Thursday, November 28, 2013

Three Little Thankfuls

Many years ago I took part in a blogging community writing group. One of my favorite writing assignments in that group was to write about three little thankfuls. Not the obvious and big things we should be grateful for (like family, friends, church, etc), but rather the small things that we maybe take a little for granted, or the things that really make us happy but we don't acknowledge very often. I loved that writing assignment and have taken some time every year to identify at least three more little thankfuls to write about. I've been doing this since well before it became popular in social media to do a month of gratitude, and I'll keep doing it because I love the tradition!

1 - I'm thankful that at just about any time of day or night, I can do a little channel surfing and find an episode of the t.v. show "Friends" playing. This show has the power to snap me out of bad moods, serve as a distraction when I'm stressed, make me laugh my loud and ugly laugh and even keep me awake and alert on long road trips. It makes me smile. I have all the seasons on DVD but it's more fun just to plop down on the couch, surf channels a bit to figure out which channel is playing back-to-back episode marathons of it at that moment and enjoy the episode luck of the draw. The other day I got to see Monica with beaded cornrows. A few nights ago I got to see Joey and Chandler emulating Richard before accidentally referring to him as "so much cooler than our dads!" Today I got to hear Phoebe sing "Lather, rinse, repeat... as needed". I love Friends. And I'm thankful that I can find an episode of it playing just about any time of day or night. (And I'm thankful that if it happens to not be on at the moment for some crazy reason, shows like The Big Bang Theory, Parks & Recreation and The Middle are now in syndication and on constant repeat!!)

Friends Thanksgiving episodes are some of the best :)

2 - I'm thankful that we live close enough to family now that we could make the trip to Utah fairly easily to spend the holidays with them. I'm also thankful that after spending a big chunk of time with Utah family this past summer we felt no obligation to take advantage of our proximity. We decided to stay home and enjoy a Thanksgiving here in Portland. I'm especially thankful for the luxury of being able to eat whenever we darn well please and not having to stick to any particular schedule. So far all I've bothered preparing is the cranberry sauce. And that feels lovely. Plenty of other traditional foods to prepare later, but for now, I'm enjoying the zero-pressure experience of just being home for the holiday as our own little family. Related little thankful: our new house came complete with a convection oven!

Cranberries done. Turkey smoking. The rest of the dishes will get prepared
when I'm good and ready :)

3 - I'm thankful for yard sales and Craigslist. They helped us furnish our home in just a few weekends, after leaving all of our furniture behind in Louisiana. And I'm really thankful for generous people who give perfectly good things away or sell them for dirt cheap so that when we furnished our home we didn't have to break the bank.

My favorite Craigslist find. An extremely plush, comfortable reclining couch.
Purchase price? $Free-ninety-nine. The newspaper on the couch cost more
than the couch itself. :D

So there are three little thankfuls that are at the top of my list this year. How about you? What are a few of the little, less obvious things that you're thankful for?

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

17 Years and Counting

The day we met. Pretty cool to have pics together the very day we met :)
August 2, 1996
Engaged September 21st. Originally planned to get married on Valentine's Day
the following year. That plan lasted a few days before we realized we didn't want
to wait any longer than it would take to pull a wedding together, so we bumped up
our wedding date to November 27th.

We should have used this as our engagement picture. It shows our personalities
and our relationship the best.

I really wanted to use this for our announcement because it was just as playful
and young and in love as we felt at the time. (The "grown ups" convinced us to
use something more traditional...)

The big day. 

One of my favorite pictures from our wedding day. Until someone pointed out that
at quick glance it looks like I'm getting a handful of my new hubby's.. ahem... Makes it
one of my favorite pictures  of the day for a whole different reason :)
Pretty big day for our family when Willy graduated with
one of his two Associates Degrees. 
Ben - October 9, 1997. Less than a year after we were married. (And 9 months
after my birthday. We call Ben our "belated birthday gift. *big grin*)
Brady - October 5, 2001 (Hey look! A pattern of belated birthday gifts!)
Toby - June 20, 2005
Last but not least, Molly April 7, 2008
And then a few years of true adventure, Hawaiian style. Some of our favorite pictures as a couple come from these years.

Haleakala Sunrise, Maui 2010
Our 15th anniversary was spent in Kauai. Not sure we'll ever be able to quite
match that anniversary trip! 2011
One of our favorite activities while living in the islands. I'm pretty sure one of the most
romantic gestures that made me feel 100% protected was when Willy would take my hand
when we were in the water and he'd pull me along so I could rest and relax.

