Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Happy Holidays...or is that what terrorists say? Merry Christmas, to be safe.

December is in full swing...and I think my kids are on overload. Naughty behavior, as Santa would say, is at an all time high. I don't think Andrew realizes he is on risky ground here. Andrew has had an interesting month with his poop. For an entire week he would poop, and then smear his poop all over his room (during nap time). We were good for about 2 weeks, and then there was yesterday. Gross. We gotta kick this habit fast. I have no idea what his facination with poop is all about. Is it like play-doh? I don't know. Allie is learning her body parts, especially her nose, eyes, ears, and hair (yank). She likes to point out these features on me, and if I'm not careful I get poked in the eye or a finger up my nose. Below is the picture of the kids and I at Disneyland on Main Street.
We have been super busy making cookies and candy this year. Jake's parents flew in for the holidays and decided to make candy making a Gillette tradition. It is an all day process. Sticky all day process. I kept seeing empty candy cups....and hyper children...hmmm. I think Andrew and Allie helped a little too much in the tasting department. We were told that our street does Christmas lights 'real big'. After 3 days of decorating the outside, we looked like a drop in the bucket compared to some of our neighbors. We'll build up our supply over time...but I certainly don't want that electric bill. To break in our new house, and show off our new lights, we had an open house. Lots of our friends came over with their kids and wagons for some light viewings, drinking, and to play a little LRC (left, right, center...a fantastic money dice game). We got lots of nice compliments on the work we have done on our home. My favorite came from Alayne, who said our house felt warm and inviting. That is exactly how I like it. Below is a picture of our house decorate...kind of hard to see, but take my word for it, it looks spectacular!

This is the 'spirit' award winning bunco outfit...that I made!!

I completely forgot to do a Christmas newsletter this year, I hope this blog makes up for it.

Health news: I recently had an appointment with the transplant doctor in Los Angeles. She was super helpful and nice. She looked over my biopsy and confirmed my was worth a shot right?!? A second opinion doesn't hurt. I am still trying to find the right combo of meds that works well for me. My biggest problem is itching and lack of sleep at night. So...we are going to try Zoloft, which is an anti-depressant drug that controls the part of your brain for itching. (Don't worry, depression is not a problem...yet. If this itching doesn't stop we'll re-evaluate.) She prescribed me some Ambien for a last resort. Riframpin is a common drug used to treat PSC patients for their itching, however, it is more commonly used as an antibiotic for turberculosis. This drug will have to be a last resort, as it can do more damage to the liver. Anyhow, there is the lowdown on my medicine, exciting right?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Yup, October just came and went.

Luckily, October was a big picture month. Halloween provided many photo opportunities. This month was a busy one, of course. Jake's mom came and visited us in the middle of October. She helped us put some finishing touches on the house. I can't wait to show you some pictures. While Cindy was here we visited the pumpkin patch, it seems to be our annual tradition with Grandma G. This month also marked the start of Jake's new job as a store manager in San Bernardino. His hours are longer, as well as his commute...but he seems to be very happy managing again. His branch is already performing a thousand times better. We are very proud of him...and miss him a little too. Weekends are that much more special. My dad had open heart surgery this month to replace his aorta valve. The surgery was successful, and he is recovering nicely. The doctors would have liked to have put a pacemaker in as well, but there was just too much scarring to put it in. We are all looking forward to having a Papa with more energy! And lastly, we got our annual family photos done by our favorite photographer! Here are a few previews she gave me.
Halloween was tons of fun this year. We packed in the activities. Andrew went as Peter Pan, and Allie was Tinkerbell. The kids and I celebrated with our Stroller Strides friends, a pumpkin carving party at the Gronzo-Durkee household, a trunk or treating experience (that one we can skip next year), and of course trick or treating our street and meeting the neighbors. Our new neighborhood likes to set out firepits...I like how family oriented they are. Can't wait for Christmas, I hear that our street is rated in the top 5 for Christmas lights in Southern California. Jake and I said, 'Yikes'. Thank goodness for the new energy saving lights!
Our new house is coming along nicely. It seems we have been painting forever...but I think we are completing our projects now. We just finished our master bedroom this week. I think it is quite beautiful. Here are some before and after photos:
Health: The itching is awful...really bad. My doctor prescribed me a new medication, it is a risky one, as it can create further liver damage. The benefit has to outweigh the risk....I'm not sure if I want to take that risk just yet. I requested be put back on birth control to regulate my hormones...I have a feeling this will help my PSC issues. Probably more detail than you need to know... I'll let you know how it goes.

