Enough

“Gratitude makes what we have enough”

I found this plaque before we started this adventure.  Well, before we started living this life.  This motto, I thought, this is a good life motto.  I assumed that it would come easy.  We are living in a tiny space, so I will be grateful and it will be enough.  I was wrong.  I am grateful and it is enough.  But human nature has made it a hard transition.  I am guilty. I have still bought and added things to my life.  The other day at the store I bought two new pairs of shoes.  Why?  I don’t really know.  I returned them both.  This transition has been just that – a transition.  A pruning process.  We are growing and changing because of it.  I am learning to find a balance of what is really important, what I really want out of life.  What really brings me happiness?  I thought I went thru this process already as I packed up the house.  I literally examined everything I owned and tried to determine if it brought me happiness or not.  But the truth is, it is not the things that have brought me happiness in this journey.  It has been sitting by the fire with my husband long after the kids have gone to bed and roasting marshmallows and giggling.  It has been watching my baby learn overnight how to do amazing things because he it outside learning and playing ALL day long.  It has been watching my big boy gain a sense of responsibility as he makes the rounds with daddy every day.

Many of our ‘neighbors’ during the week are retired couples here relaxing for the week/weekend.  I cannot even count how many strangers have come up to Andrew or I and told us how much happiness watching our boys play has brought them.  Each time a specific mishap that they witnessed is what brought them the most joy…..how cute Wyatt looked throwing a tantrum or giving me his side eye…..how awesome Corbin is on his bike {and how he just takes off so fast}….how funny it is to watch their “fights.”  Their highlights were my daily frustrations and it was {is} exactly what I need to hear during this phase of motherhood. We had one lady paint us a picture of the boys chasing bubbles.  It was the sweetest gesture and something we will treasure for a lifetime.

My joy is nothing that I imagined this road would bring – it is 1000 times better.  I am growing as person.  I am learning to trust more and let go.  I don’t know what 5 days, 5 months, or 5 years looks like down the road.  The glorious thing?  I don’t have to!  I am really trying to focus on living in the moment and not worrying so much about the future.  It will unfold how God intends it, and I plan on enjoying the process (and the 1293478 bugs that have become a part of my daily life :))

What brings you the greatest joy in life?

xo,

j

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

 

 

{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

Five on Friday – Goals Edition

Hello my loyal blog followers, so basically hi Hubby, mama and steph 😉  I know I have said this before but I am just SO excited for 2017.  I have never felt more driven and empowered before.  I am making goals and actually sticking to them.  right?!  crazy talk.  Here are some tips of things I have been doing to help me stay on top of my goals.

{one}

Be intentional.  Make goals about things you are passionate about.  When you have an internal drive towards something in particular it is going to help drive you externally to achieve these goals.  For me I am being more intentional about saying “NO.”  I feel like one of my weaknesses in life is that I am a people pleaser.  I never say no.  I have started guys and guess what.  I am happier AND I am achieving more of my personal goals.  Just because I don’t go on a playdate everyday doesn’t mean I don’t want to see my friends or that my kids are deprived, but the ones we do go have become more intentional and for that I am thankful.  I have tried to apply this concept to all areas of my life and I truly am pursing my passions on the side this year instead of trying to do it all.

{two}

Make lists.  I know, I know.  This belongs in goal making 101. BUT it just holds so much truth.  When you make a simple bullet point list to lay out your day before you, it forces you to become more intentional with your actions to get through that list.  Put EVERYTHING on there that you want to get to done (quiet time, work out, laundry, make dinner, etc) and prioritize it if you can.  Whatever doesn’t get checked off automatically gets floated to the next days list.  I use the weekly part of my planner for my list making.  I use my monthly part so I can see all my big things laid out at once (DR appointments, when I work, plans with friends, etc).  This has been working SO well with me.  The very first thing on my list every day is my quiet time.  If I achieve nothing else on my list other than spending 5 minutes with the Lord then I will call it a successful day.  And guys, this week, I have been surviving.  Both my kiddos have been sick, so I have missed quiet time twice and gotten nothing else done on my list.  But that’s ok, I still made a list everyday and I moved everything onwards to the next day that I wasn’t able to accomplish the day before.

