Friday, June 26, 2009

outta here!

so we're packing up and heading to NC for a wedding tomorrow! wish us luck with isaac...who...with whom we do not share fond memories of our last trip to NC. heh. but it SHOULD be a lovely wedding, and we're both guests AND hired photographer. :) that will be the only semi-complicated thing about it all...but we'll manage!

last night we had a great time at Vermilion Restaurant on was nice to dress up a bit (wow, when did jeans and heels turn into 'dressing up?') and have adult conversation, though it always turns into 'mom' conversation....which i find super humorous. but it's really inevitable! especially when these are 'moms club' and playgroup friendships!

nevertheless, it was lovely! (maybe a bit late for this mom who had to get up at 6am to start packing...but...i'd do it again...)

say a prayer for our trip, if you think of it! and have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 25, 2009


my first 'organic' dish....
recipe can be found here!
i had to do a bit of a makeover on it, to make it 100% organic, but my gosh -- it did taste amazing!

my 'cooking organic' observations can be found HERE!


in other news, my baby is growing so fast i can hardly stand it!!!
and why do i love him in his jammies so much? i think jammies are the cutest outfits cozy and comfy.

he's got a CHEWING SHOES obsession....which....isn't very organic.
actually i guess it could be...?

the fact i get when i tell him no.
half the time he laughs.
half the time he cries.
depends on his exhaustion levels...

tomorrow we take off for a wedding i'm shooting in NC!!!! all 3 of us will go -- OBVIOUSLY i will never travel to NC again w/o my baby daddy. ever.
we return on sunday and apparently i have surgery next week...? heh.

the hospital just called my cell to 'pre-register' me and i was all, "....oh right. yeah. surgery...."
blah....but i feel going about doing it.

either way -- have a great weekend!


for those of you looking for a great baby sunscreen...OR SPF in general (!!), i found it! it travels REALLY well in my purse, it's not messy, it smells lovely and it's 60 SPF!

that's all :)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

ok, ok....we're going organic!

alrighty then!
i feel inspired, really.
i can do this.
i can be healthier...while learning how to prepare better dishes for my fam...and feel better about my health.

no, we're not quite at the organic clothing, organic toilet paper, organic storage bins stage yet.
just organic foods.

it's more or less a One Year Challenge to give up as much processed food as possible and look back a year from now and see any major differences, or any reason to continue.

if you know me, you're laughing at your desk right now.
i personally am laughing too.
and my husband paid a premium for front row tickets to watch
and mom...stop laughing!

at any rate, i'll be documenting this trainwreck over HERE!
any suggestions, recipes, tips, encouragement you feel you'd like to offer....i'm all ears!

have a great wednesday!

Monday, June 22, 2009


you do realize that for both Mothers Day annnnd Fathers Day, i missed half of the entire
ACTUAL holiday? let's try to forget how i was feeling on Mothers Day...and the SAME girl who
took me out the night before THAT woozy holiday....took me out AGAIN on Fathers Day Eve. i have NO complaints AT ALL this time (it was never her fault that i had many complaints physically on Mothers Day...only myself to blame. i know.) as it was THE MOST FUN i've had in a long time.

lanier is a foodie.
allison is NOT a foodie. though...i love good food. i appreciate good wine. and find it more of a privelidge to eat posh food, not an everyday occurance. i'm learning many people DO eat fine cuisine regularly and...well...i'm freaking jealous!

given lanier's all-out STALKERAGE of Chef Cathal Armstrong from Restaurant Eve, she learned that he was putting on the EVENT OF THE YEAR, out in Rappahannock County, Virginia. from their website:

Acclaimed Chef Cathal Armstrong will prepare a Summer Solstice Farm Dinner at historic Mount Vernon Farm outside Sperryville, Virginia.

Chef Armstrong is a celebrated visionary in the buy fresh/buy local movement and creator of Alexandria’s Restaurant Eve.

