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Making Lemonade

15 Dec

Christmas cards are kind of our thang as one of my friends recently put it, so when folks said there was no way we could possibly top last year’s card, Chip and I gladly accepted that challenge.  This past Christmas, we already had our card all figured out by mid-summer, so when we returned from our trip to California in August without any ideas, I was starting to panic.

A few weeks later in September, Chip and I spent the weekend in New Hampshire for work. While on a hike at Arethusa Falls that Saturday, out of the blue, Chip said, “We need to do something with lemons.  Like a lemonade stand or something with a really subtle message.”  I liked it.  We couldn’t exactly ignore the events of the past year either, but at the same time, our sob story gets really old really quickly, most especially to ourselves, so neither of us wanted to play (or print and send) the overt “cancer card” this year. Alas, we had a starting point.  Inspiration.  We discussed the lemon concept a little more and finally Chip said he had gotten us started but for me to take over from there and add my artistic approach to the lemon theme.  I knew I could work with this and make it a little fun and a little serious all at the same time.

I liked the idea of the lemonade stand, but I couldn’t figure out how to photograph all four of us behind a table and it to look visually appealing.  One of us really needed to be standing up holding Crosby in order for her to be seen and because we were going to be shooting in the winter, it was going to be hard to take that shot outside in the cold on dead grass and get the kids to cooperate.  It didn’t make sense to have a lemonade stand set up inside of the house.  So, the lemonade stand was nixed.

While foraging through the junk drawer in the kitchen for something one day, I stumbled upon my favorite magnet about scotch. We haven’t used it in awhile as we now have a stainless refrigerator.  Then, I started digging through the drawer finding all the other magnets like it.  That was it.  A 50’s themed, witty card with a nod to cancer that would accurately capture our response to it.  BOOM!


I then did a little prop shopping at Target, we recruited our friends Andrea and Adam to come over and shoot our photos one Sunday afternoon, I enlisted the talented folks at Xanthus Design to design and print our card, and voila!



Huge, huge thanks to Michael, Hud and the rest of the talented team at Xanthus Design:

– Sheila


11 Months

30 Oct

Nothing but rainbows and unicorns in Miss Crosby’s universe.

happy 11 months! #purejoy

happy 11 months! #purejoy

Nine Months

14 Sep

Crosby recently celebrated 9 months. Join along in the fun!


Step 1: Joe gets Crosby and her 9-month sticker ready for the picture.


Step 2: Hmmm …


Step 3: Got it!


Step 4: … and I’m going to drool on it.


Step 5: Joe sings Happy Birthday, much to Crosby’s delight. (Click the photo for video.)


Step 6: Crash!

Eight Months

3 Aug

all smiles

happy 8 months, crosby!

happy 8 months, crosby!

What We Can Handle

7 Mar




(Found on the Momastery blog)

We Ain’t Right

8 Dec

Team Kennett takes Christmas cards quite seriously.  Always have, always will.  It hit me over the summer that with Crosby’s due date being December 3rd, there was no way I could possibly lose all of my baby weight, take family photos, and have cards designed, produced and in the mail in time for her to be a part of our Christmas card.  So I decided our card would just have to include Chip, Joe and me, but professional pregnancy photos kind of creep me out, and there was no way of hiding the fact I was wicked pregnant.  So, me being me with my warped sense of humor, I finally landed on the idea that our card needed to poke fun at my belly.

Again, searching for that piece of inspiration, it hit me one day when my iPod was on shuffle and Robert Earl Keene’s “Merry Christmas from the Family” came on:  Chip, sharing my same sense of humor, LOVED the idea of our Christmas card photo being a play on Robert Earl’s holiday favorite, and it all went downhill from there.

We discussed props and outfits for a solid four to five months in preparation.  We just needed to find the proper photographer. You know, someone who would really get into this with us and appreciate what we were doing.  I think we took this decision more seriously than we would finding the right surrogate to carry our child.  We invited Ginny and Clete Johnson over to dinner one night and after the perfect amount of bourbon and wine had been consumed, we asked them if they would do us the honor of shooting our Christmas card picture.  After they stopped laughing, they said they were in, so we scheduled a date and time for the magic to occur.

