Monday, March 25, 2013

10 Year Reunion

This past Saturday was my 10 year high school reunion.  I'm still trying to figure out how the hell ten years went by so quickly!  That said, it was still a ton of fun!  While Facebook has allowed me to keep in internet touch with many of my classmates, the two I've stayed closest with in real life are Kim and Victoria.  The three of us made plans 6 months ago for them to come into town for the reunion--and of course, we were taking our hubbies too!  Even if they weren't as excited as the three of us lol.

In the days before the reunion, as I was playing with Caylee and cleaning house, I was thinking about the Kristen of ten years ago.  It's safe to say that quite a bit has changed!  I've been told I'm still as upbeat and smiley as ever, and I'd like to think that's true.  I'd like to think that I still try to treat people with the same friendliness and acceptance as I did ten years ago.  That said, I'm much more comfortable in my own skin now, even than I was as a high school senior.  My beliefs have changed quite a bit, through an interesting and sometimes mentally exhausting journey.  Dealing with chronic illness has changed many of my assumptions of the way my life would go, but I've learned a new appreciation for every experience I've had and for every ability I still possess.  My tolerance for manipulative and catty people is so much lower than it was--or maybe it's just that I'm better at recognizing that behavior in others and avoiding including them in my life.  It was an interesting internal reflection, and it was entertaining, retracing my steps during the last ten years and seeing how they've led me to today.

Anyway, on Saturday the six of us loaded up and headed to Live!@BayouPlace and had an absolute blast!  It was a great venue--lots of space and good music from our high school days and today--and the food was catered by Chuy's!  Our tickets got us two free drinks a piece (^_^)  and there was also a photo booth AND a green screen photo room!

It was wonderful, and yet surreal, seeing everyone again.  With a few exceptions, we all look pretty much the same, with only slight differences.  I saw Danielle, a friend whom I've known since kindergarten, but haven't actually seen in ten years.  We had a blast together for most of the night.  She is still such a sweet, bubbly person--it's good to know that some things never change.

I got to catch up with friends who meant so much to me during my high school tenure, and heck, some that I've known since the elementary years.  It was even fun seeing folks with whom I  wasn't particularly close.  I learned so much from all of them: lessons about friendship, accepting people for who they are, and how to weather less than ideal social interactions.  From a couple in particular, I learned lessons about relationships and caring for someone else.  Those lessons enabled me to recognize how unique my relationship was with Bryan when we started dating, and to realize that he was the man I wanted to marry.  Most of all, though, though all of those relationships and interactions, I learned to accept myself for who I am.  It was good to see and hear that all of them are doing well and seem to be very happy in their lives!  I just wish that I'd have had a little more time to catch up with some of them...hopefully it won't take us another 10 years to find another opportunity!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Caylee is 7 Months Old!

March 16, 2013 our little girl turned 7 months old!

I can't believe it's been seven months already since her arrival.  Even more than that, I can't believe how fast she's growing and how much she's learning and developing each and every day!

As a six month old, Caylee:
Continues to play pee-pie-boo...she started this about a week before her six month mark.
Continued taking practice baby steps while we held her hands to keep her up and help her balance.
Mastered her sippy cup.
Cut her two bottom front teeth--at the same time.
Started sitting up all on her own.
Went from scooting backward, to scooting forward, to full out crawling.
Started crawling over obstacles--like mommy's legs--and chasing her Annabelle puppy around the living room and under the coffee table.
Started pulling herself into standing position without assistance, the same week she started crawling.

On her 7 month birthday, she pulled herself up using her hippo walker and let go and balanced for a few seconds.  Also, she took several steps holding on to/pushing her hippo walker...and promptly fell down lol.  I have a feeling she's going to be walking on her own before we know it!

Today, she pulled herself up into standing position in her crib!  Thankfully, when she came home from her Spring Break visit to my parents' house (where she started full out crawling and pulling up), my dad lowered her mattress.  Otherwise, she probably would have taken a nose dive.  Her other favorite pull up spot is the breakfast table chair.  Today she finally stood all the way straight up using the chair for balance.  

