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Year in Review: Books

I take reading seriously. It's been my favorite thing to do from my earliest memories. I was the kid hiding my book underneath my textbook, hiding under the blankets at night with a flashlight; a trip to the library was as good as a vacation. And so before 2018 is history, I wanted to review my 2018 in books. 
I completed 67 books, heavy on the fiction side. In 2018 I learned to define the kinds of books I enjoy. A few common themes: likable characters, books focusing on a specific skill or specialty (The Ensemble), historical fiction from WWII (We Were the Lucky Ones) and early American years (Love and Other Consolation Prizes), books focusing on social justice or issues (Dear MartinEvicted). While I don't read nearly as much YA as I used to, I do still like the occasional highly unrealistic teen love story or dystopian novel.
Although I don't really set reading goals, I do sometimes highlight a general direction for my reading. For instance, in 2017 I focused on readi…

Five on Friday (December 21, 2018)

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Christmas music is playing, my Frasier fir candles are lit - the generic Aldi version that took the internet by storm and the Anthropologie version (currently 30% off with 85 hours of burn time) - and I have an extra cup of coffee in hand. Brian took the kids Christmas shopping this morning so I'm sitting in an empty house with only the glow of the tree lights. It is incredibly gray and gloomy outside. Exams, bus runs, and basketball/soccer practice ended yesterday. I made a trip to the library and brought home 22 books to get us through the weekend. There are Christmas cookies in the pantry and plenty of coffee in the cabinet. We have a couple of quiet days planned before family arrives Wednesday and our family holiday begins.





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1. A little trip down memory lane




2. Not a single student on his high school run on the last day before the break.


3. As a freshman (and taking all honors courses), Camden felt the pressure of cumulative exams and the knowledge that these grades go o…

February 2018

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Now that my personal computer is back up and running, I finally uploaded pictures from the big girl camera to edit and post - all the way back to February 8 of 2018. Crazy! It was so good to spend time looking at pictures, and I was reminded all over again of why I love my camera and photography. I'm planning to post a year's worth of photos over the next 2 weeks (sadly, there aren't many) beginning with February.
I bought Rory the best book to commemorate Black History Month. The book highlights influential women, both historical and present day. Rory's favorite chapters featured Rosa Parks and Dominique Dawes.



First time using a flat iron (pretty sure she hasn't used it since).






Five on Friday (December 14, 2018)

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1. The ice Sunday morning was beautiful although I'm still waiting for the weather to result in a snow day.




2. I'm super behind on buying gifts, planning for the week of Christmas with guests, baking, etc. Know what I'm not behind on? Taking advantage of sales for myself.

3. This week a certain teenager in our house lived up to the hype of how challenging teenagers can be. Fingers (and toes and everything else) crossed this is a short phase because it is not fun. Where's my sweet kid?


4. It's Homecoming Week at school so Rory dressed up every day although this one was my favorite - teal eyeshadow, tie-dye, crimped hair, and overalls.



5. If you have a Trader Joe's or an Aldi's grocery store nearby, make sure to pick up Stroop Wafels. They are SO delicious, and I've bought more than a few packages both to snack on and to include with gifts.

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A quick update on me: I saw my oncologist today for scan and bloodwork results - all stable. My tumor markers …

Five on Friday (Dec. 7, 2018)

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The first week of December is always one of the busiest of the year for me at work. And while the rest of the month is still busy on every other front, the workload goes downhill from here. Can you believe this was my view Wednesday morning? We're actually supposed to have a little more of this over the weekend and as long as I can stay in, I'm all for it. 


1. Basketball season has not been successful in the traditional sense - we've only won one game. BUT Camden continues to personally improve, he's the team captain, and it's always good to see your kid have fun. He accomplished a personal goal during Tuesday's game - sinking a 3-pointer. 

2. Camden had a Spanish project this week that required making homemade empanadas (on his own) for his class. He did a fantastic job and now there's no excuse for not cooking dinner for the family!

3. It only took 7 months, but my computer is back up and running. I'm looking forward to spending time with photos agai…

Closing the Door on November

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Shockingly, it's already the final day of November, and the holiday season is in full swing. We're pressing pause on the busyness tonight to put up the Christmas tree, wrap a few presents, make our annual batch of chex mix and watch a cheesy Christmas movie (special occasion alert because holiday movies are not really my thing). Tomorrow kicks off 3 straight weekends chock full of school and church holiday events. I'm keeping my eyes firmly set on December 17 - my last day of work for the year - in front of me.

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A quick recap of the last 2-3 weeks:

A surprise birthday celebration (#43 for me) went awry when my mom took a bad fall and tore her rotator cuff (she's in surgery as I write this). A girl's night out turned into a family event after mom's injury and Liz's knee surgery. Dinner at Grilled Cheeserie and The Little Mermaid at Nashville Children's Theater made for a sweet time together.






Work took me to Orlando the week before Thanksgiving. The…

Five on Friday (November 9, 2018)

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1. In the space of 4 days, Rsleepwalked twice. The first night she came down to our bedroom and knocked on the door to let us know it was time to go to school (it wasn't even 10:00 p.m.). The second night she actually got up, showered, and began getting ready for school only to realize that it was 10:30ish and everyone was still in bed for a reason. Should I be concerned?

2. Cross country is finally over and Rory ended the season running in the district tournament with the Varsity team. She held her own and finished in 9th place.  Pre-season soccer conditioning overlapped for a couple of weeks but she's currently free from extra-curriculars.

3. Basketball, however, is in full force. Last Friday was the unofficial tip-off, but tonight is the first game of the season. It's so strange to see Camden on the court as the veteran 9th grader. Not only is he the tallest on the team, but there are only a couple of other players with any previous experience (two of which are currentl…

October Recap

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August - October are the craziest months of the year. Until the holidays roll around in November and December, that is. So basically, the second half of every year is just busyness on top of busyness. I'm in the process of having my computer fixed (it's been down since April) and, despite the busyness, I'm feeling the desire to jump back into my camera and photographing our life. It's a hobby that I have let go over the past years as I went back into the workforce, endured 18 months of chemo, and began parenting teenagers. Maybe I'm ready to balance it all?
We made a quick family visit to St. Louis during fall break. We met up with Becky and the boys, Liz and Addison along with many St. Louis cousins that we haven't seen in years. Unfortunately, the trip was a mere 48 hours long and there wasn't nearly enough time to catch up. But it was a fun 48 hours and it was good to touch base with so many family members.
Salt and Smoke was amazing.


Blueprint coffee w…