Friday, August 30, 2013

Our Authentic Community

Our family has been so blessed to spend the past 2 years living, sharing, and dreaming with this crew:

Our small group (which doesn't look very small when all the kids are around too!!) is made up of these families. We meet every Monday night, rain or shine, babies or no babies, long work day or rough kid talk, pray, encourage, laugh and cry with each other.

Our church passionately believes that life is done best in circles not in rows. That if you attend church, you will likely get fed from the sermon and worship experience, but in order to truly experience God's church (which is made up of YOU the people!) you must live life in community with other believers.

Mark and I both led small groups of middle schoolers separately when we were in college. It was something we were both passionate about and we loved pouring into the lives of young believers. After we got married, we continued to be very involved in our churches but never joined a small group for married couples. About 4 1/2 years ago we committed to join a small group of other married couples. It was an amazing experience and we both agreed we always want small group to be a part of our life.

What's so great about living in community anyway? Well I'm so glad you asked.

The Encouragement. It's so nice to know that every Monday I'm going to be poured into, or be pouring into someone else. No matter what my day or week looked like, I'm reminded that there is purpose beyond the four walls of my home, there is a God who loves His people, and there are other families just like ours striving to be the best they can be for His glory.

The Accountability. This group has challenged me to be a better daughter of Christ, a better mom, a better wife, and a better friend. While I can easily let my guard down and be myself (as messy and ugly as that self is sometimes) I also know that these people are going to hold me to a higher standard. That if I say I'm going to do something, they will ask me if I actually did it.

This group reminds me that life is about more than just me. We serve each other and our community. Service is an area I want to continue to grow in and this group has definitely helped me do that.

The Authenticity. I know there are groups that aren't real, aren't vulnerable, and aren't authentic. Our group is none of those. We are surrounded by a fake world that is more concerned with appearance than the heart. Our small group is a safe place we can be open, honest, fully vulnerable, and fully receive grace and encouragement instead of condemnation. We are all first soaked in sin and then soaked in His grace.

I wish all of my friendships were this genuine and open. It seems like more and more the people I encounter are putting on a front. Yes, their children may be well behaved but their hearts are rotting inside. Yes, that mom is wearing cute clothes and a big smile but she secretly longs for a life away from her husband and kids.

Our small group loves us for who we are. Just as Christ loves us for who we are.

The kids. There are 13 kids in our small group of 5 families. The kids way outnumber the adults and I'm glad they do. Most of the people our children will encounter at school, at ballet, and soccer practice, or wherever, probably aren't believers. And even if they are, they may not be the type of believer you are striving to be and praying for your children to be. It's so nice to know that when my kids are around the families in our small group, I can trust that they want the same things for their kids that we want for ours. To know Jesus and love Him fully. That striving to be the best student or athlete isn't as important as understanding their need for grace and a Savior.

I know that these parents love my kids, and I love theirs in return. We parent together and learn together while our kids play together.

Sadly.....the 2 years have ended with our small group. It's time to split and multiply and create new groups. I am sad to not see these beautiful people every Monday night. But I am so thankful that we have made life long friendships, and have been impacted forever.

I'm excited to start our next group, albeit a little anxious and nervous....but the Lord knit this group together and I know He has a purpose and a reason for our next group as well.

If you aren't in a small group of believers, I encourage you to GET IN ONE.

Thanks to all my you guys with all my heart.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

An Update and a Warning

HI! Remember us? We're the Campbell Family and I'm so glad you're tuning into our blog despite the fact that it has been severely neglected.

All I can say is.....we've had a lot going on.

First off, some catch up posts:

Lucy is FIVE now

Stella is 10 months

Read those and catch up on my sweet kiddos. So....what have we been doing? Well, Mark went out of town for two weeks for work. We moved out of our house and in with my mom. Bless her soul for letting us crash her life, her house, and her sanity. She was an amazing hostess and I miss her every day. I'm trying to convince her to come move in with us in our new house. If you see her out and about, please let her know that her life would be complete if she was sharing a roof with us.

