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Friday, December 07, 2018

Five on Friday (Dec. 7, 2018)

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. 

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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. 

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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!

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3. It only took 7 months, but my computer is back up and running. I'm looking forward to spending time with photos again. Unfortunately, our office/bonus room has a new treadmill and new internet wiring to figure out first. At this point, we're holding out for Christmas break to tackle that job.

4. We had our very own Christmas miracle this week - Brian was finally able to fix Alexa. She has been the bane of his existence since we were gifted her last Christmas. Brian has spent hours and hours working on her throughout 2018. Fingers crossed, but I think he finally figured out the issue and she's been working all week.

5. If you need a good cry and warm fuzzies, watch the George H. W. Busher funeral coverage. The tributes were so moving, and I bawled my way through the entire thing. 

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And, finally, Happy Birthday to Brian! He played hookie from work to accompany me to a scan and oncology appointment. Unfortunately, the scan machine broke and we had to reschedule both appointments for next week. We did not, however, have to reschedule our coffee, donuts, and lunch date.

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Up this weekend is another basketball game for Camden, a little one-on-one time with Rory, Christmas party with my Bible study girls Saturday night, and Rory has a girl's outing after church Sunday. Maybe I can sneak in some baking time as well. Happy Friday, friends.


Friday, November 30, 2018

Closing the Door on November

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.

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Work took me to Orlando the week before Thanksgiving. The resort was incredible and the weather was beautiful. Working the entire time felt like such a waste although our environment certainly made the 3 days worth of meetings a lot more tolerable!

The view from my own personal balcony was amazing.
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Becky and the boys visited for a short 2 days before Thanksgiving and then we left them behind and traveled to east Tennessee to spend the holiday with Brian's family. His grandmother was in the hospital and declining rapidly so it was a bittersweet trip. We drove to Virginia the day after Thanksgiving for a quick 90th birthday meal with Brian's Granny June. On my side of the family, Camden's king of the cousins. But when we're with Brian's family, the girls rule. There was much giggling and several sing-alongs. I did my first Thanksgiving/Black Friday shopping in several years and vowed never to do it again. 

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Parenting a middle schooler and high schooler continues to keep us so busy. If we're not at basketball games/practice or youth events, we're driving to and from said events. Camden is having fun as the veteran of the JV team, and it's certainly more fun to watch your kid play than to watch him sit the bench (I'm certain that cycle will begin all over again if he plays Varsity next year).

Pastoring a church (and being the pastor's wife and family) continues to stretch us all. Still learning our place, learning where the best yes's are and how to prioritize our time. After nearly 6 months in his new role, Brian would choose it all over again, and we continue to be amazed at how the Lord worked out this whole situation.

Which bring us to today: my mom is in surgery, Liz is recovering from her own surgery, work is hectic, kids are changing and maturing, loved ones are living through incredible challenges. And the only thing to do is keep putting one step in front of the other, keep being intentional in the joy and gratitude and contentment department. Focus on the good, learn from the hard. Say I love you and I forgive you. Look at each new day as the clean slate that it is.

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Have a great weekend, friends.

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!