Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Finding My Bearings

The past week has gone by in a blur of family and laughter and sleepless nights, full out nerf gun wars, endless giggles (and maybe a little yelling) from all 7 cousins, long conversations between the adults. I left our company here at home Monday morning and headed back to work. In the 48 hours since, I've struggled to find my bearings. Ready for routine, but not quite willing to give up the more flexible summer schedule just yet. I'm home today and have puttered around the house working on putting the house back together, uploading pictures from the visit.


My friend Joanna died yesterday morning. We shared the same cancer diagnosis, an oncologist, a strong introvert bond, and she was a significant voice speaking into my cancer world over the last 3 years. Joanna always remembered my appointment days and texted  providing encouragement and commiserating when appropriate. She was unfailingly positive even when circumstances were difficult. She gave me valuable insight into Dr. C's way of thinking, rushed to put her researcher to work when it looked like a clinical trial might be my only option, offered many times to come sit with me during chemo, and was just an overall kind and generous soul, both with her time and emotions. I already miss knowing she is no longer just a text away, knowing that she will not be checking in with me when I head to Vanderbilt in September. Although most of our interaction was via the wonder that is technology (we did meet and share a hug once last summer), I will miss her deeply.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Wordless Wednesday


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Camera/lens Questions

While Camden and Rory are with Gram and Gramps, Brian and I have been on vacation. 

Just kidding! 

I think we've been working harder than when we're all together. Brian is tearing down the deck and will be rebuilding it this week. I decided it was time for all bedding (both used/unused) to be laundered. I've also been busy editing wedding sessions for Kellie at  Across the Miles Photography (first one of the season for me was this week) as well as engaged in all-out visit prep for a whole lot of Lewis family members to stay with us this week.

I receive questions occasionally on what camera and lens that I use so I thought I'd take today to share the information.

I have a Nikon D610 camera, a Nikon 50mm 1.4 lens, a Nikon 35mm 2.0 lens, and a Tamron 24-70mm 2.8 lens. The 24-70 is pretty new to me so I've tried to keep it on the camera most of the summer while I adjust to the wider angle. I rarely use my 35mm, but sometimes pull it out during the indoor winter months. Until I bought the 24-70 back in May, the 50mm stayed on my camera about 99% of the time. It is definitely my favorite, and I've used it for so long that I feel comfortable with it.

Two recent (if Father's Day is considered recent) with the 24-70 lens. There's some bobble head effect going on here, but it's kind of a fun effect for goofing around.



Saturday, July 18, 2015


I snuck into the birthday boy's room Wednesday morning hoping to catch him asleep, but he was already awake. He looks both too big but like a little boy all at the same time. Time is passing by so quickly, and when I first became a mother, I could have never imagined that I would like 12 year old boys. In fact, I distinctly remember telling my friend Tina, "I don't want a big stinky boy!"

But it turns out I do like 12 year old boys. This particular 12 year old boy anyway.

I chose these 2 pictures from his birthday morning because they show his new-to-us modesty and hesitancy that peeks out when the camera makes an appearance. And I love his brown shoulders that are becoming broader than I would have thought his previously skinny little shoulders could be.



Rory bought him a gift with her own money (and her idea), and she was so proud of herself.


He endured a hug.


I can't wait to see how he develops into a musician. He's already wearing his fingers out learning chords and watching tutorials.



He chose sushi at Pei Wei for his birthday meal and then we went shopping for both school supplies and school uniforms (he could have done without this part). This weekend we made a quick trick to east Tennessee (as in down one day and back the next) and left both kids so they could spend a few days with Gram and Gramps before school starts back up. We celebrated his birthday again with Pioneer Woman's tres leches cake and pistachio almond ice cream, Uncle Jon, Aunt Robin, a great grandpa and great aunt.


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Snapshot #21

Thinking: that we are most definitely in the dog days of summer. It is SO hot, the kids are tired of being together, and we have basically given up all pretense of parenting. It's probably wrong to encourage your 9 and 11 year old to binge watch a show on Netflix, right?

Thankful for: air conditioning! It's been a very warm summer (heat index over 100 degrees for the last while), and I see cars/trucks next to me on the interstate with all the windows down, drivers and passengers hot and sweaty and it reminds me that I should not take AC for granted.

Wondering: if I should admit out loud that I've never read To Kill a Mockingbird. Which means that all this hype about a long-lost sequel means nothing to me.

Remembering: back to the days when the kids liked to watch the same thing on TV. We do pretty limited screen time (ignore that first comment about binge watching on Netflix) and this summer, the kids are fairly divided on what they want to watch. The bargaining/arguing that happens prior to a TV decision is almost not worth the 22 minutes of quiet when they finally settle on an episode. In fact, Rory's been opting out of TV time recently. Which means she's camped out downstairs with us wanting to be entertained.

Working on: a Blurb Disney book. I have this sneaking suspicion that if I don't get those pictures and stories documented now, that it may not happen. I'm about halfway done, and it's not perfect, but I've decided that printing it is more important than perfect.

Trying: To be intentional about time with the kids. People, I went out and played basketball last weekend. I'm not really the "fun" mom, but I'm making an effort. Well, that one weekend anyway.

