Follow along as we adventure out to Tybee Island, Georgia and celebrate Jude turning 11! Spoiler: he got a whole cake to himself – watch to the end to see why lol!
Whose idea was it to change every single thing about our lives in the middle of busy season?! Man, overwhelmed doesn’t being to describe it all.
I’m currently writing this from our truck as we travel from Dallas to San Antonio. It’s a longer travel day than we prefer, but our trip to Dallas was somewhat unexpected in timing. Let me back up a bit first. We had plans to go fulltime in to the camper in October. Those plans changed quickly as Ty ended up needing to move in to the house 10 days before we were to be completely out. It was fine, but pretty chaotic to take on with my work schedule and a baby who hates sleep. But we did it, we moved in earlier. We’ve certainly had a lot of challenges in the last 5 weeks. We accidently flooded part of our RV in the first week. Extra rinses for cloth diapers aren’t a good idea, even with an empty gray tank. Thankfully the damage was minimal, but we had to remove some carpet and dry everything out carefully in order to avoid mold. We’ve had quite a few things break, but that is to be expected, as it takes some time to work out the kinks in a new RV. We also had issues with our truck when the hitch slipped. We dropped the RV down on to the tailgate. Jason was so upset but I’m excited we will finally get him a new tailgate next week. We are all finally in one vehicle, we sold the pilot after adding a Cowtown Sleeper to the truck. We promptly went and sold the Pilot. I’m going to miss our Pilot, man we were hard on that thing and it was SO good to us. I told Jason I’d like to buy a new one when we are done traveling someday. It was hard to let it go until Carmax offered us 4X what we were expecting their offer to be. We looked at each other, accepted the offer and ran out of there before they changed their minds lol! We love the new sleeper on the truck. We can now seat 7 comfortably. Theres room for everyone and the dogs. I even have the option to sit in the middle row between Zachary and Jonah to help keep them happy when needed. Z does good in the car in the morning, but afternoon travel is tough for him, so having that option is really nice. The sleeper add on wasn’t cheap, but I think it’s so worth it to travel comfortably with kids. Taryn and Jude sit in the sleeper and it’s awesome because they have a table we can slide in and they can play chess, card games, write, draw, etc. It’s a little wierd for them to travel sideways but they seem to be getting used to it.
I had big plans of photographing and documenting our launch in detail but as the overwhelming days and challenges mounted, it just didn’t happen. Instagram will have to be enough if it means I get to keep my head above water. My hope is that with the extra down time in the truck (like right now) I will be able to blog more often.
After our crazy scramble to get in the RV earlier than planned we all welcomed a week at Garner State Park. It was our usual vacation spot each fall, but we loved taking our own house with us. It gave us time to breathe, relax, unpack and just be still for awhile. Jonah turned 5 (!?!?!?) while we were there. That’s big kid and I can’t believe my baby is now 5. We went on a 3 mile hike and hit little legs kept up right until the end when he slowed down just a bit. It was a great day.
Overall, we are starting to feel settled in the RV. We are getting unpacked and organized. I thought we’d be done with purging by now but nope, still getting rid of things! We still have a lot of things at Ty’s house that need to be stored, but will be tackle that in a few weeks. For now, we are heading to Corpus Christi to spend a few weeks and Thanksgiving holiday with Jason’s family. The kids are super excited about the swanky beach front RV resort we rented a spot at. And they get to help their grandma and grandpa decorate for Christmas! It’s such a blessing to get to go spend so much time with them before we hit the road.
One of the best things about the timing is that some of our best friends, who are also going fulltime, were also launching. We spent several weeks in adjacent spots and the kids had a blast. 24/7 playdates for several weeks with their BFFs? Yes, they had so much fun! It’s hard to say goodbye so I’m happy they had so much time to connect before we head out in different directions. I think it’s really cool that our kids all have each other to go through this with. Having a best friend in the same life place is pretty amazing. I’m sure we will meet up on the road and have one million skype sessions, but the time together, in person, was so precious. If you like following fulltime families check them out at There Goes The Neighborhood Homestead.
I have one session to shoot the first week of December, my last baby planner is graduating. We leave Texas in a few weeks and we couldn’t be more excited for the adventures ahead!
Jude asked me if I’d take a few photos of him with Zachary. Who was I to say no?!
A little while later Jonah received word the above photos went down. So he marched right on up to the bed and declared he needed some too! Zachary is seriously the most loved little boy!
