Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sounders Night

Have I mentioned Bill's brother is a coach for the Seattle Sounders? Here is Coach before the game with his boy.
It was a gorgeous day in Seattle. We got to be on the field before the game started. This is me with Sarah and Maggie.

Maggie got a Sounders scarf airbrushed on her leg. She was very into this! Tanner couldn't wait his turn. Look at him already lifting up his shorts - he was so ready.
But, of course, when Maggie sees me taking her picture she can't smile. But, even when she is trying to make sure she doesn't smile - she still can't help being beautiful.

Here is the final product!

We were in club seats (cushy) and near the evidently "nicer food area". But, unfortunately we weren't all together - therefore, no during-the-game photos.

Afterward, we went to the"Green Loft" with the players, owners and families. They had great appetizers and everyone got a chance to visit. Yes, we saw Drew Carey and crew. All the kids played together and had a ball. It was very fun!
Afterward, we walked the field again. Note that Maggie is now in her PJs. That girl never stopped running!

The turf is surprising soft.

Molli and Sarah.

Great night - thanks, Tom and Molli!

Thursday, May 28, 2009


I know I've shared with many of you that my Grandpa has not been well. He has been diagnosed with emphysema, then there was talk of lung cancer. We now have a new diagnosis: Angioimmunoblastic T-Cell Lymphoma. And I thought Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) was a mouthful!

The good news: The steroids he is on are already reducing the swelling in his hands and feet as well as several of the lymph nodes in his neck and under his arm. It is also helping bring his appetite back.

He begins chemo next week. The treatment won't cause him to lose his hair and he won't have any nausea. He'll get the chemo through a port for four days and only on the fifth day will he have to go to the hospital to receive the final treatment. The chemo will be on three week cycles (one week of treatment - the other two off and then starting again).

The other EXCELLENT news is that Gramps hasn't drank or smoked since he first went to the hospital (about six weeks ago). I honestly didn't know if we'd ever see this day, so as hard as it is to have him not feeling well, we are definitely happy to have him alcohol and tobacco free. This will certainly help him through his treatment!

The bad news: This is a rare, more aggressive lymphoma and his prognosis is approximately two years. While the chemo won't make him sick as in vomiting, it can have more serious implications. One of the drugs can cause heart issues, so he'll be under close monitoring. They'll also be watching him for fatigue, as sepsis is another potential.

His oncologist - Dr. Linli Xuan of Vista Oncology has been excellent. I have been very impressed with how dedicated she has been to my grandparents. I am the back-up contact and she has called me more than once if she can't get in touch with my Grandma.

Please hold my Grandpa and my Grandma, his primary caregiver, in your thoughts and prayers. We are all praying he'll be responsive to the chemo. I'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Honey Wheat Pizza Dough

Our new favorite thing lately is making homemade pizza. It is so easy. I just throw ingredients in the breadmaker in the morning and when I come home from work it is ready to roll out for toppings. It is much cheaper than takeout and definitely healthier!

I was excited when I saw Devin Alexander posted a new recipe for a healthy wheat pizza dough! Click here for her recent newsletter or here is the recipe:

Homemade Honey Wheat Pizza Dough

2/3 c. + 2 tsp. warm water + extra, if neede
d1-1/2 tsp. instant dry yeast
1-1/2 tsp. honey
2/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1-1/3 c. unbleached, all-purpose flour

1 tsp. salt
olive oil spray

In a small bowl, mix water, yeast and honey. Set aside.
To a food processor fitted with a chopping blade (this can be done by hand, but requires a lot of kneading), add the flours and salt. When the yeast mixture starts to bubble (if it doesn’t bubble, yeast is most likely spoiled and dough will not rise), pour it into the food processor and process it until the dough forms a ball that is smooth and slightly sticky to touch. [Here's where the breadmaker makes this easy! - Courtney]. If dough does not stick together, add a teaspoon of water at a time and reprocess until it sticks. If it’s too sticky, add a tablespoon of flour at a time and reprocess until it is slightly dry, but forms a ball. Knead it by hand a couple of times on a clean, flat, lightly floured surface.

