Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Campbell Family 2014 Year in Review

This is my third blog post of 2014. Wait, what?! Only three blog posts in an entire year? I'll address my lack of blogging in a later post. That's right... I will address it! I have every intention of getting back to blogging regularly so I will definitely be addressing why I haven't been around. I miss this. I need the outlet. But all that will come later. Right now? A belated "Christmas letter" in the form of a Campbell Family 2014 Year in Review blog post! I dragged my feet for so long that I didn't get our Christmas cards in the mail until about 4pm on Christmas Eve. I never even got a letter written to accompany the card and that felt really REALLY weird. I've written a Christmas card every year since 1997! I can't let 2014 slip by without writing a recap. So here's the card...


and here's some of what would have been in the letter to accompany the card but with the bonus of photos that couldn't have been included in an annual letter (and probably a whole lot wordier, too, since space is a non-issue! How fun for me! :)  )

January 2014

Absolutely nothing exciting happened in January. Maybe this yearly recap month-by-month isn't such a good idea after all. Hmmm... how about a photo of the family in rare real form near the end of the month saying goodbye to a fun missionary who had been serving in our LDS ward? Yeah. This will have to do to represent January.


February 2014

We experienced a first as a family in February! (Ooooh alliteration!) Snow day!!! It was wild to us that schools would close for just a skiff of snow, but sure enough! The snow started falling and the kids had early school dismissal which turned into several days of unplanned house arrest vacation. Eventually it did actually snow several inches which basically paralyzed the city. It snows so rarely around here that we're very ill-equipped to deal with it so we basically just had to wait for it to melt. But we experienced several days of deep freeze so there was no melting going on for a while. Add the humidity here in the Pacific Northwest, and all that snow turned to ice which turned the roads into skating rinks. We were going nowhere! We got our fill of playing in the snow, watched a lot of movies, played a lot of games, and eventually got stir crazy enough to bundle up and brave the freezing rain and walk down the trail to just about the only business left open in the area - the 7-Eleven store - for "essentials" (aka chocolate, soda and potato chips). February was cooooooold and snowy. Our first bonafide winter weather in about 5 years!


March 2014

March this year brought Mardi Gras! This isn't a holiday we would have ever celebrated before our year long adventure in Louisiana, but it's something we'll enjoy yearly for now on! We found a local bakery that makes (passable) king cakes, we busted out the box of beads, I went a little purple-green-and-gold crazy at the Dollar Tree, and we invited the missionaries over to enjoy the Mardi Gras festivities. Laissez les bons temps rouler!


 April 2014

April was a busy, busy month! Molly turned 6, Willy had some business travel to the opposite corner of the country (Florida), Molly and I went on a fun Mommy-Daughter date to see my favorite singer, Mindy Gledhill, in concert, the big boys went to a Scouting Jamboree weekend on the coast, and Ben went to Prom! In April we also got to take a quick family trip to Utah for Willy's Hartford Connecticut Mission reunion. While we were there we enjoyed a whirlwind weekend visiting with family. It was the first opportunity we had to take Molly to Temple Square while it was in full spring time bloom and be able to get a whole family photo with all the beautiful flowers as a backdrop.



May 2014

Nana (Karen Campbell) treated Willy, Brady and Toby to a Disneyland adventure in May! (Ben had his turn with Nana when he was younger. Molly will get her turn when she's a little older! Such a fun Nana tradition!) They had a blast and made so many memories. May was also Mother's Day, and Willy continued the tradition of giving me a lei. He made it himself and it made me feel like a queen!




June 2014

 June was one of the busiest months of our year. Toby turned 9 in June. The kids finished school, but rather than pack for vacation we got to pack up to move AGAIN. The owners of the house we had been renting decided to move back into their home, effectively forcing us to find a new place to call our own. We had our 6th address in 3 calendar years (!!!) by the end of June. Fortunately we were able to find a house that kept Ben and Brady in their same schools, but Toby and Molly had to change to a new Elementary and we found ourselves in new ward boundaries. Big changes, but changes we could live with. And because moving isn't busy enough, we also whole-heartedly welcomed houseguests for about 3 weeks in June! Ben's best friend from Louisiana came to visit which was a blast for Ben and did his happiness level so much good! And then my brother Jed, sister (in-law but in-my-heart too!) Ashley and their kids came to visit for about a week. We had a blast spending time with cousins and family and enjoying Oregon with them as much as we could while packing and preparing for the move. Jed's family actually got to stay at both of our houses while they were here! What an adventure June was!