Guests will spend the evening under the stars with Chef Armstrong and the providers of Rappahannock’s fresh bounty and artisanal wines.

i truly have never encountered anything so magnificent, serene, impressive, ENJOYABLE and extravagantly tasty! it was limited seating in the more insane location ever...under a tent...perfect weather...incredible wine...WE WILL BE DOING THIS AGAIN!!!!!!

THEN!!!!! lanier booked us a bed and breakfast 2 miles away from the at 11pm, we drove the CUTEST place on earth, and had a wonderful, well-rounded trip to the mountains/farms/livestock. we purchased awesome meats and organic produce directly from the farmers and i feel completely refreshed after a night away without cell reception, internet, or any television. losing track of time can sometimes be a VERY VERY good and refreshing experience....

...oh. and right. and HAPPY FATHERS DAY! :)
chad had a great time with isaac...they said they took trips down to see the airplanes take off (isaac's favorite past time) and were able to "have boy time." we did a fun little meal when i got back and it was nice to have some time to reflect on what an awesome dad i have, and what a wonderful father is to isaac!

ok! back to reality....
i feel inspired by organics now. and maybe a little inspired to cook.
for those of you out there that have grown to love eating organic....please tell me if you feel it's really worth the invested time, energy and MONEY...and what your favorite organic foods are!!!

have a great week!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

lots of activity!

thanks everybody for your kind words about the myriad of health issues i continue to experience...we're taking things one day at a time and continue to trust God's hand in our lives! i did have an appt with a neurologist yesterday who was very positive about my prognosis, and so we will mirror his optimism and continue to live in the moment, rather than all of our "worst-case" fears!

not that i have much time to wallow! things around here are always happening at rapid speeds and i will be the first to say that i feel a million times better now that chad is home. well. now that we're all home! i think isaac is excited too!

on saturday, we had the honor of hosting the portnoys again and in true morgan fashion, threw together a dinner party with a few additional friends as well! Pot Luck!!!! it was a bit crazy having 4 kids that were 2-years old and under, but we managed and had a great time!

abel and isaac watching baby einstein! a lifesaver!

abel just couldn't be left out of the adult conversation :)

chloe was such a polite little dinner guest!

i was able to finally meet Bennett in the flesh! what a precious little boy!

it's always nice to spend time with those friends!!

thanks to emily, we have documentation of isaac with some of his girlfriends, and his bud Luke (born 2 days earlier than him!) we went to a fellow playgroup-mom's house and had a wonderful time! as you can see, Luke lovingly shared his home and toys!!!

that's about all i can manage right now....isaac has decided to ditch his morning nap and is crying in his crib, so i should run! more details soon!!!


Friday, June 12, 2009

to make a short story much longer....

if you're a close friend, you may just wanna disregard this entry, as you've pretty much already heard/read what's discussed below. and if that is the case, i want to publicly thank you again for being pillars of strength for me!


as you know i had my appt with the Facial Pain specialist wednesday at Johns Hopkins....

i first need to start off by singing my praises about this doctor.
and i first need to express my gratitude to the Lord that i live within driving distance of our nations #1 hospital in the country.

i've NEVER had a doctor email me and ask me to type out my entire medical history before the appt.
i've never had anybody care to know the full picture of my facial pain.
it felt SO good to be heard.

i got there at 4pm yesterday and he had my story printed out...asked me lots of questions about my personal life and was just a REALLY great guy.
he's been working at hopkins for 32 years and solely deals with this sort of thing.

he started by reading back my typed story, asking for me to insert additional things i've recalled or add to it as we went along.
it took an hour.
he cared. validation is HUGE.

the 2nd hour consisted of him diagnosing me, which was much harder to handle.

for starters, i have three different pains that i deal with.
on the right side of my face, i have sharp electrical pains.
left side of my face, more dull, long-lasting pain.
and another part of my face hurts weirdly when i eat.
he said all three pains stood for three distinct problems.

