Fast Thoughts

fasting

I have had several people reach out and ask me about fasting for Lent (which starts tomorrow) so I thought I’d do a quick post about my PERSONAL thoughts on fasting and how I’ve handled it in the past.  I want to start off by saying these are MY thoughts, not coming from our church (since I work there I just want to be clear on that)!

I have always felt that fasting should be SIMPLE, not to be confused with easy.  The point of fasting is to be able to focus your time and energy on prayer.  To give up something that will challenge you and direct your thoughts to God. I personally feel that if I were to do the “Daniel Fast” or give up meat or do whole 30 or another dietary fast my days would be consumed with what I am going to eat everyday, which is not the purpose at all.

So I keep it simple.  Giving up sweets, that’s simple, but for me personally that is my one vice, when I’m having a bad day I turn to sweets for comfort.  I know a lot of people give up some form of media (especially facebook).  There is genuinely no wrong choice on what to give up.  When you are mad, sad, angry, anxious, worried, etc. what do you turn to?  That would be one place to start when considering what you might want to give up.  Pray about it, and trust your gut on that.  I knew someone one time who felt like she was supposed to give up snickers bars which she thought was ridiculous until day one of her fast, she got upset at work and found herself at the vending machine purchasing a snickers bar and in that moment she realized she ate a snickers every time she was upset.

If you’ve never tried it, do it.  If you have something in your life you need a break through on, do it. If it terrifies you, do it.  If you are afraid you are going to fail at it, do it anyway.  I personally have had more answered prayers during times of fasting than any other time in my life. I also get a lot of peace from it and am more joyful.  I am excited to see what God does in my life and in the lives of people around me.  If you are praying audacious prayers right now and want me to partner with you feel free to message me and I’d love to pray for your needs!

To my 4.5+ Year Old

To my lovely, delightful, little girl, Ellery Wynn,

Oh sweet girl.  It happened.  I have been anxiously awaiting the day for IT to happen, and it finally did, and instead of pure elation, which I was sure I would feel, I actually felt devastated.  You’ve decided you want to cut our bedtime routine down to just one book and a prayer.  You see girlie, bedtime routine had become a little ridiculous, here is what it did look like: potty, teeth brush, hair brush, pajamas, 2 short books or 1 long, a song, prayer, another song, talk about one thing, and then either mama snuggles or daddy jokes.  Oh, but then it didn’t even stop there.  Then we had to come check on you every 10 minutes for 30 minutes, then turn the light out and lay with you for another minute.  Add in a bath and a tantrum and some nights bedtime lasted well over an hour and it was exhausting.

Then one day you said, “I actually just want a book and a quick snuggle.”  We compromised and added prayer time in there.  You signal that the snuggle time is over when you either A. give me a kiss or B. say you love me, and you tell me what the cue is going to be when the snuggle begins.  If I’m lucky you let it last a whole 30 SECONDS.  You also go into your room by yourself and get your pjs on and take care of all your bathroom business alone too, tonight it all happened with the door closed.

This IS actually great.  You are growing up, gaining independence and it’s important.  I’m crazy proud of you, to be honest.  I love the girl you are becoming and I know that this is part of life, but goodness it’s a little heart wrenching for this mama to think about all the times I shortened the songs or begged you to pick a shorter book, or tried to hurry you through it because all it took was 4.5 years and the long bedtimes are done.  Just like that, the blink of an eye, and we are down to one book and a prayer.  Now, I’ve gotten a little sneaky, so when I come in and turn off your light to give you a snuggle I have started asking you a question to get the conversations back.  Tonight I asked you of all the books you’ve ever read what is your favorite?  I was surprised by the answer, “Sometimes I’m Bombaloo,” but I can see how you can greatly relate to this one so it really shouldn’t have been shocking.  I’m crossing my fingers you let me have these little chats every night when I say the final goodnight, but knowing everything is fleeting I’ll just cherish them while I get them.

It’s fun to watch you grow up, it’s so hard to let you go, I am holding tight to my last few months having you home with Vaughn and me 2 days a week.  I feel so grateful that I have had the absolute privilege of staying home with you since birth, but goodness it makes it hard to think about being away from you five days a week come fall.  You are ready, you are so ready for kindergarten, but this mama, well I’ll get there…..

Love You Forever!

Mama

Ellery 4.5

Photo courtesy of Annie who makes these necklaces 😉

EO Carrying Case

EO case

I will talk more about this in future posts, but our family has become “crunchier” over the last 6 months and started using essential oils in place of a lot of different things, fragrances, medicines, and even some food products.  I have lots to post on that topic, but this past weekend I went to a “make n take” party where we made 10 roller bottles for our kiddos.  When I got home I immediately hit amazon to get a carrying case because I like everything in one spot!  I ordered this hard case that fits exactly 10 bottles up to 10 ML each and I LOVE it.  A friend asked me to link to it, so here you go, click on the link below to order yours 😉

I read a book

The art

I read a book, in it’s entirety, in one weekend.  Yes, I Laura, actually read a book cover to cover in a couple days.  My brother loaned me this book well over a year ago and I read a few chapters and life got busy and I never came back to it.  When I was leaving for a quick getaway to Florida I scanned my bookshelves and decided to pick it up again.  It’s called The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. It’s a book told completely from the perspective of the family dog Enzo. It’s got a lot of highs and lows and it’s so fun to read it from the perspective of a silent spectator. I would highly recommend this book, especially to people who view their pets as a member of their family.

