Thursday, June 27, 2013

Chapter 6

I have started writing this post so many times. I am having a hard time putting my thoughts into words. There is just so much I want to say but I don't want to write a novel in a blog post. I like to tell a story with my writing and this story is so long. It starts over five years ago when this blog was born.

I have known all along that autoimmunity isn't something to mess with. That's why I've been writing this blog, to document my path to healing. Somewhere along the lines, the path took a sharp turn in the wrong direction. I just stopped trying. I got incredibly lazy. I caved into cravings. I ate whatever I wanted. It was a slow slide to hell. I gained so much weight. I weigh more today than I ever have. I never exercise anymore.

Why???? I wish I could answer that.

This spring I started trying again. I started working out in the mornings before work, I cut out the gluten and diary again. We were trying to get pregnant and I knew that I was in no shape for that. I struggled with that. Knowing that there was a big potential that I'd have trouble because of my health. I pushed through, making small strides each day. Five months into trying and I started to get discouraged. I started to think that maybe we should just wait until after the wedding next April. It would give me more time to get healthy. I had been spotting for a few days so I thought for sure we were out for the month. Memorial Day weekend I told B that I wanted to put it on hold. At least for now.

Three days later...


We were shocked. He was so excited. I was terrified.  I wanted so badly to be happy, but I couldn't shake this terrible feeling that this was just not going to work out. It seems like as soon as I found out, the symptoms started. Nausea, cramping/pulling in the lower abdomen, fatigue, breast tenderness. I felt pregnant. It was crazy but I loved it. It was the spotting that kept me on edge. The slightest change in it and I'd panic. Surely this was it. It was over. But then it wasn't.

At my first appointment with the OB/GYN I found myself feeling so insecure. The staff at the office kept congratulating me and my reaction was to be angry at them. How could they be so positive and excited for me when this surely wasn't even going to happen? These feelings surprised me. Why couldn't I be happy about this? B was making lists of names, I wasn't even thinking about it. I felt physically pregnant, but I didn't feel any kind of connection to it. Should you that early? I don't even know.

Based on the spotting, the nurse practitioner ordered blood work to check my HCG level. At 6 weeks the level was 1993 and then 2710. Low, and slow rising. Not a good sign. But I was within the normal range and it was rising so we held on to that. That week I had my first breakdown. Sobbing to B because I just knew something was wrong. He convinced me that I was being emotional from the hormones and I'd be fine.

At 7 weeks I had my first ultrasound. The tech had a terrible bedside manor. You could just tell that she didn't have much faith in this pregnancy either. When she finally showed me what she was seeing, it was just an empty sac with a small yolk sac. What you'd expect to see in a pregnancy of roughly 5.5 weeks. I was devastated. B didn't understand what was wrong. He saw a healthy 5.5 week pregnancy. I saw an unhealthy 7 week pregnancy. I knew my dates weren't off. I feel it when I ovulate, my boobs get sore, my body changes. I knew exactly when it had happened. But I let myself believe that I could've been wrong.

The HCG level came back at 7,000. Normal for 5.5 weeks. It could go one of two ways at this point. I tried to hold onto what little hope I had left, but the spotting had changed again. It was red and heavier and I could see tiny bits of tissue. But other women had experienced the same thing and had healthy pregnancies. I clung to this. Another ultrasound was scheduled for 10 days later. I should be 8 weeks 5 days by then. Or would it be 7 weeks? I didn't know what to tell people when they asked me how far along I was.

By the weekend I was starting to relax again and was hoping beyond all hope that I would be one of those miracle women that have healthy babies after complicated first trimesters. Deep down I knew I wouldn't be. Saturday I felt great. The spotting was almost gone and I had energy. We spent the day with friends and family being excited for the baby.

Sunday I woke up to spotting again. I shrugged it off. It wasn't out of the ordinary at this point.
By late morning I was feeling a dull ache in my lower abdomen. I ignored it.
We had been talking about seeing the doctor earlier than Friday because we had so many concerns but since I'd had such a good day on Saturday we decided to leave it.
Just before bed I went up to use the bathroom. As soon as I sat down, I passed a huge blood clot. I knew immediately what was happening. I went back downstairs and told B it was starting. He nodded. We both were resigned to this by now.

