Summer 2017 Week 2

Summer week 2 was unexpectedly delightful. I was supposed to spend the majority of the week in Dallas for a work training, but that has been postponed. So this week I got to soak up time with both my girls because we had no camps and I had very few commitments.

Monday was one of my favorite days we’ve had in a long time. Ellery is VERY into making cards right now and wrote 30 or more this week, she also made “treasure maps” and hid the cards around the house for us to find. Our library has Kindergarten camp every Monday afternoon and Ellery says that was the highlight of her week. We are going to attempt to go to as many of those as we can, but wrangling Vaughn for an hour and a half in the library as we approach nap time is not exactly my favorite thing (perhaps I’ll pawn Vaughn off and work at the library during camp next time).

On Tuesday our movie theater has free kid’s movies so we hit that up in the morning. We saw Kung Fu Panda 3, which I wouldn’t recommend, but it’s always fun taking the girls to the movies. I was feeling extra generous so we drove through Starbucks and got the girls pirate cake pops. On Wednesday we went to our local burger place (with a sandbox, I know I know, it’s true love I tell you) and bumped into our cousins and that was a fun surprise. Thursday I got a special outing with my big girl Ellery, we went to the library and saw a children’s musician and then came home and baked some cookies.

Andrew took the day off on Friday so the girls got a special treat and Dad came to our afternoon library outing, Circus Chickendog. It was a little strange and not the most well done things I’ve ever seen, but the girls were entertained. We also got to go swimming this weekend which was so nice, the weather has been dry and HOT, so the pool made for a lovely Saturday afternoon.

Tomorrow we are off to the races with a super busy week ahead, but so far we are loving summer break!!

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A Surprising Day

This past weekend wasn’t BAD, coming off of a fabulous long weekend it was a little lack luster, but not bad. But it FELT bad, mostly because my attitude was bad.  I snapped at my kids way more than usual, I was negative about pretty much everything and I was a real blast to live with (dripping with sarcasm).  At one point on Sunday Andrew nicely told me I needed to go somewhere, so I found myself at the grocery store…. yeah I really know how to have fun.  So I went to bed Sunday night with a huge amount of dread for Monday.  I did not know how I was going to get through an entire week with the kids, and then Monday came and it was one of the best days I’ve had with my kids in awhile (besides our long weekend as a whole family).

Here are some of the highlights:  Ellery had her first swim lesson.  She loved it and did AMAZING. It blew my mind because she won’t leave the steps for us most of the time and when we left the lesson she said about the teacher, “she didn’t even let go of me so I could swim.”  I also met a mom there that lives really close to us and has girls close to our kids ages!


When we got home the girls wanted to have a picnic lunch while watching a show.  While they did that I did a quick facebook check and found someone giving away a rug for free.  It has a few stains on it, but I was looking for something for under my dining table (so it’s going to get stained anyway) and it happened to MATCH my room.  The thing to know about this facebook page is if you don’t see something in the first 3 minutes you likely will not be getting it, after I commented that I wanted it 10 people commented that they wanted it if I didn’t take it.  This person happened to live super close so I threw the girls in the van and I went to pick it up.  I mean a FREE rug that matches like this (felt like a God thing to me)…..

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Then the day continued to be great.  I checked my e-mail and had a referral from a friend in one of my challenge groups and so I have a new beachbody client that I get to coach and help them in their health and fitness journey, that was an exciting surprise for the day!  Speaking of healthy I had an avocado sitting on my kitchen counter and when I cut it open it was GORGEOUS, that pretty much never happens for me.  So I whipped up some avocado chicken salad.


The girls got along quite well and I was able to get my work done for the day (I’ve had some major work issues due to a very messed up computer).  The girls played nicely, had two picnics and sweetly worked together to “do Andrew’s hair” (check out Ellery’s hat).

