Clearwater Marine Aquarium

We are in Clearwater, Florida to see Winter at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium! My kids LOVE the Dolphin Tale movies and have been so excited about this stop! Not only did we get to see Winter and the other dolphins, it was super fun to step in to a movie set at the same time! Swipe to see Winter – we got to witness her playing with 3 little girls and their stuffed dolphins through the glass. It was such a cool moment! Clearwater Marine Aquarium recently opened their new facility and it’s beautiful. We loved how they integrated it with their old facilities because that’s what we really wanted to see.

I won’t lie, the timing of landing near Tampa this week wasn’t an accident. We were so hopeful that our Saints would be playing tonight and decided to be here just in case that happened. It’s ok, even without a Saints superbowl we are still excited about our time here. And our day with the dolphins was magical.

Also, I am such a sucker for touristy green screen photos. I buy them every single time!

2021-04-03T21:47:02-05:00February 7th, 2021|My Family, Jason, Jonah, Jude, Lyndsay, Roadschool, Taryn, Zachary|

The Florida Keys

I watched this kid swim like a fish yesterday! And he was so happy! Those swimming lessons were worth every single penny! This photo of him snorkeling with his little air bubble butt made me laugh.

It’s been a week where all 4 have been bickering and fighting. It’s been pretty exhausting and we’ve even had to cut down on some outings as a result. It’s not all gorgeous locations and happy kids over here people, this is still real life with toddlers and teenagers and sometimes it’s NOT fun. But going to the beach last night was good for all of us and it was nice to spot a few sweet moments with Taryn and Z. When the sun starts to go down she always comes looking for Z. She takes him on a kayak ride or swimming out further than he’d usually be allowed to go alone. It’s the sweetest. I think it’s because he defaults to her when he’s cold. If he starts shivering he automatically runs to sissy. The end of a water adventure is always their time together. 🥰 Bahia State Park is our new favorite!  It’s 2 min from our campground and you have access to beaches on both the Atlantic and gulf sides. If one is super windy you can switch sides. The water is shallow and easy for kids and toddlers. Watching the pelicans fish is a bonus. We’ve spent so much time here already. I know we really should check out other beaches but this is such a gem, it’s hard to pull ourselves away.

A birds eye view of our little island in the Florida keys. This RV park fills the key and it’s a little piece of paradise. Somehow we messed up taking photos while flying our drone so here’s a few video screen grabs. I still can’t believe we get to live here for the next few days!

The palm tree across from our site is home to a huge iguana. It looks like it lost most of its tail. These things are super fast. I’m kinda hoping Pepper spots it while we are here. She’s so funny when she spots wildlife she’s never seen before. Her eyes get super wide, her hair stands on end and her whole body starts shaking. 🤣  We also traveled down to the Southernmost Point in Key West and Fort Zachary, or as Zachary calls it:  Fort Me!  Ha!

The Florida keys aren’t just a destination. They are a way of life. One we are very quickly getting used to.

Somehow we managed to find a reservation in another campground so we can extend our stay in the Keys. We love it here and I have a feeling that no matter how long we stay, it won’t be long enough.

Today was pretty cool. I had a rough start at the Turtle Hospital but rallied and had fun during the second half. Getting up close to the turtles and feeding them was really cool. We learned a lot, this was a big road school win! There are turtles bigger than I’ve ever imagined in the ocean! Thanks to my mom for sending us on this adventure!

Another day in paradise, another beautiful sunset. We are all a little tired from going constantly but also happy to be making the absolute most of our time here in the Keys. Today while Jason was working I took the kids to a bird sanctuary. It’s was an easy walk, the kids had fun and it didn’t create a ton of laundry like all our beach days do! Tomorrow we are planning to go feed the tarpons at Robbies. And of course, catch another sunset.

Feeding the tarpons at Robbies. We wanted to love this but y’all, the pelicans were so aggressive! 😣 One stole a fish straight out of Zacharys hand and another lunged at me close range. Not my thing. But we did get to see a huge manatee! We head out tomorrow and none of us want to leave.

2021-04-03T22:29:06-05:00January 21st, 2021|My Family, Jason, Jonah, Jude, Lyndsay, Roadschool, RV Life, Taryn, Zachary|

Everglades National Park

I don’t know who replaced my baby with this big kid but 😭. We are loving this age, he’s turned a huge corner from years of screaming and no sleep. I can’t call him easy but life is getting easier. He packed his own backpack yesterday, demanded his hat and even dressed himself. We figured out at the end of the day he was commando by choice. 🤣 Funny story: a few weeks ago he dressed himself in all blue and I told him he looked like a giant blueberry. A few days ago I was walking in to Whole Foods with he and Jude. Z and Jude were both dressed in blue and he announced they both looked like blueberries. Then he took a long look at me and announced I looked like a rotten banana. 😆 Thanks kid! 😂🤣

It’s been 3 months since we stepped foot in a national park and we are super excited about this one!! Day 1 was pretty incredible!

