Saturday, September 29, 2012

Early Morning Baking Buddy

One thing I really missed during the last trimester of my pregnancy was baking.  Quite frankly, I didn't have the energy before I was put on bedrest, and afterwards I sure wasn't going to risk Caylee jumping the gun just to bake!  The fact that she did jump the gun completely aside, of course lol.  So, while Caylee has been sleeping, I've been reintroducing myself to my bakeware, spices, and baking cabinets!

My first post-pregnancy projects were basic banana bread and pumpkin bread loaves.  They turned out quite nicely, but I was wanting something a little sweeter.  So, I found a recipe online for a cream cheese layer to go with pumpkin bread and gave it a go!  So far, it hasn't quite worked with the pumpkin bread--mostly it either rises to the top or mixes with the rest of the batter.  Oh well, it sure tastes good!

My next project was an amazing Blueberries and Cream Coffee Cake Pie recipe by Cleo Coyle!  She is the author of my first and favorite mystery series--The Coffeehouse Mysteries.  I've read all of them on my Kindle and loved each one!  One amazing aspect of her books is all of the scrumptious foods she describes therein--even more amazing, she includes the recipes in the back of each volume!  Out of respect, I'm not going to post the recipe for the Coffee Cake Pie here, but you can find it in her book Roast Mortem.  And yes, all of her titles are plays on aspects of coffee!  While I won't include the recipe, I will include the picture of my pie--and boy was it yummy!  I made it for Caylee's first outing to Uncle Ethan and Aunt Julie's house for a play date with Lucy, and it was quite a hit!

My other baking project was a loaf of Cinnamon Blueberry Cream Cheese Bread.  Last Saturday, I threw the recipe together myself, modifying my basic pumpkin bread recipe and combining and modifying several of the cream cheese filling recipes I had found online.  My first step, of course, was to preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Of course, I had my baking buddy on deck.  

I wasn't sure how long she'd stay asleep, so I measured out all of my dry ingredients for the bread first:
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon (next time I'm going to up that to 1 Tbsp--I wanted more cinnamon taste!)
I then measured out the ingredients for the cream cheese layer:

1 8oz package of cream cheese, microwaved for 15 seconds
1 egg
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup granulated sugar
Next, I mixed all of the cream cheese layer ingredients in my mixer until mostly smooth.  Caylee-bear woke up at that point lol.  We took a break for a diaper change and then got back to work!  I poured the cream cheese mix into a giant measuring cup with a spout and then washed out the mixer.

Once it was dry, I poured the dry bread ingredients in and used the mixer to blend them.  Next, I measured out the non-dry ingredients for the bread:
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup water

I poured all of that into my blender and mixed it together with the dry ingredients until smooth.  While that was blending, I pulled out my 9 ounces (1 1/2 small tubs) of frozen blueberries and tossed them in about 1 Tbsp of flour.  This is a trick I learned from Cleo Coyle's recipes to help absorb excess moisture from the blueberries while they bake!  Next time I might use more blueberries, but this time I carefully folded the flour-coated blueberries into the bread mix.  I definitely didn't want to smoosh them!

After that was done, I carefully poured some of the batter into my already-Pamed and floured bread pan.  I then added a layer of the cream cheese mix.  I could tell right away that the cream cheese mix was not going to layer as I had originally intended.  The blueberries make the bread batter thicker, but the cream cheese mix was especially runny.  Next time I'll refrigerate it for a bit.  This time I went ahead and added more blueberry bread mix, then cream cheese and topped it off with the remaining bread mix.

In my oven, it ended up taking 70-75 minutes to bake at 350 degrees.  The blueberries sunk, resulting in a fruit layer at the bottom, which I rather enjoyed.  The cream cheese marbled instead of layering, but it still looked pretty and tasted pretty darn good!  At least, my little brother Austin and his girlfriend Fanny both enjoyed it!  I was glad to be able to make them something yummy while they were in town, especially since they watched Caylee-bear Saturday night so Bryan and I could go on a dinner date!

All in all, it was a success even with with modifications I'll make next time.  It's so good to be baking again!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

RA and Motherhood

As I've already mentioned, to get Caylee here safely we opted for a C-section.  The upside--at least for me--was a fairly easy recovery.  Of course, never having delivered a baby vaginally, I have nothing to personally compare it to; however, the C-section recovery was about what I expected from a major abdominal procedure.  That is, the recovery was annoying, inconvenient, and somewhat painful--though of course the wonderful pain meds helped with that last bit lol.  The downside was that it has postponed my restart of my RA medications.

Even more of a downside, for the last week and a half I've been dealing with my first post-pregnancy flare, which has been a doozie.  Luckily, the prescription strength Ibuprofen from my C-section combined with my 20mg a day of prednisone seem to be keeping me at least functioning.  Of course, that's when I remember to take my middle-of-the-day Ibuprofen.  For example, I forgot today and am severely regretting it tonight.  Soon though I will be back on my once-a-day Meloxicam with the prednisone, so hopefully that combination will tide me over until I get to start the big boys.

There are a few hoops for my to jump through before I get to start the rest of my drugs back up.  First comes my MRI this week.  This is sort of like a baseline for the post-pregnancy condition of my joints.  Of course, it's also a way to measure how much damage I've managed to do by being off of my meds since November of 2010.  Should be interesting!  I also am probably going to have to get more bloodwork done--as always lol.  Of course, last week, the tests saw some slight elevations in a few areas, so I had to do a repeat on Friday.  Since I haven't heard anything this weekend, I'm assuming no further issues showed up, but I should get a phone call to confirm that either Monday or Tuesday.

