Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Winter 2013

Happy New Year , Happy Valentine's Day, and Happy Spring and Happy Easter!

Now where do I start?  I believe that we left off around 12/20/2012, a couple days before Christmas, with this version of Kaylee:


Christmas!  We had such a great Christmas this year.  Papa came to visit for a week, and although he spent the first few days recovering from an infection, the last few days of his visit were filled with much fun and love!

We did not put up our Christmas Tree this year, because Daddy didn't want to dig it out of the bottom and back of our storage unit.  I compensated by making a tree on the wall out of a roll of green wrapping paper, even putting decorations on it made from gift tags that look like Christmas balls, and a nice pretty star on top of the tree!

A couple days later, Kaylee and I made a foam standing Christmas Tree to be on the table and she did most of the work herself.  She decorated it, helped color the ornaments, and put it together!

Kaylee's Tree 2012

Kaylee has been obsessed with all things baby for a while.  From strollers to car seats and especially the proper use of seat belts, she even invented make believe strollers out of boxes and pushed her chair around the house with dollies strapped onto it with a belt!  Then, she received a real dolly stroller from Grandmother for Christmas!  This gift was one of the big hits of Christmas this year...
Playing with her new PINK polka dotted stroller!

Like all good Americans who are not having Christmas Dinner on Christmas Eve, we got into the true spirit of the season by ordering Chinese take-out for Christmas Eve.  :)  Here's a shot of us enjoying some of our yummy Chinese food.  Our local take-out has the most delicious Crab Rangoon.
 Christmas Eve Chinese Food Dinner

After dinner, we decided Kaylee should open some of her gifts.  She was SO excited!  She is fascinated with all things Princess, Disney, and Ariel, so she was hoping to find some things like that in the presents she was blessed with by various family members.  Thank you all so much for spoiling Princess Kaylee.  She really loves opening mail and especially opening presents!

  Wearing her new Ariel skirt, opening a package that contains...

Ariel and her sisters!  Yay!!!

We also decided to start a new Christmas Tradition for our family.  Each year, we will add a Christmas movie to our movie collection.  This year, we got Elf with Will Ferrill and Zooey Deschanel.  What a fun, fun movie!  We decided to make a big bed on the living room floor and watch it all together!
Watching Elf together on Christmas Eve.

As usual, Kaylee is still loving being involved in the kitchen, from helping with dishes, playing in the sink, helping make scrambled eggs, (she can crack the eggs herself now!), and she loves to help with cookies and cupcakes.  For Christmas, we made brownie bites with candy inside them.  We had some with Hershey's peppermint kisses, and some with Rolo candies.  They were YUMMY!
Helping Mama put the cupcake papers in the muffin tin.
Helping Mama unwrap the candies and putting them
in the cupcake papers.
Candies and papers all ready for brownie batter!
Helping mix up the brownies!

Pouring the brownie batter over the candies was
Mama's job, but Kaylee helped by taking the picture!

This marble run toy was also a big big hit for Christmas.  We actually got it for her last year, but she had so many presents, and didn't seem that interested in building stuff last year, so we kept it aside for this year.  I don't know who loves the gift more: Daddy or Kaylee.  LOL!  Daddy helps her set it up (so it's all balanced) and then it stays up for weeks and they both obsessively race marbles down the towers for hours!
Daddy and Kaylee's Marble Run Game

Oh, and we can't forget about Dr. Kaylee.  There is an episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse where Daisy wants to be a pretend doctor, and Kaylee models the whole episode with her doctor kit.  She's been doing it for months, even to the point where she took her doctor stuff to her actual doctor's appointment and entertained the nurses with it.  I think it's a good thing, to help her eliminate the mystery and fear of the unknown of what may go on in a doctor's visit, and she seems very comfortable going to the doctor now.  That is something that I struggled with, so I am glad she does not share that struggle.
Dr. Kaylee in Mama's big shoes.
Random snuggle with Daddy on the couch.

