Monday, December 31, 2012

Christmas Family Photo 2012

My family always moans and groans a bit when I say we have to take a group photo, but I know one day we'll look back and be glad we did. This year we decided to take advantage of a corn pudding that refused to finish baking and took our picture while we waited. (My usual habit is to wait until we're ready to eat and then drive everyone nuts while I snap a shot.) Every time we set up a family photo, I always laugh at the test shots and think that I should totally do a "build a family photo" post, but never do.

Well, this is your lucky day. ;)

Oh, yes, Addison's getting a spit bath.

Gathering the troops.

Oh, we definitely need to close that garage door.

Getting "the look" from Micah.

The kids are smiling much too early. You know those smiles won't be around for the real picture.

Now my husband is getting in on "the look."

Next up? "The look" from Michael.

Now my brother is joining in on "the look."

Notice how everyone except Becky has decided to give me "the look." Seriously, people. It's one picture!

Ta-dah! Let's just ignore the fact that I almost cut my dad out of the picture and that the front row of kids are not even in focus. Christmas is documented.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

This is a Public Service Announcement

The first group of family arrived safe and sound Christmas Eve night, followed by everyone else Christmas morning. We spent a glorious day enjoying being together. A big turkey dinner was cooked and consumed; Christmas carols were sang; presents carefully (and always one at a time) were unwrapped. Dirty Santa (for the adults) was a blast as always.

And then Micah, Becky, and Xavier spent several hours in the ER Christmas night, and they came home with a confirmed flu diagnosis. Christmas night was spent doing laundry, disinfecting the house, all kinds of fun stuff. By the time they got home from the ER, William was running a fever. Poor William and Xavier spent the next 24 hours quarantined up in Camden's room, but when Becky woke up sick this morning, they decided they better hit the road.

So. The lesson of Christmas 2012: Get. Your. Flu. Shot.

William, Xavier, Becky, my brother and my dad all did not get their flu shots this year. So far, three of the five are down and out. Of course, my family is panicking worried that I'll get sick, but I had the flu shot so I'm not concerned. I've put in my obligatory (they totally made me) call to the doctor, and Dr. W put me on Tamiflu as a preventative measure since my blood counts were super low last week.

We've declared today a Pajama Day, and we're going ahead with our appetizer night even though we'll be missing half of us. We've all shed a few tears today (my kids most of all). Camden was devastated as the Derby clan left, and Rory sobbed "this Christmas is just all messed up!" But I'm glad for the few days we got to spend together even though it was no fun for William and Xavier! Here's hoping the flu won't *really* last 10-14 days!

I only used my iphone for this holiday, and I have to say it was very freeing to let go of documenting the perfect event. Maybe I'll share more pics later or maybe I'll just stick my fuzzy iphone pics on a scrapbook page and call it done. ;)

The one and only picture of the four kiddos together. We didn't even attempt one with Addison and I'm glad we didn't since both boys had the flu (which we didn't know at this point).

A family picture (still in our p.j.'s) Christmas morning.

My parents have an XBox Kinnect, and the adults played after the kids went to bed. I was skeptical (because I'm pretty much a fuddy duddy when it comes to gaming systems), but it was a ton of fun. Here's a fuzzy picture of me and Micah to prove it.

And a little video of our Christmas caroling before opening presents. You can hear Rory's off-key voice over almost everyone.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

I ran out of Christmas cards long before my Christmas list so if you did not receive a card this year, (1) I am so sorry and (2) here ya go!

2012 christmas card

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve

So I spent yesterday afternoon pouting on the couch and texting back and forth with Becky while Brian worked away like a little beaver and the kids screamed like banshees upstairs (in a good way). Rory had several bouts of crying because "it won't be Christmas if only half of us are here!"

By the end of the day, I'd pulled myself together enough to put on a good face for the kids. I played Christmas music very loudly, made a batch of oreo truffles (using Trader Joe Candy Cane Joe-Joe's), texted Becky that I did not have the will power to clean the house today if they weren't going to be here. We let the kids stay up late, wrapped the final presents, and settled in to watch a movie. I promptly fell asleep on the couch (which never happens) and woke up 10 hours later. (Something else that never happens.)

This morning as we all relaxed on the couch enjoying a quiet morning, my phone twirped letting me know I had a message, and we all let out an audible sigh because we knew it would be Becky letting us know they weren't coming. Instead it said, "I guess you need to clean your house." There were lots of happy screams of joy, and now we're scurrying around finishing up all the last minute things to get ready for a house full of company.

