Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!!

Love, The Campbells
Bryan | Dawn
Brady | Lily | Charlie

Majercin Christmas 2011

Last weekend we kicked off the 2011 Holiday parties with our annual Majercin Christmas! It was probably the best year yet. I love how it's relatively small (35-ish people), super casual, and well...just plain fun!

The kids (there seems to be a lot of them now) hang out outside running around like crazy...and the adults - we alternate between the patio and the living room. Basically, we mingle, eat, mingle, and then it's present time. Oh - and you can't forget the multiple references to Christmas Vacation (because we're ARE the Griswold's), or my dad's jokes to the kids about Santa cancelling Christmas. As cheesy as that all sounds - I seriously look forward to this EVERY.SINGLE.YEAR.

My grandma gives all of the kids her gifts and then off they go to play. We then give my grandma her gifts and everyone passes out some family gifts. It's so much fun! Then - it's time for the grand finale...Our White Elephant gift exchange.

OMG - so fun!

All adults bring a gift around $25-ish dollars. We pick numbers...and then you know how it goes. Normally it's a pretty big battle for gifts - but, this year was rather calm. Either we're all getting really good at buying gifts that will be liked by everyone...or we were just really nice to each other this year.

Last, we mingle some more and then head out.

This Majercin Christmas party has been going on for my entire life. Literally - my entire life. It used to be held at my grandparents house on Christmas Eve and within the last few years it has been taken over by my Uncle Barry's family and even more recently moved to the week before Christmas. Since the family is getting so big and everyone has grown and started families on their own - we've found the week before Christmas is a much easier time to get everyone together. They do such a great job hosting - and this year, even included a Christmas Carol game at which my cousin Jessica's boyfriend, Justin, seriously kicked tushy!!

This year we made out pretty well in the White Elephant. Bryan got hooked up with some Titleist golf balls and tees and I got one of those large 1.5 gallon drink dispenser things. I have SERIOUSLY been wanting one of them and have almost bought one like a zillion times. So - I am soooooooooo thankful I ended up with that!! Bryan really won a huge clock (which I loved) but, it was pretty girly and Cori volunteered to switch with him. Golf balls for the clock.

Unfortunately, I took like next to zero pictures. is one that Kristen took of us.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Zoo Lights 2011

Last night - together with the Babcocks, we took our annual Zoo Lights trip. 

After battling the parking lot...and literally looking for a spot for over 20 minutes - we finally made it in through the gates. We circled around the zoo, saw the "dancing" trees, drank some hot chocolate and headed out. The weather was perfect. It was not too cold and not one drop of rain (thank goodness!!). 

Upon leaving - we caravan'd it up to the 44th Street house. OMG! It was packed. The kids LOVE that house and we had not yet made it up there this year. That house is almost better than the zoo. And, it's free! Well - I did put $2 in the "donation" bucket. But, still! And - there is a bubble machine! The kids could literally jump around for bubbles for hours.

Another tradition...checked off the list!

It's almost Christmas - I'm getting giddy just thinking about it. Goodnight! I'm off to Santa's workshop to wrap some gifts!

Monday, December 12, 2011


Sooo...I know I've been completely MIA. 


I was studying for the LSATs. Yes - the LSATs. 

You might ask why a 32 year old, married, full-time employed, mother of three children would want to take her LSATs. Crazy, right?

I agree. Kind of.

But - I guess a part of me has always wanted to go to law I thought no better time than now. I was that kind of child that was a great debater. Very argumentative. I'm pretty sure I'm still that person. I know I'm still that person. Privately, personally, and Professionally. It's just who I am.

Here's the thing about the LSAT. It was H-A-R-D! I studied on and off for a few months, typically in the evenings once the kids were asleep. I was going to take a prep course, but the enrollment fees of $500 - $1500 scared me off. So - I was forced to study all by my lonesome. I studied books, online, and took tons of actual old tests that I ordered online. And, the week before the test - I took vacation time to study non-stop. 

So, yes - I studied....A LOT. And, I really should have studied more, MUCH more. Although I studied...there really isn't anything to "memorize." It's not your standard test. It measures: the reading and comprehension of complex texts with accuracy and insight, the organization and management of information and the ability to draw reasonable inferences from it, the ability to think critically, and the analysis and evaluation of the reasoning and arguments of others. It's a thinking test. And it's timed. It is written for you to fail. It is written to confuse you. It is written to ensure you do not have enough time to truly get through all of the questions.

