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Friday, September 28, 2012

Friday's Photos

Well, I took a grand total of 4 pictures last night for Rory's birthday (and 2 were with my iPhone). Our house has one small light in the main living space so once it's dark outside, pictures are impossible. I mean, literally, it is so dark my camera cannot find focus.

I have to say that Rory's birthday started off really rough. In case any of you were under the impression that my kids never fight and are always sweet to each other, I have clearly misrepresented our family. They had an episode yesterday that involved pulling hair, screaming, and punching. Oh, yes. Good times.

Anyway, I was sorely tempted to call off her birthday altogether, but decided to take a deep breath and not do something I might regret later. After punishment was handed out (and, yes, it was fairly severe for all involved), the night was fun. I think her 6th birthday will forever be known as the Barbie Birthday as well as the one in which there was a literal fist fight. Here's hoping that never happens again.

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Cute cake, right? She requested strawberry cake with chocolate ice cream and something sparkly.
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Despite that major fight they had, I have to say that they quickly were best friends again. Which made me feel better about the horrific fight they had earlier. Camden reading her new Olivia book to her. She LOVES Olivia books and the Olivia TV show. Loves.
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Oh, and in case you're wondering, Camden bought her sparkly scented nail polish. :)


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Someone is Turning 6 Today

Today is Rory's 6th birthday. (How did my kids get so old so fast?)

I took her outside last night after supper, and here are the results of our 2 minute photoshoot. If you can't tell, she was more than a little hyped up on not one, but two chocolate cupcakes with marshmallow buttercream. And pink sprinkles.

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(Clearly, I like to shoot with the subject on my right. I never notice these things until they're finished and uploaded to the blog.)

Funny story. I made cupcakes for Rory to take with her to school yesterday (their school is actually out today and tomorrow), and on the way to school, she gave me everyone's requests. Yes, she had been taking cupcake requests in her Kindergarten class. One girl wanted no icing, one wanted icing but no sprinkles. Someone else didn't like chocolate. I am not kidding - she had specific requests from kids in her class. If you know me at all, you know that I did not do custom requests. ;) She was lucky to actually get homemade cupcakes that were both delicious *and* pretty. I do not have a good track record when baking for a special occasion.

Happy Birthday, Big Girl!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Melt my Heart

I promised you a story about Camden that will melt your heart, and I have one of those. But just yesterday's blog, I also have a really funny Camden story.

First the sweet story. In Camden's 3rd grade class, they are rewarded with stamps for good behavior. Each Friday, they're allowed to go shopping and buy little gadgets and toys. I noticed that Camden had not brought anything home for a couple of weeks so I asked him about it. He leaned over to me and whispered in my ear, "Can you make Rory go into her room, shut the door and lock it?"

I didn't quite know what to make of that, but I told Rory to go to her room for a minute. Camden then proceeded to tell me that he has been saving up all his stamps so that he can "buy" Rory a birthday present. Melt your heart, right? Since then, he gives me conspiratorial looks and winks whenever her birthday comes up (it's tomorrow). I love it.

And now the funny story.

Camden has an easy gag reflex. Always has. (Does this sound like the start of a great story?) I've noticed him recently gagging at the table, although he tries to hide it from me. Probably because it makes me irritated when he gags at the meal I've taken the time and effort to cook. Anyway, last night I noticed him leave the table, sit down on the floor, and hold his stomach. Brian and I are both yelling at him to go to the bathroom if he needs to throw up. He takes a deep breath, composes himself, then says, "Rory is talking with food in her mouth, and I just can't take it."

Well, I thought that was kind of funny (because, yes, he REALLY is that sensitive), but when he proceeded to tell me this, I totally lost it. "Last year, I had to go throw up in the bathroom because ____ was burping the A, B, C's. . . . and it was a good hot lunch, too!"

I feel this isn't translating to a blog post very well. ;) Anyway, we laughed. Alot.

And now this week's pictures. Once again, did not tell them to pose, and I'm kind of loving how they react to the camera these days. Do you ever feel like you're falling in love with your kids all over again? I've kind of felt that way recently.
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Processed with Florabella Colorplay Perfect Color action, then the Hazy action with sheer haze and sunflower haze.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Tuesday's Tidbits

DWTS All-Stars season started last night. It's like a little piece of reality TV heaven.

I have a story to share with you tomorrow about Camden that will make your heart melt.

Any ideas on how to break up with your realtor before you've even met her?