{three}

Set yourself up for success.  If your goal is to work out at 5 am, sleep in your workout clothes.  If your goal is to wake up and have quiet time with a cup of tea, set everything out before you go to bed so you know its waiting on you in the morning.  Be realistic and help yourself the night before as much as you can.  One thing I have been doing to try to help this is to make sure my dishwasher is empty before I go to bed.  Silly but for me waking up and not having a pile of dishes in the sink automatically makes my day better.  I also have been making kids lunches the night before on school days and what a game changer that is.  I am such a nicer mom on school days when I’m not rushing everyone out the door in a mad frenzy.

{four}

Accountability.  Share your goals with someone.  Put it out there on social media.  Call your best friend and tell them.  Write it down for people in your home to see.  Make yourself accountable somehow.  For me, one of my goals (since like forever) has been to finally lose some of this baby weight.  My neighbor had the same goal.  SO what we did we do?  Made it a family affair.  Husband/wife teams.  We set a start date and end date.  We created a group within a workout app so we can see when the others are working out, we weigh in every Monday morning and send our numbers into the spreadsheet.  It works.  We are having fun with it – right ridge runners??? 😉 and it is holding us all accountable.  Who doesn’t like a little friendly competition.

{five}

Give yourself GRACE.  In all that you do, give yourself grace.  God did not create us to be perfect.  He created us to be good.  Good people, Good stewards of our faith, good husbands/wives, good mothers/fathers.  No where in the Bible has God set up the expectation of perfection, so why would we burden ourselves with that expectation?  It is not possible.  We are human flesh, at the end of the day we will not achieve perfection, it is not within our reach.  So, step back and give yourself grace.  Be kind.  Look at people and smile.  Try your hardest to be the best you can be each day.

I hope to be back on my game with Friday link-ups, but if I fall off the wagon again, it’s ok.  God willing I have MANY MANY more Fridays to live.

 

Enjoy your weekend friends!

xo,

j

Stirring in the Soul

We are officially 9 days into the new year and I have never felt such a stir of emotion in my soul and energy as I have this year.  My clean eating and exercise program is going pretty darn well.  I have not missed one day of my daily devotional {that really is a big deal for me}.  We had a crazy productive first weekend of the year that we will fondly remember as demo weekend.  We are starting preparations on our house in order for it to be at its best market ready self when we re-list our home in April.  We took the train down that ran across Corbin’s ceiling in his room (as much as we thought it was super awesome and fun, some people can’t look past that stuff when buying a house).  We took down extra curtain rods and curtains that made rooms appear smaller.  We smoothed down and spread a huge pile of dirt in the backyard.  Let me clarify – when I see WE I really mean Andrew.  He rocked it this weekend.  I was the moral support and cooker.  I also got all of our christmas taken down and put back into the attic.  My project 333 wardrobe is THIS CLOSE to being complete.  We have a garage sale pile the size of Mt. Rainer {and it feels oh SO good}.  I have a feeling this is just the first layer for me as well.  I am learning a lot about myself. I am very emotional and am having a harder time parting with THINGS than I thought.  EEEEP.  How embarrassing.  Does this make me a stage 1 hoarder?!  Maybe.  Whatever it is I am ok with it.  I am making progress and it is helping me to try to really step back and find the THINGS in my life that bring me joy.  We are collectively trying to make 2017 more about friends and family than THINGS.  Regardless,  I am human and I like things.  I am forever a work in progress.  Amongst all these preparations on the home I feel like Andrew and I have had some MAJOR stirrings in our hearts and souls about where exactly is life leading us?  What does God want us to do with out lives?  80% of your life is spent working and that work needs to glorify HIM.  If you aren’t happy with that work than are you really living life to the fullest potential? Are you really glorifying God every day?  Some serious stirring of the souls going on over here.  What I can say is I have a feeling this “journey” that we started envisioning in our heads 8 short months is going to be drastically and radically different from what we had originally planned out.  Kinda scary – heck yea.  Kinda exciting – oh yea.  Keep coming strong 2017 – we are taking you and all your challenges on.  I’ll leave ya’ll with an awesome poem Andrew wrote in about 10 minutes yesterday.  He has such a talent for this and it amazes me with each poem he writes.  Enjoy.

