Wednesday, November 30, 2011

It's Scan Day #2

I had my CT scan this morning that will tell us if the new chemo drug is working, not working, keeping the cancer stable, etc. I know alot of people are praying for us today, and I've been able to keep my emotions in check much better this time around. I think I've gotten alot of practice lately in blocking off the worrisome thoughts that want to run rampant in my head; alot of practice in trusting that God is still in control. Those little anti-anxiety pills Dr. W prescribed for days like this don't hurt either. :) We should know results sometime in the next day or two.

Because my scan was so early in the morning, Brian and I had a couple of hours to run errands. We ended up having lunch, hitting up Target and Trader Joe's. I had a whole lot more shopping planned, but I was (and am) feeling more and more exhausted as the day went on so we came home early and enjoyed a quiet afternoon (the kids are at Gram and Gramp's house).

Do you all know that tomorrow is December 1? How did that happen? Where did the fall go? I am struggling with feeling overwhelmed with everything that I want to get done (most of it fun stuff, although there's definitely some work in there). I want to continue traditions we already have, make new ones, keep up with scrapping those memories, etc. And that doesn't even take the house, laundry, Christmas shopping, or meals into account. I really need to take a little time to make a list, which would make me feel so much more organized and on top of things. Maybe I'll do that tonight and wake up ready to go tomorrow.

Still haven't gone through my senior photo shoot or my pictures from Thanksgiving other than to pull out a few here and there. This is one Becky took of me and Brian right after he arrived Wednesday night. We're embracing the haze, my fellow photographers.


Tuesday, November 29, 2011


For those of you waiting on an update, the nasty spot is an abscess. It's painful and gross, but hopefully not serious. Dr. W thinks we caught it in time and daily drainings/cleanings plus antibiotic should take care of it. And a serious thank you to my friend Andrea who was available last minute to drive me so that I could take pain meds!

And because I find it nearly impossible to post without pics, here's another from last week.

Tuesday's Tidbits

Made this for supper last night with leftover Thanksgiving turkey, and it was delicious. Okay, actually Brian made it. But it was still delicious. And there's leftovers for tonight.

This is a good article about taking pictures of your children - great tips everyone can use, not just OCD mamas with fancy cameras.

I have always been a strictly white-lights-on-my-Christmas-tree kinda girl, but I am feeling serious temptation to switch to colored lights. Thoughts?

I wrote this little tidbit on The Lily-Pad blog about UV filters. You should check it out even if it's only to read the short paragraph directly under the picture. ;)

Remember how I was all on top of things and actually managed to get our Christmas card designed and ordered early? Well, I was apparently under the influence of pain meds when I ordered because I somehow managed to upload the web-sized version of our card instead of the full-sized so our pictures are all fuzzy. Thank goodness for a 100% satisfaction guarantee from Winkflash. I have to pay to ship the bad cards back to them, but they are re-printing for free. So much for being ahead of the game, but at least we won't have fuzzy faces. Cause you know I'm not sending out fuzzy pictures even if I had to pay for them twice.

I am fairly certain that I had Starbucks nearly every day last week. That may not seem like a big deal to you, but since I don't live close to a Starbucks, I had to take advantage of having one conveniently located. And Liz and I stopped twice for Starbucks on our way to Illinois. It is entirely possible that all the caffeine is responsible for very little sleep last week.

I am overwhelmed in a good way with all of the scrapping supplies and cute pictures that are currently sitting on my computer hard drive. Now if I could only be a scrapping machine and get caught up. One of these days I'm going to get to it.

Headed to see Dr. W this morning about this stupid scar tissue. Taking Rory with me so I won't cry when he decides something painful must be done to it. Because I am fairly sure something painful will have to be done with it.

I'm sure you've noticed this week's edition of Tuesday's Tidbits is completely devoid of any cute kid tidbits. That would be because I'm a failure at writing anything down these days.

But here's a cute picture of Rory to make up for it. We curled her hair a couple of weeks ago because she is currently in a serious Fancy Nancy phase. And Fancy Nancy has curly hair.


