Summer 2017 Week 4

This week we had another VBS, this time it was at our church and I was a crew leader so I could spend the week with Ellery. It was rather exhausting, but I’m glad I got to experience Bible school with her this one time. I doubt my schedule will allow for it again, so I tried to soak it up this year. The theme was Maker Fun Factory and Ellery loved it! Her little friend Kaydence was in our group and they had a great time together.

For Superhero day I told Ellery we didn’t have anything that would work, she proved me wrong and figured out an outfit. I just adore her creativity! Tuesday nights are our family night, it also happens to be Hat Creek Burgers half price night. We grabbed burgers, went to pajama story time and then the girls danced until we were all in stitches, they have some hilarious dance moves.

Wednesday night was the family night at VBS, they served dinner and Kona Ice, had a bounce house and water inflatables, we had a lovely evening and it was a great way to beat the heat! Ellery memorized Ephesians 2:10 without me knowing it and went up to the stage to recite it. I was super proud of this little lady. She is such a Bible lover and I am inspired by her in this way.

On Thursday after VBS we went to see Critterman at the Library. When he pulled out the “really impressively large cockroach” my only thought was, hmmm I think I’ve had one that big in my house before. One of the downsides of living in Texas, the bugs are HUGE. Ellery really enjoyed seeing the creepy crawly things. Afterwards we headed over to Mimi’s house, yes my mom moved here THIS WEEK (my Dad will follow very soon). It’s been so nice to just pop over and say hi. I finally told my mom today that if she gets tired of her children constantly calling to stop by she can just tell us she’s busy.

Over the weekend I got to have 24 hours off to hang out with my mom so I don’t have pictures, but I know the girls had a great time with Andrew at the Thinkery. Whenever we are there I tell them there are certain things dad would be much better at, so they tried to hit those stations (like the microscopes). I enjoyed the weekend going to dinner, getting pedicures, shopping, and doing a little unpacking with my mom. I am overjoyed that my parents live 5 minutes from me!!!!

Overall week 4 was great. I missed Vaughn fiercely this week while she was in childcare every morning of VBS. I’m in for a rude awakening when my job begins (still waiting on approvals), but I know we will all adjust. She did great, I just am so used to being with her constantly that I felt sad to be apart so much. Counting my blessings this week: sweet friends, close family, a great church, a fabulous library, a postponed job start date that has allowed me so much more time than I ever expected, and still loving my little town!

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Summer 2017 Week 3

Week 3 of summer was off to a slow start. Ellery was at VBS Monday-Thursday so Vaughn and I just played catch up and ran errands, without too much excitement. Ellery did Lake Hills VBS and the theme was Mystery Machine. She LOVED it and we will definitely plan on going back every year! One afternoon Ellery and I spent the afternoon coloring and secretly eating hot fudge Sundaes while Vaughn napped.

Thursday-Sunday we hit the water hard! When it’s nearly 100 degrees everyday the only way we can play outside is if we are in the water. One day we joined our friends at their neighborhood pool and my kids were in love with all of the kid stuff. The other days we hit a local pool and had it almost to ourselves which was delightful!

The girls were ALL about Father’s Day this year and we tried to make it extra special. We were lucky enough to have some boat time in the afternoon, and then pizza, a movie, chocolate cake and ice cream before bed. The girls picked out gifts for Andrew and made extra special cards, they also decorated the box (and were super proud of that).

I felt pretty scattered this week overall. My mom was in town, I was studying for an exam, then had to take the exam and had worship practice the same day. I had to work a couple different childcare situations out in order to get all my stuff done and I felt like I constantly had to tell Ellery and Vaughn no, which was so sad to me after our first two weeks of summer where I felt able to say yes a lot. I have been so fortunate that my job has been taking longer to get started than I expected which has afforded me a lot of time with the girls I didn’t expect to have.

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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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Summer 2017 Week 1

I am trying to slowly dip my toe back into blogging (I miss it, but my life called me away from it for a season and I’m now a little rusty). I am going to try to do summer week recaps all summer because you know, I’ll blink and it’ll be over.

