Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Running bad with Christmas cheer!

We started our break by hosting our annual Christmas party for friends, neighbors and family.  After that was over we were a bit more relaxed and it actually started feeling like a break. 

Though Evan looks plenty relaxed and happy that school is out for two weeks!  We spent Sunday hanging out at home and then visited a Nativity walk at a local church.  After leaving the church we headed home for dinner and to don our jammies and prepare our hot cocoa for the Jammy Cocoa Christmas Car Ride!

Monday morning we set out for the early matinee of The Force Awakens!  So awesome!

Tuesday Hailey and I finished up a bit of last minute shopping at the mall and anxiously awaited the arrival of our family from Wisconsin!

They made it around dinner time with a stowaway in the form of a cousin Elf to visit with Springle as well.

It was so unseasonably warm on Wednesday that a walk to the beach was in order.  The kids even waded in Lake Michigan - on December 23rd mind you!

Later that afternoon we did some cookie baking.

These kids sure love hanging out together.  Ready for our first Christmas party with Grampa Paul and Grama Sandy.

Donning their matching jammies that Auntie/Mommy made.

The girls all decked out festive for Christmas Eve.

 Santa made a visit to our Christmas Eve party.

Christmas morning.  One of the best days of the year!

Hailey was thrilled with her gift!

The boys were pretty stoked about theirs as well.

On Christmas afternoon the Campbell cousins were surprised by another visit from Santa!

Late Christmas evening gaming.  This is one of my favorite holiday pictures.  I love how I snapped it just in time for the high five. 

The next morning we went to see Star Wars again because...AWESOMENESS!

On Sunday we had our last Christmas celebration in Grandville with the cousins.

I turned around on the car ride home and saw this.  Which pretty much summed up how we all felt.

What a great Christmas we had.  It can be best expressed in the song Hailey wrote:

It's here! It's here!  The best time of year!  We are running bad with Christmas cheer.  We don't want cookies, toys and more.  We have everything we need heeere.  FAMILY!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015


This month is a whirlwind.  I can't believe it is already the middle of the month and we are in single digit countdown mode to Christmas.   There is still so much more fun to come, but here is a bit of what we have been up to so far...

The arrival of Springle!

The candy advent calendars are one of my kids' favorite traditions. 

The children's theatre show at Dad's school.  It is always very fun for the kids and helps start the month off with a big dose of Christmas spirit.

The Lighting of the Lights party at the Vikings has been a tradition for many years.  Now that the kids are getting older and it is mainly a youngish kid party - I don't know how many of these years are left.

More Springle fun. 

Hailey was very excited about all the toys she picked out for Toys for Tots.  This little girl has such an amazing heart.  The other night we were talking before bed and she was telling me about a video that she saw at school about a little girl who was fighting a disease in the hospital and all she wanted for Christmas was to be able to spend it with her family.  As she was telling me I could see her getting teary and choked up - it really touched her - since then she has been telling me about how presents don't really matter, she is just looking forward to being with her family this Christmas.

Evan's first band concert.  They did a great job!

Making the gingerbread house.  I came across the best Pinterest tip ever!  If you are not planning to eat your gingy house, use hot glue to secure the house together.  OMG!  So easy!  For years we have struggled with icing and caving in walls...NO MORE!

Evan and Hailey had a blast decorating it.  There were lots of laughs - and threats to eat the gummy elf that goes with the house.

And of course we still have school for a few more days and homework.  But I have to say that homework doesn't seem as bad with twinkle lights in the background.

There is so much more fun to come  - I can't wait!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

This week

This sentiment is ringing very true for me this week.  It is the perfect storm (almost literally today as our winds gust over sixty miles and hour and twenty foot waves are predicted on the lake).  Trent is in the throws of show week and the kids and I have had multiple events every night.

I got home last night from a meeting for the middle school musical to find the kitchen a mess (Evan had made brownies so that mess thrown in with the still not done dinner dishes).  Hailey had the living room torn apart with her shelter she constructed for Survivor viewing.  Spencer was in his room on a device with his book report no further along than it was when I left.

So I sat down with Spencer and talked him through ideas and concepts to add to his book report - which is super hard when you have never read the book.  Not to mention teenage boys are really fun to work with especially when they want to do the minimum required and call it good.  Unfortunately for Spencer, he was not blessed with a mother who likes the minimum.  While Spencer and I were working on it, Hailey came in to show me a drawing she had made and in my frustration with life this week I was a little too sharp with her about how I couldn't look at it right this minute.

I hate that.  The minute it comes out of your mouth it just feels wrong and you want to breathe it back in but it is too late - it is hanging out there crushing their little spirit.  When I had set Spence on the right track and he was typing away I found her and apologized and let her explain her drawing to me.

Ugh.  This week - and we still have two more days to get through before we get a bit of breathing room.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


Ok - get ready for picture overload on a Tuesday morning.  I had a weekend filled with photo editing and even some time to edit recent pictures I took of Hailey.  I am always blown away by her in photographs.  Looking at her pictures reminds me of one of my favorite excerpts by Robert Fulghum.

"I know some people who give off a lot of light. Because they have absorbed a lot of light themselves. They shine. This is not the kind of light you can actually see with your eyes, of course. But there are lots of parts of the spectrum of light we can't see. WE experience the results of its existence. It takes a different kind of looking.

To look this way is to see.

To see is to have vision.

To have vision is to understand.

To understand is to know.

To know is to become.

To become is to live fully.

To live fully is to matter.

And to matter is to become light.

And to become light is to be loved.

And to be loved is to burn.

And to burn is to exist.

Off and on.

Maybe the fireflies are on to something."

Hailey gives off a lot of light.  She always has.  It is amazing to me how in photographs of her the light always seems to come through.

We had such a fun time when we did a little mini photo session of her.  She was totally into posing - happy, serious, surprised - she was having a great time.

I just can't get enough of this girl.