Saturday, November 28, 2015

Counting my Blessings

Friends investing in my kids. While I was in OK, our pastor took Camden hunting and the pastor's wife and daughters took Rory with the while they shopped for homecoming dresses, and both kiddos had an absolute blast.

Community: I've been hosting a women's Bible study in my home for the last 4-5 months, and we're currently studying biblical parenting. Not only is it one of my favorite topics, but Friday mornings are starting to feel cozy and like I'm spending it with friends.

Brian hunted four days in the past 2 weekends (and killed 2 deer). Not that I care one iota about that actual deer/hunting part, but I am thrilled his schedule allowed the time for hunting - his idea of fun. It has been years since he has had the time, and while each school year has seemed more difficult than the last, things have evened out recently.

November 2014 was full of doctor's appointments as I prepared to start a new chemo regimen. November 2015 has been doctor-free.

A safe trip to and from east Tennessee where we spent Thanksgiving with Brian's family.


Thanksgiving leftovers. Enough said.

Unexpected blessings.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Tuesday Tidbits

We watched Annie (the 2014 version) over the weekend, and the next morning Rory told me she had a dream that I was Mrs. Hannigan. I'm sure my standard reaction over the constant state of her room had no influence on this connection.

Our church handed out coats and warm weather accessories this past weekend in an impoverished area of town. Not only did it suddenly turn freezing cold with rain, but we heard gunshots and Rory got punched in the back (she's totally fine). Surprisingly enough (and I'm thrilled about this fact), what the kids took away from the day was how grateful everyone seemed for the hotdogs, chips, and used coats.

Becky bought me a grown-up coloring book with pencils for my birthday, and I have to say it's been kind of relaxing to color . . . not something I would have thought I would enjoy. She bought me this one, and then I couldn't resist the Christmas version.


Kids are out of school all week while Brian and I are working Monday/Tuesday so we've been pawning them off to aunts and friends.

In an effort to get ahead of the holiday rush, we put up the Christmas tree this weekend. My goal is to have all Christmas shopping and wrapping done by December 1. Miracles are still possible.

Speaking of miracles, if we have a Christmas card this year - that will be a miracle. Who knew taking pictures of 9 and 12 year olds would be. so. hard.

What's not hard? Taking a picture of this girl.



Friday, November 20, 2015

Deep Breath

I wish there was a way to know you're in the good old days before you've actually left them - Andy (The Office finale)

There's a lot of beauty in ordinary things - Pam (The Office finale)

Life is so full. I found myself remembering these two quotes from The Office series finale over recent weeks (a miracle in itself since my brain is feeling every bit of a sluggish 40). I am guessing I am not the only one to find it much easier to get caught up in the busyness of life instead of pausing for a deep breath with the realization that these full days are good and blessed.


I flew to Oklahoma last week. It went by much too fast, and we skipped all the food and fun pictures this year. Food and fun still happened, of course.

I did, however, take a picture of my cute new red shoes (which I would never have bought with peer pressure from Becky).

Camden suddenly switched from uniform polos (ugly) to plaid shirts (cute) this week, and I thought he was actually paying attention to his looks. Turns out, I just needed to do laundry.

The tree outside the front door has beautiful red leaves right now. I took a pretty picture, but though you'd enjoy the photo bomb from Rory instead.

Addison paid us a visit this week.

Rory was sick last week (you know the throat is in bad shape when both the nurse and doctor respond with a "whoa" after seeing it) and needed a penicillin shot. She spent most of 72 hours not speaking because her throat was so sore, but this photo was taken during an Ibuprofen high.

Busy weekend ahead. Pausing for a deep breath first.

Thursday, November 12, 2015


Twenty years ago today, I woke up to 20 dead roses in my college dorm room. Later that afternoon, my friends held a wake for me. I had fun friends who decided to make the most of the fact that I was having a minor crisis about leaving my teen years behind.

Twenty years later, that seems incredibly silly (although still a fun memory). Today, I am 40 and that seems like an impossibly high number - especially since I still feel about as immature as I did back then. Well, maybe not quite.