Monday, September 20, 2010

September September

Very soon after vacation, Jake and I came to the realization that we must pack, and we must pack fast. Moving day was fast approaching, and it turns out we have more 'stuff' than we did the last big move. (By the way....all of this packing talk means WE GOT THE HOUSE!) We moved on September 7th with the help of many friends and an awesome brother. Jake and I are still in the process of making home improvements and unpacking...both are very time consuming. We starting by repainting most of the upstairs. Then my cousin Michael flew down from San Fransisco to help us redo the kitchen and downstairs bathroom...both covered in Southwest wallpaper. Jake's parents gifted us paint, a cleaning lady, and carpet cleaning (all were complete blessings!). And lastly, Jake's parents gifted us the ever so safe pool fence...that the previous owners didn't see fit to leave. So now Allison and Andrew enjoy playing outside, and I feel really safe about it! Things are coming together (big sigh)...and someday we will be all settled in. In the meantime, the big search for the box that contains Jake's ties continues!
Here is Andrew and Allie helping with the move.
The rest of the house photos are all 'before' photos.

Andrew just celebrated his 3rd birthday on September 13. We went to Disneyland for the day and met up with his BFF Dougie. Andrew is finally tall enough to ride on the Autotopia cars and Matterhorn! Yes indeedy...Andrew rode his first roller coaster, and he LIKED it! I was surprised. Allie and Andrew are adjusting to the move. We are deperately trying to reestablish routines and new rules...without them, my kiddos have been a bit naughty. They are adjusting more and more everyday.

Towards the end of August, we went to Bakersfield to celebrate Grandma Marj's 90th and Papa Chuck's 80th birthday...I included a few photos from that too!

Next blog, I'm going to put in "Our Great House Changes"...and there will be plenty.

Health news: I requested blood work due to increased itching (which I also refer to as rip off my skin itching), and it indicated my bilirubin level was elevated, but all other levels were at a stand still...which is good. Not much news now. Thank goodness.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Vacations are never long enough...

The photos will have to come first this is just too much work to move all of the photos down. And we'll have to work backward on our vacation. These are photos of us on the Truckee River.

Andrew and I are fist pumping in Lake Tahoe.

We spent one evening roller skating at the Northstar Village.

We are playing along the shoreline of North Lake Tahoe.

We started our vacation lounging by the pools!

These are the photos from Twin Lakes, near Bridgeport, Ca.