Random shot of Kaylee's LONG hair, wearing
my Tigger hat.  Her hair was pretty long...
Playtime with cousin Rhys at Chick-Fil-A!

We've started an annual thing where Kaylee and Mama go on a road trip to Florida during the winter during a period where Daddy is having a super busy time at work.  It's nice to get away, it's nice that it's just us girls, and we have lots of fun visiting family and friends.  It's never long enough, and we never get to see everyone we want to see, but we're hoping to hit different spots each year.  This year we did a loop from Jacksonville down through Titusville, Maitland, Lake Buena Vista, Wesley Chapel, Palm Harbor, and Tallahassee before getting back home.  It was a great trip!
Kaylee looking at pictures with Aunt Janet.

Kaylee all ready for the beach!  It was
only 60 degrees, but we went anyway.
Kaylee at Jacksonville Beach with Papa Ted.
She decided to keep her clothes ON when
she went into the water!
Playing in the surf as the tide started coming in.

Just watching the water and the seagulls, having fun...
Mama - freezing, but loving the heat of the sun!

After we got back from the beach, we had round two of swimming at Aunt Janet's pool.  The pool is in a courtyard which is surrounded by the apartment front entry doors.  Outdoor courtyard.  Also 60 degrees.  The water was also 60 degrees.  Kaylee didn't care... we put on the second bathing suit and went to town.
Dipping her feet, smiling for the camera...
Checking the temperature of the water...

Getting into the water... it's kinda cold!
I did it!  Now, I'm cold, but I did it!

One of Kaylee's favorite things is Disney.  Anything Disney.  Every time we drive through Orlando, if we have time, we make a trip to Downtown Disney.  She has never been to any of the parks yet, and I can't even imagine her excitement when we finally take her to Magic Kingdom someday when she's older.  So far, she totally loves Downtown Disney, and thinks we've taken her to Disney World.  She'll be so surprised over the years as she finds out how much MORE Disney World can be.  I can't wait until we share that with her.  :)  Disney from the eyes of a child must be so fun...

In front of the dinosaurs behind a wall in Downtown Disney.
This is where we entered the park this time.

Petting the Lego dog owned by the Lego people.
Posing with Aurora...

Posing with Cinderella...

Posing with, well, the Tshirts!
And again, the red one this time!
Taking a little break to eat some candy
we got at the candy store!  You can totally
see Mama taking her picture in her glasses! 

Posing with Pooh and friends...
Posing with Mr. Potatohead and Play-Doh...
Posing with Buzz Lightyear!

Cooling off in the fountains on the splash pad.
The balloon we watched go up and down
all afternoon...

 After a morning and part of the afternoon at Downtown Disney, we headed out to get on I-4 before the rest of the world did, and made really great time driving to Wesley Chapel, where we stayed and visited with Auntie Coco and Uncle Chris for a couple days.  We vegged the first evening, when we were just glad to be out of the car for a while, but the second day, we had some adventures together.

First, we went out for some shopping and then some fun time at Monkey Business, a kid play place in Wiregrass Shopping Center.  Kaylee *LOVED* it.  It's pretty cool; you pay about $8 and stay as long as you like.  There is a little kid and a big kid playground area, they have free wifi, and their coffee is as good as Starbucks!  The big kid playground main structure is jumpy in nature, with the woven strap style trampoline surface as the floor on every level inside.  There are lots of gymtastic fun things for the kids to burn off their excess energy on...

One of the monkeys from Monkey Business;
and OUR monkey, Kaylee!
Posing for a picture for in between levels.
Trying to mount the swing!
Rock Wall: POWNED!

