasant after-shower experience by the body of said squirrel being dangled right outside the second-story bathroom window. A member of the guilty party was inside of my apartment during my infamous encounter some time later. Karma, apparently being confused (or worse, not inclined to differentiate but instead punish by association), came after me.

My latest stain is yet another example. For years, Momma and I have argued about the right way to make Preacher cookies. I can see the spark of recognition slowly igniting as you read this. Momma loves them hard, or 'well done.' I love them warm and gooey; a melty, sticky concoction infused with joy and only edible with a spoon. My roommates were seduced to my side by its glorious goodness. Oh yes. There is nothing like a good Preacher cookie. They're not just No-Bakes, they're euphoria. My opinions, being somewhat ridiculous, lead me to have rather high standards when I make them; and sadly, lately I've been losing my touch. The last batch I made was disappointing. This, added with the renewed desire to eat less junk food and lose weight, helped me decide to limit myself to only one or two. The rest were left for Derek. Bless his heart; it takes him forever to eat anything sweet. Cookies, that usually wouldn't last the day, sat on the counter for at least three days in the open air. When you leave Preacher cookies out like that, they become hard as cement; and it finally got to the point that Derek gave up on them. I was attempting to clear them off the counter and into a garbage bag (unheard of, tragic, and unthinkable - I know) when one, feeling a strong desire for retribution, dive-bombed off the counter and nearly cut off the end of one of my toes. It felt like a former Clogger with spike-studded military boots sauntered in just to jump on my toe.

I reacted in the classic style: grabbing my toe and hopping about the kitchen while muttering spells of small words (as if that was going to make anything better). As I calmed down and let go of my foot, I realized I was bleeding. That's right; the falling cookie had sliced a small, but deep, cut on the corner of my toe. I was bitten by a Preacher cookie. Take a moment and enjoy the irony. It took Derek a minute to realize I was serious and get something to clean the blood up and bandage my toe. What's the first thing you do after such an experience? Call your mom. So I did. She couldn't really say anything, but that's probably because she was laughing so hard. She did manage to tell me that this would never have happened if I made Preacher cookies the right way. Why? So I would know they're dangerous? Yes. I have pictures to prove it, but who wants to post a picture of their foot on their blog? Yikes.

Now, I could blame Derek for karma-dodging since he left them out, but it’s more fun to blame my mom. So, after years of arguing, battling, and general disputation; I was felled by an overly-hard Preacher cookie because of my mother's bad Preacher cookie karma.

Was that dramatic enough?

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Derek's Update

Well, Jo has been begging me (or demanding, whichever you believe) to do an update on this blog about myself since she feels I can explain better what is going on in my life than she can. Honestly, nothing much has changed for me right now. I am still in school and taking a few more credits so that I can keep working at the school as I continue searching for a job. But since everyone, including myself, thought I would be gone this semester, my job position and such was given away and I have since become a grunt where I work. But I don't mind, it takes a load off of my shoulders. I've sent out several applications and resumes and still have yet to hear back from most of the companies I applied for. All my classes are online so that if a job does pop up, we can still just pack up and leave without affecting my schooling too much. I'm not sure what else to say about myself. Um... I just had a birthday not too long ago. I turned 19... or not. I'm getting up there though. Overall, life is good and I'm basically just in the waiting process. I started my own blog to rant and rave about movies if anyone is interested. You can find the link on the right or just click here: Film Lingo.
P.S. - Jo does not beg. (Ouch, I wrote it! See, honey? There it is!)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Part 2: The Overflow

OK, so I may have gotten a little too ambitious with that last post. It was crazily crowded. Take a moment to de-clutter and recenter the mind. Deep breath in...then out. Ready for more! These are just the last two videos of Ethan's birthday. Enjoy!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Old Man Ethan

I know I'm almost two weeks late, but here it is: (insert favorite musical intro here) Ethan's birthday update! Our little boy is 1! I know he probably doesn't care at the moment, but I have to remind myself not to call him my little baby. He's not a baby anymore (sigh). He's a little boy who is thoroughly convinced he is a man. We had a little party to celebrate. Nothing big, just the three of us with some cupcakes and fun new toys to play with.