July 2014

 July involved a lot of unpacking (as you can imagine) and then relaxing! With Nana and Papa and two Campbell cousins, to be exact! Yep, we moved into our new place and a week later got more houseguests! It was awesome and such a good distraction from the chaos of the move. We took a quick weekend getaway to the coast and to Astoria with Nana and Papa and the cousins and had an amazing time!





August 2014

 August brought scout camps, football practice, getting ready for school to start, and blackberry season! Willy grew up in the PNW so it wasn't new to him, but the kids and I had our first experience picking blackberries right off the bush and eating them. I pretty much put 1 in my mouth for every 3 that I collected to take home. Heavenly! August was also the month during which Willy did a 75 mile bike ride in one day. The kids and I were so proud of him for setting and reaching his goal! The kids even made a finish line for him to cross when he got home!



September 2014

 Back to school in early September! Ben is a Junior this year. Brady is in 7th grade. Toby is in 4th grade and Molly has reached that ever important ALL-DAY 1st grade status!! That meant that for the first time in about 13 years, I found myself at home alone during the days! I didn't know quite what to do with myself! Back to school dominated the month.





October 2014

 October is birthday month for Ben, who turned 17, and Brady, who turned 13. Two teenagers in the house. Heaven help us, right? I realized I wasn't cut out to sit at home by myself all day with the kids in school and I got myself a job... at the kids' school! I'm working as a lunch monitor and a reading intervention teacher. It's just 3 hrs of work a day which is absolutely the perfect way to reenter the work force after such a long stint as a stay-at-home-mom!  October was also a very exciting month for me. I had joined a hula halau (school) early in the year and October brought with it our annual exhibition. The whole year of hula was amazing. We had a weekend retreat where I carved my own ipu and created a stamp that represents my family and life, we had a luau where I learned to make all traditional Hawaiian foods, and we had the incredible exhibition where I got to dance and chant ancient kahiko hula as well as dance modern auana hula as well. I'm so grateful to have had the chance to reconnect to Hawaii and the hula that I so love! I have a new 'ohana here in Oregon! October was also, of course, Halloween, which means... family costume time once again! This year we were various kinds of zombies. Regular zombie who is in search of "braaaaains", doctor zombie who mumbles "spraaaaaains", plumber zombie out to fix "draaaaaaaains", etc. It was a silly fun game for us to come up with our costumes and zombie types. Fun year for the Campbells (except poor Ben who was super sick... but even got in on the costume with us because of his aches and "paaaaaains")!




November 2014

November was a challenging but special month. I went to Utah to spend time with my sweet grandma Norma Romig during her last week of life. I had the incredible experience of helping with her care round the clock for several days, and I was by her bedside with my hand on her arm when she passed away. The spirit was so strong, and despite our own loss, we were so grateful to know that GG was with GPa again. I love my grandma so much. I will always cherish my memories of being her "Rosebud". One really special result of Grandma's passing was the gathering of her family to her side. I got to see cousins I hadn't seen in years and we had a wonderful time reconnecting and enjoying all-day suckers together (a Grandma tradition!)

Later in the month, the whole family took a trip together to Utah to spend Thanksgiving with both the Romig and Campbell families! We stayed for 4 full days so it wasn't quite the whirlwind trip we'd had in the spring and we really got to enjoy our time with family for the holiday! Willy and I got to take a trip to the Ogden temple to celebrate our 18th anniversary. And we took the family to Temple Square the night after Thanksgiving to see the Christmas lights get turned on. What a sight!





December 2014

And finally... the end of 2014! Amazing. For Christmas this year we bought our very first fresh Christmas tree. What a fun thing to be able to enjoy here in the PNW where fresh cut trees are so affordable. Next year we'll try U-cut!! Much to Molly's dismay, Willy chose Ben to put the star atop our tree this year. All the kids helped hang decorations. They got their traditional Christmas Eve pajamas on the 24th and we had a lovely Christmas on the 25th. We're all enjoying our time off from school and work this week and dreading a bit the idea of going back to "real life" next Monday.





