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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Tuesday's Tidbits

Rory's declaration of the day: "I am officially a country Lewis Korean." Okay, then.

I think I've mentioned before how much we love our new library. Not only is it open 7 days a week, but the book series are kept in numerical order. This is a big deal when your 9 year old reads books from a series that has 50+ books. Maybe this is typical of where you live, but we have certainly not experienced this attention to detail. Of course, there's a price to pay for such good service - the late fees are insane, and after one day past due date, all your online services are canceled. Yes, I did find this out the hard way.

One other issue I have with the library is that they don't seem to get new books into circulation until a couple months after release date. I read the first two books in the Lauren Oliver trilogy and LOVED them. As in, loved them as much as The Hunger Games so that's saying something. But after finishing up book 2 with a serious cliffhanger, the library doesn't have the final book available yet even though it was released in early March. I just might have to break down and buy it because I don't know how much longer I can wait!

"After this little fella finishes up, it's going to be Camden's turn." Rory, at the ball park.

Saturday is National Digital Scrapbooking Day, so I'm spending my week furiously scrapping with all the new releases The Lilypad will have available Friday and Saturday in between laundry and house chores. So much fun! Becky and I tried to figure out a way to throw caution to the wind, skip all responsibilities and spend Saturday together, but it's just not meant to be.

If you're interested, I wrote a blog spot tackling some white balance options here.

I made homemade tortillas last week. I know. I can hardly believe it myself. It's one of those things that I kept saying I'd never do, but I kept feeling guilty about buying the processed tortillas. And then I found this recipe that seemed easy, did not use shortening, and didn't involve frying. They were a big hit, and best of all - they were as easy as the recipe said. 

Spring fever must have kicked in because Camden, who is generally pretty responsible, suddenly is so flighty he wouldn't remember his own head if it weren't attached. In the last 48 hours, he's forgotten his baseball glove (to a game), lunchbox, jacket, SHOES, etc.

Today finishes up a 30-day smoothie challenge we participated in. I think we only missed 3 days, and I'm planning to continue 4-5 days/week. My favorite smoothie was today's which included unsweetened almond milk, spinach, bananas, cacao powder, and unsweetened peanut butter. It was also the smoothie that used the least amount of fruits/veggies, which is probably why it was my favorite. It was so delicious that I would actually choose to eat it again for a treat. While I learned to tolerate the smoothies (and the texture), I haven't quite embraced the taste (or texture). This one, however, was smooth and VERY good. Eating 2+ cups of greens, plus fruits all in one cup is a very good thing.

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I finally figured out why I'm not taking as many pictures this spring. It's the first time we've lived in a suburb, and while I definitely enjoy being close to shopping and eating, we do not have good filtered light. Everything is direct sunlight and instead of beautiful trees and green grass, my backgrounds all include pavement, cars, and other houses. It's very uninspiring from a photography standpoint, so I need to figure out how to work around it because we're not moving!

Week 15
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Monday, April 29, 2013

Monday, Monday

Boy, did we have a busy weekend! I feel as if I could start every Monday post with those words these days. Baseball season is in full swing; add in church and the extra church events we've been having, and life is full. We also had just about every kind of weather you can imagine: beautiful sunny skies, tornado warnings, chilly temps, flooding, thunderstorms, and a breeze.

Thank you so much for all your kind words on this post. It was kinda like a good cry: you don't always know you need it and you don't realize how much better you'll feel when you've finally just let go. That's how that post was. Didn't know I needed to say those things out loud and I didn't realize how much better I would feel after. With a slightly clearer head, I also figured out that part of my state of discontent is related to our non-schedule these days. We've never really gotten back on track after spring break, and with the addition of baseball practice/games and extra church activities, I've felt off-kilter. I know. Crazy how much that throws me off, but it does. Now that I've identified part of the problem, I already feel better about how to get myself back on track.