Derek and I tried to step out of our usual, camera-shy habits and took some short videos. You would think, being married to Movie Man, we would have tons of pictures and videos, but no. I just don't think about it. Hopefully we'll get better at doing this... eventually. This post is going to be huge just from the pictures scattered throughout. Enjoy!

Ethan seemed to have a good time. We got him a Mega Bloks dump-wagon and a talking/singing Fisher-Price clock (which may not have been a good idea, but at least it has an off button), and he loves them. He got cards from Grandparents, Great Grandparents, and Aunts and Uncles, which we have saved for keepsakes. Thank you! The money he got fell into his parents hands (evil chuckle), but I think we did pretty well with it. It got divided up between a bank he has in his room from Papa Rhodes and buying him some summer clothes like shorts. He will be stylin'.

In general, Ethan's doing really well. He's growing and developing as he should, if not too quickly for me. He's almost completely off formula and bottles, and he's starting to accept regular food as a not-so-bad source of nutrition. He does have a habit of bracing his legs against the table and slouching, which means he ends up looking laid back and too cool for everything.

He's walking like crazy, almost running, anywhere and everywhere he can get to. He's got his two front top and bottom teeth, and waiting for the others to cut is not enjoyable. He just started to wave bye-bye yesterday, and he laughs hysterically and claps when he's proud of something he's done. He and Polly (our cat) fight as if they were siblings; sad but true, and he's starting to try and outsmart me with everything. Thankfully, he gives good kisses and hugs to make up for it.

He loves tickle fights and has discovered yelling. In fact, that's how he communicates. Short, loud bursts of sound. He says Momma, Dadda, and he's started saying 'nana' for bananas (his favorite food), but otherwise its like the loudest Morse Code you've ever heard. He just doesn't understand why other kids don't respond as well when he tries to have a conversation with them. He's definitely more interested in talking and interacting with people than playing with toys.

I think I've covered everything possible. You can only stare at a computer screen for so long after all. If you can stand to look a little longer here are the videos:

Sunday, May 9, 2010

A mother I am, the mommy I want to be

My mother's day was wonderful. I have a loving husband and an amazing little boy. I can't describe how much I love them! I won't be too tedious in my detail, but I do have to flaunt my mother's day booty. Take that last statement any way you want to. ;)

I have always loved the TV show "Frasier." But, not having TV makes enjoying it a little difficult. Unfortunately, if I tried to watch TV on the computer, I would probably go insane and start talking to an invisible Mr. Bigglesworth. So my caring, understanding husband bought me season 11 (I always like the later seasons better)! Now I have seasons 10 and 11, just nine seasons to go!

I've also been wanting a book series for a long time that I've had a hard time finding. Its a young adult series written by Scott Westerfeld, and the first book is called 'The Uglies.' I first learned about it in one of my education classes and thought they were engaging and interesting. I'm excited to read the whole series!

Material spoiling aside, the concept of what it takes to be a good mother has become glaringly clear to me recently. Derek and I are so blessed to have amazingly good mothers. They are loving, generous, talented, smart, and everything that leaves that warm, cozy feeling coating childhood memories. I know I'm still a new mom, and I know that I will have to learn lessons of mom-hood over and over again, but I also know where I'm painfully lacking. I'm thankful to have such wonderful examples to learn from. Thank you Momma Rhodes and Momma Abbott, Ashley, Christy (who always acted like my mother), Grandma Betty, Grandma Reba, Aunt Cindy, Aunt Debbie, Aunt Catharine, Aunt Debbie, Aunt Gail, Aunt Donna, Taralyn, Janet and the other mother's in my life I'm not related to. Especially Sarah, Wendy, Vicki and Lindsey. I love ya'll and am trying to be more like you.

Mojo writes again!

I feel like I should write something. What? I have no idea; meaning that this may turn into a long, rambling and pointless post. I want to give an update about Ethan, but his birthday is on Tuesday and he turns one (Yay!), so I kind of want to wait until then. Besides, I haven't taken any new pictures yet, and let's face it, an Ethan update without them would almost be lame. Almost.

