Light. Eat!

Emma CarolineEmma, our 21-month-old daughter, woke up yesterday with an upset tummy. It wasn’t awful, but she did a “dry heave” and definitely was not herself. I felt so bad for her, but also just could not figure out where she had gotten any sort of a stomach bug from?? We hadn’t been around anyone who is sick for, well, as long as I could remember. (And, as far as I could remember, you don’t get stomach bugs without some sort of contact with it.)

Emma was OK for the rest of the day. A little extra sleepy at nap time, but OK. And I kept trying to think of maybe what she ate that made her not feel well, or what could have caused this for her. Couldn’t land on anything, though.

Until Jen laid her down for her nap.

“Light. Eat!” said Emma to Mom.

“What?” said a confused Mom. When Emma repeated her story, Jen noticed that one (or two) of the Christmas lights strung around the window by Emma’s bed was clear white instead of blue.

Yes, that’s right. The source of the sickness was (apparently) a Christmas light that looked a little too much like candy.

(This from the child who also once put a dead bumble bee in her mouth.)

Emma woke up in the middle of the night last night, still not feeling very well, but appears to be feeling herself again this morning. Yuck. I think we feed her pretty well … well enough that she shouldn’t need to eat Christmas lights for a snack…

But, just in case. They have been moved.

Light… Don’t eat!

Reflecting on My Two Weeks as "The Mom"

The four oldest Campbell kiddos

For the past two weeks I have assumed the role of main caregiver for our five oldest kids, and main caretaker of our household stuff. It’s something I’ve done following the birth of each of the past four kids (pretty sure it started with our daughter, Kirsten) and something I always really look forward to.

This time was no different. Just even more fun!

I am definitely a very “hands-on” Dad, even when I am filling the perhaps more “traditional” role of main bread-winner. I am often the one preparing meals, involved in many aspects of the kids days (usually do bath and bedtime stuff) and I love my days off when I get to be with the kids the whole day. (Oh, I even like house work… which is probably kind of odd…)

What I love so much about the post-baby “vacations” is that I really get to fully enjoy my time with all of the kids. It’s not after I’ve already spent a lot of myself on work or other people or whatever… it’s all of me from the start of my day to the finish. It’s definitely a different dynamic for me when I can do that, and I’d imagine it is for the kiddos.


As I reflect on the past couple weeks, one thing that keeps coming to the forefront is the help and kindness of friends and family who have been around the past couple weeks. From friends bringing and making meals for us, to our two Dads fixing, building, and installing lots of great things … we’ve enjoyed all of the ways the people we love have loved us.

The Dads? Built and installed a gate for the kids on our deck, purchased and installed a new faucet for our kitchen sink, purchased and installed a new ceiling fan for our dining room, fixed the dishwasher, washing machine, bedroom air conditioner, removed weeds from around our house, fixed the vacuum cleaner and I bet there are a few things I’m forgetting! They were busy!!

We’ve had lots of visits with friends who came to see Cameron, but also just to enjoy a day of life together. It’s nice to have good friends who don’t really need a reason to hang out, just enjoy being together.

We even got a visit from my sister! (She doesn’t like to leave her house…) πŸ™‚

So, beyond the time with my kiddos, I am also very grateful for all of the relationships God has reminded me that we are blessed to have.

My Reward

You’ll recall that this past week I posted some thoughts on Psalm 127, which was a nice reminder to me of how God has blessed me (us) with this amazing group of small people who call me Dad. One of the best parts of this time with them has been to get to know them better. When we spend all day doing life together, I really get to see more and more the very cool people God has made them to be!

Ian, our oldest, is a very sensitive fellow. He cares a lot about what people think about him. I believe it is an extension of his compassionate heart. Unfortunately, in a not-compassionate world, he has also learned to guard that tender heart by striking first. He often is the one making fun of, or pointing out flaws: things that when done in reverse are the most painful to him. This has also in recent months spilled over into his relationship with Mom & Dad. He has had a hard time receiving instruction. Over the past two weeks he and I have had many opportunities to work through that together, reading from the Bible and other smart books that remind young peoples that there is no greater source of wisdom than your father’s instruction and your mother’s teaching. Not sure what all has gone into it, but I definitely see a much more receptive heart, and a much softer attitude and greater perception of how his words and actions might make others feel. He is such a smart, perceptive boy… so nice to see his heart learning to beat for other people, too. So cool.

