Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Homemade Christmas

I love making gifts for people. I tend to get in over my head, but it always feels so great to give someone something that I've created. Right now I'm definitely in over my head, but I wanted to post Everett's completed projects. My mom got him some Perler beads a while back, and he wanted to make things every day. We were busy during nap time for a few weeks with his creations. He's used up most of the beads, and I think I've done more ironing in the past month than throughout the rest of my married life!

Everett decided to make Christmas gifts for his sisters, grandparents, and some of his cousins. Since most of the recipients don't look at the blog, I figure it's okay to post a picture here. I also wanted Gracie to be able to see Everett with her gift since she lives so far away.

DSC01574 Everett's gifts

It was Everett's idea to make the necklaces with the three diamonds. He wanted to make princess necklaces for the girls.

We were making a heart for Andrew. After we had finished a small heart, Everett asked me if Andrew was a baby or a big kid. I said he was a little younger than the girls. Everett said, "Mama, we have to make it bigger so he can't eat it!"

He is so excited about these gifts that it took some persuasion to get him to wait until Christmas to give them away. He has already given away lots of his creations.

Monday, December 8, 2008

What It's All About

For FHE tonight, I shared story of the Nativity with the children.  They each got to hold pictures and really seemed to understand what I was saying, and get a feeling of the significance of it.  Then we set up our Nativity scene.  I love watching their sweet faces reverently looking at each piece.

Afterwards, we put on our own little Nativity scene.  Gwyn dressed as Mary, Everett as Joseph, Lana and Maddie as two shepherds.

DSC01547 Nativity 2DSC01549 Nativity 3 DSC01550 Nativity 4


Yep, that's me--at least about some things. I set a new record this week. I washed one load of laundry three times. We had another *ahem* incident, and I had to wash all of the girls' bedding on a day other than laundry day. So I put the load in and forgot about it. Maybe I remembered it once or twice, but not when I could go throw it in the dryer. So the next day I remembered it was down there, but by that time I had to wash it again. Then I did the same thing again. Why do I have such a hard time with this?

I guess this is one reason why I do my laundry one day a week, and get it all done. Otherwise I would waste a lot of water and wear the clothes out pretty fast. Anything that gets washed on another day usually sits clean and unfolded in a basket until laundry day comes around again anyway. I have to have a set day for these things.

I am also little Mrs. Scatterbrain when it comes to meat that has to be thawed and takes time to cook. It takes me at least an extra day to remember to get the meat out to thaw, and then an extra day to remember to start cooking it in time for dinner. So I guess if I want to do a roast or a chicken or turkey, I better plan on making it about a week before I really want to eat it. Or maybe I better just buy them the morning I want to cook them! Maybe I need to start a day for that too.

I get the important things done, but sometimes I feel really pathetic!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Fun and Games

At Everett's birthday party, we played "Don't Eat Pete!" No one in our little family had ever played it before. For those of you who have never heard of it, here's how it goes:


You start with a grid and place a piece of candy on each block of the grid. One person leaves the room while the rest of the players decide together which block will be "Pete." The player then comes back, and picks up candy, one piece at a time. If the candy is not “Pete,” the person can eat it. If the candy is “Pete,” everyone yells “DON’T EAT PETE!” and that person’s turn is over.

Since Everett was the birthday boy, he got to go first. He was able to eat several pieces of candy, and then went to pick up "Pete". Of course, everyone yelled out "DON"T EAT PETE!" Well, Everett burst into tears. Sobbing, he said "I didn't know it was Pete!" I imagine that for a little guy, a whole room full of people yelling at him would be a really scary thing.

We decided to continue the game, and asked that everyone say it more quietly. I think Lily was next and everything went fine. Then it was Gwyn's turn. It was like a replay of Everett's turn, only this time I could see that Maddie was about to erupt too. I tried to comfort Maddie before the tears came, but to no avail. I couldn't help cracking up, even while trying to comfort my wailing children. I don't think we'll be playing that game again for a while!

After that, my mom quickly sketched an awesome dragon, and we played "Pin the Fire on the Dragon." (I don't know why, but Everett recently decided that he likes dragons. He likes LARGE animals in general.) Everyone enjoyed this game.