to start, he was most concerned with the electrical shooting pain because it represents nerve damage of some sort. "neuropathic" pain.
he said that with 99% certainty, that is actually Trigeminal Neuralgia. i'm almost classically suffering from it, despite 2 other specialists ruling it out.
this was hard to hear, as this is the sort of pain that means there is a vein wrapped around my trigeminal nerve, causing it to misfire electrical shocks. this is the problem that is ultimately resolved with either:
1) drugging the heck out of me, or
2) brain surgery

i was hoping against hope that this was NOT what i have.
in addition to this stunning news, he said that most people who suffer from this (25,000 cases nationwide, annually), are 50 years old, or older.
and that the concerning part about this is that in cases where young people suffer with this, over 50% of them are a result of Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
it was at this point that i went numb and got a little dizzy. i could feel my face flush and i was in shock.

so for this actual pain, they will start me on a certain drug (Tegretol) that i've heard of. a "dirty drug" he called it. many negative side effects, BUT will "help prove to YOU and to myself that this is indeed what you have."
he said that he just needs me to take it long enough to determine IF it works. once determined, we move into long-term resolution. (drugs or surgery).

the OTHER pains, on the left side of my face are a result of nerve response to a root canal i had a year ago. apparently when nerves are cut, they react by trying to FIND the other end of the nerve that was severed. root canals cut nerves. therefore, SOME root canals result in "Neuromas" when is when the nerve turns in on itself and creates a little ball of hypersensitivity. he said this will be a lifelong pain that usually can only be treated by meds, but it never goes away.

another blow. that sent me into spiraling emotion as well. so he'll add a 2nd drug on top of Tegretol to address that pain, but not at the same time, as to confuse him on which med is actually doing the trick.

the 3rd pain is from a cracked tooth that should resolve by having it removed. the easiest of the three issues to discuss, by far.

he then showed me a slideshow and pointed out the damaged nerve and wants to have me do a 2nd MRI on my brain and cranial nerves to determine where the vein/artery lies that is inflicting damage to the nerve.


question/answer with him.

1) why take meds if i'd rather have surgery to permenantly resolve this?
he needs to put me on the meds to see that this IS in fact my problem.

2) why do a 2nd MRI?
he needs to know the MRI was done with the latest and most perfect technology.

3) how can i know if i do, in fact, have MS?
sometimes it won't manifest itself via MRI for a few years. 'no way to know at this point' if your MRI is clear. you may be fine! but over 50% of people diagnosed with this under the age of 50, ultimately do have MS.

4) when do i start the meds?
as soon as he does blood work on me to check the stability of my liver. the meds are so strong that they can actually damage organs, therefore, we must wait to see that my liver is fine. (i'm sure it probably is...)

5) how will i function on these meds? (they're epileptic drugs to slow down the nervous systems responses)
we'll start you out on pediatric doses and work your way up until you have adapted slowly.

6) i do NOT want to be medicated for life! so then what?
once we determine this is what you have and i'm sure as hell certain it is, then we can head to neurology to discuss surgical options.


i may be missing a few pieces of i'm kinda in total shock and disarray at the moment.
i've been on the phone trying to fax medical records, schedule MRIs, and prep for my JULY 2nd surgery for endometriosis through ANOTHER doctor.
i feel overwhelming and discouraged. ugh.

i'm obviously in denial, all while feeling resignation at the same time. if that makes sense.
there is nothing at this point, that i can do about the future, so i try to remind myself that God is sovereign and only gives us what we can bear.

i came home by 8pm that night and actually was fine repeating it all (a bit of a robot by that point) to chad HE was more upset than me.
and then i cried.

i'm also reminded that this is just a diagnosis based on symptoms and we have yet to PROVE it completely. however, it's difficult to deny this doctor's experience.

i've tried to talk myself into being ok with this, for the last few days. fortunately, i've been busy with isaac and other random stuff.
"our earthly bodies are fallen, i am 30, and i'm not above suffering...if this is my reality...i need to be ok with it."

it's just another reminder that we never know what the day will bring or how God will twist and turn the path we walk on....

