Thursday, January 30, 2014


If you have a tonsil/adenoid removal scheduled in 24 hours, don't read this blog post. Just FYI. I am sufficiently terrified.

Okay, on to the proof part.

Camden has a thing for red these days. In particular, this one red striped school shirt. Last week, he wore it on Tuesday. Then he came down in it again on Thursday, and because I'm super on top of this kind of thing (ha!), I thought it looked familiar but when he told me he hadn't worn it yet that week I believed him. I mean, he wears it every week as soon as it's washed, not to mention the other 2 similar red shirts that he also wears every week so it's not like it totally stood out to me.

UNTIL I uploaded pictures from my camera and found the pictures below (from Tuesday) and the hot chocolate pictures . . . from Thursday.

And since I do laundry on Mondays and I know what my boy does with his clothes when he takes them off, this means that on Thursday he wore a shirt that had spent the last 48 hours at the bottom of his closet.

I'm sure this is only the beginning of his wearing dirty clothes to school.

Seriously, when did this kid get so big? He drives me a little nuts sometimes, and I feel like I don't know the best way to parent him alot of the time. But then I look at moments like this, and I think, he's still just my baby.

And this one is completely blurry, and I just don't care.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

It Was a Hot Chocolate Kind of Day

Actually, we're having lots of hot chocolate kind of days recently, but this was the only one in which the camera made an appearance.

I like this one because he looks like a kid here.

Not so much in this one.

Don't let this excitement fool you.

She doesn't actually like hot chocolate.

But she pretends to because Camden likes it so much.

And while I usually make homemade hot chocolate (you won't find Swiss Miss in this pantry), I like to stock up on Trader Joe's versions during the holidays.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Tuesday Tidbits

Anyone else watching American Idol? After 13 years, I happen to be hopelessly addicted to AI, and this year's judging panel is really fun. Brian says he has a man-crush on Harry Connick, Jr.

I have never heard Brian use the term "man-crush" before.

He also decided he has one on Buddy from Cake Boss. Who is this guy and where did my husband go?

I know all of you receiving buckets of snow think I'm crazy, but I'd really like just one good snow. My kids would too. Go ahead and add Brian to that list (although he did end up with a "snow" day today for cold weather).

Rory wanted wavy/curly hair like our friends Kinsley and Kylah so I braided her hair in tiny little braids before bed the other night. She was thrilled with those braids . . . because she thought they  made her look like Tre in the new(ish) Karate Kid movie.

As I anticipate my surgery Friday, I have been a little overly aware of  every little thing happening in my body. I think "hypochondriac" would be the term Brian used. I've had a cold for the last 10 days or so and I've been terrified it was going to turn into an infection and I would have to postpone surgery (I'm so ready to just get it done with). Every home remedy you can think of, I've done: drowning it with water, gargling saltwater multiple times a day, lots of extra vitamin c, staying on cold meds 24/7. So far, so good. It's not gone, but it's not worse either.

Aaannnddd, I probably just jinxed myself.

I really loved this post (from a Compassion blogger).

I have been woefully neglecting my camera the last week or two, but I made the kids sit down for a quick snapshot yesterday.




Hello, crazy!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Last Week

Life has felt very good this last week. Quiet time mixed with family time mixed with lunches with friends, basketball games, company in our home, church, work, etc.

Friday I ran errands, grocery shopped, and met my friend for lunch.


Friday night we went to to a basketball game at the kid's school.
Addison and Rory cheering.

Saturday was spent cleaning, then I attended a craft night at a local church. I might have nearly burned my fingerprints off with the glue gun many times over, but I managed to make all of these.

Sunday we had 22 people for dinner. Yes, 22 people in my little living room and kitchen. There's a large group of local college students who attend and help out and they came over Sunday afternoon. I made sloppy joes for the first time in my life, and if the number of sandwiches eaten is any indication, they were a hit.

I might have crashed about 4:30 yesterday after the last student was gone and house back in shape.

Today is full of just normal mom and wife duties with a little Project Life catch-up thrown in. Sounds pretty good, right?

Friday, January 24, 2014

Snapshot #12

Outside my window: sunshine! Of course, it was 2 degrees out when my kids left for school, but the sunshine makes it alot cheerier!

I am thinking: of everything I want to get done before my tonsil surgery next week.

I am thankful for: lunch with friends 2 days in a row. It's the life of leisure, I tell ya.