DSC01489 EDSC01490 LMDSC01491 GMDSC01492 LM DSC01493 DanielDSC01494 Rosie, Lily, Aunt CelinaDSC01495 Uncle JordanDSC01496 Grandma DSC01497 GrandpaDSC01498 Mandy CaryDSC01500 Jordan, Rosie, Cary, MandyDSC01501 Mandy

I had a little too much fun spinning Cary. Unfortunately, turnabout is fair play, and I get dizzy much easier than he does!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

DSC01534 MGLE Thanksgiving

(In case you're wondering, Maddie is wearing 2 pairs of underwear over her pants.)

My mom told me this one tonight at Thanksgiving dinner:

She was driving along with Everett in the backseat of her car. Everett asked if he could roll down the window. She said something about it being really cold. His response: "I want to get all colded-up because then Mama will give me hot chocolate."

Monday, November 24, 2008

Toddler Justice x 3 (or 4)

I've had to deal with ideas like these every day lately:

1. If I like it, it's mine.
2. If I have it in my hand, it's mine.
3. If I had it a little while ago, it's mine.
4. If I had it ever, it's mine.
5. If I'm doing or building something, all the pieces are mine.
6. If it looks just like mine, it is mine.
7. If I looked at it, it's mine.
8. If you are playing with something and you put it down, it's mine.
9. If it's mine and you touch it, I will scream.
10. If it's broken, it's yours.

We're working on this issue, but it may be a long, noisy process. For now, I'm repeating "We don't scream, we talk nicely" a whole lot. Some situations are quickly and easily resolved. Others have landed someone in time out. Sometimes time out doesn't work out very well either.

Step 1: Maddie is put in the girls' room, very upset.
Step 2: Lana charges upstairs, throws open the door, and says "I help you!"
Step 3: Gwyn starts crying. "Maddie sad", she says.

I'm glad they love each other -- except maybe when "It's mine!"

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Oh, the neglected blog! (and some Maddie cutes)

Well, I have had many things I've wanted to post lately. The problem is that I've been telling myself that before I can blog I have to get my other work done. You can see where that leads. Since I feel that trying to catch up will be a little overwhelming at this point, I'll just post a couple of Maddie highlights today. I hope to post a lot more this week--especially about Everett's birthday party. (We postponed it one week because we were a bit under the weather and didn't want to share the germs with our guests.)


Here are some of the most recent pictures of Maddie:

   DSC01521    DSC01526

You're probably wondering about that first photo.  It is from when the kids were playing with the fire from Everett's "pin the fire on the dragon" birthday party game.


Yesterday Maddie told me (twice) that I was her best friend.

Today Maddie told Cary that he was "pretty" and "cute". From her that's a compliment.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Hard to resist!

After dinner today, Cary and I decided that I should make the weekly library run while he stayed home with the kids. I put on my coat, and the kids are immediately asking: "Where are you going, Mama?"

"I'm going to the library."

Since Maddie, Gwyn, and Everett wer e happily munching the popcorn Cary had just made, they were content, but Lana said "Bwawry?" "Wait!" She raced into the kitchen, grabbed her slippers and started putting them on.

It sure is hard to leave such cuteness.

Her most recent avoidance behavior is also DSC01473terribly sweet. (Children who have oral aversion issues often have "avoidance behaviors" which are their way of trying to escape the food. Some of these behaviors include turning their heads away, arching their backs, clamping their mouths shut, screaming, hitting, etc.) When Lana doesn't want to take what I'm trying to give her by syringe, she hugs me. She turns towards me, reaches out her arms, and hugs me. This effectively immobilizes both of my arms. I usually don't resist it at all. We have come a long way in our feeding struggles. She usually accepts the liquid. If she hugs me, it is mostly a signal that she needs a break. Maybe she has to burp, etc. Rarely I just have to say "Drink first, then hug." I'm glad that feedings, though not independent yet, are at least loving events.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

My Dad, the girl magnet

Well, it happened again, and this time I got a better picture of it. My Dad sits down and is immediately covered in children--this time Maddie and Lana.