The worst of it lasted about an hour. It wasn't terribly painful, just uncomfortable. Gross, really. Eventually I was able to lay down and finally around 2am I fell asleep.

This week has been a roller coaster of emotions. The first day I was relatively calm. Denial? Probably. But I had already cried so much in the weeks and days leading up to the actual miscarriage that I didn't have anything left. We took the dog to the park, watched movies, relaxed. The second day I woke up in pain. More clots passed. The nurse practitioner had warned me about this. I went back to bed, rolled into B, and just cried. He had to go to work so I stayed home alone. I spent most of the morning in tears. By the afternoon I was ready to face it head on. I felt like I had been robbed and I was determined to not let this happen again. What had gone wrong? Why did this happen to me? Why must I always have to go through things the hard way, hadn't I already dealt with enough struggle and heartache in my life? Couldn't just this one thing be easy for me? So many questions we ask when things don't work out the way we hoped.

I'm not blaming myself for this. Miscarriages happen all the time. It's so much more common than I realized. People just don't like to talk about it that much. Understandable. It sucks. However, I can't help but wonder what if I'd been taking care of myself like I know I should be? I've suspected some thyroid issues for a while not but didn't bother making the doctor's appointment to get it checked out. I suspected low progesterone when I was spotting so much right from the beginning but I was too nervous to mention it to the doctor. Another potential complication, ignored. Well, let me tell you, it's a big wake up call. I've essentially wasted 5 years of my life when I could've been building up my health but instead I let it get worse.

I will not waste another day.

I have an appointment with my primary care physician at the end of the month and I will ask her to do every single test known to woman that could be related to fertility. I'm doing my homework, just like I did before the Crohn's diagnosis. I will walk into that office armed and ready. She won't see me coming, but I promise you this, she won't forget me. I'm back in self advocate mode. I will not rest until my health is under control and I'm confident enough to start trying again. I have a little angel in heaven now to watch over me and keep me on track.

The weekend that would've been the start of my 40 weeks was my brother's wedding. While we were getting ready, my sister took out her jewelry and asked me what she should wear. There was a ring with small purple stones in the box that matched our bridesmaids dresses. I asked her if I could wear it and she just gave it to me. I'm not sure if they are real amethyst but they are close enough for me. I was due in February. I have worn this ring every day since she gave it to me and only noticed the significance just the other day. It gives me strength.

Ever since I was little, my Grandmother and Great-Grandmother would sing Somewhere Over the Rainbow with me. They say that a beautiful and bright rainbow follows a storm and gives hope of things getting better. The rainbow is more appreciated having just experienced the storm in comparison. When a pregnancy loss has happened, the storm is supposed to be over and as we continue to cope with the loss, eventually something colorful and bright will emerge from the storm clouds. They call this the rainbow baby. I can't wait for mine.


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Catching Up

I've just been too busy to sit down and write any posts lately. I'm finally getting around to it, so here is a re-cap of the last week or so. I've been pretty good on the eating lately. I had my one month check in after starting DDP Yoga over the weekend. I'm pretty excited to report a 2" loss in most areas, my hips however are holding on to that pear shape. Only one inch lost there for now. So far, so good. Trying to keep it rolling. 


One of my favorite things to cook in the crock pot is a whole chicken. I just drop it in with a bit of water in the bottom of the pot, season with salt, pepper and paprika and let it cook for 6 hours on low. Take the chicken out, pour what's in the bottom of the pot into a sauce pan, add a couple tablespoons of better batter and stir away until you have a nice gravy. Roast some asparagus in the oven with olive oil, salt and pepper. Boil some butternut squash, mash with Earth Balance, maple syrup, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Such a delicious and EASY dinner! I made this last Wednesday. The leftovers are also nice, make another meal out of it, or chicken salad, yum!

I've been all over the place in the past week, my little brother (not really little anymore...) got married on Friday! It was a lot of fun. We had the rehearsal dinner Thursday night, then I spent Friday at a hotel getting ready with the bride and the rest of the bridal party. My new sister-in-law gave us these beautiful bracelets. That's her reflection in the heart. I love mine.