This month, Caylee also had her first Easter photo shoot with Carina and celebrated her first St. Patrick's Day by "helping" daddy brew beer!

We are so proud of our Caylee-bear and are having a ball watching her learn and grow and experience the world around her!

Spring Break!

OK, so technically, since I no longer teach or attend school, I no longer have a Spring Break.  Now that I'm a full time mom, I look at it as every week is Spring Break!  Which, ironically, means none of them are lol.  But this year, I actually did get a break that coincided with Spring Break!

To start off with, we were all in various stages of sick around here.  A few weeks ago, my parents kept Caylee.  Unfortunately, without knowing it, mom had a really bad cold during this time--she just thought it was her normal seasonal allergies.  Well, no such luck.  Thankfully, Caylee's version wasn't as severe as my mom's, but she decided to share with us too.  Bryan was actually pretty sick, and I didn't feel well at all.

Originally, the plan for Spring Break was for Bryan to go with Ethan on their motorcycle trip to North Carolina, and for little bit and I to load up with my mom and head to Fredericksburg to see my Gan Gan.  Bryan, of course, still went on his trip lol.  With the baby and mom still getting over being sick, and me smack dab in the middle, we decided to cancel our hill country run.  However, mom and dad offered to keep Caylee until Wednesday anyway because 1) I was still sick and 2) they pretty much adore their granddaughter :-).  Bryan headed out Saturday morning and mom and dad came and got Caylee Saturday afternoon/evening.  All of which meant...


It was absolutely wonderful!  I got to just be sick for a few days, which, as any mom knows, is just not feasible when the hubby and the kiddo are sick at the same time as you.  When everyone is sick, mama can't be...even when she is.

Once I was feeling better, I ran some errands and worked on some projects that I hadn't had a chance to accomplish with Caylee-bear in tow.  I went to Hobby Lobby and made progress on decorating our bedroom.  I watched a LOT of anime--52 episodes to be precise--and got a lot of knitting done at the same time!  I didn't go to bed until at least midnight every night.  I also didn't get up before 9 at all :-).  One particular night, I was so engrossed in the anime that I was watching, and so determined to finish the hat I was knitting, that by the time the end to both came, I realized it was 5 AM!  Needless to say, I wasn't up before noon the following morning.  That type of schedule has always been my preference, but obviously Caylee's schedule takes priority now.

Of course, I did miss my munchkin and my hubby.  I FaceTimed with Bryan a couple of times, and with Caylee and my parents every day.  Good thing too, because during one of our FaceTime chats, Caylee crawled for the first time!  She crawled right over to me (well, my face on the phone)!  She also showed off her pulling up skills, using Grandpa for a ladder.

That said, it was pretty wonderful to only have to take care of myself for a few days.  I did an amazing job staying on plan for Weight Watchers, and ate their frozen dinners instead of cooking.  I decided I wanted to run an errand, and left the house in under two minutes.  I was able to get all of my chores done and still have time to read, watch TV and knit.  It was a true break.

That said, I was really glad to have Caylee-bear back Wednesday night.  I had missed her sweet smiles and snuggles.  Bryan made it home late Thursday night, which was wonderful.  We put Caylee to bed together and then I got to hear all about his trip.  Friday we just relaxed around the house.

Saturday, Bryanne-Michelle came down and she and I went out to a girls' lunch while Bryan and Caylee had some daddy-daughter time.  Then we all hung out at the house that evening, eating Dominoes pizza, drinking margaritas, and watching TV.  Yep, we're a wild bunch lol.
Sunday was Bryan's yard work day, while Caylee and I relaxed in the house.

All in all, it was a wonderful Spring Break that combined good friends, family time, and a true BREAK for this mama!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Life Catch Up!

