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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!
Oh buddy. I love that this is your new favorite way to nap on your daddy. And can we have a moment to just soak in how fabulous his lips, cheeks and eyelashes are in that last photo? Yup, I’m obsessed.
This is my second year photographing this family. I thought they couldn’t get any cuter. Totally wrong! I don’t think I’ve ever met 4 children who were so so sweet to one another and well behaved. They make photographing them feel so easy! They are also the owners of Tequila 512, an amazing Austin based company! Go check them out!
Backtracking a bit. This boy is obsessed with his guitar.
I’ve been photographing this family for quite a few years now. Getting to catch up with them is always a highlight of my year. This year, we had a few challenges, the weather was yuck and drizzly and honestly, the kids were just not in to it that day. Thankfully, we were at their home and I could just stick around for awhile and capture the kids as they are, very low pressure. We worked it out and the end results are something I really love. I was hoping they would love them too….and when I got their thank you note, there was no doubt. It made me cry because it was so sweet and heart felt about how much these captured moments in time mean to them. I want to frame that note as it reminds me of why I do what I do and love it so very much.
1. The other night, while putting Jonah down, Jase left the room while saying “love you, buddy”. Only tonight Jonah returned with an “i love you, daddy”. Jase swung around, so excited and came back for another hug and a love. Sweetest moment ever.
2. It was a great end of the day since Jonah has taken to throwing everything he can get his hands on. It’s exhausting. And it hurts when whatever random item smacks you. Duder has a shiner right now thanks to Jonah and a remote control. He’s been to time out for the last two days, for the first time ever, and it’s just heartbreaking for him. This throwing phase is going to end soon….right?! And the hitting, oh my, the hitting.
3. My mom has been staying with us for the last few months for her knee replacement surgery. She’s did really, really well and has returned home to Alabama with a fancy new knee.
4. My mom isn’t the only one around here with surgery lately. I had surgery on my leg to have the melanoma removed. The first biopsy came back that I needed more removed. We did that, after a lot of research in to the pain med injections (I ultimately had them compounded) and it went good. The second surgery came back clear and they are 99.9% sure they got it all. No lymph node removal needed, thank God! Ty is also set for surgery here pretty soon. His shoulder injury has gotten worse over the last year and when he went to camp I think we all realized how much it was really holding him back physically. So we are moving forward with surgery. His recovery period will be about 6 weeks instead of the 6 months they originally told us. We definitely want to do it while he’s still at home and living with us and while he’s still on our insurance.
5. WE ARE ON HOMESCHOOL BREAK! Yes, it was necessary to yell that. Huge blessing. It’s been so long since I’ve we’ve had more than a week off, we are SO ready. Right when the little kids were ready for break last fall, Ty made the decision to come home for school, so I continued on with him and jumped in to the 10th grade. When we go back in January we will officially be homeschooling 4 kids. 11th/12th grade, 4th grade, 2nd grade and early pre-k for Jonah. And Ty is set to graduate early…one more year of high school, hard to believe.
6. Have you joined Raising Foodies? At over 450 members strong there’s all kinds of wonderful info to be found about boosting the immune system, healthy recipes, essential oils and much more. Come chat about Thanksgiving food!
7. I’ve been online shopping like a crazy lady for the last month. I’ve been planning outfits for not one, not two, but three photo shoots. The first one was with Tara and she will be photographing all 6 of us. The second is a session I’m planning is for the 4 kids only. And last, Jonah’s 2nd birthday session! That’s more shooting with my family than I’ve done all year long. Coordinating outfits for so many people and so many sessions has been crazy. I’ll come share pics from all 3 sessions very soon!
8. 2 weeks after my moms surgery we went camping. It was awesome. I went crazy the week before trying to get ready to go out of town during busy season but it was so worth it to disconnect for awhile and return to nature. We were lucky that this time we were able to have Jason’s parents join us in a cabin next to ours. The kids were in heaven with so many grandparents around and for only being 2 weeks post-op, my mom did wonderful. She was happy sitting by the fire, going on short walks with the kids and sitting by the river in her zero gravity chair we picked up off amazon. I took 32 gb worth of photos on our trip and can’t wait to dive in to them! I also did 3 mini sessions with Jonah for his birthday while we were there. He turned 2 while camping. And somehow I pulled off a paleo chocolate cake with chocolate frosting in the tiny cabin oven. My baby is growing up.
9. Does anyone else have a kid that’s addicted to the dustbuster? Jonah stands outside the pantry door, banging on it, yelling “BUSTER! BUSTER”, until we relent and give it to him. This works in my favor since he actually cleans with it. Parenting win.
10. Click over to Instagram for this adorableness. Our neighborhood was having a craft fair. Ty and Taryn both had items to sell. Ty made wood advent calendars and taryn made 100 homemade lip balms. Jude and I had the idea he could sell hugs, cause, well, he’s a hugger. HE MADE A SMALL FORTUNE! File this under things that are only cute if you are a Jude and are 6 years old.