Know those teeth I had fixed last week? Oh, my stars, the pain in my jaw and joint. Still! I'm assuming it has to do with chemo and my reduced capacity to heal? Who knows.

My chemo nurse called yesterday. My heart always skips a beat when the doctor's office number pops up on my screen. And when she said, "your CA125 number came in, and I thought you'd want to know" my heart did more than skip a couple of beats. I'm not sure they've ever called *just* to give me my CA125 number. I breathlessly said, "yes??" SEVEN, people. SEVEN. She said she knew I'd be excited and didn't want me to have to wait until I came back into the office. Oh, sweet relief.

This picture is SO representative of Camden. He's all about these strange faces these days. Love him.
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And the thumbs up has made a big reappearance in our life now that it's soccer season.
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I love both of these pictures because I didn't ask for anything out of them - they were just test shots, but they both did something so representative of them at this moment in their lives. And isn't photography all about capturing those little details and moments that you might not remember otherwise?

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Monday Musings

Completely random compilation of things today.

Our weekend recap: I was home with Addison Friday and despite really cute morning pictures that said otherwise, she was Miss Cranky Pants all day! Brian and Camden took off to the spend the evening with friends while Rory and I stayed home to take it easy. Despite not feeling well, I absolutely took advantage of my Friday night and stayed up until 1 a.m. scrapping.

Saturday morning was a soccer game (we didn't win); two batches of cupcakes, looked at our first house (it was a total bust) and dinner with our friends, the Kivette's.

Sunday morning was church (Brian preached a sermon full of truth and good reminders for me) and then we spent the afternoon at Gram and Gramps's (Gramps' - I can never remember the apostrophe rule with an s) house celebrating Gramps's birthday.

A few Scriptures I've read recently that really spoke to me:

"In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ." I Peter 1:6-7

"When my spirit grows faint within me, it is you who know my way." Psalm 142:3

"For Yahweh is good, and His love is eternal; His faithfulness endures through all generations."  Psalm 100:5

And from a Beth Moore study I'm doing:

1. God is not the author of destruction.
2. God will repay evil.
3. Our hope must be in god.
4. No matter how bad things look, God is good.

Painless or painful, enjoyable or distasteful, God always works to prepare us to serve Him, but He rarely prepares us in the way we expect. Why must we experience such preparation? Because any work we've grown accustomed to is usually a work completed. As soon as we've learned one lesson, He brings another. He will continue to work in us until we see His face, because that, beloved, is the ultimate moment for which we're being prepared. Make no mistake. Jesus will be worth it. Remember, He thought we were worth it too.

And just a few pictures from the weekend.

Addison wore this super cute hat to Rory's game, but she did not like it when her daddy set her down at his feet. Look at that pucker!
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Camden, Rory, and the birthday boy. And, yes, it is totally out of focus.
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And a phone picture from this morning. The sun was streaming through the trees (this is at the end of our driveway). Isn't it beautiful?
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And what I scrapped Friday:

Gina Miller: Pumpkin Frapp
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Sahlin Studio: Retro Mod
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Friday, September 21, 2012

Snapshot #2

Outside my window: Beautiful cooler temperatures and a UPS notice saying my Gymboree package will be here today. ;)

I am thinking: About the nightmare I had last night which woke me up at 4:30 this morning.


I am thankful for: Low platelets which are giving me an extra week off of chemo, although after my nightmare I'm tempted to call Dr. W and ask if I can still come in!

I am wearing: My comfy clothes.

Last 3 purchases: Dunkin' Donuts for the kids this morning (okay, and for me), some cute fall clothing from Gymboree, the new Shabby Princess kits because I cannot resist.

Dinner plans: It's just going to be me and the girl tonight so we'll probably just have a sandwich. There's no way I'm cooking for just the 2 of us.

Last verse I read that spoke to me: So we're not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There's far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can't see now will last forever. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Future plans I'm looking forward to:  Looking at houses next week; Addison's naptime (because I'm going to join her!), my regular Friday night late-night scrapping.

Kid funny: This morning Camden walked out of the bathroom after brushing his teeth holding the toothpaste and said, "when they say 'intense mint' they mean 'intense mint'!"

I am reading: Dream Team and re-reading Divurgent.

In the kitchen: Fixings for a new taco recipe and fresh tomatoes from my mother-in-law's garden.

On my desk: the remote control, my wedding ring and watch, duct tape (don't ask), and Rory's grandparents day craft that I still haven't mailed to my parents.