Well, the Caylee Catch Up post tells much of what I've been up to the past couple of months. :-)  It's been an absolute blast!  Fortunately for my sanity, however, I do have other things going on in my life other than the many joys of motherhood!

For example, I am definitely still knitting!  I haven't gotten to knit as much as I would like, but believe it or not, that has little to do with the munchkin.  My RA is tending to get the best of me when it comes to my hands.  We--and by we I mean my doctor:-)--are still trying to get my meds back in alignment.  Dr. C warned me that it would take time after my pregnancy to get everything straightened back out--I just naively assumed that "time" meant a couple of months after starting my meds back up.  Turns out, not the case lol.  It gets frustrating some days, having to choose what I'm going to spend my spoons on--but since most of those tend to go to cuddling and playing with my little girl, it's not as frustrating it could be!  Eventually, we'll get the RA under control.  The question is whether my current combination of drugs will be the answer.  If not, we have a plan of action, but I'd really rather the Remicade get it's act together and get to work!

Other than that, the 20 mg of daily prednisone I was on during my pregnancy seems to have had the unfortunate side effects of throwing me into Cushing's Syndrome and insulin resistance.  I'm shopping for a good endocrinologist at the moment, but have made an appointment with a Dr. C that a friend highly recommends.  I've had excellent luck with my current Dr. C, so I'm hoping the letter is lucky!  Both Cushing's and insulin resistance are treatable, and I'm currently taking metformin for the latter.  I hate metformin almost as much as I hate methotrexate--possibly more--but if it controls the situation enough to keep me from developing full-out diabetes, I'll deal with it.  In the meantime, I get to check my blood sugar and try to avoid bottoming it out...which has happened a couple of times.  Not fun, not fun at all, just in case you're curious.  Here's hoping the next endo I see can help me understand what's going on and get it under control.

I've also read some good books lately--City of Dark Magic by Magnus Flyte being the most recent.  Reading helps keep my mind active, as opposed to saying "Yes!  That's a red block!" and agreeing with Caylee's latest cooing sounds.  While fun and adorable, not exactly mentally stimulating lol.  I'm also trying to speak Spanish to Caylee for at least one hour a week, just to keep in practice, and I'm learning Japanese!  Why Japanese?  Well, I've always wanted to learn it, and I have access to plenty of anime to practice listening to native speakers.  Also, we were planning a trip to Japan this fall, which we ended up having to cancel in order to replace our truck when it cratered.  That was pretty disappointing, but at least now, by the time we do go, I'll hopefully be fairly proficient!  I have a friend who speaks Japanese, and so does her mom, so I'm hoping to practice conversational skills with them, once I've learned enough to have conversations.  Right now, I can greet and comment on general weather conditions--I think I need a bit more lol.

Bryan, Caylee and I have gotten to hang out with Ethan and Julie and Lucy.  The adults played cards and the girls just played.  We also got together with Jake and Alicia--who are expecting a little boy in April!  We went with Lindsay and Ben to the paint pub, and Lindsay and I also had a girls' night at a local sushi place!  Julie, Alicia and I had a girls' lunch with Caylee and Lucy!  Bryan and I  have also enjoyed a few child-free weekends just the two of us, while Caylee visited her Ganma and Grandpa (my parents).  It was great to spend quality adult time together as well as with our friends, going out, having some drinks, watching movies, going to a paint pub and getting projects done around the house.  It's always fun getting to spend time with your best friend!

In the next few weeks, Bryanne-Michelle is coming in, as are Victoria and Philip!  We and Vic and Philip are going to Vic and my 10 year high school reunion, where we'll meet up with Kim and Clay!  That same weekend I'm also hosting Alicia's baby shower!  Lots of fun stuff coming up!  And that pretty much brings us up to date on what's up with me!  

Caylee is waking up, so that' my cue to fix her dinner!  Hopefully I'll do a better job of keeping up with this now that I've gotten started again!