2014 wasn't a bad year, but it definitely had it's challenges and we're hopeful that 2015 will be a positive one with plenty of happy, positive experiences.Where do we all stand at the end of 2014? Here's each family member's update:

Willy - Grateful for good, continued employment with Autodesk, Inc. Took several business trips during the year including to Florida, Denver, Las Vegas and New Hampshire. Well-respected within the company and making a name for himself. I'm so proud of him! He's currently serving as the Teachers Quorum Adviser at church. Our new home is on top of a doozy of a hill so he hasn't biked quite as much during the second half of the year as the first, but he's made a goal of completing a 100 mile bike ride in a day before he turns 40 in 2015 so you can imagine how much biking he'll be doing in the next couple months as he prepares!

Angie - I'm grateful for good employment too! After 5 years with the company, I'm no longer designing scrapbook products for ScrapGirls but I will be venturing into selling my designs independently soon and I look forward to that new venture. In the meanwhile I'm teaching piano lessons again, I'm working at the kids' school, and I just started working for a wonderful senior care company as the On Call Supervisor, which means I answer phones after hours from home and help with staffing and client issues. It's a little intrusive sometimes and it's pretty unpredictable, but it's employment that allows me to work from home and I'm so grateful for that blessing. I'm very involved with hula again and I love having that in my life. At church, I was teaching Sunbeams in our new ward, but have just been reassigned in the Primary to be the pianist which is one of my favorite callings, so yay!

Ben - Doing great as a Junior this year. Carrying a pretty heavily academic schedule this year and earning some college credit as he does it. He still was able to squeeze in Guitar 2, which he loves and he's a group leader in his guitar class. He played JV football this year but got to swing up and dress for Varsity during the playoffs. His team made it to the state championship game this year! They lost the game which was disappointing, but 2nd place in state isn't anything to be ashamed of. We're already excited about his Senior/Varsity year and hope for another strong season! Ben keeps telling us he's going to get a job. We're still waiting for him to actually do it. :)

Brady - Loving life as a 7th grade middle schooler. He continues to push himself to straight As which blows our minds a bit. We don't know exactly where his drive and desire for perfection comes from but he rocks the school scene. He's also becoming a great trumpeter in the school band. And he's also really social and has a great group of friends that he loves to hang out with as often as we'll let him. We had a bit of a scare with Brady this year when he had a very intense and debilitating migraine for the first time. The migraine caused vision loss, memory loss, slurred speech and loss of fine motor skill. It was terrifying and earned him a trip in an ambulance to the ER. Fortunately it was "only" a migraine. We're hopeful that they don't become something he has to deal with very often!

Toby - Toby has adjusted really well to his new school and has made great friends already. His teacher has (almost) nothing but good things to say about him (if only he would turn in his work on time...!) I thoroughly enjoy watching him interact with friends at school during lunch time. He's our fun and quirky character, and he's well-liked by all the kids around him. He's enjoying Cub Scouts and having his best friend from school live just down the street from us.

Molly - Continues to dazzle us with her pink-purple-sparkle fashion and flair. She is thriving at school academically and socially. She's a bundle of constant energy and motion. She's about as girly girl as they come, but she can rough and tumble with the boys like she's one of them. We love our little diva princess!

And there you have it! More than could ever be packed into a Christmas newsletter, even if done in 6pt font, single spaced with 1/4" margins and filling up both the front and back of the paper. I have a feeling only my mom will read all of this (so here's a little shout out... Hi Mom!), but if you actually read it all, thanks for swinging by and catching up on our family! Hope you had an awesome holiday season and that 2015 is your best year yet! I'm hoping to make it one of my best. I'll be around here a lot in the process of making it one of the best! Hope you'll be here too. :)

PS... I cheated and set the date and time of this blog post to 12/31/14 @ 11:59pm. I didn't actually finish until about 1 am on 1/1/15 but I really REALLY needed this to be my 3rd blog entry of 2014 LOL. Only three entries in a year is embarrassing... but just two?! Inexcusable *wink*!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

101 Things in 1001 Days

A few times a year I am asked to write an article for the Scrap Girls newsletter. I had one of my articles published in the newsletter this week and wanted to share it here. You can see the entire article as part of the newsletter HERE or scroll below to read it. And I'm including the layout I created to accompany the article here, as well.


All supplies used to create this layout can be found in the Ang Campbell section of the Scrap Girls Boutique 

Two years ago, I clicked on a link shared by one of the community members in the Scrap Girls Forum. That link sent me on a journey that has now been two years in the making, with several months left of the experience to look forward to! I wish I could remember who shared the link to the Day Zero Project because I would thank her personally for the adventure I've been on! Whoever you are, THANK YOU!