The following session is what I call a “Love Light“. Usually one couple, downtown, after dark, on a date in Austin. If you are interested in this type of session contact me, I have 2 rounds coming up in mid-December and another in January! It’s the perfect gift and a fun way to celebrate your love and relationship. This session was the first time I’d combined a love light session as a double date. Jennifer, of Jennifer and Jim, grew up with Dan, of Dan and Marci. They were coming in to town for a visit and it was such a fun night!
Our homeschool year runs from January to September, so while everyone else is gearing up to head back to school, we are in the home stretch and gearing up for a nice long break! One thing we did this year was have Taryn (3rd grade) and Jude (1st grade) keep what we call a “Curious Journal”. I purchased them from Lakeshore Learning and it’s a place for them to write and draw and keep track of all the things they are curious about. It’s been really interesting to see what they write and what they want to learn. It helps me to know what direction to head in when we have a little extra time to learn something new outside of what is included in our Timberdoodle curriculum. We do some unit studies and I try to pick one topic from their Curious Journal a month. Jude has been super in to Penguins over the last year so I thought I’d come share our unit study on them several months ago (but I’m just getting around to blogging). We didn’t purchase everything listed below, but we did do a lot of it. I highly recommend checking out the library or Half Price Books to try and save some money. We read a lot of books, played games, watched documentaries and movies, searched youtube for penguins, watched live feed penguin cams, made a sensory bin, did penguin craft projects and more. Below are a few resources we used for our studies!
I Wonder Why Penguins Can’t Fly (fave)
If You Were A Penguin
365 Penguins (Jonah’s fave)
How Do Penguins Play?
Penguin & Pinecone
Penguin Say Please
10 Little Penguins Pop-up
National Geographic Penguins
Your Personal Penguin
Bucket of Penguins & Iceburgs (we didn’t buy this but if you are building a larger sensory box, it may be more cost effective than buying multiple TOOBs)
Plastic bin or other sensory box
Glass beads from the dollar store
White cotton balls from the dollar store
Various blue pom-poms
Small hand scoops from Party City
Heart Penguin Craft (you can see our project here)
Waterbottle and cotton ball penguins (you can see our project here)
Hand Tracing Penguin Craft
Easy Paper Roll Penguin Craft
Penguin Paper Craft
Paper Roll Penguin With Crazy Hair
Learning Shapes with Penguins
Paper Mache Igloo
Cotton Ball Igloo
1. I haven’t done a good old fashioned 10 on
Tuesday Thursday in ages. Feels good. I miss blogging and really kinda over facebook. I think I need to refocus.
2. We celebrated Ty’s 17th birthday on June 7th. 17. Can you believe it? time has just flown by….
3. Ty had an amazing opportunity to attend a month long camp here in Texas. I’m so excited for him, but we are all missing him like crazy. This particular camp is christian based and focuses on a Godly transition from boy to man. He’s going to be learning so many wonderful things. He’ll spend a lot of time in prayer, journaling scripture, handling finances, home repairs like electrical and plumbing work, vehicle repair, CPR and rescue skills all with a side of outdoor play, canoeing, swimming, camping and fun. I’m so excited for him. A month is so long. It’s a current toss up on who asks for him more, Maggie or Jonah. I’ve heard “where Ty?!?” out of Jonah so many times and Mags is a big old mopey pup without him. She follows me around, plops down and huffs all day long. Very dramatic.
4. We are in the process of purging at our house. Specifically our garage so that we can put in a home gym. I’m so excited but man is it a job. Our garage is a huge mess. Our neighbors asked if we were moving away lol. I might get brave and post a before and after pic when it’s finished. We were lucky enough to score a free weight machine last year and then we found someone who was open to bartering their gym quality elliptical machine for pics. Total win/win for us and I’m so excited about being able to exercise at home on the same equipment I’d be using at our Gold’s Gym. Our garage is going to look so much better too. We are in the process of painting and adding new shelving and a work bench. Can’t wait to get it done! Jase just finished our over the garage door storage area.
5. We hired a new mother’s helper. She started this week and my kids love her. She comes and plays and wrangles and chases so I can get stuff done. We love Ms. Meghan!
6. We scored a super cute metal bed frame for Taryn’s room. My plan is to take a few cans of pink spray paint to it and finally finish Taryn’s room. Just in time for my mom to come visit and stay in there too. She’ll be here next week and I pumped to see her.
7. As I was writing #6 Jonah just got out of bed, walked out to the living room, climbed up and gave me a huge squeeze hug around my neck and buried his head in my neck. I carried him back to bed and he hugged me the whole way. Sweet baby. He never gets out of bed and that was just the sweetest.
8. Did you see the video I posted of Jason doing a tutorial on the fastest way to peel a hard boiled egg? It rocked my world.
9. This kid…he loves to be outside. He lives for it. Go outside, even for one second, without him….END OF THE WORLD.
10. Want to hang out with other parents who are Raising Foodies? Come join our FB group! You’ll find lots of great ideas for raising foodies and living a healthy, more natural, lifestyle. I just posted this favorite recipe this week. Organic chicken cut in strips, sautéed in ghee, garlic and herbamare. You can add red peppers too. I then add 1-2 cups of organic red pepper hummus from costco and a splash of almond milk to make a creamy sauce. I serve over quinoa with a side of steamed broccoli. Super fast and easy.
