Travels. San Diego, Oceanside, & Huntington Beach.

The amount of attempts I’ve made in trying to take time to write, but then falling into bed tired or finding something else to do is countless. Let’s just say, loads? 🙂 Though I suppose it’s perfectly effective to be spending time with my family and exploring, then resting rather than staying up late typing. Let’s see what has happened since Vegas . . .

Menifee, CA. We spent a couple days parked outside my great aunt and uncle’s house, and it was such a blessing to hang out with them! They played with the kids, we visited, and it was so lovely to be around family, especially since we haven’t seen them in years!

Next stop, San Diego, CA. We stayed in San Diego for 8 days! The longest we stayed anywhere our whole trip. It was so great to be based out of one place to explore the city. We stayed with my Memaw’s best friend growing up, whom we had never met! But they were so lovely and hospitable, spending time with the kids, picking oranges from their tree and feeding the chickens in the morning. And the city was so lovely! Out of all the places we’ve visited so far, this has been our favourite; we kept seeing more of the city, then commenting to each other, “Yes, we could definitely live here.”

And the San Diego Zoo was incredible!!! We spent the whole day there, open to close! The girls were troopers, but they were so excited to see all the animals!

The folks who allowed us to stay in the driveway were so lovely; Thanks Barbra and Lyle! 🙂

Next stop was Oceanside to visit Matts second cousin, and Huntington Beach to camp and see Matt’s great uncle and aunt. We also took a couple days just to rest, do laundry, shower, and just have a day of not doing much. With as hard as we have been going, it was such a welcome break! We love adventuring and being in new places, but it is a constant thing. If we were home, we would do maybe one or two things a week, then have the rest of our days to do our routine of life. But the way we have been going, we have gotten up, eaten breakfast, then explored all day, lunching and napping on the go! Simply being still was a welcome, gentle exhale.

So there you go, a whack load of pictures and memories, unedited and imperfect, but perfect for us. xo


Life on the Road! The first three weeks.

So, how has it been three weeks since we left home?!?! Seriously, this is the start of week four, and it feels like we’ve been on the road ages instead of weeks.We’ve become so accustomed to our new routine of drive, park, see amazing things, dry camp, wake up, pack up, drive, see more breathtaking things, find a campground, sleep, wake, repeat. Let me see if I can look back and do a proper recap . . .

April 1: Drive from Squamish to Lynden, WA to stay the night with Evan & Lindsey.

2: Lynden, WA -> Eugene, OR.

3: Eugene, OR -> Anderson, CA

4: Anderson, CA -> Fresno, CA

5: Fresno, CA -> PALM SPRINGS!!!

Each of these longer driving days, we tried our best to break it up for the girls as best we could, trying to give them breaks, but not too many that it took up the whole day for no reason. We would start our day with a quick breakfast, get ready, pack up, and get driving just in time for Juni’s first nap. Mabel would play, “read” books, watch the scenery, etc. She did so well most of the time! Her imagination really exploded during this time, being forced to be in one place and sit with her thoughts. We would stop somewhere (usually a park or green space of some sort if we could find one) for a picnic lunch (I’ll try to write a food post later to address budget, cooking while dry camping, etc. I’m still trying to figure it out! Haha). During the second leg of driving in the afternoon the girls would take a nap, then when they woke up, we would take a short break, then back in to the car for the last bit. This is usually where they would lose their minds sometimes! So I would climb into the backseat between car seats (yes, it was very cramped) and keep them company, reading books, playing, or watching some “Llama Llama.” Side note, “Llama Llama” is on Netflix and it’s awesome! One of the few shows I let Mabel watch because it’s not annoying.

6-8: We stayed in Palm Springs for a few days, just resting and recouping from the long driving days!

Each of these nights, we stayed at casinos in their truck stop parking lots. It was amazing, actually, because there were so many RVs parked with us! Definitely not as shady as I had originally thought.

In Palm Springs, we spent time resting, reorganizing, doing macrame (me, not Matt and the girls, lol), riding bikes, and going for walks in town. We had parked our car and trailer along the back road next to a casino where there was free overnight parking. It was perfect! However after a couple days rest, we were ready to get out of town and actually go camping.

8-11: Joshua Tree! So so so lovely! But in a weird way. I kept asking myself how a place like this could be real. Miles and miles of dry mountains, cacti, and hard knobby trees with spikes for leaves. We spent one of the days there sitting in the car at the auto mechanic shop, trying to figure out what was wrong with our lemon of a vehicle (all the things, is the answer). But the other days there we spent hiking, driving to see the vastly different areas of the park, riding bikes, having campfires, and relaxing.