I hope your Christmas Eve is full of joy and fun (but not last-minute house cleaning). ;)

Candy cane shaped pizza for supper Thursday night. Side note: Did you know Trader Joe's has preservative-free, natural pizza dough balls for $1.19?

Candlelight dinner on Friday - the longest night of the year and first day of winter.

My new Christmas wreath from World Market. Brian was like my personal shopper as I sent him links and he sent me pics back and forth.

Rory worked long and hard on this quite complicated little Korean origami paper doll. And the instructions were in Korean so she had to follow the visual directions. She did a fantastic job.

Second trip to Goodwill within 24 hours.

We always take the kids to see a movie or a trip to the Children's Theater the first weekend of Christmas break. This was a super-cute movie and so funny because it was all about believing in Santa, Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy (more on this in a minute).

The Tooth Fairy finally remembered to make an appearance. It only took 3 nights and digging through the trash piece by piece after a certain Mama accidentally threw the tooth away. ;)

An afternoon cup of coffee with Santa yesterday. (and I still somehow managed to sleep all night long - it's like a Christmas miracle)

I came upstairs last night, and this is what the bonus room looked like. Brian decided Sunday night was a good time to start unpacking more boxes. More power to him.

And, finally, oreo truffles made with Candy Cane Joe-Joe's. Sounds like a winner, right?

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Activity Scene

Oh, for them to stay this little and naive forever. Rory and her "Activity Scene."
a.k.a. Nativity Scene


If you've hung out with me here for very long then you know how important family and family holidays are to us. Last year we were all set to travel to Oklahoma to be with Becky, Micah, William, Xavier, my parents and brother (who were traveling from Illinois). Unfortunately, I ended up in the ER with strict instructions to not go anywhere. If you're in love with your family like I am, then you'll understand how devastating it was to not spend the holidays together.

This year, Becky and her family (along with my parents and brother) are supposed to be traveling to Tennessee tomorrow. For the last several days, the vague thought about what catastrophe might happen this year to keep us apart has danced around in my head. And while it's not a catastrophe, Becky has a very sick boy that might keep them home for Christmas. Anyone want to join me in a quick prayer that his fever will go away and we'll get to be together for Christmas?

Because it feels like a catastrophe to not spend Christmas with my family 2 years in a row.

Friday, December 21, 2012

A Few on Friday

Clever title, right? (insert plenty of sarcasm here)

Because Brian is a saint, he is off running a whole lot of errands for me (and he took the kids with him so I could convalesce in peace and quiet). Of course, the downside of that is when he dropped off a whole lot of boxes at Goodwill, he filled the car back up. With purchases from Goodwill. In the interest of full disclosure, he found super cheap end tables for our living room that we are going to repurpose, and the purchase was fully approved by me.

Rory lost a second bottom tooth this week, and it appears as if she has three teeth growing back in the place of the two she lost. That math adds up to a very scary total.

I respect this blog post From the Nato's blog SO much. Such a great, simple approach to Christmas that keeps the focus on Christ and it's a perspective we have tried very hard to incorporate over the last few years. This year we stuck to one gift per child and we're also giving them the gift of sponsoring a child from Compassion International. I'm very excited about putting that under the tree for them. And I don't know about you, but we do our best to include the kids in the gift wrapping, card stuffing, baking, etc., (even though it takes twice as long and occasionally makes me feel like downing the bottle of Xanax.). I just think it's important to involve them in the giving and the "work" that accompanies Christmas. They think it's a blast, of course, but I hope they're learning something in the process.

I'm probably never going to do this, but this idea from Teal and Lime is super fun.

I am finding my iPhone to be SO much handier than my big girl camera for taking indoor pics this time of year, but I also find myself missing the pretty shots that come from my big girl camera. As anyone who shoots in manual with a crop-frame camera can understand, shooting indoors during the  winter is SO hard. I am still dreaming of that full-frame camera one day.

I found these posts on the tragedy in Connecticut incredibly emotional and beautiful: (1) In search of the light by Big Mama, (2) The Brown House by Angie Smith, and (3) Lamentations by Jen Hatmaker.

And speaking of Jen Hatmaker, two things. (1) I cannot recommend her book 7 enough. It is life changing to read it. And scary. I'm terrified to re-read it. (2) This post on the Proverbs 31 woman is absolutely outstanding. It's lengthy, but so worth the read.