A week later, we received Chip’s diagnosis.  The following morning Chip said, “We can still do our Christmas card, right?”  Well, hell yeah we can!!   I so loved where his head was and besides, we ain’t right.

Feliz Navidad!!

Feliz Navidad!!

Close-up – can't miss Joe's pout!

Close-up – can’t miss Joe’s pout!


The Power of Kelly Clarkson

8 Nov

The wait for the pathology report to come back was bittersweet.  Ignorance was bliss to a certain degree, but we also desperately needed to know what type of cancer Chip had in order to start fighting it.  Dr. D had urged us to stay off the internet, but we were so anxious and wondering what type of cancer to “hope” for yet we managed to refrain.

Chip’s best friend from childhood, Chris Smith, affectionately called “Smitty,” flew in over the weekend to accompany us to our appointments. On November 5th, we met with Dr. D to learn the pathology.  Chip’s exact diagnosis is non-smokers, non-small cell lung cancer subtype adenocarcinoma – which basically equals not good.  There is currently no cure for this type of cancer, and it most commonly appears in 55-65 year old adults, so WHY Chip has this at age 31 years old, we’ll just never know.  Many have asked, and he has no family history, does not smoke, and it is not from mold or exposure to a harmful, chemical substance.

I once again went into a state of shock.  How could there be NO cure??  This is 2012!  We were riding home just stunned when Chip finally broke the silence and said, “You know?  NOTHING has changed since my diagnosis.  I still have the exact same cancer in my body as I did last week, and I have the exact same reasons and will to live, so let’s just fight this with everything we’ve got.”  He was exactly right.  Once again, Chip was the one providing me with the strength and confidence I needed.

So, the three of us headed to the nicest restaurant in Old Town, Restaurant Eve, for lunch.  The lunch special included your choice of cocktail called “Bittersweet” or a glass of wine called “Wrongo Dongo.”  That, coupled with the poor server enthusiastically asking us how we were doing that day, provided us with the comic relief we needed.  We were SO close to inviting him to pull up a chair, but we decided to spare him.  Then, we got in the car to go pick up Joe and this awful Brad Paisley song came on the radio that started out with the lyrics, “You’re not supposed to say the word ‘cancer’ in a song.”  I can’t make this up!  Laughter definitely turned out to be the best medicine that day.

The next day, which was known to the rest of the world as Election Day, we saw an oncologist, Dr. C at Virginia Hospital Center, and another oncologist, Dr. B at Johns Hopkins University, to further discuss Chip’s prognosis and treatment options.  In addition, within adenocarcinoma, we learned there are often genetic cell mutations, so Chip’s test results had already been sent to The Mayo Clinic for further analysis.  Since Chip was still feeling totally fine, both oncologists agreed it was better to wait and start the appropriate treatment than to just simply start chemo.  So, the wait began again.  We quickly learned this whole new cancer language over a 24-hour period and were repeatedly told Chip is otherwise a young, fit and “healthy” person with no other medical conditions, so he should respond well to treatment.  Since Chip’s age and diagnosis remains such an anomaly, there are really no statistics out there for him.  Everything they quoted us was for 55-65 year olds. So even though it was harsh to hear three separate times there is no cure, we were also told this is our path to chart.  Sort of like promises, we believe prognoses were meant to be broken.

After a nine-hour day of driving and meeting with oncologists, we were all exhausted.  Chip asked if he could use my iPhone.  The next thing I knew, Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger” was BLASTing in the car.  The three of us started to laugh and sing “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” at the top of our lungs while dancing as hard as we could with our seatbelts on.  I kind of like to think we looked like an SNL skit going down the road that day.  We were so caught up in our new theme song that we actually drove right past our house, but Smitty flipped a bitch and we safely got home.  I have never watched American Idol and am not the biggest fan of her music in general; however, looking back, Kelly has never failed me.  She and I actually go way back as “Since U Been Gone” was my anthem about eight or nine years ago.  I am happy to welcome the power of Kelly Clarkson back in my life.

– Sheila