Saturday, July 22, 2017

Sweet Cheek's 12th Birthday: part 2

We enjoyed our Second Annual IHOP Birthday Breakfast. I'm thinking this may be tradition. 

She will have so much fun with her macrame kit from her Campbell grandparents. 

Aunt Boo surprised everyone with a pair of tiny hands. Here's their silly photo. 

Friday, July 21, 2017

Sweet Cheek's 12th Birthday: part 1

We celebrated Sweet Cheek's birthday with our Memphis family at Putt Putt. That place has been around forever! 

It's pretty amazing when you can make up a party of eight with just siblings and cousins! 

Sweet Cheeks opened her gift from Aunt Boo and Uncle D. They gave her baking supplies. She was so excited to get it! Sprinkles, fancy measuring spoons, measuring cups. She is all set to bake when we get back. 

We were rained out that night so we didn't get to do go karts or water bumper boats. She had a great attitude about it. We got extra video game credits. She and I hit the skee ball game! 

She did the ropes course for the first time. 

And so did this guy! 

Maybe since CC enjoyed this motorcycle game so much, he'll be more inclined to get me that motorcycle I want for Mother's Day. 

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Birthday Braids

While CC and Firstborn were gone, I surprised Sweet Cheeks by asking her if she wanted some African braids for her birthday. She has so many African friends and loves their elaborate hair braids. She was so excited and wanted to surprise papa when he got back. We researched a bit and found a place nearby. It was more than obvious we were the only white girls in there for awhile, but the gal told me she could braid a white girl's hair! She strongly suggested a little bit of faux hair to hold her braid longer, so out she came with this long ponytail! 

Sweet Cheeks was very brave, but it was killing her! She fusses when I only brush her hair. These were tiny tight braids wrapping around her head. 

She loved them! The longer I live, the more I want to spend things on memories rather than more stuff. She thanked me over and over. And I suspect she will always remember how she spent her 12th birthday money! 

I think she looks amazing! 

She said 4 people coming out of Dollar Tree told her they loved her hair. I said, "Were they all black ladies?" "Yes, ma'am." 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Meanwhile in Mississippi: The House Without Her

While Firstborn was at her orientation, I started to get some texts and pictures. This whole process has been interesting. At the times people expect me to cry, I don't. I didn't cry at her graduation party nor really even at her graduation (except when they walked in). I think at some of these celebratory times, I've had so many responsibilities, there's no time to reflect. But when she and her papa headed down to her orientation, suddenly I had a tiny taste of what is to come. The house without her. It was a little quieter. I made the usual huge pot of coffee the next morning, then went to pour my cup. With Twinkle and Middler over at the cousins' house and with Firstborn gone, I realized I was facing a full pot without them. I sort of smirked. Hmmm. The morning coffee drinkers are gone.

And as the day progressed, I began getting some texts and pictures of her. I found myself studying them closely, smiling back at her. Leaning into each quick text for the detail. The quilt we borrowed from Grandma. Your hair is sure curly in the humidity! Already made up your bed; that sounds like you. Yes, this will be the house without her. 

She got to meet her new roommate, a precious girl who is just as excited as we are about their upcoming friendship. 

And then I was told to check Instagram. She made it into the promo picture. 

The two days for them were wonderful. CC was able to pray with her (though I heard it was so stinkin' hot down there, she asked him if they could get off the bench and go pray inside because this (mountain, cold-climate, lovin') girl was about to pass out!) He got to walk the campus and see her there. They put the parents in meetings separate from the kids. CC said it seemed they were intentionally encouraging a theme of "Let go. It's time." Yes, we'll be letting go. 6000 miles of letting go.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Catching Up With Friends

While CC and Firstborn were down at orientation, I enjoyed a few friend get-togethers. This was a fun breakfast we had together to catch up. 

And while there, I ran into two other friends. The gal on the left is an old friend who grew up with CC in our school and then was a newlywed along with us in our first apartment back in 1997. I do not think I have seen her since! On the right is my Turkey-buddy who now lives in Memphis. I was so happy to see them! 

I slipped out one morning to have breakfast with my good buddy from my first years of teaching in Mississippi. She's stayed so intentional in my life and is always an encouragement to me. 

Monday, July 17, 2017

Foot Rubs and Freckles

CC and Firstborn headed down to college orientation. She was set to sign up for her classes, meet folks, learn a few basics about life there as a freshmen. We decided he would go and that this would be his "drop off" with her. I'm taking her when she actually starts, as he will be back in Turkey. But he needed to go and see his firstborn baby in her new world.

My older girls slept at the cousins' house. So, I brought the turks back with me. The whole ride home they were trying to convince me to let them sleep with me. It's a full-size bed. And there's three of us! I kept telling them how much better they would sleep in their own beds.