And since this seems to be ending on a melancholy note, my sister posted the words to this song by Travis Cottrell, and I just wept as I read them. So beautiful and haunting.

Oh hand of God
Lead me through this valley
Where roads are long and shadows deep

Oh Word of God
Light the way before me
Your every promise carries me

In tribulation
I'm not forsaken

Mercy come in
Shatter my darkness
And flood my soul
with hope and rest

My heart is heavy
Peace overwhelm me
Cover me again
Mercy come in

Oh breathe of God
Helper of the helpless
breathe life into these weary bones

Oh love of God
love that never fails me
Oh love that will not let me go

My soul is needing
A healing only you can bring

Mercy come in
Shatter my darkness
and flood my soul
with hope and rest
My heart is heavy
Peace overwhelm me
Cover me again
Mercy come in

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Let Christmas Break Begin

Today has been a very long and full day, but it marked the beginning of our Christmas break. Brian and I were able to attend Christmas parties for both kids at school. We actually ended up being late because of car problems, and we had to split our time between the parties, but I think we managed to be around enough to make both of them happy. 

This is the first time I've attended a school party. I realize you're in shock and might need to remove me from your Google Reader now that you know I'm a horrible mother to school-aged children, but it's true. And let me just tell you that I was in awe of all the parents who were helping, headed up the games, etc. Children in large groups make me shiver with fear, but thank goodness for those parents who are willing to step up and take one for the team!

Game time.
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The infamous Camdyn. We hear never-ending stories about Camdyn. Not gonna lie. It gets a little confusing as we try to figure out if Rory is talking about Camdyn or Camden. ;)
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Partying is hard.
Post Christmas party crash.

Really hard.
And another one bites the dust.

By the way, I made sausage balls (for Camden's party) for the very first time, and I combined two simple recipes. They were so delicious that Camden ate 10. TEN. And that would be in addition to a very full plate of other goodies.

Sausage Balls
1 softened block of cream cheese
2 cups extra sharp cheddar cheese (shredded)
2 lbs sausage
2-1/4 cups Bisquick

Using a KitchenAid (because it made the whole mixing thing SO easy for this girl who happens to be thoroughly disgusted by raw meat), stir all ingredients until combined. Roll into balls and bake at a 375 degree oven for 25 minutes. Cooking time is going to vary depending on how small/big you make your balls. Mine were fairly small, and I baked them on stoneware which sometimes takes a little longer. I think it's possible if you cook them in a glass dish or regular cookie sheet that your cook time will go down a bit. This recipe made about 70 sausage balls, btw.

I was responsible for a veggie tray and dip for Rory's party, and surprisingly, the cherry tomatoes were a huge hit. So were the sour cream and onion chips. I refilled plates for no less than 4 kids in a 3 minute time period, and their only request was more sour cream and onion chips.

After their Christmas parties, the four of us headed into Nashville to run a few errands and for my last chemo treatment. Everyone at Dr. W's office has been asking about Rory for months. Now that she's in school, they never see her so I thought this would be a good opportunity to bring her along. On my week 2 and week 3 treatment, I am typically the last patient of the day and so I knew they'd be willing to let her accompany me in the chemo room (our doctor's office has a rule of no visitors in the chemo room because of limited space). They were all thrilled to pieces to see her, and our visit turned out to be quite a bit longer than usual because the nurses were busy talking to her instead of hooking me up.

I was so glad it worked out for Rory to be with me because we found out it was the last day in the office for Peaches, who happens to be my favorite medical assistant. Not only does she LOVE Rory (and that love is absolutely returned), she has been such a main stay in my cancer treatment experience. She's the nurse I mentioned hugging me as she handed me the Kleenex after my CA125 news a couple of weeks ago. Believe me: this is not the first time she's supplied me with Kleenex. She has hugged and cried with me on good days as well as bad days. On my very first day of chemo when I had a moment of panic as they accessed my port for the first time, she is the one who sat down next to me, put her arms around me, and promised it would be okay. Thank heavens I didn't remember all of these moments during our visit today because I have been a sloppy mess ever since, but was able to keep it together during our goodbyes.

Not only did I have to say goodbye to Peaches, but it struck me on the drive home how different things are this time around. Last year when I finished up my 6 rounds of chemo, and we thought I would be done for good, there was so much rejoicing as I headed out the door that day; September 1, 2011 to be exact. Today I finished up 18 additional chemo sessions, but there was no rejoicing, no hugs from the staff or wishes that I stay gone for a very long time.