On paper, the things that are measured by the test are things at which I excel. But, the fact is - I have always been a terrible test taker. My SATs = gross. 

But, the LSAT is over. I can now enjoy reading a book (for fun - not for studying). I do not get my results until January 6. I'm not sure how I will fair. I'm not sure if I'll score high enough for an acceptance letter. I'm not sure if we can even make it work if I do even get accepted. 

I guess...only time will tell.

Jake's expression looks exactly like how I felt when the LSAT was over.

Monday, November 7, 2011

30 Days of Thanks - Day 7

I am thankful for...

Learning 2011.

So...a few months ago I was told I could go to Learning 2011!! I'm guessing it had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I begged to go...but, it was for very good reason. The keynote speaker was none other than....

President Bill Clinton.

Yep - you heard that right. On the very day of this blog posting...I had the privilege of sitting 6th row during the keynote speech of our 42nd President Bill Clinton. He was awesome. I was pen-less during the speech, so I was limited to what little notes I could take on my phone. are some of the inspirational things that were discussed.

1. He started off by saying how he always likes to be in the audience because when he is talking...he isn't learning.
2. He did talk a little politics - but, it was very tasteful and was more about collaborating than being one-sided.
3. He said when someone asks him a question he always asks himself 3 questions before answering: Will this reduce inequality, instability, and unsustainability? And create more shared opportunities, shared responsibilities, shared sense of community? Shrink the "them" and increase the "us."
4. He talked about when Chelsea went to college she called him one day and said, "Dad - I got the highest grade in the class. It's history class. I really like this class. So, maybe I should study history and not Pre-Med. What do you think." And he told his daughter, "Chelsea, I want you to do what you want to do, what makes you happy. But...people tend to be happiest when they do what they are best at."
5. One issue with politics is each party fights another party with the belief that...If you already have the truth, the evidence doesn't matter.
6. We need cooperation, not conflict!
7. We all need to be learning all the time.
8. You have to be a learner until your last day on earth.
9. The great thing about technology is an 8 year old kid can go on the Internet and find out things that he had to go to college to find out.
10. Everybody has a story.
11. Throughout history, people have learned the most from storytelling.
12. You should never begrudge someone's chance at life.
13. Not just what changes do you do you propose to do it?
14. People have been betting against America for 200 years. Why? Because of innovation.
15. We have a decision making process based on yesterday when it should be based on tomorrow.

He was amazing. There are so many more pages of notes that Ron took...I'm waiting for him to send out all of his notes. His keynote was very informal. Very conversational. The next day we learned that he was supposed to only speak for 27 minutes and then be interviewed for 15 minutes. He spoke for 57 minutes. He just spoke and we listened. We also learned that he had 2 pages of notes. But...he never looked at them once. He was "present" with us.

What an experience. You cannot listen to him speak and not be impressed. Regardless of your political beliefs - he is inspiring.

p.s. - a second keynote and one-man play by John Lithgow was certainly an added plus.

What a conference. I'm thinking all future conferences that I attend will never compare.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

30 Days of Thanks - Day 6

I'm thankful for...
Flights that are not full.

I'm headed out to Orlando for work. A short, busy conference through Wednesday evening. It seems to me that airlines are doing just what we are all trying to money any way possible. Whether it be charge more for flights, eliminate TV, movies, and music, eliminate food, eliminate blankets and pillows, charge for checked bags, and lessen the overall number of flights. I'm sure there are tons of more ways they are cutting costs. With that in's pretty rare that there are very many seats open. And I NEVER have the good luck that they are actually empty near me. Because of this - I am most often prepared to rub elbows with my neighbor and try to avoid being struck by the drink cart as it passes alongside my aisle seat. But sometimes...when the skies align just right...I get on a flight that is a little open. And an actual open seat - right next to ME!! It's llike a breath of fresh air. Ahhhh...thank you. I love it when that happens. It's like two seats for the price of 1! A place for me and a half of a seat (since I shared the open seat with the gal sitting at the window) for my my jacket and books, etc.

What a treat!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

30 Days of Thanks - Day 5

I am thankful for...

Working from Home.

