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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Just a Swingin'

Last week Rory learned how to swing. I am very tempted to include the word "finally" in the previous sentence, but Elizabeth tells me she had several kindergartners learn to swing this year so I guess Rory's not actually the last 5 year old on the planet to learn how to swing all on her own.

And I, of course, was on hand to document it. I'm fairly proud of myself for actually getting these pictures correct. Getting in focus pictures on a swing is not easy, although it's infinitely easier now that I don't have to actually push her and then run around and try to focus and shoot. ;)

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That pesky hair gets in the way, especially when someone's mama didn't take time to actually comb or fix the hair.
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Taken with my 50mm 1.4, f2.8, 1/640SS and 400 ISO


Ni Hao Yall

Friday, April 27, 2012

Delicious

While my family was visiting, we took a break from WW and made a few very delicious but bad-for-you recipes. Here's a rundown.

Pots de Creme by Pioneer Woman. In a word: WOWZA. Brian actually thought these were too chocolatey. Is that even possible? I think what he meant is that maybe they weren't sweet enough for him because of the espresso and very dark chocolate, but my mom and I thought they were out of this world amazing.

Slutty Brownies. Oh. My. Stars. These were a big hit all around and even better topped with a scoop of ice cream.


Pioneer Woman Rosemary Buttered Rolls. These were really delicious and super easy since they use frozen yeast rolls. Despite the fact that I love bread, we've been avoiding bread (and butter) because of Weight Watchers so these probably tasted better than normal.

Weight Watchers spaghetti sauce. This sauce along with some whole wheat angel hair spaghetti satisfied my pasta craving and is pretty good for you especially when made with lean, freshly ground, organic beef.

And as far as Weight Watchers is going, Brian has lost 15 lbs and looks great. I happen to keep losing/gaining the same 3 lbs over and over again which I find INFURIATING. Dr. W says we can blame early menopause/hormones for my lack of success despite following the WW food plan and regular exercise and that I should just keep it up. But I find it very discouraging. Life's too short to worry about weight, right? That's what I keep telling myself anyway.

Friday Photo Dump

Woke up this morning feeling so much better than the previous days since surgery. I can feel myself winding down already (at only 9 a.m.) but it's so nice to feel the end might be in sight.

Our weekend plans include 3 baseball games, 1 soccer game plus soccer pictures as well as a fund raising service. Here's hoping we can squeeze in some packing in the midst of that. We're considering using a Pod and letting them store and deliver our stuff for us because it's looking as if we're probably not going to try to rent an apartment since we hope it will only be 4-6 weeks. Anyone have experience with Pods? Still trying not to panic about this whole thing. I've appreciated the Scripture my friend Alicia sent me - Hebrews 1:8 " ...by faith, Abraham, when called to go to a place, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going..." as well as the devotions that have "coincidentally" happened during my daily reading.

And the photo dump.

This one just cracked me up. So typical Camden.
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Brian and the rest of the family participated in the March of Dimes walk last Sunday. Brian made me stay at home and rest.
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My mom was determined that was my dad was going to have cupcakes, not that we minded. Brian and I picked them up on the way home from the hospital Monday. Priorities, people.
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Camden's school is having a missions fundraiser, and he asked if he could empty his piggy bank to donate. So typical Camden, and I love how blurry-eyed he is here first thing in the morning. This is his little piggy bank from when he was a baby.
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My mom is one of those busy people who never stops to smell the roses. We told her it was perfectly okay to just sit and hold Addison while she sleeps.
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Surprise, surprise, Rory thought it was too bright outside. My kids both like to act as if they're allergic to sun.
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Out of focus, but her little face cracked me up.
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And Camden on his way to a field trip today. He was SO excited.
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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Thursday

So.

Turns out that a 4" incision along my waist line is kind of painful, not to mention the areas above and below where Dr. W "scraped" out the scar tissue. (I'm including that word "scraped" because it makes Becky cringe every time.) I am so happy to have had my parents here for the last couple of days helping me out. I think it's possible I'm not a very good patient. My mom and dad, on the other hand, are very good caretakers. Approximately 30 seconds after they pulled out of the drive way, Rory was in tears and Camden said, "the house just doesn't feel the same without them."