The Grind

I’m not happy with what I’ve become
Connected all the time
Putting in all the effort
For just the daily grind

Working for someone else
Is not at all fulfilling
And the thought of this long term
Is nothing short of chilling

Voicemails, Texts, and Emails
Never putting down the phone
Sometimes I want to shut it off
And leave myself alone

It’s ingrained in us at an early age
What success can truly be
But today I find myself
Wanting more than the corporate family tree

I’m tired of climbing the ladder
I’m needing some simplicity
It may be unconventional
But I think it’s what’s best for me

It’s great to have the raises
And a promotion here and there
But honestly in the grand scheme of things
I’m not sure I really care

I was able to buy the “things”
That sit in the closet collecting dust
It’s what you’re supposed to do with money
It’s like an unwritten law that you must

Am I being selfish?
Thinking only of myself
Or am I turning the page
On my “book” up on the shelf

Change is a scary thing
And taking risk is just the same
But what I’m doing as of now
Will soon drive me insane

I’m not expecting it to be easy
There will be bumps in the road ahead
But I want to say I’ve lived
Long before I’m dead

The American dream is true
But make it all your own
For you it might be the white picket fence
For others that seed is not yet sown

I’m not sure what mine is yet
That path I’ve yet to pave
But after I become successful
I’m sure it will be all the rave

Success is of course objective
It means different things to all
But you must take that chance in life
Even if you trip and fall

I’m not sure what’s next for me
And I’ll need to take my time
To make a fulfilling career
Outside of the corporate daily grind.

-Andrew L. Hooper

What has you stirring in 2017?  What is driving your happiness?  What change do you want to make in your life?  YOUR destiny is in YOUR hands. God has given you tools and talents in life to be successful.  If we each examine our hearts and souls to find these tools I think every one of us can be living the uncommon life.  The riveted life.  The one life you are given.  I challenge you; listen to your heart.  Chase your dreams.  You are never to old.  I am reading (really re-reading) The Cure for the Uncommon Life by Max Lucado.  It is a Christian based book to help you discover your sweet spot in life.  I am a couple of chapters in and enjoying it so far.  Make it a good week friends and listen to the stirrings in your soul.

xo,

j

A Break

And here we are.  2 days away from December.  33 days away from a new year.  2016 has been a wild, crazy and fun ride.  I have a feeling 2017 is going to be even better, more exciting,  and filled with more and more change.  Until then, we are on a break.  We took our house off the market 2 days ago and let me tell you – toys are EVERYWHERE.  It feels nice.  So relieving to just be care free again and let the kids be kids without hooting and hollering about messes constantly in fear we might get a showing.  Is this what we had envisioned in our grand plan?  Heck no.  But that’s ok!  This is where we are at and we can either run with it or sit here and pout.  We are running.  We pulled out the decorations and have been filling this house with Hooper Christmas Spirit for one final time – what a special gift; a gift we didn’t even think about but man I am so happy we have it.  I love Christmas and to able to celebrate a final Christmas in our first house we had together; the house we started our family in is the best gift this season.  So now what?  We enjoy our break.  Our plan is to possibly re-list during the ‘prime’ season come spring time.  Hopefully it will be quick and painless sell and we can finally start our grand RV adventure.  I pray the offer will be the right offer and the right family.  We have said from the beginning that if it is meant to be it will be.  Now is not the time.  God has made that abundantly clear to us.  We aren’t going to push it.  We look forward to having time to continue to sort through our items of keep/sell/donate and to spend time with our AWESOME neighbors.  They are great neighbors guys.  SO SO SO great.

Andrew took the kiddos this past weekend while I worked.  It was SUCH a blessing.  I enjoyed the quiet, got to nap, and relax.  I also binge watched the return of Gilmore Girls.  AND all I  have to say about that is there better be another season because I am just not ok with that ending.  The kids had an absolute blast in the country as always and seeing those pictures of them running free is such a drive for me to pursue this dream of ours even more.  I cannot wait for that piece of land, that barndominium.  Cannot even wait.