After that, the next step is to get my postpartum clearance from Dr. F.  That will be next week.  I don't foresee any issues with that appointment--I seem to be pretty much healed up.  And if I haven't been taking it as easy as I should be, at least I haven't been vacuuming or lifting objects heavier than Caylee.  In other words, I haven't done anything the doc needs to hear about, unless she detects an issue on her own!  Lol.  The day Dr. F clears me, Dr. C will call in my methotrexate prescription and I'll be back to my weekly injection.  I'm not looking forward to that AT ALL, but I am looking forward to a month or so down the road when the drug reestablishes itself in my system.  At that point, hopefully I'll see some improvement!

Finally, there's my insurance company's prior approval process for my Remicade infusions.  We're billing it differently this time, which should help with the financial end of that medication.  It's amazing what you can learn about your insurance when you have the time to call and chat with people about something you read in your policy!  There shouldn't be any issue with getting approval, so we went ahead and scheduled my first infusion appointment for the week after my postpartum clearance appointment.  In around two months, I should start seeing improvement from the Remicade establishing itself in my system.

Until then, I'll keep on keeping on.  Bryan's been a big help during this flare, as always.  I'm so lucky to have him!  That said, I'm looking forward to getting this nonsense back under control.  Believe it or not, it hasn't been anywhere near under control since the Enbrel stopped working during my first year of teaching.  So, here's hoping this drug combo will do the trick!  And of course, hooray for the end of my prednisone usage FINALLY being in sight.  I hate that drug, as much as it does the job.

So anyway, that's where things stand RA-wise.  Wish me luck in regards to the MRI--unrealistic as I know it is, I'm still hoping that Dr. C tells me there hasn't been any progression!  Hey, a girl can dream, right? ;-)  For now, I'm going to go enjoy my last bit of evening with my hubby and baby girl before I head to bed.  Gnite!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Caylee's First Month!

It's crazy to me that our little girl is already one month old!  I know everyone always loves to point out how fast time goes once you're a parent, and how much a little baby changes from day to day, week to week, but it still astounds me to be living the reality of it!  Especially since the possibility was very much in question there for awhile.

The pups adore Caylee--she is THEIR baby and we are allowed to care for her lol.  They both get very vocally upset with us if she's crying and we don't fix it soon enough!  Bryan and I are more than just surviving--we're loving this whole parenthood thing so far!  He is still home on paternity leave, which we have all thoroughly enjoyed!  He's been working on household projects along with spending plenty of cuddle time with Caylee-bear.  I've been (of course) getting lots of cuddle time in too and figuring out my own system for keeping the household running and keeping up with bottle washing and laundry.  So far, it involves fewer naps than people tell me I should be taking, but I'm doing fine!  Especially since I'm now an avid coffee drinker lol.  College didn't do it, being a teacher didn't do it, but man, this motherhood thing sure did make me a coffee convert! 

So, for Caylee's First Month post, here's a rundown of what she's up to, and how our lives are operating at the moment!

Weight (as of 9/13): 10 lbs
Length (as of 9/13):  22 inches

Daily Schedule

6:30 AM:  Wake her up for first daytime bottle, generally followed by anywhere from 10 to 45 minutes of wake time and then back to sleep

10:30 AM: Second daytime bottle, generally followed by 30 to 60 minutes of wake time and then back to sleep

2:30 PM Third daytime bottle, generally followed by 30 to 60 minutes of wake time and then back to sleep

6:30 PM: Fourth daytime bottle, generally followed by bath time every 2nd to 3rd day and anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes of wake time before back to sleep

10:15 PM:  First of what I call the night bottles followed by 15 to 30 minutes of wake time and then down for bedtime

2:30 AM: Second "night" bottle, back to bed

Repeat.  Well, most days lol.  She has her fussy days, mostly due either to an interruption in her routine that makes her overly tired or a bad gas bubble.  Mostly, it's a bad gas bubble.  We now put .3 mL of simethicone gas drops in her bottles, and that seems to help!

Wake Time Activities
Listening to Mama and Dada talk
Listening to Mama sing her the ABCs and the special ABCs
Sitting in her high chair and looking out the window (she really likes windows)
Sitting in my bouncer and watching the fan and lights (she really likes fans and lights)
"Reading" books with Mama and Dada, especially the black and white picture book
Laying on my Activity Gym mat and looking at the dangling animals and the mirror
Listening to music--mostly Texas Country and Classical--while doing any of the above

Sleep Places
On someone's chest--her favorite lol
High Chair, Bouncer or Swing
Laying on the floor

The Emergency Care Clinic and ER when Daddy through his kidney stone
Aunt Julie and Uncle Ethan's house for a play date with Lucy
Aunt Alicia and Uncle Bouncer's house
Papa and Mimi's house
The yarn shop!

This weekend, Austin and Fanny are in town to visit her (and us too...kind of lol).  Gan Gan watched her one night during her week here so that Bryan and I could go have dinner at Chuy's, and tonight Austin and Fanny are letting us go to dinner again!  And possibly even breakfast tomorrow by ourselves!  Well, speaking of Caylee-bear, it's about time for her nap.  Hopefully I'll be more prompt with her two month post, and in the meantime have a couple of other posts on what all else is going on around here.  That said, it took me the better part of this week to finish this one up and get it posted, so no promises!  In the meantime, here's another picture!


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