Last 3 purchases: photo book (on its way to you, Aunt Linda), these boots (although I did not pay this much), a new iPhone case.
Dinner plans: leftover broccoli/potato/cheese soup.

 Future plans I'm looking forward to: craft night at church this weekend. Oh, and scrapping. After starting 2014 off strong, I have fallen off the wagon big time. And it's only January 24.

Kid funny: I had this whole list in my head and now I can't think of anything. Sounds about right.

I am reading: Jesus, the One and Only by Beth Moore and City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare. I never did pick up Unbroken again, although I think I may have a few days left on my library rental so if I have a chance this weekend, maybe I should try to finish it.

In the kitchen: 8 pounds of ground beef waiting to be made into sloppy joes for the big group of college kids we're having over Sunday afternoon. Can you believe I've never made sloppy joes before? I'm going to use Pioneer Woman's recipe.

Watching: American Idol, Cake Boss, Downton Abbey, Sherlock.

Snacking on: does coffee count as a snack?

Rest-of-the-day-plans: a much-needed haircut (seriously, I am so overgrown it's not even funny), lunch with Jenne, some grocery shopping, then basketball game at the kid's school.

Rory thinks she's big stuff when she can manage to get this towel on her head all by herself and asked for a picture last week. Of course, it was 6:30 in the morning and completely dark but I decided to still give it a shot. My focus fell on her lips instead of her one exposed eye, but it's still pretty (especially considering my ISO was 1250 and shutter speed only 1/80).

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


So I might have accidentally taken Nyquil this morning at 7:00 instead of Dayquil. And even though Nyquil does nothing for me at night, apparently it can knock me out if taken during the day. So I've dozed off and on all morning and now at 11:30 am finally awake for the day. How nice is it that I have time for such a lazy morning!

I combined a few soup recipes and made my own version of Broccoli/Potato/Cheese soup this week and thought I'd share my concoction. It was GOOD.

1 onion (finely diced)
1 cup carrots (finely diced)
3 garlic cloves (finely diced)
2 TBS flour
1 TBS butter
3 medium potatoes (diced small)
4 heaping cups broccoli florets 
4 cups chicken/vegetable broth
2 cups milk
2 TBS parmesan cheese (the good stuff, not that powder junk)
1-1/2 to 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
salt/pepper to taste

I used my ninja to chop all the onion, carrots, and garlic then sauteed it in the butter for 5 minutes. Add the flour, stir, cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add broth, milk, potatoes and bring to a simmer. Cook until potatoes are tender (about 20 minutes). Add broccoli florets and cook 5 minutes, just until broccoli has started to soften. Add parmesan cheese, cheddar cheese, and salt/pepper to taste. If you'd like a less chunky texture, take 3-4 cups and pulse in the ninja and add back into the soup. That's it!

I made this Mexican chicken and corn soup recently, and it was also GREAT. (just don't use as much salt as it calls for)

This is a very good chocolate chip cookie recipe. New neighbors moved in over the weekend so Brian (did it himself) baked a batch and took them over Monday. The neighbors kinda acted like he was a serious psycho to bring something by, but that's okay.

Our household is definitely in soup mode, but that's okay. On a cold day, there's nothing better than hot soup for supper.

And nothing worse than a cold salad or smoothie. Just saying!

The sunrise this morning.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Tuesday Tidbits

I'm just going to put this out there - having Martin Luther King Day off from school might have come a little too soon after a 20-day Christmas break.

I had some women from church over for coffee and coffeecake this morning. Please tell me I am not the only one who gets way too nervous when people visit. And I had no reason to worry because it was a lovely time.

Kids attended a super hero birthday party this weekend. Super cute!


Friday night Camden escorted Kinsley (our friend and pastor's daughter) for Homecoming. Do they look sweet or what. Kinsley looked beautiful!

Mr. Chad was in charge of the boutonniere

Thanks again, MaryLeigh, for letting us borrow the bowtie!

This one cracks me up with Rory peeking in there (I had no room to back up!)


Kinsley was very worried Camden would forget to hug her and leave her hanging, but he remembered.

I snapped this picture in the bathroom at Vanderbilt last Tuesday before I saw the doctor and then was playing around with the Rhonna Farrer app and added this word art. I started to post it, then hesitated because I was too nervous about the wording. I promptly forgot about it until I uploaded pics this morning. Cue the ugly cry.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Best. News. Ever.