Here are a few pictures from yesterday. I didn't bring the camera out nearly as often as I should have over the last week, although I've got that whole surgery excuse going for me.

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I am going to miss this grassy, shade-covered yard a whole lot.
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I've been off the computer for most of the week, but I'm jumping back on it today hoping to get pictures uploaded from the camera, caught up with Project 365, preparing for a weekend photo shoot. Oh, there's also Rory and Addison to keep entertained as well. Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Roller Coaster

Well, it appears as if Psalms 46 from Sunday was for us after all because last night we were asked to move out of our house May 23. Yes, as in less than a month from now. Obviously, the timing of this is less than ideal, and although we knew that it was a possibility, it stings a little. Okay, maybe more than a little. Transitioning seamlessly from Tennessee to Texas is clearly not going to happen, and if you know me well, then you realize that dealing with transition is most definitely not my strong point. In fact, not having a solid home base for our little family fills my heart with panic. I need routine, space, a plan, peace.

We're still planning to move to Texas, but because schools are still in the process of working out their needs for the upcoming school year and haven't started hiring, Brian is not yet employed by the Texas school system. I have confidence that God will provide a job, but it appears as if He's asking us to trust Him just a little bit more than is comfortable.  Again.

Life this year has been such a roller coaster. I'm kind of ready for it to settle down a bit. I am supremely grateful for the prayers God has answered this year, but I am so ready for a solid plan to be in place. I am wallowing a bit in the uncertainty tonight, but tomorrow morning I am going to try my darnedest to dry up the tears and keep trusting.

If your prayer list isn't full, please pray for us as we try to pack up, finish the school year, find somewhere to stay, and most of all for a job for Brian to open up in McKinney.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Surgery Update

Good news. I came home with all my own undergarments this time. ;)

Surgery was fine. Found out after the fact that Dr. W was concerned about something much more serious with the scar tissue, but it turned out to be a lesser problem so he just scraped it all out and sent me home with plenty of pain meds. My nurse told me I had to do 3 things: (1) be a couch potato for the next couple of days, (2) stay on top of my pain meds, and (3) don't shower for the next 24 hours. TMI?

My CT scan shows no new growth. The old pieces of cancer remain, but they appear to still be calcified so I'm glad I didn't spend the weekend worrying. The sermon yesterday was part of a series on Psalms 46 on fear and how God never changes and remains good despite our own changing circumstances. I have to admit that as I tried to soak in the truths being spoken, I was also praying desperately that God had not sent that message to us because He knew we were going to need it this week. Turns out, it was just a beautiful reminder of how great our God is and maybe someone else needed it for their own circumstances.

Psalms 46:1-3
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth be removed, though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though its waters roar and are troubled, though the mountains tremble at its swelling.

 1. Concentrate on immutability (inability to change) in times of instablity (vs. 1)
2. Concentrate on faith in times of fear (vs. 2-3)
3. Concentrate on peace in times of panic (vs. 4-11)

My parents are here and taking good care of me. I'm going to soak it all in, hopefully get a good night's rest, and enjoy a yummy GiGi's cupcake tonight while I camp out on the couch with DWTS on TV.

Surgery Day

Today is surgery day for me; we have to leave the house at the ungodly hour of 4:55 and all I can think about is the fact I haven't eaten in 36 hours. I still haven't heard anything from the doctor about my CT scan so I'm going to assume everything is okay. If I find out something is wrong, at least I've enjoyed a worry-free weekend.

Here's hoping I won't find someone else's underwear and socks in my surgery bed this time. ;)

And here's a glimpse of Rory at the March of Dimes walk yesterday from a local news channel.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Cute Girls

Yesterday was a busy, busy day with a full morning, rush to the hospital to spend 3 hours drinking contrast (ICK!) and waiting for a 10 minute scan. We then high-tailed it to Pinkberry since I had to fast during the morning and was craving yogurt. A quick trip to Costco then back to pick up the kids, then off to the ball-park for a 7:30 game for Camden where we froze our socks off watching his team play very, very poorly. This seems to be a trend, by the way. Freezing our socks off and a very poorly played game.

