Saturday, December 31, 2011

Top 20 pics of 2011... Campbell family style

I'm going to do it. I'm going to try to pick just 20 pictures from 2011 that best sum up our year. I tried 11 to be hokey (y'know... 2011 so 11 pics) but that was hopelessly impossible. Twenty was ever so slightly more doable. So here we go!

1. 2011 started with a bang. A whole lot of bangs actually. New Years Eve in Hawaii
is unlike anything I've experienced anywhere else. The fireworks start early in the afternoon
and keep booming... and booming... and booming until the MASSIVE explosion the island
experiences at midnight. It's kind of surreal. I LOVED it! Unfortunately the law went into effect
that fireworks are no longer allowed on the island. The occasional popping and booming
I'm hearing this evening indicate that we'll still be treated to a loud NYE, but I suspect due
to the new illegal nature of fireworks, it won't be quite as spectacular as in years past.
I'm glad we got to experience it in it's prime :) (That's the clean-up effort after the fireworks party,
pictured above, by the way. And the hazy nature of the photo? That's because of all
the smoke in the air... not because I'm a lousy photographer LOL.) 
2. This year we went on a lot of outings as a family. It feels so good to get out of the house
and explore together! This picture represents a few favorites of ours. It shows Willy in an
extremely typical pose... camera held to his eye snapping shots of the beauty around us.
It shows the family on a hiking adventure. It shows us exploring a new-to-us location on the
island (Kaena Point), which I love to see in the picture. We do NOT take this place for granted
and we're doing everything we can to explore it to it's fullest! 
3. Speaking of exploring and not taking island life for granted... Willy is the master
at getting out there! He's in the water as often as possible and loves getting his
"hydro-solar recharge". We go to the beach frequently as a family, but Willy
can be found in the water almost weekly.
4. 2011 was a Year of the Bumps and Bruises (and cuts, and breaks, and stitches...)
One major event this year was poor Brady losing a permanent tooth and taking a hefty
sized chunk out of his lower lip in a skateboarding accident. He's got a gap in his smile
and a scar on his lip to show for the experience.
5. Not to be outdone, Toby spent some time in the ER this year as well. A couple weeks
after Brady's accident, Toby had one of his own. He was playing on the pogo stick, slipped
and fell forward and couldn't get his hands off the handles in front of him fast enough to
stop his fall, so he caught himself with his face... on the garage floor. One broken nose,
one fat lip and several bruises later, his pic makes the top 20 of the Campbell family year.
6. Sometime around July the planking craze hit the Campbell family  with gusto. Toby
was the most die hard, and could be planking randomly and without warning everywhere
we went. My favorite planking photo was Dinner Time with Guests Planking.
7. Ours is a reading family. We read, and read, and read. Ben read the Hunger Games
trilogy this year... twice. Brady read the Harry Potter series. I have no idea how many
books Willy and I have read cumulatively this year but it's got to be somewhere near
100 between the two of us. I love this picture of Willy and I on perhaps the most
romantic date ever, sitting in one of my favorite spots on the island (Kukaniloko) and
reading individually, but together.
8. We spent a lot of time at one of our favorite places this year, the Polynesian Cultural Center.
This happens to be one of my favorite pics of Toby... ever.
9. I like this picture because it represents EVERY SINGLE TIME I ask the kids to pose
for pictures. There always has to be the final "funny faces shot".
10. To go along with the funny faces... we spent a lot of time this year laughing together.
Willy makes me laugh every single day. I love him for it!
11. We moved this year. We stayed in the same neighborhood but found a place with
an additional bedroom, had central air and was a significant chunk of change cheaper
than the rent in our old house. It was a no brainer! Moving sucks in general, but this
has definitely been a good move for our family! And we got so much help from
friends and church ohana that the move itself was *nearly* painless.
12. 2011 was the year of the skateboard in our family. We've explored half a dozen
skate parks on the island and the kids are mastering their skills constantly. Willy gets right
out there with them and has a blast. He even built me a skateboard and painted it with
"Chicks rule" on the bottom of the deck. I love it... but I'm kind of a klutz on it. I don't want
to lose a permanent tooth like another little sk8er boi I know...
13. One thing I managed to do right in 2011 was take better care of myself and
claim control of my body and weight. I've got a long way to go, but I started the
journey to drop the plus from my size and nothing is stopping me now.
14. This year was filled with lots and lots of hula! I continued taking dance lessons
with Akala Studios and Molly began taking hula lessons this year as well! She and I
have performed at several performances together and it's a great mommy/daughter
experience! And the boys are relatively willing to come cheer us on hehehe. (Ben moreso
than any others, probably. Coconut bras, y'know...)
15. Speaking of Molly. She's a diva princess. In a big way. She's found her
demanding, diva ways this year and really polished them to princess perfection.