I had stocked up on snacks to have throughout the day including these Glutino bagel chips which I had never tried before. I LOVED them. So good. They don't taste gluten free at all.


Saturday night we had friends over to our place. We love to entertain and we went a little overboard with food this time. One thing about entertaining is that our friends always bring their own alcohol and anything that they don't drink, they leave with us. Neither of us drinks beer, and all of our friends DO, so it doesn't take long for our fridge to fill up with leftover beers. We need to have a "clean out our fridge" party.


I didn't get any pictures of the food we served, but it was all good stuff. I made spinach dip from scratch, it was not great, I'd try again but add more seasoning. I served it with some of those bagel chips and tortilla chips. We also had buffalo chicken dip and toasted ciabatta bread topped with tomato and mozarella (none of this was gf, nor did I eat any of it). For dessert we served a random sampling of treats from Dessert Works bakery which does offer GF options. We didn't get anything GF that day because I had bought some gf brownies that I had seen at the grocery store and hadn't tried yet. They were gross. Dry and crumbly and tasteless. How disappointing!

The rest of the weekend we relaxed and enjoyed the beautiful weather. This week I've been in training for work so I've been away from my desk. I'm still on my quest to clean up my diet so this week I'm trying to add in fresh vegetable/fruit juice. B bought a juicer a while ago after we watched Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. He used it for one week and it has been collecting dust ever since. We made smoothies in the blender for a while but I couldn't quite get into those. I didn't find a combo I liked that much. I was thinking that juicing might be an easier start, plus I've seen a lot of recipes that sounded good to me lately. This morning I tried my first one - Celery, Spinach, Kale, Granny Smith Apples, Carrots and Grapes. I only got a half of the water bottle filled with juice after all of those vegetables went into the juicer, but that's ok. It was pretty delicious and I felt so good drinking it. I added a side of eggs over easy to get my protein in, otherwise I would've been starving by lunch time.


I made it until mid-day before I started to feel really hungry and then I waited too long to eat so by the time I got around to it, I was starving. I had to run to the bank so I decided to stop by b.good for a burger on a GF bun and I also went for the fries. It hit the spot. I resisted having a treat after. I've gotten into the habit of having some kind of chocolate or something sweet after lunch and I really need to break that.


You might be thinking how does a burger and fries fit into a healthy diet? Moderation folks. You'll never find me cutting hamburgers out of my diet, especially in the summer! Speaking of which, I need to start working on my pasta salad recipe...

Monday, April 22, 2013

Moving Forward


This morning when I went out to take Roddy for a walk, I found these words which were drawn by my nine year old neighbor Emily. The past week has been life changing. I've lived through quite a few tragedies in my life. The earliest one I can clearly remember is the Oklahoma City bombing and then 9/11. I will never forget that day, I was in college and had gone to class that morning. My professor was a few minutes late and when she finally walked in her face was pale with shock. She said planes had flown into the world trade center and that there would be no classes today. I had to walk through the media center to get back to my car and there is a huge tv mounted high up on the wall. I stood in silence with dozens of other students watching the videos play over and over again. My parents were running their business in Boston at the time, directly behind the Massachusetts State House. I frantically called them to see if they were ok and hoped that they would get out of the city as soon as possible. Then there have been the shootings, Virginia Tech and the most devastating of all, Newtown.

But as terrible as all of those other incidents were, I was far enough removed from them that I could watch the news coverage, feel sad for a short time, and move on. I don't mean to sound insensitive, but I hope you understand what I mean. This time it was personal. I worked and played in Boston for all of my twenties. I stood on the sidelines of the Boston Marathon for years. I have walked down the sidewalks of Boylston Street countless times. I've spent many nights in Cambridge. And one of my close friends lives just a few streets away from the spot where the second suspect was hiding.

