Saturday, December 29, 2007

Death of a Christmas tradition

Christmas was different for me this year, but it was good. It's always wonderful. It's definitely my favorite holiday, and a long standing favorite day out of the whole year. I've been thinking about what makes this day so special for my family, aside from the pat Bible answer, "It's Jesus' birthday." I think it's because I'm a person who loves traditions. I take delight in doing things over and over again every year - things I can come to count on and look forward to. My family doesn't have a whole lot of traditions that I've been able to anticipate over the years...except for Christmas. Christmas has always been the same, it's always been a happy time, and it's always held great traditions. This year was just as fabulous...except for the end of one of our family's Christmas traditions...
The breakdown of our Christmas goes like this: dinner at Nandy's house on Christmas Eve with all of my dad's side of the family, then opening presents over there, and sitting around talking and loving on each other :) Christmas morning, having a Christmas breakfast of big, fat cinnamon rolls at my parents' house, then opening presents there, and playing a combo of Christmas music and any CDs anyone got in their stockings while using, trying on, or playing with our new stuff. Then we all pack up and head to Dallas to have Christmas lunch and spend the rest of the day with my mom's side of the family, including her parents, my three aunts/uncles, my four cousins, and their families. The "adults" sit at one table and the "kids" sit at another, and we always have the same basic assortment of foods: ham, mashed potatoes, gravy, salad, some kind of slightly congealed fruit jello thing, green beans, rolls and pecan pie. We open presents after lunch, and then we play all kinds of board games: Spinner, Chicken, Trivial Pursuit, Uno, etc. Sometimes after this, a bunch of us go back into Granny and Grandpa's room and get out the old family videos and watch them on their little TV. And finally...the Christmas tradition that came to an end this year: the Adult vs. Kids Kickball Game. My Granny's front yard is small, and the kickball we always used was actually a small, thin rubber ball (like the ones you begged for in the grocery store as a kid - NOT an actual kickball). When we were little, the adult men (my dad and two uncles) along with the adult women (my mom and her two sisters) played against the six cousins. My dad and uncles would kick our tails by kicking the ball all the way into the yards of neighbors 3-4 houses down. By the time we reached the ball and threw it back it, they'd ran all the way around the bases. We cousins tried our best to keep up, but always lost, up until I (the oldest cousin) turned about seventeen. The rest of the cousins were 16, 15, 14, 12, and 8 at that time, and the boys were old enough to kick the ball several houses down just like their dads. We finally won a game that year and were more ecstatic about that win than all of our Christmas presents put together. We played a few more years, and husbands and wives of the cousins entered the game. And then this year, Bennett, the first (and only, so far) of the fourth generation, joined the scene. The kids are adults themselves now. So as you can probably guess, our annual kickball game did not take place. Nobody brought a change of shoes and clothes, and the kickball was flat. Bennett had to be taken care of, and none of the "kids" brought up the idea of playing. So there's the death of my family's Christmas tradition.
It made me wonder how many other traditions will die out as our family dynamics continue to change. It also made me want to start new traditions for my own family - for Bennett, for the next generation. Here are some things I'd like to do with my own family that I've never done before: sing Christmas songs, read the story of the birth of Jesus on Christmas day, drink eggnog, watch a specific Christmas movie every year (maybe on Christmas Eve), getting a new ornament for Bennett every year that holds significance or is symbolic. So next year, before Christmas rolls around, I'm going to map out a plan for starting new traditions to replace the old ones :) Hopefully that way I won't be quite so sad the next time I experience the death of a Christmas tradition.
I'd really like to know what special and unique Christmas traditions you guys have with your families (but don't share if you don't want to risk the possibility of me stealing your ideas for my own family).

**Christmas pictures coming soon!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Ode to Mimi

Today is my mom's 50th birthday. So here's 50 things I love and appreciate about her, in no particular order.