I know I've said it before...but I am really, really thankful for this somewhat untraditional (albeit becoming more common) arrangement. My typical day is as follows:

5:45am - get up to jog (if I'm not too lazy)
6:45am - return back from jog and shower
7:00am - turn on computer and sign in for the day
8:00am - 1st break - help Bryan get the kids out of the house and to school or the sitter. Then make all beds.
8:20am - work
11:00am - begin to think about lunch
11:30am - shower (if I did not jog/shower earlier)
12:00pm - make lunch
12:15pm - return to desk and eat while working
1:00pm - plan dinner - put food in crockpot, if necessary
1:15pm - work
3:00pm - midday break with snack
3:15pm - back to work
3:30pm - Bryan leaves to pick up Brady from school
5:00pm - check on dinner
5:30pm - pick up girls from sitter
6:00pm - finish dinner and eat
6:45pm - baths for girls
7:00pm - family dance time/game night (Sorry!) and finish up homework
8:00pm - breathing treatments for girls, as needed
8:00pm - Charlie to bed
8:15pm - Lily to bed
9:00pm - Brady to bed
9:00 - 11:00pm - Bryan and Dawn's TV time, study time, work time
11:00pm - bed. but...rarely I go to bed by 11pm. I'm kind of that kind of person that does not need too much sleep. but...then sometimes I zonk out at 9pm.

You can see the actual work time varies throughout the day. I put in my 10+ hours everyday...but, sometimes several hours of it come after the kids go to bed.

One "wrench" into this schedule has been Bryan's new work from home schedule. This started in September. As much as we both "complain" about has been going very well. We have two separate areas. We are now BOTH saving on gas money and we always have someone to eat lunch with.

One negative is that I often wear "comfy" clothes ALL.DAY.LONG. They are clean...but, they're still comfy clothes. I'm pretty sure the Hottie is sick of seeing me with a pony tail and comfy clothes. But...this only makes the days that I do dress up for work or to go out even better. Why? Because any outfit is better than comfy clothes!!

WFH is awesome!! If you have the it!

Friday, November 4, 2011

30 Days of Thanks - Day 4

I am thankful for...

Charlotte Grace Campbell.
AKA Charlie.
Best. Surprise. EVER!
You are the most loveable momma's girl ever.
You LOVE your baby doll.
But, you also love baseball bats.
You're turning towards the girly side...
but, still a little tom boy.
You try so hard to keep up with your brother and sister.
Which keeps you very frustrated all the time.
You LOVE food.
Pizza is your favorite.
You could sit in your pink car for hours....
just watching Lily and Brady play.
You are beginning to really love shoes.
You also love dancing around the house.
You play so well by yourself.
You sneak Brady and Lily's toys when they're not looking.
It drives them crazy...
and make us laugh.
You've got the cutest chipmunk cheeks.
CUTEST ever!
And, your eyes have stayed blue.
Oh Charlie....I love you soooo much!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

30 Days of Thanks - Day 3

I am thankful for...

Lily Mae Campbell
AKA Queen B
Our middle child.
Oh boy, Lil - you are in a diva stage.
And we love it...kind of :)
You are hilarious.
Such a goofball.
Obsessed with your "babies."
You still love dancing.
And, Taylor Swift.
You are just about the girliest girl I've ever known.
The more obnoxiously girly something is...
the more you like it.
You care for Charlie like she's your doll.
But are a little possessive about your toys.
You're learning.
You LOVE playing the game Sorry.
And, you hate to lose.
Little things make you sooo, sooo happy.
Oh Lilbugs...I love you!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

30 Days of Thanks - Day 2

I am thankful for....

Brady Ryan Campbell.
My first born.
He is exactly like me.
But, EXACTLY like Bryan.
It's funny.
He is all boy.
The typical, boy's boy.
LOVES sports.
Loves the Red Sox.
Loves the Diamondbacks.
Loves the Cardinals.
Right now - he loves to pitch.
And, catch.
He also loves skateboarding.
But, he's still learning.
He HATES to get in trouble.
He is the most honest kid I know.
He's got the biggest conscience.
And, he's the sweetest big brother.
He's the typical "oldest" child.
Very independent.
And, a really good tattle tale :)
He tells stories that I would tell.
And then he sounds like a little adult.
It's so cute.
We laugh and love it.
He's in a bit of a dorky stage.
You know - the 7-9 year old, I say dorky things stage.
We absolutely love it.
He's not into having a girlfriend yet.
But, they sure like him.
I am so thankful for you!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

30 Days of Thanks - Day 1's that time of year again!!

Yippee!!! My very favorite time of year. Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is hands-down my favorite holiday. Similar to last year - I'm devoting my entire November to the 30 Days of Thanks party.