The next big adventure had been in the works for a while.  We had been planning on taking Kaylee to get her hair cut short for a few months, as she really hated to have her long hair brushed free of tangles.  The perfect opportunity to do something good at the same time came along in the form of a little girl from the Boston area suffering from Alopecia.  So we donated Kaylee's hair to her for a wig that is being made for her.
Since Kaylee is a little iffy with new experiences, especially when people are doing things to her or she has to sit still for some reason, I decided to splurge on a kids salon for the first real big haircut.  She's had a couple trims but no big haircut until this trip.

Getting ready to get started!
Hair all brushed out to see what's there...
Hairdressers consulting on the length of
Kaylee's pony tail and where best to cut it off...
Washing Kaylee's hair at the big shampoo
bowl so the donated locks will be clean.
Getting down from the shampoo bowl...

The long pony tail getting cut off!!!

Kaylee holding her pony tail - we cut 10
inches off just with the pony tail!
Making the short hair into a nice hairdo!
Admiring her new look!
She liked it!  What do you think, everyone?

In the evening, after the big haircut and that evening's supper, we had some play time at the park where Coco and Chris live.  We stayed outside and Kaylee showed us how she can slide down the pole all by herself now, because she's a big girl; and then she and Uncle Chris played catch with a ball and glove.  We stayed out until the mosquitos came and started eating us.  :)
I'm going to slide down this pole; wanna watch me?
I can totally do this.
Getting ready to get on the pole...
Starting to go down the pole...
Success!  See?  I told you I could do it!

Um, sometimes I kinda land on my bottom, though.

Throwing the ball to Uncle Chris.

I caught it!

On Saturday afternoon, we headed over to Palm Harbor to visit with the Pinder's.  We missed them so much.  Will was so excited that Kaylee was coming over, that he told everybody he met that Kaylee was coming.  He even met us at the door!  We spent time playing with Will's toys, playing doctor, watching TV, going to the park, trying a new restaurant, going to the beach, and just generally having a great time.  We also had lunch with a friend we haven't seen in years, checked out our old neighborhood in Largo, went to visit friends at JWB (Mama's former employer) and stopped at Countryside Mall on our way back.  It was a fabulous weekend!
Kaylee and Will, best buds.  :)
The trees during sunset at the park... Gorgeous!

Kaylee and Emma having a wild ride on Rexy.

Kaylee and Will climbing up the big rock ledge.

Just hanging around...

Kaylee's first time eating Greek!

Kaylee really, really, really, REALLY loves the beach.  The last full day we were in Palm Harbor, I took her to the beach in the morning.  We really enjoyed ourselves, though it was slighly chilly.  I think it was about 70 that day.  The low-tide Gulf coast is WAY warmer than the tide-coming-in East Coast! 

Watching a Hermit Crab walking around the shallows...

Happy to be in the wet sand again!

Posing for a beach picture!

Since it was the quiet time before the tide
started coming back in, I sat on a park bench
and watched her explore on her own. 

Sometimes I wish I could hear what was
going on insider her head.  Probably some
dialogue from one of her shows... LOL! 

She joined me on the park bench for a break.

Just being Kaylee...

I *LOVE* this picture.  You can see her freckles,
and it's a natural smile.  :)  Cutie Pie!

The obligatory sandy toes picture! 

One of her other favorite Disney characters is Jasmine.  She's had her Jasmine outfit for a couple years now, but it only started fitting her better now that she's bigger.  Sometimes she pretends to be Jasmine even without the outfit.  Four year olds look so adorable in belly shirts.

Kaylee as Jasmine

Kaylee as Jasmine, via an upside-down
tshirt, neck as bottom of the belly shirt
and bottom of the shirt as a cowl neck!
She's pretty creative!

We also had a pretty awesome visit with Heather, Colin, and Sadie for an afternoon when we went through Tallahassee.  We went to the park and enjoyed the beautiful weather.  We had such a great time I only took a couple pictures of Kaylee kissing on Sadie.  When Keith joined us, we went to Chick-Fil-A for some yummy supper.  It was family night so the place was packed!
We finally got home a week and a half after leaving.  Daddy was so glad to have his girls back home.  On the weekend we met up with friends at one of our favorite parks, Morgan Falls park.  Some of the things Kaylee loves there:

Climbing up the big rock wall

Climbing in the spider web

Riding in the barf bucket (just kidding,
I don't know what this is called, but it's
some sort of off-set spinner thingy that
uses centripetal force to keep you going) 

A super pretty smile!