My phone rang last night about 6:30, just as we were sitting down to supper, and when I picked it up, I recognized the number as the cancer clinic. When it was Dr. C's voice greeting me, I moved to the bedroom and took a deep breath.

But she said she had good news, and I could hear the happy mixed with surprise in her voice. The scans showed some of those little spots are gone and many of the rest have significantly decreased in size. I said, "oh my stars" and she chuckled.

I came back to the kitchen to give Brian and the kids the good news, and while Brian hugged me, the kids yelled, "Woohoo, can we have some ice cream?" I have taught them well.

I group text my mom and sisters asking if we could conference call, knowing full well that they would be worried when I mention that I've just heard from Dr. C. But I haven't had much opportunity for announcing truly good news so I feel justified in making their hearts race. When we're all together via the wonder that is an iPhone, I break the good news; cheers erupt, and my dad says, "I guess we'll be having ice cream soon." Ice cream is definitely the way to celebrate.

I still feel a little shell shocked, but in the best possible way. You realize I've had approximately 7-9 scans (not counting the ones that happened during hospital stays) and the only news I've received is no change. And, yet, somehow after 13 months of no chemo and 6 months after the last scan that said no change, there is suddenly less cancer. How could there be any other explanation than God?

One of the first things I said after receiving the news was how glad I was to not have wasted the last 2 days worrying. I worked HARD at focusing on the here and now and not allowing myself to worry. And while I am sure that it's possible some of that was my own brain power, I am also certain that it was mostly the result of being completely covered in prayer by you, my friends.

It would be nice to take a break from all things medical, but I'm having my tonsils and adenoids removed January 31 (yes, I've heard all the horror stories) at the request of Dr. C as well as seeing my gastro doctor in the near future because of some issues revealed in the scan, but none of this is cancer related so I'm happy to do whatever is necessary.

I love the Lord because he hears my voice and my prayer for mercy. Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath! How kind the Lord is! How good he is! So merciful, this God of ours! Let my soul be at rest again, for the Lord has been good to me. Psalms 116:1, 2, 5, 7 

One final thing. I'm so aware that if the news would have been less positive, this verse above would have still been true. God still would have been good; He still would love me. Good news is just a bonus.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Super Heroes

Tuesday when we got home from my doctor's appointment, I knew I didn't want to just be waiting around for the phone call with my CA125 results so I grabbed my camera, changed into different shoes and headed back to Rotary Park to walk the trail. It was slightly more muddy than I had anticipated, but was a good way to spend 30 minutes.

And I got to snap a few pictures of the kids dressed up for Super Hero Day at school.




Clearly Rory was a little more into posing than Camden. ;)



She apparently thinks Super Girl uses her fists alot.




Brian's idea

Me and Rory

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Some News

I've been waiting to give an update from my appointment with my oncologist yesterday until I had a few more answers, and while I'm still waiting for the big picture, I do have an update.

My CA125 is up slightly; Dr. C is concerned that my recent bouts with the stomach bug are cancer related and not stomach bugs at all - which completely took me by surprised. Also concerned with something she felt during my exam. I have a scan and x-ray tomorrow afternoon. As I write it out here, I realize that it's very possible I have nothing to worry about.

As we ran errands, ate lunch, picked up the kids, and continued with our day, I remembered what a strange, strange feeling it is to receive possibly devastating news and feel so numb. You continue smiling and chatting with cashiers, interacting with the kids, fix supper . . . while the voice in your head is screaming "how is this happening" over and over.

And then there's the still small voice that reminds you Who knows the complete picture even when you don't.

So my scan is tomorrow afternoon, and I should know results by the weekend. Until then, I'm going to continue to rely on prayers of friends and focus all of my energy on not freaking out. :)

Monday, January 13, 2014

My Computer is Alive and Well!

First of all, let me just tell you that I'm blogging this morning from my fully recovered and fully functioning PC. Almost 3 months without this baby was torture, and I'm so glad that it was an easy (and inexpensive fix). Now if I could only forget all the habits I've picked up on Brian's laptop over the last couple of months - all the shortcuts are different on my desktop.

This weekend was a mixed bag. Brian had responsibilities (as well as a guy's night out Saturday at a Predator's game) so it was just me and the kids for the most part. Camden and I settled in to watch hours worth of figure skating coverage. I'm fairly certain the last time I watched figure skating was for the last winter Olympics. I thought Rory would be all over the outfits, glitz, dancing, etc., but she could not have been more uninterested. Camden, on the other hand, thought that it was all kinds of fun.