Monday, November 28, 2011

Just one picture

We arrived home last night to a very cold, rainy Tennessee. Grateful that we didn't have to drive in rain the whole way home, just the last couple of hours. This morning everything was back to normal: Brian off early to school, Camden off to school (and tardy for the very first time in his school career), bloodwork and grocery shopping for Rory and I. Re-entry into the real world hasn't been a whole lot of fun. The kids are adjusting to not having grandparents and cousins to entertain them 24/7, and I'm having some major scar tissue issues. Waiting on a call back from the doctor, but I'm pretty sure that at the very least a doctor's appointment and antibiotics are in my future. Trying not to think about the last time I had this infection and ended up in the hospital for 9 days. Especially since I spent the trip home yesterday planning out everything we were going to cram in as a family before I go back to chemo in two weeks.

Becky gave me a little handy flip book of scripture, and I read this one this morning, "O Lord, do not stray far away! You are my strength; come quickly to my aid!" Psalm 22:19 Kinda feeling the need for that this morning and trying to concentrate on the wonderful 8 days I just spent surrounded by family and not concentrate on the discomfort and worry I'm feeling today. 

I'm working hard to discover motivation to upload, look at, possibly edit, and then share the HUNDREDS of pictures I took over Thanksgiving break. You can take a whole lotta pictures during 8 days with family! I did manage to pull out just this one picture to share, though. Could not be any sweeter!


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Happy thanksgiving

Our weekend was so crazy that I had no time to do all of the scheduled blog posts that were in my head, but I did want to say that the kids and I are in Illinois with my two sisters, my brother, my parents, two nephews with lots more family scheduled to arrive in the next 24 hours. There will be lots of laughing, really good food, good coffee, lots of photography, and some shopping thrown in for good measure.

Since I've still not bought that cool thing-a-gig that allows me to upload pics directly from my camera to my iPad I have no cute cousin pictures to share and no sneak peek of the great senior session I had yesterday. I do, however, have a cute Christmas peak from a mini session I did Friday afternoon.

In case I don't make it back here until next week, have a wonderful thanksgiving. Take a few minutes to think about how much you have to be thankful for. I bet it's a long list. 


Friday, November 18, 2011

Trick or Treat

Yes, I realize it's November 18 and these are a little late to the Halloween season. But since we were traveling home from Dallas on Halloween, the kids didn't get to dress up or trick or treat. Now to be honest, they rarely actually trick or treat anyway since we don't exactly live in a neighborhood, but we do usually let them get dressed up and at least take them to Gram and Gramp's house.

When Becky arrived the weekend after Halloween, she came all stocked up with Halloween candy and a big idea to let the kids trick or treat at our house using both the front and back doors. We spent a frantic 10 minutes as she raced back and forth between the doors (she was changing hats; I was just taking pictures).

I kept asking him why he was holding his hand like that, and he informed that he's holding the force. Okey dokey.





Yes, that would be Becky in Camden's old Darth Vader costume. Not to be confused with the Darth Vader costume he has this year.








Pretty sure Becky and I laughed as much as the kids since we both found it kind of hysterical to run back and forth between doors.

And why not follow up Halloween pictures with a scrap page using last year's Christmas picture?

Sahlin Studio/Jenn Barrette: Kitschy Christmas

Thursday, November 17, 2011

3 Years Makes a Big Difference

When my parents were several weeks ago, I had the realization that exactly 3 years ago they were visiting and we took this picture.


So I made them stand in the same spot and tried to imitate the pose although it's a bit harder when you're talking about a 5 and 8 year old instead of a 2 and 5 year old. :) (And, sorry, Camden, for somehow making you completely out of focus.) Don't ask me how they grew so fast because I just don't know.

I'm going to call yesterday a success since I managed to design and order Christmas cards, finished editing my photo shoot, designed and ordered 2012 calendars, scrapped one page. Yes, I had lots of coffee. Well, lots for me anyway: 1/2 of a hot cup in the morning and then an iced coffee in the early afternoon.