Daddy helping Kaylee do hand-over-hand.

Sometimes when Daddy is working really hard on a project with a deadline, he works a few late nights in a row.  When this happens, sometimes we meet up with Daddy for supper, take him supper, or just go visit him after supper.  Kaylee loves to go to Daddy's work.  There is a huge cube farm to play hide-and-seek in, and a super scary floor below that is vacant.  They like to go down there and do spooky things and play in the echo chamber (the staircase).  There are elevators, electronic door locks, automated bathrooms, and lots of fun stuff there.  Plus, all the cool stuff on Daddy's desk!

Kaylee and Daddy posing for a picture!

 A few weeks ago, Kaylee had her first trip to the ER.  We have been so blessed to have a little girl who hardly ever gets sick, and I've only had her to the doctor one time for something sickness-related.  One day, Kaylee was kinda listless and lethargic.  I checked her temperature, it was 101, and I gave her some motrin to bring it down, since she was also lethargic.  She immediately threw it up, and it was on.  In one hour, her temp rose to 105.6 and I got pretty worried and called the pediatrician.  She told me to get her to the ER stat, in case she needed fluids, and they would investigate and medicate her.  This was all new for me.  I didn't even really know where the hospital was!  Daddy also came with, meeting us at the ER from his work.  North Fulton Hospital has a GREAT ER.  They didn't make us wait, they took us right back and immediately started trying to bring the high fever down.  Turned out she had a bladder infection.  She got a couple shots and some oral meds, had some drinks and made a sample, and then a couple hours later was feeling much better.  We were in and out of there in about 3 hours, with directions to take her directly to Scottish Rite if there were any further complications, as they could not admit her at North Fulton.  So now we know for next time.  Of course, it's about two months later and I still haven't seen one hospital bill yet.  *shudder*  I am so thankful we have good insurance... and I'm hoping we don't have anything beyond standard copays to pay when we see the bill.  Poor baby.

A flushed Kaylee, just after getting checked into a
room in the ER department.

Daddy trying to entertain Kaylee with Mama's Kindle.

But she really doesn't feel well.  See her
little red cheeks and glassy eyes? 

After all the meds and the diagnosis.  She started
feeling better and was enjoying drinking water... 

The next morning at home, after her fever
had finally broken.  Poor baby looks like
she has been through the wringer!

A couple weeks later, we had gotten the news that Mama's Grammie wasn't doing well, so we started preparing for a trip to Maine/NB to be with Mama's family during this time (she ultimately passed away before we arrived).  Before we did that, we had a couple days to go have a small adventure meeting one of Mama's friends at the airport for lunch, and then some special park time with Daddy the day before leaving on our long trip.

On MARTA, enroute to the airport!

At Newtown Park, trying to conquer the
hand-over-hand monkey bars!

Success!  We got to the next bar!

A small meltdown when her arms were too tired
to do it over and over and over...

A piggyback ride on Daddy's back
before leaving the park. 

Her last night at home before going on our trip.  She
had her Junior Ranger vest on, her Curious George,
Nina Nina Ballerina, and Dick and Jane and Vampires
books all close by. 