so without getting overly dramatic about the whole ordeal. here it is.
i've cried.
i've laughed.
i've drained my emotions.
and now i sorta just ....feel.... nothing?

so we'll see. the 2nd MRI and the new meds should be more revealing, i suppose.
just pray for us! :(

i apologize for ending the week on such a bummer note!

but i'm grateful that i can still sit here and type: my life is STILL so full! :)
have a great weekend...


i was on the phone yesterday detailing this story to somebody and i turned around after hanging up and saw this:

all to say, thanks for making it to the end of this long, dragged out entry. ;)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

my life is sooo FULL!!!!!

i don't even know where to begin, which is probably why the concept of SPELLING OUT how awesome my last weekend was, proved to be too overwhelming for the last 3 days!!!


that is the first drop in the bucket :)

i would like to start off by saying that i wish everybody walked away from their college experience with the same group of girlfriends that i did. my life orbits, more or less, around these amazing women and this past weekend reminded me, YET AGAIN, why my life is overflowing. we cried...laughed...ate...drank...and though not much sleep was involved, i kept reminding myself, " can sleep when you're dead, allison." exhaustion often made me wonder if i was dying...BUT IT WAS SO WORTH IT!!!! (and so were those two rounds of antibiotics. my body has flat-out given up.)

we started the trip SO wonderfully. me, janell and carolyn had an awesome drive to jersey, and were really able to catch up. isaac did swimmingly, with carolyn in the backseat with him, until we dropped him off in philly to stay with my mama! whew.

we continued to jersey where we met at chrissy's and headed out to NYC for her bachelorette night out. i have MUCH gratitude for the girls who actually took photos. i had my camera with me and know that i snapped a few, but all of the below are thankfully provided by my girlfriends :)

thanks nikki for the pics! (and lanier!)
the bride and carolyn!

bride, adriana, me, janell!

carolyn dealing with her sushi experience...

bridal party! minus nikki. see! this is why i'm tired of being the photographer! you're never in any photographs. thank you for sacrificing that, nikki.

the next day was spa/brunch pedicure of my LIFE!

brunch was so lovely!!!

i went to college with each one of these girls and i wouldn't be the person i am today without them actively involved in my life!! I LOVE YOU GUYS!

chrissy and christin! both college roommates :)

i'm actually embarrassed over how many photos were taken of me, attached to my blackberry....i feel a new years resolution comin' on!

the wedding was over!
not many ACTUAL photos of the wedding, since we were all in it!

my adopted college friends.
lanier and julie didn't attend college with me, but my gosh....i sometimes forget that!

chrissy and janell!!! also college roomies at one point...

escorted by the bride's kid brother...oh....what coulda been, in another life.... ;)

wannabe liberty grads, once again.....honestly, the most fun ever....

lanier and chrissy!!!!! two pillars in my life...

after party at the diner. PLEASE take special note of my PLATE. full. of. cheese. fries. with. gravy. i may dry-heave right now....

the next morning we slept in and hung by the pool.
thanks julie for posting these!!!!

i really don't know how else to say it.
it was the weekend i desperately needed.
husbands i haven't seen for YEARS were there. (although mine was in CA...maybe in another 10 years we can pull this off again and chad will be able to attend...)
it was incredibly refreshing and just another reminder of why i need to daily remember to be thankful for the relationships that God has graciously and lovingly given me!!


in ISAAC news....he pulls himself up on things now! ACK! the more mobile they get, the more damage is done!! bruises everywhere! poor kid :( and he also does this dance in his high chair while eating that is HYSTERICAL! and he waits for me to do it back...then he does it again...and he'll go back and forth for the entire meal! he laaaaaughs and laughs and thinks he's SO funny...


on a FINAL note, today is my consultation with one of the doctors at johns hopkins. i am praying for the doctors to have wisdom in determining my next steps toward permanent pain relief. please PRAY that this dude gets it. whew. so i'll be gone pretty much for the rest of the day...but will hopefully have an update tomorrow!!

more soon!!!