0

Strength in Numbers

Posted by casey on April 18, 2014 in Friends, Snapshots

Today I am humbled.

This group of women has blessed me time and time again over years, and years and years.  In realizing that we are all getting, ahem, older, I am also realizing how truly special it is to have a group that has grown with you.  A solid group in this photo has withstood bad hair choices, awkward costumes, the politics of school from elementary through college and every “first” of growing up.  Now, getting ahem, older is taking note of all the things we have been through together that I still feel too young to have experienced.  I am blessed by these women and our “know you can count on it” support in any time of need be it little or large.  Walking with them through all we have grown through both in grief and joy is a less treacherous path indeed. May our love for each other continue and our prayers still be felt from afar.

 
0

Tested & Proved

Posted by casey on April 7, 2013 in Friends, Life as I Know It

Last night I had the pleasure of celebrating Ms. Al’s…excuse me, Allison’s bachelorette and upcoming nuptials.  As we all gathered, mingled, caught up and laughed I was overwhelmed by the history in the room and the love of friendships that are old…tested…and proven.

Some of these ladies I have had in my life since I first moved to Texas…20 years ago.  I came, I moved away, I came back and they still accepted me, learned me, and loved me well.  Some of these ladies I have had in my life since junior high and through all of its awkwardness they grew with me, accepted me and loved me well.  Some of these ladies I have known since college where we took our own paths, our own careers and even new friends yet we were sure to make our paths continue to cross and our hearts to still be familiar and were loved well.

These ladies have been part of my childhood in its early days, they have supported me and loved me through the passing of my mother, they were part of my wedding and celebrated the birth of each boys.  They have been there, they have listened to me, they have grown up with me and still, they have loved me.

History.
We are at the stage of our lives where we have friendships with true history.
It is a quality you cannot trade, change or make up for with new friends and there is something so special about looking around a room and knowing that those standing with you KNOW you.  Whether you like it or not, they have seen you through all of the stages of your life thus far, the choices you have made, the paths you have taken, the losses you have pushed through and the joys you have shared they are there.  They are all good.  They are all wonderful people for my family and boys to be around.  They are all full of insight and valuable advice, resources and funnies.

There are new moms, moms to be, second time moms to be, engaged, dating, working, at home working, married, single, in town, out of town friends, but the biggest commonality is just that, friendship.  Support.   Love.

Among the busyness, the different stages in our lives and our own differences I am so grateful that I am able to get together with these women, all of us you used to get together as girls, to mingle, catch up and celebrate.

Happy Bachelorette Allison, I Am Grateful For You & Can’t Wait Until May!

 
2

Waiting Game

Posted by casey on March 12, 2013 in Friends, Writing Nook

The waiting game is one we all play at different stages in our life for various things.  Waiting on final exam grades to be posted…waiting on that special someone to pop the question you know is coming but don’t no when…waiting for your child’s timeout to be over with a stern face when you really just want to laugh…waiting.

I have to say though, that the most intense waiting game I have experienced is from the time to you see that double pink line on a pregnancy test to the time you hold that sweet little babe in your arms.  You wait…and wait…and wait…and wait knowing that they are growing healthy and strong and in the safest place but also just wanting to hold them so that you truly know they are healthy and strong and in your safe arms. Waiting.

My dear, dear, dear, friend of almost ten years and college roommate Jordy, who has been mentioned often here as she has come and visited me after Caden was born, while Everett was in my belly and last summer with my two in tow and her first very newly on the way is in the final stages of that waiting game.

 By final stages I mean she was due…yesterday.

We have talked, texted and emailed often throughout the past nine ten months (she resides in Arizona now) about everything from favorite nausea remedies to things you just don’t want to know and all I have wished for her as we have grown closer during this time is to feel supported, loved, encouraged, informed and some peace at a time that can be rather uneasy among all the excitement.

She was due…yesterday.

What I can say is that I think she is handling this final test of patience as if she has been cramming for it exam style.  Truthfully, I think that she has been doing that, in prayer. She is an organizer a planner and a person who strives to always be prepared (sound like anyone you know – ahem) and just as I learned while pregnant and even more after having kids it doesn’t always go that way, she is getting a dose of that now. While most moms-to-be hear that your first can be late and all of those other myths/truths/advice/nonsense you also get told things by your doctor like “any day now” which makes you want to go in and smack them right in the nose every morning you wake up and still are pregnant.  I won’t ever forget the feeling of going to sleep just willing myself to not still be pregnant when the sun came up.