I would love for Derek to do his own update since he can articulate what's going on with him better. One thing about Derek's school: These professors are insane! I swear most people in Idaho seem to lack any sense of proportion or measurable common sense. I'll stop here before my gremlin-like, bile saturated side runs amuck. That leaves an update about me, but I have a hard time convincing myself it would be as interesting as an Ethan update. Let's give it a shot, shall we?

Going gluten-free is wonderful! I feel so much better, and my skin is almost back to its temperamental, but clear, state. It's not as big of an adjustment as I was afraid it would be. I didn't eat a whole lot of bread, and the cookbook my mom recommended is amazing! I don't feel like I've had to give up anything really. Although, a sad sigh for Milano cookies every now and again is inevitable. I'm still carrying around too much weight, but I have high hopes of shedding the excess poundage soon.

I have to say that this past year has been the most painful, and enlightening, for my vanity. I was never as beautiful as my sisters growing up. They always had, and still do, a classic, almost Romanesque, beauty that shines, especially when they smile. Comparatively, I never thought I came close. In my twenties, I came to think of myself as pretty cute. Then I lost everything I thought made me beautiful, mainly my figure and my nice skin, and yet I learned how beautiful my husband knows I am. I'm still struggling to see through his eyes, but its an education I hope to pass on to our daughters. I still talk about fitting into my clothes again, and having clear skin, but thankfully I'm no longer dependent on it for my self-esteem. I'm also making a conscious effort to stop belittling myself and my appearance. I'm hoping I can stay on this good vibe train!

I've also started to learn Yoga. Body contortion has never been a talent of mine, and I've learned I'm as flexible as a 2x4, but I still enjoy it. Maybe its the meditation or contagious feeling of calm and well being, but I always feel better after a session. Derek and I are trying to get into a new, active routine that, for me, would include Pilates, Yoga and running. Sorry Billy Blanks, I think you and I should take a little break. As for the rest of you, please stay tuned for future developments! Though it may seem like ages, know that I will always post...eventually.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Going Gluten-Free

After prayer, thought, conversations and a lot of research, I've decided to go gluten-free. If not for my mom, I wouldn't do it at all. As of now, its only a trial period, but I have a feeling I may just keep going with it. Last weekend we were able to drive up to the Boise area to visit some of Derek's family. Yay! We had a wonderful time! I saw this as not only an opportunity to see people we loved, but also as a last hurrah with the gluten-infested foods I adore. I ate a huge bacon cheeseburger, Krispy Kreme doughnuts, cookies, cake and possibly anything else I could get my hands on. I felt tired and pretty crappy the whole time, but my taste buds were experiencing some separation anxiety. On the following Monday, my detox began.

I know its been less than a week, but I must confess that I have already slipped up. After cleaning out the cabinets of most of our gluteny foods (don't worry, Derek chose what he wanted to keep for his own enjoyment) and making up gluten-free menus, I was drawn to the snack cabinet. Having already cleared everything I could eat out, moving it to another, safer location and leaving the rest of the treasure trove for Derek's leisure, I couldn't help taking a peek inside. Big mistake! What did I see? A glance of Double Stuff Oreos and Chunky Chips A'Hoy cookies. It was less than a second, but it was enough. No one here is naive enough to believe that old habits, cravings and indulgences die easily. I saw visions of cookies for the rest of the day. By nightfall I had talked Derek into eating them with me, "just this one last time." After two days of eating no gluten, I forced half a package of each kind of cookie down my throat and into my intestines. I think I have learned my lesson.

The most obvious sign of my bodily revolt is my skin. I won't go into details, but images of leapers wrapped in linen seem to me a possible relief or camouflage until I eventually heal. I feel like a child that only learns about fire by getting burned. Thankfully, its not third degree burns, just a reminder. So, I started over again. As of Wednesday April 14th, 2010, and even to this day (such a span of time, I know) I am gluten-free, and I plan on remaining so for the comprehensible future. It's too soon to tell any major differences, but I do feel more awake than I have since Ethan was born. Hopefully it just gets better from here.