I'm not the type of person that outwardly shows my feelings when things that don't directly affect me happen. The victims were not my friends or family. None of my friends ran the marathon that day. I haven't even been into the city in months. I don't want to minimize the pain of those directly impacted in any way by feeling my own pain. But from the moment it happened until the moment suspect two was captured, I was glued to the news. I watched the bombs go off over and over again. I looked at the images of severely injured people. I stared at the haunting image of suspect two leaving his back pack on the ground right behind Martin Richard and his mother and sister. I texted my former roommate when I discovered that she was on lock down on Friday morning. Then again later that night when I realized that he was hiding just a few streets away. I saw the image of suspect one's ruined body in the morgue.

On Friday night as we watched the ambulance drive away with suspect two finally captured, we all breathed a sigh of relief. On Saturday we kept busy getting ready for and then attending my former roommate's wedding. It wasn't until Sunday that the weight of the week settled heavily on my chest. We got up and ready for the day and headed out for Bill to run a 5k in our town. It was a beautiful day, I took the dog with me.


As we waited at the starting line, we had a moment of silence, and then sang the national anthem in memory. I knew B would be done in 30 minutes or less, so I walked the grounds of the hospital school where the race was taking place. It was beautiful.




Then headed back to the finish line just in time to see him finish right at 30 minutes.


We grabbed lunch at Chipotle then headed home for the afternoon. While eating lunch, B put on some episodes of the new Hannibal show. I noticed that my misophonia was in full force and that I was reacting very strongly to what I was seeing. Hannibal is all about investigating gruesome murders. I couldn't take it anymore, I had to ask B to shut it off. I realized that this tragedy has impacted me on a much deeper level than I had thought. However, I am so proud to be from a city that is so strong and has pulled together so tightly during this difficult time.


Friday, April 19, 2013

Boston Strong


Boston and surrounding towns are locked down right now while authorities try to find the second suspect in the marathon bombings. The events of this week have been incredibly sad. I've tried to keep my head clear of it since thankfully none of my friends or family have been impacted, but it just starts to weigh on you. It's everywhere, you can't avoid it. It wasn't until I was listening to President Obama speak of the three people that did not survive the bombs that I finally broke down in tears. I could not believe it this morning when I woke up to find that another man had been killed and that so much had happened overnight. I hope they catch the younger brother soon. I can't stand knowing he's running loose in Massachusetts. I'll be avoiding posting anything here until this ordeal is over. I just can't think about food right now. My friend and former roommate lives in Watertown where all of this madness is happening right now. She is getting married tomorrow and I just hope this isn't ruining any of her plans. Of course I'm also worried for her and her fiance's safety but right now they are just sitting at home on lock down. I hope tomorrow can be a little escape from all of this and we can celebrate and eat (she has gf options, yay!!) and drink and dance the night away! Keep us in your thoughts and prayers. The support from around the country has been incredible. We are Boston and we are STRONG and we won't rest until this is OVER!!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Roll with it.

Today is just one of those days. I was exhausted this morning and slept through my yoga time. Because I hit the snooze button so many times, I was groggy when I finally did get out of bed. It took me forever to get ready, I forgot to put blush on (I'm pasty!) and I didn't even bother blow drying my hair. Of course the last thing I wanted to do was make myself breakfast, so I went to work and let them do it for me.


The shredded potatoes were cold and tasted awful, the eggs were fine, the bacon was ok. The food I make at home is better. Oh well.

By 11am I was starving. I only fought with myself for a short time before hitting up the vending machine.


At lunch I went home to get the crock pot set up for dinner but I knew there wasn't much in the house for lunch, so I stopped at the grocery store. It was a beautiful day outside and I was in the mood for summer food. Hot dogs and potato salad sounded like just the ticket.



And a half a handful of mini chips.


I worked my way through the rest of the afternoon while also keeping up on the latest news of the marathon bombings. I can't wait until they have the scum bag that did this in custody. They are getting close and there was even a point today where it was reported that the suspect was in custody but that turned out not to be true. Then a bomb threat was called into the Federal Court building which put a bit of a kink in the day.

After work I headed over to the gym. Wednesday night is ZUMBA night! As soon as Jyl turns on that music and I feel that beat I am so happy. But for some reason I was still just not filled with energy so I kind of fumbled my way through the workout. I even considered just giving up a few times, but I stuck it out and finished the hour. I'm definitely glad I did.

