And so the Adventure Begins…….

I can hardly believe I am sitting here writing this, but God is good ya’ll.  The past 2 weeks have been a total a complete whirlwind.  From passing strep and the tummy bug to every person in the house to getting a FULL PRICE OFFER on our home.  A full price offer on our home {insert happy dance}.  What makes this SO amazing and really shows us how much God is orchestrating this dream for our family is that our home WAS NOT on the market.  We took it off in November and had NO plans to re-list until mid/end of April.  Needless to say, moving was totally off of our radar.  You bet your bottom dollar we are excited as heck though.  A full price offer on a home off the market.  Well, ok then God.  We will take it and run blindly into whatever journey you are planning for our family.  We are a whole lot excited and little nervous, but here we come.  Yes, 300 square foot camper – get ready.  The Hoopers are hitting the road!  SO, what now?  We have discussed SO many options about which direction this all going to take and we really do not know yet.  Andrews job has taken a lot of unexpected (potentially exciting) turns that he wants to ride out at the moment and I hit my 10 year anniversary with my job in mid June.  So, as of now life will go on as normal.  In a camper.  That is normal, right?  We plan to hop around locally so that we can both stay at our jobs {yay} and the boys stay at their little church school {yay}.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” -Jeremiah 29:11

I am clinging to this truth as we start this journey.  God has it all laid out for us.  I honestly believe this time in our lives will change each of us in way we never imagined – for the better.  I can’t wait to see where we are led and who we meet along the way.  RCR will always be our first home and our forever home in our hearts. We made friends that are family to us on this precious street and we will carry that with us forever.  #faloopers.  A very bittersweet time for sure.  Our 10 day option period has already passed and the inspection went amazing.  We are set to close on March 10th.  Until then, friends, you can find me hiding in between boxes, bubble wrap and a glass of wine 🙂 And so it starts……

xo,

j

A Christmas Roadtrip -Nashville, TN

Stop number two on our Christmas roadtrip trip was Nashville. Nashville was the bee’s knees for me. The city just made my heart flutter. I LOVE me some history and Nashville is a beautiful mess of history and music heaven. LOVE. AND it is beautiful and had some awesome hiking. Double LOVE. AND the food is in-describable good {especially El Rey – ;)}. Triple LOVE. But is all seriousness if you do nothing else while you are in Nashville go to Hattie B’s Hot Chicken. Wait in line, no matter how long, and then send me a thank you note. Hattie B’s we will be back, until then I’ll see you in my dreams!

Nashville did induce a bit of anxiety on my soul. There was just SO much to see and do in so little time (and we didn’t make it through half of my list!). Our first full day there started out as a bust as I tried to navigate us to some of the “hot spots” and must eat at places for lunch. After 3 failed attempts {thank you Hattie B’s, Pharmacia, and Mas tacos} due to lines wrapped around the block, we ended up driving in circles, parking in downtown and walking into the first restaurant we crossed – insert El Rey, a little Mexican restaurant painted bright yellow and blue on the out skirts of downtown. The food was a 2/5 but the memories and laughs we eventually had were a 5/5. El Rey was the turning point for us in Nashville.

After El Rey we walked Downtown and showed Andrew’s parents some of our favorite bars from the night before (more on that to come) and then walked to the Country Music Hall of Fame. Awesome. I didn’t really know what to expect but it was on Andrew’s bucket list for Nashville and I am SO happy we went. It was one of my favorite spots. SO MUCH HISTORY. Nerd alert. I LOVE it all. It was a completely amazing place and I am so happy I got to experience it {even if I was wearing a 30+ pound kid the whole time}. A few of my favorite exhibits were Alabama, Elvis, and the Hall of Fame Rotunda. The museum was also decorated so beautiful for Christmas and the staff was so friendly! I hope to back here either kid free or once they are old enough to appreciate it at all of its worth.