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We ended the night trying out the new ice cream place in town.  The appeal for me at this place is they have coconut milk ice cream (I can’t stomach dairy ice cream anymore).  They make it fresh right in front of you, and it’s a fun experience, we’ll go there pretty sparingly at $6 a scoop, but for a once in a while treat it’s great!

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It was a surprisingly good day.  Somehow I kicked the funk I was in over the weekend and we are determined to have a great week.  I have been listening to some audios and one of them said to be motivated by gratitude.  I HAVE to start being more in tune with what I’m grateful for and less focused on what isn’t going my way!!

Trade Offs

The first time we lived in Austin I dreamed about how much I wanted to raise our kids in the midwest.  It’s what I knew and I had a really great childhood with wonderful memories and the backdrop was mostly central Illinois.  I wanted my kids to know what it was like to wake up in the morning to the thrill of a snow day, to have white Christmases and go sledding.  I wanted them to breathe the crisp autumn air and stare in wonder at the leaves changing colors.  Hot summer days and cool summer nights, small towns with festivals in the summer and bonfires, lots of bonfires. I wanted a lot of things, I had a lot of dreams about what things would look like, and had NO intention of raising my kids in the Texas heat with cockroaches the size of your thumb and the threat of rattlesnakes daily…..

But here we are.  And it’s also good. It’s different, but it’s good in it’s own way, there are trade offs.  My kids are growing up with a very different childhood and I’m embracing it and it’s a pretty sweet life. Yesterday my brother called me out of the blue and asked what time we could be at the boat.  We spent the next 6 hours on the water.  For my kids boating is really normal.  Swimming in the lake, wind in their hair and sun kissed cheeks is just part of our week, many weeks.  The park we picnic at down the street is on the water, and the views of the hill country are very much different than the flatlands I grew up in.  As my kids get older I’m sure we will begin to take advantage of all Austin has to offer, festivals, live music, etc…. the list will be long!  My kids will have a very different backdrop for their childhood memories and I think that’s a good thing.  I don’t need to give them my childhood, that ones already been lived, now they get to have their own and I get to make wonderful memories right where we’re at.  I’m done wishing things to be different and instead I’m embracing that there are trade offs and both places are good.

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The Beauty in Differences

This past week we went to visit Andrew’s family and I was struck by how different his parents are than my parents and how much I LOVE that for my kids.  Some of the best advice we received when we were getting married was find your own normal.  I’m sure every couple deals with their family norms clashing, but for us it seemed even more exaggerated than some of our friends because we grew up in pretty different cultures.

One place we have found major differences was how our families took vacations. Our vacations were filled with activities: going to museums, seeing broadway shows, being total tourists and hitting all the must see spots and the must eat restaurants.  Andrew grew up with a much more laid back approach to vacations.  Renting a cottage, laying low and relaxing.  I think I used to try really hard to make trips out to his family’s house like my family vacations growing up and I think that I was trying hard to make my kids have a busy week full of “fun” stuff too.  And then I asked Ellery what her favorite part of her trip was.  Her response?  “Riding with Nana on her bike” and that’s when I realized how great the differences are!

My kids loved just playing around the house in the backyard, feeding their chickens, playing with cousins and seeing family they only see twice a year.  We did activities this past week: went to Plymouth (saw the rock), went to the sweetest little zoo, went out to eat, church and a surprise party, and went to her cousin’s softball games.  But the backyard on Nana’s lap, that was the best part.

I adore watching my kids with my in-laws and my parents and am so glad they get different experiences with each of them.  Lucky for them both of their experiences are positive ones, and I’m so fortunate to have learned to embrace differences in our families early on!

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One Day In May

One of my dearest friends, Jenna, came to town for a few days in May and snapped these absolutely precious pictures of our girls.

campbell-0668 campbell-0491 campbell-0666 campbell-0644 campbell-0728 campbell-0524I had a terrible time narrowing these down!!  So thankful for a great friend with a fabulous talent.  Can’t wait to see her hopefully SOON!


