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Friday, November 09, 2018

Five on Friday (November 9, 2018)

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 currently on academic probation). He is such a sentimental kid and chose #11 for his jersey - his Aunt Liz's old number.

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4. We bought a new (to us) Nissan Rogue last week and I love it! For now, we're holding on to both the very old and worn out mini-van along with the ready-to-die Yaris. Brian is driving both old vehicles in an effort to extend their usefulness. One funny story: the day after we bought the Rogue Camden prayed, "Thank you for the blessing of a new vehicle. Help us to use the car to it's full capability." ;)

5. After using the same mattress for the last 18 years, we purchased a memory foam mattress from Amazon this week. (Remember when buying anything as important as a mattress involved actual stores?) Several family members have the same mattress and love it, so Brian and I are both hoping it improves our sleep habits and our sore backs.

Our weekend plans include Camden's first basketball game, a family trip to the Nashville Children's Theater (a girl's trip with mom, Rory, Addison, and Liz) tomorrow night. And I have every intention of finishing up my current read before Monday. Happy Friday, friends!

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Thursday, November 08, 2018

October Recap

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.
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Blueprint coffee was delicious.
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I couldn't possibly count the number of times I've been to the St. Louis zoo, both as a child when we would meet cousins and now as an adult when we still meet family. It was fun to see cousins all grown up with their own babies.

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Supper was the biggest nutella rootbeer float you've ever seen.

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Because of very cold, rainy day, we had to cancel our plans for the City Museum (the kids were SO disappointed) and went instead to the St. Louis Science Museum (another place I have visited as a child so many times).

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And, of course, we went to Ted Drewes even in the cold. You can't go to St. Louis and not have frozen custard from Ted Drewes. No surprise - there was a line even in the rain!

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Moving on from fall break, the kids had 3 major events in October: costume party with the church youth group, a talent show at school (Camden played the guitar), and The Grounded Conference at TDF (apologetics youth conference at a local church). Rory dressed up as a mime (?) and Camden dressed up as our worship pastor.
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And that's a wrap for October! Here's to better memory keeping in November.

Sunday, October 07, 2018

Favorites

A few recent favorites:

Evicted by Matthew Desmond: I finished in less than a week despite a hefty 400+ page count. It is profoundly sad and gives an insider look into poverty and housing in America. I gave it 5 stars.

We've been reading Tattoos on the Heart by Gregory Boyle out loud together as a family for the past 4-6 weeks. Well, I cry through it and then pass it over to Brian to read.

The Ministry of Ordinary Places is Shannan Martin's second book, and I am so honored to be on her launch team again. Have you ever seen a prettier book? I underlined, highlighted, and marked up the pages because there were so many things to remember. I believe there's still time to receive pre-order goodies if you order TODAY. Here's one of my favorite quotes: "Do we care enough to love those around us as though we really belong to each other? And can we dare to believe these small gestures of specific care and well-timed warmth are enough to alter the path of mankind?


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I really enjoyed this interview with Kwame Alexander, a YA author. Camden and I are loving the audio version of his first book.

Loving this lipstick color and formula. Can't beat $7 either!

My favorite perfume from 8 years ago is back on the market and I snatched it up right away. It's perfectly warm and spicy and just right for fall.

Two weeks ago I cooked up 6 pounds of ground beef for the freezer. I cannot believe how much simpler my evenings have been with that one little task completed ahead of time. Here's an easy recipe for taco spaghetti which is a new favorite.

My least favorite thing? We're setting heat records IN OCTOBER. I am so ready for fall weather, and I believe it is finally going to arrive by the end of the week.

My favorite thing? Brian and the kids are on fall break this week. I took off last Thursday and will take off this Thursday as well. While the days and weeks surrounding fall break have been insane, Thursday we simply lounged together, read books, watched the latest The Voice episode, and met Brian for lunch.

I love these lounging pictures so much.
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Happy Fall Break!

Thursday, October 04, 2018

September Recap

Well, I knew it had been a while since I last checked in here but I didn't know that it was over a month ago. . . A solid clue that life is overflowing with busyness. I can't possibly record everything from the past month in a short list so let's go with the highlights.

Rory turned 12! We celebrated 2 weekends in a row with a family party one Friday and a sleepover the following Friday. She requested a lemon cake for the second year in a row (notable because she doesn't like lemon). Her birthday list included Chacos, a lamp, gift card (to anywhere), and a Fit Bit. While she didn't get a Fit Bit, she did get everything else on the list plus an aquarium, fish, mascara, lip gloss, and a heated brush.

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Camden also had a sleepover and this is how tired he was when I picked him up.

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For the 5th September in a row, I headed to the D6 Conference (it's my 4th year to work). This year we traveled to Greensboro, NC, the week after Hurricane Florence hit. The conference was a success and flew by in a whirlwind 4 days of work, work, and more work. Brian was with me this year and I thoroughly enjoyed those few days away together even though we were with 1200 of our closest friends and co-workers. Brian was a speaker this year, not just an attendee, and I am so proud of him!

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My parents and Brian's parents split kid duty while we were in NC. 