Alex has the passion in our family. Everything he does, he does! That can work against him in that he often erupts in quick outbursts of anger. Sometimes it turns inward, too, and he just sheds tears of frustration, not knowing what to do with all this emotion. Over the past couple weeks we’ve worked on being able to recognize and have self-discipline to stop the instant reactions, and consider the situations from the other person’s (usually big brother Ian’s) perspective. He’s doing so great with it, and I love seeing his little heart want to live in healthy relationships. God made him so relational. He loves, loves, LOVES people. Totally. He is the most generous, friendly, people-conscious of all of our kiddos. Love to see how he can direct the inborn passion for the good of his siblings, his family, and really anyone God puts in front of him!

Kirstie is a sweetie! She’s so tender-hearted and just a lover. LOVES to hug and be hugged. She’s packed full of compassionate emotion and definitely understands the concept of relational harmony. If it’s not there, she’s troubled – until she can help fix it. Kirstie is five, though, and so there are a great many conflicts with her next oldest and next youngest siblings throughout any given day. I’d say besides just having lots of fun picking out clothes each day and reading library books together and all the other fun stuff a day has to offer, we probably most worked on just thinking about other people … treating them the way you want to be treated. It’s so cool to see her beginning to grasp that. She’s a great helper, and I love, love, LOVE to get hugs from her!

Since she is only three years old, you may think it’s hard to know who Julia is, but strangely, she is the most amazing kid of all! (Yes, the others know we think that…) πŸ™‚ Somehow God seems to have packed into her the best qualities of both her Mom and her Dad! She is so kind hearted (like you wouldn’t believe) and yet she is so bluntly open and honest about whatever she is thinking. She is not affected (much) by the opinion of others, or what they might think. That gives her great freedom to say what needs to be said. And yes, she can and does! (Even though she’s only three.)

When she was two years old, she was being watched by a church nursery helper who asked how old she was. She replied that she was two. “No, you can’t be two… you talk so well!” Julia answered, again, matter-of-factly, “Yes, I am two, and I can talk well.” πŸ™‚

Julia has been a great help (LOVES to help Dad with laundry, dishes, and anything really) and is the most caring member of our family. She recognizes when hurtful words have been spoken or actions have been taken and helps to remedy the situation. Again, I so love to see how our kids are grasping that. It’s so important. To be honest about how you feel, and forthcoming about it, all toward the goal of resolving conflict … treating others the way you would want to be treated. She’s so great at it! It’s really unbelievable!

Of all the five kids that I had charge of for the past weeks, Emma had been the least known to me and has been the most fun to get to know. She’s only 17 months old, so she’s still “coming into her own” … but I got to know her so well over these two weeks. I know what she means when she lets out her little “words” (that are not words!) and I know how to read her, and I can see the precious heart that God has placed in her. She is very deliberate, determined, and knows what she likes and doesn’t like. But she is as loving and caring as her brothers and sisters.

Jen was particularly tired this previous pregnancy – which was a lot of Emma’s most formative months – and so baby Emma was not very responsive to any instruction. We had some pretty intense confrontations in the first day or two of my full-time care of her, but my loving firmness (and God’s help, I’m convinced) turned around her sweet heart in literally only a few days. She is now so good at submitting to Dad & Mom’s instruction (simple things like, “come here”, and “bring me a diaper”, and even using sign language (“please”, “all done”, and “more”), which she did not do before.

Despite her “tough” exterior, she is a lover, too. When I get her from naps, or when we’re going upstairs to lay down she will rest her head on my shoulder and just enjoy the closeness with Dad. I love it! It’s been so, so great to see her develop an even deeper understanding of my love for her and a greater trust in me (and my instruction). She’s so great!!

Going Forward

For the time being, God is providing for our family through the talents and abilities that I have. I am so blessed to be able to work from home for a large number of very varied clients in web and graphic design work. He has given me the work and it continues to come in, so I will faithfully (and gratefully) continue to do that as long as he continues to provide it. We are so thankful for the ways he has provided. Gives me great flexibility to still be greatly involved in parenting our kiddos.

