Sunday, July 29, 2012

Kim and Laurie

My two amazing college buddies always drive over to see me when I am in town. It is the one event of the summer that brings out the most immaturity and laughter in me.

Laughter (lots.) Suggestions for appetizer improvement to Outback. A double rainbow. Smells at Yankee Candle. Peanut buster parfait (with just as much chocolate as the young man felt comfortable putting on it). Deep discussions. Lots of reminders of why we are friends for life. Thanks, girls!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Town Square

While the middle girls were at camp, CC's sister ("Aunt Boo") had a great idea...the big girls could all spend a day at the Collierville Town Square. We walked around and browsed shops, then stopped for lunch. Doesn't Firstborn's salad look yum?

Three beautiful girls: Aunt Boo, Firstborn, and Mimi. My question to all three is, "How do you get your hair to look so good in this humidity?" I feel like I've been growing a new species of tree on my head all summer.
Firstborn found a pillow she'd like to try to make, so we took a picture.

And I kept finding things CC could make, so I took several pictures. We did a lot of Christmas shopping. Yes, in July. It all gets sent in our luggage, so we knock it out early. It was a great day of fun!

Friday, July 27, 2012

From Here to There

We've spent a lot of time in the car this summer, it's just how our schedule worked out. Other than the occasional, "Stop touching your sister." the kids have done great on our road trips. One weekend we drove from Center Hill Lake to Chickasaw State Park to take the middle girls to camp. We decided to stop for a bite of lunch on the way. As we entered the country buffet, CC said, "We've just eaten so much all summer. And this is another all-you-can-eat buffet! I'm just getting veggies or something." I took this picture of him just so I could get his plate of fried catfish in it!
 When we got to camp, we had the delightful surprise of finding China, who is now interning for the organization that does this Christian camp. She said when she interviewed and told them she had lived in Turkey, Mrs. Jayne asked her, "Do you know the Campbells?" She said, "Yes, he was my boss and principal!" She was our sweet babysitter around the time Big Ben was born. She also graduated from our school. Isn't God good to give us links like that to remind us that He has not forgotten us? It was really special to my kids. I'll never forget showing up at a women's conference in Turkey only to discover they had no childcare, and realizing I'd have my little 3 week old camouflauge-wearing baby boy in my arms all weekend. China took him, and I'm not sure I ever saw him again except to feed him!
 And so the girls began their week of camp with their wonderful cousin Caroline.
They had a great week. Miss Middler's team won the week-long challenge. Twinkle Toes found out she was runner-up for camper-of-the-week. And the girls won cabin of the week. Doesn't that involve keeping it clean? My girls? Cleanest cabin?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Cousins Coming!

While we were at the lake the first time, some of our cousins joined us. Myla is my kids' second cousin (Isn't that right? Her mom is my first cousin.) You have never met a more spunky sweetheart than Myla!
 I know, I know. It's illegal. Anyone out there reading this ever ride in the back of a pickup truck to get something like a tastee-freeze ice cream cone on a hot summer day? These kids piled in for a short ride down the lakeshore to the car. Even if we had gone on a road like this, I am not sure anyone in Smithville would have reported us, these kids were so cute back there!
 These beautiful girls are my first cousins. My big brother is in this picture, too.
 Here's the whole family gathered that day. Everytime I look at this, it makes me laugh. I was sitting forward and everyone else is sitting back, so if you look at it just right, I sort of look like a giant Ol' Mother Who Lived in a Shoe, and these are all my children.
 Crazy, I tell ya.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Smithville Jamboree

We got to be up at Center Hill Lake the weekend after the Fourth. The little town had a fiddlers' jamboree and craft fair. It was so fun!

This may be my favorite summer picture from my side. Love that floppy hat!

 A small town and a non-busy night landed Big Ben a chance to climb up in a fire truck. The fireman also offered to show the little guys a demo of sliding down the fire pole. Big Ben asked him if he had a gun. He said, "As a matter of fact, I do. I'm also the local deputy." Like our school, when you are small, sometimes you fill multiple roles!
 This picture was taken for any of y'all up North, just so you know the rumors are true. We'll deep fry anything down here.

Out on the Lake

My big brother took us out on the lake. The kids popped right up on all the lake equipment.

 I took this picture while she was saying, "You are going to put this on your blog, are you?" As my dad put it, at her age we are the most beautiful we'll ever be, we just don't realize it at the time.
 Yum. And some of us only get more beautiful.
 They make all this look so easy.

