Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 In Review

There was the trip to NYC with my mom and sisters. Best. time. ever.

The November birthday trip to Pioneer Woman's Mercantile and Magnolia Market at the Silos wasn't so bad either.

The summer trip to east Tennessee with Brian's family will go down as one of my favorite.

2016 is the year I became a mom to a tween as well as a teen. Without a doubt, it has been a tough parenting year requiring a level of grace and patience I did not know I possessed.

I had long stretches of time without a visit to the cancer clinic, which I probably didn't appreciate quite enough.

In 2016, Brian and I both put some effort into healthy living and lost 19 and 25 lbs which we have mostly kept off.

Rory broke her elbow and was tough as nails.

Camden played his last season of Little League, became an all-star pitcher and made the JV boys basketball team.

Rory says her favorite part of 2016 was discovering Girl Meets World. She is obsessed. Baking is also becoming a quite an obsession for her, and I am learning to let her do it on her own.

In 2016, Brian and I implemented a date lunch every other Saturday. It lasted approximately 2 months, but we're starting off 2017 by beginning again. I also planned out a year of dates, and I think we successfully completed maybe two? And those were family dates. Definitely an area worth some work.

2016 is the year I really started reading again. I laid the groundwork last fall, but this is the first full year since my cancer diagnosis in 2011 where reading became an essential part of life. I read 60 books, abandoned 8 books, and listened to 3 audio books.

I was truly horrible at taking pictures, but here are a few that never quite made it to the blog. (I'm silently laughing when I think back to January 2016 and my plan for a Project 365)

Goodbye, 2016. Hello, 2017.


















Christmas 2016: The Year of the Gifts

Because of my Vanderbilt chemo schedule, we had to cram all of the family festivities into 2 days. And while two days are not nearly long enough for holiday festivities, it was certainly better than not getting to be together at all. We did all of the important things: played games (Speak Out was hilarious and Ticket to Ride Europe was a hit), ate all the food (appetizer night on Christmas Eve is still the best), attended a Christmas Eve service, ate Whitey's ice cream, and sang Christmas carols at bedtime. Work schedules got in the way of holiday travel for Michael and Micah, which stinks because it's not the same when we're not all together. I would say we had extra hugs but no extra tears this year.

Even though our family goes light on the gifts, I call 2016 the year of the gifts because, well, they were pretty spot on. In addition to my new iPhone 7 (because my 5 died right on time for Christmas), Brian gave me blue tooth headphones (for all of my podcast listening while I clean house), awesome Born booties, and an amazing LED light to add light to my indoor photos (the best $10 ever spent). Brian and I bought iPod nano shuffles for both kids, and they are spectacularly in love. (And, let's be honest - they think they've received access to a personal mobile device, but in reality all they've gotten is music so score one for the parents here.) Camden received a set of twin daggers (don't even ask) from his Uncle Michael and Aunt Liz that brought him to tears because he was so caught off guard.

(Would it be too cheesy to say that our best gift was being together?)

Becky is both a Norwex and Lipsense dealer so we all received cleaning products (this is actually more exciting than it seems) and lipstick (Rory and Addison especially loved experimenting with the lipstick), but the best gifts were the canvases my mom painted for all the grandkids. I know how much thought she put into choosing what to paint and what verse to use for each personality. Rory is especially looking forward to hanging hers up since we're painting and redecorating her room this year.

Brian and I left early Monday morning to return to Nashville for chemo on Tuesday. The kids stayed for an extra day. Becky and the boys drove to Nashville to spend an extra day and a half with us, and that helped make the short 2 days at Christmas feel a bit better. I had to miss the official Boxing Day shopping trip, but Becky and I made a quick mall trip where I found the matching black boots to her brown pair.

These last few days of Christmas break are pretty low-key. We're finishing up the last of the Christmas cookies, not cooking, wearing pj's all day, enjoying our gifts. Next week will be the first week with a work/school schedule in addition to chemo, and I am imagining that this new reality will take some adjustment. I am so grateful for Christmas break to help ease us into it.

Links to previous years:



















Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas 2016

(thanks again, Kellie, for my favorite pictures ever)

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Christmas Break Is In Sight






The kids are finally on Christmas break as of Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. This year only Rory brings home Christmas crafts since 7th graders are much too cool.

We spent 36 hours this week in a little private chemo room at Vanderbilt. The queasiness is a familiar feeling in the pit of my stomach as is the frustration of letting Brian help me do every solitary thing (he's in perpetual overprotective mode), and the crankiness (I am not a good patient). The nurses have been kind, and we have had our share of warm blankets and snacks. They even let us sneak out to walk around the block for a coffee break.

I am easily the youngest and healthiest person on this particular floor. Camden and Rory have been so patient with the long hours and they spent Monday and Tuesday evening with us here in the room. Supper in the hospital cafeteria makes it worth their time.

As Thursday winds down, you can literally feel the mood lightening in the infusion wing as patients finish up and nurses prepare for a 4-day weekend. I am impatiently waiting for 7:16, which will be my last blood draw of the week.  I'm ready to break free and begin my own Christmas holiday!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Aggressively Giving Thanks

(Thank you to for the phrase aggressively giving thanks)

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I try to consciously focus on giving thanks daily with varying degrees of success. The craziness of fall almost made me skip over the Thanksgiving holiday completely (not to mention recent events), but in an effort to document the Lewis family memories, here are pictures from the official Thanksgiving holiday of 2016.

We spent 3 days in East Tennessee with Brian's family. The cousins spent hours upon hours making silly videos on the iPad while adults visited (and cooked and cleaned up and then cooked and cleaned up some more). It was interesting to see my 13-year-old and the nearly-13-year-old cousin join in the adult discussions. We are most definitely entering into a new phase.


the most awkward picture ever, but one of my favorites of the year