Snacking on: I am trying to cut back on all snacking so I'm refusing to answer on the grounds that I might incriminate myself.

Background noise: Addison chattering away as she scoots all over the living room.

Rest-of-the-day-plans: Babysitting Addison, cleaning the bathrooms (fun times), an evening with my girl - maybe a walk, the Snow White photoshoot she's actually been asking for, and then staying up late to scrap.

One of the many nice things about attending a small school is the fundraisers they do to help out families from the school. (We were the recipient of these last year.) Anyway, one day this week was hat day and Camden wanted to wear his baseball cap.
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He has suddenly decided that this is the funniest face ever, and I've seen it a whole lot recently.
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And for those of you who care, I used my 70-200 lens for these pictures. As is typical with this lens, the colors are super rich and it has fabulous bokeh, but I always need to really up my ISO. The settings were f2.8, 1/250 SS, and 800 ISO.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Kindergarten Update

I've had many people ask me how Rory is liking kindergarten so I thought I would just write an update here. It's probably going to include more information that you want, but I plan to just copy and paste right on over to a scrapbook page.

Multi-tasking. It's good for the soul.

So Rory loves school like we all knew she would. She seems to have narrowed friends down to 2 very specific girls, and from what I can tell, the 3 of them spend their days playing spy girls. And trying to learn, of course.

I always knew the actual learning part of school was going to take second place to all the socialization, and that has most certainly proven to be true. In fact, I'm a little concerned she's not learning at all. For instance, just this week she told me that the following words start with B: considerate, quiet, recess, and Bella.

In addition to recess spy girl stories, she also comes home full of what she's learned, like how to spell colors, new memory verses, etc. However, getting her to actually tell me how to spell those colors or recite the verses is like pulling teeth. "But, mama, I don't remember what green starts with." "Now what numbers go with the verse again? And what does it start with? And where is it found?" It completely cracks me up that the way they learn things in kindergarten is with little rhymes and songs because Rory cannot remember a rhyme or song lyrics to save her little life!

So she might not be able to spell green after working on it for 2 weeks, but she spent 20 minutes on the way to soccer practice Tuesday night giving "her class" in the back seat an exact lecture complete with hand motions and voice inflection word for word that I am fairly certain her teacher had given earlier this week.

Yesterday, we received our first packet of graded papers, and she made 100's on almost all of them. She also had a note attached to one paper that said she was caught looking at someone else's paper for answers. So my sweet juvenile delinquent is a cheater. Actually, when I thought about it, the whole looking at someone else's paper made alot of sense because she mimics everything. Everything! From "cop-u-wing" her big brother, to watching the cheerleaders, to picking up on little nuances from TV. So why wouldn't she look at someone else's paper? Obviously, we had a talk with her about why that's actually cheating/stealing, and I hope she'll think twice before she does it again.

The other major thing I should point out about these first few weeks of kindergarten is all the crying. I'm sure I've mentioned that Rory is quite emotional, sensitive, tenderhearted. In fact, she has more compassion in her little finger than I do in my whole body, and while she is a super happy kid, she cries really easily.

Unfortunately, all that emotion has shown itself in insane bouts of crying morning and night. Nothing at school that I'm aware of, which is good. It's as if she's bottling up all the emotion, anxiety, excitement of school and then letting it out when she gets in the car after school. We've had tears because she has a cold, because she might give someone else a cold if she touches them, because she thinks she made Addison sick because she saw her in the hallway at school, because everyone else had better show and tell than she did, because she's soooooo sorry she didn't finish her water at lunch, etc. Oh, my stars, all the crying!

But all in all, kindergarten is going well. In Brian's professional teacher opinion, we're going to have some academic issues because she just doesn't seem to learn in a traditional way, but maybe if she follows through on her plan to tell her teacher every morning "that I love her berry, berry much" Mrs. L will fudge on her grades. ;)

Because, seriously,  who could resist this face (and those pigtails)?
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So my platelets took another hit yesterday, which most definitely means no chemo for me. They are right above the critical level so I'm still good, just not good enough for chemo. (woohoo!) Everyone keeps asking how I'm feeling, and the answer is pretty good! This has actually been the easiest chemo round so far, and with the exception of extra fatigue and alot of sleep, I'm good. This has been a busy week with extra soccer games, unexpected dentist appointments, haircuts, etc. so I'm trying to just stay afloat with the most basic housework and laundry and make time for rest. I walked for almost an hour with a friend this morning, and while I may feel physically tired, it was lovely to walk in the cool, fall-like weather and talk. Just no one unexpectedly visit me and look at my un-mopped floors!



Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Ouch!

Bad news: My chemo nurse called me yesterday afternoon to let me know my platelets are low.

Good news: Low platelets mean I probably won't have chemo tomorrow. Hello, extra week off!

Bad news: I had my first ever toothache last night/this morning.

Good news: My dentist was able to get me in first thing this morning and it's probably fixed. Fingers crossed.

P.S. I will be alot more compassionate with my kiddos now that I've had my own dental experience. Anyone else just cringe at the sound of those drills? And I seriously don't like having my lips, tongue, face, eyelid numb!

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Valorie Wibbens/Lauren Reid: Super Duper
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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tuesday's Tidbits

I sat down to blog this morning and realized I had not collected any Tuesday Tidbits for this past week. Camden and Rory's cute factor must be going down. ;)

Not possible, right?
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Over the weekend I added up all the time I spent driving Monday - Friday this past week (a very standard week, I might add). 685 minutes. 11.42 hours. Seriously. I'm not kidding when I say it's like a part-time job just getting our family to and from everywhere we need to go.

Now that I have an iPhone, I've found a good way to help pass time when I'm in the car. Podcasts! Any favorites you want to link me up to? I've had a good time catching up on The Digi Show.

I blogged about fall at The Lilypad yesterday.

On today's agenda is switching out summer clothes with our fall wardrobe. Which absolutely guarantees that the temperatures will shoot back into the 90's.

Just for kicks, here's a look at a picture from exactly a year ago. Are my kids beautiful or what. I love their black, shiny eyes. (and boo to the missing eyelashes and eyebrows for me!)
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I can't share the page I scrapped yesterday, but here's one I finished last week. These are pictures from about 2 weeks before my surgery/diagnosis and I look at them and they kind of take my breath away when I remember how carefree those days were compared to our life now. So strange.

Sahlin Studio: Grandma's Dresser
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Monday, September 17, 2012

Monday, Monday

I'm feeling the pressure to blog (my husband always worries about me if there's not a blog post waiting for him to read during his lunch), but I seem to have a lack of blog material. Not surprising since I spent most of the last 3 days on the couch feeling the effects of chemo. I woke up feeling pretty good this morning, and I've been enjoying this rare morning home alone. It's been weeks since I was able to actually drop the kids off at school and then come home by myself. Between helping out with Addison, house sitting, Labor Day trip, chemo, Neulasta shots, haircuts, soccer practices and games, plus all the regular grocery shopping and house upkeep, I am wondering where all that quiet time I was hoping for has gone!

Friday night Rory spent the night at Gram Gramp's house while we introduced Camden to his first Harry Potter movie. He. was. smitten. I think I mentioned before that I read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone to him over the summer. He then proceeded to read it twice more on his own in about a week's time. He requested Pioneer Woman's chicken ranch sandwiches for supper. I raised the stakes and added in this marshmallow popcorn (that was totally amazing). Brian and I both actually dozed off during the movie (we've seen it multiple times). Brian's snoring woke up me, and I thought I better pull myself together in case Camden got scared during some of the more tense moments. We all know there's no waking Brian up once he's fallen asleep in front of a movie!

Saturday was Rory's second soccer game on a very, very gray morning. The teams tied, but Rory had a great goal. I wish I'd kept my camera out because she ran right back to the coach, and he grabbed her and threw her above his head. Nope, didn't have the camera out for that cute moment.

Since when did my baby get big enough to hold a baby?
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What I really should be doing on this rainy morning in which I actually have no prior commitments is laundry and cleaning house, but instead I'm going to settle myself in to scrap a page and then make my favorite pumpkin bread for the kid's breakfast tomorrow.

Happy Monday!
 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sunday Snapshot

I signed up for a workshop at Clickin Moms, and it talks about trying something new: shooting at a different time of day, a new editing format, setting up a themed shoot, etc. It's been a busy week, and while I haven't exactly embraced trying something new, I did position myself purposefully with these pictures of Addison to use the sun flare, and I have to say that I kind of love them.

Doesn't hurt that she's so darn cute either.

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Can't you just hear the giggles?
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I'd like to say that alot of thought went into this, but I just grabbed my camera and shot. ;) I used my 35mm lens; settings were f2.5, ISO 400, 1/320 SS. I increased the contrast and warmth in Lightroom for a little drama, then used the sheer haze from Florabella's ColorPlay action set.


Ni Hao Yall