16. We managed to pull off one more year of coordinated Halloween costumes in 2011.
I'm not sure I can even hope for another year of cooperation from the older kids, but
at least we had one more fun family costume photo for the books!
17. Something happened in 2011 that quite frankly disturbs me more than anything else.
Ben became a giant of a man-child now. It freaks me out thoroughly each time I give him
a hug or find myself standing next to him. Freaks. Me. Out.

18. This year we didn't have a lot of extended family visitors like we have in years past.
We haven't had any visitors, actually, since January! We miss spending time with our "real" family,
but we've managed to spend a whole lot of time with our Hawaiian ohana as they've had a pretty
magnificent year (finalizing the adoption of their now 2 1/2 year old son and being sealed
together as a family in the Laie Temple!) It's good to have "family" to spend time with!

19. Willy and I celebrated our 15th anniversary this year and took the most amazing little
island hop vacation to Kauai to celebrate! It was a magical weekend experiencing one of the
most beautiful places I've ever seen!

20. Hey look! We got our family photo taken professionally!  There's a first for everything LOL.
This is our family near the end of 2011. This is us! This is what life is all about!

 2011 was a wonderful year. 
I'm excited for what 2012 has in store!
Happy New Year from our ohana to yours!!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Update on our advent activities

We've been having a BLAST as a family this month! Thanks to our little advent garland full of activities to do each day leading up to Christmas, we've been really prioritizing some family fun and I wanted to share just a few of the activities we've participated in so far.

Day 1 - The activity was "Make hot cocoa and stir it with candy canes." But I already had hot cocoa with peppermint candy cane bits in the mix, so we just used that instead. The kids were in heaven. A great way to kick off our month of family fun.

Day 2 - The activity was "Have a family talent show." My kids are suckers for talent shows. I can't imagine where they got that *insert eyeroll*. My mom and dad love to remind me of how responsive I was whenever they would say "And now all the way from Sandy, Utah with blond hair and blue eyes... it's Angie Romig!!!" and I would strut my stuff and put on a show of sorts. Singing, dancing, piano. You name it I'd perform it! My kids are exactly the same. Molly didn't even have to think when I said it was time for a talent show. She demanded her hula song "That's the Hawaiian in Me" and she did the whole dance for us! Toby did a little break "dancing" to the oh-so-catchy "I'm Sexy and I Know It" song and was wowing us with his mad skillz until he got a little (ahem) inappropriate in his movements (Toby is in a bit of a pull-down-his-pants stage. Ugh ugh ugh. We caught the glimpse of his tighty whities and had to shut him down.) Brady was going to break dance also until he almost took out the Christmas tree with one of his tricks and we had to put an end to the dancing for the night. Instead he sang along with Bruno Mars to "Grenade". Then Ben showed us what he's been learning so far by playing the XBox game Rocksmith where your game controller is an actual electric guitar. He's learning and LOVING playing the guitar! I played a song on the piano. Willy showed us a few recent pictures he's taken to show us his photography talent. It was SUCH a fun night! 


Day 5 was "Have a Christmas music dance party." This was one of our favorite activities so far. We happened to have the Mormon missionaries over for dinner that night so they enjoyed a dance party with such favorites as Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree, Jingle Bell Rock and Here Comes Santa Claus. We had a blast. Willy busted out the Sprinkler, The Running Man AND the Cabbage Patch! He was on fire. We knew we had arrived at maximum fun when everyone lined up for a Rockettes-esque kick!
I'm pretty sure Elder Paulsen was going to pee himself he
was laughing so hard at Willy's sweet moves.
I love that Toby is trying to follow everything Willy did.

My husband danced with me! My husband danced with me!
Did I mention? My husband danced with me!!