Caylee's Catch Up!

Boy oh boy do I have some catching up to do!  First, I'll catch up on our Caylee-bear!  When last I blogged, we had just finished up Caylee's first Thanksgiving, and December saw many other big moments as well!

During the first half of the month, we celebrated Daddy's birthday with a bunch of Caylee's honorary Aunts and Uncles.

On December 17th, one day after she turned 4 months old, we got Caylee's ears pierced at her doctor's office.

Later that week, we loaded up and headed out to the nearest Bass Pro Shop for Caylee's first pictures with Santa!  She loved Bass Pro, and especially enjoyed watching the fish in their large tank.  She didn't give Santa a big smile, but was very comfortable with him.  After all, he had a beard like Daddy!

We had a whole slew of family Christmases this year.  Caylee's first family Christmas was at her Grandpa and Ganma's house with Uncle Austin and Aunt Fanny, Grandma Robin, Grandpa and Grandma Pior, and Uncle Mike and Aunt Jess, and Nannie and Papa!

The next family Christmas was Christmas Eve at Nannie and Papa's house.  Caylee got to meet lots of family she hadn't seen yet, and got some wonderful presents that she continues to enjoy every day!

Christmas morning, we had family Christmas at our house.  Uncle Austin and Aunt Fanny were in France, and Grammy Lynn came a little later, but Grandpa and Ganma, Paw Paw, Aunt Kelyn and Uncle Clint all celebrated with us!  Caylee wore her My First Christmas booties from Aunt Fanny, and got many wonderful presents, including a birthstone earring set from Mommy and Daddy!

For New Year's Eve, we went over to Uncle Ethan and Aunt Julie's house, and Caylee got to play with  Lucy!  The two of them were thick as thieves! 

December also saw Caylee start on "solid" foods!  Her first food was rice cereal, which she felt was "meh".  Her favorite food so far is sweet potatoes, which she ate for the first time on her first New Year's Day! (Rice is on the left, sweet potatoes on the right.)

Caylee's final first Family Christmas was the Cardwell Christmas and Reunion in January!  She got to meet several cousins for the first time, and thoroughly enjoyed getting to spend time with all of the cousins she already knew!

 January 16th saw Caylee turn 5 months old!  

February saw Caylee's first Super Bowl, which we celebrated with the SOT family!

February 14th was Caylee's first Valentine's Day!  Before V-day, Carina with Kat's Photography had taken some wonderful Valentine's pictures, and on the day itself, Caylee received her first Valentine's Day flowers from her first and forever Valentine: her Daddy!

And, of course, our baby girl turned 6 months old on February 16th.
And yes, that 7 pounds is a typo.  She was actually 17 pounds and 7 ounces!

And now we're in the month of March!  I still cannot believe how quickly she is growing, and how much she is changing and learning every single day.  She now drinks four bottles a day, and has two meals of pureed foods--one at lunch and one at dinner.  She eats anywhere from five to eight ice cubes of food at each meal!  I make her food and freeze it in ice trays...thus the unit of measurement lol.  She can use her sippy cup, and she sits up on her own.  Just this week has figured out how to get into a sitting position from laying down.  She isn't quite crawling, but she's definitely mobile, and now goes forward with the same ease as backwards!  She wants so badly to stand up, and if you give her your fingers, she will pull herself from a laying down position into a sitting position and from there she stands up with only a little assistance.  Her balance on her feet is getting better by the day, and she will actually baby step along while you hold her hands--especially if she wants to go after one of her puppies!  To cap it all off, just this morning I felt the edge of her first tooth making it's way through her bottom gum!  She still sleeps through the night and now take two naps a day.  She is still one of the smiliest babies I've ever seen and has a happy, sweet, even temperament to match.  I love her more each day, and more than I ever thought possible--and it constantly amazes me that, each time I utter those words, I feel the sentiment more keenly and deeply than the time before.

We are so proud of our Caylee-bear!


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