On today's agenda is a shopping trip with my mom and Elizabeth. Dad is the designated babysitter and is staying home to watch Addison as well as take my kiddos to and from school. I'm also scheduled for a haircut which is always a highlight, and tonight we're all going to see a production of The Wizard of Oz. Sounds like a good day, right?

These two cuties played opposite each other Saturday. Emma's team won, of course, but we held them to 2 points which is a minor miracle. Rory got pummeled to the ground a couple of times by a big boy who likes to push, but she's a tough cookie and bounced right back up.
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Look at her red face - the girl plays hard! Oh, and check out the enormous snack bag. Always before, a bag of pretzels/fruit snacks, etc. plus a juice box was the snack (baseball and soccer) but this year in both sports, they're getting ziplock bags with 3-4 treats. Maybe that's why they can't play - too busy eating. Kidding.
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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Because Life is Never Boring

I started having some pain in my lower left abdomen Saturday night (and, no, it's not a gall bladder flare up - wrong side and location). Bad enough that I stayed on prescription pain meds Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Honestly, I didn't think that much about it until I remembered two different stories of cancer patients finding new tumors because it started to hurt and they could actually feel them. And when I called the doctor and he automatically ordered a CT scan, I started to be a little freaked out. Over the last 48 hours or so I've been convinced I feel a ginormous lump about a hundred times, and about a hundred times I've been convinced it's nothing. The pain issue is slightly complicated by the fact that my scar tissue decided to go out with a big hurray and abscessed again over the weekend, and both the scar tissue and new pain area are in the same general location.

The good news is that I didn't have any pain at all yesterday, but I'm headed to the hospital this afternoon for a CT scan, and I would definitely appreciate prayers for clean scans and for peace while we wait. I told Brian yesterday that this whole "healthy" phase I'm going through right now feels like such a fragile house of cards that could topple at any moment. I really don't want that moment to be right now.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Trying out a high contrast b/w Lightroom preset by Sabrina today.

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She's been working on perfecting a pouty attitude lately. And her mama has been working on perfecting getting rid of the pouty attitude. It looks like she's winning, but the battle's not over.
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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tuesday'sTidbits

"All right, then. The next time you cry, I'm just gonna let you cry it out because you are not keeping our deal." from Rory to Addison

If you're interested in moving to Texas, here's some material on McKinney - can't wait to move here!

I am finding that the longer I'm on WW and eating healthy, clean foods, the less tasty artificial food tastes and the more delicious decadent food tastes. For instance, I had a bite of Rory's Wendy's frosty the other day, and it tasted so fake and gross. But my bite of all-natural Breyer's was AMAZING. And I've noticed that when I have something that actually has butter in it, I can really tell because it's so much more delicious than low-fat food.

My friend Vicky, who is battling breast cancer, is up for an award. I'd love it if you'd watch her video and then vote. You have until April 18. Video and vote here.

While watching a commercial for DWTS, Rory says, " Mama, I just love her tutu." And then she leaned forward and whispered, "That's Spanish for dress."

Took Addison with me to the dentist yesterday as well as the local grocery store. You know we live in a small community, right? And as if I didn't have enough attention as the mother with two super-cute Asian kids, I have become the mother with cancer with the super-cute Asian kids. Well, yesterday, both the dental assistant and the grocer congratulated me and asked me what country we had adopted such a new baby from. :) And when I explained to the grocer that she was my niece, the grocer got a stricken look on her face for my poor sister who couldn't take care of her child and assumed that I had adopted her.

Took Addison for a major Walmart run today. Thank heavens for a Moby Wrap. After scratching my neck to pieces, the munchkin snuggled in and didn't make a peep for the rest of the trip. It was so much easier to "wear" her than lug around the big carseat. Not to mention the fact that I can't see over the carseat when I put it in the cart. And poor Rory must have explained 15 times that she doesn't have a baby sister, just a baby cousin.

