Summer 2017 Week 6

Quite possibly MY favorite week of summer so far! Monday we had a friend over for a playdate and we just laid low the rest of the day, except Kindergarten camp of course (we don’t miss those). I was spent after the weekend and decided we just needed to do nothing. Tuesday was a very long day, but all super fun. The parade in the morning, brunch at my brother’s and then a pool party/birthday party in the evening. No fireworks for us this year, I’m thinking maybe next year I’ll sneak away with Ellery and let her enjoy the fireworks, but this year I decided normal bedtime was the way to go!

Wednesday we did family night. Dinner at home and then playing at the park. The girls are finally at the point where they can both pretty comfortable play on the bigger playground. We had the park to ourselves and the girls constantly slid down the slide together. Thursday I let the girls watch TV basically the ENTIRE day so I could get the house picked up and sort of clean before Steph and Cora arrived. The girls anxiously awaited their arrival and stood at the window beginning over an hour prior to them actually getting here. Then we let them stay up really late and play dress up.

Friday we got to go to a pool party with some of my mom’s group ladies. It is a very cool natural looking pool with a water fall, the girls had a blast, and Stephanie was a total champ swimming with all three girls! After we swam we took them to our favorite burger place (P.Terry’s) to play in the sand, which upon arrival we discovered it was SCALDING hot and they were unable to play in the sand. Mom fail on that one….

Saturday we RAN THEM RAGGED!! Started our day playing at the Thinkery. It was a CRAZY busy morning with the most people I have ever seen there. Then we ran home and put Vaughn down for nap and hopped on the boat. Then the girls were DONE. Steph put Cora down for bed and then we headed out for dinner at one of my favorite scenic places. Then of course we ended up at Target wandering the aisles until they closed.

Sunday we went to church and then decided to just ALL take naps to reset ourselves. Stephanie and I were up until 1:30 every night she was here. After naps we went swimming for a little bit and then to the Sundancer Grill for our last dinner of vacation.

Already counting down the weeks until we see each other again!

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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!

Fall is a Decision


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!




To my Best Friend in the Whole Wide World on her 30th Birthday!!!

Oh Boy!  How did this happen?  How are we possibly 30 already?  We met when we were 8.  My family was visiting church and you befriended me the very first week we came.  You tried to convince me to help you tape a magazine picture of a baby on the back of our Sunday school teacher Bob.  You have always been a good dose of “rebel” in my incredibly rigid rule following life.  The first 8 years of our friendship were spent begging our parents to drive us “all the way across town” to hang out, turning 16 was quite thrilling since we could finally hang out any time we wanted!  Shopping with you was always amazing for the soul, and horrible for the wallet, I can’t even count how many times I bought something because you told me “I couldn’t afford not to.”  We’ve seen each other through our first pretty much everything: crush, boyfriend, kiss, period, heartbreak, college, moves, pregnancies, babies.  And we’ve walked alongside each other through all the good times and the bad.  You have been a constant in my life for the past 22 years.  You are the most loyal friend I could ever ask for and have seriously faced some intense situations over the past few years with such incredible integrity and grace.  I admire you for the way you have listened to God when all you’ve wanted to do is complain to Him.  We are raising our sweet little girls together (and thanks to technology it still feels like we are doing this together).  SO lucky to have you to share the rawness of motherhood, no need to sugar coat my day with you.  Your thirties are going to be amazing and I look forward to being beside you through all the changes this decade will bring.  You are a shining star, fabulous mama, and the best friend a girl could ask for!

Love you and can’t WAIT to celebrate you next weekend!!!!!!



P.S. Seriously in need of some pictures of us (this was the only recent one I could find!)


I’ve Lost a Vaughn, Well Technically THREE!!!!!

No, I haven’t lost Vaughn three times, but I have lost more than 60 pounds this year, and it really hit me when we went to the doctor for Vaughn’s 12 month check up and she weighed 20 pounds that since her birth I have lost 3 of her.  When I carry her around the house I think MY GOODNESS you have gotten heavy, but I used to carry around 3 times that weight everyday, no wonder I was tired!  The first 20 I birthed, so really that was just two really hard days, the second 20 came off with nursing and eating what I regularly did, and the third 20 (or more accurately 23) came off with hard work!

The last 20 is what I’m going to write about over the next week or so.  You’ve probably seen people all over the internet praising Beachbody and all their programs and Shakeology, and now I am adding my name to the list of one of those people who has been transformed through it’s programs.  I AM NOT a coach, nor am I becoming one, I just have seen AMAZING results with PiYo and Shakeology and I wanted to share them with you.  Over the coming week (or month, knowing my full schedule) I am going to share with you some of my “secrets” for how I melted 23 pounds off in 3 months.

The ONE drawback of a healthy self-esteem is you have no idea what you REALLY look like.  Day one of my challenge group we took our before photos and I kinda freaked out.  I was so used to looking at myself in clothes that slimmed me down and disguised all my “problem” areas, that I hadn’t seen how unhealthy I had let myself become over the past 6 years.  And yes, you read that right, I had been the same weight for the past 6+ years.  This wasn’t a case of “losing the baby weight” it was a case of losing the complacency weight and my impending milestone birthday gave me the kick in the rear I desperately needed.