Lightly mist a large bowl with spray. Place dough in the bowl and lightly spray it. Cover dough with plastic wrap draped directly over it then with a lint-free kitchen towel. Set dough aside and allow it to rise in a warm place for approximately 1-1/2 to 2 hours (it should double in size). reheat the oven to 475 degrees.

When the dough has doubled in size, remove the dough from bowl and gently stretch it to begin to form a flat circle (do not knead it at this point or overwork it or it will become tough and won’t stretch). Then lightly flour a clean, flat work surface and continue to flatten the dough by evenly pressing it with your fingers. When it is close to 13-inches in diameter, transfer it a pizza peel lightly sprinkled with corn meal. Do not worry if the dough tears, simply patch it with dough from a thicker area. Dough should be thin and even throughout. Spoon the sauce onto the center of the dough then spread it evenly to cover all but the outer 1-inch diameter of the dough. Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the sauce. Then add your favorite toppings evenly over that. Using the pizza peel, transfer the pizza to the pizza stone and cook it until the cheese melts and dough is lightly crisped, about 8 minutes. Remove the pizza from the oven and allow it to cool for 5 minutes. Then transfer it to a cutting board and slice it into 8 slices using a pizza wheel or sharp knife and serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings. Each serving has (dough only): 230 calories, 8 g protein, 47 g carbohydrates, 1 g fat, 0 g sat. fat, 4 g fiber, 582 mg sodium

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Doggy 9-1-1

What a week.

Bill was out of town Tuesday through Thursday. I always miss him when he's gone, but I'm an independent gal. I do alright. Or so I thought.

Tuesday morning as Bill was literally getting ready to leave, we heard a huge yelp from the other room. We both ran and found Annie shaking, very stiff, shaking slightly, pacing, licking her leg and acting very strange. We didn't know if she was having a seizure or what. Bill said she had done the same thing the other night. But when I got home, she seemed OK. I was very worried. Our old girl is 14 now and I didn't know if this would be her final deal-breaker.

Went to the vet that morning and she didn't have many answers. Annie has had a high white blood cell count for three years. The kind of count that almost always means cancer. Truly, the docs have been surprised when we bring her in year after year, symptom-free. So, the first thought was again - the blood work. Maybe this is brain cancer, they thought. Not much to do for now, just keep watching her. I took her to Fred and Francie's for the rest of the day, just so they could keep an eye on her. She had no episodes all day.

I picked her up that evening and she seemed fine. About 9:15 p.m., I went in to bring our now 8-month-old Libby in from outside and her paws were all muddy. I put her in the garage instead and not even 15 minutes later, let her in. Right in the middle of the garage floor was an empty box of D-Con. No, I'm not kidding.

Fortunately, we have a really fantastic vet, Mountain View, that allows established patients to call a pager for after hours emergencies. Within minutes, I was connected with Dr. Vicky Smith, the same vet we'd seen that morning, and who happened to be the one on pager-duty that night. She instructed me to feed Libby two tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide to get her to vomit and call her back.

OK, this task is easier said than done. Got the first tablespoon in alright. Second one - yeah right. Libby wanted nothing to do with me. The girl who just fed her nasty, bubbling yuck that was making her stomach feel awful was coming for her again. As soon as I'd grab her with one hand, holding the teaspoon of peroxide in the other, she'd wriggle away. I had no choice - I needed help.

I went next door to our next door neighbor's house. The house was dark - I felt awful. I quietly knocked and Casey appeared and said he'd be right over. Two extra hands did the trick. Thanked Casey. Called Dr. Smith back and she asked if Libby had emptied her entire stomach contents. Well, it sure seemed so. Dr. Smith said there was only one way to make sure - do an active charcoal treatment. She said it was "messy, but effective" and she'd meet me at the clinic in 15 minutes. I went to get Libby and Annie started having another episode. Her head was bent down, back arched and she was licking her leg. Oh my gosh - when will this end?

Fast forward to 10:45 p.m. Libby had her messy, gooey and very black activated charcoal down her throat. She had it everywhere and it was on me too. We were on our way home. I put her in her kennel, said a little prayer she wouldn't throw up that night and went to bed. Or so I thought. Annie had a very difficult night - I was up with her several times.

