Saturday, August 24, 2019

Five on Friday (August 23, 2019)

Rory says "good morning!"


1. Event #1 in the Lewis household this week was a very unexpected 36-hour trip to the ER. I was very, very sick and signs were pointing to a quite serious complication related to cancer. After many tests, the very last one cleared me. My oncologist says she can't quite explain what happened, but I'm on several new medications and we have the knowledge that a tumor is pushing against my liver and compressing the bowel. But it is not blocked! Dr. C says maybe chemo last week made the tumor angry, maybe it blasted it dead, or maybe not. Only time will tell. I'm feeling much better but tired and weak. I am a professional public vomiter, which is not a title I want to keep. I managed some coffee this morning which means my caffeine headache is gone.

2. Any longtime blog readers remember the early days of my cancer diagnosis and all the hospital stories? (My favorite involves when a man's pair of underwear showed up in my hospital bed after surgery. Yikes!) Well, 36 hours in the Vanderbilt ER gave me new stories. That place is a noisy, filthy war zone (although I was incredibly impressed with how calm the doctors and nurses remained). For instance, there was a prisoner in an orange jumpsuit with his own armed guard in the room next to me. And the time they performed a medical procedure on a patient who needed no less than 5 nurses holding him down. Scalpel, blood, screaming, and all. We saw police officers running down the hallway multiple times. The very narrow hallways were lined with patients in beds and wheelchairs. I am so thankful that I had a room at least!

3. Rory likes to make up her own phrases. Instead of saying "Oh, shoot" she'll say "snap crackle" or "fiddlesticks." This week that phrase has been, "Oh, sugar nuts."

4. We've been pulling out old movies to watch with the kids and last night was Robinhood: Prince of Thieves. Definitely darker than I remembered, but I don't think they had nightmares so we're all clear. Last week was School of Rock. Next week is going to be Anna and the King.

5. I've read several good books lately. Here's a short list:

The Tubman Command by Elizabeth Cobbs - historical fiction about Harriet Tubman
Field Notes on Love by Jennifer E. Smith - a cute teen love story that wasn't too sappy
Girl in Translation by Jean Wok - would have been a 5-star read for me if the ending wasn't so abrupt
The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead - I didn't like this one as much as the author's previous but still enjoyed
Save Me the Plums by Ruth Reichl - my first food memoir and after a slow start, it really did read like fiction


Our weekend should be uneventful. Let's hope so anyway! Rory is meeting friends at the mall this afternoon (a first for her and I don't quite know how I feel about it) and that's the extent of our social life.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Friday (August 16, 2019)

I don't have a list of 5 this week, just one big thing. Several weeks ago a CT scan showed "not subtle" growth (Dr. C's words) which means it's time to begin chemo again. While I wasn't surprised by the scan results, it's still hard to take. This is maybe the only time I've moved into the chemo routine with cancer-related symptoms, pain, etc. and I thought it might help me embrace the chemo as a gift, as life-giving, etc. But I just can't. I've tried to be grateful and I just hate it instead. Tuesday was the first round of this newest drug and despite the prediction that this would be a much easier drug to manage than the last one, I've been quite sick for the last 3 days. Thankfully, I will only need to have infusion every 3 weeks instead of weekly. I know that things will settle down, and our whole family will become accustomed to the chemo routine again, but it's been a hard week. My parents have been so helpful with the kids and even brought my favorite comfort food (homemade chicken and dumplings) for supper. 

I'm happy for the weekend. Nothing better than Friday night at home with Brian and the kids; it's always been our favorite downtime. Depending on how I feel, we have a little morning trip to the farmers market planned for tomorrow and hope to attend a friend's soccer game in the evening. Happy Friday, friends.


 Eyes on the road, please.


I see the blog background is messed up. It's okay - I haven't updated in over 8 years so I guess it's time. Now if I can only figure it out!

Friday, August 09, 2019

Five on Friday (August 9, 2019)

I'm not going to even address the fact that I skipped blogging for the entire summer. Yikes! I'm writing a summer recap post so we don't forget summer 2019 but it's not ready. For now, let's jump back into memory keeping because if I don't get to it, maybe I never will.

1. Today marks the end of the first full week of 7th and 10th grade. Both kids were ready to go back although Rory balked a little more than Camden. We're entering the season of electives, which means Camden has added and dropped classes this week. I believe he ended up with 4-5 honors classes and his electives are Weightlifting and Visual Arts. Because our school provides Chromebooks to 7th grade on up, Rory came home with her very own Chromebook and I'm not sure I've ever seen her so excited. This means both kids have fully entered into the digital age which terrifies me completely.

 Official uniforms this year complete with plaid skirts and branded polos.

First night (didn't even make it until 7:30 on the couch)

Last night (fell asleep reading her Bible with light on)

2. I heard recently that if you don't regularly manage the logistics of being a family, then date nights quickly turn into business meetings. So we had a Lewis family business meeting (over coffee and scones) Tuesday afternoon and then passed on the info to the kids Tuesday night. Maybe now we can have date night?



The 3 biggest changes we made for the school year: no bedtime for Camden at all and no limits on video games for his Friday night which technically means he could pull an all-nighter on the PS4 (He's 16 years old so it was time to stop controlling this, but I don't want to!!). Family devotions on Monday night, and we'll be working our way through the gospel of John; kids are to come prepared with the Scripture read, notes made, and a list of things they're grateful for from the past week. And, finally, kids are on their own to set alarm clocks and get up and out the door (Worst-case scenario they could be left at home and miss school. It won't come to that, right?)