When I got home the aroma of taco chicken greeted me at the door (along with Roddy). I can't tell you how much I LOVE my crock pot. Coming home to dinner already made is the best thing ever. We dove right in.


I wish I had bought some avocados for guacamole. Next time.

Today is the 3rd anniversary of my Great Grandmother's passing. My GiGi. I actually dreamed about her last night. Maybe that's what's weighing on me today. She was so awesome. She had a good life and was almost 93 (94?) when she passed, and had lived life to the fullest. I just wanted to recognize her today. She's one of the most inspirational people in my life.


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Full Disclosure

Whenever I'm thinking of eating something I shouldn't, the thought "would you post that on the blog?" always pops into my head. Usually I just push that thought right out of the way and go on with my indulgence. Since I'm still struggling to get back on track, I thought why not use that as a tool to push me to STOP eating things I'm not supposed to eat! So with that, I decided to go with a Full Disclosure policy on the blog. Everything I eat is going up. I'm shaming myself into eating properly. Now when I find myself thinking of eating something that's bad for my health, I will ask myself "Is it really worth it?" and no matter what, it'll be posted here.

This morning started off with a lame attempt at DDP Yoga - Energy workout. I was tired, and my knees hurt, and I just wasn't into it. Plus I had takeout and frozen yogurt last night which I'm sure contributed to my exhaustion. After yoga I made breakfast. The usual for this week - two eggs over easy, chicken and apple sausage, sauteed with baby spinach.


I forgot to grab a snack for mid-morning and by 11am I was starving. I wanted so badly to go to the vending machine and get a package of mini chips ahoy cookies. SO BADLY!! I resisted. By 1pm I was losing my mind but thankfully it was finally time for lunch. I had chicken salad on a Rudi's wrap with baby spinach and a side of leftover mashed potatoes.


While I was in the kitchen getting my lunch out of the fridge, I saw a tupperware container with a note on top...


I would have been LIVID if someone ate half of my lunch and put it back in the fridge. I wonder who's lunch this is though, it would be nice to have a GF buddy on my floor.

I made it through the afternoon without getting hungry again which is good because I had to go grocery shopping on my way home. And after that I grabbed some sushi for us. Spicy tuna and a specialty roll for me. So delicious.


And for dessert:


I would say that's not a terrible day, right? The only thing I ate that had gluten is the soy sauce that came with the sushi. I didn't have any gf soy sauce left in the house. Oh well. It's a step in the right direction! On to tomorrow!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Marathon Monday

If I had written this post as planned this morning, it would be a very different post. Unfortunately, now it's taking a sad turn as we reflect on the events today at the Boston Marathon. I have witness a handful of friends cross the finish line over the years, most recently, my former roommate just a couple of years ago. My cousin and I waited right in the spot where the bombs went off today to see her finish the race. I can't even imagine being there today. Marathon Monday is usually such a fun day here in Boston and this is just incredibly tragic.

2011-04-18 15.57.32

The thing that I keep seeing on the news that gives me hope is all of the people that stayed to help after the bombs went off. It is so wonderful to see how people will pull together.

On a lighter note...

This weekend was very low key. B had been traveling for work for two weeks and just wanted to relax and that's exactly what we did. We made dinner for friends on Saturday night. This is the second time I've made this recipe that I found on Pinterest but I have yet to take a picture for you guys. It's pretty delicious though!

On the side I made red bliss garlic mashed potatoes, and sauteed zucchini and summer squash. So yummy.

Sunday I got up and did my DDP Yoga while B took Roddy to the park. Then it was a long afternoon of being lazy and watching movies/tv. Even Roddy was into it.


And checking up on blogs/twitter/facebook...


Today started my first week of working from home on Mondays. In the morning it was really exciting, I got to take my time doing my yoga, getting ready, walking the dog and making breakfast.

Two eggs over easy, Aidell's chicken and apple sausage sauteed with baby spinach. My go-to breakfast.