Ben danced with me strictly to show off how
much taller than me he is.
Least flattering shirt in the history of
horribly unflattering shirts. But an
extremely awesome dance partner on my arm!

Day 8 we had the activity "Go to a Christmas concert or play." Fortunately that night we had Brady's Performing Arts Christmas show to attend at Ala Moana's Center Stage! Awesome venue, kids did an amazing job! I love Christmas performances that involve hula, ukuleles, ancient chanting and awesomely tropical Christmas songs. Probably my favorite was Hawaiian Santa.

Awwwww. They all cooperated. Sorta...
Here is where I insert a plea.... anyone who is blogger-smart: how the heck do you arrange your photos and videos in this stupid interface? I feel like I'm totally hit or miss on how my pictures line up and it drives me crazy.

Day 10 we got the activity card that said "Have a snowball fight." Hmmm.... Okay!!! It was island snow day at Pearl Highlands and we were all really excited to have a little snow fun in the Hawaiian sun this year!! They bring in 40 tons of snow and the kids have a blast making snowmen and snow castles and getting cold... all while wearing slippers and shorts hehehe. We even busted out a boogie board and went "sledding". It was a great day!

Yes. Willy is barefoot in the snow.
Molly was ruthless! She was tossing snowballs right and left!

There were a LOT of snow-down-the-shirt shenanigans going on.

No way was Willy missing out on the
"sledding" action!

Day something-or-other (I've lost track at this point...) our activity was to drive around and see the holiday lights. See the lights we did! There's a house near us with music coordinated with excessive amounts of dancing lights, etc. It was great fun and I think we'll go back and watch more of the show before the season is over!

You'll hear Molly saying "Bouncy bouncy bouncy bouncy" over and over again through the whole song as she watches the lights bounce on those half circles at the front of the yard. She was hilarious! 

No, Ben didn't know I was taking a picture. Why would you think that?

So the holiday activities have been a big hit so far and we've got some fun ones left to do, still! Kids haven't lost interest in this and I think it's safe to say that a new tradition that everyone is excited to participate in has been born for the Campbell family. Yay!!

Other December updates coming soon.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Thirty Days of Thankful - Day 30

I haven't run out of things to be thankful for. I really haven't! But I can't remember what all I've expressed gratitude for already this month so I'm not sure what's left to mention! So here's a recap to help me, and give you a chance to read any you may have missed. (All of the days are clickable and link to the entry for that day.)

Day 1 - Willy
Day 2 - Ben
Day 3 - Brady
Day 4 - Toby
Day 5 - Molly
Day 6 - Ohana (in all it's forms)
Day 7 - My stupid smart phone
Day 8 - Hawaii
Day 9 - Craigslist (and my $40 recliner and matching reclining loveseat)
Day 10 - Payday
Day 11 - Ability to make good choices (specifically health and fitness related)
Day 12 - The fact that my good choices are paying off
Day 13 - Humor (which coincidentally benefited me the following day...)
Day 14 - Cleaning supplies, cleaning wipes and Marjorie Pay Hinckley
Day 15 - Books
Day 16 - Music
Day 17 - Girls Nights Out
Day 18 - Sleep
Day 19 - Having our family portraits professionally taken
Day 20 - Naps
Day 21 - A little life lesson about patience and attitude
Day 22 - The change in the weather
Day 23 - Rubber gloves
Day 24 - Tradition
Day 25 - God's hand in my life
Day 26 - Reconnecting with my hubby
Day 27 - Leftovers
Day 28 - A merciful scale after the holidays and vacation
Day 29 - Friends

And that brings me to Day 30. What could I possibly end this list with?

My Savior, Jesus Christ? How did I not include Him on my list?

My faith and my membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints?

My talents?

How about the sound and smell of rain, followed by rainbows that take my breath away?

Or even cool sheets, freshly swept floors or good quality wrapping paper. Pens that write smoothly, my camera, or good fitting running shoes. TV shows that make me laugh, my Sonicare toothbrush or movie theater popcorn.

I guess for my last day I'll just say that I'm thankful to recognize that there are more blessings in my life than I could every quantify. Everything I have is a blessing. From the obvious to the random. Even the really sucktacular times in my life bless me with learning and experience. I'm grateful for all that I have, all that I know and all that I am. I'm so very thankful!