Because I was recently called out at work (thanks Ron!!) at being the WWB or World's Worst Blogger - I thought no better way to jump back on the blogging bandwagon than to join the 30 Days of Thanks party. goes it.

I am Thankful for Pinterest.

What is Pinterest, you may ask? I really hope not. If you're not on Pinterest are WAAAAY BEHIND. It is the greatest invention since the smart phone. Well, maybe not that great...but, goodness almighty - it is so darn addicting!

Pinterest is this online catalog-ish site that showcases pictures and direct links to ANYTHING and I mean ANYTHING you may be interested in. You literally scroll through gazillions of pictures of....well, anything. And, if something interests you - you can "pin" it to one of your boards. Hence...the name "Pin"terest. So, I'm a regular Pinterester - I've got about 30 different boards - kind of like online corkboards of stuff I like. I have a board for Style, Parties, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Crafty, Birthdays....and several more. If I come across something in the "catalog" of Pinterest pictures, I will pin it to my specific board so that I can quickly locate it later if I need to.

Holy cow. I love it.

I have boards filled with so many ideas of decorating and birthday parties and gifts and crafts and holiday stuff. I have been filling my spare (what's that) time with crafting up things I've seen on Pinterest. I've been filling out my Christmas List for all the peeps we buy for with gift ideas that I've found on Pinterest.

Pinterest is addicting. Literally addicting. It's like crack. Or, so I can assume. One hour on Pinterest and you will have yourself at least 10 boards and millions of ideas of outfits, crafts, gifts, photography...the list goes on.

Oh, and you can even pin things to Pinterest that you see ANYWHERE online. maybe one day someone will pin something of mine or YOURS onto Pinterest. How fun!

Oh I love you.

p.s. - joining Pinterest is a little on the slow side. It's fastest if someone invites you. So...if you want an exclusive (just kidding) invite - let me know and I will email you the invite for your immediate membership!!

p.s. - I totally forgot another great thing about Pinterest. Just like any social media site, you can "follow" other people. By following people you can see what stuff they pin. If you follow people that like the same things you do - then, yippee ki yay - you'll have a front row seat to tons of pins that are right up your alley!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

I've Got a New Niece!!!

Yay!!!! Yay!!!! Yay!!!!

I could literally not be more excited!! My newest niece, Carsyn Paige Babcock made her entrance into the world yesterday at 7:54pm. She weighed 6 pounds, 10 ounces at birth and was 20 inches long.

And, she is sooooooooooooooooooooo and I really mean soooooooooooooooooooooo dang cute!!! She could NOT be any cuter. Literally. Call me biased, but she is so darn adorable!

Oh- I will be taking some pictures very soon...but, here's a few from last night!


Family of four...ALMOST 5

Carsyn Paige

She was wide-eyed and alert immediately!!

So flippin' adorable!!! And, seriously - how great does Ashley look!!!!

Dimples. She might be mine - she's got a mini dimple in her chin!

Carsyn and Aunt Dawn - ugh!! Love her!
Yep - definitely the current family favorite!! Love her!!!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Another Girly Girl

We've got another girly girl on our hands. It has started. She carries her dolls and purses around just like her big sister. She doesn't really care what doll she has...but, she does particularly like this old, beat-up doll of Lily's. It is just about the only doll that Lily lets her use without fighting us on it. 
Charlie with her doll...that goes everywhere with her.

Monday, September 12, 2011

August Savings

I'm one month into couponing. I have clipped and collected coupons the following Sundays: 8/7, 8/14, 8/21, 8/28, and 9/11. This is what I have learned.

  1. Couponing = lots of organization and planning.
  2. Spreadsheets and shopping lists are a must.
  3. Shop off your list - ONLY!
  4. Collect/buy more than 1 coupon insert.
  5. Save all coupons - you never know when something will pretty much be free...and who doesn't want free stuff?
  6. To maximize your savings, you MUST plan your meals and shopping lists based on what is on SALE, not on what you want to eat.
  7. Carry the coupon policies for each store with you.
  8. Cashiers (and other customers) like it when you organize your items on the register conveyor belt ahead of time. 
  9. Get to know your "favorite" cashiers.
  10. A LOT of people coupon. And, typically when there is a REALLY good sale, it can be hard to find those items in stock. You might have to make several trips...or get rain checks.
  11. When there is a Buy 10, Save 5...or something like that - it often MUST be in groups of 10. 
  12. It's okay to do separate orders...but, please see #8, have the items organized at the register.
  13. Check your receipts for errors. I have found 3 errors since I began and each time very easily got my money back by talking with Customer Service at the store. 
  14. You will often find yourself buying 6+ of one item. So, yes...I'm pretty much becoming an organized hoarder.