Then we prepared for our really LONG road trip!  It was long in many respects; the weather wasn't great on either end of the trip, we had storm delays also.  But we just kept an eye on the weather reports, and pressed on, taking lots of breaks.  Kaylee did so well on this trip - we sang lots of songs together (The Beatles' "Yellow Submarine" is definitely on the top ten list), talked silly, Kaylee entertained herself with her Leap Pad reader (thanks, Pinders!), lots of books, her mermaids, and candy and snacks.  Mama listened to a couple books on CD during quiet times.  And we stopped for playtime at McDonald's and Chick-Fil-A a lot!  Thanks for your thoughts and prayers during that trip.  It was kinda neat to know that we can do it!  We've been over those same roads so many times that the car almost drives itself on some parts of the trip now.  :)  Here are some photos of Kaylee enjoying herself in Maine/NB:

Getting ready to leave one morning!

Sleepy snuggling with Grampy Rioux;
we had lots of visits and snuggles.

At the weekly country music in Blue Bell

Dancing her feet off - she spent the ENTIRE
evening on the dance floor.  And when la musique
Acadienne played, she just about danced her feet off!

 Snuggling with Nana after the dancing.

Snuggled up with Grammie Rioux's singing bear,
singing along with the bear at the top of her lungs,
even though she doesn't know the words.  Reminds
us all of Shanny when she was the same age.  :) 

The best part:  Playing in snow again!

She got to play in fresh snow, all by herself, in Maine!

Having a fruity loopy Cootie bug breakfast.

She got to play with Jack, Ella, and Jens!

Kaylee *LOVES* the snow!  She had fun!

Making a snow angel

Contemplating her next snowy adventure

Playing around the big Christmas Tree in the front yard.

Playing during the big 18 inch snow storm, with her
new friends Chloee and Boots!

She doesn't want to come inside!

There was still lots of dressing up going
on though; this is a wacky ballerina fairy. 

Playing at the Maine Jump in the Aroostook Mall.

Bounce, bounce, bounce!
Bouncing in Mickey's Clubhouse!

Kaylee also got to spend lots of time with Nana and Papa, we visited with Uncle Jeremy and Kelly and Sommer, visited with Grampy Rioux lots, saw Shanny and Emma and David, got to see a lot of other friends and cousins at Grammie's memorial services, Hailey and her mommy and daddy came to see us, and we spent a lot of time with family and friends, visiting here and there when we were able to.  We also got to make new friends - Chloee and her family and her HUGE puppy Boots moved in next door in Limestone.  It was so fun to play outside with Miss Kelly's puppy and Chloee's puppy!  And we got to visit Grandmother twice on our trip!  We spent the night both times, and played with her rock collection and her dollies, and Grandmother gave Kaylee a great new book each time, a Dr. Seuss multi volume set!  We had a lot of fun, and it was heartwarming to spend some time with people we really love - under some emotional circumstances - but we really, really missed Daddy, a LOT.
Since we arrived back home, Kaylee and Daddy have been inseperable.  The past few weeks we've experienced a pretty big cold snap here in Georgia.  Daddy has taken her outside to play a few times, but we've also gone to play at the mall and visited the Library and the recycling center a few times.  Kaylee continues to enjoy Sunday School and Small Group, and there is an Easter Egg Hunt coming up at the church soon.  Daddy took her on a special date by herself to Steak and Shake where they had milkshakes, and Kaylee looks forward to every single day when Daddy comes home from work and loves to go on new adventures with him.  Daddy's girl. 

When we got home, we got to hang out with Uncle Chris and Auntie Coco and have lots of fun for a few days with them.  We celebrated Mama's birthday and Kaylee's half birthday with a big dinner out at Bucca di Beppo, with a surprise piece of chocolate birthday cake at the end.  

The last couple weeks Mama has been cleaning and organizing things, in preparation to get taxes done and find Kaylee a preschool for fall.  We also signed Kaylee up for swimming lessons in May, we're planning a trip to South Florida for a wedding next month, and tomorrow, we are going on an adventure at the Children's Discovery Museum here in Atlanta, where we will meet up with some friends!  There's a birthday party coming up in a couple weeks, too.  Hopefully we'll get to be in touch with lots of our other local friends over the next few weeks also, it's been such a busy winter.

Until next time!

Ian, Georgine, and Kaylee