The rest of our weekend wasn't quite as much fun or relaxed. I'm having some stomach issues yet again. I'm glad to be seeing Dr. C on Tuesday so I can ask her about them. Doesn't seem quite right to have had so many bugs in such a short period of time.

The other source of frustration this weekend was Camden's preparation for his first speech. For such a bright kid, dealing with projects is decidedly more difficult than it should be. I haven't decided if he gets overwhelmed or if he simply doesn't like putting the work into a project. Whatever the reason, it is cause for many tears of frustration (from parent and child). And, truthfully, by the time he was finished prepping, he was kind of rocking the whole public speaking thing.

So tomorrow is my big appointment with Dr. C at the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center. As always, life could change drastically based on what we find out tomorrow. I have a laundry list of things to talk to her about, and I'm praying for stable results and a feeling of calm no matter what.

Still continuing the month of challenges at The Lilypad, although I'm now 2 days behind and haven't finished (a.k.a. started) Week 2 of 2014 Project Life.


Friday, January 10, 2014

The January Slump

To clarify my Project Life because I've gotten a couple of questions.

Yes, I will do the majority of my weeks digitally. I bought the paper products (and split them with Becky) because it's fun to sometimes mix it up and just print pictures and then slide them into the protectors with cute journaling cards. As far as the binder, it is not available at Amazon for some reason, but if you google Sunshine Project Life Binder, there are several places to purchase it. I bought mine at Two Peas.

This has been a strange week. My sister reminded me earlier that January is always a tough month, so this is not unusual. After the busyness and excitement of December, the anticipation of a big family visit, etc., January is a big letdown. Life goes from moving 100 miles an hour to grinding to a screeching halt. It's gray outside. There's nothing especially exciting to look forward to. No spring break or summer plans have been made so the rest of the school year seems to stretch out endlessly ahead of me.

Add to the above paragraph an upcoming visit with my oncologist next week and the fact that several friends in my small cancer community have been rocked with bad news this week, and I find myself wanting to close myself off in my bedroom and stay there for the next couple of days. I know this sounds super depressing (and it kinda is), but it's also the way this introvert deals with hard days. I have been in this situation enough times over the last nearly 3 years that I know it's the typical way I deal with upcoming big appointments or while waiting for test results. It helps to know that this is how I deal and that when this time is over, I'll come out of it just fine.

I also fully realize that the way I've typically dealt with stress in the past is both retail therapy and emotional eating. Retail therapy is out of the question right now for financial reasons, and I'm trying very hard to stop the emotional eating cycle. Coffee has replaced both of those things for the moment. It's probably just as bad! ;)

I heard from the genetic counselor yesterday, and my test results were strange. They're now doing some further extensive testing, and our family history is officially crazy enough that the lab is offering free testing to select family members. In addition, the team at Vanderbilt wants to possibly use us as a case study. All you can do is either chuckle or cry, and laughing is definitely preferable of the two.

Because this feels like a big downer post, how about some enabling for those of you not on a spending freeze.

For some reason, these shoes have caught my eye and I cannot seem to stop checking them out. I cannot decide if these are casual and cool or just grandma-like. Images are linked in case you decide they're cool and need a pair.


And this owl scarf. Hello, cute!

And because I hate to post without a picture, here's a very belated picture of Brian and the kids the Sunday before Christmas. Notice that Rory was wearing a sleeveless dress . . . because it was totally warm enough to do so on December 22.

And while it may have been a tough sell, I did manage to convince both Brian and Camden that red pants were completely stylin' with that gray sweater.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Project Life 2014

This year's cover page


Week 1

I chose the cloth Sunshine binder by Elsie and Emma of A Beautiful Mess, and Becky and I decided to split the Sunshine core kit. A genius move if I do say so myself because neither of us could resist all the pretty paper goodies, but will never in a hundred years use all those journaling cards!


Breaking news (Becky!). Just found this set of washi tape that is made to coordinate with the Sunshine kit. Finding this pretty hard to resist!

I finished out 2013 strong. Well, I actually have yet to fit all the Christmas pics into a spread, but other than that I'm calling it done. Weeks 40ish - 47ish were pretty rough, but I'm happy with the memories that are documented and am continuing it for 2014. I've also decided if it's not making me happy, then I don't have to do it. Scrapping should be fun, not stressful.