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This week marked yet another 8-week check-in with my oncologist. I continue to struggle with chemo hangover as Dr. C puts it. Seven and a half years is a long time to live with cancer and some days I feel every minute of it. My CA-125 inched up yet again. The growth is ever so slight and I'm trying to forget about it.

Rory has been spending Monday afternoons at cross country meets and has improved on her time every week. I am so proud of her and she is so proud of herself! Last week she set a goal of breaking 20 minutes and her final time was 19:10 for a 2-mile cross country run.

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(official proofs)

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Fall break began Wednesday afternoon for the kids; Brian's fall break begins next week. I am taking a couple of days off over the course of the 2 weeks and we're already enjoying the slower pace.

Happy Weekend!

Saturday, September 01, 2018

September already?

I praise your name for your unfailing love and faithfulness; for your promises are backed by all the honor of your name. -Psalms 138:2b

Because blogging (and picture taking) has unfortunately been at the bottom of my "to do" list, I'm combining the past few weeks. While I had actually been doing a tiny bit of journaling, I never published. Do you know my computer has been broken for nearly 6 months now, which means I haven't uploaded pics from my big girl camera (who used to be the love of my life) in 6 months? How do I remedy this!!?? 

Five on Friday - August 24 edition

1. Brian's introduction to bus driving was rough, but a consistent route after the first week made a huge difference overall. A steady route is so much simpler than showing up and being handed something new every single day! What seemed like an easy answer to (1) keep our insurance and (2) have time for a full-time job in ministry is turning out to be not so simple. It's not any less of a direct answer to prayer, but not as easy or simple as we imagined. We have a whole new appreciation for school bus drivers, that is for sure!

2. Cross country began this week and it's all Rory's sport this year as Camden is reserving his energy for basketball, soccer, and honors classes. While I would have liked him to also run cross country purely for the exercise benefit (and to burn off some of his neverending energy), I am not particularly sad about missing out on the additional sports fee.

3. My dad picked up the kids and took them for an afternoon of horseback riding - a milestone because they're both old enough and experienced enough to ride on their own so 3 horses = 3 riders (which is pretty fun for my dad to have company on his rides).

4. Part of beginning high school is a new chrome book for Camden, his first device all his own. Homework has never been so exciting. He also had to complete an application for the honors program. Here's what he had to say on the section that asked what the committee should know about Camden, "I was adopted from South Korea at 8 months of age. You should also know I'm pretty much a perfectionist."

5. The weekend was a full one with company Saturday night and a solid 10-hour work day at church on Sunday (also a sick Rory, but more on that later).

hello, bright sun
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Five on Friday - August 31 edition

1. It's a half day of school for the kids so lunch at Chick-Fil-A, a sports physical for Camden, and a chiro appointment filled the afternoon. Camden is officially 5'10" and a whopping 107 pounds and currently in the middle of basketball tryouts. Basketball combined with 4 honors classes, youth band, and regular church band makes a pretty full plate for a 15-year old. As a parent, it's hard to strike the balance between taking advantage of opportunities to develop his skills but also keeping him as part of the family unit for these last 4 years of high school. Balance, balance, balance - chanted repeatedly through my mind and heart.

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2. Rory's annual allergies-meet-asthma illness brought her down this last week so the two of us missed church on Sunday; Brian stayed home with her Monday, and she spent the rest of the week trying to recover. Unfortunately, she still hasn't kicked it and sounds like a smoker, but she's on the downhill slide.

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3. For all the time I was on chemo these past 18 months, I lived with the incorrect belief that if I could just quit treatment, all my physical ailments would go away. That is faulty thinking, of course, because cancer (and chemo side effects) is never ending but chemo felt like such the enemy. Nearly 5 months after stopping treatment I'm still trying to figure it out and battling nearly as many bad days as good. My doctors are still fine-tuning medication and I'm still fine-tuning how to cut myself some slack. After an entire week of bad days recently, this week has easily been one of my best.

4. I finished two excellent books in the past week, both featuring diversity and stories with twists and turns that made me gasp out loud. Not only is the story-telling compelling but the story informs the reader on diversity and experiences that I know nothing about. More and more, a story that teaches me something is my favorite kind to read: Dear Martin by Nic Stone and Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie. I've nearly reached my goal of 50 books in 2018 with a solid 4 months to go. I wonder what my total for 2018 will be.

Pretty lucky to find myself on the launch team for Shannan Martin again, and her new book is lovely - have you seen a prettier cover? Pre-order here and then visit this page for lots of pre-order goodies.

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5. I didn't know how much I was looking forward to this 3-day weekend until it arrived, and I felt light as a feather. Brian and I are kicking off the holiday with date night (Crazy, Rich, Asians). Movie Pass is a beautiful thing when it works correctly.

Saturday holds a little pampering with my mom and sister - my first pedicure since May of 2017! We're spending the afternoon in Nashville on the hunt for a recliner - something cushy enough for Brian but aesthetically pleasing, small and compact enough to fit in the living room. Does this recliner even exist? Also planning to treat the kids to a fun lunch. Sunday evening is free and Camden has requested the Avengers Infinity movie while Monday is reserved for a Labor Day cookout with family.

Happy Holiday Weekend, Friends!