we are among the rich and famous

We were recently featured in a blog post by The Wandering RV.  Bill reached out to us to contribute to a post he did about why we chose to go full-time in our RV.  Along with 20 other full-timers our story got featured in his post and we are SO pumped to be listed among the elite of the RV world.  We are total newbies, so when a fellow rv-er reached out to us, we totally geeked out.  #nerdalert.  Check it out folks and then make a mental note that you know a famous family 🙂  Thanks Bill!  Let us know when you are in Texas!

I really love how our super awesome Chrismas card photo was used for our photo. #winnning

xo,

j

Friday Favs

one.

Asics gel-nimbus running shoes.  These shoes are like running on clouds.  I don’t love the price tag, but I do love the shoe.  I am getting my booty back in gear and hitting the pavement again and I had worn my old running shoes into the ground.  My boys bought me a new pair for Mothers Day 🙂  If you are in the search for a good pair of running shoes, I highly recommend these

two.

This stroller makes my runs ah-mazing.  Well, as amazing as running while pushing over 100 pounds can be 😉  I almost always have my babies with my on my runs.  This stroller distributes their weight so evenly and it is so smooth and easy to push.  We are limited on storage these days and the easy on/off wheels on this jogger makes it so easy and compact for storage in my car to keep it out of the elements when not in use!

three.

As I was organizing and planning how I wanted everything in the RV I realized the eating situation if folding and unfolding a table at every meal was not the most ideal – especially with the boys.  I went on a hunt for the perfect table and chairs that would withstand all their roughness 🙂  I found this set at Target and instantly fell in love.  It is the perfect fit and super sturdy.  I also love how it is metal, so the table surface doubles as a magnetic learning station as well for their magnetic alphabet letters and numbers!

four.

Picasso tiles magnetic playset are by far one of the coolest inventions ever.  My boys are in love with these and each play session usually lasts a minimum of 30 minutes of complete amazement.  It really pushes their creativity and problem solving skills.  Mommy and Daddy think they are pretty fun to play with as well!

five.

Our carpet in the RV is super low quality and we knew we wanted to preserve it as long as possible.  Andrew had the great idea of getting some runners to place down and I found this one that we love.  It is such a great quality and feels amazing to walk on!

Hope everyone is having a great weekend.

xo,

j

Camp Hooper

We had the b.e.s.t. time celebrating our boys at their Camp Hooper birthday party.  The weather was perfect and we felt so blessed by all of our friends and family that came out to celebrate.  This year we did a joint party for the boys and they loved it!  We will be making this a tradition for as long as they let us!  A camping party seemed like the most appropriate theme considering our current life situation 🙂  Corbin’s one request was to have fish on his cake – you got it kid!  My mom made the pinata again this year {one of my most favorite traditions}.  She made pinatas for us as kids, and I always thought I had the coolest mom because she knew how to make a pinata.  I love that my boys now have the coolest pinata making nannie 🙂  Chick-fil-a saved the day with a last minute party tray order (like 0920 order for a 10 am party), shiply’s drive-thru donut holes won over the kids hearts and nana provided some delicious fruit!  My one pintrest inspiration for the party was s’mores trail mix.  I put a box of teddy grahams, a bag of chocolate chips, and a bag of mini marshmallows in a bowl and ta-da.  EASIEST kid loving snack ever.  I pulled some of the kids stuffed animals out of beds and brought our play teepee for decor and viola – perfect camping party!  I have so much fun celebrating birthdays and something about celebrating your babies is just extra special.  I already have a boy filled fun theme planned for next year 😉  What are some of your {easy} favorite party ideas?!

Camp Hooper
cakes, hats, and flashlight party favors = big hit
s’mores pinata is one of my favorites so far!
corbin was totally into the pinata hitting this year. bubba, maybe next year….
it wouldn’t be a 2 year old party without a tantrum
love hate relationship with the bubble machine. they love it, i hate it {such a mess} 🙂
the innocence and joy that a Pinata brings out. I LOVE it!