This is my typical couponing process as a very new couponer.

  1. Sunday - get 3 Sunday papers from the Dollar Tree within .5 miles of my house. Then, Bryan gets 3 newspapers. (there is a maximum limit of 3 - and yes, they're $1.00)
  2. Sunday - Saturday: I am constantly monitoring my favorite coupon site for news, printable coupons, weekly grocery store ads and deals, and scenario examples. 
  3. Sunday - Wednesday: Any free time I get I clip and organize my coupons from the previous Sunday.
  4. Wednesday - Friday: During free time on these days, I will make a list of what I am getting at each store. I use my favorite site as a reference to help me plan my list using the best deals and coupons. 
  5. Friday - Monday: I estimate I shop about 3 hours per week total for all stores. Yes, I shop at multiple stores. But, hey - I don't live in the boonies. I have 2 Fry's within 1.2 miles. I have a Safeway .3 miles away. The Bashas' is 2.5 miles and the Albertson's is 3 miles away. And's about 2 miles.

So far - I can say I've saved A LOOOOOT of money. But...I've also spent A LOOOOOT of money. I'm slowly building a pretty good stock of food. My pantry has filled up. My two freezers and fridge are stocked and our mini fridge is full of drinks. Our linen closet is beginning to bust at the seams with toothpaste and toilet paper and deodorant. I'm hoping that by the end of September, my "food storage" will be complete and I can begin just buying the necessary items, along with the really good, almost free items. This is when I anticipate my monthly food bill going down to about $200. 

So how much have I saved? Well...let's see....

For the month of August I bought $909.99 worth of food and spent just below $400. It's hard to say how much I normally spend (because I never really kept track before) but, if I go back to my July bank statement and add up all my random grocery debits - I spent $351.42 in groceries. This does NOT include any of our restaurant meals, which I'm embarrassed to say in July was a lot. AND - before, I shopped just to get us through the week. There was no food storage. I had NO extra deodorants or toilet paper. And now...sheesh - I'm probably good for about 6 months, at least. 

One thing I've found - is that it is hard NOT to buy 6 (or how ever many coupons you have) items even if you don't NEED 6. For example - I bought the hottie 6 body washes. They are normally $4.99. They were at Fry's for $1.99. I had a coupon for $.50 off of 2. Fry's will increase the coupon to $1. So - $1 off of 2. With the coupons, I paid $1.49 each ($8.94 total) and got 3 deodorants for FREE. The deodorants themselves (Old Spice) are $5.99 each that alone is a savings of $38.97. Holy cow! Did we need 6 body washes and 3 free deodorants? No. But, will we use them? YES. 

This last month, I've stocked us up for awhile on soaps, cleaning supplies, laundry detergent, toilet paper, deodorant, razors, toothpaste, toothbrushes, chicken nuggets, cereal, grilled chicken, boneless/skinless chicken, and lean ground beef. I estimate I've probably bought enough of that stuff to last for months. And - all pretty much for one "normal" month of grocery bills. So far this couponing is panning out very well for us. Let's hope I can start just "replenishing" vs. stocking and my grocery bill will go down even more!

p.s. - for August - I saved the most at Safeway (70.95%). 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

One Thing To Remember

One thing I want to remember right now is this...

We clean with music. The music is REALLY loud. We dance while we clean. The cuties get in on this big time. Even Charlie dances. She'll sway back and forth and spin in circles. Brady will bust out is hip hop/break dancing moves (not kidding) and Lily...she'll just jump around, swing, spin and stand up on her toes like a ballerina. We really get into it. 

I remember dancing with my family like this and it really is so special. I love these moments. 

But, what makes it even cuter is this...

I'll be cleaning off in one room, singing away (in my terrible voice) and dancing here and there and all of a sudden a new song will come on and I will hear Lily or Brady's our favorite song!!!!! Then, they all run in the living room and sing and dance around like kids. Just like they should be doing. I love it. They've got a list of songs they all love and anytime one of those comes out. The Campbell Cuties dancers come out big time!