I do hope for more. I hope that some day there will be a way that I can do more of what I was able to over the past two weeks (and not just at the expense of my sleep or energy in general). We’re not sure what that would look like, but think that perhaps God will provide such an opportunity in the (near?) future. That would be super amazing and awesome.

For now, I am so, SO grateful for the past two weeks and can’t wait for the next baby to come along! πŸ™‚

Whatever comes next, I could not be more thankful for the life God has given me and the people he has placed under my care, and the beautiful wife he has given me to raise those people with. I’ll be asking God to allow her to see and enjoy the greatness he has packed into all six of our kids as she takes on the greater portion of the load of kid care and house care.

It’s quite a job! A wonderful job.

The "Try Not To Scream" Game

Being my new regular day off, I got up with the kids this morning (Monday), got everyone dressed and fed, and was cleaning up from breakfast when I heard a yell of great frustration from the other room. It was our 15 month old daughter, whom I had left in her high chair while I was cleaning up the dishes from the meal. I craned my neck around while still washing the dish in my hand and saw her three year old sister standing next to her, looking quite guilty of something.

“Julia, what happened in there?” I hoped to get a reasonably honest answer.

But wasn’t quite prepared for this (after only maybe one second of hesitation):

“We’re playing the ‘try not to scream’ game.”

I guess Emma lost that round… πŸ™‚

You Can’t Make This Stuff Up, Folks

It all started last Monday. Meaning, ten days ago or so. The previous day we had a mini-birthday party for our oldest daughter, Kirstie. Some friends came over, we played games, we sang birthday songs, we ate birthday cake, we opened birthday presents. It was wonderful. But that night, pretty sure it was the middle of the night (isn’t it always?) Kirstie threw up.

Now, let me tell you something about my wife’s genes. See, the Walker clan have this thing where, when they throw up… they don’t stop. So, the same seems to be true for most of my children. And Kirstie is no exception.

The rest of the night wasn’t too bad, but there were a few episodes, and it continued through a lazy Monday, till Kirstie perked up by evening. That seemed to be that. At the dinner table that night I even admonished the children to make sure to get their sleep this week, and be sure to keep drinking lots of juice and water. “That should keep us healthy,” I spoke wisely.

Should have listened to my own advice…

Wednesday night, having had no further evidence of this strange, short-lived stomach bug, we entertained some friends. They hadn’t visited our home before, but we had a grand time. They are game players, so we played Dutch Blitz literally into the wee hours of the morning! They and their three young boys stayed till around one in the morning! It was a blast, but the girls were up till after 11pm, and the boys didn’t go to bed till 1:15am or so!! We were all exhausted, and I had work to do after they left, so it was around four in the morning before I was in bed!

Needless to say, that pretty much exhausted us. But we were not done.

Thursday held more of the same. It was a long day of being tired – and a full office day for me. Work is very busy at the moment, and especially so last week as I had a short week due to one last day working at the Apple store (meaning I had one less day to get web work done in my office). So, a long day of work, and a tiring day of tired kids for Jen… we probably should have been done. Instead? We went to visit our good friends who live WAY too far away for the evening. We knew our limitations, and made sure to leave not too late… got the kids (and us!) in bed by 11:15pm or so. (Well, I was in bed a tad later…) πŸ™‚

Needless to say, that pretty much exhausted us. But we were not done…

Apple days – especially the closing shift ones for me – are very long days. I had a lot to finish still, so despite the tiredness, I got up around eight to start my day. I call those my twelve-hour days. Usually 8:30am-8:30pm. That’s long and hard for me, but equally hard for Jen. So, it was a very long, hard, tiring day… piling onto our already exhausted family.

Ohhhh wait. How could I forget?

Friday morning at 5am, the craziness started.

Alex woke up enough to get to the bathroom sink, and threw up in the sink. What was that I had said about getting lots or rest and making sure to drink fluids… wait… what was that first one again….

Right! REST!

So, having less rest than ever… sickness took hold of us, slammed us to the matt, held us in a sleeper hold, added a pile drive or two, and then pinned us to the matt again, down for the count. Really. It was that bad.