Then we got home, and Sweet Cheeks offered me a foot rub.

It's the foot rubs and the freckles that get me every time. Those freckles are harder to resist in the summer. 

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Loving Memphis

We are having a great time down here. Sunday we were able to catch up with many folks, including my aunt and uncle and cousin. Sweet Cheeks found a spot to stay warm. She isn't used to the AC with her sundress on! 

We've been running a few errands, which translates to extreme confusion. There are so many choices here! Make up, cereal, sunscreen, birthday cards. It's overwhelming!!! 

I got to have breakfast with my high school buddy. We just pick up where we left off. Through marriage, kids, and now kids entering college, she's a year ahead of me. So, I love to hear what's coming up. She's been such a faithful friend for so long. 

My sweet singles' group buddy from so long ago always makes the effort to come grab lunch with me. I can go deep with this friend in a matter of minutes. I love friends like that! 

The kids have had fun hanging with cousins. This summer has been different in that a couple of them are driving. So, they zip around to do fun things together. Uncle D put up a tether ball in the backyard, which has been a fun go-to. I always knew one day having cousins would make summers awesome for the kids. I just had no idea what good friends they would all become, even though they only see each other once a year.

We had a big family get together at my aunt's house. Everybody in town made it. It was such a fun night! This house is the one place that takes me back to childhood. I'm so glad we got to see everyone. 

And can you believe this big second cousin of mine used to be rocked in my arms when I babysat him? Now he's out showing my boy his restored Jeep and pictures of his guns. Love all these kids! 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Can-u Canoe?

We made it down to Memphis, our hometown city. We hit the ground running with appointments and meeting with folks who wanted to reconnect. CC was able to plan a two-day canoe trip with his dad. I haven't gotten the pictures from it yet, but I did take this beauty! This year, Big Ben was not feeling well, still recovering I suppose from his camp fever. But these two CampbellClanKids jumped right in, wanting to go. They held their own with their paddles, I heard, and loved it! 

Meanwhile, we have begun working through this long list of must-do's while here. Though we've gotten a lot done, we've also had a little snippets of some fun time too! 

Saturday, July 8, 2017

The Fourth of July

What a fun day! My dad texted, "What are y'all doing for fun today?" I texted back, "Driving practice with a 16-year-old!" 

We got together with cousins and grandparents for burgers and hot dogs and fun! 

Cousin Dinner

We went as families out to dinner to celebrate getting to be together once again. My sis-in-law arranged a table for 8 and one for 4. You know what that meant! Kid table! They had a blast, but we had to laugh that the waitress, in spite of this being an upscale place, gave them all lidded cups! 

Uncle D ordered them some desserts to split. Though this was a re-enactment, it was actually what we saw 1 minute earlier. 

Big Ben absolutely loves his role of being the youngest. He hangs on his older boy cousin and keeps all those girls entertained. This night he got a hold of a pair of "tiny hands," and thoroughly enjoyed entertaining his table. 

The beautiful cousins. I'm so proud of them all. Can you find a tiny hand? 

Friday, July 7, 2017

Old Friends Who Warm My Heart

These gals drove in from Arkansas to go out to dinner and hang with me. I was thinking after they left about Firstborn starting college and making new friends. The Lord brought to mind that I had just had a visit from friends of 25 years. When did I meet them? My first week of college. They are the best. (We clearly found time to visit Target that night.) 

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Camp 2017: Part 2

The week ended with lots of fun, like dance parties....

...and Uno games during the rainy afternoon...

.....and a swim competition between camp teams (Big Ben got to ride horseback with his buddy who was the reigning tetherball champion. If ever we wanted to know where Big Ben was, we needed to look only at the tetherball.) 

The "no rules" raft race left me speechless. Big Ben was one of the youngest campers, but one of only a few swimmers on his team. That left him signed up for several swimming events in the competition. The final event was a raft race where the two team members could do anything they wanted to win. When they took off, his buddy started pushing the raft toward the finish line. Big Ben took off in the other direction to sabotage the other raft. Someone must have had a strategy meeting before the event, because it worked like a charm. I kept watching to be sure he wasn't dunked for too long, but his little brown head would pop back up and tug the competitors raft backwards once again. They won by a long shot. 

Twinkle, the kid magnet. 

Big Ben's cabin mates. 

Our final night was a bonfire service. 

What a great week, with many new friendships acquired. 

Here is a family shot with an awesome director and his family. 

And so we made the quick drive down to Memphis, with one stop for Sonic drinks. This little guy, which the kids named Trooper, survived the trip on the outside of the car. (This looks like a Toyota ad of some kind!) 

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