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Extra! Extra! Read all about it! We’re in Magnolia Journal

    The summer issue of The Magnolia Journal is hot off the press with our darling Joanna gracing the cover. Isn’t she just the prettiest? I think all of America wants to be her best friend (my hand is raised, too).

    We are pretty excited over here to have a feature in this issue of the magazine.

    Last year, we pulled our kids from school and set off on a nearly 4 month journey around the country. It was a long-time bucket list item and we still look at each other sometimes saying did we really do that?!

    Throughout our whole trip, we posted to instagram (#jdcroadtrip) and I posted updates on the blog after every-ish stop (here’s the roadtrip page with all of the posts).

    We didn’t do the trip for any other reason than to be together as just us six and experience the best this country has to offer.

    What happened was life-changing and bonding with memories that will last a lifetime.

    The trip ended on a Sunday at the end of August and the next day we bought our new house. The kids started school in our new school district the following week. So basically, we jumped from one pretty incredible experience to another and never took the time to truly process, collect our memories and put a big bow on the whole thing.

    Now that we are a year out, we are getting nostalgic about the whole thing. Memories are coming up more often, stories from the trip make their way into more conversations, the kids are asking to visit friends they met or go back to cities again and quite often we think about the restaurants we dined at and remember an amazing meal or latte or cool atmosphere.

    Just last night, while driving home from my sister’s house, we had a great conversation with Brady, our 11 year old. It was late and they were supposed to be trying to fall asleep, but instead Brady asked a question that turned into answers and more questions and a great conversation. Once the car grew quiet again, Ryan and I agreed that we miss those uninterrupted opportunities for conversation we had while on the trip – because when you are stuck in a car for 4 hours and you already watched two movies yesterday, you talk. It takes an intentional slowing down to build this into our regular life and that just gets harder and harder as the kids get older, life gets fuller, responsibility looks you in the face.

     When removed from all of life’s regular routine and distractions, you have time for meaningful conversation and simple forms of entertainment – books, drawing, pocket knives, playing dice. At home we have things like school, work, tv, unlimited wifi, friends, sports, meetings, errands. None of these are bad; all our welcomely invited into our lives. It just makes us sentimental about the time we had traveling all those miles, seeing all those incredible sites, just us six.

    Ethan, our oldest, grew from boy to young man during those four months right before our eyes. The deep faith questions he wrestled with and the physical transformation he went through – none of it was missed by us. We were together all day, every day to witness and question and wrestle together.

    Brady was curious and engaged everywhere we went. He was the first to ask a question to a tour guide or ranger. His natural inquisitiveness and thoughtfulness was so cool to see.

    History came alive to Mason as we stood where Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his I Have A Dream speech, or walked the battlefield at Gettysburg. He was all about the big cities and the most famous of sites. I can’t wait to see what this trip inspires in him as he grows – will he study history? Architecture? Politics?

    Audrey walked miles each day. Miles! And hardly complained. She kept up with her big brothers, she was pushed in her food preferences, she listened to books in the car beyond her kindergarten interests, and yet she kept her sweet smile and adorable sense of humor the whole time.

    What an enormous privilege as parents to have these moments.

    And for me and Ryan to have had four months to connect, dream, work through hard things, laugh, make decisions, be a team … this is the best part of it all.

    We said when we were planning the trip that we felt like life was going so fast we needed to just stop and reset. That’s what this trip was. It was a chance to pull back from regular life, take a deep breath, create unforgettable memories and then make adjustments as we reentered.

     I didn’t mean to write all of that. Mainly I just wanted to tell you about the article in the magazine :)

    It is a great article with snippets of our story, photos and cute artwork, some itinerary highlights and tips for planning your summer adventures this year.

    But I guess I also want you to know that while it was just a road trip, I’ll always see it as so much more. It took months of planning and years of saving and many sacrifices along the way and every bit of it was entirely worth it.

    If you find yourself or your family in a spot where things are moving at such a fast pace and you’re not sure you love who you are or where you’re headed, may I gently encourage you to find a way to stop, take a breath, and make changes as you reenter.

    It might be a road trip or a job change or an afternoon spent quietly thinking and my hope is that it will be life-changing for you as well.

    You can find a copy of the summer issue of Magnolia Journal on news stands now, or order a subscription here.