11: Left Joshua Tree and headed to Phoenix, AZ. This day was SO hot! It reached 100F, which made our car with no A/C fee a bit like a small oven. We camped the night in the Walmart parking lot, camp chairs outside of the trailer to escape the heat and left the trailer door open to give the sleeping girls some relief.

12: A relaxed day of picnics, parks, and planning the next few days. That afternoon we headed to Chandler, AZ to see a dear friend of mine Heather and her hubs. We parked our trailer in their parking lot and had dinner, showers, laundry, and some heart-filling chat. It was so, so great! It’s amazing to be with folks who are really your people, people who you can share your heart with, who are on the same wave length as you, and you can encourage each other in Christ. Heather, I love ya lady.

13-15: We stayed with my great uncle Harry and Aunt Barb in Peoria , which was so fun! We hadn’t seen each other in over 10 years, so it was great to catch up and be with family. And the girls loved it! Especially Mabel, who took to her uncle Harry so well and keeps asking for him.

15-16: We reconnected with a YWAM friend who we hadn’t seen in five years and went to her church that morning. We met her family, and they invited us to stay at their house that evening. One of the perks of having a loose plan is being able to stay with friends if you want. 🙂 We parked our trailer in their yard, let our kids play together, and had a really great chat. Thanks Stacy, Nick, and family for your hospitality!

16: We headed to Prescott, AZ to try to meet up with friends (which didn’t end up working out), then had car trouble again! We spent an hour and a bit resolving why our check engine light was coming on, then headed to a campground 45 minutes outside of Sedona.

Yes he’s even cute while working on the car, and yes I am an old lady who accidentally puts her finger over the lens while taking a picture.

17: Sedona is so lovely! We spend the morning and afternoon hiking Devil’s Bridge and exploring. Both kids were strapped onto our backs in Ergos, and they were such troopers! Even though Juni had had enough of the carrier in the last bit and needed to be carried the last 3/4 of a mile.

Picnic lunch at the trailer, then we decided to head to the Grand Canyon. Originally we were going to find some BLM land and dry camp, but we weren’t sure where we were going, and it got so cold! We decided a KOA with a pool, a hot tub, and a shower may be better.

18: Grand Canyon. Amazing doesn’t even start to explain or say how vast and beautiful this is. It was surreal just being there! We thought about finding a big hike but neither Matt or I were feeling great, so we decided to pop the girls in the stroller and walk along the rim towards the visitors center. We ended up walking almost 4 miles, because we couldn’t stop walking just to see a bit more! So intense and pretty.

18-20: After the Grand Canyon, we drove to Page, AZ thinking it was only a little over an hour; however, it ended up being almost three hours because we must’ve read our GPS wrong! Oh goodness, tired minds. The girls did so well but were past their point when we were rolling into the Walmart paring lot there, which to our surprise was filled with other RVs! At least the back third of the parking lot was one RV after another, and inside there were backpackers and campers clearing out the prepared food section and brushing their teeth in the bathroom. We stayed a couple nights here to see Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend, both which were breathtaking! Seriously some of my favourite parts of the trip so far.

Horseshoe Bend. Just for the record NO there are no guard rails, and YES you feel like you are going to fall off the edge any second, and YES it is a little bit terrifying.

20: Drove the four and a half hours from Page to Moab. Y’all,there was practically nothing the entire drive, just miles of desert stretched out before us. It was a perfect time for me to say, “Hey, at least the check engine light hasn’t come on yet today!” And then it did, just like out of a movie. I’m not sure how that happened, but I’m not allowed to talk about car troubles in the car again so I don’t jinx things, especially in the middle of the desert. We stayed at a truck stop right outside of Moab this evening.

21-23: Moab! We stayed at a campground right outside Arches National Park, and we had so much fun! The first day was filled with the pool, meeting new friends with kids and joining up for a BBQ, and resting. The second day was full of hiking! We hiked a bit over 4 miles in to see the Landscape Arch and the Double O Arch, which required a bit of rock scrambling and climbing, which was fun with kids strapped to our backs! I have more pictures from that on Matt’s phone that I’ll upload later, but here are a couple of the girls and I resting and having a picnic snack halfway through.