The thing I was most excited for was being able to do the laundry while working instead of doing it on the weekends. Then I spent the first half of the day working away. At lunch time B had asked me to go to the bank for him. So I did, because I completely forgot that it's a holiday here and the banks are closed. Then I drove around figuring out what to have for lunch. I ended up back at home with chicken salad on a Rudi's plain wrap with baby spinach and tomato. I also had a little bit of leftover mashed potatoes.


Then it was more work, more laundry and realizing the working at home is kinda boring and lonely. But waking up on Monday after the weekend and knowing you don't have to put on work clothes and go to the office is still pretty sweet. I definitely need to get some sort of desk setup. Working from the couch is just not going to be good. 

Along with DDP Yoga comes a nutrition guide. It's not far from what I already eat so I'll be trying to stick to that protocol for awhile. It's basically a balanced diet of the right kind of carbs, protein, healthy fats, no gluten, no dairy. You know the drill. Ok, that's all for now. Still can't stop thinking about the bombings today and my thoughts and prayers are going out to the victims and their families. It's just unbelievable. 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Finding Inspiration in Unexpected Places

2007 to 2013
2007 - Lowest weight as an adult                2013 - Highest weight EVER

It wasn't until college that I started having issues with my weight. I've gained and lost the same 20 pounds over and over again. But since moving in with B, I've not only gained that 20 pounds back, I packed on another THIRTY-FIVE to go with it!! Holy crap. How did that happen??? Takeout. Lots of it. And wine. And cider. French Fries. Ice cream - the real kind. Gluten. Yes. I admit it. Ugh. If you've been a long time reader of this blog you know I've been trying (and failing) to lose weight for a while now. But I'm really in a crunch, I refuse to be unhappy with myself on my wedding day and I only have a few months left before I HAVE to start dress shopping. We both decided it's time to really buckle down and get healthy.

I've mentioned a couple of times that I've been doing DDP Yoga lately. I was excited to give it a try after I'd seen this incredible video about how it changed this war veteran's life. I've been trying to do it first thing in the morning before work every day. I haven't been successful at dragging my ass out of bed early every morning, but I'm getting better at it. The workouts are great, it's not just traditional yoga and is helping me get stronger. I kid you not, a month ago every time I walked up the stairs both of my knees would make this loud clicking/popping noise. I've had trouble with my knees for years! This week I've noticed that going up stairs I can't hear anything! I thought I noticed it the other day but today I really did. So far I've lost 7 lbs as well! I also joined Team DDP Yoga to help keep me motivated and found even more inspiration there. DDP talks a lot about taking charge of your life by understanding that 10% of it is stuff that happens to you and the other 90% is all about how you react. I love this and it's something that I've really needed to hear lately. And he's a huge supporter of the GF/DF lifestyle. I can't say enough about it, really.

In addition to the yoga I'm really focusing on cleaning up my diet again. I had let it slide down a very slippery slope. I'm feeling much better after a couple of weeks back on track. I plan to use this blog as a way to track my progress, post what I'm eating, how I'm feeling, etc. This blog has always been about my journey to health and this is just the next chapter. I'm excited to share it with all of you!

Yesterday was my first day back to work after my mini-vacation. Every other Thursday I'm supposed to work in a different office but I didn't even think of that as I drove to work. Of course the minute I pulled into a parking spot I realized I was not in the right place. I hadn't eaten yet since I was running late and planned to eat at the office, so I ran in, grabbed a quick breakfast of eggs and bacon, and headed off to the other office.

As soon as I arrived I was greeted by this:

They call them munchkins, which makes them sound cute, but really they are evil little bites of poison!

Every time we're in this other building, one of the other programmers brings in a box of munchkins from Dunkin Donuts. I will admit that I have indulged in the past, but now that I'm back on the wagon, I managed to steer clear of these all day. I didn't even look at the box until late in the afternoon just so I could take a picture for the blog. Obviously the rest of the group wasted no time taking care of these.

I had forgotten to pack my lunch in the morning so I decided that I would try out a local restaurant that I heard had a gluten free menu. I looked it up online and they had a ton of options. It was a tough choice but I ended up going with the pulled pork tacos.