Before we moved out of our house, I decided on a whim to potty train Annie. Yeah....that crazy, out of control, part monkey part we-don't-know-what Annie. And ya know what?

It took three days ya'll. THREE DAYS. What in the world. If that child is anything its unpredictable.

After potty training Annie, moving in with my mom, saying goodbye to my life/partner/better half for two weeks, we celebrated Lucy's birthday. Then we welcomed aforementioned husband BACK home and moved into our new house.

Moving sucks. Moving with kids sucks more. Curtain rods were used as weapons. Take out and fast food took over our life. Bodies were not washed. Teeth were not brushed. But we survived, and we are sloooooowly getting settled in.

(simultaneous avocado mash and crotch grab)

We are loving how much space we have in the new place and the girls have been helping me in the kitchen a lot more since there is more room. The girls each have their own rooms (for now) which is nice. We have nothing on the walls and there are boxes everywhere. I unpacked like crazy the first few days and got everything to where it was livable and got our essentials out. Then I quit.

In other news, my friend Kalan had her first baby boy so I went to visit her and hold/squeeze him. And I realized why I keep having babies. Newborns are just the sweetest and I can't get enough...

Mark has been working a lot so I've been on my own...which is good and bad. But we are thankful and dealing with it well I think.

The girls also got a mini trampoline for Lucy's birthday from Big Daddy and Grandma and have been using it as a trampoline, picnic table, hide out, and anything else they can think of.

So.....I miss blogging. I feel like lately I have just been updating the blog with pictures of the kids and special events. And while that's fine and I'm sure it's really all you readers care about, believe it or not, I actually enjoy writing. Blogging is a good outlet for me. I'm going to attempt to broaden this ol' family blog's horizons. More recipes, more opinions, more about being a mom and family in general. I'll still update about the kids and our family, but this blog used to be more than that and I want it to be that again.

So consider yourselves warned. Because it's about to get a whole lot more wordy up in here.

Friday, August 16, 2013


I now have three mobile children....

Stella Crawling

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Mobile at 10 months

Miss Stella is 10 months old!

As you can see, she is trying to crawl off the chair.

That's right. My lazy, fat, sedentary baby is crawling. 

It happened out of nowhere really. I just thought, well, she's just going to be one of those babies who never crawls and doesn't walk until she's 18 months....and that's just peachy with me because I have two very active, mobile children already and it will be nice to have one that will just sit still.

HA! That was a lovely thought I had there in my head.

Stella must have telepathy and decided to prove me wrong. Apparently I don't have enough work cut out for me so she decided to start scooting while Mark was out of town for work. Scooting pretty fast too, I might add. Then we move into the new house and BAM she's crawling. 

Despite her horrible timing on deciding to become mobile, Stella continues to be such a joy in our family. Life with three certainly has it's challenges, but how empty our family would be without Stella. She fills my heart to the brim with joy. She is a mama's girl to the CORE. She wants only me if I am within her sight/sound/smell range. And I am more than happy to oblige and pick her up whenever she wants. 

At 10 months, Stella still has some rolls but is certainly thinning out from her new found mobility. She wears size 12 month clothes and size 4 diapers. She nurses 4 times a day and is pretty much done with baby food. She eats whatever we are eating now with some modifications. She LOVES avocado, sweet potatoes, and any meat (weird). She is also a fan of my applesauce oatmeal muffins.

Laid back, happy, and go with the flow is how Stella rolls. She does like to get in on the action now that she can move, but she also likes to sit back and watch her sisters (and mama) act crazy. She makes the funniest "worried" looks sometimes while she watches us. I'm worried too Stella....

She has her two bottom teeth and four top teeth breaking through at the same time. She has Lucy's dark brown eyes and that little vein in between them. Her hair (well....let's be honest it's not hair) is dark and I think may even be darker than Lucy's. She got pretty tan while we were at the beach despite slathering her in SPF 50 so I think she will have my skin.

She is a LOVE and you just can't help but squeeze her or kiss her 57 times a day. She is soft and squishy and everything a baby should be. I just love her to pieces.

When she turns one I'm going to have a mental break down.