Nope. Today they handed me my new bloodwork schedule as well as a chemo schedule (resuming January 10). I was hoping at least we could all pretend there is a possibility that scan is going to show NED (No Evidence of Disease). 

Despite that disappointment, my plans are to make it through the next few days the same way I normally do. Snuggled up on my couch with maybe an extra cup of coffee or two. Because we're on Christmas break, the couch will be a little more crowded with the two munchkins and Brian alongside me. I'm also going to revel in the fact that no matter what happens after January 10, I have a break until January 10, and that's the longest one I've had since July 5. I usually wake up feeling pretty good on Sunday and I'm looking forward to our Christmas service as well as a few holiday activities I've got up my sleeve to surprise Camden and Rory. Family starts arriving Christmas Eve night, and I can guarantee that a good time will be had by all.

My chemo buddy today.
My chemo buddy today. Charming all the nurses.

And fudge from Peaches. She told me to think about her when I ate it. So I did. And cried. Even Brian got a little teary-eyed. And it was good fudge. I'm going to miss your smiling face, Peaches.
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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

If you need any help getting into the Christmas spirit, let me give you a push.

Camden and Rory before Christmas caroling with the church a few weeks ago. I'm pretty sure these two would brighten up anywhere, right? (Did I already share this? It's feeling familiar.)

And two Addison pictures that didn't make the Christmas card cut.


Today is Brian's last day of school for two whole weeks. Listen for his shout of joy as his 4th graders get onto a bus about 10:45 this morning.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Monday Night Football

For someone who has never attended a major sporting event, in 2012 I can mark not only a MLB game but now an NFL game off the list. And not just NFL, but Monday Night Football!

One of Brian's former students (who has a grandpa with connections) gave him 2 tickets to last night's game against the Jets. We had thunderstorms all day and until the last minute it was a toss-up as to whether I was going to be Brian's game partner, but the rain moved out and even though we froze our little tails off, it was a ton of fun. And, surprise, surprise, the Titans even managed to pull out a win! Believe me, they had alot of help from Mark Sanchez.



Of course, biggest news of the night was that I actually laid eyes on Tim Tebow. Oh, yes, I'm a total Tebow fan. And we may have been in Tennessee, but the crowd had a whole new energy when the Tebow man stepped onto the field for the few plays he participated in.

And if you're into this kind of thing, Avery and Deacon (I have no idea what their real names are) (from the ABC show Nashville) performed in the pre-game show. Avery totally knocked Deacon out of the water, by the way, which was surprising to me based on their show characters!

The kids spent the night at Gram and Gramp's house last night (because we didn't get home from the game until after 11:30), so I got to sleep in until a glorious 7:30 this morning. I've spent the remainder of my morning baking what feels like 2,000 cookies to send home with all of Brian's 4th graders tomorrow.

That 2,000 number might be a slight exaggeration but between all of the cooking and baking I've done for other people and events in the last week (and still plan to do), I have done absolutely no baking for our family Christmas. Turns out, that's no big deal, because between Becky and my mom, they are bringing no less than 11 different kinds of cookies.

And that, my friends, is no exaggeration.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Our Weekend

I don't really have the right words to convey how I feel this morning other than to say overwhelmed. I want to ignore the media coverage of what happened in CT, but I have trouble turning it off. Friends lost a father last night; a chemo friend is going through a very difficult time; our pastor's wife is losing her mother soon. On her way out the door this morning Rory told me she's scared to spend the night somewhere else in case I'm not here when she gets back (she and Camden are staying with Gram and Gramps tonight). While I've never been the person who thought life should have an "easy" button, why does it have to be this hard?

There's really only one option for me and that's to continue to choose to trust. Trust verses like Psalms 103:19 which says, "The Lord has established his throne in the heavens,and his kingdom rules over all." or Hebrews 13:5, "I will never leave you or forsake you." or John 16:33, "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Sometimes it's easy to believe these promises. Today it takes every ounce of strength in my body and every ounce of will power in my head to read and believe and move forward without fear.

And despite how my mood sounds this morning, we really did have a good weekend. Sandwiched in between the sleepless nights and moments alone that gave me too much time for sad thoughts, we wrapped Christmas presents (Yes, I let the kids help. And, yes, this is always a better idea in theory than in actual practice.), made homemade gifts, celebrated Christmas with Brian's family. 