After Alex, Julia started getting sick. Both of them were sick on Friday, as was I. I felt a bit queasy on Thursday night when I went to sleep, but made it to sleep and didn’t think too much of it. Felt well enough to go to Apple on Friday – and wasn’t going to call in sick my last day there anyway! BUT, probably about three hours into my day there, I began feeling definite signs that I was definitely sick. So, I pressed through, but that was probably not very smart. Came home that night – exhausted – to a family exhausted from a day of sickness.

We went to bed that night, hoping we had endured the worst of it.

As I recall, that night passed relatively peacefully. In fact, on Saturday, it was only I who felt bad. I woke up feeling exhausted, achy, head-achy, and a tad queasy. But, there was a houseful of germ-infested, sickness-filled bedding to clean! So, I set out that morning to eliminate the germs right then and there. I opened every window, and removed, washed and dried every piece of bedding on every bed. It was quite an undertaking. I sprayed every surface I could think of with Lysol. The house was completely free of germs when I was done.

Or so I thought.

After completely exhausting any energy I may have had left in my body, I collapsed on the couch around dinner time and began feeling really, really cold. I hadn’t felt like eating much all day. I think I had a bowl of soup for lunch. Whatever was going on, it was not good! We had canceled out on a trip to Buffalo that day for a big extended family birthday party, and as I laid on the couch barely conscious and shivering, I was really thankful we had not made the trip!

I also began wondering about the next morning. I really wasn’t sure I was going to be able to sing as planned. The brevity of the bug passing through my children did give me hope, but mine seemed different. I went to bed around 11 that night (super early for me!) and just felt awful. If I hadn’t been exhausted, it would have been hard to actually go to sleep, I think. I was thankful that no other children were throwing up, though. That was a positive.

Somewhere in the middle of the night, Emma woke Jen up, or was it Julia? I don’t know, but she didn’t sleep very much. (And I certainly was no help! I woke up at 2 or 3am, so achy that it hurt to even breathe! Somehow I found a position that allowed me to go to sleep, only to wake up drenched in sweat a little while later!)

What a miserable few days!!!

Oh right, and it was Daylight Savings Time. I lost an hour of sleep that night. Nice. πŸ™‚

Magically, I woke up at 6:40am, right before my alarm was to go off, and was neither sweaty, nor achy… and felt pretty OK! I rolled out of bed and got ready for the gig. All was pretty good, even mostly didn’t have a head ache. I was grateful for my healthy body and perhaps even more for the quiet house around me. That was a great sound. I began thinking we had finally made it through.

I’ve got to stop thinking that…

I instant messaged Jen in between first and second service and found out that the baby was now sick πŸ™ Poor little Emma, whose first birthday is only days away, was not only throwing up, but it was about every 15-30 minutes! And, it was kinda strange looking, so it was definitely a concern to Jen – and now me! I had to go back to work, so with a knot in my gut – for Emma and Jen, not from a stomach bug – I sang my songs, then went back and talked to Jen on the phone. We were both praying that God would just remove this sickness at least from Jen, but I think from all of our household, too!

I got home and helped with Emma. Jen had her wrapped in a towel to catch anything she might not want to keep down. But actually, she had started getting better already. She was pretty happy, cheery and playing. We were so glad! Everyone else seemed pretty good, too, and Jen and Ian were crossing their fingers that they had somehow escaped this pesky bug!

Meanwhile, reality set in for me again and I had a pretty hard rest of the day – still quite achy, not very hungry, exhausted, and even cold/shaky. Not good. But when my body saw it’s chance to rest, it took it. I was in bed pretty early that night.

Oh wait… πŸ™‚

Before I went to bed, Ian, who had just been saying that evening, “I feel just fine, Mom,” … yes, you know. He made it to a much cleaner place than most of the small children, but … it was only the beginning. In true Walker fashion, there were many more episodes for Ian that night and through the next day.

“WHEN IS THIS GOING TO END???” we wondered, simply exhausted. (But, admittedly, getting rather good at the whole vomit triage routine…)

I had another hard night – just strange overpowering flu symptoms. Jen did, too… no one has been sleeping well for quite some time in our house. Thankfully, most everyone was so exhausted that we did sleep in Monday. All of us. I still worked several hours in my office that day, but committed to not working more than a half a normal day. And indeed, that’s what I did. I think that was helpful, as there was no more aching, nor was I exhausted. There was also no more throw up happening in the house from the early afternoon on. It appeared that we were finally done.