xo,

j

the day you turned two

My sweet blonde baby boy.  I do not know where the past two years have gone.  They have flown by faster than I can keep up.  You have developed the sweetest (and funniest) personality.  You do not have very many words yet, but you have no problem getting your wants and needs across.  The words you do have are the ones that are most important to you – bar, bike, mama, dada, buhhhhyyyeee, and no.  This takes me back to an important part of you to note.  Bars (like granola bars) are your love language.  Food in general is your full-time love, but bars in particular are the bees knees.  You L O V E to eat.  You love to finish your food and then start stealing others (particularly brothers)  are you really that hungry or do you love getting him riled up?!  We will never know, but you sure can pack away more food than your momma.  I pay for it in diapers J  You are the best cuddler.  Like your brother you love a good back scratch, but you also love to scratch backs.  You are an incredibly happy and laid back kid.   You are always smiling and you find just about anything comical.  You {LOVE} your brother.  You love him big.  He is your best friend, you are his little shadow and will copy everything he does down to demanding band aids on the same spot he has one.  Your heart is filled with the most innocent genuine love and every morning when you see me and daddy you act like we have been apart for a lifetime.  You are fiercely independent and your will as well is a force to be reckoned with (a running theme among you and your brother and daddy).  You love to ride your balance bike and are actually insanely fast and good at it.  You love trucks and cars of all sorts.  You love to dance and theme songs are your main jive.  Paw patrol’s song and the hot chocolate song from polar express really tip your happy scale over into pure uncontrollable joy.  Your hair is so blond its white.  It gets the best curls and your Dad and I refuse to cut it (sorry).  We love you so much bubba.  You were the perfect blonde haired baby our family needed.

birthday cinnamon rolls
you are funny 🙂

xo,

mommy

Living that {un}common life

When we started this journey we knew that we were taking a huge leap of faith.  We knew that we would come across varying opinions from people in every walk of our lives.  We knew that we were about to make our very common life, very uncommon.  God has done nothing but provide from day one.  Given, many times he left us wondering “why” and “are we doing the right thing?”  As the weeks have passed and we are becoming deeper into our journey it is so evident that yes we are doing the right thing and so many times along the way it is not that God was telling us no, he was merely orchestrating his work and a series of events in the timing that it needed to happen.  The opportunity God is giving us now has us so excited thinking how much we are loving this {un}common life.

Almost a year ago now, last June, is when all of this lets go full-time in the RV chatter started.  We did a 2 week trial run in a local RV park to make sure we felt good about our decision (because 2 weeks really gives a glimpse into what real life will look like – am I right 😉  Well, one week in and we decided heck we are wasting time, let’s just do this.  So, we did.  Our realtor was contacted, our house was placed on the market.  We thought we would be sold and closing in a matter of weeks.    We had it all planned out.  We would “hop” around some local state parks because they were so beautiful and we spent so much time there on weekends hiking and taking in all that God’s creation has to offer.  We “planned” to stay at each park for a few months and then go on to the next one.  Silly us.  As we sat around waiting for our house to sell, we actually had some time research into our grand plans.  Wouldn’t you know that you cannot stay in state parks for longer than 14 consecutive nights as a time.  We had little dream bubbles bursting all around us. We sat on the market until the week of Thanksgiving before pulling it off.  Fast forward to late January, we get a call from our realtor on a random Sunday afternoon.  You can read about that here.  By the grace of God our house sold.  You can read about that here.  We settled in at wonderful RV park in Brookshire.  It had a pond with ducks, a playground, a swimming pool, and gravel roads that turned muddy and filled with the biggest puddles when it rained.  The boys were in little boy heaven.  We made friends.  It was a good first home on this journey.  We started getting the itch a few weeks in to be in the woods, for some state park camping time.  I scrounged all the parks close enough that we could maintain our commutes with work and life.  EVERY single site/park was booked every fri/sat night thru June.  Hello boy scout camping season!  We settled on the last week in April and first week in May (sun-fri visits since they were booked fri/sat).  We wanted to be in the woods for both of the boys birthdays so those two weeks worked out perfect.  Plans were already made to go home to the country in between those weeks to celebrate grandma Charlie’s 79th birthday.  It was perfect timing.  We pulled into a big, shaded spot right across from the playground last Sunday afternoon.  The spot directly across from us was vacant and had a park host sign hanging in the front of it.  This immediately caught my attention and got my wheels turning.  After a quick conversation with Andrew and a little google searching our suspicions were confirmed.  There was a park host vacancy at one of our favorite local state parks.  I immediately emailed the Ranger and we met with him Monday morning.  Friday afternoon before we left town we had our final meeting with him and accepted the position at Park Host!  Yeah, I get it.  Much of what makes us excited these days has the majority people just looking at us saying “huh?”  But we are really excited about this opportunity friends!  This means that we get to stay for extended periods of times in the state park (buh-bye 14 night rule) and not only do we get extended stays BUT our stay here is F R E E.  Can we just say Thank you God.  His hands were at complete control and we are feeling his blessings coming down on us for sure.  In exchange for our stay, we are an active presence in the campgrounds.  We are to help enforce park rules as needed, sell ice and firewood if need, help keep the sites clean and free of trash once guests are gone.  All of these duties are so manageable with the kiddos and they are SO excited to have the important job of picking up sticks and litter.  Corbin is already the litter police.  This does not require us to be here 24/7.  We can still go about life, but when we are home we basically keep doing what we usually do (plus sell ice and firewood) and get to stay in this gorgeous park.  We are so excited about this opportunity for us and the boys!  I hope they always remember that time in their lives when they lived in a State Park.  Come visit us!  We will always have a campfire going and an endless supply of s’mores.  We would love visitors 🙂