We topped off this day with the Grand Ole Opry performance at the Ryman Auditorium.  It is was so much fun guys – such a neat experience. Considering our show was starting about 30 minutes after bedtime the kids did amazing!  I was wearing Wyatt and I did stand in the back the majority of the time so i could bounce him to keep him asleep.  Corbin took advantage of my empty seat and stretched out and slept through the show.  We could not have asked for better out of them.  We really pushed their limits this trip and all I can say is we have some pretty awesome and flexible kids.  Charles Esteen was one of the headliners performing the night we went.  Who is Charles Esten you ask?  Good question – I wondered the same thing until I did a little google search and discovered this.  I have always been horrible with names (so embarrassing) but I can remember a face anywhere and HELLO, Charles Esten, AKA DEACON FROM NASHVILLE.  Nashville is only one of favorite shows.  (it was secretly one of the reasons I wanted to visit Nashville so badly!)  So at this point, I am giddy with excitement AND then I find out he’s doing a meet and greet before our show (insert giddy school girl scream here).  I was excited.  I got to meet Charles Esten.  As crazy as the day was leading up to it – it was fantastic.  Andrew took the kids back to the camper to run off some energy before the show and my MIL and I stood in line and got to meet Mr. Esten.  He’s a classy guy and taller than I imagined.  This must mean that Rayna (Connie Britton) is much taller in real life too!

Let’s back track to our arrival day in Nashville. The drive from Branson to Nashville was a beautiful one. We stayed at the Grand Ole’ RV Park and had a grand ole’ time. The folks running this place were wonderful and again so friendly and helpful! The resort is large and right off the highway so it has easy access in to Nashville. With that said, however, our GPS guided us through the teeniest small winding back roads to our arrival at the RV Park. I LOVED the back road tour and enjoyed all the houses and different architecture. Andrew did not. Hauling an 18 wheeler through a 2 lane winding road with low hanging trees and steep climbs had him sweating bullets. We just had to laugh when we pulled up in one piece and saw the park was right off the highway. We settled in and did a quick wardrobe change and hit the town KID FREE {thanks nana and pa}. We made Tootsies our first stop and it was crowded. Like shoulder to shoulder packed. It brought me right back to my college days of navigating though overly packed bars. We did our duty went to the rooftop snapped some pictures and headed on to the next stop. We popped across the street and put our name on the wait list to eat the Mercantile (a must) and then headed into a few more bars until we got the text that our table was ready. The Mercantile was such a fun and YUMMY experience. We ate at the top-level which is more of the chef’s choice style menu. I look forward to going back and eating from the southern comfort lower level menu. From there we walked to Painter’s Ally, which has tons of history in itself that you can read about here and ventured into Skulls. Skulls was recommended to us by another couple who are full-time RVers that recently left Nashville. I reached out to them after their trip to see some of their favorite spots. Skulls topped one of our favorite spots as well. It was a fun back alley bar with great drinks, great food, and great music. We had fun learning about the history of skulls when we were there and had the pleasure of watching an artist who was an original performer when the bar and restaurant first opened.

Our final day was one of my favorites!  It was the day we got it together.  We went back to our roots, our comfort zone.  We went to Radnor Lake State Park and did some hiking.  Hiking is your comfort zone you ask?  Yes, yes it is.  Nothing beats walking through the woods with my family and watching my boys run through nature and explore.  This state park was small and oh so perfect.  It was just the refresher our souls needed.

After Radnor Lake State Park is when Hattie B’s happened (yummy).  Andrew’s parents met us there to gorge our souls on food and then we headed to the Opryland Hotel.  I cannot even put into words how grand this hotel was or how beautifully it was decorated.  No picture does it justice.  One of my favorite areas was the giant Nativity outside.  It was so beautiful and I just love any display that highlights the true reason for the season.

We loaded up the next day and headed to Hot Spring, Arkansas.  This was our midway point to break up the trek home.  We stayed at Catherine’s Landing RV park and man we were sad we were only there for one night.  It was such a great park and we are already talking about going back!  We did a quick visit to the Garvan Gardens for the Christmas light display and it was gorgeous!  So happy we ventured out and did that even though we were so tired!

This was such a great trip.  It was kinda our “test run” to see how the kids would handle driving and what not and it went so great.  Hopefully it is the first of many out-of-state adventures for the Hoopers!  Nashville is defiantly on my return to list.  There is just SO much we didn’t get to do {bluebird cafe :(}, but I am so excited to return!

 

xo,

j