When I arrived my order was ready but when I checked the container the tacos were smothered with cheese! I had specifically noted on my online order NO CHEESE or SOUR CREAM! But apparently that message didn't show up on the order at the restaurant? They were really nice about it and made me a fresh batch, no cheese, no sour cream.


The tacos were decent, not the best pulled pork I've ever had, the seemingly homemade salsa on the side was pretty delicious. I would definitely go back and try something else the next time I'm at that office and find myself without a packed lunch. We have cafeterias in all of our buildings, but GF options are sparse. There is a salad bar but it's kind of slim pickings. I'm trying to be better about packing a lunch from home so I know exactly what's going into it, and it's often healthier and better tasting anyway.

Since B's been traveling this week I've been trying to come up with easy dinners for one. Last night I stopped at the grocery store on my way home and wandered aimlessly trying to decide what to have. I walked past the meat cases and there were Aidell's sausages which reminded me of a Carrots N Cake recipe that I wanted to try. I grabbed a package of chicken and apple sausage, some fresh brussels sprouts and some goat cheese and was on my way. I subbed goat cheese for the laughing cow cheese since I seem to tolerate goat cheese pretty well. I added my own herbs and spices to get that garlic and herb flavor. Unfortunately, my pan was too hot and I didn't use enough oil so the dish didn't come out exactly as I'd hoped. But it wasn't bad. I might try this again tonight with less heat, more oil, and see how it goes.

Oops... super blurry, sorry!

After dinner I enjoyed a square of dark chocolate while watching Wife Swap. I don't know why I love that show so much.


And watched some inspiring DDP videos with my pup.


And then he started doing this in his sleep:

It's scary and hilarious at the same time.

B comes home tonight!! I can't wait! Happy Friday everyone!!

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with DDP Yoga in any way. All opinions posted here are completely my own. Having said that, I definitely recommend you check it out for yourself!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Blog Party 2013

I was just checking in on my girl Angela and saw she's taking part in this Blog Party and it sounded like fun so I joined the party myself! Here's my "about me" intro post for my new friends!

My name is Jen and I'm 32 years old (33 next month.. eek). I'm engaged to my wonderful fiance Bill and we live in a small town 20 minutes southeast of Boston, Mass with our 4.5 year old Greyhound Roddy:

Bill and Roddy

I started this blog 5 years ago this month as a way to talk about my tummy troubles. A month after I started this blog I was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease and thus began my journey to healing through diet. It's been a rough road but I'm very thankful for a huge online community where I find a ton of information and support.

The past year or two posting hasn't been as frequent, I changed jobs which meant less time for blogging and taking photos. I also started slacking on my gluten and dairy free diet and didn't want to admit it here and let down my readers, so I just stayed quiet. In the past year I've gained a bunch of weight and my stomach is getting bad again and it's time to get back on track so I'm hoping to get this blog back in shape this year as well as get MYSELF back in shape. I have a wedding dress to buy afterall!

The thing I've been looking for lately is new blogs to read so I'm pretty excited for this blog party since there are tons of new links to explore. I hope you find my site useful, if not mildly entertaining, and I'm glad you stopped by!!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Wrestlemania FanAxxess and Wrestlecon


Friday morning I packed my bag and waited for A&J to arrive and then we were off on a 3.5 hour drive to fabulous New Jersey for Wrestlemania weekend!  I was looking forward to the trip, despite the fact that I'm not a huge wrestling fan. I've watched it on and off over the years, my brother used to watch it back in the day as well as an old bf a long time ago so I know who many of the guys are. Plus I just started DDP Yoga so I was really looking forward to seeing DDP. I heard he was charging a pretty penny for a photo op at Wrestlecon so I figured I'd see him from afar, but I also heard there was going to be a DDP Yoga session for free on Saturday afternoon so I was excited to try and attend.