Rory attended her very first non-parent birthday party last week, and she was SO excited. We don't participate in a ton of parties because of limited time, money, unwillingness to let the kids go with families we don't know, etc. But this one worked out exactly right, and she had a blast! Here she is with the picture she painted (side note: what a FUN idea for a kid's party!).
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And just a couple from a church dinner at the pastor's house Sunday night. They don't look like they're having fun at all, right? ;)
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They were letting Rory catch the ball and run with it. Of course, no one would tag her out. Except Camden. Every time.
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One of these days she's going to be too big for Uncle Michael to throw.
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Addison got in on it too.
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Friday, April 26, 2013

Flashback Friday

April 2011
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April 2012
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April 2013
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And what I was really taking a picture of - the holes in their pants. After this day, Rory is down to a solitary pair of uniform pants without holes so she's wearing mostly skirts (even on cool mornings) because there is no way I'm buying new uniform pants for the remaining 3 weeks of school. Camden hasn't put holes in too many of his pants this year, but they are certainly getting too short! And take notice of their arms around each other totally unprompted. They might squabble non-stop, but they sure know how to make their mama happy when she pulls out the camera.
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credits here
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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Identity Crisis

This post will be all over the place. Just a warning. :)

When I first started blogging years ago, it was to keep track of our daily happenings for 2 reasons: (1) because Camden was a super cute 3 year old and I wanted to remember all his little sayings, and (2) we were in process to adopt a second child, and I was hoping I would be able to refer back to the blog and see what was happening the day that child was born.

So I kept track of those two things, we got our referral, we went to Korea. I blogged ALOT during our trip to Korea, and then kept on blogging about our daily life because Rory was too cute not to share with the world. (Not to mention, I had snuck a little note to her foster mother with the blog address and I knew she was reading.)

Then I blogged to help keep my sanity as a stay-at-home-mom of two and because sharing the struggles was a way of venting as well as a way to document our memories.

Cancer happened, and the blog shifted into keeping everyone updated on my treatments. It was also a very important outlet for my feelings when I couldn't voice those fears out loud to an actual human being.

Next up was moving past cancer, or living with it actually, and keeping up with our move to Texas and my recovery. We all know that didn't end particularly well since one year ago this week I had a scar tissue surgery and then 2 short weeks later had major surgery that resulted in an 8 day hospital stay and the discovery that my cancer was still hanging out in my abdomen.

Now I've blogged through another year of cancer, taking a break, waiting, waiting, and waiting some more. The kids are both in school, and while they're still funny and cute, there just aren't as many opportunity for pictures and they don't evolve day to day the way toddlers do.  Instead of regular doctor's appointments (for which I'm grateful), my days are filled with mundane tasks such as cutting up more fruits and veggies than I could have possibly imagined would fill my fridge, laundry, housekeeping, repeat, repeat, repeat. And aren't you all just SO tired of hearing about my ailments because I am certainly tired of having them, and I try not to share every detail.

Maybe I'm not going through a blogging crisis so much as an identity crisis because the days feel long, and at the end of them I am just tired and feel a little alot as if my day's accomplishments are so insignificant. I feel like a failure as I pack up clothes that no longer fit. I can't figure out why in the world I still feel like crap so often even though I haven't had a chemo treatment in over 4 months. Instead of being content with our home, I just feel overwhelmed with the fact that our garage is full of junk and I still don't have much on the walls or cute pillows made for the couch. And don't get me started on the disasters that are Camden and Rory's rooms.

I know in my heart how important it is to be present for carpooling and homework, but it mostly feels like playing referee. I know it's important for me to eat clean and work hard in the kitchen to provide healthy meals, but mostly I just want to run through the Chick-Fil-A drive-through and chase it down with a cupcake. Life is such a roller coaster. Last week was a very good week; this week is not so very good.

As He so often does, God has made it increasingly clear to me over the last few days that (a) I need to change my attitude, (b) I need to find a place of my own again, and (c) I am most definitely not the only one dealing with these insecurities.

I've heard several friends this week lamenting that they feel useless and unappreciated after spending their days doing laundry and cleaning baseboards. I *so* get that.

I've read blog posts and had conversations with fellow cancer patients, and I'm not feeling quite as wimpy for my ongoing struggles.

And guess what? I am apparently not the only mother who feels more like a referee than loving mama in their own home and can't wait for bedtime. :)

And so while God gave me some clear direction on things I need to do to improve my attitude, He also made me feel not so alone in my insecurities and struggles. And maybe if you're reading this and are feeling a little insecure in your life right now, you won't feel quite as alone either.


A few of my morning accomplishments. 
(you should see the rest of my fridge and the disaster that is our bedroom)
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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Mental Health Day

With the exception of running car pool Friday morning then meeting my friend for a walk, I had a complete mental health day Friday.

It. was. perfect.

I wrapped myself in a blanket, made a second cup of coffee, turned on the news coverage of the craziness in Boston and then I scrapped; I browsed the internet; I ordered myself some new lip gloss; and I scrapped some more.