getting settled
it’s official
these boys are all smiles about the new gig

xo,

j

 

 

and now you are four

F O U R.  I cannot even believe you have been a part of our lives for four years.  I don’t know why four seems so much more different from three, two or even that super special first year.  Four is like the big league of entering childhood.  You are starting to make memories (so maybe all these silly things I do and traditions I follow will start sticking in that sweet memory of yours).  Four has been a big year for you.  You have grown and matured SO much this year.  You love to help with everything.  You LOVE your bubba.  You love trucks of any kind, the garbage men, and anything to do with camping.  Your imagination is wild and you are constantly correcting me about the correct noises that trucks and tractors of the sort sound.  You are a great eater (you love to run up to the measuring ruler after every meal and see if you have grown) and love trying new things.  You are stubborn and that will of yours is a force to be reckoned with.  I try to choose my battles with you wisely.  I know these character traits will carry you far in life and try to remind myself of that often.  You are a great little problem solver.  You love your daddy so much and I love watching you admire him.  You strive to be just like him and I am totally ok with that.  The world could use as many of your daddies as possible.  Your laugh is deep and real.  You have a giant heart.  You love to cook and are always wanting to help and learn in the kitchen.  Your favorite color is blue, unless it comes to plates then you always demand orange.  Right now you are playing soccer, but at least once everyday you tell us how you want to play basketball, baseball and football.  I can see where our weekends are going 🙂  You love to start your morning off with a glass of chocolate milk (almond milk regular halfway and chocolate the rest).  You love visiting the auction barn and always get a grilled cheese sandwich there.  Lupe (tortillas as you call it) is your favorite place to go eat – and pretty much the only restaurant we can safely, aka meltdown free, visit as a family.  You love to end your days and get tucked in with a back scratch.  You love school.  You were the first.  You made me a mommy.  Your birthday will always be one of my favorite days to celebrate.  Mommy and daddy love you to the moon and back.

birthday cinnamon rolls
birthday chapel at school
your birthday present! your very own camera!

xo,

mommy      

What Should Have Been…

April 19.  Today was the day we were set to re-list our house.  I am SO grateful that God showed us grace and mercy and spared us from having to go through that process again.  It was SO stressful.  So, today, I am especially grateful that we are D O N E.  We are going into month of full-time RV strong – and with a broken refrigerator.  It just stopped working late Monday afternoon after a huge storm rolled through and about an hour before I was set to leave for work.  We are so grateful that our RV park owner just happened to have empty deep freezer not in use and for our neighbors who offered up their HUGE cooler without hesitation.  Our freshly bought groceries were spared!  We are still in the process of getting it repaired so in the mean time we are truly roughing it 😉  But seriously, I will never take our refrigerator for-granted again and I will say a little prayer of thanks every time I open that thing once it is repaired.

We had a wonderful Easter weekend with our family.  We celebrate every year by going to church at Briscoe Manor (we got married there, and I love the tradition of bringing out kids back there every year).  After church we headed back to the camper and hunted eggs and did some chores before heading to Nannie’s house!  We enjoyed a wonderful dinner, the traditional Easter basket cake and confetti egg hunt.  It was such a nice time and I love building these family traditions.

best buds
annual Easter cross picture. Andrew made this cross 🙂

Hope everyone has a great Wednesday!  What is your blessing today?