DSC01469 M Grandpa LDSC01470 M Grandpa L

My Dad has cancer. He has already gone through radiation and surgeries: one removing a mass from his neck area and one in which part of his lung was removed. He now has lesions throughout his lungs. Inoperable. Last week he began a trial of chemotherapy. The chemotherapy, barring a miracle, will not cure the cancer. It may give us some more time. Right now he seems deceptively healthy and vigorous. The radiation certainly took a toll on him, but he still puts in a very full day of work with some rest in the middle.

I love my Dad, and it is beautiful to see how much my children love him. One of the characteristics I most admire in my Dad is his work ethic. He works hard at worthwhile things nearly every moment of every day. He is very dedicated and usually thinking about the next thing on his list. With this in mind, it is still amazing to me what joy he finds in his grandchildren. It is plainly written on his face every time we're together. At those times, all of his other cares seem to melt away--put away for later--and he is just enjoying and loving. I'm so glad that my children have been able to know him. No matter what, they will know him, because he will always be a part of our lives, present or watching over us elsewhere.

*We are still praying for miracles.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Working hard to save myself work...maybe

Even when there are messes to be found throughout the rest of my house, I take great pleasure in one perfectly clean and organized area. It is usually a losing battle, but each little step in the right direction feels really good.

One of the things that is not enjoyed and sometimes neglected is my task of hanging up 5 or 6 coats every time we go somewhere. I finally decided to do something about it. Yesterday I finished a low coat rack for the kiddos to match the high rack on the same wall. Since fresh white paint never quite matches the old stuff, I painted the whole wall. (It covered up some kid marks too. After I did it, I realized I should have used semi-gloss paint. Satin just isn't very washable, and let's face it--it's going to get dirty! Oh well. At least it's done!)


The kids are happy to hang their coats. Now to make a place for the shoes...


Monday, November 10, 2008


On Everett's first day of preschool, Cary wanted to pick him up.  Often, Cary will want to do something like this to help me out, but this time I wanted to do it.  I was eager to hear how Everett's first day had gone. I thought I would be doing Cary a favor by avoiding the interruption of his work, and planned to send Everett up to him as soon as we got home.  Cary didn't want to relinquish the privilege of picking him up, and I could sense that he wanted to be the one to do it for the same reason I did: our children are one, or rather four, of our greatest sources of joy.  I am even more joyful at moments like those, when I realize that though Cary can't be with the children as much as I am, he loves and looks forward to those special moments just as much as I do.  The whole family went to pick Everett up that day.

Our little guy is now 5 years old.  He has brought us immense joy in these 5 years, and even before he was born.  I cry almost every time I look back through our photos.  Here are some from close to each of his birthdays.

1 month

Ev b-day DSC00545  nbDSC00516  nb

1 year

Ev b-day DSC06640  1 yrEv b-day DSC06669  1 yr 

2 years

Ev b-day DSC07565  2 yrDSC00367  2 yr

3 years

Ev b-day DSC08278  3 yrEv b-day DSC08281  3 yr 

4 years

Ev b-day DSC09555  4 yrEv b-day DSC09549  4 yr

5 years

Ev b-day DSC01265  5 yrDSC01465

We love every "first", and seeing the world through his eyes.  We love how he loves his sisters and others.  We love seeing him learn and grow every day.  Now that our family has grown, it seems like it all slips by so fast, but we cherish these moments of joy.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Let's hear it for toddler beds!

After several days of naptime disaster (recorded here), I decided that it was time to switch the girls to "big-girl beds". I thought that if they had a little more freedom, they might stop with the sheet and clothing removal. Thankfully, it worked! They didn't nap, but they were happy. For a few days they carried on like little monkeys without actually harming anything. The night-time transition was seamless.

We got Lana's bed a few days after the first two. The children were all excited about it, and eagerly helped to wipe it down. (Everett, Gwyn, Maddie, Lana)

1031081032a EGML washing L's bed 1031081032 EGML helping out

That day I put all three girls in the same room for naps and learned that here is definitely a critical mass issue at nap time. No matter what kind of beds we're using, three in the same room just doesn't work in our family! So we're now putting Lana in Everett's bed at nap time, and a miraculous thing has happened. Yesterday, ALL THREE GIRLS actually SLEPT at nap time! Today, I had two girls napping.