 And then even Grandma got on the innertube. She had just hollered something like, "If you speed that boat up while I'm on this thing, that'll be the last hot meal you ever get at my house!" We are proud of you, Grandma! You rock!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Nashville Cowgirl

I had so much fun getting to see my family-by-marriage family. My dearest friend, married to my brother, comes from a family with whom I have a long history. I went on a mission trip with her mom, long ago. (We killed tarantulas together in Mexico.) Her little sister was a teacher's aide for me when I was a young 3rd grade teacher in Mississippi. Her little brother has loaned us his house when he is out of town. Her little brother's wife was one of my mom's star pupils in 5th grade. Her older sister I got to stay with when I was in high school and she was in college, as I was on a leadership team sent from our school up to Bryan College. We just go way back. And all of them were in town at the same time, so CC and I loaded up the kids and went to see them all. In one spot! After swimming and hanging out, the adults met up to go country line dancing in the great city of Nashville, TN. I'll admit CC and I were like deer in the headlights. We're still sort of just off the boat. And it was like the Nashville version of Memphis' Beale Street. I saw a lot, and it didn't look like Turkey.

Here we are, ready to hit the dance floor.
The band was really great. They played a lot of country, with some fun stuff from bands like Journey and Michael Jackson thrown in.

Can you find me?
I learned a new lasso move. And I had a super time, especially when CC decided to learn the line dance and added some jive in with it.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Things To Do When You Get Home

Rock in a porch chair.
 Shuck corn.
 Adopt a dog.
 Learn to ride a bike.
 Copy your sister.

Ending Pics from Memphis Week One

We so enjoyed staying at the Peel's again. And we enjoyed the baby kittens there.
We had fun eating a last bucket of chicken together. I suggested Sweet Cheeks get a chicken leg. She cleans 'em like a vulture.
 I thought this was so pretty of Mimi and Firstborn.
Our Campbell grands always send us off with a funny goodbye as we drive off. It does make the parting a little easier when we can laugh.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Hotcakes and Hot Hike

We finished up Week One in Memphis with some hotcakes by our friend Grammy Jo. She is darling, but did not want to be photographed so early in the morn'. She always blesses us, and we enjoyed sharing a meal with her.
We had one free morning together. CC had been wanting to hike a "short" trail at Shelby Forest.
I was picturing Shelby Farms, a very up-town, in the city, flat path kind of hike. With water fountains.
Everything started out fine. We were chipper. It was going to be so fun.

A lady jogged by, saw us on the path (which CC thought was the "short" one), and said, "Those kids won't make it." We smiled, continued on what we thought was the "short" trail, and reminded ourselves these kids had hiked a mountainside that Alexander the Great could not conquer (literally.)
Yes, it was all fun and games. We monkeyed around, knowing we were on the "short" path.

However, it soon became clear that we were not on the path CC remembered. We hiked for about 1.5 hours. We did not bring waters on the hottest day of the year in Memphis, TN, because we were just going on the "short" path. Thankfully, Firstborn thought to bring 2 small waters, which were long since gone. We got to the very end, hoping we were just around the bend from our car, air-conditioning, escape. However, CC realized that we would need to hike it straight back, all the way. I was demoralized. By this time, he had to carry Big Ben on his shoulders all the way back. The bright spot, I found out at the very end. CC had carved my name in a tree the weekend before he proposed to me. He wanted me to see it.  Sadly, we never found it. But what we did find is that amid a very difficult situation, we worked together and got out. After our ordeal, none of us spoke. We just climbed in the car, opened our mouths to let cold air flow in, and drove straight to the nearest quick mart. CC bought a gatorade and a cold ice water for everyone. I went into the store, grabbed all the drinks off the check-out counter, and told the man my husband would be good for them, but we needed them now. He commented that I had really dressed up for the occasion. Let's just say I was red. And hot. And dehydrated. And after we all drank the drinks down, and rode for a bit, CC stopped and bought us burgers and fries. And all was well. Thanks for trying to show me the tree, CC.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Biking to Bond

Campbell Clansman and his dad tore up the trails at the Wolf River biking trails. I am certain his dad was the only over-70ish guy out there. Just a few years ago, he had a 7-bypass heart surgery. God is so good, and he is doing great. Later in the week, Grandad took Sweet Cheeks and her cousin-buddy paddleboating. Two seven-year-olds paddleboating in the Memphis summer heat? I say he gets the Grandad of the Year Award!

Cousin Time

The cousins had so much fun. They came up with some great ways to spend time together. Here is the end of their Cousin Olympic Synchronized Swimming presentation.
 Big Ben wanted to try on his cousin's glasses.
They also all came out to the home where we stayed and each person loved on a kitten.

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