Derek got me a bread machine for our anniversary and I'm so excited! There's a line of gluten-free bread mixes I can make in my wonderful machine, so I'm eating my way through them and finding ones I like. I also have a grocery guide and a great recipe book for baking (thanks mom!) that are proving to be wonderful investments. All-in-all, going gluten-free seems very possible and less torturous than previously feared. The more I think about it, the more I experience, the more I come to the realization that I can do this. As my mind becomes reconciled to this shout of affirmation, the more my body tells me I want to do this! This is definitely a step in the right direction, and that is a good feeling.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

On his own two feet

Ethan is standing by himself really well now, and he loves it. He usually laughs hysterically and waves his hands in the air when he stands up on his own. He loves walking and running around but refuses to do it without support... For now. I found him this morning making a loop around the living room using the furniture for support, side-stepping the entire way. No teeth yet, but he's got some resting just below the gum line. You can't really see them, but you can certainly feel them when he bites you. He spends a lot of time gnawing on things. It wont be long now. Anyway, I really just wanted to post some pictures that Ethan and I took the other day. But look, he's standing!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Ah the snows of Spring!

Good old Rexburg, ever the practical joker. Who else would tell us its Spring and celebrate with more snow. Its snowy days like today that I dream of a white beach with clear blue water. Hmmmmm....

Okay, daydreams aside, I just felt like posting. Ethan is taking a nap so, instead of working out, cleaning, writing a grocery list, or doing laundry (although I am one step closer, I've put it in baskets! Oh how we dream to, one day, live in a house with a washer and dryer.) I've decided to blog. Sadly, I have no clever lines, witty anecdotes or cute pictures so a quick update will have to suffice.

Ethan had tubes put in his ears last Wednesday. After having recurring ear infections, and perpetual fluid behind his ear drum we decided it was time. He went through the surgery really well. The hardest time he had was while we were in his hospital room afterward and he was trying to figure out what was going on. The nurse gave him some pain medicine and we were able to come home about an hour after the surgery. Besides the slight pain of surgery, and getting used to the tubes, Ethan is 100% better. He's back to his playful, charming and nap defiant self. He's going to have a blast when Derek's parents come to visit.

Derek is the dutiful student that he has always been. I, on the other hand, have major issues with his professors. I told him I wouldn't say another word about it, but I'll type some instead. Just a few. Just enough to say that professors here have less scruples than I had previously thought. Derek is operating the lighting board for a disaster of a play on campus. Though the play opens on Wednesday of this week, the director didn't give any direction about the lighting and lighting ques until last Thursday or Friday. After school, work and coming home around 5pm, Derek went to rehearsals around 7 Friday night, wasn't allowed to come home until 6am Saturday morning and had to go back around 9am. Guess who was livid! I could go on, and on...and on, but I'll probably get in enough trouble for writing this much, so, moving on.

I am doing well, besides my mental rants towards the Theatre Department. I'm slowly getting used to Derek not being here very often. I've realized, along side of a lot of wives, that I can do it, I just don't like it. Ethan and I are finding a routine that works for us. I'm still working out, and studying, but with the daily list of 'need to's there hasn't been much time for the 'want to's. On a good note, my arms and legs no longer resemble tree trunks so I would say I'm making progress in the weight loss department. I've cut back on my chocolate, eating a small portion every other day. And yes, the portion really is small, not just my idea of small. I can't give any specifics I'm afraid. I refuse to step on a scale or try on my old jeans, especially not my skinny jeans. Skinny jeans, what a stupid title. If you have one pair of skinny jeans doesn't it only mean that the rest are inevitably fat jeans? I've decided that after this experience all of my jeans are skinny jeans.

I've also learned from Momma that the problems with my skin may not be Psoriasis. It may be DH and associated with Celiac disease. This could be a good and a bad thing. Good: there's a way to treat it! I could take a prescription to clear up my skin, and I still have a chance of not having Celiac disease. Bad:I could have Celiac disease and would have to go gluten free. I may have to go gluten free anyway, so the DH would go in total remission. I know it wouldn't be the end of the world but I just start thinking of all the cookies and brownies I would miss. We've decided that, when we could, I would get a skin biopsy to test for DH and then we'd go from there. Right now, I wait.