I even surprised Camden and Rory with little snowmen for breakfast Saturday morning, and their screams of joy woke me up. ;) You know I am easily the least crafty mom on the planet, but even I could handle these. They are just the little white sugary donuts with orange and green Mike & Ike candies cut in half for buttons, then a fruit roll-up for the scarf and teeny bits of a chocolate chip for the eyes.

Just about as crafty as it gets around here, but they were a huge hit.

Thank you, Brian, for snapping these pictures of the kids with their snowmen. 
(Why, yes, Rory is still in a booster seat at the age of 6. That's what happens when you don't even make the growth charts.)

With Gram and Gramps - they're leaving town so we celebrated Christmas a little early.

Friday, December 14, 2012

iPhone Dump

I love my sparkly tree and with our house layout, you can see it from the kitchen too (this was taken from our kitchen table). Notice the Christmas cards hanging from twine over the doorway. Hello, Pinterest idea!

I've been feeling pretty down about my looks these days, specifically my weight gain, but I liked my red lipgloss - a color I do not usually wear!

Kathy, Tina, and I stopped at Jeni's (they'd never been so it was kind of a must). I can personally verify the dark chocolate peppermint ice cream is out. of. this. world.


Peppermint Hot Chocolate from Trader Joe's. I bought this for gifts, but might not be able to let it go. ;)

Camden is in the elementary choir at school this year (have I mentioned that here?). He really does have a good voice and when you can stay on key every note at age 9, I think that's pretty good. He's been able to do this since age 3ish, and now that Rory is 6 and still can't carry a tune, I realize how special it is. They sang at the mall this past Saturday, and I think they all were pretty excited about the whole shebang.

And, finally, just about the first "fun" thing I've bought for the house. We have spent most of our money on paint, blinds, etc. so decorating has taken a backseat. But when I saw another adoptive mom post a picture of their family canvas painted by Beth at Artistic Adoption on Etsy, I just knew it was going to be something I added to our walls, and I LOVE it. I sent her a couple of pictures of the kids from our Angela Crutcher shoot this past May, and it's exactly as I envisioned. It also includes Jeremiah 29:11, our verse for the year. Seriously cute, right?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Where Has This Week Gone?

Oh, the time is just flying by these days. So much Christmas stuff to get done mixed in with all the daily duties. I'm realizing that my big list of things to do before Christmas has now turned into the big list of things to do NEXT WEEK.

December is one of those months that I want time to just soak up all the holiday fun, make lots of memories, but I find myself just running in place trying to keep up. I had lots of fun plans in my head for the kids, but just not sure they're not going to happen. Good news is I KNOW what they will remember the most is having everyone here together the week of Christmas. And that's the most important memory of all.

So I've mentioned the whole sleep thing like a bajillion times over the course of the last several years. For the first time ever it seems to be affecting my driving. As in, I've fallen asleep two times at the wheel this week. Talk about scary! Not sure what we're going to do, but I have a feeling it needs to be mentioned to Dr. W because not only have I fallen asleep, but I have seriously struggled to stay awake and find myself having difficulty focusing on the road. Between getting the kids to and from school plus all my appointments in Nashville, I spend alot of time driving 75 mph on the interstate. Not being able to focus is not a good thing.

I had a B1G1 free coupon that was expiring for Pei Wei so since I was in town for chemo, I made an extra trip over to that area and brought home take-out for a little impromptu date night with Brian. I surprised him when he got home (he's had to work late 3 nights this week for parent/teacher conferences). The kids had strict instructions to watch a little Netflix and then tuck themselves into bed. Brian and I ate takeout and watched the latest Survivor episode. I'm loving Lisa Welchel this year, but not sure she's going to win.

(iphone pics)



Wednesday, December 12, 2012


I started blogging waaaaayyyy back in 2006. I had 3 reasons: (a) to document Camden's silly 3 year old antics, (b) we were starting the adoption process again for the second time and I wanted a record of what our lives were like when our still unknown child was born, and (3) I really, really wanted to be on a creative team for a designer, and I thought blogging about scrapping was somehow going to help me along.

Several years ago (three, at the very least) I started wondering if backing up my blog might be a good idea. As the years had passed, though I was still scrapping quite a bit, Life as a Lewis had become my main memory-keeping vehicle. I did a bit of research, found some companies who would print a blog, and decided it was time to get serious about making Life as a Lewis permanent.