If you’ve made it this far, well done. I’ll try to post weekly instead of every three so I don’t turn out such long novels! Until then, my bed calls. Night friends. xo

Life Lately. 18.02.2018 (more accurately, mid-February through Mid-March :))

DOING: I’m currently trapped under a sleeping babe who is taking the second half of her nap in my arms, nursing on and off lazily. She took the first part in the car on the way home from what was supposed to be a hike, but ended up getting rained out by some flash flooding! So she slept a bit in the car on the way back, and after an unsuccessful transfer, fell back asleep in my arms. Usually I would be able to put her down on the bed to finish her nap, but because we all share a sleeping space, that doesn’t work unless Mabel is already asleep. And today, it seems, is not one of those days, but instead a day where nap is protested with constant chattering. Ah well, what can you do besides roll your eyes, smile, and vow for an early night? 🙂

HEARING: I am hearing the wind whipping through the palm trees and rain scattered about, as well as the sound machine from the other room where Mabel is trying to sleep. ::fingers crossed, girlfriend!::

DRINKING: Currently nothing, but I am loving treating myself to an occasional kombucha from my favourite grocery store down the road! Mana Foods, you have my heart. My favourite flavour so far is dragonfruit lemongrass, but lavender melon is a close second.

EATING + COOKING: Right this very moment, I’m savouring a piece of Dove dark chocolate sent to us by my parents for Valentine’s Day (thanks Mum & Dad!). Bu this evening for dinner, we had rice with broccoli, cauliflower, & carrots sautéed with garlic and turmeric, chickpeas on the side for me, chicken for Matt and Mabel. We topped it with a peanut coconut sauce from Heidi at Apples Under My Bed; it was so yummy! Lately we have been eating a few different meals on repeat. We are trying to save our pennies and I don’t want to spend loads of time in the kitchen. After all, we are in Maui and I want to be outside as much as possible soaking in every bit of sunshine and moments of play with the girls and Matt! We have been eating lots of black bean/corn/salsa/guacamole scenarios with either chips, rice, or tortillas, as well as rice/veggies/chicken or chickpeas with varying sauces, or roasted potatoes/steamed veggies. Also, there is the Paia Fish Market a few minutes walk downtown the road, and it’s so tempting to eat a Mahi burger ever single night! But we are trying to be sane people and space out our visits. 🙂

WANTING: I am eyeing these white Bluetooth headphones from Sudio! They are just so pretty, have a long change and play time, are noise cancelling as well, and, well, did I already say they were pretty? 😉

PLAYING: Seeing as we are in Maui, there has been an awful lot of beach play these days. 🙂 Mabel is just loving it! She is always talking about the ocean, beach, and sand. We bring a little bucket with a shovel and a small castle mold, and he is keen on filling her bucket with sand and water, but more so she likes to find other kids (or anyone!) on the beach and play with them. This is all if we can get her to take a break from swimming, because she loves being in the water! She is our little fish, playing in the waves, getting rocked by them and being brave enough to keep chasing them and standing her ground. If we are at Baby Beach (with little waves suitable for kids to play in without assistance) she will swim out until she is chest deep and start singing her “Moana song.” 🙂 When it’s too cloudy or windy for the beach, we take a walk to the park to run around and still feel the warmth on our skin. There has been an awful lot of great play lately. 🙂

DECIDING: We are trying to decide what the next leg of our trip is going to look like! We have one more month in Maui (I can’t believe we’ve already been here a month!), so we will head home March 19th, spend ten days in Squamish unpacking and repacking, then head out April 1st to beeline back down the coast, searching once again for warmth and sun. In moments of downtime while the girls are napping or we are in for the evening, we have been doing research on campsites on the California coast, figuring out how much we should book and how much we should wing it and dry camp. We are leaning more towards the show up and dry camp sort of scenarios, because that seems to suit our pace much more. But worse case if we decide we hate it, we can spend a day randomly and book out the rest of our trip so we know exactly what is going to happen. But I think we should be fine. Our jam is figuring out routines and just how we can work our life into our new space. 🙂

The slowness of life. We were going much harder and felt as though we were constantly busy before, always something that needed to get done, that constant feeling of being behind. And even if somehow we weren’t behind on something, the norm was business, so we FELT like we were behind on something but couldn’t remember what! Since being here, we have slowed more, taking time for syrupy slow days of nothing, leisure walks to the park, lunch, nap with kids, go swim at the beach, dinner, walks after the sun goes down to search for geckos and grasshoppers. Some days have been longer yes, with leaving right after breakfast to be in Haiku by 7:45am to lead worship, then head to Kihei for the day, skipped naps for Mabel and ergo/ car naps for Juni, out to dinner, then home to crash into bed. But we are finding our balance of stretch and rest, knowing it can’t be just one or the other.