3. I got new glasses this week. Unfortunately, I had to pick them out all on my own (because Rory was certainly no help) and I'm having flashbacks to my 5th-grade school picture with brown glasses and short, permed hair. It's too late now for a change so I'm stuck with them for the next 2 years. "Don't take this the wrong way, mom, but you kind of look like a nerd. In a good way." -Rory


4. Rory chose contacts instead of glasses for the year. Immediately, she looks like a teenager and I don't like it. The red lipstick didn't help. Have I mentioned that she is thissssss close to being the same height as me? I cannot deal.


(matching red lipstick)

5. Because our schedules were so off this summer with one or more of us missing for a majority of the weeks, I've done very little cooking. We've had ice cream almost every night and Rory and I have eaten our body weight in watermelon. My back-to-school mission was to cut out ice cream and prepare meals. Here are 3 recipes that stood out: southwest chopped chicken salad, chicken salad (I used avocado instead of mayonnaise), and blueberry buttermilk breakfast cake.

Our weekend plans are family night tonight (Camden requested pizza so the dough is already rising on the stove), basically recover from the first week of school, and gear up for next week which will be much busier for a multitude of reasons. Brian and I have fallen hard for two documentaries this summer and we've invited our local family over to watch with us tomorrow night. In case you're interested - The Dawn Wall (Netflix) and Free Solo (Hulu). 

Happy Friday, friends!

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Saturday Musings (May 25, 2019)

Since I never seem to finish up a blog post for Five on Friday, let's give Saturday morning a shot!



Week #2 of summer 2019 is complete, and after a crazy May, couple of months, year, our schedule has come to a screeching halt. For comparison, I only filled the car up with gas once this week while my norm throughout the rest of the year is 2-3 times. The kids are reading, sleeping, and consuming TV. No doubt our schedule will pick up again, but for now, the kids are professional couch potatoes and I'm trying not to feel guilty about all the downtime. Why do I feel bad about a slow schedule? Busyness is such a way of life that it somehow feels wrong to have white space in our calendar. It's not, by the way. A slow season is restorative if we let it be.

Brian is in Uganda for 2 weeks, which feels all kind of strange. After 22 years of marriage, it just doesn't feel right without him. Because our church is made up primarily of military families, I cannot complain about having my husband out of pocket for a mere 14 days. But it sure seems like a long time.

I spent the morning browsing the many summer reading lists being released, adding books to my lengthy "to be read" list. Here are several to get you started: MMD 2019 summer reading list, How Sweet Eats summer reading, and MMD new summer lit. Camden and Rory are inhaling books faster than I check them out from the library. Several favorites from the last couple of weeks:

I enjoyed this blog post: To the Middle Season Mama in May.

Thanks to a Mother's Day gift, I had a facial yesterday (only the second one ever) and it was delightful. 

The kids and I are going to see the brand new Aladdin movie with my mom this afternoon, and I can't wait. Have a great Memorial Day weekend, friends.


Friday, May 17, 2019

Five on Friday (May 17, 2019)

1. It's official: I have a 7th grader and a sophomore. Where in the world does the time go? I might be tempted to feel sentimental about this, but the reality of teenagers and their eyerolls keep me grounded.

Last day of school was Tuesday morning, and we hardly know what to do with all the time. Well, the kids have a lot of extra time. The adults not so much although I am remembering how much time I save every day just simply by not having the responsibility of driving them to/from school.

They saved Christmas Golly G gift cards for the last day of school.


2. Speaking of driving - we're the proud owners of a nearly new Nissan Altima. Buying 2 cars in less than 6 months is  not recommended, but Carmax made it easy.

3. As an ordained minister, Brian occasionally officiates weddings but usually just as part of the job. This week, however, he officiated the wedding of a couple very dear to him. Because I've been sick, I was unable to attend but even the kids agreed it was a great wedding!

4. Warm temps mean I am in full iced coffee mode. I've tried many variations of making my own over the years with minimal success. This year, however, I think I've found the right recipe and tools (look up Bri McKoy on Instagram for recipe/instructions in her highlights). I bought a Bodum cold brew French press and am putting Brian's Yeti to good use nearly every day. It's certainly cheaper than my current Starbucks favorite - doubleshot on ice with a splash (or two) of heavy cream.

5. Over the years I've had occasions with extreme fatigue and sleepiness. The first time I started falling asleep at the wheel, we adjusted medication (which I'm no longer taking). The second time I had a brain scan. The crazy sleepiness has happened since then, but until last week it wasn't happening while driving. Unfortunately, I had an episode last week that was really scary. Camden told me later that I scared him to death because I was driving so slowly, weaving in and out of the lines. After several close calls where I woke up swerving into another lane, I eventually became scared enough to turn around and go home. I walked straight to my room, collapsed on the bed and slept for the rest of the day. So glad I didn't hurt myself or anyone else.


Friday nights used to equal family night in the Lewis house, but family nights have been few and far between in 2019. However, Friday night is free and clear (first time since February!) and I'm making pizza and we're watching the Survivor finale and reunion. Also on the agenda is a soccer tournament (Addison's team) and a night at the skating rink with church friends. I think we've earned this slower weekend schedule!