Thursday, May 23, 2013

iPhone catch-up

If you're on Instagram, you may have seen a few of these, but if not, here's a little iPhone catch-up.

Last week at the ballfield. Honestly, the girl is so pretty she takes my breath away sometimes.

I was trying to take a picture of the two of us and kept cutting off her head. We giggled alot over this.

When did we turn into people who wear aprons? I have no idea, but it probably happened right about the time I started cooking supper every single night as well as simultaneously stopped wearing pajama pants all day every day. Brian comes home from school and joins me in the kitchen every single night, by the way.

Giggly girl in the doctor's waiting room. Had to go this week for an asthma check-up, but we've been a solid 3 months without inhalers. It's probably a record!

We met Sumner and Joy for lunch after Rory's doctor's appointment.

A not-so-happy boy on our way home from his last day of school.

Camden and his teacher (who was fabulous, by the way). We stopped by school this morning to pick up his awards. There was a huge pile as usual.

Week 3 and I'm still doing this. I haven't felt well this week, and exercise hasn't come easy, but I've kept up. After FINALLY losing 5 pounds, I gained 3 this week. Why am I wasting my time on rabbit food and sweat again?

I'm blogging from the couch listening to the sounds of happy kids outside my window. Day #2 of summer break has been much better than Day #1.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Tuesday's Tidbits . . . on Wednesday

Camden and Rory had a new Sunday school teacher this past week, and they decided it would be fun to switch up their names as a joke on the teacher. They giggled about it endlessly at lunch after church. Yes, they've turned into the stereo typical preacher's kids.

It is entirely possible that I have over-compensated for Rory's boring school uniform wardrobe during the school year by taking advantage of sales at Crazy 8, Gymboree, and Tea Collection this week. Her closet is back to over-flowing, and I am back to mentally kicking myself for not keeping it simple.

This has been one of those strange weeks where any number of things have gone wrong. None of them big; none of them important, but enough to turn me into a very cranky mama. I keep reminding myself of the families in Oklahoma who have had their homes destroyed and family members lost in an effort to keep it all in perspective. It only works part of the time.

Today is the first day of summer break, and I sabotaged myself by deciding to sleep in instead of getting up with the birds to give myself time for coffee and devotions before facing the day. Rory, who is a very early riser, stomped all over the house, fed herself breakfast, and woke up me and Camden much earlier than we would have liked. They fought like cats and dogs until I finally sent them to their rooms alone . . . . at 10:00 . . . . on the first day of summer break. 

Back tomorrow with hopefully a better attitude and a picture catch-up post.

credits here
051613_sunny days

Monday, May 20, 2013

Last Day

Our weekend was both eventful and uneventful all at the same time. Brian was very busy with yard work, church meetings and church-related work. While he was super busy, I was not so busy, but not in a good way.

I started off my Saturday morning sick with similar pain to my gallbladder issues last year. The kind of pain that shoots you straight off the couch and then immediately makes you vomit because it's so strong. Not quite my idea of a relaxing Saturday morning. My doctor was able to call in some pain medicine for me so I could avoid the ER, but I had to miss a meeting with a friend and fellow adoptive parent that I've been looking forward to for weeks. Not to mention I was supposed to be the pianist at church yesterday; something I don't get to do very often these days.

Thankfully, I am feeling much better today, which is a good thing because my doctor can't see me until Friday morning. I'm more than happy to put it off as long as possible.

Today is Rory's last day of school (it's FUN day), and she could not be more excited. In fact, she was outside 20 minutes early today waiting for her ride. I snapped this picture through the front door window.

And before she headed out the door. Yes, I did curl her hair again. Just for a ponytail. I can't help it.

Since this is Rory's last day of school (Camden's last day is tomorrow), it means this is my last kid-free day until mid-August. I decided to keep my Monday morning laundry tradition, but skip getting the house back in order and enjoy the quiet morning. I have a hair appointment later on, then it will be the start of a family-filled summer break.