I am feeling quite a bit better today, which is pretty normal following my Day 8 treatment. I'm planning to tackle some projects around the house, take both kids for haircuts, and possibly attempt to get caught up with Project 365 pages. We'll see how much of that actually gets done.

Sabrina Dupre: You Make Me Smile

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Girl With the Pink Hair

Aunt Becky brought some cool pink hair spray to Rory when she visited last week, and I think she is kinda rocking the pink hair, just like she rocked the purple feather. Ironically enough, she asks Mrs. Jennifer for pink hair every. single. time. she gets a haircut.


Because I'm sure you're all waited with bated breath on an update on me, I had a rough chemo day yesterday, but am feeling better today. Surprising, since I've been up since 2:00. In the morning. And I didn't go to bed until after 10:30 last night. I'm pretty sure there is lots of coffee in my future for today. I'm not bothered too much by it because after talking to the chemo nurse and working with my CT scan schedule as well as planning to be out of town the week after Christmas, I am not going back for chemo until December 13. That's like four weeks, friends! 

I am on pain meds because I'm apparently in the 10% of people who experience severe muscle pain from this kind of chemo treatment, which means no driving for me so Rory and I are going to camp out in our pajamas and enjoy the cold, dreary weather (after temps in the 80's the last 2 days). She has new Fancy Nancy books from the library that need to be read, and I have lots of new scrapping supplies, a photo shoot to edit and get in the mail, as well as a Christmas card to design (seriously my least favorite thing to do every year because I stress myself out over it). Not to mention I'm still running a good week (or 10 days) behind in my photography class so there's definitely plenty to do. I'd also like to redo the blog decor since it's a year old, but not sure that's going to happen in 2011. And did I mention the house and laundry which are collapsing around me? I've decided the house and laundry are at the bottom of the list, but breaking out the treadmill is at the top of the list since I've taken a good 7 (or 10) day break from it.

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tuesday's Tidbits

After hearing Jennifer Hudson sing Happy Birthday for an American Cancer Society commercial, Rory said, "Wow. I can sing way better than that."

I saw Michael J. Fox in an interview Friday, and he said something to the effect of "don't live where your diagnosis is going to take you; live where you are right now." It really struck a chord with me, and I am making an extra effort to live by those words.

"Now that's something you don't see every day." from Camden after seeing a little pot hole in the parking lot. I guess the parking lots are alot better maintained in his universe.

Wondering where my Project 365 posts have gone? Yeah, me too. I'm hopelessly behind.

This last round of chemo/Neulasta has been hands down the easiest that I've had. Makes no sense, but it's true. I barely had to pull out the pain meds, and the nausea has been very manageable. I go back today for the final treatment in Round 3.

The kids are currently in one of those stages where they play for hours on end together laughing and giggling hysterically. It started Thursday night and is still going strong. I'm sure I've completely jinxed it by saying it publicly.

Saturday was my birthday, and while we didn't do alot of celebrating on the actual day (the days Becky were here we spent the entire time celebrating LOL), we did manage to eat at Olive Garden and then make a stop at the local bookstore. I also had Brian snap a few pictures. Notice that Rory is pulling my earring off and my face isn't even reacting. :)

And poor Camden got stuck with trying to take a picture that I would be satisfied with of me and Brian. I finally gave up and went with this one.

For Veterans Day, Camden's class had a little parade at school. When he came home, he ran back to his room, closed the door, and a few minutes later came out marching, waving the flag, and singing the song. He was so cute (and so proud of himself).

Monday, November 14, 2011

Thousand Gifts 679-744

Rory, Camden, and I rushed out the door early this morning so that we could fit in bloodwork in Springfield (for me), 5 year check up in Bellevue (for Rory), and lunch bunch in Nashville (for both of us) as well as a library visit all between the hours of 7:30 and 2:30. We ate at a place called The Wild Hare that I am fairly certain is not for people with children, but they were very accomodating. And the grilled cheese sandwich with bacon and tomato was delicious.