Tuesday came and went without any trouble, so we even went out for a little pre-birthday treat for Julia (whose birthday was the next day) at Burger King. All did well, and we were home and in bed by a pretty normal Campbell bed time. Nice!

The Part You Just Can’t Make Up

Yes folks, as if that all wasn’t bad enough…

All day today (Wednesday) was very good. No throw ups. Much less exhaustion. All was getting back to normal. Had a fun birthday day -doing lots of fun things Julia wanted to do. Some of it was making fun things in the kitchen with Dad. We made a green birthday cake, which we later iced with green icing, and topped with green sprinkles. Then for dinner, she helped me make green pancakes and some sausage, to boot. (She loves the color green, can you tell?)

We stuffed ourselves with all of the green cuisine, and celebrated our beautiful little girl. Even made it to bed, and were settling down for the night when…

“Mom!” came the troubled voice from the top of the steps, “Julia threw up!!” Big sister Kirstie was appalled and so were her parents! WHAT??!?!? NO WAY. NO WAY! Again???

Sure enough… Julia had thrown up, so we began the clean up process. Jen started in on the mess in the room and I began prepping a bath for little Julia.

This is shocking… prepare yourself…

Not two minutes later, from downstairs we hear, “Ian is throwing up!!!”


No one was laughing.

It was true, but thankfully, I could tell something was different about these two, nearly simultaneous incidents. Both Julia and Ian showed no after effects. They were completely happy, alert, and totally fine after spewing their dinners on the floor. (Wish they could have found a better place for them…) My best guess is something that we ate was not “kosher”. Jen has already gone through the leftovers and some of the ingredients (the eggs in particular) and appropriately disposed of them.

But seriously, folks. How much can we really take? Do you know how much laundry we have done in the last 11 days? How many times we’ve changed sheets, pillow cases and blankets? How many times we’ve said, “Get the bucket!”? πŸ™‚

Really, really crazy. From the stomach bug, to, what? Food poisoning? Not sure, but … can it please stop?

I’m hoping that by chronicling it, I’m putting an end to the story. Perhaps the pen is mightier than the germ? Let’s see…


(I think that probably did it.) πŸ˜‰

Who You Know

I was thinking tonight about how things have happened in my life. I got to chat briefly with a long-time, good friend – Adam – whom I do not get to really share life with any more. He and his family live in another area of the country, and aside from the occasional conversation over electronic mediums, and the even more occasional (meaning, almost never) in-person conversations, our friendship is mostly something from our past.

We can always pick it up again, whenever we strike up those conversations. But with such distance geographically, and chronologically, our friendship is definitely different than it was “back in the day”. (When I would say he was probably my closest friend.)

What is so interesting though – perhaps only because I’m thinking these things after two in the morning? – is how when you look back on life, it’s so cool to see how all things do work together for good. God crosses paths at just the right times. Somehow, reminiscing about the good ol’ days with my friend Adam reminded me that his friendship with Jen (and the words he spoke when he introduced the two of us) eventually brought five super-awesome people into the world.

Not directly, of course. Not even intentionally. But it happened. Adam knew Jen, and thought she was awesome. He said, “Jen’s the kind of girl you could marry,” meaning the general you, but … truer words he never spake. πŸ™‚ Now eighteen and a half years later… I can’t imagine my life without Jen, and God has given us five tiny people to love and to be Dad & Mom to. Crazy.

That’s the other thing. Thanks to my friendship with Adam, I met Jen. Many years later, we married, and God added to our family… and not just “some people” but specifically, Ian, Alex, Kirsten, Julia, and Emma. Those are the specific people that God created – from me and Jen – and he wanted us to be the ones who were Mom & Dad to them. Sometimes that blows me away. Other times it just makes me smile. How cool that God set it up that way. He is the giver of life, and he has given these specific lives to our care, and us to them. So cool.

So just remember tonight (or, likely, this morning or later) that you are who you are supposed to be. All your strengths, and all your weaknesses. You are also in the right place, and in the right relationships, and perhaps you are even the Mom or Dad you are supposed to be. That doesn’t mean complacency about destructive behavior or relationships. It does mean that when you start to doubt your worth, or your impact… it’s time to remember that YOU are the perfect you.