Everglades National Park is huge! We are talking 1.5 million acres and 5 visitor centers HUGE. It definitely took some planning to prioritize our time here. We started our day at the Coe visitor center. Taryn and Jude are in it for the incredible bird watching here!

While the big kids were super excited about this park, I’ll confess I had my reservations. It’s *always* a challenge keeping kids safe in national parks. There are cliffs and drop offs, big water, canyons, you name it. It’s rarely what I would call “safe”. But never have I ever had to break out my special “omg my kid could be swallowed whole by an animal” anxiety. We kept our little guys very, very close because we had some close encounters with alligators…

Our first stop near Coe Visitor Center was Anhinga Trail at Royal Palm. Lots of other families recommended this one! Less than a mile on a boardwalk, easy and beautiful! The real adventure was discovering upon arrival that we needed a tarp to cover our truck because the Jurassic size vultures EAT CARS. 😳 Well, not the actual car, but they eat rubber linings destroying the seal. We will show you in our YouTube video but y’all, this freaked me out. They were chowing down on one when we arrived. 😣 Everglades National Park is not for the weak.

Our first and only alligator sighting at Anhinga was this little baby. He was only about 2 feet long! He was just over the edge of the raised boardwalk and easy for the kids to see close up safely.

Our next stop was Shark Valley. We took an hour drive north because I booked a tram tour. We really struggled on deciding between a tram tour and an airboat tour. Shark Valley has been closed for weeks due to high water levels. They just reopened this past week. We opted for the tram only because it was cheaper than the boat. We are spending a lot on adventures in the next month. I’m so glad we chose the tram!! It was a 2 hour ride and we learned SO much! Total road school win! Not only that we saw over a dozen alligators close up! Some a little too close for comfort honestly. The 3rd photo is the biggest one we saw at over 10 feet long! This YouTube video is going to be a good one! Head up to my stories to see Jonah’s reaction to the first big alligator sighting 🤣 Also, editing these photos freaked me out just as much as seeing them in person. Alligators freak me out but I also really enjoyed the tour. It’s conflicting 😂 Plus the big kids saw TONS of birds. This is a bird haven and they loved every minute!

You can check out our Everglades Youtube video here:

2021-04-03T22:43:54-05:00January 19th, 2021|My Family, Jason, Jonah, Jude, Lyndsay, National Parks, Taryn, Zachary|

yet another breakdown

Sometimes fulltime RV life looks like this. Being stuck for 2 weeks, no running vehicle, no adventures and an extra $6300 out of pocket in the last month alone. Praying we have finally fixed the issues and we can get back on the road tomorrow evening.

2021-04-09T20:34:59-05:00June 24th, 2020|Jason, RV Life|

Colorado Snow in June

We woke up to a beautiful snow day! This is such a treat for these Texas kids! Today was described as “The day free fun fell from the sky!” I am so thankful for this time with them.

Getting 6 people snow ready in a tiny space is a huge job! We knew the snow was coming so last night I assigned each kid a dining room chair and we set out their gear: warm clothes, scarves, hats, mittens, boots. One thing we do for snow is utilize rain gear. We bundle up underneath in warm clothes then add it on top. It keeps them dry and we don’t have to store bulky snow gear we only use a few times a year in our tiny space. Everything has to have multiple uses around here to earn its place in our space! Zachary is wearing his Tuffo Muddy Buddy and it’s worth every penny!

Jonah had the most fun today! He played so hard and didn’t stop until the very last little bit of snow had melted away. That Jonah is always living his best life!

Jude is the king of snowball fights! He’s a lean mean snowball building machine! Let’s just say there was a lot of testosterone flying around with all these competitive boys today. 🤪

We named our snowman Olaf! We’ve carried this snowman kit around for 2 plus years and 60k miles and we FINALLY got to use it today. Jason has made fun of me for keeping it more than once but I insisted. It was totally worth the space sacrifice for the fun memories made today!

 

2021-04-07T13:57:55-05:00June 9th, 2020|My Family, Jason, Jonah, Jude, Lyndsay, RV Life, Taryn, Zachary|
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