Friday, September 2, 2011


2011 is turning out to be a TERRIBLE blogging year for me. I don't know why. Every single day I think about blogging. I rack my brain for a topic. I go to my list of topics on my phone that I have compiled of things I want to say. And then...I don't blog.

Oh well. 

August was a busy month. Time really does fly with each year that I age. Summer absolutely FLEW by. I can't even believe I have a 2nd grader and a Pre-K kid...and of course a one year old.

Let's see what we've been up to this last month:

1. School started on August 10. With school comes lots and lots of shopping. Clothes. Supplies. You name it. When it comes to the cuties - I don't care what it costs. It is soooo much easier to spend money on them than it is on myself. I'll blame it on mother's guilt. It's funny because the hottie doesn't seem to feel this same way. I'm not saying that he goes out and spends tons on himself - because he SOOO does NOT, but...he doesn't get buyer's remorse like I do when I do spend money on me. 

2. Curriculum nights - We met with each of the kids' teachers and went over what we should expect for this year. It's hard to say what we think considering it's only been a few weeks - but, at least both of the teachers seem very organized. I do love that Brady's teacher is an older 2nd grade teacher. He's probably been teacher for over 30 years. There is just something about those older, strict, totally old school teacher that I like. I bank on them helping me keep my kids in line :) Lily AKA Lillian's teacher is super young and cute. Let's hope its not all fun and games and that she actually learns something. Yes - I know it's only Pre-K and I do want her to have fun...but, let's learn something, too!

3. Swim parties - Brady attended his first birthday party of the year. It was a swim party and boy oh boy - is that good because it's got to be like a gazillion degrees right now. Unfortunately, while at the party he fell onto a piece of PVC pipe sticking out of the cool decking and sliced his foot. He has been limping/stumbling/hopping around for the last two weeks trying to get it to heal.

4. Aubrey's birthday - Last weekend, the cuties and I picked up Ashley, Rylee, and Jake and road tripped it to Goodyear for their cousin Aubrey's first birthday. My cousin Kristen (Aubrey's mom) did such a FABULOUS job with the Sweet Shoppe themed party. The highlight of the party was our dad's challenging all of the kids to pixy stick shot contests. I'm guessing each of our dad's ate about 30 pixy sticks. It was like Man vs. Food...but really Uncles vs. Kids. Too funny!

5. Bryan's Vegas Trip - Bryan has this group of friends from high school/grade school. You know those friends...the ones that you may not see that often, but when you's like you can just pick up where you left off. The best kind of friends. Best, lifelong friends. Well, anyway - one of those BFF's is getting married next year and he wanted to do a Vegas trip a few months ahead while people can still afford it. So, they headed out for a boys weekend in Vegas at the MGM. I've heard they had an awesome time. And considering I know that some one of them (and NOT Bryan) passed out by 8pm...I am sure they had a blast!

6. Photoshop Class - This last month, I attended a photoshop class held by my wedding photographer (and friend) Marnee Marriott. She is so stinkin' awesome - I just love her photos. I learned bits of photoshop and really learned that I need a full on class about photoshop. Maybe one day.

7. Photography with old friends - I already wrote that I had the privilege of taking pictures of one of my oldest friend's newest little one. What a blast that was. Then - after the photo shoot, we headed back out there for a meet and greet with their family. It is so fun to catch up with friends that you have not seen in so very long!

8. Visit from the in-laws - My father in law and Marie were in town for a short, short visit. They actually were coming to AZ to hike the canyon. heard that right, hike the canyon. In August. Yes, they've been to AZ in the summer before. Yes, they know it's hot. got to hike when you can get a, needless to say, August it was. They had one day before they had to meet their friends at the Canyon, so luckily we got to spend it with them. We always love visits with them and the cuties had a ton of fun, even if it was for just the day. In case you're wondering...the trip to the Canyon was a success. It was super (understatement) difficult. And, they are just waiting for the day when they can look back on it and laugh. Luckily they had a few days to relax in Sedona before they had to make the trek home.

9. Couponing - I'm totally on the couponing bandwagon. 

That about wraps up August. I can hardly believe that it is already September. Before you know it, I'll be Black Friday shopping! Yay!! We've got a lot going on with Brady starting up baseball this week, some work travel I'll be doing, baby Carsyn's pending birth (yay

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Lily....or Lillian

This is has been Lily's first experience with official school. She's had sitters before and still does - but, this is her first official school experience. On all of the school forms they ask for her birth name. Well, that is Lillian. So...I write down Lillian.