The sun came up, feet were still up in my rib cage giving me heartburn and a head so low and engaged I couldn’t shift my hips to a sitting let alone standing position.

Definitely still pregnant – ugh.
“Get out of there now.”

She was due…yesterday.
And for various reasons she has been waiting for any day now for weeks, and today, she still woke up pregnant…and the day before that…and the day before that.

It is the time when everyone just wants to know, and meet the baby, and love on you, and them and see how you are and why that baby is still in your belly and all of the loving check-ins that you don’t have the answers to but want also.  It can be a lot to take in.  In my experience, especially the first time around it can be a very challenging time.  A time when a lot of self-assurance was needed, a lot of peaceful thinking was done and a lot of deep breaths were taken as control was given up to this little person and acceptance was taken in and taken hold of.

 Confidence in oneself and one’s body.

She was due yesterday.

Today, in my daily chat with her the best I could muster was,

“I’m sorry you are still pregnant.”

Pretty pathetic on my part, but oh so true.

This is also true – I am so glad as I have told her that this baby is safe and sound in its five star resort with room service and a water bed.  I am so glad that he/she is getting all the time it needs to grow strong and learn the sounds of its parents’ voices so it knows exactly who to turn its head towards.  I am so glad that she has been able to prepare and read and pack and nest and rest and just be. I am so glad that she and her husband have had time for movies, date nights, resting and well…waiting.  I am glad for her.  I am glad for this baby.

It is so easy to say that when you aren’t the one with a sore back, sore hips, sore everything trying not to be anxious as you wait this arrival and experience, but it is true.  Your first pregnancy is one you just don’t get to experience again. The time before your first is born is a time you just don’t get back and cannot recreate in your life and marriage.  It is in my opinion sacred and unique and all yours.

So, while the waiting continues and she continues to work for maintaining the grace she strives for in her day-to-day everything I will continue waiting too.  I will wait for my friend to become a mother and the blessed opportunity to share this journey with her and this part of my live and our lives even more.

To Jordy -

I will wait too.
Until then, I will remain glad.

 
3

Tried and True

Posted by casey on April 12, 2012 in Friends, Writing Nook

This week, Mama Kat’s Writing Workshop had a prompt that allowed for someone to make a guest post to share an experience or their perspective on me.  Since I have been talking about her, I thought this was the perfect time for Jordy to write over here for a change.  How perfect is it that I have no time to write my thoughts down anymore so I enlist a tried and true friend to do it?  That’s real friendship, someone who blogs for you! :)

Without further adieu, Jordy’s take on some of our history –

_________________________________________________________________________

I can count on one hand the number of friends who know me, inside and out, and whom I can rely on day in and day out. On one of my fingers is Casey.

We met our freshman year of college. I stepped into the musty dorm room I would call home for the next ten months, like it was the home to many before me, and set down my first load of many. I surveyed my surroundings – my very small surroundings – and stepped into the narrow bathroom. It led to another room, Casey’s room, and we were instantly a set of four roommates. The bathroom was a mere inconvenience, as Casey and her roommate were as much roommates to me as my own.

Over the course of the year, different circumstances sent each of our roommates away and we were soon left with rooms to ourselves and one another. It was then when she became one of the best friends I have today.

Oh, the stories we could tell. There were the late nights stuffing our faces with cookies from the cafeteria where we would use an entire meal credit in order to fill a styrofoam box to the brim with warm goods. There were the nights where she would let me tag along with her and her then-boyfriend-now-husband to the constant sorority and fraternity parties. There was a weekend in South Padre, but we vowed never to speak of it. We laughed. We cried. We questioned decisions. We contemplated the future.

Through our next three years of college, the only change was in our living conditions as she moved on to live in her sorority’s house, and then house on her own, and I moved into an apartment, and then a house, with several other girls. We continued to keep each other updated on our current roommate issues, family drama, the boys in and out of my life, the one boy in her life, and our plans for what was next. We’d often meet at a local restaurant where we would only order onion rings and chocolate cake without even considering the caloric count. We laughed. We cried. We questioned decisions. We contemplated the future.