countryweekend

Our very first Christmas in this house consisted of Andrew, I and our sweet brand spanking new puppy Shelby.   I remember pulling out the artificial tree setting it up in the living room next to the fireplace and just looking at each other and busting out laughing.  Our new living room ATE this tree up.  It was tiny!!!!!  It looked so perfect in our 600 square foot apartment downtown, but here it looked teeeeeny.  SO we moved it into our entry and became 2 tree people.  I never thought I would be more than a one tree person, but alas, life again fooled me.  We trucked off to Home Depot in search of the perfect REAL tree.  The perfect 12 foot tree.  WHAT were we thinking?  Good question.  We were obviously very new to this whole space concept.  We figured 12 foot ceilings and pretty much no furniture we could fit a 12 foot tree.  Well, after chopping off a couple of feet from the bottom and trimming the whole back side off we did fit our 12 foot tree in to the living room.  It was HUGE and it was BEAUTIFUL.  I think this may have been the starting point of this crazy dream of ours – not that either of us realized it then.  We decorated this tree with THOUSANDS {no lie} of lights and about the 10 ornaments we owned.   Because lets be real…..after buying a 12 footer we couldn’t afford to decorate it :).  SO it was a pile of sparkling pine perfection.  As we sat on the couch admiring our tree, we talked about one day having a house with a sun-room in the front that during the winter would become a tree room.  It would be big enough to put the largest tree we could imagine in there.  This was the beginning of the dream.  A tree room.  We loved that tree, {and all the critters that snuck in on it} and shoving the largest tree we could manage into our living room quickly became a new family tradition – until a toddler entered our lives – END of everything right there.  Our first toddler Christmas consisted of a Charlie Brown 2 footer {which barely survived the season}.  The next year we graduated back to a real tree but a MUCH smaller real tree – like 4-5 feet in fear our little monkey child would think it was for climbing.  This year, our final year I begged Andrew to have one FINAL 12 footer.  Just one more big tree I thought would make it the perfect final Christmas.  The more I thought about it, the more I turned from that idea.  That tree is being saved for our FIRST Christmas in the tree room, not the FINAL Christmas in our first house.  NO, the tree that deserves to be the FINAL tree in the FIRST house is the FIRST tree that has been here through it all. We spent all day yesterday digging our first tree out of the attic building and decorating it with shatter proof ornaments.  It is perfect.  AND best part – it doesn’t even look that small.  That first year our house swallowed it up – but this year – nope.  It was as if this tree was made for this house; made for us.  The stockings and the chaos we have added to the house over the past 5 years have made it the perfect space for this little tree of ours.  No tree would have been the best option considering the status of our children right who think that anything round is a baseball {hence that shatter proof ornaments} but that wasn’t an option.  So much of the magic of Christmas to me is in the tree.  Every tree holds a special story and brings back such a unique set of feelings from my childhood, my Christmas’ growing up.  I want my boys to always have special tree memories as well; and so far I think we have nailed that part.  It also seems that one day many Christmas’ from now I became a tree per room person.   Insert shocked face here.  As I wrote this post I envisioned bringing our first tree with us and putting it in our master bedroom.  After all, it will always be our tree.

 

 

first tree, downtown apartment
first tree, downtown apartment
2016-11-28-22-18-12
first HUGE tree in the house
huge, fat tree year
huge, fat tree year
my favorite tree
my favorite tree
Charlie Brown tree year, teh 2 footer
Charlie Brown tree year, the 2 footer
Wyatt's first real tree, normal size
Wyatt’s first real tree, normal size
the FIRST and FINAL tree
the FIRST and FINAL tree

I hope this Christmas Season brings you all wonderful memories and special moments.  Capture them up, you will never have Christmas 2016 to do again.  Make it a good one.

 

xo,

j

 

Five on Friday – Election week edition

It’s Friday and it’s cold!  Well, cold for Texas anyways 🙂  I hope everyone had a great week.  We have a had a few house showings this week and I am trying not to get too hopeful but I am continuing to pray that we get an offer sooner than later if this is God’s will.  Having your house on the market is exhausting – ask Andrew.  Bless his heart.  Almost every showing we have gotten notice as I am going into work for the night.  He has totally rocked all the cleaning and organizing by himself so I can just wrangle the kiddos the next day and get everybody out of the house in time for the showing!  I could not do this life without him by my side.  I had lunch with a dear friend and was telling her my frustrations and shared with me this quote that her friend shared with her.  So much truth right here.  Finding the beauty in our wait.