Rory weighs 32 lbs, is 40 inches tall and is in the 10th percentile for both height and weight. The nurse was very sweet and did not make us wait in the waiting room so I didn't have to be exposed to germs, and even let us out the back way. I did not think to ask for any of that extra help with avoiding germs, and it was thoughtful of them to do it for me. They also did not allow Rory to get several of her immunizations that included live viruses so that I would not be at risk as well. Definitely would not have thought of that! Because she's not in kindergarten yet, she still has plenty of time to get them.

It's been several weeks since I've posted my Thousand Gifts list, but I have been keeping up with it (mostly).

679. Jesus Calling (thank you, Emily!)
680. uninterrupted night of sleep
681. continued good platelet number so chemo can continue
682. "Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you." Psalm 55:22
683. a walk all alone on a fall afternoon
684. friends who come by with lunch and apples fresh from an orchard in hand
685. watching game 7 of the World Series
686. watching Camden watch game 7
687. fluffy clouds
688. view from an airplane
689. my good travelers
690. Square Burger and a night filled with laughter
691. soft hotel sheets

692. a good cry
693. downtown McKinney
694. perfect weather
695. putting faces with names
696. hayrides
697. football in the street

698. the Wright's family bedtime prayer
699. the view of a colorful fall Tennessee on our way back to Nashville
700. safe flights
701. a visit with friends on a rainy day
702. re-introduction of iced coffee into my schedule
703. Hart of Dixie because it makes me laugh
704. Brian's hugs every day when he gets home from school
705. "Scripture is very clear in saying that He will not abandon us, and we must know Him well enough to believe Him. The world is not going to teach us how to love God' only God can do that. Don't believe the lie that Satan longs to use against you; God has not, and will not, forsake you. Ever. Period." Angie Smith, What Women Fear
706. coloring in the floor with Rory
707. my new Brookstone body bean
708. feeling spoiled, much too spoiled 
709. Psalm 37:3 "Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness."
710. Wicked
711. friends who generously share their tickets
712. my fantabulous new boots
713. successful photo shoots
714. and for Brian who stole the picture out of my wallet and went out and found them
715. surprise visit from Becky
716. husbands who can keep a secret
717. lots of new coffee goodies
718. celebrating birthdays with sisters
719. Digital Scrapbooking day
720. meeting new people
721. very cooperative 4 and 9 year olds
722. an extra hour of sleep
723. shopping days
724. "My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth." Psalm 121:2
725. watching a movie with Becky and Liz alone in a theater
726. normal blood pressure two chemo rounds in a row
727. trick or treating a week after Halloween
728. pink hair
729. watching DWTS and The Sing Off with Becky (she's a better TV partner than Brian)
730. for the way playing the piano feeds my soul, soothes my spirits
731. friends who drop by
732. friends who pray
733. feeling calm
734. a 9:00 bedtime
735. a day of feeling good when I should have felt sick
736. Camden's sincere prayer of repentance
737. birthday lunch with my family
738. the color yellow, which never fails to make me feel happy
739. so many birthday well wishes
740. "For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.  I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.   Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." Ephesians 3:14-21
741. for my sister Elizabeth; lots of reason to love her but tonight for the Starbucks she brought me 
742. Pinterest
743. HD TV - so fun!
744. Camden noticing the sun rays peeking out through the clouds

Saturday, November 12, 2011

My Cup Runneth Over

My friend Emily (who was a chemo buddy) sent me Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence several weeks ago. It's a 365-day devotional that until recently I did not even know existed. In the few weeks since she gave it to me, I have had multiple people tell me how meaningful it has been in their lives. I must have been living under a rock to not have read it before. ;)

Anyway, as I was headed to bed tonight at the end of my 36th birthday, I pulled it out, and today's entry reads: "This is a time of abundance in your life. Your cup runneth over with blessings. After plodding uphill for many weeks, you are now traipsing through lush meadows drenched in warm sunshine. I want you to enjoy to the full this time of ease and refreshment. I delight in providing it for you. . . " 

Oh, my friends, I can't tell you how it made my heart smile to open this book and read these words on this particular day. This entire week I have thought so many times of how blessed I am. Yes, I know I have cancer. Yes, I am really sad about that. Yes, I am scared for the future. Yes, it is physically uncomfortable. Yes, I cry. Alot.