Happy Monday, friends.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Little Graduate

My  baby graduated from kindergarten Friday night. Seriously. How can this be? I fought tears the entire night, and I am not one who cries over each milestone. But leaving kindergarten behind feels like leaving the last little bit of baby girl behind. I am supremely grateful for the wonderful teacher she has. Rory doesn't come home talking about learning to read or phonics or science. She comes home telling me the Bible stories and the character lessons Mrs. L has taught them. In fact, she thinks everything she's learned about Jesus has been from Mrs. L. I don't know whether to be grateful for everything Mrs. L has done or peeved at the years of family devotions, Sunday School lessons, and Children's Church hours she's clearly forgotten about. :)

I can at least be thankful she still has two her front teeth. They have been loose for several weeks now, and she has been desperately trying to get rid of them in time for her graduation.

I made the bold decision to only use my iPhone for the event, and I wasn't alone. I didn't see one single DSLR there, only iPhones.

Despite the rain, I curled her hair. Cutie pie.

Receiving her diploma


Mrs. L and Ms. W




Uncle Micah graduated from medical school at the exact same time Rory was graduating from kindergarten. I sure wish we could have been in two places at once. Way to go, Micah!

Friday, May 17, 2013

An Afternoon Off

Because Brian was named Teacher of the Year at his school, he got to take an afternoon off before the end of the year. We decided to use it for a little outing without the kids, something we haven't done in about 4 months. At least.

We headed to Nashville to the Farmer's Market, which is something we've been planning to do for at least a year. The market isn't really in full swing yet because of the season, but we did snag some strawberries, bell peppers, tomatoes, cauliflower, squash and zucchini.

We also had lunch, which was my favorite part, of course. They have some international food vendors as well as several farm-to-table restaurants. Brian chose Indian food, while I chose a farm-to-table pizzeria. I chose the Margherita pizza on whole wheat crust, baked in a wood-fired oven with homemade lemon soda. It was so good!



We met my friend Tina to take some headshots for her, and then she snapped one of us.

We ate a little frozen yogurt then headed to the movie theater to see Iron Man 3, which is probably my favorite one so far. It was a much-needed break from real life. Thanks to Aunt Liz for keeping the kids!

And tonight? This is happening.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Tuesday's Tidbits

I decided to take advantage of happy hour at Starbucks Friday afternoon and surprised the kids with a frappucino after school. They are 9 and 6 and have had exactly one frappucino in their life up to this point. Suffice it to say that the caffeine was coursing through their veins almost immediately. Camden especially was BOUNCING off the walls the entire evening. It made family game night a little more of a patience test than usual.

As of today, I have walked 9 out of the last 10 days. Maybe this isn't an accomplishment for anyone else, but it is definitely one for me. I've also completed week one of the Couch 2 5k program and started week two. While I've completed week one a couple of times, I've never moved on to week two before. Because I hate exercise almost more than anything else, I've been using Camden as my motivation. He is my serious quit-when-the-going-gets-tough (although he gets it honest from me), and we push him hard, hard, hard to overcome.

I'm leaving this post bookmarked on my computer to read on those days when it feels like I might scream if I have to wash another load of clothes or make lunches yet again. Such a good reminder.

Speaking of laundry, Camden's basket had 12 pairs of underwear and two shirts still with tags on them. Hmmm, considering (1) I did all the laundry 6 days ago, (2) am relatively certain he did not wear 2 pairs of underwear a day and (3) KNOW he would never wear a shirt still with tags on it, I'm pretty sure I washed some clean clothes.

I'm meeting my friend Kathy for lunch today. We try to do it one Tuesday a month and this is the last kid-free Tuesday either of us will have for a while. Although she's got 4 kids so my days are always more kid-free than hers. ;)

There is something wrong with each of the following photos, but sometimes the smiles or expressions are worth the technical issues.

I've learned how to curl her hair with the flat iron, and she is more than a tad giddy about the new 'do.

Be still, my heart. Do you see her looking at him?