Our Reset Song

A few months back our worship director did a really fun sermon on worship and talked about how different songs stir up different emotions. He talked about how his family had a song that got them up and going in the mornings and out the door. At our house there is music on pretty much all the time, but if we’ve had a rough day and we just need to reset in the evenings we have one go to song. Gold on the Ceiling by the Black Keys. I honestly have no idea what the song is about so if it’s about something terrible don’t tell me because it’s our feel good song in our house. We all get into it, dance around the house and by the end of the song everyone is feeling much better. Ellery is a dancing machine and she really gets into this one, you should see the grin on her face when she hears even just the first few beats. If you’ve never heard it CLICK HERE.

Yesterday Was a Good Day

I had a whole post ready about our Saturday last weekend with pictures and links to the places we enjoyed in our town and when I went to edit it this morning and post it, it was gone, so instead I’ll post about our yesterday. My brother stayed long on his business trip so we could celebrate my birthday yesterday. My parents and brother came up for church and then we tried Ludy’s for the first time. Delicious and local. The onion rings were too good and the burger was extremely juicy. If you plan to try it, be warned they only take cash. When we got back to our house my aunt and grandpa were waiting for us. We spent the afternoon catching up, eating double chocolate cake, and laughing at the silly “What Does the Fox Say” video (you’ll have to look it up because my linking isn’t working). My parents grabbed Avanti’s sandwiches before heading out of town and we had a card for a free sub, yay, no cooking or dishes for me! My aunt hung out with us after my parents left and I got a bunch of food prep done for this week. Which was a huge gift. I hate being in the kitchen alone so it was really nice to have Andrew and Julianne chat with me while I worked on food. We got our babe to bed with a minute to spare to watch the Revenge season premiere and I went to bed feeling celebrated and accomplished and it’s only just the start of my birthday week…maybe 28 won’t be so bad after all.

It Was Really Cool

This week I had the absolute privilege of watching my “niece” Cora enter the world. My bestie Steph decided early on that she wanted me in the delivery and I feel so lucky that she chose me to be there and share this extremely special moment. Leading up to it I really didn’t know what to think. I didn’t have a “normal” birth. Mine was complicated and stressful and I never got even close to pushing so I really had no idea what it would be like. So when people have asked me over the last few days what it was like my response is pretty much always the same, “it was really cool.” Not gonna lie, it was also extremely hard, all you Mama’s out there who have pushed your babies out, wow that is like the most intense workout of your life. I had a front row seat to Cora’s grand entrance into the world and as long as I live I truly don’t think I’ll ever forget it. One moment she was a fetus, the next moment she was a human being who is so loved by so many people. She was so anticipated, so wanted, and so celebrated. I’m in love.


Living A Dream

Growing up my dad spent his summers working at the Green Lake American Baptist Assembly with his family. So when we were growing up his parents rented a house every few summers for us to have a family vacation. Some of our fondest and funniest memories took place on these grounds and we always had one dream. To stay at the Anne Hathaway house on the water. We would drive by the house every time we were there and imagine what it would be like just to step foot in the house. There seemed to always be people sitting on the porch enjoying the view and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little bit jealous. This summer, last week to be exact, we got to stay in the house for the week. It was a fantastic week of relaxing, enjoying the view, jet skiing, painting pottery, an Anita Renfro show, lots of walking (as in sometimes 5 walks a day), game playing, Ripon Good cookies, lunch at the bearded bison (delicious), dinner at Norton’s per tradition and it was even better than I remembered, and lots of eating out on the screened in porch. It was definitely a vacation to remember and I feel so blessed that we got to live a dream for a week.


Excuse Me

Excuse me while I do nothing for the next week. And by nothing I mean long walks, sunbathing, lake swimming, game playing, family hang outs, book reading and memory making. Let the family vacation commence! See you in a week…yes this house has no Internet, bliss I tell ya!