And just a few of him by himself…
These two have the sweetest little relationship. Zachary saves all of the really good smiles for Jude. I can’t blame him a bit though since Jude is really awesome. While most mommas I know want to have kids close in age so they will have a close relationship, I’m over here loving this whole 9 years apart thing (again). They are just the cutest together and it reminds me so much of when Ty used to rush home from school and stand in front of me with his arms stretched out, anxiously waiting to hold Jude the second he walked through the door. And now it is Jude’s turn. He’s constantly swooping in for snuggles and smiles from our little ray of sunshine.
I haven’t talked about it much publicly, but the 4th trimester has been very difficult for me. Healing from a difficult c-section has been long and painful. Emotional healing, every more so. I’m not driving yet post surgery, and staying home all the time has been hard with 4 kids under foot. Even though we homeschool, we rarely stay home all the time under normal circumstances. By the time the weekend gets here, the 4 walls of this house are closing in on me. I gave Jason a long list of things we can do to help me feel better, emotionally and physically, and leaving the house at least once on the weekend is at the top of both lists. So for the last month, we’ve loaded the kids in the car, grabbed a comfy folding chair and a boppy nursing pillow, packed a picnic and hit a few local parks / lakes. The first trip out Zachary and I stayed in the car nursing the whole time as I wasn’t able to navigate the hiking trails and stairs yet. I searched and managed to find a few parks with easier access that I could make it to over the following weeks. Last weekend we ventured out to Inks Lake and I managed a short hike with the family. I finally feel like my body is starting to function again and getting out in the sunshine is so good for me emotionally. Plus the kids had a really fantastic time canoeing with Jason – it was the highlight of our adventure. Jonah woke up the next morning talking about it and tried to convince me we should go canoeing really quick before Daddy had to leave for work lol. Most of our vacations for this year have had to be cancelled with the added expenses with the hospital transfer and surgery. While that’s a big bummer, we still want to instill a sense of adventure and reconnecting as a family with nature during the year. Our kids call it adventuring and look forward to it all week long.
It’s official. My husband would do just about anything to make me happy. Including offering to get behind the camera and take our kids out in the bluebonnets because I’m still recovering from surgery. I’m not able to work yet and even the occasional 10 minutes behind the camera photographing Zachary, bending, moving, adjusting, is too much for me. I was sad to miss out on Texas wild flowers this year.
Up until recently all of Jonah’s homeschool preschool lessons have been very hands on. We finally created an account for him on one of our homeschool computers and signed up for ABC Mouse. He was pretty excited about it and took to using the mouse and keyboard for the first time really quickly. I was so impressed. And he thought he was pretty big doing school on the computer just like the big kids.
I’m backtracking a bit here because I realized I never shared our family and maternity session from last fall with Libby Ann Photography. It was SO windy on this day. I can’t believe she caught anything of us, crazy gusts! The location is so very special to us as well, just outside of the birth center that has provided care for Jonah’s birth, our 3 losses and my pregnancy with Zachary. I made the sash and included 3 little angel charms to represent the 3 little angel babies we lost. As hard as it is for me to put myself in front of the camera when I’m pregnant, I’m so very happy to have these. They bring me back to a really happy time, anxiously awaiting the arrival of our baby boy.
Zachary is a huge fan of being held. Setting him down is against all the rules. Swing, nope. Rock and play during the day, nope. Playmat, nope. So, when I have to take a potty break, this is the scene, the big kids trying to calm him while I take 2.2 seconds to potty. I think the longest stretch I’ve had that he wouldn’t let me put him down was 14 hours. I had to remind myself a few times that these sweet newborn snuggles are fleeting!
In some ways, the first month flew by. And in others it’s gone by very slowly. Such is the newborn haze phase. I’m still recovering very slowly from our birth experience, emotionally and physically. But I love how much we have learned about him in the first month. He’s a good sleeper and absolutely loves to nurse. Just like Jude at this age, he starting to lose his hair on the top. His super sized monster baby feet still make us laugh. One morning we woke up and his big toes were sticking out of his sleeper. He busted right through the seems! Oh, the biggest news, he threw a few really adorable smiles our way already! I love it that he scowls at us right before and right after he busts out a smile. Funny baby! We love that he is starting to react to us more and have more waking hours. The big kids are counting the days until they can make him laugh while Momma and Daddy are embracing these fleeting days of him being so sweet and small.
Duder *is* fascinating.
Lots of boys in our house and I just love it. And I love how they all love on Zachary constantly.