It was seriously lovely to get away for a weekend with my best friend, sans children. We walked the beach A LOT (one day we walked 12 miles on the beach….my legs are crazy sore), chatted a ton, spent some time alone (I read, she ran) and had a marvelous uninterrupted time together. This trip taught me a few things which I hope to share in the coming days!

 

Vaughn’s Favorite Valentine Book

Happy V

Around here we love seasonal books.  We have a box of them in our living room that I change out for every Holiday.  I love having “fresh” reading material every few months.  Vaughn has gravitated towards one book in particular and that is “Happy Valentine’s Day Mouse” by Laura Numeroff. The cutest thing about it is she pronounces it mouth instead of mouse, she she requests the “mouth book”.  Oh how I am going to miss her incorrect pronunciations of things.  My favorite word she says is marshmallow which she has shortened to “Meemo.”  If you are looking for a sweet Valentine’s book for your little one, we recommend Happy Valentine’s Day Mouse!

February Goals!

Oh blog I miss you so stinking much.  I am going to ease back into this blogging thing and in February I am going to focus on posting 28 of my favorite things, I promise things are going to get real deep and serious on here this year at some point, so enjoy the fluff this month!

I will be completely honest with you that I will now be using affiliate links in my posts, but I will only be posting things that I really truly love to use and I’ll add recipes, stories, etc to all my posts.  But if you see something you like this month, this stay at home mama, who works 3 jobs, would LOVE if you clicked and purchased through the link I provide.  Alright, now that that’s out of the way, here is my first favorite thing!

This morning Vaughn was a complete disaster. She’s got some sickness going on with puffy eyes, a runny nose, ear discomfort and I could do NOTHING for her.  I tried to get her to take a bath because she loves the water, but she was not having it.  Then I bribed her into the bath by telling her I would take a bath with her.  I’ve never done it before (she’s hopped in my shower with me in the past), but I thought, it’s worth a shot because she is MISERABLE.  We hopped in the tub and played for a solid half hour.  For Christmas I asked my brother to get the girls boon Jellies (link below) and they have quickly become our favorite bath toy of all time.  I kinda hate bath toys, they get gross and can get moldy and are just sort of yucky, but these are so nice, they can air out, and the girls love to stick them all over the tub and their bodies.  I highly recommend them!

Gratitude

gratitudeEvery year I pick or word, or rather a word picks me, that I focus on throughout the year.  This year the word that has stood out to me the most that I am going to intentionally focus on is gratitude.  There is always something to be thankful for and I plan to start each day this year stating 3 things I am grateful for.

I genuinely hope I can start blogging more. I’ve missed this little space so much.  There is a ton going on in my life right now and I just haven’t made the time to sit down and write down my thoughts, but I’m hoping 2017 can be a year for more of this!

Vaughn’s 2 Year Letter

To My Sunshine Vaughn Emerson,

We’ve had a rough year, but when I rock you at bedtime, snuggle your sweet body, sing you songs, look into your still chunky face, kiss those cheeks of yours, I genuinely view you as a bright spot in my day no matter how challenging our day together has been.  You are a riot.  Your dancing is some of the best I’ve ever seen.  You love to enrage your sister and you are quite good at it.  You have figured out what her buttons are and are on a mission to push as many of them as you can, I find this at the same time maddening and hilarious.  I called to get a speech therapist evaluation for you and within a week you were talking about twice as much as before, you must have heard me talking to them and decided it was time to break the silence.  The words are coming slowly, but I can see the gears turning in your head.  You understand what people are saying way more than you let on.  You love to be rough: wrestling, jumping off of things, punching, biting, slapping, hitting, kicking and just generally making your presence known.  Unlike me you really enjoy being outside, we got a baby rollercoaster from a friend and you can ride on that thing non-stop, you love a thrill.  Much to my dismay you have become a picky eater, I’ve always said I wouldn’t cater to that, but on more than one occasion I’ve handed you an applesauce pack before bed in hopes that you wouldn’t wake up in the middle of the night starving, this mama likes her sleep.  You turning two was a rough one for me, the end of us having babies in our house.  I now understand why the baby of the family stays a baby longer, it’s very hard to let go.  I’ve started rocking and snuggling you more than ever before as I hold on to this phase for as long as I can.  I can’t stand the thought of the transition to the bed or potty training because that feels really really final.  While I’m holding you back in these small ways I’m doing my best to usher you into the next phase, teach you as much as I can, and help you bloom.  While I know logistically you need to go to preschool next year in order for me to get my work hours in, I’m secretly (or not so secretly) hoping you are waitlisted one more year so I don’t have to let you go quite yet. I’ll let God work that one out and be satisfied with either outcome.  I just love watching you grow!!