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Trump wins.  I get it.  I do.  Some people are scared/angry and some people are happy/celebrating.  Regardless of the side you are on I think this election has {or needs to in some cases} taught the American people some important lessons.  One – God has been on control since the beginning.  As much as the polls and experts said otherwise – HE knew.  And, personally, I think that is awesome.  We voted, but ultimately he chose.  As I prayed with my boys in carpool line before drop off on Tuesday we ended our prayer with that whoever God willed to be in office would win.  I am at peace with that.  If it had been reversed I would have been at peace as well.  Why?  Because we can only TRUST HIM.  End of story.  No rioting, no worrying, no name calling is going to fix anything nor give the other side what they want.  Two – Love wins.  OR does it?  It seems to me that some of the large groups of people that preach from the rooftops that Love wins are the ones sending death threats and filling the streets with riots and hate towards Mr. Trump and his family.  I am all about Love wins.  Regardless of my beliefs and values I try not to judge others, that is not my place.  I don’t care what color you are or what you believe in if you are behind me I am going to keep the door open for you, if your tire is flat and you are stranded on the side of the road I can guarantee you my husband will the first one to flip a U-turn and offer you assistance – regardless if you have a Trump or Hillary bumper sticker.  WHY?  because we are all humans and it is our duty to treat EACH AND EVERY other human with respect.  So to the crowds out there throwing up their arms in hatred and anger – why don’t you try loving?  After all, love wins.  Right?!  Matthew 22:37-40 reads “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment.  A second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself.  The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”  NEWFLASH: Trump is your neighbor, Hillary is your neighbor.  We ARE ALL neighbors.  Let’s try love friends.  If you do nothing else, I dare you to try and step out of your comfort zone.  Say hello to every person you make eye contact with, hold doors open for people, start a conversation with a stranger.  As I waited {an hour} in the voting lines I got to talk to the person behind me and ahead of me and I really enjoyed our conversation.  I enjoyed their company to help the hour pass.  Did we ever once talk about who we were voting for?  nope (and one of them was wearing a shirt for the party I was not voting for).  And guess what – it didn’t matter.  We laughed.  They played with my son and made him laugh.  They helped me maneuver the stroller through the tiny door spaces into the voting lines.  Hillary and Trump are just as much your neighbor as they were mine.  Show love.  Natalie Grant’s song King of the world was my theme song last week.  This week I am choosing Tim McGraw’s song Humble and Kind.  I pray that the American people can show kindness towards Mr. President Trump.  I also pray that Mr. Trump can stay Humble and {grow in his ability to be} kind.  We all have room to grow in ourselves; let’s stretch that ability.

 

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Now, Let’s put all of these political wars aside and pay tribute to our veterans. THANK YOU!.  Each and every person and their family that has sacrificed their time {and lives} in order to serve our country.  Let’s make them proud and continue to make America great.

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Corbin got to vote at school.  I talked very briefly with him about the election and Wednesday morning we talked about the President that had won the election.  His response to me was “but I wanted chocolate and chicken nuggets (his vote at school).”  My sweet, sweet little boy.  Hang onto that innocent soul forever.

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I just discovered the best little coffee and lunch spot in my hood.  literally right down the street from house.  I felt super trendy there with my husbands laptop, my iced green tea, and actually being dressed in real people’s clothes.  I think I found my new kid free alone time hide out {which means I’ll be there maybe 3 times a year ;)}.  swoon.

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I am almost completely done with our Christmas shopping lists.  Once our Amazon points hit our account all I have to do is click buy, wait, and wrap.  I am feeling super on top of it right now and so excited to wrap gifts and have Christmas everything pouring out of my soul 🙂  I get Christmas isn’t all about presents but gift giving is one of my languages of love so that part of the holiday I just LOVE.  I love wrapping presents, I love watching my family open them.  I just love it.

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We are heading to a Christmas Market near our house with some of our best friends this weekend.  This has been a tradition for us for 6 years now.  My friend that we go with was actually my wedding coordinator at the facility we got married at and I was secretly hoping we could stay friends after I got married 😉  She invited Andrew I to dinner and this market with them a few months after our wedding.  As much as the boys were thrilled to go shopping with us – it really was a great night and it has become tradition ever since.  AND they are some of our best friends now and their kids and our kids are best friends.  So pretty much its perfect.