Who knows what will be credited to you eighteen and a half years from now?

Big Family Shortcuts

I have noticed that with so many children around here, I am needing shortcuts when referring to them every now and again.

We already had “the boys” and “the girls” before for easy pairings. We also call Kirsten & Alex, “The Twins” because they really look a lot alike, and are similar in other ways, and are the two in the middle. Well, they were.

Now are getting even more creative.

First there’s Mom & Emma, who spend a lot of time together these days. We call them either “Momemma” or “Emmamom”. Both are equally fun to say.

Then we have, “The Oldies”. These are the three oldest kids, who are not our babies.

Then I came up with a clever way of referring to two kids at a time using former (or current) Buffalo Bills players’ numbers. For instance, Ian and Julia are “Frank Reich”. This is because Ian is the first born (#1) and Julia is fourth (#4), so together they are 14, which is Frank Reich’s number.

The combinations are pretty fun.

Ian and Alex? Jim Kelly. Kirsten & Alex (if we’re bored with “The Twins”) are Beast Mode (nickname for Marshawn Lynch, #23). Ian and Emma? Todd Collins. (I know! Good one!) πŸ™‚ Alex & Julia? Terrence McGee.

Pretty good system, I think. πŸ™‚

So, life as a big family continues to be very interesting, and tons of fun. More stories to come, I’m certain of it!


Since computer (and especially blogging) time is limited… please allow me to share some fun stories/thoughts using another list-style post…

  • Julia just turned two, but she is the smartest cookie in the bunch sometimes. This week she has been really helpful with the laundry. I don’t always know whose clothes are whose, but she does! Seriously funny. And helpful! Also, she is a great talker (though sometimes hard to understand). Maybe one of the cutest things she says is when she’s really excited about something, she says, “Yay-uh”. (Pronounced like a souther gospel preacher, which I’m pretty sure she’s never heard…) πŸ™‚ Hilarious!
  • The Sabres won tonight. They keep stringing me along. They sit 5 points out of the final playoff spot with only 12 possible points remaining. Thanks to some good scheduling, the team we are chasing (Boston) is our opponent for two of those games, so we can possibly make up 4 points in those two games. There’s still a very outside chance they can make the playoffs, but I’m really not optimistic about any chance of advancing if they do. We shall see…
  • Michigan State has worked their way into the sweet sixteen in the NCAA tournament. (Which is now only the terrific twelve or something after last night’s games…) They really have a good team this year. Solid rebounding (as always) from our big guys, Namick & Suton, and a stellar freshman Kalin Lucas, as well as solid scoring threats in Morgan, Allen, & Gray. Ohh yeah… we also have that guy Drew Neitzel… he’s pretty good. (If you don’t know him, he’s a senior, and he was fanastic as a sophomore at least, and has only kept getting better.) πŸ™‚ They play Friday (and hopefully Sunday). Friday’s game is against the #1 seed in the South region, Memphis. 9:57pm tip off on CBS. Well worth watching!
  • Kirstie just oozes nice. It’s incredible. If there is ever any “not-niceness” between anyone in the family, Kirstie steps in to the edification of the one not-niced. Every time. She’s so great! Such a gentle heart. She’s my little lover. She often tells me, “I just love you, Dad!” And then gives me a big hug, and often a big kiss. Well, as you can guess… I just love her, too. πŸ™‚
  • Sometimes I really can’t believe how old Ian is. He is nine, and definitely becoming his own person. We can see the things he really likes to do. He even talks about it. He’s starting to figure it out too. He’s very creative. He too is a gentle spirit. (Sometimes too gentle. πŸ™ Easily crushed.) He’s an artist. He’s such a people person. Loves people. Could be his weakness actually (people pleasing) but it will also be a great strength. I’m honestly a little nervous about this transitional stage. Will I(we) handle it well? Will we be able to encourage Ian as he really begins becoming a unique individual? It’s a very interesting stage for all of us. I think we are merely on the cusp, but we’re definitely there. All we can do is just love him, train him best we know how, and live out what we say. And overall, make sure he knows that he is completely safe with us any time and always. That may be harder than it sounds – or I may just think too much. πŸ™‚
  • Alex is TOO picky! Argh. It’s been quite a struggle with people bringing us food (a bunch of new stuff he hasn’t really seen before) and getting him to eat. Not to mention the great Easter candy he knows we have… that’s quite a distraction as well. πŸ™‚ It was funny today when we were dealing with all that again for the 17,000th time that I actually thought of “the kids in India” when I was so mad at his pickiness. “You know, the kids in India don’t have any food! They just eat rice, if they can find any!!!” (Not sure on the accuracy of that statement… but thought it was funny that I actually thought it, and sorta used it. I am truly a dad, and truly old.) πŸ™‚
  • Emma Caroline couldn’t be cuter. πŸ™‚ Funny story from today… we got a new monitor so Jen can be down here and Emma can sleep upstairs. All of a sudden we heard a screaming baby in the monitor! Yikes! What happened?? That was not normal. (Although, she has had a tendency to “freak out” at times…) So, Jen went to help her – but she was sound asleep. Completely still. Weird. When Jen came back down, Emma started freaking out again! Worse than before! Very, very strange… Jen went back up… Emma was completely still!!!! Finally, we sent Ian up to check while we stayed down to listen… you guessed it.. we were picking up someone else’s baby!!!! Ha! Very weird. Kinda funny… very weird.