Hi family and friends. We are back from vacation. We waited for it for so long, and then it has come and gone too fast. Our vacation started in Bridgeport, Ca. There is nothing to fancy about this place, you'd miss it if you blinked. However, Bridgeport is the closest town to Twin Lakes. Now Twin Lakes is a sight to behold. We met up with some of my Stroller Stride friends, who were camping there for a couple of days. While we were there, we played at the lake and went on a hike to the waterfall. After two days we were on our way to Northstar at Lake Tahoe. We met up with Jake's parents, brother, and sister in law. Jake's parents rented a beautiful house! It was an upgrade from Bridgeport to say the least. We spent the week lounging by the pool and spa, going to the lake, a boat ride, roller skating, and rafting down the Truckee River. Jake and I even got a much needed date night out while Papa and Amma watched the kids. Lake Tahoe is absolutely amazing. One of the most beautiful places I have ever seen with perfect weather to match. It was such a great week of vacation...well, except for the first night...
Upon arrival, Jake, his parents, and brother went out to the grocery store to stock up for the week. They came home with enough food to feed 8+ people for a whole week. TONS of food. Well, someone forgot to lock the sliding glass door that night. During the middle of the night, a bear came into the house and ate ALL of the food (except for the diet Pepsi because that stuff is nasty). The bear polished off three tubs of ice cream, three pounds of ground beef, all of the hamburger patties, and nearly all of the dry foods. What a beast! He didn't leave a scratch on the doors or refridgerator...but he did leave all of the doors open, which defrosted everything. We locked the doors the next night.
The kids are doing great. Andrew is using 'please' and 'thank you' pretty regularly. However, he believes that if 'please' is used, it will surely happen for him. Ex: "Mom, can I please have a chocolate mint?" "No, it is 9 o'clock in the morning" "But I said puuuuwweeeeesssseeee". Allison wants what Andrew has. This just means we have fights by the minute over toys. If I could bottle up all of the tears that flow over here I could save on my water bill.

Today we are anxiously awaiting the arrival of our next nephew. Betty is at the hospital, and as of now is 7cm dialated. We plan on meeting the kiddo tomorrow!

Health news: I'm good to go!

House news: Well, this one may be a bit longer than health news...although it could have easily affected my health news. House buying is for people who have patience, or crazy people. One of the two. Jake and I are currently working on our 3rd home the first two just didn't work out for us. We are suppose to close escrow on the 12th of August. Not going to happen. However, the inspection, appraisal, and termite inspection all came back good! The former owners jacked the detachable pool fence...which I think is SO wrong, but there is nothing we can do about that. The most recent issue that we came across that caused the delay in the close of escrow was the fact that the seller is from Korea. She is a foreign owner which creates a whole circus of IRS issues if the house is sold over a certain amount. Good news: The bank decided to drop the amount of money we are going to pay in order to avoid a huge IRS penalty. So...we saved nearly $10,000. Amen, now we can get that detachable pool fence. We are near the end. Everyone knock on wood.

Monday, June 21, 2010

And now it is summer...

Where did the time go? I am genuinely shocked every time I start off my blog with 'where did the time go?' No, really, what happened to Spring? Our family has been quite busy. We just celebrated Jacob's birthday and Father's day (on the same day). Jacob loves to remind me that he is 6 months younger than I am, and we'll only be the same age for 6 months. Something about robbing a cradle... The kids and I are so lucky to have such a devoted and involved parent/ husband.
The kids and I visited Grandma and Papa Gillette in Texas the end of May. The visit was fantastic, the airplane ride was a nightmare. All together, 8 people said they would pray for me, and one prayer card was passed up to me. Never again... until they are older. We are looking forward to another visit on our family vacation in North Lake Tahoe towards the end of July. I can't wait!!!
Jacob is busting it out at Wells Fargo. If anyone was wondering, this month he had several baseball games to attend, as well as a trip to the zoo. It can be tough, we are just grateful he has a job.

I have been super busy with Stroller Strides. I organize the community and charity events. We just wrapped up the Relay for Life event. It was a 24 hour relay in order to raise money for the American Cancer Society. My team raised over $2,500. My mom group is obviously amazing! Last weekend we had our American Liver Foundation Garage Sale. We collected lots of great stuff and raised $750... in 4 hours might I add. The Liver Walk is this Saturday in Newport beach. I really enjoy taking the family out...especially to the beach!

Andrew is developing a very strong memory. Everyday he asks me if we are going to Disneyland. Nearly everyday I say 'No'. He quickly replies with 'Please, mommy'. I say no again, then he says, 'Fine, can we go to Target then'. Ah....yes, now I know this is my kid. He may look exactly like Jacob, but the love for Target comes from ME! Allison is now officially out of control. She is all over the place. She likes to stand on objects that give you a mini heart attack (rocking chair, toys with wheels, picnic tables, dining room tables, etc). She understands 'No', but she also know how to work us over with a smile, turns, and then does what she wants. Maybe I have been putting off time outs because she is my little girl...but that is quickly wearing off.