    43 thoughts on “Extra! Extra! Read all about it! We’re in Magnolia Journal”

    1. Emily, your summary of the trip was so elegant and real!
      It’s a blessing to see and hear you living your dream!
      Congratulations on the fantastic piece in the Magnolia Journal

    2. Hi there! I just read your article in Magnolia (and now your blog post) and couldn’t help but shake my head in agreement at everything you said! We too took our Airstream on the road last summer (we were out 10 weeks) to travel cross country and it was truly the best thing we’ve ever done for our family. Now, as we approach the year mark since we left, we too are finding ourselves nostalgic and a bit itchy to get back out there! We had talked/dreamed about doing this ever since our first child was born and it was all that we imagined and more! I LOVED reading about your trip, I feel that surely we must be soul sisters!

    3. Emily, I was so excited to see you and your family in my new Magnolia Journal! Congratulations! It was wonderful to read all about your trip again in a new magazine that I love to browse and, of course, to be a party of the Gaines family is, I’m sure, a fantastic experience as well. I’m celebrating with you and your family! (By the way, I kept telling my husband about your journey as you took it and was then able to say “LOOK!!” :-) )

    4. Thank you for your thoughtful reminder to treasure family time, and many congratulations on appearing in Magnolia!!

    5. I was SO EXCITED to see your feature in my copy of Magnolia Journal! :) And it is so special to read your thoughts about the trip in this post, and see just what it meant to the hearts of your family to be able to get away together for that time.

    6. Brought me to tears. Thank you for the beautiful reminder of what truly matters. I’ll have to start thinking of ways our family can grow closer in such wonderful, meaningful ways. :-) Thank you for sharing your story!!

    7. I followed your trip online last year. Received my Magnolia issue today, can’t wait to read your article. Congrats!! `

    8. Awesome, cool, stupendous . . . so fun to be featured in Magnolia Journal!! Your family travels last summer seemed utterly amazing. Something we would LOVE to do with our family of 5 and yet I have no idea how to make it happen. I loved reliving all of those travels and experiences again right here in this post as you reflected on and shared your true emotion and feelings all over again. So glad you love to share and let all of us into your family’s life experiences – thank you! And congratulations on the feature!!

    9. I’d LOVE to do a trip like this w/ our children but the financial planning seems daunting; so I’d love to hear specific details on how you planned financially {ie.How did you know how much the trip would cost? Were you & your husband unemployed for four months?!}

      1. hi Elizabeth,

        Great questions. We wrote a wrap-up post with some of these details here:

        To answer your questions:
        1. We didn’t know exactly what the trip would cost, but we figured $50ish per night at a campground + meals and entertainment. In national parks, entertainment was sightseeing and just the cost of the national park pass. In cities, we paid for museums and tours and eating out (obviously, much more costly!). Budgeting totally depends on what types of activities you are planning to do.
        2. Ryan left his firefighting career in January 2016, a few months before we left. We are fully self-employed with my business and worked from the road just a bit. For the most part, we had things set up to work without a ton of hands-on from us. We feel very fortunate to have a business that can be run from anywhere!

    10. Read this issue yesterday!How exciting! What an amazing accomplishment! It was a great read! I followed your trip through your blog as well. I love this magazine and everything Fixer Upper.

    11. This is very beautiful. It’s clear that you’re grateful for that opportunity, and that it was an important choice to make for your family at this stage of life. I’d love to read if you have found any ways/disciplines/habits that help you keep slowing down and connecting as a family now that you’re back to “civilization” ;)

    12. This is a GREAT entry! Thank you Emily for sharing! And a BIG congrats on the publication in the Magnolia Journal! I will definitely have to pick up a copy! I loved reading all about your family road trip last summer! A couple fun things I discovered while following along was that you live in WA (I’m in Seattle) and you are an APU grad (so am I, class of 2001)…small world! One instagram entry that really spoke to me (and still does) was when you talked about your time on the beach in a bathing suit. You spoke about waking up with a new prayer in your heart. Being proud of your healthy and strong body and seeing beauty in others, not comparing but just recognizing that beauty comes in all different ways. Those words really resonatated with me! Thank you for sharing! Blessings to you, Candice

    13. This made me tear up a little bit! I loved following along with your family road trip last year, and love reading your thoughts on it here again. :) Also- holy cow congratulations getting a feature in Magnolia! That’s so awesome!

    14. LOVE! i look forward to reading the article in the latest issue– it’s sitting on my coffee table waiting patiently for me ;) love your reflections on how valuable that quality time was for all of you. what a dream trip!