Took Annie to the vet the next day so they could do X-rays. They kept her all day in a pen in the center of the clinic so they could watch her. She had no episodes all day. They referred me to a veterinary neurologist in Tacoma (just ignore this my non-pet lover readers - I know you think I'm insane).

Went to the Tacoma vet on Thursday morning and my friend Lynn came with me for moral support (oh, thank you, thank you, my dear friend). I showed Dr. Demuth the videos of Annie's episodes and he did a physical exam. He was pretty confident it was a bulging disk and not cancer. He said an MRI would confirm and surgery would cure. But, that is a very expensive and risky option for a 14-year-old. He said we could also treat with pain relievers and muscle relaxers when she has flare-ups and also showed us how to massage her neck when it occurs. He warned that it might sound crazy, but a very helpful treatment is also acupuncture (I know, I know!). So, that's what we'll be doing. He couldn't believe she was 14 and even asked if I knew for sure. He said she is incredibly healthy otherwise and was hopeful we could get past this. The meds have helped and we're working to schedule time with the acupuncurist. You know I'll be blogging that!

Bill got home Thursday night and Friday we delivered layoff notices at work. I normally don't mention anything about work on here. Being in HR, there's usually not much I can share anyway. But, I will say - that was one of the hardest days I've had at work in a long time. It is so hard to let people go who have great performance and have done nothing wrong.

Saturday we went on a beautiful bike ride to Woodard Bay and I took a long afternoon nap. It's now Sunday afternoon and I just made Smitten Kitchen's Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Sour Cream cake. It looked and smelled good and hopefully it will be tasty. But, it is not for us. It is for Libby's helper Tuesday night - next door neighbor, Casey.

Hard week and so glad it is Sunday. Amen.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Shark Boy and Lava Girl

I wasn't much looking forward to Mother's Day weekend as I already posted. But, we ended up having Tanner & Maggie Friday and Saturday night. They were a welcome distraction. We had a grand time.

Earlier that week, Tanner told his Mom, "I don't like that Bill and Courtney got married." His Mom asked, "Why?" Tanner said, "Cause we don't get to have sleepovers anymore." When Molli told him they were spending the night this weekend, he packed his backpack right away! It was a stressful week at work, so it was nice to look forward to someone being so excited to spend time with us!

First night, we made homemade pizza. They enjoyed eating as I put it together. Tanner liked the pepperoni (Maggie said "too hot") and each ate the raw veggies as I cut them up. Maggie enjoyed the tomato sauce best of all and ate half the can before the pizza was even done. They were really looking forward to a treat after dinner. We didn't have anything that exciting, so Uncle Bill made a big deal out of serving them fat-free pudding. We jazzed it up with Sprinkles and mini M&Ms and they thought it was super cool!

Something they always want to do - both of them - is put "clips" in my hair. They think it is loads of fun and they get really into it. Here is Magster working on the back.

Tanner coming at me with a clip (Yes, this does get a little frightening at times).

The lovely "do." Do you have a special event coming up? This lovely duo does in-home appointments. I'm sure we could arrange something!

The next day we went out to breakfast, ran errands and ended up downtown where we took them to the Farmer's Market and they got gingerbread cookies.

They had to wait until we got home to eat them. They were very excited.

After cookies, the three of us (me too) took naps. Then, Maggie helped me clean up inside and Tanner went riding in the mud with Uncle Bill. He was so excited about how muddy he got. We were sure to tell him over and over, "WOW, YOU ARE SO MUDDY! I'VE NEVER SEEN SO MUCH MUD!" Yeah, look closely...

It was super fun when "Baby Carson" came to visit!
Carson loooves Libby and was showing Tanner where Libby drinks.

Such a little pumpkin.

Daddy and Carson.

S'mores after dinner was a huge deal. Of course, we all got sticky marshmallow everywhere. Part of the fun!

That night we had our baths and showers and laid up in our bed and watched Disney's Shark Boy and Lava Girl. They both really enjoyed it. I ended up falling asleep and kept them up much later than we'd intended. Oops. Bad Aunt.