Here are my wild and happy children dancing before bed (on a no-nap day):

DSC01452 LEGM wild and happy

Gwyn and Maddie are usually very sweet with each other. I realized one afternoon that naps would have ended a lot sooner if both of them weren't being considerate of their sister. Around 2:30, Gwyn had finished napping, but Maddie was still asleep. I quietly collected Gwyn and brought her downstairs. Maddie probably woke up shortly thereafter, but lay there quietly until 4PM when I finally went up to check on her. When I went in, she whispered, "Gwyn sleeping." She thought Gwyn was still in her bed, and was being quiet for her. Sometimes these children really melt my heart.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Into the Mix

The other day was rather warm. I had started the day in a sweatshirt, so after finishing breakfast and putting away almost all of the groceries I had to go upstairs to change. I think I was up there for less than a minute. I came down and heard Everett say: "Mama, we have a problem."

Uh oh.

I raced into the living room to find four children and half of the floor covered in pancake mix. Up until the point where I shouted "What is going on!!!???" they were gleefully dancing in it, and gracefully flinging it into the air. At that point, I was mostly concerned about damage control, so once again I do not have any photographic evidence.

"Everyone get on the rug!"
"And don't move!"
Lana runs through the house giggling. It is so much fun when Mama chases us!
I grab Lana, put her on the rug, grab the vacuum cleaner, and start sucking the powder out of her hair. Meanwhile, the other three monkeys are definitely not standing still. I finally decide to call for backup.
"Cary!!! I think I could use some help!"
He stripped them down and whisked them upstairs while I spent the next 15 minutes sucking flour out of the rug and every groove in the wood floor.

While our situation as parents of four children is not unusual, I believe that have four this young may provide a greater opportunity for this kind of event. When one of ours gets an idea like this, it can just spread like wildfire. There are instantaneously three other enthusiastic participants.

I give Everett some credit for saying there was a problem, even though he continued in the festivities. I think a couple of handfuls of mix may have even made their way back into the bag. And hey, if I didn't have to clean it up, etc., I think throwing flour around and dancing in it would be REALLY FUN!!!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Goin' Buggy

I had a lot of fun making Halloween costumes again this year. The best part was, I only had to buy elastic, wings for Maddie, and antennae for Gwyn and Lana. I think the total cost was about $12. The kids were tickled pink with their costumes.

IMG_9988 EMGL bugs

I made Everett's spider costume from Cary's Master's grad gown. This wasn't an original idea--my creative mother did the same thing for my brother Jim when he was little. I decided to make Gwyn's ladybug outfit like a poncho when I found two precut red circles in my stash. These photos were taken at the Trunk or Treat at church.

IMG_0026 Ev spider IMG_0036 G ladybug

Maddie butterfly and Lana bee:

IMG_0024 M butterfly IMG_0038 L bee

To complete the family theme, Cary and I were bug catchers.

I love letting the children have fun trick-or-treating, but I really don't like ANY of the spooky stuff associated with it. Being so caught up in our own Campbell family brand of fun, Cary and I didn't really anticipate the scary things the kids would encounter on the two streets we walked yesterday. I was a little bit at a loss as to what to say to four innocent little children about the green man with needles sticking all overIMG_0030 Lana bee his head, or the army lady with the grotesque mask. They don't completely grasp what is real and what is not yet. I guess if I would have been on my toes, I would have asked the woman to remove her mask so that the girls could see the face underneath. I know that I can't isolate my children, and that I need to educate them, but if I was wearing a scary mask and saw little ones coming, I would rip it off before they even saw me. (I wouldn't wear one in the first place.)

All in all, we had a great time. When I went to kiss Everett goodnight, he told me he was scared--of monsters in the dark and of having bad dreams. I reassured him and told him that if he was scared, he could pray. As I walked back downstairs, I could hear him praying. What a sweet boy.

Here are some more photos from our neighborhood trick-or-treat night.


This one was in our neighbor's living room. (Lana did not want to be in the picture.)