Saturday, August 31, 2013


Jesus was visiting the Nephites; this was the part of the Book of Mormon that seemed to really get the girls attention. We were on fire with our scriptures tonight! Piper and Charly were anxiously asking and answering questions while Winnie looked at the picture and said, "Jesus" a few times. It wasn't even a minute later from this great gospel discussion with the girls, when Nathan drew our attention over to look at our little babe.

What could Winnie possibly be doing to make all of us loud out loud, jump for joy and completely forget about what we were reading? Bet you are wanting to know, huh? I should preface this by saying, this has never EVER happened in the Campbell family household. We were jumping up and down, laughing hysterically and could not believe what was right in front of our eyes. 

Ready for it????

Is this not the cutest little baby face you have ever seen? I mean, really? Winnie falling asleep at the dinner table created a family moment we will never forget! I still chuckle at how tired a little one would have to be to fall asleep like this! Oh! So! Cute! Poor little babe had such a long day playing!
Charly and Piper sure know how to keep a celebration going. Even now, as I write this a couple of hours later, they are cuddling and playing nicely together. It's so cute how much they were entertained and made happy by seeing their little sister sleep in her high chair. These are the moments I live for!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Lessons- Via Cheesemaking

Making cheese can be pretty tricky to master, I know this because I have attempted to make cheese quite a few times. The last time we were taking care of "The Farm", I must have dumped three to four gallons of precious goat milk down the drain because my cheese never seemed to form.  This time would be different. I was going to be successful at making goat milk mozzarella!

Yesterday, I decided, with a fridge full of goat milk sitting and waiting for me, that this would be the day when it would come together. So, without further ado, I poured a gallon of milk into a pot, measured out the rennet and citric acid, and waited. I waited for a while, and then waited a bit longer for the cheese to reach the magical temperature where I could start to see them magic. Oh, and did I mention, I said a prayer? I knew that if this batch of cheese was going to turn out, I would need some extra help and a lot of faith. Time went by and nothing happened. I was feeling a little deflated with my cheese making abilities.

This was about the time when I turned the stove off and called it quits for a brief moment. After some mental huffing an puffing, I turned the stove back on and waited some more. This time it was different. As I stood there stirring and stirring, I began to see changes occurring. First, the curds and whey started separating. This couldn't be it, I thought to myself. Then, as if the stars in my little cauldron began to align, the whey turned to stretchy cheese and formed a giant cheese ball. I had done it! I made cheese! Pretty cool, right? This little incident was made even better by the lesson Heavenly Father was about teach me.

Now let's flash back about an hour from that moment when a seemingly unrelated event occurred. Before I get to the incident, I want to fill you in on a little background first. About four months ago, we hit a financial wall. Nothing overly bad, but to the point where  if we didn't fix it, it would be bad. We got on the fast track to move forward in getting Nate a second job until he could replace his current job with one that had more opportunities to advance. (We haven't seen a pay increase since he started) We happened across someone who offered Nate a job that would essentially double his pay. This was the big break we had been waiting for. At least that is what I was thinking.  The job being offered is a government job, and as such, it would be several weeks before the hiring process could begin. We would just need to be patient as the weeks turned to months and still nothing was happening. Yesterday, Nate gave me some unfavorable information about the job that has me thinking that it isn't likely to happen. He received information  from HR that makes it sound as though it wasn't compatible from the beginning. This information could have been shared with us sooner.  Nearly a quarter of a year later and we are no closer to this "dream job" than we were when we started. I am feeling so confused at this time as to what to do or how we should move forward. Nate seems to have way more faith than me, he has optimistically been seeking  and applying for the next step since we got here almost five years ago.

So, what does all of this have to do with cheese?

I would like to think of myself as a women of faith, someone who sees the lessons in everyday happenings that my Heavenly Father is trying to teach me. When I was stirring the ball of cheese, standing, sulking, it it hit me- all of these seemingly insignificant events that are gathering around Nate and I, seeming to take us nowhere, are suddenly going to come together to form a part of our plan that is even better than what we thought of for ourselves. Nate's career is the curds forming in the pot. In the Lord's perfect timing, the curds will form and come together, making every step prior a step that makes sense, and is essential to the plan. I can't give up on the Lord, or even think about it!