When we arrived in NJ and met up with B at the hotel (he was already there for work) the banner above was in the lobby. We did not have tickets for the actual Wrestlemania event but we planned to go to a restaurant that was showing it to have some drinks and watch it on Sunday night. But Friday we had planned to just check in, relax and get a nice dinner. The hotel gave us a list of local restaurants and after some yelping and google mapping we decided on Wee Willie's Sports Bar & Grill. The directions from the hotel took us to a residential neighborhood but we eventually found it around the corner and quickly realized that this was not the place for us. We were looking for good food and conversation, this place was for drinking, and maybe pool, and there may have been a few leather jackets involved. Don't get me wrong, I can hang at a dive bar with the best of them, but this is not what we had in mind for a nice dinner.

So we drove around aimlessly and as we stopped at a stop light, we noticed Michael's Riverside restaurant right next to us. We quickly yelped it and read that the services is not great but the food is delicious so we decided to go for it.

Reisling? Yes, please!

I was excited to see a few gluten free options on the menu. I ended up getting the seabass/crabmeat special (not gluten or dairy free... sigh, I know) and it was so delicious. I didn't even take a picture of it because I felt so guilty about eating it.. I figured I wouldn't share it here. But might as well go for full disclosure, right?

Anyway, the salad that came prior to the dinner was awesome. It had a homemade olive oil based dressing that was very subtle but sooooo fresh and delicious. I practically licked the plate.


Saturday morning we got up bright and early to get to the Izod Center for Wrestlemania Fan Axxess. The plan was to meet as many personalities as possible. B is more a fan of the old school guys so we stuck to the Legends whereas A&J are fans of old and new WWE so they met the current Superstars. From 8-10 was the first round of signings where we got to meet Billy Gunn, Jim Ross, Tamera and Pat Patterson. At 10 there was a shift change so we started another lap around the arena to see who was on deck. They were keeping it a secret so we had no idea who we'd find. The first meeting was Sika and then we moved on to the next Legends table. As we rounded the corner we could see a long line and all of a sudden I heard Bill say... "It's DDP..." and I was like WHAT?!!! OHHHH YEAH!!! We raced ahead to get in line. While we waited, DDP would stop every now and then to talk to the crowd and was really nice and engaging, just like in his yoga videos. It wasn't too long before we were next for photos and signatures.

Since this weekend was mostly B's thing, and I was just along for the ride, he did most of the meeting and greeting, but he knew this was a big one for me so he said it was up to me to do the talking. Of course I immediately told DDP that we just started doing the yoga and he jumped up to take a picture with both of us, he had been staying behind the table and doing the lean over for single photos, but we got this gem:


Then he gave us a signature:

Jen & Bill, Do your DDP Yoga, Or Else... BANG! Diamond Dallas Page

I was so pumped!!!

After that it was time to head over to Wrestlecon to meet more legends of wrestling. This was the part B was most looking forward to since he is such a big fan of the old school wrestling. The one he really wanted to meet was Bobby "The Brain" Heenan. When we arrived, Bobby's flag was up to mark his spot but he hadn't arrived yet. They said he was supposed to be there at 2pm and it was getting close, a line was starting to form so we got in line and waited. Shortly after, Bobby and his wife appeared and got setup. Unfortunately, Bobby has had some major health setbacks and is not looking like his old self, but it was still so awesome for B to get to meet him and he got a signed copy of his new book. We both got a little choked up, it was very bittersweet, but I was so happy that B got to meet one of his wrestling heroes.


After that we wandered around and had a bunch more photo ops. DDP was there with Jake "The Snake" Robert and I was lucky enough to get this...

You know it's a party when you're grabbing Jake The Snake's ass..

and I was super excited to meet the one and only ROB VAN DAM complete with thumb moves and holding the championship belt (it's heavy!!)


We also met Kevin Nash. B had planned to talk to him about some wrestling thing but I quickly jumped in and told him how much I enjoyed his performance in Magic Mike.


Unfortunately by 3pm I was EXHAUSTED from being on my feet all day and didn't want to wait until 4:30 for DDP Yoga. I regret that now, but what can you do? I'm still pumped that I got to meet DDP. I expected to have fun this weekend, but I didn't expect it to be such an amazing time. My friend J got to meet her #1 - Christian and it was probably one of the best moments of her life, it was pretty great.