When Tanner and Maggie stay here they each sleep in separate rooms which they've donned "Tanner's Room" and "Maggie's Room". We asked them, "What if one day a baby comes to live with us?" Tanner said, "It's not sleeping in my room, it can sleep on the grass!" Yes, if that day comes, I think that will be very interesting. But, for now they get to be #1 when they are here.

We had a great time. We love you, guys!

Shark Boy and Uncle Bill
Lava Girl and Aunt Courtney
Here are some videos from the weekend. The first one is just cute hearing Maggie talk. Wish I could flip this one, sorry you'll have to turn your head.

Thursday, May 7, 2009


It is almost Mother's Day - so hard for me. I know many of you don't know much about ALS - the dreadful disease that took my Mom's life so quickly almost two years ago. I just watched this video of a local woman diagnosed with ALS. Wow, this was hard to watch. Seeing her hand that she can't use well that looks like my Mom's did. Then, there are the videos of her talking. I'm sitting here with tears still on my face. So difficult to watch.

Someone recently was telling me about how people "just need to get over it" referencing grieving over the loss of their loved one who'd passed some time ago. They weren't even talking about me, but you know what? I'll never "get over it" myself. I have plenty of good days, many great days, but it is always there. I can't imagine I'll ever get over the loss of my Mom.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Gym Night

I am not one of those self-motivated gals. When a friend recently asked if I wanted to join her and another girlfriend to meet at the gym a couple of nights a week I was all for it. 'Cause for nights like tonight, if we hadn't had a deal, I never would have went.

Tonight, I passed Bill on the way home on his bike. When I got home I went in our bedroom to get changed, opened up the cupboard where my workout pants are and there is a huge spider sitting right there in front of the stack. I just knew he was going to dart inside one of the pairs of pants. I turned and grabbed a Kleenex, went in for the kill and realized... oh, this is a two-Kleenexer. I grabbed a few more and mushed the spider with my wad o'tissue as spider guts then spurted all over two pairs of my pants. SICK! Into the laundry basket they went. I put on a pair of pants spared from the gore and went to make a quick sandwich, stoping to letting the dogs out first. But, then I saw the dip Bill bought at the Farmer's Market. Creamy garlic salsa dip, oh my. Now, doesn't that sound like a great pre-workout snack? Yeah, right. So, I have some chips 'n dip and check e-mail and such. It is already time to go, so I go to bring in the dogs and realize oh... maybe that dip was a mistake.

I go to open the back door and I see Libby. The first thing I see is that her white paws are brown. As I look closer, I see the mud caked all over her muzzle. I reach out to touch her and I realize how bad it is when I get mud smeared all over my hand and up my arm. Grrr....

Quick phone call to Sara to warn her I'm running late (secretly hoping she'll say - well, actually let's just cancel). Throw muddy dog in the bathtub. I had grabbed my camera somewhere during the middle of all this, but was too busy until halfway through when I realized I hadn't snapped a pic. The black fur does not do this justice, but at least it captures the "Uh-oh, I'm a bad dog face."

Long story short, I actually made it to the gym! Oh, how I need the accountability!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Puppy Gardening

Take one seven plus month old pup...

Add some pretty blossoming trees.

And you get this.
Did you need a closer look? This was a lovely Japanese maple, by the way.

How about this one?

And the close-up of this poor shrub's destruction.

Frustrating! Our friends with a new golden retriever are experiencing the same thing. UGH! We realized it was time to fight back!
About $80.00 later at Lowe's...

We purchased versions of fencing and netting to try to find what would work best to protect what life we had left in our backyard.

Take that!!!! We're going to give our greenery a fighting chance! Unattractive as it may be.

Just in time for our re-finance. Lovely, huh? Mr. Appraiser, please pay ye no mind to the netting covering every living thing in our backyard!

We'll let you know how it goes!

By the way, all you horticulturists... Should we prune back some of those jagged, chewed off stalks of tree trunks or let them be?

Welcome to the Gap!

Our nephew looooved this headset. And we loved watching him run around with it.


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