Near the end of our senior year of college, each of our lives changed dramatically. Casey’s mother, whom I had grown to know over the four years I had known her daughter, passed away unexpectedly on Saint Patrick’s Day of 2007. I was in an organizational meeting, eating cookie cake and laughing, when a mutual friend of ours called me. She told me, I broke down, and I called my own mother. I ached for my friend who was to be married in a few short months. I ached for her loss, her heart, her everything. Over the next couple of months, I would go sit with her, and just be with her, as she figured out the grieving process. To this day, I know her as my strongest friend. Around the same time, I had accepted an internship offer in Arizona and graduated college with a plan to move in August. I was to leave everything behind me and go into the unknown. Both of us were trying to figure out the unknown. We laughed. We cried. We questioned decisions. We contemplated the future.

Casey came to visit me in Arizona in June 2009. I had called it home for a year and a half after the internship turned into a full-time job. We spent the weekend laying out in the hot desert sun, in and out of the pool, in and out of local hot spots, in and out of delicious eateries. We laughed. We cried. We questioned decisions. We contemplated the future.

The very next weekend, I met Chris and Casey found out she was pregnant. Our lives took another dramatic turn and our friendship became even more rooted. Since that June, we’ve made sure to spend a June weekend together each year. I am now two years into marriage and she is two kids into life. Our lives have changed, but each summer when she picks me up at the airport, babies in tow, we pick up where we left off.

 

Because when you are friends who have laughed, cried, questioned decisions, and contemplated the future – together – there’s no need for excuses or explanations, and time is irrelevant.

We are friends for life.
When we’re together, the years fall away.
Isn’t that what matters?
To have someone who can remember with you?
To have someone who remembers how far you’ve come?

{Judy Blume}

 
1

Re-Done and Done Well

Posted by casey on March 27, 2012 in Friends

Do you remember me talking about Jordy?
Well, here is the short of it.

She came to visit last June when I was knocked up and chasing Caden around.
(and brought Everett these adorable outfits)

She also came to visit the June before that when Caden was just four months old or so and still getting in a routine and such.I went and visited her the June before that to see her in her post-college Arizona home.

What a trooper she is. She was also one of my bridesmaids. She just so happened to be one of my college roomates, but I’ll leave those stories for another time.

Jordy loves to write as do I.  However since I no longer have much time to sit down and get all of my thoughts out there I enjoy her words because she still makes time for it.  In fact, she makes so much time for it that she recently re-did her blog and it is just lovely.  You should go poke around and learn a bit about her if you don’t know her or see what is new compared to the old look and layout.

www.jordylizblogs.com
You could even win a gift-card if you are super lucky.

Really though, she is lovely.
Like her blog.


So you should take a peek for that reason.

 
1

New Blessing

Posted by casey on March 21, 2011 in Friends, Home

Do you remember Shannon & Blake?  I gave you a little peek of some photos I took to show off a little baby belly on Shannon’s part in the fall in honor of their “family to be”.

Well, I Have Something Else of Theirs to Show Off to You

Let me introduce you to…
Tenley Anne Paul
Born on March 13, 2011 at 7:10 p.m.
7 lbs 19.75 inches

Just look at those eyelashes. To die for those eyelashes are.  I had the pleasure of meeting Shannon & Blake’s sweet little blessing this past weekend after giving them a few days to get settled in at home and cannot wait to spend more quality time and photo time with them all.

 
2

Punished?

Posted by casey on January 3, 2011 in Friends, Writing Nook

Have you ever just felt like you were being punished for something but you didn’t know what?  You know, the days where you get a flat tire when you are already late or when you receive bad news just after looking at a dwindling bank account.  Something to that effect?

Well, a little over a year ago I wrote about quite the adventurous situtation that caught me and some friends a bit off guard to say the least.  Sure it was so ridiculous that it was hilarious to recall but as we were trying to replace phones and keys and our security so to speak we felt a little like someone was knocking us down for no reason.  A reality check perhaps?  But what for?  There were not one, not two, but three parts to that story.

You won’t believe it, but that mysterious “knocker downer” (very creative I know) struck again.  This morning while “doing her body good” and running around White Rock Lake (doesn’t seem like something that deserves punishment to me) my sweet friend who survived our first criminal encounter was chosen again by crime. AGAIN!  Here is the thing.  After our first police chase we thought that this didn’t actually happen to people.  On COPS sure, but not to us. And twice? (Here is where I should mention that her roommate was car jacked this past fall as well.)

She is a church going woman.  She is a loyal friend.  She is a devoted sister, daughter and aunt.  She is giving.  She is hilarious.  She is decent. She is a teacher for crying out loud!