1. She's a wonderful Mimi to Bennett.
2. She taught me about God and nurtured my faith growing up.
3. She took me and Joe to church all by herself for years before my dad started going again.
4. She has NEVER raised her voice at me, snapped at me, or been sarcastic or harsh with me. Not once the whole time I was growing up, which I honestly believe to be something just short of a miracle considering what a pain I was.
5. She's been faithful and submissive to my dad, even in tough times.
6. She NEVER complained about her job as a mom and all the stuff she did for us.
7. She never made me feel silly or juvenile, even when I was :)
8. She let me learn from experience and subtle guidance, rather than clubbing me over the head with advice I didn't want or ask for. I learned SO much more this way.
9. She instilled in me my love for music and the arts by playing piano and drawing/painting all
through my childhood.
10.She totally gets my ridiculous, weird sense of humor and I get hers too - which means we have each other to laugh at really dumb stuff with.
11.She takes REALLY good care of herself physically, which has also been a good example.
12.She's a great daughter. She has always honored her parents and goes out of her way for them now that they're older.
13.She has always been my absolute biggest fan.
14.She's an AMAZING listener, which is great since I've talked too much since I was around 3.
15.She was an AMAZING teacher (before she retired). She was constantly getting stopped in public places by old or current students that just had to get a hug from Mrs. Driggers. She literally became a legend at FWC and students would still come back from middle school and high school to visit their 5th grade teacher.
16.Her patience seems to never end.
17.She's really good at decorating.
18.She has amazing willpower: instead of going on meds for her cholesterol, she read a book on
naturally controlling it and literally eats NO fats, sugars, etc. She's pretty much a super-healthy vegetarian now, and it totally regulated her cholesterol without meds. She's been doing this for almost a year now.
19.She volunteered and really wanted to watch Benito for me while I work at YCW 2 days a week.
20.She gives, gives, gives to people all the time. She gives her time, her money, her energy, etc.
21.She's a wonderful daughter-in-law. She's attentive and really cares about my dad's family.
22.She decorates festively for all the holidays, which is fun for everyone who comes to visit.
23.She loves and accepts and treats Michael like he were her own son.
24.I know she'll be there for me no matter what I go through, what choices I make, or what happens to me.
25.She's really smart but doesn't flaunt it.
26.She's ridiculously good at math.
27.She's content serving and being a part of God's church behind the scenes. She doesn't need
recognition for what she does.
28.She's a good, loyal friend.
29.She takes care of Joe and is SO patient and loving with him,
30.She's humble.
31.She's a good cook.
32.She spends her money wisely (good example to me).
33.She doesn't sweat the small stuff.
34.Great taste in music.
35.She's crazy - in a good way :)
36.She takes good care of my dad.
37.She's so good at being a wife, my dad still tells her he scratches his head about how he got her to marry him.
38.She's really good at Christmas shopping and making gifts personal.
39.She watches football with my dad all day long, just to be with him.
40.She has pretty eyes and pretty hair and was nice enough to give them to me.
41.She doesn't take herself too seriously.
42.She's not materialistic.
43.She's comfortable in own her skin - always has been.
44.She always took care of our pets growing up, even though we were supposed to. Maybe she
shouldn't have, but the alternative was a starving dog which isn't really fair to the dog.
45.In college she always sent me totally awesome care packages for finals week, birthdays, etc.
46.She's the master of finding insanely hilarious and creepy cards for all occasions.
47.She doesn't get stressed - or if she does, I don't know about it.
48.She's beautiful.
49.She buys cool stuff for Bennett.
50.She gives great advice when I ask for it.

I LOVE YOU MAW!! Happy Birthday! 50 years of the world being blessed by you.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Benito at one year

Okay, I've been asked by a few people now about my Benito's growth, development, etc., so here it is:

Verbal -- Bennett talks ALL the time. He tells me things, asks questions, makes observations, etc. Unfortunately, I only understand him when he uses the words I recognize! Here are the words I've officially recognized that I know he understands, that are pronounced pretty well, and are used in proper context: bye, hi, duck, dog, outside, what's that?, there, up, close door, ball, socks, hungry, Elmo, Joseph (his uncle - yes, of all names he chose the most difficult of all to say first!). He's not saying dad or mom yet :( but I'm hopeful and can't wait till he does!
--He mimicks words and sounds he hears other people make.
--He also makes animal noises: duck (he also quacks at penguins, grackles, and a few other birds), cow, and lion/tiger. He has a DVD he loves to watch (Baby Praise) and he starts quacking right before the ducks come on the screen. It's pretty cute.