House Hunt News: dream home was a no go. They had liens on top of liens...and no intention to pay. That home with probably go into foreclosure. I was bummed, but I also clearly realize that if it wasn't meant to be, it just wasn't meant to be. We have enlisted the help of a friend who is a realtor and began house hunting all over. On our 8th house, we found one that 'felt like a home'. We submitted an offer this morning. It is a short sale (arg...I know), but the listing agent said she would put our offer through to the bank and immediately take the house off the market. Now we wait. Again. Round 3. Third times a charm...right?

Health: I'm fine.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I can't believe it is already middle of May...

So I accidentally forgot to blog in April. Time flies when you're having fun right?...or running after two munchkins. We've been busy. In April we celebrated Easter at my parent's house. Matt, Betty, Matty, Joe, and Maryann joined us for a feast that my mom prepared. Yum! The kids loved finding eggs, and Andrew is getting pretty good at it too! The week before Easter we spent the weekend in Anza Borrego...the desert. It was hot, but nice. The kids loved playing in the dirt, going on hikes, and visiting Grandma and Grandpa's trailer. I forgot to take my camera, so I have no pictures. But I will tell you, it was a beautiful desert in bloom.

May has been a busy month. Last week I took the kids to the San Diego Zoo with some of my Stroller Stride mama friends. Andrew was fascinated with the snakes. We spent tons of time walking along the reptile tanks. We enjoyed seeing the pandas, lions, bears, sea otters, monkeys, and everything else packed into that zoo. And I got a great workout pushing that double stroller up and down the hills. Yesterday we went to Disneyland to celebrate Allison's first birthday. We had a good time there, we always do. Allie really enjoyed Small World. Kids are wide awake on that ride, I always get very sleepy. And today we celebrated her actual birthday with some cake and neighbor friends. I can't believe my baby is growing up so darn fast.

Andrew has started with every parent's dreaded word...'Why?' At first I would try to explain why....and now I am my own parents when I say 'Because I said so!' He is such a good boy (for the most part). He loves his sister (for the most part). And he listens so well (for the most part). Allie is now attempting sprints across the living room. She is looking a little bruised up...but she is really building up some speed. She is now able to snatch a toy from Andrew in the tv room, run, and make it all the way past the dining room before Andrew catches her. Impressive. The kids and I will be flying out to Texas on Sunday to visit grandma and grandpa Gillette. I'll be taking pictures to post here next month! Prayers for a quiet and safe flight would be appreciated, with emphasis on the quiet.

Jake is working hard, as usual. Wells Fargo has bought combining the banks has finally finished this month. He has been working many late nights. To say 'thanks', his boss got us a hotel room in LA for Friday night, and a dinner with his coworkers. An overnight trip with NO kids!!!!!!! Thank you Grandma and Grandpa Brewer for babysitting!!! I am busy fundraising for the Relay for Life walk. We are walking it May 22 with our Stroller Strides team. AND we are preparing for the Liver Walk on June 26th. Busy, busy, busy.

House news: Arg. The bank gave us their counter offer. They asked for more money (of course) and that a lein on the house be taken care of. A lein?!? What lein?!? The IRS has a lein on the house from an inheritance tax for $7,000. The sellers must take care of the lein before the house can be sold. We countered the bank asking them to pay it...we shall see. I doubt they will pay it, but at least it gives the sellers a little more time to figure this out before we open escrow.... IF we open escrow. Which is why I started with ....arg.

Health: I went in for blood tests in April, my liver levels were rising and I was feeling super itchy. I had my blood tests retaken a week later and they went down, which means another ERCP was not necessary. That is good. The doctor thinks I may have had blockage and it passed on it's own. I do feel better. I still itch like a mad woman. But as long as I'm staying out of the hospital, all is well.