Celebrating Christmas (Part 1)


We did a lot.

We took a lot of pictures.

We saw lots of family.

We took even more pictures.

There is a lot to say and a lot to share.

Prepare yourself.

Let the Christmas 2013 Blog begin:

A few nights before Christmas, we had some cousins over to celebrate with Dominic before we headed down to Texas to celebrate with other cousins. And then we came back to celebrate with more cousins. Dominic dealt with cousin overload. Definitely. Not a bad thing.

Bears, Biscuits, Campbell, and Gwen came over for dinner. They brought their parents as well. Nathan made mighty delicious lasagna. What would you expect from Chef Guapo?



In case you didn’t know, Dom’s cousin, Bears, likes to dress up. If you can tell me what he’s dressed up as in the second pic below, I will make you cookies. But you’re disqualified if your name is Ryan or Laura Elkins. Not fair.


At one point in the evening, it seemed a little quiet. I asked Nathan if he was with Dom. Nope. Maren asked Dustin if he was with Campbell. Nope. The two boys were somewhere together. Alone. Unsupervised. Not even Pogi was watching them. We found them in the nursery. Chaos.


It was a delightful evening.

Then we took off to Texas.

Nathan, Dom and I flew to Houston and then down to Brownsville. Both flights were delayed. Three cheers for holiday travel. Dom did pretty well, though, sleeping some on both flights. He napped better on our full day of flying than he did his first day back at daycare.

In Texas, we stayed with Grandma and Papa Elkins. Dom crashed in the little pantry room, enjoying the comforts of a round crib and the white noise of the air conditioner in there.

On Christmas Eve, Noah, Jake, and Kylee came over to play with “BABY DOMINIC!” and they brought their parents with them so Nathan got some quality time with his brother Randy and Marissa and I sat back to watch the brothers’ loving interaction. The weather was pretty fabulous so we played outside in the afternoon.

Kylee spent a lot of time squeezing BABY DOMINIC! Noah and Jake were more focused on getting in some sprinting time, racing to the other side of the yard. I’m still learning a new camera so sadly, those pics came out all blurry. Oh wait. It wasn’t the camera. It was Noah and Jakey. They’re too fast for the average camera.


Eventually we were too hot (yes, that’s right: too hot on Christmas Eve playing outside) so we brought the games inside. Noah drove Dominic all around the house and Kylee supervised.


Christmas morning, Dominic visited his Great Grandparents. He walked around a little with Po and eventually sat down on the edge of Great Grandma’s bed. He wore his Christmas PJs to be festive and had his first taste of eggnog.


End of part 1. Take the time to enjoy all of those pictures, mmkay? Still to come: opening Christmas gifts, visiting the beach, hitting up the zoo, and then a massive picture of 18 Campbell grandkids. Are you excited?


Looking At The Stars

Stars are my favorite things about getting away from the city, whether it’s from a drive up the canyon, out camping, or staying at my parents’ cabin. Every single time, I am amazed by how many stars are up there.

Joanna was my young women’s camp director back in the day. She was an expert on the constellations and I loved it. Becca and I could point out two dozen constellations by the time we were Laurels, thanks to Joanna. I wish I still remembered them all. But I still remember some. Especially my favorite: Draco.

I remember driving home from Kansas with Shanny, back when we were maybe 20, and pulling over for the stars. It was a long drive home and we were so close: cruising around the twists and turns of Highway 6 after passing Price, UT sometime after dark. We opened the moon roof on the Volvo and could see at least a hundred stars through it. I kept looking up. Turns out, that’s not safe when I’m driving. And Highway 6 is such a safe road. Or one of the most dangerous in America.

So in order for both Shanny and I to continue living, I pulled over in an area where there was a very large shoulder.

We both got out of the car and stared up at the stars. Semis barreled past on the highway, about 50 feet away, and their headlights were annoying. But I could see Cygnus the Swan flying across the Milky Way. Stars everywhere.

Eventually, we got back in the car when our necks started to hurt and drove safely home.

One of these days, I’m going to relearn the constellations that I have forgotten. And learn even more.

When was the last time that you looked up at the stars? Could you see very many or were the city lights an obstruction? Was it cloudy or clear? Can you find constellations or just the Big Dipper?

And if there was one new star in the sky would you notice?

Even if it was a bright star? Maybe just a bit brighter than Jupiter?

Just one new star.

Who would notice?

And who would follow it?