So, all in all we're doing well and we're happy. A little stressed but its just one of the ups and downs of life. Derek always says that when life is really tough that just means something good is coming. Not to seem impatient, but I wish we didn't seem to be in a holding pattern. Oh look, its still snowing. I think I'll plaster pictures of tropical islands all over the apartment. Warm breezes, warm sun, warm sand, warm water! Ahhhh....Here comes that day dream again.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Strip of defiance

Have you ever known anyone to strip their clothes off in defiance? Well, let me tell you a little story. It's widely known that Ethan hates taking naps. He wouldn't sleep at night if he could make it through the day without keeling over from exhaustion. I have to admit, I was a little spoiled while he was sick because he actually took naps. Not one, but usually two! Not for 10 or 20 minutes, but for over an hour! It was amazing. I could work out, take a shower, clean a little, read, or just follow Polly's example and comfortably lounge in the rectangular spot of sunshine that would otherwise be wasted on warming the living room carpet. I enjoyed this alternate reality for far too long.

Since he's been feeling better, Ethan has slowly returned to his routine of throwing tantrums whenever I put him in his room for a nap. The last few days his screaming fits have escalated until, after over an hour of screaming, he screams some more, just more angrily. Waiting it out doesn't work, and he does not go to sleep. Today I tried for over five hours to get him to take a nap. I rocked him, played with him, tickled him, sang to him, played music, drugged him (he needed some Motrin and decongestant anyway), fed him, changed him and finally left him in there to scream (not necessarily in that order). Needless to say, he won. He did not take a nap today, and by the end of it we were both frustrated, exhausted and cranky.

The cream of the story is this. After an episode of me trying to wait him out, I decided I couldn't take anymore or I would end up bald. I went into his room and there he was, his angelic face tear stained and red with effort, emotion and fatigue. He saw me, smiled and started to laugh with the excited expectation of a captive about to be released. He was standing up facing the door, holding onto the crib bars as if he would never taste freedom again, and he was pant-less. Yes, pant-less. Lately, Ethan has gotten into a habit of taking his socks off and throwing them across the room whenever he's put into his crib and is awake enough to protest. I guess he felt the need to raise the bar. Surprised, I looked around and sure enough, his socks were across the room from the crib by the closet doors. Next to them were his pants. I wasn't sure how I was supposed to react to this so, I finally busted out laughing. I just have to say, I'm glad he still wears onesies. Otherwise, he would probably be naked, more often than not, without regard to location or etiquette. I hope and pray that this is a very short phase that doesn't reach little boy hood. In younger days I always laughed at the 'Calvin and Hobbes' comics. How foolish I was to never realize that I would end up being the mom.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Work Well Worth It

As many of you know, I spent the last two months working on the Macbeth documentary in hopes that it would be something that could get my foot into some career doors, my "white bronco" if you will. I worked pretty hard to make it look good and upon it's release to the school, I received many gracious compliments on my work. I felt that I had done a job worthwhile that fulfilled it's purpose and improved my skills. I was feeling pretty good about the whole thing. Feeling that the film was worth entering into some competitions, I submitted the documentary to the local Westwood Film Festival in hopes that it might gain some greater notice. The video was shown at the Festival yesterday (March 6th) and was well recieved. That night, the award ceremony took place. There were 4 categories:
- Best Picture
- Best Director
- Best Performance
- Best Editor
Each category would be judged by a single person who had experience in that field. Click here to read more about the judges. I was hopeful, mainly hoping to recieve the award for Best Editor. But I wasn't really expecting anything.
I ended up winning the Best Editor award as well as the Best Picture award! I was caught by complete surprise. Having not expected any awards I didn't prepare any sort of speech. So when asked to give one (twice) I stumbled through some nervous gibberish and ended up sounding pretty idiotic. Lesson learned. But I am pretty excited and feeling really pleased with how things have turned out concerning this documentary. I look forward to bringing everyone bigger and better things in the future. I now have a prepared speech that I would like to give:
I just want to thank everyone who supported me in this process and helped me develop my talents and lift me to where I currently am. I want to thank all the filmmakers, those I know and those I don't, that have taught me how to be a better filmmaker myself and how I can really bring forth good things. I want to thank Richard Clifford and John Thompson for allowing me this opportunity and providing me with the necessary tools to accomplish the task. I want to thank my wife for her loving support and patience with me as I worked almost endlessly to put this video together. I especially want to thank my Father in Heaven with blessing me with these talents and opportunities and surrounding me with people who lift me above what I can accomplish alone.