Physical -- He started walking on his first birthday, which was pretty special. He doesn't walk all the time, but numerous times a day will take anywhere from 5-10 steps. He seems to only do it when necessary, like when he wants something up high or at his eye level. He got a ride and walk lion (Fisher Price) for his birthday that he LOVES, and he walks all over the house with it. --He also dances to his favorite songs.
--Over the past month he's started cuddling with me during his Praise Baby DVDs for about 15-20 min., which is WONDERFUL because he's not really a cuddler by nature. So I get my daily fix :) This happens during his "witching" hour, usually around 4-5pm when he's kinda cranky.
--Things he really enjoys doing these days: going for walks in the stroller, taking baths and playing with his toys in the bathtub, reading books, opening and closing cabinets, doors and drawers, going to the park, playing with his toys, playing with Sophie and Dolly (his dogs), and playing with his little friends during play dates.

Learning -- Bennett has books that are his favorites and has favorite pages within those books. --As I said before, he's fascinated by animal sounds, so we get out his Noah's Ark and go through the animals a lot. For Christmas he's getting one of those wheel-spinny things that makes the animal noises, and also a Fridge Farm, so he'll definitely be set!
--I was really surprised when I started a new game with Bennett. I got three cups and placed an object under one of the cups. I moved and scrambled the cups and Bennett still knew where the object was EVERY time! This is supposed to take kids a while to get the hang of, so I was pretty proud that he caught on right away.
--He's also started trying to put things together rather than just take them apart and knock them down (i.e. he likes to put the cap back on water bottles for me and nests his stacking cups he just got for his birthday from Grandma).
--We're also working on getting rid of his bottle once and for all and drinking our milk in a sippy cup like a big boy :)

Fun stuff -- Bennett loves to take his socks off. One time when I came in to get him from his nap, he'd taken off his socks AND his pants and thrown both onto the floor.
--He also loves to press the buttons on the TV, but gets in trouble for it. When he's doing something he knows he's not supposed to, I can almost hear him thinking and weighing his options - whether or not it's worth a swat.
--Bennett loves to help load the dishwasher, to throw clothes in the dryer, and take his diapers out of the diaper drawer and talk about the Sesame Street characters on them, and then put them back in the drawer again.
--He can't stand wearing hats or shoes either, so I wait until the last minute to put on either one.
--He also loves "escaping" when he's still naked after a bath. He crawls SO fast, which is hilarious because he has a total ghetto booty (I should print this off and use it as blackmail when he grows up).
--When we go on play dates Bennett almost always smacks the other kids he's playing with on the head. I don't think it's an "I don't like you" kind of thing. It seems like he's excited or wants to play with them but doesn't really know how.
--He got his first haircut today. I pretty much just cut off a bunch of his curls because it was starting to look like a mullet and people were mistaking him for a girl all the time.
--Last thing: Bennett will beg food off of ANYbody ANYtime, even if he's just eaten and there's no way he's hungry. He makes the funniest begging sounds. It's cute now, but I know sometime soon I'm going to have to nip it in the bud.

Okay, so that should do it for a while. My Benito in a nutshell.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Penguin Party

Bennett had a great party with his friends and family. We did a penguin theme. I decided on that after I saw some really cute invitations at Target. For months after Bennett was born I called him my fat little bird (hence his being a rooster for Halloween), and I thought since after a year old he's technically a toddler and moving on from bird-hood, I'd do one more "fat little bird"-type thing. I also thought it made sense doing penguins being the Christmas season and all :) So anyway, we ordered a penguin cake from Texas Star Bakery (if you've never had one of their cakes, you should definitely try it). It's where we had our wedding and groom's cake done. They can make pretty much anything you want them to and it's absolutely delicious.
Now I'm not ordinarily a naturally creative person, but I felt pretty good about the way our little shindig came together. We had balloons and cake and a little Christmas tree with snowflakes. We also had Bennett's one year pictures out that he'd had made the day before (I also highly recommend the Picture People at NE Mall. They have great props, their prices are good, and you get your pictures back like 15 min. later).
Bennett's great-Nandy was there and great uncle and aunt and several little friends, along with my best friends from college, LB and Molly. We ate cake (Bennett made a decent mess with his smash cake), opened presents, and played with a ridiculous amount of toys. He got the COOLEST present EVER from his great Granny and Grandpa - a soft, realistic looking spring horse that talks and sings! Bennett LOVES this thing! He begs me to make him sing his "giddy-up" song and then bounces along. This horse is going to last him till he's 4-5 years old (or until he loses interest - whichever comes first). Granny Grandpa admitted they got a little carried away but he's their first great-grandchild and they said every boy should have a spring horse :)
So anyway, the party was great, and surprisingly stress-free (I don't really enjoy hosting parties and get-togethers - it typically stresses me out - I'd much rather help somebody else host at their house). It ran so smoothly. So thanks to all of you who went and for all of you reading who don't really care about all this but are keeping in touch with what's going on with the Campbells :)