My sister and I discussed this whole aging event recently, and here's the thing. When you've been diagnosed with stage 3c ovarian cancer at 35, turning 40 is pretty much a hill you totally want to go over. And there are several more hills I'd like to climb. Turning 40 is an accomplishment to be perfectly honest.

So no dead roses for me today. No complaining about being over the hill (even though my children - Rory especially - can hardly believe their mama is 40). To celebrate, I am flying to Oklahoma for my birthday weekend with Becky. We're going to drink coffee, explore cute restaurants, shop for all the things that you need a sister for: perfume, shoes, lipstick. I have everything I need to travel kid-free: light reading (The Royal We) and not-so-light reading (Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson) and podcasts loaded on my phone (I'm so anti-social I just want to put in headphones and pretend I can't hear or talk to anyone seated near me).

One more thought about today. Last year, I was headed for my birthday weekend with Becky. But last year, we had just learned that my cancer was growing and I would be restarting chemo. Feeling so grateful that I'm stable again and that this trip is not scheduled around doctor's appointments and trips to the infusion room. Let the celebration begin!


Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Land of the Morning Calm

Brian and the kids and I have always talked in general terms about going back to Korea for a visit. These talks picked up steam back in 2010 when we began correspondence with Camden's birth family, but after my cancer diagnosis in early 2011, the Korea trip fell to the back burner.

We realized recently that the kids are 12 and 9 and the whole idea of returning to Korea was not going to happen unless we buckled down and made it happen. Realistically speaking, it will take 2-3 years to save and plan for the trip. So last night we showed the kids an envelope full of money and told them it was the start of our Korea fund.  

When Camden buried his face in his hands and sobbed "this is amazing," I understood more clearly than ever before what a deep-rooted need he has for a tangible connection to Korea. It served as both a heart wrenching reminder that these precious kiddos have gone through terrible loss in their short lives as well as a strong motivator to make this trip happen.

They both ran for their allowance money and made a new category.

Land of the Morning Calm, we can't wait to see you again.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Snapshot #24

Reading: What Alice Forgot, the Fire and Thorns Trilogy by Rae Carson (I highly recommend reading a trilogy when all the books are complete - I've moved from one book right to the next and I love not having to wait)

Watching: The Great British Baking Show - it's so light and fluffy and all things delightful. Netflix has several seasons available.

Anticipating: My birthday trip to Oklahoma next week!

Listening: to the Sorta Awesome podcast, This Glorious Grace by  Austin Stone Worship, and the Afternoon Acoustic playlist on Spotify 

Loving: my new vacuum cleaner. Nothing like realizing how dirty your house actually is when you buy a vacuum cleaner with real suction power.

Starting: to begin planning for Christmas. Rory keeps reminding me this week there are only 7 Fridays until Christmas. I haven't checked her math, but even if she's incorrect, it is quickly approaching.

Finishing: I have THREE scrapbook layouts that have been in the works for weeks months, and I'm determined to finish them this week.

Celebrating: the Principal's List for Camden. The kid is crazy smart. It's kind of a strange thing when you realize your kid has totally surpassed your own smarts and you no longer have the upper hand.

Laughing: at Camden as he pulls a middle school trick and tries desperately to ignore Brian who is wildly dancing to Beat It in the middle of Sam's. It's the first time he's been visibly mortified by his parents, and I was laughing too hard at the novelty of having a middle schooler who was embarrassed by us to even think about videoing Brian dancing (which was also pretty hilarious).

Planning: to spend the day doing a whole lot of nothing. I'm working Monday/Thursday/Friday this week which means I have today and tomorrow off. The house is clean (ish), the laundry is done (ish), pantry is full (ish), and I find myself with free time. I'm heading to the antique consignment store to browse and then I'm bringing home an iced coffee and plan to scrap and work on photos until I pick up the kiddos. 

(Brian suggested I blog when I mentioned I didn't have plans for the day - so here ya go, husband.)