Monday, May 13, 2013

Mother's Day 2013

I read these verses this morning, and thought they were so appropriate for Mother's Day.

"What I mean, brothers and sisters, is that the time is short . . . For this world in its present form is passing away." I Corinthians 7:29, 31

May 2011

May 2012

May 2013

(Clearly, taking decent pictures on Mother's Day is not my strong suit.)

(And my hairstyle seems to be getting worse year after year.)

Pictures aside, my Mother's Day was full of excited kiddos ready to share their gifts, lots of hugs, and feeling special. I've reminded Rory every day for the last week that she was supposed to wait until Sunday to tell me all about their Mother's Day projects. She is not one for secrets! Brian and the kids brought me home a huge bundle of lilies Saturday morning. Sunday morning they burst into my bedroom full of smiles bearing cards and homemade gifts (along with this bracelet from Lisa Leonard).

We went to church where we showed the best Mother's Day video ever (Brian was in charge of this) and gave out the best Mother's Day gift you've ever received in church - cupcakes! The mothers can thank me for that genius idea. Seriously. Isn't that better than a magnet/keyring/booklet you're going to throw away as soon as you get home?

Sunday afternoon I relaxed while Brian took care of getting the house ready for company. He even did about 90% of the cooking. His mom, dad, and brother came over and spent several hours with us. After they left, we quickly put the kids in bed and settled in to watch the Survivor finale. It was a pretty great day.

Brian, his mom, and brother. 
(Does this look as awkward to everyone else as it does to me? LOL) Brian said he couldn't help it if he's really a head shorter than his mom and brother, and I couldn't seem to get him to understand I just wanted him closer.

Gram and the kids.

One final picture. He took a little break from all the cooking and cleaning mid-afternoon. It's hard work filling in as for mom for the day.

Saturday, May 11, 2013


On May 11, 2012, I was in the hospital having surgery that would eventually result in the news that my cancer was still hanging out in different spots on my peritoneal wall and liver. When I read back this morning over everything that happened during the month of May, it just kind of made my head hurt. Thankfully, I had forgotten alot of the bad stuff. Unfortunately, I had also forgotten some of the ways that God showed love to us so it was actually good to revisit those difficult days. And to pray that we never experience a month like it ever again.

I'm spending May 11, 2013, in a decidedly different way than last year. I slept in (as is usual for me on Saturday morning), had my cup of coffee. Brian took the kids to visit his parents while I used the treadmill (which is NOT usual for my Saturday mornings). We're running errands this afternoon and preparing to host his parents and brother at our house for Mother's Day and then attending Camden's baseball game tonight.

Totally normal and most definitely better than last year.

May 11, 2013, also marks a pretty significant milestone. I had my last chemo treatment December 22. As of today, this is the longest I've ever gone without surgery or chemo since March 2011. Pretty big deal, right?

And how about two pics that are not even from May, but I ran across them yesterday and kind of loved them. The kids Facetiming with my parents on a Saturday morning in March.


Thursday, May 09, 2013

Making the Band

On the way home from school yesterday.

Rory: I've decided I'm definitely starting a band.

Me: Oh, yeah? Well, who's going to be in it? (because this is the first I've heard about a band)

Rory: I was thinking you and Camden.
Maybe Daddy can jump in there if his back is better on Saturday.
You can play the piano. I haven't come up with a job for Camden yet.

Camden: You know I can sing, right? (a little indignantly)

Rory: But I was going to be the singer! (said in a very whiny voice) 
Can you whistle?

Camden: Seriously. I can sing. (starting to get disgusted)

Rory: I just have to find a song where I know all the words.

Camden: Oh, boy. I'm out.

I'm not sure where this band enthusiasm came from, but she laid on my bed listening to music on my phone for almost an hour and then informed Brian when he came home that our band was called The Lewis's Family Themed Band and asked him to join it. Camden is officially out.

Pulled out the camera when we got home yesterday because (as the kids informed me) I've slacked off of my weekly picture lately.