Sunday, December 9, 2007

kick in the pants

Okay, so I'm totally kicking myself in the pants. For those of you who don't know, I chose the title of this blog cause music is one of my serious passions in life. I love it. I love to listen to it, perform it, compose it, record name it and I like doing it. For the past few years, certain aspects of my music have faded or been placed on a back burner, but I've recently begun writing/composing and recording again for several different reasons and I'm LOVING it. It's like part of me has come to life again. So here's where I'm kicking myself...I play the guitar and a tiny bit of piano, but I played the flute for years and years a long time ago and was actually very good, and I had this AMAZING flute. I mean we're talking kick-butt top of the line kinda thing. It was a Miyazawa (Mee-yah-zah-wah - not that you care), which is a hand made flute from Japan. They're gorgeous with BEAUTIFUL tone quality and they're about $2000+ a pop. My dad bought it for me in high school because at the time we thought I would possibly make the title "flute player" my profession for maybe that was a ridiculous notion, but I sure did love playing. Then life moved on, the flute got stuck in the closet on a top shelf, and eventually as Michael and I were making wedding plans, we needed/wanted some cash, so what did I do? That's right. I SOLD my Miyazawa!! For about half of what it was worth. I can't even remember what we even used the money for.

Oh, Miyazawa...let me count the ways!

Fast-forward to now. Of COURSE I have this crazy itch to play my flute again now and to possibly add some background flute tracks to the recordings I'm working on. So I've been hopping on eBay every couple of days looking at all sorts of flutes (but mainly one just like I had before), knowing I can't REALLY buy one because Michael would permanently maim me. So instead I sigh and I do some numbers on paper and come to the conclusion that I can save up and buy a Miyazawa sometime in the in about 5 years. Yikes.
So the lesson to be learned here is that we are stupid and impulsive when we are young and that we don't realize the important or valuable things until they're long gone (if this doesn't describe your pubescent years, it certainly describes mine). If there's another thing I've learned, it's that I (unfortunately) learn by making big, fat mistakes. Some mistakes hurt a LOT worse than others. But for now, I'll keep day-dreaming and pining away for my little Miyazawa. *sigh*

Up and coming blogs:
1. Bennett's birthday party and pictures
2. Ode to Mimi
3. Bennett's development updates
4. Posting my recorded songs for your listening pleasure (as soon as I can figure out HOW)
5. Let's clean house
6. Death of a Christmas Tradition

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Happy Birthday, Bennett!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BENNETT!! I'm so proud to be your mommy and I praise God for you!

I went to work today so Michael took off work to spend this special day with our little boy. Apparently Bennett's diet subsisted of cheerios, carrots and burritos....why am I not surprised? :) Michael took lots of pictures and the two of them dressed up in their matching Ohio State football jerseys (Michael is a HUGE Buckeyes fan). When I first saw the two of them after work, I died laughing. They were just SO cute!
We're not doing a whole lot today for Bennett's birthday because he's having his party on Saturday (from which there will be more pictures and news to follow, I'm sure), but he'll get to open a couple of presents :)
The COOLEST thing about today (aside from the fact that a year ago today I became a mommy and the world was blessed with such a sweet baby boy) is that Bennett officially started WALKING!! He was taking steps and standing up independently, but he took off today for his daddy and walks all the way across the room now! It's so special that it happened on his special day! I just couldn't be prouder - I'm certain if I were wearing something with buttons, they'd all be popping off :)