It's good to take time for yourself, and I know I'm very blessed to not only have the time to do it, but to have a husband who could care less if we had leftovers for supper, if the floors didn't get mopped, and if the counter is full of unopened mail.

Friday night we attended a Third Day concert with the kids to celebrate their adoption days (# 9 for Camden and #5 for Rory), and we had the best time. Camden shares my extreme love for music, and as we sat down before the concert he said, "I don't want to leave here for a million years." Colton Dixon and Josh Wilson were also performing, and they were both great. Rory *almost* fell asleep towards the end of the concert, although how you can possibly fall asleep at a concert is beyond me. Rory, too, loves music, but she's a little more like Brian in that she can't keep a beat or hold a tune to save her little life. ;) Camden and I could listen to music and sing at the top of our lungs for days on end, so a concert is our idea of a little slice of heaven.

Saturday we had Addison for the day, did lots of yard work, and then went to Camden's baseball game (which they won in the last inning via a steal home by Camden). Sunday was church, baseball practice, then dinner at Gram and Gramp's house.

Monday I spent the day at doctor's appointments and running errands in Nashville. I had a great day and felt so good, but after a full day/weekend felt like I hit a brick wall about 4:30. The kind of brick wall that makes me bypass the Tylenol and go straight for the pain meds and couch. Unfortunately, that still happens on a fairly regular basis, but these days I bounce back quickly after a night of sleep.

Which brings me back around to how I spent the day indulging myself on Friday instead of cleaning and how my house looks like a tornado ran through it after the busy weekend. No need to take a wild guess as to what I'll be doing today!

Drinking green smoothies for breakfast. Camden loves them (which surprises me because he has serious food texture issues).
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Rory? Not so much, but she chokes them down.
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Credits here
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Friday, April 19, 2013

Field Trip

I spent yesterday with Rory and all her kindergarten friends on the final field trip of the year. It was a beautiful breezy, sunny day. We started out at the Nashville Children's Theater to see a production of Go, Dog, Go and then spent several hours at the Bicentennial State Park, which is just gorgeous. I made the not-so-bright decision to wear sandals with heels and managed to rub some serious blisters trying to keep up with a class of 6 year olds. I snapped lots of pictures with my phone (I managed to walk out the door without my big girl camera), but these two are all you need to get a feel for the day.

Bus ride to field trip.
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Bus ride home from field trip.
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Okay, just one more because I'm mesmerized by her eyelashes.
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In other news, I requested that we not do any CA125 testing until I see Dr. W on July 2, and his nurse called me yesterday letting me know that Dr. W agreed to my proposal. This will be the longest I have gone without doctor's appointments, blood work, scans, etc. since my diagnosis over 2 years ago. I know that things can change quickly so lots of fingers crossed that this is not a mistake. I have been dealing with some pretty significant anxiety issues since approximately early December, and I feel such a weight lifted off my spirit to know that I have about 10 weeks free of anything cancer-related.

After spending the last week sweltering in upper 80 degree weather, this morning it is very chilly outside, and I've decided to ignore my messy house (Friday is usually my big housecleaning day), enjoy a second cup of coffee, and just take it easy. This week has been very busy and I've been operating on very, very little sleep so I'm looking forward to a little down time. Not sure I could pull myself away from the Boston coverage anyway. These are crazy times in which we live.

We have a fun evening and Saturday planned. I hope yours is just as fun, friends. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

So I wasn't fast enough with my camera and settings weren't right, which means these pictures were slightly out of focus and under exposed, but I had to share them (for Grandma and Grandpa) because look at how much fun they're having. Camden was chasing her, which Addison thinks is the funniest thing ever. You should see how she lights up when she sees Camden or Rory enter the room.

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So this is just the back of her head, but *I* know that she is laughing her head off as Rory jumps out and surprises her. The girl likes really loud noises. Alot.

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Can you stand the cuteness?


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Photography + Adoption = Awesome

If you've followed along here very long, then you know Angela Crutcher is my photography idol. I ADORE her style and images. And not just her photography, but she is such a sweet girl. Not only did she gift us with a Celebrating Adoption session after we brought Rory home from Korea (pretty much my favorite pictures ever), but when I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, she gifted us with a family session so that we would have images of me and our family before chemo. Oh, and let's not forget the commercial shoot she did with Rory. Oh, the cuteness.