I had been thinking about doing a PiYo challenge group since Vaughn was born, but life got in the way and I just didn’t have the energy to pull the trigger.  Then I signed up for a group and we sold our house the same week so I decided it best to defer the group until September 1st.  Ellery started school the week before which forced our whole house to get on a schedule and it was the perfect time because I was in the process of restocking our pantry after the move, so anything that wasn’t on the meal plan wasn’t purchased (we lived here almost 6 weeks before I even bought sugar).

SO if you have people in your life who are asking what you want for Christmas I would highly recommend asking for a Beachbody program (it’s about a $160 investment).  I personally would get PiYo and Vegan Chocolate Shakeology, but I’ve heard great things about other programs too.  I will do my best over the next week to share my “secrets to success” in case this is a journey you are looking to embark on.  If you have any questions feel free to e-mail me at and I will answer them or get you in contact with my coach!

And here I am about to share some of the most vulnerable pictures of my life.  I have felt like maybe these are super inappropriate for the internet, and then I realized I’m more covered than a bikini.  It was these types of pictures that inspired be to get started, and I hope I can do the same for someone else!

Laura Back before and afters Laura Before and After 2 Laura Front Before and Afters Laura Before and After 1


Don’t Knock it Till You Try it


6 years ago when my brother and sister-in-law were pregnant with their first baby they got a Babycook and I honestly thought, seriously….what a waste of money!  At the time I think they were over $200 and I just didn’t understand why you wouldn’t just use a food processor, make big batches and freeze them.  And then my sister-in-law asked if I wanted to borrow the Babycook for making Vaughn’s food and I decided I’d give it a try.  Ok, kinda love it!!  I hate dislike cooking, I particularly do not enjoy making baby food/ or feeding babies food.  I decided we were going to do baby led weaning and honestly didn’t intend to do purees and then we became too familiar with baby suppositories and I decided purees and table food should be given in tandem.  The first week of buying baby food packets I realized that making the food was the only way I was going to be able to afford this second child.  She ate about 2 packets per sitting and at $1.40 each that made for a $8.40 day of food packets give or take.  Calculate that out over a month and it’s literally over half of our food budget per month, yowzas.  Now I understand why people say kids are expensive.  So now about once or twice a week I cook 3 or 4 items and feed her those and table food for at least lunch and dinner, saving us a TON of money.  I still buy a few packets, because helloooo convenience food, and I’ve also found that prune puree is just easier to buy.  For some reason this little babycook has turned one of my most dreaded mom chores into something I find a little bit fun and it’s so easy to clean.  I really wish I had had this with Ellery since we did all purees for a good bit, but better late than never and as I have found many times during my motherhood journey….judgement is silly! Don’t knock it till you try it, I’m a babycook believer.  So if you are registering for your first baby make sure to add this, and if you are on your last baby try to find one for resale somewhere!

-And while I wish someone was paying me to advertise for them, they are not, I just really like this gadget!

I Rarely Read


I am not an avid reader by any stretch of the imagination, but this past month I finished 3 books and loved every one of them so I thought I’d share them with you in case you are looking for a marriage or child rearing book.

Andrew and I joined a marriage small group this year and it sadly ended last night.  It was one of the most enriching small groups we’ve ever been in and we looked forward to it every Sunday.  The leaders and hosts were TOP NOTCH, super hospitable and incredible cooks.  It was a dinner, discussion, prayer format and they provided childcare in the basement, seriously so awesome.  They chose two books to get some great discussion going and Andrew and I got to focus on just us for the first time in months.  The books were For Women Only and For Men Only By Shaunti and Jeff Feldhahn.  We both read both of them and then talked about how they did and didn’t relate to us and ways that we could work on different aspects of ourselves and our relationship.  While I think the books were great I probably have such a high opinion of them because of the whole experience we just had.  Looking forward to the next group whenever that launches!

When I was pregnant with Vaughn my coworker bought me her two favorite parenting books and I read the first one mostly on our drive to Austin at the end of March, but finally finished it before we left on our Boston trip last week.  The book is Siblings Without Rivalry by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish and it was extremely eye opening.  I really can’t recommend this book enough whether you are pregnant with your second or have teenagers who fight like cats and dogs.  I think the information is valuable at any point.  I would definitely recommend purchasing this book as you will likely want to read it over and over throughout your life with children in the home.  It gives you a lot of strategies on not taking sides and teaching your kids how to communicate with each other and resolve conflicts together.  It also talks about not assigning roles to your children and how damaging even positive labels can be on their relationships with each other.  I have just started reading the other book she gave me by the same authors How to Talk so Your Kids Will Listen and Listen so Your Kids Will Talk, and I’m already impressed.

23 Months Later

We moved to the Peoria area 23 months ago today.  And it took until today to find a radio station I like.  Our biggest complaint about Peoria, believe it or not, was that their radio stations were TERRIBLE.  Pretty much everyone I know here shares the same view.  I hopped in the car today to take Ellery & Vaughn to story time and my ears were delightfully surprised that there was a radio station playing the kinds of music I prefer.  We were super spoiled in Austin with 93.3 KGSR, and I’m not saying that this is it’s twin, but I’d say it’s a cousin.  99.9 is the station, check it out, if for no other reason than to see the kinds of music me and the mister like.  You are welcome Peorians!