I thought I’d come share what went in our camping first aid kit after getting some requests over on this instagram photo.
I know going in that my husband is going to roll his eyes joyfully at this post. I know this because he’s been sweetly snickering every time he passes the pile on the kitchen counter for the last week. It’s ok, I can embrace my neurotic love of all things first aid kit. I think it makes me quirky and loveable. And even though we gave up most things that come in a traditional first aid kits, I still find myself wanting to prepare, prepare, prepare when we travel to the great outdoors. So what’s a first aid kit fanatic to do when she turns crunchy? Why, a holistic first aid kit, of course!
I started off with nice sized box I picked up at Bed, Bath and Beyond (couldn’t find it on their website but the one linked is the same. It folds out and has 3 tiers). I wanted something that was durable, with a hard case and something that would be big enough to house glass mason jars, etc. I highly recommend buying small travel containers for most of the products so that it doesn’t look like you are packing everything AND the kitchen sink. It helps keep the snickering to a minimum. I like these travel containers as I prefer glass over plastic.
Glass roller ball containers – these are great for essential oils and ACV.
Bottle Droppers – I use these for silver, witch hazel, peroxide and ear oil.
Clear Glass Jars – these are great for baking soda, coconut oil, vitamin c, aloe and gelatin.
While I’m linking amazon above so you can see what I use, I do buy them (not in bulk) from Natural Grocers. Except the roller balls, I buy those in bulk because we use so many of them! I wrote the contents of each glass jar on the bottom in sharpie.
Reusable Ice Pack
Small essential oil diffuser
Fractionated coconut oil
Coconut Oil – the single most universally used item in our kit. We can cook our eggs with it, use it for diaper rash, reduce sunburns and so much more.
Activated Charcoal – we use this if someone has an upset stomach, food poisoning, etc.
Apple Cider Vinegar (jar and spray bottle) – there are a million and one uses for ACV. My top favorites are for stomach problems, urinary tract infections, apply topically to ease both sunburns and bug bites.
Bentonite Clay – we use this for stomach issues, tummy bugs, food poisoning or at the onset of illness.
Vitamin C – immune booster. Can reduce sunburn if used with Vitamin E.
Colloidal Silver – immune booster, great for ear infections, eye infections.
Baking Soda – can be used in a detox bath for illness. Can also be used on spider bites.
Probiotics – we never leave home without them. They help keep the immune system strong and functioning properly. We travel with store bought probiotics (live strain, must be kept cool). We also consume fermented foods and drinks daily and those travel with us as well.
Echinacea – we use it at the onset of illness.
Aloe – sunburns.
Epsom Salt – perfect for soaking sore muscles, ridding the body of toxins during illness or an allergic reaction. A pinch in some warm drinking water can help ease constipation.
Hydrogen Peroxide – we use it to clean wounds.
Witch Hazel – soothes skin irritation, scrapes and burns.
Gelatin – this is the first thing we consume at the first sign of illness.
Elderberry – immune boosting. We take it leading up to a trip, especially if air travel is necessary.
Mullein Ear Oil – garlic oil for ear infections.
Calm Forte – we call this the “anti-whine”. It helps calm kiddos who are too hyper, tired of traveling or just all out of sorts.
Addicide – we keep this in our house at all times and always travel with it. It’s a homeopathic that removes pesticides, fertilizers, preservatives and dyes from the body.
Arnica – homeopathic pain reliever.
Belladonna – homeopathic for inflammation. Use for minor injuries, sunburns, etc.
Chamomilla – promotes relaxation and helps with teething. If you have a restless bunch at the end of a road trip, a quick dose of chamomilla will help calm.
Poison Oak Blend
Nux Vomica – indigestion, nausea
Other homeopathics to consider throwing in you kit include: Kali Mur, Lycopodium, Ferrum, Phosphorus, Gelsemium, Rhus Tox, Aconite, Pulsatilla, Kali Bich, Apis, Lachesis, Mercurius
Serenity / Lavender
What is in your holistic first aid kit? Did I forget anything?
It’s always fun catching up with this sweet family. I’ve been photographing them each fall since E was just a baby. Catching up with them is a highlight for me. It’s more like hanging out with friends that results in a gallery. This year even more so, as Cory is a huge part of my team, he’s my kick butt SEO guy! So for everyone that finds me on google, we have Cory to thank!! He keeps me out there and visible and ranking and all that good stuff. Thank you Cory for all your hard work and keeping Life in Motion Photography up there! As for my favorite photos from their session, it’s so hard to choose, but I really love the photos of Amy and E. He was telling her something very important and their genuine expressions just kill me. It’s just so five years old. And so mother/son. Love.
7. I can’t believe it. I feel nostalgic with each of her birthdays just like I do my own kiddos. Ms. Jane showed up to this session with a killer playlist on her ipod and her dancing shoes. My favorite moment was when she was dancing with her shadow, then decided she wanted me to dance with her and insisted I put my camera down to do just that! So fun!