I took a quick walk around my house, and decorating my walls are three 8x10 prints, four 5x7 prints, two 16x20 canvases, one 11x14 print, and one 20x24 canvas. Clearly, I love the way she captures our family.

Last year Angela and her family began the process to adopt domestically. As a way to fund their adoption, she has periodically had special session events. We participated in one last year (hence, the enormous 20x24 canvas in our living room), and now she's holding another.

It is a great deal for a great cause, and you will have images to treasure forever. I can't tell you how much the pictures that she has taken of our family mean to me. Now it's your turn! Contact Angela at info@angelacrutcherphotography.com to schedule your own session. Let her know I sent you!


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Monday, April 15, 2013

Our Weekend

Our weekend was full of all kinds of good spring-like things: baseball, sunshine, yard work (okay, that was Brian), babysitting Addison, streaming loud music throughout the house, church, etc. I might have even pulled a few weeds and found myself enjoying it. A sentence I could have never imagined writing because I pretty much avoid all things related to dirt and outside work.

Camden lost his baseball game 11-5, but it was a good first game. We're having a few issues with reduced playing time for Camden because he doesn't attend the Wednesday night practices (because of church). They are extra practices (as in, in addition to the other 6-8 hours a week of practice), not regularly scheduled ones, but the coaches are definitely not happy. Not much we can do about it because we're not skipping church, but I wish he weren't being punished for it. He was SO funny Friday night because the child was so excited about the game that he just could not contain himself. And so he talked and talked and talked and then talked some more in the hours leading up to the game. And then he called me over to the dugout no less than 4 times so he could give me an update.

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Doing a little of that weed-pulling I talked about and showing off his new haircut. The one that involved about 90 minutes of waiting and 60 minutes of actual cutting over the course of two days. Yes, all for a smooth new haircut.
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And you know this cutie.
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There's not anything Uncle Brian won't do . . .
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. . . to get this smile.
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Wearing her shirt inside out for some reason.
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And my favorite part of the weekend? Saturday night when Addison fell asleep in my arms after her nighttime bottle.
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And one final thing. Recognize anyone in this ad? More info on this coming later so stay tuned!
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Friday, April 12, 2013

Scan Results

I answered my phone yesterday late morning and heard Dr. W's voice on the line, which caused my heart to skip more than a few beats. He's never called before; only the nurse or assistant. He wanted me to know that my scan looked fine. Absolutely no change for good or for bad so we're going to stay in this holding pattern for 3 more months. I could hear some surprise in his voice about my results.

While everyone around me rejoices, I feel my blood pressure rising and the disappointment filling my soul. I know this is good news, but the unexpected disappointment tells me that subconsciously I've still been  hoping that this cancer would just be done already. That I wouldn't have to worry about blood tests and scans and scar tissue pain. That I might finally stop aching and feeling "like an old lady" as Dr. W so delicately put it yesterday. I'd really like to be normal again.

I always know when Becky responds to my texts/calls with scan results that my disappointment will be matched only by hers. She gets that the news of no change will never be good enough. But no change is the good news that I need to learn to live with and be grateful for. I've had kind of a "woe is me" attitude this week, but a good night's sleep and the sunshine this morning helps. 

And a second cup of coffee after a walk with a friend.

These two really wanted this picture on the blog so here ya go!
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Have a great weekend. We've got baseball, Addison-watching, and yard-tending to do.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Reading Material

Anyone have time to kill and need some new reading material? I've got you covered with these articles and blog posts. ;)

Parenting:


Encouragement: Sometimes I happen across Scripture or blog posts I know without any doubt that God directed me to. Isn't it amazing that the God who created the world cares enough about me and my insecurities and fears to encourage me?


Don’t worry about anything;
instead, pray about everything.
Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.
Then you will experience God’s peace,
which exceeds anything we can understand.
His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7

And because it's not all worry and insecurity and fear around here, I've also read a couple of fiction books in the last month or so. All young adult because I clearly have the maturity of a teenager.

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys (notice this is NOT that other shades of gray book!)
Delirium by Lauren Oliver
Legend by Marie Lu (this was a re-read in preparation for the second book in the series)

 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Project Life Catch-up (weeks 11-14)

I've been keeping up with Project Life, just not keeping up with posting it here. So in a blatant attempt to kill time while I wait to hear from the doctor (I'm supposed to call early afternoon), I'm going to catch up on 4 weeks at once.

Week 11
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Week 12
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Week 13
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Week 14
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