What in that description deserves punishment? ( I promise I didn’t leave out something like “Oh yeah and she sells drugs on Tuesdays.”) Looking forward to 2011 a new year with a new start, she returned to her car from running to find some cops waiting for her.  If that isn’t a bad sign I don’t know what is.  Shattered window.  Among the list of the stolen items to add to the mess of the shattered window…Driver’s License, Credit Cards, Classroom Keys, $140 in Cash, 4 Day Old I-Phone, New TOMS, Jeans, Kindle, All the Gift Cards Given to Her As Gifts from Students, Her Aggie Ring…

See a long distance runner (she completed her 3rd White Rock Marathon this year – Whoop !)can’t run with all that strapped to her back and don’t we all leave bags in our cars from a recent trip sometimes?  I know I know, at least no one was hurt and yes it all can be replaced.  But with what finances?  And who is going to replace the sense of security that has been lost yet again?  The eery thing is that just this weekend she found the police report from our experience last year while going through things.  Just this past weekend!

I mean, we don’t live in the ghetto people, come on!  No I wouldn’t wish this on anyone, but surely there is someone else out there more deserving right?  (Maybe the person who really does sell drugs on Tuesdays perhaps?)

So, I ask you this.  What would you do, give or say to a friend who was robbed/vandalized for the second time in two years? Someone who feels as though they are being punished for a mystery sin?

 Surely you have some advice because sometimes my “Positive Polly” phrases just seem to sound even worse. How much can “At least the year has to go up?” can help?  I’m more likely to say…well, that’s shitty.

See…I need your assistance.

 
2

A Little Peek

Posted by casey on November 30, 2010 in Friends, Snapshots

I had the pleasure of shooting some pictures for the Pauls and their sweet little girl to-be two weeks ago, and I thought you deserved a little peek at our morning together.  Just a little one though. Enjoy!

 
9

Tricky Business

Posted by casey on August 12, 2010 in Friends, Life as I Know It, Writing Nook

I have some tricky business to discuss.
Friendship.

What once was the simplest of relationships for most, even possibly arranged by your parents and filled with candy overdosed slumber parties is tremendously difficult as an adult.  Well, for many it is difficult, but I don’t think it should be.  Friendship is that thing that is suppose to be easy in your life.  A relationship to provide you with comfort, support and humor outside of the main love in your life.  Maybe your friends are your main love in your life which is a beautiful thing itself.  We all should want to spend time with our friends, wish to nurture these relationships and jump at the chance to spend time together.  So why I ask, do we make it so incredibly hard on each other?

Obviously we are busy.  Work, home, spouses, chores, kids (I can’t believe I have to throw that in the mix now!), errands, pets, bills….shall I go on?  We can list our adult responsibilities all day long, but shouldn’t your friends be up in that top five as well?  At some point the excuses have to stop.  The constant canceling of lunch dates has to stop. Unfulfilled promises of getting together or doing “what you should have done” must come to an end.  Friends who refuse to put in the work are like boyfriends who still refuse to get marries after 10 years of dating.  What are you waiting for dude?  Since we are so busy, value the friends who bring you joy, not headaches.  Plan your time for the friends you reciprocate not cancel.  Invite more positive things in your life through the people you love, not the ones you sigh when you have to see.  That isn’t a friend, that is an obligation.

Yes you will miss them.  Yes you will look fondly at your memories together. Yes they were a great friend.

You aren’t missing them.  You are missing the friend they used to be.

The friend they used to be will not fulfill you the way they are now.  Many times we hang on to an old friendship just because, when if you were introduced to them today, you would not be friends with that person.  Ask yourself that.  Would I be friends with the person they have become if I met them today?  It isn’t mean, it is honest.  I don’t think there is anything wrong with admitting that.  We all change.  We all grow.  Sometimes we are able to do that together and sometimes we aren’t. 

I have been blessed throughout my life to have had many wonderful friendships from various places across the country as we moved from house to home.  Distance has never scared me away from putting forth the effort of keeping in touch even if it simply means knowing the basics of what is going on in each other’s lives.  Among many, one dear friend of mine has been in my life now for 13 years.  Only 3 of those years were in the same city and state.  We chat regularly, or at least leave constant voicemails during vicious phone tag games which at the very least show the other that we are thinking of them, missing them.  We vacation together.  We often let our minds remember the memories of our childhood together.  We are friends.  It is that basic.  That easy. Distance didn’t and doesn’t matter. I currently devote my “friend time” to a handful of dear, dear, dear women who I miss as soon as our date is over.  Yes, we all have different friends, different lives, and are even at various stages in our lives but we put the work in for each other.