As I keep saying this to myself, I want so badly for it to be true. My faith, while strong, is being tried. I know we will get through this and come out with a better future than we had ever planned for ourselves, but the other side of me is worried that this is it. What if the big break never comes? What if my lessons to be learned are to be learned in a life of career trials- a life as a curd? *Sigh*, no one wants to be a curd. (Insert a slight, forced giggle here) Joking aside, I am trying so hard to stay positive, but I am a flawed human being who often times lacks essential patience. A year from now, I hope to have gained eternal perspective through this event, to be a more joyous person, to smile through the "curd" phase, and most importantly, to turn to a loving Savior when in need of comfort.  This is my journey, I am part of it. I have to change my thoughts on the situation, I have to see the blessings through the fog. I need to have more faith. I'm working on it. The end.


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Milkin' It Up

Every once and a while, we get to play "Farmers for a day(week)" when our uber cool friends leave their farm for a much more upscale, city kind of life. The duties associated with this task include feeding/watering animals, gathering eggs, and most fun of all-milking three goats, twice a day! 

This morning was extra fun as we prepared for church and left the house at 7:30 in order to get all the chores done in time to gather my own little hens and get them to church by 9:30. This was made even more tricky as my number one partner was out of town to fulfill his  AF guard duties.  I wasn't sure how we would  manage, but somehow we got out of there with curls and make-up intact.  It was awesome! It totally helped that, since I was the one milking, I went in one of Nate's "best" button down shirts, some workout pants, and of course, my cowboy boots! The way our boots look after a few days of farming are probably the way they are supposed to look. We've ditched the polished look for one splattered with milk and chicken poop-Yes! Seriously though, we are having a blast! 

Charly is so cute, as you will notice, she does not want anything to do with the milking process, even the warm milk in the jars grosses her out; I've got her taking care of the chickens and watering, which she is fantastic at! I'm wondering if my little vegetarian will soon be called a vegan. Did I forget to mention that little bit of info in my last few posts? Yup, Charly has decided on her own to be a vegetarian. At first I thought she would quickly put her desires aside for the first sight of a juicy hamburger accompanied with hunger, but she has stuck to her guns and has been non-meat for over a month! Crazy, right?! Piper and Winnie on the other hand, well, they can not get enough of meat, and goat milk.

In other Campbell Family news worth remembering, Piper used the word "flummoxed" while in primary today, and  yes, she used it correctly! She. Is. Awesome! Also worth mentioning- Charly came into a conversation I was having with a friend about foster care, this is what she said, "I think instead of us saving money for a family vacation, we should save to adopt.".  Does that not just make you smile? It's no secret that everyone in the Campbell family is ready for #4, but to hear from Charly such a devotion to that goal just made my heart skip a beat. Whether we are blessed with a baby, or a child to adopt into our family, it's so heartwarming to see the excitement exude from our children. Family is just as important to them as it is to Nate and I, and that makes my heart smile!

Thursday, August 15, 2013


Meet Emma. This is my darling little niece who I have to restrain myself from gobbling up. She is the cutest little gal, outside my own daughters of course, in the entire universe. The admiration I have for her is shared by everyone in the family. Winnie loves to squeeeeeeeeeeeze her!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Piper's Clone

I didn't realize Piper had taught Winnie some major modeling poses until, when visiting my mom in SA, I brought my camera out in front of her and she gives me this business! It has been way too long since I have actively taken pictures of my girls. Perhaps I shouldn't let so much time go in between pictures! These just make me laugh. As much as Piper loves Winnie, sometimes the attention isn't appreciated on W's side as much as Piper would like. It's melts my heart to see them bonding over posing, by the way, where did Piper even get this? LOL


You know what's the greatest thing ever!?.....Give up? Well, I am pretty convinced it's watching my darling two and a half year old strolling around her Grandmama and Mamaw's backyard testing out the newly made tree house, all while blowing the most incredible bubbles! Yup, she is even sporting her tiny panties and a cheese grin. Often times my face hurts so much from the cuteness that exudes from her sweet little frame.
This past weekend Nate and I took on the project of switching the girl's room from a smaller room to the larger of the three. I was so surprised we were even able to paint a bed, headboard, dresser and vanity in an entire afternoon to complete the project. As it turns out, even though Charly officially no longer has to share a bed, she still took the time to snuggle her sisters to sleep. I rushed quietly downstairs to grab my camera when I peeked into their new room and came upon this precious sight.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Itty Bitty Yellow, Polka Dot "Wimwuit"

This one time, we went to San Antonio and somehow misplaced Winnie's swimsuit. No worries though, her cute little eight month old cousin had one she could squeeze into. So here is Winnie, squeezing into a 12 month size "wimwuit" because it was just way cuter than the 24 month size one that was an option as well.