Halemaumau Crater, 2012

Heading to Kalaupapa, Moloka'i. 2012

Fulfilling one of my personal dreams with Willy supporting me all the way.
Visiting Kalaupapa, Moloka'i. 2012

Ka'ena Point, O'ahu. 2012
The adventure continues as we trot around the country together.
Happy as could be in our new corner of the world.

We do a lot of this. Willy makes me laugh literally every single day. He's my best friend.
I'm an incredibly blessed woman having him as my partner and forever companion.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Wearing a new hat...

I'm not busy enough in life, y'know? I just sit around with nothing to do all day (ha!) so I should go ahead and get myself a new gig to keep me busy. Hehehe. In all honesty it was an opportunity that gives me a chance to do two things I love - 1) spend quality fun time with the kiddos and 2) write.

I recently applied for and was chosen to be a PDX Kids Calendar Reviewer! PDX Kids Calendar is an amazing resource for parents and families in the Portland area and partners with the print magazine Metro Parent. It includes an online list of daily events going on around Portland with all the details you need to enjoy the event. Today, for example? TWENTY-THREE calendar items listed ranging from children's theater to playgroups to library story times to discounted art classes. It's really quite awesome and I'm thrilled to have the chance to work with them. I get to occasionally go to events on their calendar and write a review to be featured on the site. Fun times!

Last weekend I had my first assignment! I got to take Toby and Molly to see the children's puppet theater production of The Reluctant Dragon on opening night. It was a fun "date night" and we had a great time! My first review was posted Sunday and I thought I'd link to it here so I don't lose track of it. Can't wait for our next opportunity!!

HERE is the review.

And here are a few more pics from the night. It's apparently impossible to get one decent picture of a 5 year old and an 8 year old together actually cooperating, smiling, looking at the camera with eyes open. Toby is following the example of his older brothers and dad and pretty much flatly refuses to just smile... he must mug for every photo taken. I tried.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

A Last First...

As the baby of our family, everything that Molly does for the first time marks a "last first time" for our little Campbell family. Tonight was a big milestone for her, and a last first moment for Daddy and I. These moments are always bittersweet and become strong memories for all of us. Molly was determined to have this personal first be recorded, and I was happy to oblige so that our last first  would be documented as well.

Molly lost her first tooth!!

During the summer of 2012, when she was just 4, she had an accident and got knocked hard on one of her upper front and center teeth. It was slightly wiggly as a result and we thought she'd lose her first tooth quite young as a result. Uncle Dentist said her tooth would likely either fall out or become discolored and just stay put for a while. It did the latter. Molly would periodically insist that her little gray tooth was wiggly and ready to come out, but she didn't realize what a wiggly tooth really felt like until about a week ago when one of her bottom center teeth suddenly became very ready to come out.

She's been playing with that wiggly tooth for a good week now and eventually she could wiggle it with her tongue and her other teeth. She's been obsessed with it... mostly because she's REALLY excited to have the Tooth Fairy come!! (A fairy!!! In our house!!!) Tonight the tooth was obviously just hanging on by a thread and so we coached and encouraged her.

"Pinch! Twist! Pull!"

And she tried. But she just couldn't quite make it happen.

She suggested that she could just punch it out. Or better yet! Daddy could punch it out. I warned her that Daddy punching her teeth may cause more than just her one wiggly tooth to come out. That didn't discourage her, as I'd suspected. It thrilled her! "More money!!!!!!!!!"

Then I mentioned that the camera battery was dying and if she wanted to get the milestone recorded she needed to do it quick! She tried one more time and then gave me the green light to give it a try.

Unlike my own daddy trying to pull our teeth when we were kids, I was brave enough to hold onto that tooth and ... pinch, twist, pull!

Out it popped! Molly was delighted. And then a little shocked. And then a little emotional. But then finally excited! The blood in her mouth freaked her out a little but after a swish and spit in the bathroom sink she squealed her way over to show Daddy what had just happened! Happy happy girl expecting a visit tonight. From a fairy!!! In our house!!! *squeeeeeeal*

Just kinda hanging out in there. Ready to be pulled!

So focused! But couldn't quite keep her grip on that tooth.

Showing me how it can lay totally flat when wiggled forward.

Success!! Tooth in hand and hole in her grin :)

Less freaked by it and more excited. Yay for a Molly milestone!