Summer week one involved Vaughn at her first summer camp! I was a little “meh” about sending her to camp because it was EXPENSIVE for the amount of time she was there, but she came home potty trained so I decided in the end it was worth it. It also purchased her a spot in preschool this fall, so overall I’m glad she went. She was pretty happy to go each day so I would assume she had a good time (she is still not much of a talker).

The beauty of her being in camp was that Ellery and I actually had some one on one time. I had made plans for her to have a playdate while Vaughn was at school so I could study, but in the end cancelled her plans so I could see her more. We went to Whole foods, ran errands, made a list of things she would like for her birthday and went to rolly pollies where I actually got to focus on playing with her instead of watching Vaughn the entire time.

Ellery has asked me for almost two years to go to McDonalds and I finally obliged and took them to get “food” there. She really just wanted to play on the playscape that is visible from the road we often travel. Bonus… the Happy Meals were $1.99 that day so at least I didn’t overpay for the mystery meat ;).

Other highlights of the week: press on nails from Mimi, bubbles, sister snuggles, slumber party with my oldest, news that the bestie and her little are coming in July, and playing at the Thinkery with some friends. We also swam twice at Uncle Bryan’s pool (okay the girls swam, it was too cold for mama).

Overall week one was pretty great. I functioned all week under the post-show funk that was inevitable after going back to high school and having one of the best weekends of my life (I hope to blog about that event soon because I know a lot of people have been curious about what this show was about), but despite my less than perky mood we enjoyed our first week of summer vacation!

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Fall is a Decision

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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!

 

 

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!

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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.

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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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In the Land of Louis and Lulu

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I live in Hoity Toity Ville USA.  You could call it the land of Louis and Lulu too.  I would venture to say almost half of the women carry a Louis Vuitton hand bag and at any given time at least 50% of the moms at the park are sporting their Lululemon gear with their perky bums on display.  I am part of a Facebook group that basically the whole town is part of and the things that people are looking to hire for I didn’t even know people did.  I can’t tell you the amount of people who hired a COMPANY to come do their Christmas lights.  There is literally a Christmas light company, no clue what they do for the other 11 months of the year, but perhaps they make enough money during that one month that they can take the rest of the year off.  Almost every single day someone is asking for a cleaning person referral.  Where I come from I maybe know 2 people who hire someone to clean their house.  This is not to say that someday I don’t hope to be one of these people who has their home cleaned by a professional, it’s just strange to now live somewhere that it’s the norm to have this service done.  There is a whole lotta money in this town and it’s evident everywhere you look.

But you know where else I live?  I live in a place where a brand new local business owner posted that they were really struggling and you know what happened?  My town rallied together and literally bought all the food they had in their restaurant.  I also live in an area where a group of moms get together every week and let their kids run free in the park, be kids, get dirty, play pretend, cover the picnic table in snacks for grazing and these ladies genuinely ask how you are doing and encourage you when they are a bit beyond you in this parenting thing.  There is also a weekly moms night out meet up with seriously genuine women, who come and share their imperfections and struggles and it’s maybe the most real group I’ve ever been a part of.  I also live next door to a couple who would drop everything for us if we needed something.  I called in a panic a couple weeks ago because we had a travel emergency and it was a without question “my husband will leave work and help you” response.  I love them and we are lucky to have them next to us.

I may not carry a Louis Vuitton bag (nor do I ever plan on it), and I haven’t yet purchased my first pair of bum raising Lulu pants (it’s on my list), but I have found my people and for that I’m really grateful.  I want to encourage each and every person out there to find their people wherever you live.  I feel like the women I have met and clicked with over the past 5 months are pretty counter culture to the town, but they exist in little pockets here and there and if you talk to enough people at the park and step out of your comfort zone and go to enough meetups and just put yourself out there you will start to get your group.

And now I leave you to enjoy another play date with another mama at the park on this gorgeous 72 degree Austin day.  Enjoy your weekend!

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 lauracampbell2008@gmail.com 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!

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