Our Little Book Worm

My love for reading wasn't established until I was an adult, so imagine how exciting it has been for me to watch Charly gain a desire for adventure in the form of books at the ripe age of nine. This summer,  she has read the entire Percy Jackson series twice now and is now starting the adventures in Harry Potter, which we are joining in on as a family before bedtime. With the Percy Jackson series, she has thrown herself into all things Greek and has willingly added Greek studies alongside her regular school studies.  It's so fun to hear all the stories through her eyes.  The photo above was from a fun camping trip we took about a month ago, and the photo below was from our last super exciting trip to San Antonio.
In other news, I had this conversation with Piper this morning:
Me: Piper, you're chewing with your mouth open, please stop.
Piper: No I ain't
Right about then I heard the record scratch as I turned to Piper to make sure I heard what I thought I heard. Yup, Piper did in fact use the word 'ain't'. I think we have officially been in the country too long. LOL

My Kid's Mom

As a young girl,  I would jokingly tell those around me that I wanted ten kids. Behind the sarcastic tone was a girl who yearned to have this seemingly extreme future become a reality. I have always wanted to be "just" a mom, without ever the desire to work outside the home. Somewhere along the past couple of years I have lost sight of what's really important to me. I've been busy trying to seek the validation of worldly matters. As most of you know, the past year has been such a wonderful learning experience for me as I participated in the BYUI-Pathway program. Through the last twelve months, I have gained a stronger testimony of who I am and my purpose here on earth. It's something that is hard for me to put down in words, but I will try. 

The past two years I have stumbled so much with what my purpose is, going back and forth with developing a career in lifestyle photography or being content with "just" raising my children.
When we first came to Texas I rediscovered my love for photography and went head first into developing my talent that I may turn it into a business. This seemed like something I should do because, after all, I was good at it, and because I was good at it, I should pour my energy into trying to make a financial gain through it. It has only been recently that I have realized my efforts to establish a photographer's name for myself have been in vain. It occurred to me that I can't, and don't want to, be a "photographer" by trade. While my worldly outlook tells me that I should pursue a career, my heart tells me that I have had my priorities a little out of balance as I have worked to further my business.  I have been so busy receiving messages from outside sources that I have lost the ability to receive messages from what really matters. This past year resulted in changes that have put me back in line with where I feel I am destined to be. Sure, I am good at multitasking, but as I have been busy with homeschooling my three children, furthering my own education and trying to become a full-time photographer, I realize that something has to give. I've decided that the "something giving" is professional photography. I have been trying to make my identity about my abilities outside motherhood, which defies everything I have ever believed about who I was born to become. This decision has surprisingly been an easy one to come to, as I looked back on all the efforts on my end and the way things just never seemed to pan out in the end, I've realized that this is just not my season. It has taken me daily efforts to remind myself that being a mother is enough.  I've only ever wanted to be a mom, to have a house full of kids- kids that love each other and kids that know I will always be there for them.

So here I am, being OK with not trying to have it "all"; that's the misconception of it all though, having an eternal family who loves each other is having it all. I know that now. From now on when I pick up my camera it will be to capture the joys of what my family goes through, to capture the sorrows, the struggles, but most of all, the reasons for me wanting to be a mom in the first place. I so love this calling, I love my children, and I love my husband for the support and encouragement he gives to me. Nathan has watched me through this personal struggle and has given me more support than I deserve, I'm grateful for those around me who have supported me in this adventure, who have come forward to help or stood back when needed and let me find my own path. My shoulders are a little lighter and my outlook for the year is brighter knowing that the pressure I put on myself to be someone else is removed. This year I'm focusing completely on being me, a wife, a homeschooling mom , a gal who just happens to be skilled with her camera *wink*, and the eternal companion of a delicious husband who desperately needs me to make him my priority . This beautiful life is enough for me. I am happy. 
In sharing my own personal struggles I take no judgment on those who choose a different path. This post was written in regards to what works best for my family. With that being said, please know that I come from a place of love and if it seems there is judgment with my words, it is unintentional.