 

XO,

j

{one} Month

Packing has become a task that I have a love/hate relationship with.  I love the walks down memory lane I am having as I come across items that have been stowed away for safe keeping that hold such a good memories with them.  I love that I am able to really sort through things and decide if it brings me joy enough or if we NEED it and if it makes the keep or toss cut. I love the excitement of purging and fresh new starts of new adventures.  I hate seeing how much mindless stuff we have accumulated.  I hate that it seems to multiply right before my eyes.  I feel like packing is the never ending daunting task of my life currently.  I have been staying up late and going through rolls upon rolls of paper and bubble wrap but I still feel like I have barely made an indention.

{enter} 1.5 months later…….. and I was obviously all consumed with packing and ‘surviving’ that I never finished my post about packing let alone given any update on life at all!

Y’all.  It is our one month anniversary (technically one month + one day) but ONE MONTH!  WE MADE IT a month.  Yea, I know what’s one month when we are planning to have this lifestyle for YEARS?  Well, it has been a month, guys.  Actually two.  The hardest months we have had in a really, really, really long time.  I feel as if we have been under spiritual attack to some level.  We have barely been able to come up for air.  We listened to our hearts, we followed our dreams.  Yet, it has just been hard.  We are pushing through, we are stronger than ever, and we are ready to tackle life head on {break or no break}.  We have been hit with string after string of illness.  It has been relentless (downright brutal honestly) and expensive.  It started literally days after we accepted the offer and had a contract placed on our house.  Both of the boys came down with a horrible strand of strep…like 103/104 fevers for a week horrible.  We recovered from that (barely) and then the tummy bug swept thru the house.  We jumped right from the tummy bug into flu A.  Tamiflu rescued us momentarily and then we they boys got croup followed by Flu B.  Andrew and I developed severe head colds (requiring 2 rounds of antibiotics).  I have been battling laryngitis (twice now on the past month) and just finished a 5 day course of steroids for that.  AND just when I thought surely God we are done.  NO.  Andrew ended up in the emergency room early Sunday morning with kidney stones.  He is doing much better (praise God).  AND now I’m really thinking WE MUST BE DONE.  Please pray that we are.  We.  Are.  Tired.

“Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.” -Ephesians 6:11

Amidst all the illness and struggles, we managed to pack up our 3000 sq. foot house and move into our 300 sq foot RV.  We had struggles along the way, but we survived.  We did it and boy does it feel good to be done!  We are still organizing and figuring storage (in and out) of the RV out.  We currently have 2 storage units, but we will be condensing that to one very shortly once we get some of the stuff out of our big storage unit that people are purchasing from us.  Our RV storage and organization has come a LONG way since day 1!  I highlight some of that in our RV home tour video below.  I will be doing posts breaking down room by room storage solutions and what we are doing to make it work!  My favorite MUST HAVE and most unexpected used item so far?!  command hooks.  yep.  If you have stock in the command company, you are welcome.  I think I may have doubled your holdings this week alone.  A big thank you for my sister and brother in law for gifting us a giant box of command products when we moved into the RV – you started the trend and it stuck 😉  I’ll highlight how we are using all of our command hooks/strips when I do room tours!

We have already had the opportunity to meet some great full-time families.  One family, The Fulkersons, we started following a year ago when we first thought of drastically changing our lifestyle and moving into our RV.  We found out about their adventures when my sister-in-law bought something from them as they were selling off many of their belongings in order to go full-time.  They happened to be back in our part of town getting some RV repairs done right as we were closing on our house and hitting the RV.  We had the pleasure of enjoying their company quit a few times before they hit the road again.  It was such a blessing to share a common bond with another family doing this, and they had TONS of great advice for us!  We also got SO lucky in our current RV park.  We have the nicest family next to us and they have 2 sweet kiddos.  Their son and Corbin are already buddies!  Jennifer has also been a wealth of knowledge for me as well.  They have been living the RV life for 9+ years!

SOLD
let the adventure begin
the Fulkerson family (minus all the kiddos)

We would love to hear from you!  Let us know what questions you have, what you want us to feature, etc.  Hopefully now that we are getting settled into life and building a routine again I will be able to get back at blogging.  I have missed it!

XO,

j

 

 

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