LOOKING: Immediately I am looking into our bedroom, through the dark at the wall. 🙂 But I have been looking out the door and out to the mountains, the West Mauis, a lot. The weather has been more overcast and rainy, bringing us indoors or seeking another part of the island where we can find sun. When I look out the the West Mauis there is usually rain and cloud over there, but right to the left of them would be where Kihei is, so we can usually watch and see what that side of the island is doing weather-wise, and if we need to go find sun.

LOVING: Right now I am loving how into singing Mabel is, and how her words and sentence structure have grown in the past couple weeks! She will sing along to the Moana song (singing a lot of the words!) while dancing around the living room. And she also loves going up to worship at the YWAM base to sing songs to Jesus, as she says. She asks “Songs to Jesus with aunties and uncles?” Referring to the other people on base (who have adopted her as their little buddy). It warms my heart that she has this love for music planted so deeply so early, and I hope it only grows.

BUYING: We aren’t buying much on island right now except food and gas, but we have had to buy a new swimsuit for Juniper, as well as a pack of sleepers, because she has grown out of everything we brought! She has also grown out of a large pile of clothing, but she has enough to get through to the end of the trip. Girlfriend won’t stop growing! Which is amazing. 🙂 When she turned five months, we bought her 9m sleepers and an 18m swimsuit. Sigh. And of course, I figured if she is getting a new swimsuit, might as well get Mabel one to match? Lol! It has a long sleeve rash guard which is nice for the amount of time she’s in the sun and rolling in the sand. 🙂

PLANNING: Mabel’s Second Birthday Party! We were planning on doing a hangout with friends/catch up before we leave on our next leg of our journey combined with a party for her, so it’s not going to be a huge deal. I feel like the first birthday is usually the biggest to celebrate the parents surviving, and birthdays after that can be smaller and special without a huge over the top, Pinterest-style fuss (also, with all the unpacking, repacking, trailer cleaning and renovation, we won’t have time to do a whole lot!). But my mother-in-law said that she has already made some gecko decorations for her party, so I guess there will be that as well. 🙂 I am doing a bit of research for her cake, because we don’t give her sugar yet (only a couple bites a few times on very special occasions) and last year, she wasn’t too into the cake bit, mainly the whipped cream and fruit bit. But she does like cookies. So I’m not too sure what I’ll do yet; maybe some sort of date/nut bar sort of thing? Or a cake and jus see how she likes it? One thing I did think of which I’m excited about is natural sprinkles (yes, that is something to get excited over! Lol) I figured I could pulse unsweetened shredded coconut in the blender with some beet juice-bam! Pink sprinkles. Do the same thing with a slight sprinkle of turmeric- yellow sprinkles! And I’ve had an amazing chocolate frosting using coconut cream, cocoa, and maple syrup that is so yummy, so I’ll probably use that. We’ll see how the rest of the party turns out. 🙂

WATCHING: We have been rewatching “Parks and Rec,” which I will always love. My favourite seasons of the series are 3-5, when Ben & Chris are first introduced. Watching Ben & Leslie fall in love makes my heart warm, and Chris is LITERALLY my spirit animal in every way. 🙂

SAVOURING: These last Maui days. Those are hard words to type out, because I cannot believe we have been here over a month and a half, and I cannot believe we are headed home in 11 days! It seems surreal to me that we even had the chance to live here for a bit. I am getting very excited about the next leg of our trip, going home, getting our trailer packed and heading down the coast to camp for several months, but the excitement for that isn’t diminishing what we still have left here. God is doing lots on our heads and hearts, and I will forever be thankful for this time of replenishment and rest.

WEARING: Comfies. 🙂 We went for an early morning walk and got caught in the rain, so when we got home we peeled off our clothes and traded them in for warm comfies. I am currently wearing a charcoal tank top and my blue and white striped Thai pants (if you don’t know what Thai pants are, they are amazing and will change your life! So light and cozy. Get some; do it.) , while snugged under a light blanket on our bed.

READING: I have started to read “Parenting” by Paul David Tripp, and it is SO good and SO challenging! It is all about grace-filled parenting, realizing the grave that has been given to us by Christ, and extending that to our kids. It’s also a wake-up call to realize that we don’t control our kids, and shines light on behaviour tactics we may use to get them do obey rather than giving them grace and finding out the reason behind the behaviour. Yes, I am underlining a lot.