As I got started, however, it became abundantly clear that I was quite chatty and the cheaper options were just not going to work unless I wanted to break up each blog year into multiple books (which I didn't).
Over the past couple of years, I've started this project at least on 2 other occasions, but a couple of weekends ago, I put on my big girl pants and settled into about 4 hours on a Saturday morning making Life as a Lewis 2006 (or The Year of the Tantrum as I like to call it) into a book.

In the early blog days, most posts consisted of scrapping news and funny Camden stories. Can you believe that in 2006 I did not include one single photo? I did, however, include a whole lot of scrap pages. How I had time to scrap 6-8 layouts a week in addition to working full-time and taking care of a husband and child is beyond me!

I was not a very good blogger. I started off every Monday morning post complaining about the commute to Nashville and how the week was already off to a bad start. I finished up every week with a complaint about Camden's temper tantrums and how I wished I had more time to scrap. Camden apparently threw ALOT of tantrums back in the day.

If we could only go back in time and tell our younger self to just sit back and enjoy the moment. To recognize how easy life was. Because seriously. When my biggest problems were that Brian put Camden in sweat pants instead of denim overalls, life was pretty good.

My 2006 book arrived Monday morning and as I flipped through the book and read a few stories to the kids after supper, I was reminded why I do this: Project 365, blogging, scrapping. Because I want to remember all of it: the good, the bad, the ugly.  I listened to Rory laugh so hard she couldn't even speak and watched Camden blush because he's 9 and gets embarrassed easily. Without my blog, Project 365, and my scrap pages I can guarantee I wouldn't remember 90% of the little things documented here.

While there are too many funny stories documented in 2006 to repeat here, this one made all of us lose control.

Sunday, November 26, 2006
Camden: Mommy, will you play with me?
Me: Hang on a second while I dry my hair.
Camden: But why?
Me: So it doesn't stick out everywhere and look ugly.

A few minutes later.

Camden: Mommy, will you play with me?
Me: Hang on a second while I finish my make-up.
Camden: Before your face gets ugly?


And a few details because I've already received emails asking.

I used Blurb. You tell Blurb the dates you want in your book, and the software "slurps" up your blog posts and makes a book, which is fully customizable. For 2006, I started blogging in June and ended up with an 86-page, 8x10, hardcover book. I did not bother replacing my web-sized scrapbook layouts from the blog with full-sized pictures in the book, and they still printed at a very acceptable quality. I would have liked to printed a little larger sized book, but I knew that with 6 years left to print, an 8x10 was just a more economical choice. They do occasionally have coupons, and I will wait to print books until more coupons are available. Even with a 30% coupon, my 2006 book cost about $45 to print. Absolutely worth it, but I'll definitely be spreading out the printing. My goal is to get caught up with 2007 - 2012 and then just print each year's blog at the end of that year.

Another option is Blog2Print, but they have a maximum number of pages and even my smallest blog year (2006) wouldn't fit in one book. The print quality is also not as high and since my blog has become my main memory-keeping vehicle, I wanted a higher print quality for my  photos.

Not that I'm an expert, but if you have any questions, leave them in the comments and I'll make sure to get back to you.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tuesday's Tidbits

Camden and Rory were a part of the Christmas program at school last week, and Rory keeps telling us how excited she was to sing in a conference (a.k.a. concert).

I know the whole Elf on a Shelf thing is super popular, but I feel as if he's taken over Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, blogs, etc. Sooooo over him. Ducking and running now. (although my friend Melissa L. has the best ideas I've seen)

My Starbucks habit has had a revolutionary change. Did you know you can ask for just half the syrup (pumps of peppermint/caramel, etc.)? Oh. My. Stars. Not only does it save you a whole lot of calories, it tastes so much better to me. A regular one starts to get too sweet after the first couple of drinks.

After literally sleeping the weekend away (seriously, it was like my body was catching up on all the sleep I'd lost over the last couple of weeks), I've now slept a grand total of about 6 hours in the last 48 hours. So. Tired.

I know you're going to feel as if you're reading the wrong blog when I type this next sentence, but you're in the right place. Get ready . . . . . I bought fabric last night to make my own pillows and even a little quilt.

I'm off to meet my friends Tina and Kathy for lunch at The Silly Goose. Coincidentally (wink, wink) it is right next to Jeni's so you know we're going to have to make a little detour. I feel as if it's my duty to introduce them to the best ice cream on earth.

And a Christmas page from last year. Credits here.