Eating: Lots of blue cheese recipes. Salads, wraps, toast, burgers, etc. I developed quite a taste for it at Disney - that's probably not something you hear everyday. :)

Drinking: Iced peach green tea lemonade and cold brewed iced coffee. Starbucks for the win. 

Buying: Well, not buying yet, but we're still hoping to purchase granite counter tops soon. That unexpected $400 chiropractic bill Brian brought home yesterday is not helping and fixing the deck has a higher priority, but I'm holding out hopes for granite this fall.

Hoping: For some photography/scrapping inspiration soon. My computer station is upstairs in the kid's play room, and I'm finding it very difficult to come up and create in the midst of the bickering/playing (it changes minute to minute) that is happening between Camden and Rory these days.

Enjoying: my women's Bible study on Thursday nights. I've been attending for about 2 years (with a break when I went back to work), but our leader has moved away and now I'm the leader. It's hard, but good.

Watching: So You Think You Can Dance (mostly for Jim Nowakowski who happens to be adopted from Korea), I Can Do That, Suits

Listening: All The Light You Cannot See (on my commute to work), Lauren Daigle How Can It Be, for King and Country Run Wild Life Free

Reading: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire out loud to the kids. I started reading the HP series out loud to them probably 3 years ago so it's been slow going. This summer I've made a renewed effort to read a chapter almost every day, and we're finally finishing up book 4.

Kid Notes:
The most exciting thing to happen during our weekend was when Camden got hit in the back of the neck with a baseball at the game Friday. It was a little scary when he went limp and fell flat on his back. Thankfully, he seems to be fine (despite the knot on the back of his neck). They put a substitute runner on base for him, but he was back out pitching 10 minutes later. Our baseball season has been a little strange (as in completely unorganized, the solitary coach who quit halfway through so a parent stepped up, half the players don't show up for practice or games, etc.), but it's been good to see Camden playing baseball again. He sure does love it!


Rory doesn't do quite as good of a job of entertaining herself these days, and I think she is bored out of her mind with summer. Brian has spent these past 8 weeks taking the kids along with him as he works at church, and Camden has helped him out with yard work and manual labor tasks. Rory, on the other hand, isn't really big enough to handle the jobs that Brian/Camden are doing so she's been left on her own pretty often. By the time I get home from work, she is tired of entertaining herself and wants to be social. Her latest ploy for a captive audience is offering to rub my feet. Not going to turn that down!


Friday, July 10, 2015

Having Fun is Hard Work



While Brian and Camden were dealing with a snake, frog, and mosquito infestation because of high water at camp, Rory and I were each doing what we love best: she was at a sleepover that involved a fashion show and make-up while I spent a very quiet evening with my iPad.

Today we did a little early birthday and Christmas shopping, waited in line for 30 minutes for a Krispy Kreme donut, and had pedicures. This was Rory's first ever pedicure (other than the ones given by her mama), and she paid for it herself.




And now she's been asleep for the last 3 hours. Having fun is hard work.

Thursday, July 09, 2015

And They're Off


(truck and kayaks are on loan from a friend)

Brian and Camden left this morning for their annual birthday camping trip. Anyone else notice it takes almost as long to actually pack/prepare for a camping trip as the time you're going to actually spend on the camping trip? I'm so glad Brian started this tradition; one-on-one time with your dad is a great event to look forward to when you're a kid.

While Brian and Camden are on Camden's annual birthday trip, Rory is in her annual Camden's birthday trip funk. It's tough to be the younger sibling. Since I'm the oldest of 4, I haven't experienced anything other than always being the first although I'm guessing that the difference isn't noted quite as much when you have more siblings. While Camden enjoys spending alone time with me while Rory goes on her trip, Rory feels more like she is being left behind when Camden leaves. Her perception of being "less than" has been something we've watched become more and more of an issue as she gets older. I'm open to any parenting tips related to this!

Today's plans include: working from home, drinking some iced coffee to rejuvenate me for the afternoon, supervising Rory while she makes cookies, doing a quick house touch-up, hosting our women's Bible study group tonight, and then I'd like to sink into bed and watch some mindless TV.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Cousins, part 3 (the adult version)

So I'm notoriously bad about including adults in the picture when we're all together, and this trip was no exception. Here are the very few that include adults.

Becky is always my test subject before the cousin photo shoots.


At the baseball game (which was incredibly hot/humid and started nearly an hour late).

Kids were pretty wiped out after their naps following the return from camp.


(the adult who spent a week at camp might have been tired too)

Camden had the camera and took these pictures of me and Becky, Liz, and mom.



Lewis/Hale/Derby/Lemons family - you're all caught up!

Cousins, part 2











I spy someone extra in this picture.

And a different someone in this picture.



Hello, fake smile from Rory and irritation over pictures in general on Camden's face.


Cousins, part 1

The annual cousin photoshoot took place at Welch College this year, and unless you're a grandparent or just think my kids and their cousins are really, really cute, you might want to just skip today's post.

I took ALOT of pictures. As in, I'm going to have to do multiple blog posts with these pictures, but that's okay. 









Hello, money shot.


And just when we decided to throw in the grandparents for good measure, my camera died. Rookie mistake.