She knows her name is Lillian, but we NEVER call her that. She's Lily. From the day she was born she has been Lily.

On meet the teacher night - her teacher asked all of us if our children had any nicknames. She wrote Lily down and has called her Lily since the start. looks like she prepared some things ahead of time - things like her homework/activity kit. So...Lillian it says on that bag. Lily was confused at first because she knows she spells her name L-I-L-Y and Lillian is not the same.

Well, the other night she surprised us by telling us she wants to be called Lillian. We laughed. She was serious. She also said she wants Lily to have two L's...Lilly. Yep. Seriously.

So, introducing Lily Lillian Lilly Mae Campbell. Hilarious. Lucky for  us - we got to pick her name. That's our right as parents...isn't it?

I'm thinking we're sticking with Lily.
Sorry Bugs!

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Beginning of Couponing

I've always been all about a good deal. I'm not someone the frivolously spends money....especially on myself (on the Cuties...that's another story). I'm always plan any shopping excursions based on who has the best deal - vs. what I really want. It works for me. I don't have millions - and I've learned (after trial and error) that I can't spend like I do. 

I love using coupons. I go to printablecoupons all the time and print my Gap coupons, Hobby Lobby coupons, Kohl's coupons, Michaels, Old name it. It's rare that I go into Old Navy without a coupon. Or Michael's. Or really any of those stores. I use coupons while shopping at Fry's. We buy Fry's brand whenever it's cheapest (except for Fry's brand Fruit Loops - yuck!) I save my cashier printed coupons (that I've learned are called Catalinas) that they give me when I checkout. I also save all the Fry's coupons they send me in the mail. I have a teeny coupon book that I asked for during Christmas awhile back. 

I thought I was doing a good job. But, the fact is - if couponing was a class, I'd get a D. Seriously. My teeny coupon book is filled with expired coupons. I thought it was just a matter of 1) make a list of meals, 2) make a list of groceries needed for said meals, 3) check my teeny coupon book to see if I have a coupon for any of said groceries, and 4) shop and use the few said coupons that are NOT expired. Oh, and of course buy generic, Fry's brand. 

Wow - was I wrong. 

I recently took the kids over to one of my old friend Jaime's house for a playdate. She has 2 stinkin' cute girls, Alex and Sammie. We went around lunchtime. She fed all of us. The cuties LOVED it. When I talked to her before our playdate I remember thinking (as she told me she'd whip something up for lunch for all of us) that thank goodness it was at her house because if I was having a playdate at my house - I'd for sure have to grocery shop. I mean, I have quick throw together lunches for the cuties...but, I don't think I could feed a whole group. 

While at her house - the kids all ate and played. After chatting for awhile, I helped her clean up the kitchen from the mess of all the kids. As I was putting away something in the mouth about dropped. Holy crap! Her pantry was S-T-O-C-K-E-D! And, I really mean stocked. I'd never seen anything like it in person. We're not talking psycho Extreme Couponing - we're talking normal, everyday items and A LOT of them. And no, she doesn't have toilet paper hiding under beds. She has normal groceries, toiletries, etc. all in the right places. Each space (pantry, laundry room, and linen closet) was organized, clean, and FULLY STOCKED with everything we use. 

Uh-oh...I guess she could tell that I was beyond dumbfounded and she giggled and said that she normally doesn't let people in there. She was joking. The "always look for a good deal" person inside of me was immediately curious. I asked her if she coupons. She of course, said yes. She said that she has been couponing for the last two years. I said - yeah, I coupon...but, I guess I'm not doing it the right way. She then went on to say that now that she is fully stocked that she only spends $150 a month in groceries. 

I about died.

$150 a MONTH??!!! That's pretty much what I spend a WEEK to feed all 5 of us. So, the curious, psycho, easily influenced, addictive-personality person that I am immediately wanted in on this phenomenon. 

Yes, I coupon. But - now....I could learn from pretty much a pro. 

Seeing that I was extremely excited and curious - she went on to show me her laundry room and linen closet. In her laundry room she had a backup freezer (that many of us have) stocked with her meats and frozen meals. In the linen closet she had a good deal of toothpaste and toothbrushes and deodorant and soap and pretty much all of the toiletries you would need. She said that to get a stock like this and to get everything you can out of coupons, you can't always be picky on brands. So...if you absolute MUST use one type of deodorant, you just won't have as big of a supply.