Day Zero Project is a free service website that claims to be "the largest community of challenge-based goal setters in the world." Whether that's accurate or not mattered very little to me. What I loved about the Day Zero Project was the spark it ignited in me personally to set goals, big and small, and start conquering them. The criteria was simply to choose 101 realistic but challenging tasks I wanted to complete with a result that is either measurable or clearly defined and to complete those 101 tasks within the 1001-day time frame.
Creating my list of 101 tasks was trickier than I expected, but it was fun. I set simple goals and lofty goals, silly ones and serious. I decided on skills I wanted to learn and talents I wanted to refine. I chose tasks that would introduce me to new places, flavors, experiences, and cultures. The site provides an easy tracking system for marking off tasks as they're completed, and as the months have gone by, I have thoroughly enjoyed completing tasks and proudly checking the box to show that I've done it! I still have a lot of tasks to complete in 2014, but with my 1001-day deadline looming on November 21, I'm moving forward with determination! I've already decided that if for some reason I don't quite complete all 101 tasks, I'll add those incomplete tasks to a new list of 101 tasks that I will begin on November 22!

I know that it's impossible to read all those itty-bitty words on my layout, so I figured I better share a little sampling of my 101 tasks so you know what I've been up to and what I'll be working on this year!

A few tasks I've already completed (in addition to those pictured and described on the layout):

  • Participate in 12 races in 2012
  • Watch the sunrise and sunset over the ocean in the same day
  • Take part in a "real life" book club discussion
  • Reach 100 followers on my blog
  • Be a Scrap Girls Club featured product designer
  • Get a mammogram for the first time
  • Take each of my kids on a one-on-one "date"
And here are a few tasks I look forward to still completing:
  • Pay off my personal credit card
  • Make a special treat for my kids for each major holiday for a year
  • Memorize and learn to play by heart the song Tribute by Jon Schmidt on the piano
  • Run a total of 1,000 miles
  • Audition for something
  • Get my eyebrows threaded
  • Learn to tie a tie


You can check out my entire list of tasks here. And better yet? Create a list of your own and start your personal journey of 1,001 days!



Thursday, January 2, 2014

Magical Molly Moment...

Molly lost her 2nd tooth yesterday. The day before, she'd tried to open a sports bottle top with her teeth (duh!) and it dramatically loosened a tooth that was already quite wiggly. She said she was going to pull it at the NYE party we attended but then she got a little hesitant and decided it/she wasn't ready. Yesterday she was just wiggling it and it popped right out into her palm. Apparently the tooth was more ready than she was willing to believe. She was delighted that the tooth came out with no pain, no blood, no drama. Just *pop* and there it was!

She zipped her tooth into a Ziploc snack baggie to put under her pillow at bedtime. She was excited about the idea of a little cash and ready to try once again to catch a "fairy in our house!!!" A few hours after she'd gone to bed I heard her wake up and wander around upstairs inexplicably for a couple minutes before she headed back to bed. I was grateful for her wanderings because they served as a reminder to the Tooth Fairy that she had work to do!!

I headed up to bed a few minutes later with a crisp dollar bill in my hand ready to do the ol' bait and switch, but I found Molly still tossing and turning a little, not quite asleep in bed. At first I felt a bit of dread, thinking I wouldn't be able to do Tooth Fairy duties for a while, but I tiptoed into her room and asked her why she was still awake. She just kind of gave me a sleepy smile so I climbed onto her bed and snuggled up beside her, sneakily slipping my hand under her pillow, depositing the dollar bill and palming the baggie with her tooth inside. She cuddled me for a minute and I asked her again why she was still awake. She said "I went to your room to tell you the Tooth Fairy didn't come yet. See?" and then she rolled over and sat up and grabbed her pillow and lifted it to show me that her tooth was still there. But of course what she found was the dollar bill instead. The look of absolute wonder and surprise on her face was one of those moments I wish I could freeze and capture. It was perfection! Her eyes got wide and she burst into hysterical giggles. "My tooth was still there!! Now there's a dollar! The Tooth Fairy came!" I said "She must have come in here while you were in my bedroom!" and she giggled louder and with even more thrill. It was adorable.

The first thing out of her mouth this morning was the story of the tricky Tooth Fairy, told enthusiastically to her brothers. 

And she just came over to me as I was typing to announce that she has yet another wiggly tooth. That's 2 gone and 3 currently wiggling. Pretty soon she'll be a toothless wonder! Such a fun time of life!

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.