Love you forever,

Mama

Here are just a few of the hundreds of photos from our photoshoot with Jenna at the end of September.  There are SO many good ones of you, but for time sake here are four of my favorites.

vaughn v-and-e-sept-2016 me-and-vaughn vaughn-and-dad

On Rediscovering My Joy

joy

This week I’ve been on the quest to locate the joy in motherhood again.  It’s been missing for awhile and I’m tired of not loving it anymore.  This week has been one of my best weeks in awhile and I am beginning to realize a few things that have been stealing my joy and I’m now working hard to eliminate them.

If you know me personally I am a DOER.  Kind of to the extreme.  I work 3 jobs, yep 3….while staying home full time with my kids and am committed to spending nearly every evening after bedtime not at my computer, but with my hubby or with friends.  How do I do it?  I hustle ALL DAY LONG.  I rarely ever take one single moment for myself and my day is planned out from the moment my alarm sounds at 6AM until the kiddos go to bed at 8PM.  I finally committed 2 weeks ago to take time off every week from work and it’s been HARD, like I literally don’t know what to do with myself (that is why I am blogging right now).  So from 5PM on Friday until I wake up Sunday morning I do not allow myself to open my work computers.  I think I will learn to love this break from work, but right now it’s sorta driving me nuts.

So that is one step in the direction of finding my motherhood joy.  Taking the time on the weekends to not be pulled in any direction other than relationships.  So far it’s been a struggle for me, but I’m pretty confident in the next few weeks I will learn to LOVE it.

Step 2, this week I have let go of something every day.  One day Ellery went to school without having her hair or teeth brushed and it was very obvious when we walked into school that I hadn’t touched her hair in at least 24 hours.  The next day we got the hair and teeth brushed, but breakfast was an applesauce squeeze pack and a cup full of rainbow goldfish on the drive to school.  Then the following day I let work go all morning and took Vaughn on an outing for the first time, maybe ever, I realized I needed to spend time with JUST Vaughn and I never do that, like ever.  It was a stretch for me, mornings with Vaughn are my time to get the groceries done, answer e-mails, run errands, do anything that is easier with one than with 2, but it was really good for us to GO do something just her and me and I hope to make this more of a habit. Then last night perhaps the hardest thing to let go of was my expectations of what it looks like to have people over.  I went to the store bought pre-marinated chicken breasts, frozen french fries, boxed brownies and fruit and I called it a day.  Guess what?  We had just as nice of a time visiting with friends than we would have if I had made the homemade potatoes, made my own marinade and made brownies from scratch (which was all on the original menu).

This week I realized I had lost my joy when I made the vow that I had to do it all.  Been going to a mom group called Mom to Mom and it’s been the best thing I could do for my mom self.  They affirm us every week that we cannot do it all so I’m trying to do two things a day well.  1.  Be present with my kids.  This week has been intentional outings that I knew my kids would love.  2. Ask my husband everyday, “what can I do today to make your day better?” Then I commit to do that one thing even if other things get dropped in order to do that.

Step 3:  I am committing on Monday to call ECI which is an early childhood intervention program to help us with Vaughn.  Something is off, we don’t know what, but I have hope that they can help us to work with her to communicate better and cut down on the hours of daily screaming.  The screaming has really zapped my joy and fried my nerves and after a YEAR of not giving into the extreme tantrums without much progress I have gotten affirmation from several people in my life that it’s time to seek some assistance because the behavior is more extreme than the normal “terrible two” type stuff.  There is a really sweet girl in that little body and I want to help her learn to showcase that more often.

So I haven’t FOUND my joy yet, but I am full steam ahead on the adventure of finding it again.  Making my doer self do less is going to likely be my hardest challenge, but I am committed, I must turn the tide.

Fall is a Decision

fall-photo

Here in Texas I have learned something…..Fall is a decision.  In Illinois Fall is a FEELING.  The air turns crips, the leaves change colors and drop, there is a smell in the air unlike anything else and you want to cozy up with your pumpkin spice whatever every day.  Here we don’t get that.  Today on the calendar it says it’s fall, the forecast says it’s a high of 93 and the sun will be BLAZING hot all day long.  But inside the Campbell house we have it decorated, have been diffusing Theives, there are fake fall leaves scattered across the floor because the kids got into my craft box, and very soon we will bake some apple crisp, purchase cider and a great big pot of chili will sit atop my stove.  This is the hardest season for me in Texas.  Don’t get me wrong, summer is terrible, but pretend fall I think tops my list of the time I feel the most homesick.

In case you are like, uh oh, Laura hates Texas again, quite the contrary.  I still love the town we live in, just accepted a job at our church that I’m excited about, and we are making friends, I just wish all of this was happening in the midst of 70 degree temps with a backdrop of beautiful colored trees.  So to all my friends in the North, HAPPY FALL!  I will sit down here in a tank top and shorts with my jealousy in check, because I also am very aware what happens after fall up there and I have learned not to miss that frigid cold!