    15. I am so happy for you! My family moved from Chicago to the Baltimore/Washington area in June of last year and there was SO. MUCH. HARD!!!! However, following your trip and checking in each day to see where you were and what you were doing was a beautiful highlight for me in the midst of a very hard season. I don’t know why- perhaps it was because of the way our own family bonded during this time of change that I could relate to what you mentioned so often- learning and growing as a family, working through things, all the while you were adventuring! You’ve been my favorite blog/blogger for a VERY long time, but your travels last summer were just spectacular, in a way that I never expected! Can’t wait to get my latest copy of Magnolia Journal!

    16. I know this isn’t what the post or article was about but WHERE CAN I GET THAT BASKET in your photo that holds remotes, magazines, and Jenga???!! it’s too perfect!

    17. Thank you for writing these words. Currently pushing through a valley in life and those last paragraphs were a needed nudge after a tough day.

    18. I have the charter subscription and had followed your family trip on your blog. I was excited to see that was YOUR family featured in the magazine!! Awesome!!!!!
      On a side note……..would you ever add authors to the book list you posted recently!! :)

    19. Ahhh, me . Such a moving post, Emily. I. HEAR. YOU. Thank you for sharing more about your trip. It was lovely to follow along with you last summer and even more special to hear your personal reflections months later. Congratulations on Magnolia! Well deserved and I hope you are celebrating your hard work. It’s been fun to watch your blog and your brand grow. You are good people, Emily!

      1. also, typo in the paragraph that begins with “When removed from all of life’s….” you used “our” instead of “are” in the third sentence. ….when you’re tired and or typing through tears, it happens. :) also, have you tried Grammarly? It would probably help you catch little edits like this…I just discovered it a couple of weeks ago.

        1. Thanks for helping a girl out :)

          I do use Grammarly on my main computer, but typed up this post on my laptop. Note to self: install Grammarly on that one as well.

    20. This is so cool! I followed your trip and it sounded so amazing – those memories are forever!! How did your story end up in the magazine? Awesome!

    21. I remember following your trip, was so happy for your family to experience anything and all. Such an important experience for you each and all, what could possibly have been more important in your lives than what you experienced and shared?
      I might have mentioned trips gone on with my Dad, still cherish those memories, even at my present age. Think it was so very special what you all shared, loved hearing about how the kids related and grew from the trip.
      So happy for you to be featured in Magnolia, will be purchasing that issue as soon as I possibly can. Am so glad you shared it all with us last summer, it was almost like I was with you all and how I wish I could have been.
      Traveling is an important part of learning about life and the world. I know how it changed me being with my husband while he drove all over the country and some of Canada, those are memories to cherish. He’s not trucking any more and boy do I miss that.
      One of our grand daughters went to Italy last Summer to be an au-pair for a family. She also took trips on her own to other countries and with that family, boy did she grow up. She was always very bright but saw her confidence soar, good for anybody. Now she’ll be a Junior in college next school year and is even more set on goal of being a special needs teacher.
      You have given your children and your marriage an extra boost, so happy for you all.
      Hope your Mother’s Day was fantastic.

    22. Emily, this is absolutely the coolest! …congratulations on being included in such a wonderful magazine, love it!

    23. Wow! What an accomplishment to be featured in such a notable magazine! Congrats Emily! If you don’t mind me asking, how did that come about? Are you and Joanna friends? Have you been to Magnolia? Thank you for always sharing your heart and life so openly!

      1. Not friends with Joanna :) I am friends with another Joanna who is the creative director for the shop. She and I were best friends growing up and it was so fun to visit her at Magnolia Market last spring.

        Magnolia Journal is a Meredith publication, who also publishes Better Homes & Gardens. The same editor who we worked with on our Christmas house feature a few years ago called to see if we could do the road trip. Not sure exactly how they found out about the trip – that’s the beauty of working online, I suppose.

    24. Thanks for the thought you put into your writing. We maybe cannot all go do what you did but like you said we can take a moment an hour a day a week if we are fortunate and come back with new thoughts for our life and those we love.

    25. I know that you’ve talked about the school being good with your kiddos missing the end of the year, but what about missing a summer of team sports? I know you gained so much more, but I know this can be a big part of older kids’ identities, especially if they play competitively. I guess I’m wondering if if they were on competitive teams, were they able to rejoin these teams this spring/summer? I’m so envious of your careers allowing this to be possible!!

      1. We don’t have any major athletes – at least not yet – so that was not an issue for us. I will say that if we would have waited even until this year, it would have been much harder on our oldest son.

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