Camden is kind of okay with the camera.

Until Rory wants to hug him.

"look at each other and say booger"

This trick works almost every single time.

I don't know how he resists her.

Turns out he can't.


Wednesday, May 08, 2013

World Ovarian Cancer Awareness Day

Did you even know there was such a thing? Me neither until recently. My friend Barbara (who recently found out she can stop chemo - woohoo!) sent me this from the Sandy Rollman Ovarian Cancer Foundation.

Today marks the first World Ovarian Cancer Day. On this day, ovarian cancer organizations- like Sandy Rollman - from across the world will unite to educate their communities about ovarian cancer and its symptoms. For women living with the disease, and their families and friends, World Ovarian Cancer Day will build a sense of solidarity in the fight against the disease.

As many of you know, ovarian cancer has the lowest survival rate of all gynecologic cancers, and is characterized around the world by a lack of awareness of symptoms and late stage diagnosis. To help raise awareness about ovarian cancer and to let those fighting the disease know they are supported, my niece Remi Weinstein, choreographed and performed with her dance class the video below. Remi has been volunteering with the Sandy Rollman Ovarian Cancer Foundation since she was born. This cause and the women and families she has met mean a great deal to Remi, which prompted her to combine something she loves (dance) with a cause she cares for deeply.

While this project has been in the works for months, we think that World Ovarian Cancer Day is the perfect time to release it. Please watch the video and share it with your friends by utilizing email, Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Snapshot #6

Outside my window: green, green grass
I am thinking: about how I should feel embarrassed for going back to bed after I got the kids out the door this morning. I know. It's so luxurious that I feel guilty, but not only did I not sleep last night, I am all too aware that the little munchkins (they're too old to call them that, right?) will be here full-time in less than 2 weeks. I apologize to all of you who had to get up and actually go to work or take care of a houseful of toddlers today.

I am thankful for: being on the no-driving end of the car pool this morning. See above.

I am wondering: how all the poor teachers are going to survive these next 2 weeks of school because if every kid is as wound up as my two, the teachers most definitely need some extra thoughts and prayers. 

Last 3 purchases: I wish I had something really fun for this, but nothing comes to mind. How about what I'd like to purchase? ;) 

Dinner plans: these turkey nachos. We actually had them for supper last week too, but I accidentally got the ground turkey out of the freezer instead of the chicken thighs and didn't realize it until too late so we're having them again. Good thing they were super delicious! 

Future plans I'm looking forward to: summer break. I think. 

Kid funny: Camden has decided he's too old for p.j.'s so he's been sleeping in his underwear. It cracks me up to see his scrawny legs and chest when he comes out of his room. And he clearly isn't too modest yet because we have to remind him to put clothes on. 

I am reading: Not currently reading, but I just finished Delirium  and Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver 

In the kitchen: leftover chili, red cabbage (which I've never bought before), lots of raw spinach and frozen fruits for smoothies 

On my desk: a mess. Still. 

Watching: old seasons of Parks and Recreation as I drift off to sleep at night 

On my frequent playlist: White Flag by Passion. It is SO good. 

Snacking on: I just finished up a smoothie that involved unsweetened almond milk, ground almonds, blueberries, strawberries, and spinach. It's one of my favorites so far. Yesterday's was coconut water, spinach/kale/chard, fresh pineapple, and an avocado. I don't know if the recipes are getting better or if I'm getting used to the taste (and texture), but I'm enjoying them more. 

Rest-of-the-day-plans: sweeping and mopping the kitchen floor, making granola bars, writing notes to all the kid's teachers for Teacher Appreciation week, and most importantly: finishing up last night's DWTS episode.

Monday, May 06, 2013

Science Projects . . . it's only the beginning

Our weekend was supposed to be quite full, but cold, rainy weather turned our Saturday into kind of a lovely shut-in day (it is somehow already the first week of May but our chilly temps and rain sure don't feel like May). It wasn't necessarily a restful day since it included some cooking and baking, closet cleaning, garage re-arranging, packing away our cold weather clothing (ironically enough since it's cold out) and an 8 hour science project.