But I am blessed. Do you understand how special it is to be loved on by your friends? To know that our Father is taking care of us? To know that many, many people are praying? To feel some measure of peace even during the scariest moments of our lives? To spend precious time with family? To feel completely and utterly spoiled? Because I do. And even in this strange, surreal time in our lives, my cup runneth over with blessings.

Digital Scrapbooking Day

Okay, so actually these didn't get scrapped on the actual Digital Scrapbooking Day, but it was during that same weekend, and it was because Becky was here and we had specifically planned to scrap together. 


Sabrina Dupre: Everyday Memories

Lots of different things so full credits here

Lauren Grier/Jenn Barrette: Everyday Moments

Zoe Pearn: Indian Summer (and can I just say that I ADORE this kit)

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Big Recap

Having trouble knowing where to start, so I'll just go from the beginning. Feel free to skim.

So my last Friday festivities started with a beautiful package in the mail from my friends, most of whom are fellow adoptive parents. They collected fabric scraps that were special to them and made them into a quilt. And not only that, but they each sent in a scrapbook page with notes to me. I cannot tell you how much I love it. LOVE it.


The day continued with two photoshoots at a local park. It was cold, wet, dreary, and while not quite as successful as I would have liked, I still got some sweet shots of some sweet kiddos (no sneak peeks because it's a surprise for their family). I rushed home to change clothes, then Brian and I headed to Nashville to TPAC to see Wicked. It was amazing. Our seats were right on the floor, and I laughed alot, smiled alot, and might have even shed a tear or two.

As we left our seats and walked into the lobby, Becky was there with balloons, a surprise sign, and my favorite: one that said "The Party is Here." It was such a fabulous surprise. It also explains all the ignored texts and phone calls from Becky on Friday. :)

And did I mention that Becky works for a fabulous coffee distributor, and he's been sending free coffee supplies to us? Becky's suitcase was loaded up with all kinds of goodies. And let me just say, there is no Folgers here. Just the good stuff.

Saturday was Digital Scrapbooking Day, which is a scrapbooker's favorite day, and Becky and I were so excited to celebrate it together, something we've done only once before. Unfortunately, we'd stayed up so late the night before, the kids were around and very rambunctious, not to mention our internet decided to take a break all throughout the day so we didn't really get to do much scrapping.

Becky tagged along for my Saturday afternoon photoshoot, and it was so fun. The weather was beautiful, and having an assistant made life easier! Could these two be any cuter?


Sunday was church, lunch with Michael and Liz, and an afternoon of scrapping. I did enough pages over the weekend that it deserves it's own blog post.

I got into a bit of trouble for only posting a picture of Becky and I. Here's the third sister. :)
(Hello, direct sunlight.)

Monday morning we headed out bright and early to take Camden to school, drove to Springfield for bloodwork, picked up coffee, drove to a mall about 50 minutes away and spent the day shopping. We stopped in at Bare Escentuals and had our make-up done, might have bought some make-up as well. :) Even Rory got in on the fun and the sales-person gave her some lip gloss. You know how much she loves lip gloss! Came home just in time to throw on different clothes and attempt a family picture, then go see Real Steel with Liz. Anyone tired yet?

Here's a family picture that did not make the Christmas card.

Tuesday was doctor's appointment, chemo, lunch at McDougals (considering how much I love this place, can you believe it was Becky's first time?) and a quick trip to Trader Joe's. Does anyone else shop at Trader Joe's? It's quickly becoming my favorite grocery store. The organic, all natural products combined with really fabulous customer service makes it a great place to shop. And let me just say that they have great treats there!

My friend Andrea kept Rory for us on Tuesday, and I think Rory was very happy to not spend another day running around town with her mama and Aunt Becky. Miss Andrea is much more fun!