To see the film, refer to a couple posts back for a link to the video, or visit www.abbottd.com

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Its been almost 10 months since...

...Ethan became the gentle dictator. In a little over a week he'll be 10 months old. Crazy. I forget how much he's developed since 'the beginning.' As Ethan grows closer to a year old, Derek and I feel as if we're joining the ranks of our friends who have been down this road, waved back at us with a smirk and shared with each other the universal thought, "They'll learn." We're getting there, but I'm starting to realize that it makes us feel older, not smarter. Ethan still has his amazingly sweet personality, he's great at parties, and likes most everyone (especially pretty ladies I might add), but he's added something else to the mix. He's learning that he can do things on his own. He loves the freedom. He hates limitations. I foolishly thought, 'Hey! When he can do this and this on his own I'll have more time to do other things!' Ha! I realize that my time is now spent chasing him around, saying "No" as authoritatively as possible, and trying to keep him out of the danger zones. Has anyone seen Bill Cosby's stand-up routine called "Bill Cosby, Himself?" I am slowly becoming the woman he describes so accurately.

I've learned that Ethan is amazingly willful, stubborn and persistent. I wonder where he gets that from. He's also amazingly smart. If I tell him "no" (his most hated word), he then begins to try different tactics that, potentially, won't get him in trouble. For example, Ethan is not allowed to touch the computer tower, but its one of his favorite things to do. The front plating is designed to let air through so it cools the tower better. Ethan loves to suck on it and feel the air on his face. Go figure. Today, he got caught trying to do that very thing. He got in trouble and was moved away from it. We usually repeat this routine for about 10 minutes before he goes for something else he's not supposed to have. This time he decided to try a different method. Instead of touching it with his hand, which gets him in trouble, he grabbed a toy and touched the tower with that instead, and then tried to suck on it. I called his name in my warning voice. He gave me a smile and a look like, "What! I'm not touching it!"

As a general update, Ethan's growing wonderfully. He's crawling like crazy, pulling himself up to standing, and he's starting to stand on his own. And though he loves his baths, he now tries to climb out of the tub and explore the bathroom. He can open cabinets, drawers and the entertainment center; and he LOVES banging things about. Oh joy. He loves music but doesn't pay much attention to the TV unless a song is on. The only movie he'll actually watch is "George of the Jungle." I think he has a crush on Ursula because he always smiles when she comes on screen. The only attention he pays to other movies is when he's trying to destroy their cases. He knows how to feed himself, the basic idea anyway. He just has more fun playing with food instead. He loves drinking out of a cup! He grabs it with both hands, shoves the lip of the cup into his mouth, sucks, swallows, and then laughs hysterically. We've also started giving him little tastes of food from our plates. Now, every time we sit down to eat he waddles over with an open mouth, reaching hands and an expectant look. He enjoys exploring anything and everything, and he especially enjoys feeling new textures. He says 'dada' and gibbers on a bit. I've noticed that he only says 'mama' when he wants something or is upset and not feeling good. I can't tell if he knows me as 'mama', or if, to him, it just means trouble.

He had an ear infection early last month and we did the normal round of antibiotics. He seemed fine, he just wasn't sleeping well, but I got paranoid and took him in to the doctors for a check up anyway. We found out his infection didn't clear up completely and was again growing worse. He's now on his second, longer round of treatment with a different anti-biotic. I'm supposed to take him in at the end of it just to make sure all is well. The trouble with Ethan being sick is that he hardly acts any different. He's usually just as happy and wants to play just as much. Unfortunately, he's like me and never has a fever, so that doesn't help. I don't know if I'm blind, but besides being a little more tired, I never see sure signs of illness until after he's been to the doctor, starts medicine and begins to feel better. I only see it in hindsight, and that always worries me. Why do I not see it?! On a higher note, he's had a blessing and seems to be doing just fine.

