Finding Ninee » Sharing our parenting and special needs stories with heart and humor.

On Holiday Traditions, and This Year Sucking While Being Amazing

I recently got a lovely photo-filled holiday card in the mail from my friend Emily aka Em-I-Lis. The text over her gorgeous family was “2016. Was. Awesome.”

When I saw that, I was like “WAIT WHAAAT??”

In so many ways, 2016 sucked. I mean, we put a rapist back into society because it’d be sad to not to, given that he’s such a great swimmer and all, David Bowie died, the popular vote didn’t matter, and an angry vagina-grabbing-Cheeto is going to be president in spite of gigantic conflicts of interest, his making fun of a disabled person, saying his daughter is sexy, and on and on…

2016 has included some history book lessons, for sure.

But also, in the moments, hasn’t there been beauty in 2016? I thought about it, and realized that Emily’s right. 2016 was awesome, in so many ways. 

In 2016, my little boy lost his first teeth.


He made new teeth, and new friends, as did I. His hair is longer than ever, and I’m finding unexpected cuteness in that he wants to grow it and how he’s learning to say “My hair, my choice.” 

We laughed and drew and crafted new places in Minecraft, Terraria, and made and ate meals we’d never tried before.

We laughed after barbecue, at a famous wall in Memphis. 


My son tried a burger for the first time in seven years, and will even eat a few bites of one. He tried chicken nuggets between bread, which is like eating a chicken sandwich and so really, his diet has grown by 50%.

He even licked (yes licked, not liked) mouthwash this year. 

We had an accidental, not-full, but unexpected sort-of family reunion in Memphis, where my middle brother and his now-complete family live. Once, we thought we might need to say goodbye to their beautiful daughter, born from another and fought for by another still, but is now theirs, forever.

My son got to laugh with her and his other cousins, knowing she’s ours, fully and finally.

We saw ducks at the Peabody, and saw make-shift Parkour on the streets.

We made new memories, and although we didn’t teach them the game from our youth called Blimey, they had fun chasing one another through mazes and leaves and will continue to do so after we’re gone.


2016 gave my son laughter as he found leaves bigger than his face.


We hiked, and I fell behind to take photos. Because I want to remember this. I want to remember us.

This time and this moment. My son, following his dad to the river where his dad skipped stones, and my son learns which stones are best to skip, and which have no hope of doing so.


This has been an unexpected Finish the Sentence Friday, where I’d planned to tell you about my own holiday traditions but the best thing about writing is that it leads the way.

This week’s sentence is “This holiday season, I…”

Link up, please.

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  • Emily - I love Tucker’s long hair – so cute! I agree, 2016 was a mixed bag, but it’s ending on a good note for us because Big Dude got into college just last week…woohoo! So, I’ve decided I’m going to let that good news cancel out all the other yucky stuff this year.December 8, 2016 – 11:03 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Thanks Emily! I think it’s cute. We’ll see whether it starts to bug him… it’s right at the tops of his eyes and it may start becoming annoying… YAYYAYYAY for Big Dude! That’s so awesome!December 10, 2016 – 3:19 pmReplyCancel

  • Debi Lewis - It’s important to list all the wins even despite all the losses. Thanks for reminding me! Our wins: never met our out-of-pocket-maximum for insurance this year, which is a huge indication of everyone’s excellent health; our daughters started middle school and high school and both seem to be thriving; all of us have solidified friendships; I discovered Finish the Sentence Friday!December 9, 2016 – 9:10 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Not meeting the max on out-of-pocket insurance money is an awesome win, Debi! YAY! I’m so glad you discovered Finish the Sentence. It’s a lot of fun and a great group of people participate. Thank you and happy December!December 10, 2016 – 3:21 pmReplyCancel

  • Jen Hicks - I love this post. As I’ve been trying to sort through the shit and clusterfuckery, looking for the good in this year, I’ve been happy to find quite a bit–no matter how big or small. I’ll hold those memories close and keep them in the front of my thinking. <3December 9, 2016 – 9:23 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Jen what a delight to see your name and yeah, this year… I’m still reeling that this freaking orange hate-filled buffoon is going to become president. I keep hoping that something happens to stop it. To stop him. But yeah, there’s been good in 2016 too. XOXODecember 10, 2016 – 3:27 pmReplyCancel

  • Lisa @ The Meaning of Me - So many wonderful things in here! I just said to Lizzi that I feel like the only one who doesn’t think 2016 totally sucked. This is the first year I feel like things have been really on the upswing here in a long time. I guess all of this illustrates how easy it is to get bogged down in and focus on the horrible and how easy it is to forget that there is good and beauty in every single day, even when it doesn’t seem that way.
    Now, if only I had a post…I just got too damn tired last night. 😀December 9, 2016 – 9:35 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - You have loads of time for a post! I hope you’ll link up because I’d love to read all the things that were wonderful this year for you (although I know many of them I’m sure). And yeah, while there was some gigantic utter crap this year, there’s love and laughter and people. Good wonderful people. Like you!December 10, 2016 – 3:49 pmReplyCancel

  • Out One Ear - Linda Atwell - I love how this went. Even though, most times, my favorite lines are about Tucker. This time, though, there are still lines about Tucker that made me smile. But, my favorite line is: angry vagina-grabbing-Cheeto. If you’ve referred to him this way before, I missed it. It made me chuckle. I’m still so sad over this election of THIS particular man. Not a man really at all. A “Cheeto” as you wrote. That fits the president-elect so much better.