Oh, yes, I said 8 hours.

School work comes SO easily to Camden that we tend to forget he's a typical 9 year old boy who can lose focus and become very distracted when faced with a challenge. After a skipped project earlier this year (when he literally hid the project from us until after it was due - so unlike him, by the way), we should have realized that this one would be a doozy. But we procrastinated and trusted in his super smarts.

Eight hours later, we decided we'll never trust those natural super smarts again. Props to Brian because he had to put his teacher skills to good use and did most of the sit-along-beside-the-9-year-old-kill-me-now overseeing of the project.

This would be early on when he was still excited about working.

And this would be before his not-so-bright parents realized that the reason his scissor skills are so poor (and soooooo slow) are because he's LEFT HANDED and every single pair of scissors we own are for RIGHTHANDED people. Parents of the year right here.

I have a feeling the projects only get more involved from this point on. Heaven help us all.

In other news, it was (inter)National Digital Scrapbooking weekend, and while I would have liked to have spent more time online, I did get 3 pages scrapped last week in preparation for the celebration. I've been doing this scrapbooking thing for 7 years now, and while my enthusiasm for the process ebbs and flows, the feeling of accomplishment I get when I know I've documented our family's memories well never goes away.

121911_all right


031811_go team

Friday, May 03, 2013

Flashback Friday 5/3/13

Monkey see . . .

. . . monkey do

I could probably sum up their relationship with those 4 little words.

Brian specifically requested Flashback Friday, and this is the picture that popped for May 3, 2011. Seems fun, right?

Except it was the night before this happened. God was so gracious to give me incredible friends and family to help me through this period of my life. Honestly, I'm still amazed when I look back at 2011 and see how God showed up.

Glad to be spending this May 3 chemo-free.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Phil. 1:6

I sent my kids off to school a little while ago (after a morning full of arguments and unkind words between them, a recurring theme these days), and read this verse:

Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6

It hit me straight in the heart that being Camden and Rory's mama is my good work that I can carry on to completion. I can't give up. And I've got Someone on my side who will help me make the right choices. Parenting is so hard. Most days I can't wait for bedtime (theirs!) so that I can relax and not feel as if everything little thing I say is going to determine their memory of me. It's good to remember we're not alone in this parenting job we've undertaken.

I also uploaded these pictures from my camera this morning, and it was such a perfect reminder that sometimes they do love on each other the way I want them to. They wanted to play outside Tuesday after school, and when I went out to check on them Camden was oh-so-patiently throwing the ball back and forth with Rory. And instead of being frustrated at her, he was so kind and sweet as he gave her instructions. Believe me when I say: this. does. not. always. happen.


And then they grabbed a Connect 4 game to play. Once again, they were both so sweet to each other as they played.

And then these pictures and the way I was feeling reminded me of a day back in December 2011 when photos affected me in a similar way. It was a couple of months after completing my 6 rounds of the big time chemo, followed by finding out that the chemo hadn't worked and starting up a new regimen. The kids were going through a particularly good phase in terms of playing together, wanting to be together. If you're a parent, then you know this kind of phase doesn't happen often or last long, but in this case it had been going on for a while.

In my guilt over being sick for so long, I had convinced myself that they were so happy together because we had abandoned them. I wasn't as available as I'd been in the past to cuddle, read, spend one-on-one time. I had spent much of the previous months either in the chemo chair or sacked out on the couch barely able to move. But I remember December 19 vividly. Camden and Rory were wrestling in the computer room, laughing uncontrollably, just genuinely enjoying each other's company. And when I uploaded the pictures from that day, it struck me that this is just a good phase. These are not the faces of kids who feel abandoned or not important. These are not the faces of children with a horrible mother. They just really love each other right now.

Sometimes I just need a reminder to keep trying. This was it for me today.

Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6