He has started to eat so much more now. I usually have to feed him an entire bowl of cereal with fruit, and then a small bottle of formula. Once, he ate three 4oz baby jars of food in one sitting. Do all little boys eat this much? But thankfully, now that we're figuring out his eating needs, he's sleeping a lot better. He's even started taking naps for longer than half-an-hour! Yay! He's such a funny sleeper too. He ends up hugging his blanket under him and sleeping with his butt up in the air. I've had to start going in after he's asleep to put another blanket over him.

That's a general idea of how life is going. We're excited for the snow to melt so Ethan can run around outside on the grass. Of course, I can hardly wait to do that myself. We're slowly learning how to combat Ethan's charms, especially when he's in trouble, but I guess all parents have to do that. Through it all, Ethan is still patient with us. As a family, we continue to be happy, quiet and comfortable. We still don't know what the future will bring, or even where we'll be in a few months, but who truly does?

Now, excuse me for being the annoying parent with the virtual wallet of pictures, but we really have been trying to take more and now I want to show them off. I even had to narrow it down so I wouldn't post too many! Hopefully, this helps get mom out of trouble for not taking pictures during her visit.
Here's more photo fun:

The End.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Art Class take 3

One of the major interests of my life has always been visual art. Good art. I love looking at it, learning about it, admiring it, and sharing it; and I've always been envious of those with obvious artistic talent. My grandma Betty is a wonderful painter. My friends Anne and Karilee are students and great sources of many art mediums, and Carrie taught me the joy of it. My husband is a great sketch artist and drawer, and his mom is just as talented in painting and drawing. My mom can make anything known to crafting, beautifully, and my Aunt Cynthia could make any home gorgeous. My Aunt Debbie can do anything, and my sister Ashley has a degree in Art History. No wonder I love art!

Surrounded by all of this I often wondered if I could do any of it. I already know that I don't have the vision for decorating, or the patience for anything my mom does. I didn't have the skills for the rest of it; but if I learned, would I be any good? Good art takes appreciation, skill, mastery and talent. Do I have talent? I'm learning the answer to that question, but the good news is I finally decided to be brave enough to try! Here's what I've learned so far:

In high school I took an elective art class and learned that I couldn't draw a straight line or a round circle. In college I took a beginning art class and learned that I can't draw upside down and have no sense of proportion. At least I knew where I needed to start this time: at the very beginning. I have a habit of having high aspirations. For instance, whenever I would see an instructional art book I would pick it up and think, "Maybe I can do this. I want to do this! I'm sure I could do this." As a result, I've been lugging around a 'how to' book on portrait drawing for years. Probably not the best place to start for a beginner, but it was what I had. Guess what! It taught me proportions! I just thought that was something you could do, or couldn't. I didn't know you could learn it! So, I've been practicing with what little time and energy I can have, when I happen to have them at the same time. So far I've only practiced profiles of women, but my plan is to make it through the book. This is a scan of my first attempt of a profile portrait.

I tried to copy one of the portraits in the book but they don't look exactly the same. Of course, it would probably help if she had hair. I'm drawing this one again so I can have a comparison. Derek's teaching me about shading and, thankfully, he tells me if something is off. Hopefully, with practice and guidance I can progress. I'm excited! I'll have to keep everyone updated. Did you know Q-tips make great blenders?! I love them! And they're much better than paper blenders. Derek taught me that too.

I'll leave you with some of my charcoal adventures. I don't have a book for this so its just me messing around and having fun. I usually end up with my hands and face covered, but I love it. When Ethan's old enough not to eat it, we'll have a blast. We'll make life art.

Some other random funness:

The End.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Westwood Film Festival

Just a heads up that my documentary was accepted into the Westwood Film Festival today. The Festival will be held next Friday and Saturday (Mar. 5-6). My video will play at 7:00 P.M. on Saturday. Nominations for awards will be announced that Friday and awards will be given that Saturday. To learn more about the Festival or to purchase tickets (wink wink), click here.
To see the documentary, follow the link in the previous post.