    As far as Tucker, it sounds like he has had a BIG year. Good for him. I hope you remember every single second of it.

    Merry Christmas.

    P.S. I am on the east coast–leaving today. My friend and I are (and have been) in South Carolina, too far to come by for a quick visit. I know we will meet someday!! Any possibilities of Oregon this summer?December 9, 2016 – 10:15 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Hi Linda!
      Bummer that there wasn’t time to meet up! No plans for Oregon but maybe!?? And yeah, I’m still really sad and horrified that the vagina-brabbing-Cheeto is our next president. It’s unbelievable really. I kept thinking “surely this is the end of him,” and then again and again… and UGH.
      Tucker’s had a great year – he’s amazing and I hope I remember every good second too! Thank you and Merry Christmas and huge hugs and love back!December 10, 2016 – 3:57 pmReplyCancel

  • Michele - Kristi, this is lovely. It’s true that even in a beyond craptastic year, there are always bright spots — many of them in and among our own four walls. I’m glad you have made so many happy family memories this year! Here’s hoping 2017 brings even more of them, and happier days for us all. (We can hope.) Miss you! xoxoDecember 9, 2016 – 2:22 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Aw thanks, Michele! You’re right – so much good and love between the awful news of the world and I miss you too! Hopefully we can catch up soon!December 10, 2016 – 3:58 pmReplyCancel

  • Bev - Thank you for reminding me that there are still beauty and so much to appreciate even among the crappy moments. This has been a rough year over all, but I do have so much to look upon fondly. And yay for losing teeth, getting new ones and new friends, trying new foods, and families members that are here to stay <3December 10, 2016 – 8:03 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Hi Bev!
      Yeah, it’s been a crazy rough year for sure but still, so much to remember. Kids are pretty amazing at helping us to see the good… XODecember 10, 2016 – 3:59 pmReplyCancel

  • Kerry - So many lovely family memories here, but then DT puts his name on 2016 and for the foreseeable future and forever, always in the history books, as he likes it and as he intended. It makes me sad that he has spoiled what has otherwise been such a pleasant year, not just for myself, but for so many including you. You and your loved ones are doing so well, as are so many I hope, and yet this is really all that will stick in people’s mind when they think of this year. It has been a painful one as I suffered right along with you all, as your election cycle is always far too long, but this time round especially. As for me personally, 2016 has been one of the best years of recent memory for me and I am determined not to let a bastard ruin that. I do get bogged down by the fear and the resentment and the frustration and all that, but all the reasons we have to feel the warmth of the season, no matter how much snow or how cold, that is all still there. Comedy and humour helps me a lot, though it often feels wrong to laugh when so many are unable to. I can’t say 2017 won’t be another rotten one,come this time next year, but I am glad, for you specifically in this post, it hasn’t been all bad.December 11, 2016 – 1:39 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - UGH to stupid DT Kerry!!! HE SUCKS and it makes me super-sad too that he’s ruined so many things and has nothing but himself and some narcissistic ego thing going on to make him feel more important. I think his involvement in beauty pageants and reality TV maybe twisted his world view to forget the humanness among us. Or something. I dunno, but it sucks. Comedy and humor helps me too, but gah. I worry about Canada, too… sigh. and hugs to you and yours.December 11, 2016 – 8:56 pmReplyCancel

  • Dashy - Every year will have its good and bad times. It only just occurred to me after reading the first few lines that this year has such a negative tag. But then you’re right about the many good vibes each of us have every year, this one included. A lovely narration of your year.December 11, 2016 – 8:10 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - You know, the whole point of this originally was to talk about holiday traditions, and I’d written a bunch about it but then realized I had something else to say because it wasn’t until I got my friend’s card that I realized how much I’d thought this year sucked when yes, it has, but also? There’s beauty and love and light. Always.December 11, 2016 – 8:59 pmReplyCancel

  • Allie G smith - I remember the first time Bear ate a hamburger, it was awesome. I think it’s now his favorite meal. And I agree, 2016 hasn’t been too awesome for me. But I’m trying to end it on an upbeat note😘.December 19, 2016 – 2:37 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - OMG only another SN Mama would see that eating a burger is so awesome!!! Love you and yeah, the 2016. Freaking freaking freak. (Points for not the u right?)December 20, 2016 – 10:31 pmReplyCancel

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