Wednesday, we finally were able to take it easy and relaxed in our p.j.'s most of the morning. Becky drove me in to the doctor's for my Neulasta shot, then I dropped her off at the airport, came home and crashed on the couch where I plan to stay for the next few days while I wait for chemo side effects to wear off (although as of Friday, things haven't been so bad).

Oh, and in the midst of all the excitement, several friends dropped by with delicious meals. Thank you so much!

And in case you're keeping track, my CA125 level after round 2 of Gemzar was up to 34 (was 28 last round). While it's not a significant increase, it's still an increase. One of these days I'm going to get good news, right?


A dear friend of our family has organized a prayer event for us today, and if you would like to participate, click here for more information.

And I also just wanted to share that I think it is no coincidence that I woke up this morning feeling well and rejuvenated. This is typically one of my hardest days during the chemo cycle, but I am feeling no side effects today.

Thank you, Michael, for being so kind to us, and thank you to all of my friends and family who continue to pray and to fill in for me when I don't have the words to pray myself.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Wordless Wednesday


Tuesday, November 08, 2011


I've been absent from the computer world for the last 3 days for a very good reason. Becky surprised me by showing up at Wicked Friday night! Her birthday was yesterday, and my birthday is Saturday so we've been very busy celebrating.


And a little video. Yes, I was crying even though that is (thankfully) not too evident.

Four years ago Becky had just finished up chemo, and I flew to Tulsa to surprise her for her birthday so this is a little surreal. We've scrapped, shopped until we dropped, had make-overs in honor of her birthday and my new eyelashes and eyebrows, had photo shoots (both for clients and for our own family), been to the movies, baked a birthday cake, and much more.

Today we're headed to the hospital for chemo so the rest of her visit will probably be less eventful. Maybe I'll even have a chance to look at the hundreds of pictures waiting to be viewed and shared.

I'll be back sometime this week with a play by play of the weekend; probably more details than you care to know, but for now here is one of the pages I scrapped with Becky as we celebrated Digital Scrapbooking Day.


Friday, November 04, 2011

Be Still, My Heart

In the midst of cleaning out photos yesterday (still not even close to done, by the way), I ran across these photos that I don't remember taking. Granted, I have chemo brain and it's entirely possible I even posted them on the blog, but I don't think so.

And I feel like I lost what little street cred I might have by posting my straight out of the camera picture yesterday so to redeem myself I feel compelled to tell you that these are nearly straight out of the camera. :) Settings for all three pictures are f2.8, 1/640 SS and ISO 400. Used my 35mm lens, and they were taken in April, right after I got my Nikon D7000.



In the next 24 hours, not only do I have three photo shoots, but we have tickets to see Wicked tonight (thank you, Jenne and Kari!), plus tomorrow is Digital Scrapbooking Day. Sounds like a pretty spectacular 24 hours to me.

Using the new November BYOC at The Lilypad. Lots of good stuff going on over there this weekend, so if you're a scrapper, definitely check it out.

Thursday, November 03, 2011


Not alot to post about today, but you know me: gotta keep a schedule, and that includes blogging. :)

It's cold and rainy out, and I am very happy to not have anywhere to be. And even though it's cold out, I've decided today is the day to bring the iced coffee back into my morning schedule.

Despite the fact that I am almost 2 weeks behind in my photography class, I think that any extra time I have today should be spent working on clearing out bad pictures, duplicate pictures, etc. since my 1 terabyte external hard drive is almost completely full. How does that happen? Oh, yes, it would be because I take approximately 6,542,200 pictures a week.

And speaking of pictures, how about a complete mish mash of photos. 

One of Rory from this weekend that I forgot to post.

Exhibit A as to why I shoot in RAW. This was just a test shot before I had settings right on my camera. Because I shot it in RAW, I was able to correct it in Lightroom.

This was the original.

And why I torture you with close-ups of my eyes, I don't know. Except I am more happy than you know to have some eyebrows and lashes again. And, clearly, my eyes are completely different shapes. Nice.

Our further deteriorating self-portrait skills at work.