Hard to believe August is just about here. We are halfway thru summer time and a month and a half into our travels. Hows it been? That's a loaded question. There have been pros and cons, ups and downs to this entire adventure. It's hard to believe all of the things we have done and seen in the past 6 and a half weeks. We started in Mammoth, moved on to Pollock Pines near Lake Tahoe, visited family in Williams and went to Ukiah to stay with Taylor. We saw the cold Northern California Oceans. We then headed towards the Redwoods, met up with more friends, saw Fern Canyon and spent two nights in the Redwoods, probably one of my favorite places. From there we went on to Grants Pass, Oregon where we day dreamed of settling down in this small quaint town, spent good time with my moms side of the family, went on the jet boats and took Bryce zip lining for having some great grades. From there we went back to Williams, dropped off the big kids and headed home for a much needed visit with Travis' family, photograph the adorable Kylie and Ben's wedding at Plateaus Edge and then headed back to Williams to grab the boys. From there we went to Lake Shasta which we found very dirty and hot, headed to Crater Lake which was mind-blowingly beautiful and finally landed in Bend Oregon. Boom. It's hard to believe we've done it all in only 6.5 weeks. To think of the things we still have to come is exciting. We've kayaked lakes and rivers, hiked to waterfalls, enjoyed small town coffee and farmers markets, rodeos, carnivals and family time.
We are in Bend Oregon for another 10 days and are booking up our days with activities and pool time. Pools are one of the greatest blessing on this road trip. All three of the boys can be entertained for hours when given a pool and they sleep like a rock that night.
The adjustments of living in a small space, well, I'm still adjusting and may be having the hardest of times out of everyone. I'm missing carpet and clean floors, showers that are not a 10 minute walk in the dirt and dark away because we don't have full hook ups and hot water for all of us. I'm missing my own washer and dryer, my routine and home and SPACE. The ability to close a door and take a breather. First world problems, I know. The pros do outweigh the cons, I think, and when I look back, I'm hoping these boys appreciate the memories we are making. You never know with kids. Especially when they're screaming and fighting and talking back and throwing fits, because yes, that happens on the road too.
So, we continue to move forward. Reminding ourselves why we are doing this when the times are tough and loving the moments we are all happy and enjoying one another.
Today we did a small hike to Tumalo Falls. There were a lot of people and when we got behind the falls, all the boys chickened out and didn't want to walk behind it. It was beautiful and so worth the hike. Heads up, don't take the dogs. lol.
We've made it! One month in! For all of those people who bet 1 month or less, sorry, you lost. We are still at it and going strong. I've debated on the best way to write this blog to update everyone on the realities of this adventure we've embarked on. I want to tell you it's been all rainbows and sunshine, as our Instagram may portray, yet the reality is, we are raising 3 boys and two large dogs on the road in 300 square feet of living space. The idea that this is going smoothly is ridiculous. Granted, it could be 100x worse and I am very aware of that.
Overall, its honestly going well. We've had bumps in the road but it isn't anything we wouldn't have encountered had we been living in our 1,500 sq foot house in Temecula. Let me say, I miss it terribly. The truth of the situation is I miss it so much. I cried hard once about it. Lost it a little over the fact that the routine we once had is gone. I'm pretty sure when my friends kids start school and the pictures of their first day of school come rolling in on my Instagram feed, I may lose it again. No back to school shopping there, new backpacks and shoes, walking them to their first day back at the school we adored. Gah. I'll stop there. I don't get emotional about things like this! Who am I?! Yet, the reality that we don't have a home to go back to is settling in and its hard. We loved our home and our neighbors. We loved our routine and our family and friends. We really were settled and good. So why did we leave? We had an opportunity that most people don't get and we ran with it.
So, here we are. 1 month in to living on the road. When I look back at the last month, I really cannot believe all of the things we have done and places we have gone. It's quite impressive. Best part so far, spending so much time with my kids. Worst part, spending so much time with my kids. I do feel like I hug them more and listen to them more. I watch them play far more often because we are in a new place each week and I cannot just send them outside to roam, yes, I'm one of those moms who doesn't let her kids stray too far and I don't care. Yet, spending so much time with them means I'm correcting their behavior more, yelling at them more (I'm not perfect, I totally yell), and not getting any personal space. I am learning my kids personalities more. Their needs, desires and abilities.