Like many things in life, I believe your friends should be about quality, not quantity.  Friends should be family.

 Who brings you joy?  Who lets you be just who you are, sweaty workout clothes and all?  Who lets you curse up a storm while venting over something miniscule and then completely backs you up?  Who keeps you in check?  Who comes to you as an adult when they think there is a problem to discuss it?  Who supports your family?  Who gives love to your children?  Who makes birthdays, babies, and events in your life special because they want to for you, not because they have to?  Who is honest with you?  Who touches base?  Who knows you? Who loves you?

Who loves you, and everything that comes with it?

Spend your time with them.  Let that person know you are thinking of them.  Value and nurture that friendship.

Remember for some, You aren’t missing them.  You are missing the friend they used to be.

 

Writing Topic Courtesy of Mama Kat

 

 
5

Perfect Timing

Posted by casey on January 27, 2010 in Friends, Home

A bit of background for you before Baby Kaz makes his arrival in 5-6 weeks!!!  Based on the way I and many other people were raised, I think that you believe as soon as you start trying to have kids you will.  Well, that wasn’t necessarily the case for us and was something I chose to keep to cmemyself because who really needs the pressure of everyone else’s thoughts and wishes as well right?  Well, last June I finally spilled…twice.  First, there was my sister in law, and we happened to be stroller skating with my niece.  I know, you thought no one actually did that but it is true and my legs were sore enough to prove it.  A couple of days later,  one of my dearest friends who has been in my life for a decade now, happened to be in town and while driving around she brought up their plans as well.  For the first time I was relieved to have this “girl talk” so to speak.  We vented, laughed, and then were able to move right on and I for one felt much lighter.  Guess who found out that Baby Kaz was on his way two weeks later?

img_0509I couldn’t believe the timing and thought that if I had known all I needed to do was talk about it with a best friend that I would have done that months ago! Haha.  Colter and I were waiting until school was starting to begin telling people our big news and I was already thinking about how I was going to tell someone who I knew was feeling the same frustrations.  While you are always happy for those around you I was hoping that happiness would overcome any bittersweet feelings for her.  Little did I know that she was going through the exact same thing.  At the end of August, while setting up my classroom, I received a phone call from Christine that went a little like this…(after the usually beginning babble of course)

C: I really wanted to share our big news with you before we told everyone.
Me: Oh really? (Already having a feeling of what it was because of our conversation in June.)
C: We’re pregnant! We have been waiting to tell everyone and are getting ready to make it public.

At this point I knew that our timing had to be pretty close since most people who are waiting to make it public dsc_1263_edited-1wait about the same amount of time (12-14 weeks) and we were getting ready to share the same news.  Did I come right out and say it to her you ask?  Of course not, I had to string her along some…

Me: Ah, that is so wonderful! Congratulations! So how many weeks are you? (She proceeds to say she is in the same week I am…to which I laugh….and I am sure she was wondering why that was funny.)
Me: So when is your actual due date?
C:March 9th
Me: Oh wow, what a great time of year! I don’t know how quickly I will be able to come and see you though, that is going to be a really busy time for me. (Bad friend right?)
C: Oh really, why?
Me: Well, because my due date is March 12th!
C: WHAT???!!!!! WHAT????!!!! No way!!!

Let the commiserating begin!  It was so wonderful to know that there was someone right there going through the same thing even dsc_1278_edited-1with all of the differences individual pregnancies bring.  I was also happy for our husbands who could vent about their hormonal wives if they needed to. :) We keep talking about how who knows if we will ever have timing like this again, and chances are we will not.  That is the real reason I decided to share this with you.  Above is a picture of us during a college visit and then a summer trip two summers ago.  Notice the svelte figures, the tanned skin and the lack of swelling.  Next is us last weekend…okay not us, just our bellies.  We realized that after her visit from Oklahoma last weekend, the next time we see each other we will truly have families since neither of us are allowed to travel anymore.  So far we can both say that two is better than one, a baby boy and a baby girl (if all things go accordingly to our sonos) and thank goodness that our “two is better than one” scenario is a shared time between dear friends and not twins!  Christine’s husband has already promised to give our son a chance and only put blanks in his shotgun when he goes to visit their baby girl.  So generous and trusting don’t you think?

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