Much more to tell, but no time, and no energy with which to tell it. Must sleep.

Progress Report

Well, it’s been a little over a week now that we have been home from the hospital with our newest family member, and it’s even been a couple days since any of us has been sick. (Not sure which one of those bits of news is more welcome at this point…) πŸ˜‰

Today was a fun day, actually. There were no scheduled visits, which although greatly appreciated and enjoyed, do not really allow for any sort of a schedule to the day. Not so this day. We got a lot of cleaning done (even finally vacuumed) and finished 4 or 5 loads of laundry (and a few loads of dishes). We read library books in the morning before taking a walk up to the library (all seven of us!) and getting some more books! (We read some of those upon our return home!) We even had time to run some errands (the four older kids and me) which included a stop at our favorite ice cream place – CHILL & GRILL – for an end of the day treat!

It was a really fun day. πŸ™‚

We also took a break in the middle of the day (after lots of serious house cleaning) to play a game, just Dad and the three oldest kids. That was fun. I am thoroughly enjoying spending so much time with my kids. I love this part of having a new baby πŸ™‚

There have been a few fun kid moments over the past couple days…

Last night, after a looong day of fun on Easter Sunday (which included your normal easter fun as well as a visit from our friends the Chis and two trips to Chill & Grill!) Alex snuck upstairs to get ready for bed and as I was coming up to put the boys in bed, Alex said, “Wait, Dad! I’m almost done!” He was very happy about it, so I let him finish what he was scheming. When I got up there, I saw Alex putting the finishing touches on cleaning the bathroom for Mom & Dad. πŸ™‚ He said he knew we were tired, and he wanted to do that for us. He cleaned the sink, and even used “just a washcloth and some water” to clean our toilet. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ Very cute… a little gross… but very cute.

Tonight as I was bathing the girls (which I remembered that I needed to do after I had already gotten the girls in the jammies for the night…) Kirstie was almost done and she said as I was washing her off, “Dad, when you need me to wash you off I’ll just do it for you, OK?” πŸ™‚ Again… very cute.

There have been many cute moments like that this last week or so, and I am so thankful that though it’s been super hard work (lack of sleep, lots of extra sickness, lots of extra visits, and just being behind already from the 3 days at the hospital) it’s so totally worth it, and there are many fun/amazing moments with my kids that I am definitely blessed to have.

That said… there’s not much time to do the stuff I’m wanting to do (or needing to do!) as is evidenced by a blog post at 1:00am πŸ™‚

Tomorrow we have a visit from some friends in the morning, and then in the afternoon we’ll hopefully be getting our new van seat, which will allow us all to (legally) go somewhere as a family of seven! (Right now, our van only seats six.) πŸ™‚ Oh, and then another friend will be bringing us dinner. Probably a good day for that!

At least we’re not still sick! πŸ™‚

Oh, and Jen and Emma are doing great. Jen was feeling pretty bad at the end of last week (which is why I am still not back in my office officially) but feeling lots better now. Things are definitely progressing.