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Have a great weekend friends.  Thanksgiving is only 2 weeks away!!!!!!

friday link up

 

xo,

j

It’s FRIDAY {and} NOVEMBER

It is NOVEMBER guys.  I can’t even.  I love this time of year.  I love the cooler temps (or envying of people who actually get them), I love all the hustle and bustle and I love planning family time!  I have been working on the boys Christmas lists and trying to keep in mind camper living (limited space) and it is harder than I thought.  Wyatt is still at a pretty easy age but Corbin is a bit trickier as he has grown up and matured so much the past few months and I am looking forward to growing up his toys as well! I am having a hard time choosing just a few 🙂

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My sweet friend found this door mat and it needs to be in my life – like yesterday.  SO anybody wanting to buy me a Christmas gift, this is it 😉

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I ordered my 2017 planner (May Designs for the win – AGAIN) and I can’t wait for it to get here.  Something about having an empty fresh clean planner in front of me makes me all kinds of giddy and happy.  I have a feeling 2017 is going to be a busy and exciting year for us!

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Amazon.  Everyday.  All day.  All the time.  The end.  But seriously, customer service is awesome, prime is awesome, Amazon is just life saving.  #truth.  If you are a prime member and have little boys at home I highly recommend the free Prime Series called Stinky and Dirty.  It chronicles the life of a trash truck and a construction truck that are best friends and it is seriously adorable.

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Bible art journaling.  I am so intrigued by this and totally want to get started.  Small problem.  I LOVE my falling apart small little Bible I can throw in my purse or my work bag.  It does not leave much room for journaling.  Solution – use one of my 3784523 empty notebooks to art journal the passage I am reading.  Everybody else hoards cute empty notebooks too, right?!  Totally normal.  Sometimes I think I was meant to be a teacher.  School supplies make me way too happy.

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Andrew took Corbs to the country for the weekend and I have bubba with me for the weekend.  I LOVE that the kids are getting some solid one on one time.  I’ve only had just Wyatt for one afternoon by myself so far this stretch and I am wondering what I was ever so stressed about with just one kid, ha.  We have had so much fun and I am so looking forward to all the snuggles and spoiling that is going to happen this weekend.  I already miss my big boy though….sigh.

Have a great weekend friends!

friday link up

xo,

j

Five on FRIDAY

I can’t believe this is our last weekend in October. Time is like on super sonic speed right now.  We are heading out camping this weekend with two of our favorite camping family friends and Andrew’s family.  I am so excited to get out and away for a bit with these kiddos!

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This is Us.  Totally and completely in love with this show!  It is so good and just gives me all the feelings EVERYtime.  We recently became cord cutters and ditched our cable (gasp) but honestly it has been the best thing we have ever done and we are loving it.  We have an apple TV (one time purchase $99) and sling TV ($20/month).  I’ve downloaded the apps for our favorite TV stations onto the apple TV and we honestly haven’t missed a beat ( we did not watch that much TV to begin with) but every show we watch is available for free the next day on the app and as far as kids shows go it’s basically on demand for PBS and Disney jr.  It’s good stuff friends – consider it!  Ditch the cable bill and start saving today!

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We are in vacation planning mode and this makes me SO happy.  First up Branson and Nashville in December.  I cannot wait.  I am just so excited to visit some new places and make these memories with my family.

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I think I’ve mentioned before that Natalie Grant is one of my favorite Christian artists to listen to.  She has a song called King of the World and I have been hearing it so much lately and it just has been resonating at home with me.  We have this disaster of an election around the corner – GO VOTE FRIENDS – and as much as I can get myself worked up thinking about the “what ifs” of the world I am trying to raise two Godly and kind sons in; it all come back full circle in this song.  At the end of the day left or right, red or blue, donkey or elephant – that doesn’t matter.  We are serving a King, our whole purpose on this Earth is to serve Him, to love Him, to praise Him.  The King of the world is our forever constant, our comfort, our savior.  So, at the end of the day I will raise up my thoughts and concerns and pray to our King that He will continue to guide the world we live in, the world He created.  Take a minute and listen.  Maybe we should all make this our theme song for life.

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I am SO excited Halloween is right around the corner.  Corbin had his costume parade at school today and it was probably the sweetest thing ever.  I can’t wait to see all my friends kids dressed up and having fun.

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I am still on a total high from my sister’s wedding.  I just had the best time with my family and visiting with family members I have not seen in years (and them meeting my kids for the first time!).  We are given one family during our precious time on this earth and I just want to soak up as much of that time as possible.

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Have a great weekend and a SAFE and Happy Halloween friends!

friday link up

xo,

j