One month in, bio of each kid.
B- He's obsessed with cars. Broncos, old cars, engines and the sounds they make, Jeeps and drawing them all. He also learned how to "jump" his bike over speed bumps in the campground, he loves to ride around and make friends. We received his report card as well from the 3rd grade and he killed it. Conqored the 3rd grade. As a reward, we took him zip lining. He's turning into a kid you can have real conversations with. He's held my hand more than he ever has and I love it. He's too cool to dance to the songs at VBS but I caught him doing the movements when Jake was singing. B loves working out with Dad and makes up his own Crossfit workouts. He's been awesome and he's loving this adventre.
J- Oh Jake. Jake loves each and every place we visit. So much so he never wants to leave. He wants to stay at each spot, move in with the family member we're visiting and never leave. When it's time to move on, he is sad for a good full day and then quickly adjusts to the new spot. He has enjoyed the lakes and has no fear when it comes to jumping off the kayak or paddle board, over and over and over. He wants to fish all of the time and hopes to catch something soon. We have not had the best of luck. He's still a snuggly kid, so much so that sometimes he just can't keep his hands off his brothers. I've snuggled Jake more than ever in the last month. He's also done more burpees in the last month than he ever has before, if only he could keep those hands to himself. Overall, he's been good. Challenging, but good.
T- This kid turned 3, two days after we left and on his 3rd birthday, he decided he was done with diapers. I had really wanted to potty train him before we left but he was totally not interested. Suddenly, he's telling us when he needs to go and in 3 weeks, he's had one accident. (Little mommy cheer). He also got a bike for his birthday from his Nino and Nina and after riding it for just 2 weeks, he's over the training wheels and wants them off now. We've seen so many animals on our adventure and he wants to hold them all. "Look T, an Elk!." His response, "Mommy, me hold it?" As he stretches out his arms. He did 2 days of VBS and by the 3rd he realized the routine, us leaving him, and he was done. He loves his cowboy hat and often wears only that and his new Paw Patrol undies.
Travis & I- We celebrated 4 years of marriage on the 12th. No date or anything special, just enjoyed our quite time the two previous days while all 3 kids were at VBS. (Thanks AK). We try to laugh at situations where we want to rip our hair out. There is no way I'd ever do this adventure without him. He's my sanity when I'm about to lose it all.
So, there you have it. 1 month in. 7 stops, 1 vet visit, zip lining, no more diapers on our kids, new hitch, a few hiccups but nothing major. So far, so good!
For most of my life, when I heard the term, "mamas boy" it was something you didn't want to be. I used the term, "Mamas boy!" as a diss towards my little brother. When someone couldn't handle a situation, didn't take a dare, were worried what their Mama would think, they were a "Mamas boy." As the mom of 3 boys, who are very quickly growing into men, I love that I have "Mamas boys". I have boys that completely love their Mama. I am currently their world. I hear the word "Mom!" 1000x a day, between screaming, needing me to watch them do a new trick, them needing a snack or a wipe or just to say they can't remember what they wanted." It makes my head spin and sometimes I even say, "Moms not here right now." Yet, I am their mom. Their one and only lady and right now, I am going to breathe that entire thought in.
One day, I won't be the number one lady in their life. This thought goes through my mind on a daily basis and it breaks this mamas heart. Maybe it's because we photograph weddings regularly and each time, I am faced with looking through the lens of a camera of a Mom who is giving her son away. I watch each and every mom dance with their son on the dance floor, bury her face in her little boys chest once more. When I am faced with that same reality, I pray I am ready for it. I pray they are ready for the world. I hope they'll come back home once in a while. I hope I will still be needed in their lives, just a phone call or quick question, sometimes dinner and a hug. I only hope and pray when I am that mama, I love the person they have chosen to have me hand them off to.
For now, I will breathe them in, hold their hands, kiss their owies and cheer them on. Today they are "Mamas boys" and I'm so okay with that.