CRAVING: Mmm . . . More wood-fired oven pizza from Flatbread Pizza down the road. We went there for Valentine’s Day while two of our friends generously offered to babysit for a bit, and it was incredible. Pizza is one of my all-time favourite foods, and I am a crust snob to the core. Must be thin, chewy, have a pull, have a sour and slightly charred flavour, but be delicate and light, a balance between the flavours of the crust and toppings. Anyway, I could go on, but the pesto pizza there is IT. Can’t wait to go back at least one more time before we leave island!

FEELING: More at peace. I am recognizing more everyday that this season is just that, a season of adventure, fun, and slow, and that life won’t always be this whimsical and simple. I had been feeling the weight of future decisions that needed to be made, anxious about wanting to make the decisions immediately, even though we don’t have all the information or ducks lined up that we need to make those decisions. So we have to wait. So instead of having this anxiousness follow me around like a prickly cloud, I am continuing to tell myself that nothing can be done right now and distancing myself from it. Because the last thing I would want to do is taint the time we have here in Maui with anxiety about things that we can’t do anything about right now! Just sitting in the tension of the unknown. Once I settled enough to articulate that, I had so much more peace and rest. I also feel like since distancing myself I have been able to see more objectively and have more of an open hand, giving it to Christ to make sure that this is the dream he has for us. Honestly, I had been fighting doing that before, because in my heart of hearts, I was afraid he would say no, and I didn’t want to have to think about that or deal with that! Man am I stubborn. But giving it up to Christ has given me more peace, knowing that His plan and His timing is best in everything. And yes, I do have to keep telling myself that and praying that, because giving up yourself is a daily thing!

Life lately posts inspired by Apples Under My Bed

My Wildflower.

I've come to the conclusion that my daughter, sweet thing that she is, isn't the most delicate of flowers, even though we may call her that from time to time. Sure, she is delicate in the fact that she is a baby and a lady, but in all reality, she is more of a wildflower. And if I'm completely honest, I really love that about her.

There is so much spunk and fire in her, spit and vinegar, that translates into a constancy of movement, talking, and exploring. She would rather be outside, picking flowers, digging in the dirt (and probably eating some), finding water and jumping right in, collecting rocks, running, falling, climbing, and finding her way around the world.

Sitting, watching, and not being involved aren't things that she jives with, and would rather get up and be with you or involved in the story somehow. Which at home can be great, but at library story time probably isn't the best for the other kids, who may I add, are all sitting listening quietly while my child tries to sit on the leader's lap, or grab another book to read, or trying to pet all the kids' hair, or playing with another kid's fun looking socks, etc. We sang some songs, then barely made it through the half-hour, only with the promise of going to the park for swings and slides afterward. But while this can be exhausting (and yes, it is especially exhausting at 37 weeks pregnant!), I still love it. She is bursting with personality that I do not want to hinder in any way. No that doesn't mean I don't direction and discipline, but that's a whole other topic. This is just me celebrating my child's crazy spunkiness.

She is teaching me about letting go. I encourage her to explore new things, to act silly and express herself, and as I do this, I wondering if I allow myself the same. I came to this reality when we were having a dance party in the kitchen, me putting on some weirdo dance music and telling her to dance, but not really dancing myself. She started, then stopped, as if wondering why I wasn't dancing either. When I realized this, I actually started dancing, jumping around and spinning in circles with my hands above my head, singing along to the music. When she saw this, she got a huge smile on her beautiful face and followed suit, dancing and laughing and spinning. What did I expect from her if I wasn't going to play and dance with her? I do not want to be so caught up in my adulthood and my "important things" that I forget to play and dance with her. And it was wonderful to see her expression change when I joined in. It was as if through my joining and playing, I was giving her permission to do what she wanted to do, and she adored it. Permission to dance and be free and express the joy that was erupting from her tiny self. Permission to be the wildflower that she is.

11 months . . . So belated. ;) 

I took these photos the day Mabel turned 11 months old and had full intentions of posting them later that evening. Then life happened, and here we are 9 days before my sweet girl’s first birthday, and I’m still playing catch-up. Isn’t that the story of our lives though? She’s changed even from these pictures! But I love them. She has so much spunk and personality these days! Growing so much more into the little girl and woman she’s going to be. Man oh man, I can’t believe I get to be her mama.