I may have to post some more Emma photos here pretty soon… Still working on the video, too. πŸ™‚

Grateful For Washing Machines

It was not a good night in the Campbell house. Perhaps it even goes back most of a week now.

I think I told the story here of coming home with Emma. The night before we came home, our six year old Alex threw up eight times! He was better (mostly) by the time we got home, but we were certainly leery. Ian was next. That night he threw up just once, but it was gross… and it was on the bed I had just put new sheets on for him! πŸ™‚

Well, thankfully, we have a washing machine.

This week has seen its share of laundry loads. Normal loads, sick loads, many loads. We do have seven people in this house now. We also did a load or two of clothes for Jen and the new baby to wear, brought out from their cold, dark storage containers.

Well, last night was a doozy.

First, I fell asleep on the couch watching the hockey highlights from the night (seriously… they were almost over…) and was awoken by an angry Jen’s voice, “Greg… Greg!… GREG!!” That’s not pleasant. Nor is the reason she was calling me. First, she was hurting for some unknown reason, and Emma was not wanting to sleep, which made it worse. But the reason I was summoned? Julia had thrown up. Time for Dad to clean up!

I cleaned her up and was going to deal with the rest in the morning. Went straight to bed and Jen was in and out with Emma, and I noticed that my stomach really did not feel very good. I don’t usually throw up, so I wasn’t worried about that, but it was sort of difficult to go to sleep.

Within half an hour, Julia was back. She had thrown up again. This all started at 12:30am or so, and continued until I think 3:33am. Probably four or five times I went in, cleaned up the baby, and got new sheets, towels, blankets, sleeping bags… whatever I could find! Meanwhile, at about 2:30, I felt awful and spent some time in the bathroom myself. (Strangely, I did not throw up, but I thought I was going to… and when I “tried”… nothing happened but I felt amazingly better!)

Well after all of this, we have discovered that our tummy troubles are not gone… Julia, Kirsten, and Dad all have… ya know. The other side. Yeah. Not pretty.

I also came to find out that Jen slept downstairs much of the night, trying to get comfortable… didn’t really sleep much at all. Still very sore, but also had the chills. πŸ™ What’s going on??!?!

Jen just left for the doctor – for the regular one week check up for her and baby. Should be interesting… πŸ™‚

I just finished cleaning up all the throw up covered clothing (I am very thankful for washing machines…) and doing the dishes from the night before so we could do the dishes from breakfast after I gave Julia a bath because she had gotten throw up in her hair after I folded the laundry I already had done yesterday to make room for the laundry I needed to do today and now the kids are done with breakfast and waiting for the next event of the day…

Did I mention that I am grateful for washing machines?

(Trying to keep a positive outlook here…) πŸ˜‰

Lucky Seven

Being that it’s the last few moments of this year’s St. Patrick’s Day, I figured that was a fitting title. And really, it’s very appropriate.

We are now a family of seven, and learning what that means day by day. Of course, our seventh member is not really contributing all that much these days. She has managed to bring quite an influx of visitors through our humble abode – something her dad very much appreciates – but other than that she’s almost hard to notice! She’s doing everything a 4-day-old person should be doing, and doing it quite well, thank you very much!

Mom is doing fantastically. Never been better following the birth of our babies. Seriously. On Sunday, we went out for a birthday lunch for my dad (since she was feeling up to it) and on the way there, we stopped at the Walmart Super Center for diapers and other things babies need. Well, if you’ve been to one of these gigantic establishments you know that there is a LOT of walking involved! And Jen walked it all! Pretty quickly!! Amazing! She could have never(in a million years!) done that following any of our other babies.


So this morning, in addition to our lucky green shamrock-shaped pancakes, I was feeling quite lucky to be part of this great family that God continues to build and grow together. From my favorite person on the planet (Jen) to my next five favorites (Ian, Alex, Kirsten, Julia, and now Emma) I couldn’t be luckier.

And I’m not even Irish. I’m Scottish. And a bit Welsh. Maybe some German. But I digress…

On top of that we have some great friends who helped when the baby was coming, and more who are dropping by to meet the baby and calling to check on us and share in our joy, and more still who will be bringing some meals this week and next.

Ya can’t get any luckier. πŸ™‚

So on this day associated with luck, I just wanted to count – and publicly proclaim – my many blessings.

I’m one lucky dude.