I blogged about a 35mm lens vs. a 50mm lens on The Lilypad blog if you're interested in a visual explanation.

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Check out the onesie.
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Feeling quite guilty about the lack of Camden pictures. And was very happy to see this note from his teacher because it's turning out to be a trying week in the 8 year old boy department.
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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Sunday Snapshot

After taking pictures for this Lilypad post, Rory and I sat playing in the grass, and Brian snapped our picture. Ignore the expression on my make-up-less face and look at how cute Rory is. ;)

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50mm 1.4 lens, f2.8, ISO 200, 1/320 SS

Ni Hao Yall

Just a Little Bit of Rambling

Just some thoughts that have been going through my mind.

Now that we're past the year mark of my diagnosis, I find random things popping up in life that remind me of what was going on a year ago. For instance, I recently changed purses and suddenly my mind flashed back to sitting in Dr. W's office on our first visit with him. His nurse Stephanie was preparing us for my surgery (you know, the one that resulted in a 9 day hospital stay that we had all of 12 hours to prepare). She noticed my purse and told me that I'd not be allowed to even carry my purse for 6 weeks after surgery.

Or the fact that the hospital had very few TV stations, but one of them happened to be TLC. A new series called Say Yes to the Dress: Bridesmaids was debuting and we must have seen the preview for that show at least 100 times. And this week I saw a commercial for the brand new season and just like that I was back in the hospital laying in the bed watching it. Late at night over the last year I would find myself watching Say Yes to the Dress when I couldn't sleep. I've finally had to stop  because I can't watch it without crying and praying desperately that I'll be here to shop for Rory's wedding dress when the time comes.

I discovered this blog last week of a young mother battling breast cancer. As I read through the posts, I found my heart pounding out of my chest, my breath coming in short bursts, and it was if I were living through my own diagnosis and early treatment days again.

My parents are coming to spend a couple of days with us at the end of this week, and we're hoping to have a girl's shopping day while my mom is here. I keep remembering the shopping trip we took last year and what a sweet time it was. And how glad I am to have another chance to shop with my mom and sister.

I wake up every day in awe of the fact that I don't have to see a doctor, receive chemo, get bloodwork done. How if I would have known this time last year how incredibly hard it would all be, I'm certain I wouldn't have had the strength to face it. Not knowing can sometimes be a blessing. 

Most of all I find myself overcome with gratefulness for how God carried us through the past year. And desperate not to forget what I learned, not to slip back into taking all the little things for granted, not forget to be thankful for normal even when normal means the less than glamorous chores like laundry, cleaning house, care of my family.

"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.  See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland." Isaiah 43:18-19


Saturday, April 14, 2012

Easter pictures

Easter felt a little strange this year. Between baseball schedules, feeding 6 kittens round the clock, and not having our own church to attend, it just felt rushed. I remembered late in the day that last year on Easter I was in the middle of a 48 hour fast in preparation to have both my ports installed. It's probably good I didn't remember before Easter dinner or I would have stuffed myself. ;)

Monday morning as I read some scripture to the kids before school, we came across Romans 5: 8 ("But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us!') and I took a deep breath and let that wash over me, and I thought to myself, "that's what I was missing yesterday."

And a few pics. I didn't drive myself nuts getting many posed ones, just whatever I could catch on the go.

Completely out of focus, but they were having such a good time I couldn't resist keeping it.
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Excuse the bobble head picture. I blame my 35mm lens.
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The goats got in on Easter dinner.
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This little girl and Camden really hit it off, and when I came around the corner and saw them standing together, I almost had a little heart attack as I envisioned this scene in a few years. Someone, please stop time.
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I am the mother who hides the eggs in plain sight.
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Totally out of focus, but they were moving so fast I couldn't ended up without face pictures and she looks sweet so it made the cut.
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Some of the eggs had money amounts written on them, and I told the kids they couldn't get their moola until they sat still for a picture.
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My favorite of the day.
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And because I'm feeling like an over-achiever, I've already scrapped them.
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