We're not picky over here (remember we buy Fry's brand anyway on a lot of things). I am kind of partial to my Secret deodorant - but, I'm definitely willing to give other brands a try when they end up being free. I mean...unless I'm allergic - I'll use it.

Yes, seriously.

So - she showed me her paperwork she received from a coupon class that she took. She introduced me to (best site EVER!!). And, she showed me her coupon system. She even has emailed me a few times telling me what store she was going to, what she was getting, and what coupon she was using. For instance, she was going to Target because they had these Papermate pens on sale for $.88 and she had a coupon that makes them free. Do I absolutely NEED pens right now? No - but, I do work from home and I am always looking for pens. And heck - it's FREEEEEEEEEE!!!! I'm going to Target anyway - so, might as well pick up a free "gift" for entering the store!

couponer. I'm pretty sure I'll be sticking mostly to Fry's...but, I'll make it work. If I can even eliminate $150 from my monthly grocery bill I'll feel like it's worth it.

Thank you Jaime!

p.s. Bryan is totally indulging me on my couponing. He even went into the dollar store to get me 3 (the maximum) Sunday papers while I went into another store for 3 more. Yes...did you know that you can get the Sunday paper at the dollar store for $1? 

p.s.s. If you run into at the store with my box of organized coupons, checklist, and spreadsheet. Don't laugh. I'm saving money. 

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Night Brady Wrote an Apology Letter

Brady was a handful today. Very needy. Very whiny. Lots of complaining. Tantrums. Arguments. Kind of like a 2 year old little girl. Not kidding. 

We'd had enough. 

By the time dinner was ready - he was on about the 8th time of being sent to his room. We called him out for dinner and he said - hold on I'm writing something. 

We waited. 

And this is what he presented to us at dinner.
 You can't help but feel bad for him. The only boy and the oldest. It's like 2 strikes against him! 
So sweet. 
This one's a keeper. 

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Diamondback Nights

We're fully in the swing of D-back season. In's more that half over. Today the cuties and I napped, made dinner, and went out for ice cream. Then - they wanted to pose for some pictures. They love being models. And, I love watching all of their poses. They are so stinkin' adorable!

Friday, August 12, 2011

First Day of School

Wow...the summer F-L-E-W by. Literally flew by!! The kids have been sooooo excited to start school.
New clothes - check.
New clothes washed - check.
School supplies bought - check.
Backpacks ready - check.
Haircuts completed - check.

School started for us in Gilbert on Wednesday, August 10. Wednesday began with Bryan running to grab eggs at the store so we could make pancakes for breakfast. By 7:30am, everyone (including me) had showered and were dressed. Lily wanted curly hair - so I turned on the curling iron. Brady wanted "cool hair" - so I got out the gel. By 8:10am we were ready to go and the kids even had a hot breakfast! (this is a big deal since they are normally stumbling out the door with cereal). Of course - I had to snap a few photos before we left. On Pinterest - I saw this idea to take a picture on the first day of school every year with a sign that says, "First Day of..." Well - I just happened to find a free downloadable template on HowDoesShe and I printed them off at Kinko's. I only wish I had this a few years ago when Brady started Pre-K. Oh well....first borns, we get jipped :)

After pictures, we headed over to the sitter's house so that we could drop off Charlie and walk from there to school. The sitter lives very close to the school - so we all (Bryan, Brady, Lily, and Me) walked with the sitter, her husband, and their kids to school.

When we arrived at school - I wanted one last picture of two of the Cuties before they went in. Brady was so embarrassed, but he played along. The four of us walked to find Brady's teacher's sign on the basketball court where they line up every morning. What a change from last year. He was so excited and such a "pro." He literally dropped his backpack and ran off to his friends. What? We didn't even get a picture of him in the line. We pretty much had to chase him down to say goodbye (yep, just what every kids wants - their mom and dad yelling out their name to give them a kiss). :) We then walked Lily over to the Preschool drop off area and waited. And waited. And waited. I guess the buses for some of the Preschool kids were running late. The teachers did NOT want us to walk in with the kids (boo!) and so we said our goodbyes outside the school. Lily could have cared less - she was so dang excited!

The school year has begun.