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a little bit of this and that


    We leave on our 3.5 month road trip in 9 days. I’m starting to freak out a little.


    As the date comes closer, our to-do list gets bigger. Our heads were beginning to bulge, so we taped up a laminated poster to a very visible door and have been adding tasks as we think of them. Things to do. Things to buy. Things to pack.

    It would be one thing if we were just packing up and heading out on an adventure. Leave the house a mess! Who cares! We’ll pick it up when we return in August!

    But on top of packing up for life on the road, we are also preparing our house for guests, finishing up the last-minute, never-ending projects (our bathroom, kids bathroom, random little things that have been left undone for forever) and since we’ll be gone for the whole summer and we can only bring so much with us, I’ve been cleaning out closets like a mad woman, getting rid of so much excess.

    If there is anything I’ve learned so far in this planning/packing process its that when you only have 28 feet to live in, you don’t get to bring much stuff.

    You know that trend called a CAPSULE WARDROBE? I’m fully embracing it for all of us. Less out of principle and more just plain necessity!

    Our storage space is very limited, we have weight restrictions to think about and so every item must pass a ‘is this useful/is this necessary/is this essential’ test.

    We’ll wear the same outfits over and over again which makes me think long and hard about which clothes I want to bring. If I have to wash it over and over, I want it to hold up. If I have to look at it over and over, I want to like it. It’s just a way more thoughtful way of thinking about ‘stuff’ than I’m used to.

    Which makes me wonder what this girl who tends to collect stuff will feel after it’s all said and done? Will 107 days on the road with only one set of sheets, two swimsuits, three pair of shoes feel limiting? Or completely freeing? Will I miss our big house? Will I miss my million throw pillows and variety of glassware? Will we grow tired of the small space? Or will we love it? How will it impact our lives after we return? I wonder these things …

    My friends have been asking how I’m feeling. Nervous? Excited? Worried?

    I can confidently say I’m all three. Well, maybe not nervous. Mainly excited. With a dash of worry mixed in. I’m not typically a worrier, so the anxiousness I feel is odd for me.

    While at a church women’s retreat this past weekend, the Lord was so kind to remind me that the worry I feel is just me not trusting Him fully.

    This whole thing feels big, risky, adventurous, unknown. I’m into small, safe, comfortable and controlled.

    One of the main reasons we’re doing this road trip is to force ourselves outside of our norm. Get beyond comfort and see who we are. It’s scary, my friends. It has forced me to look hard at myself and our life and believe that God has more for us than I could even imagine. My small, worrisome, eyes-on-myself thinking does me no good and I’m thankful for the reminder that I can look up and outward, trust that we are following a dream God has placed in our hearts and that we will be better in the end for taking the leap.

    I have so many things to share about our trip planning process, what we’re packing, what vehicle we finally decided on … and I’ll do all of that in upcoming posts. For today, I’ll end this rambling with a few more bullet points:

    • So far we’ve booked travel all the way through New York. We have about one month left to figure out and 9 days left to get it done. Wish us luck.
    • I am not a big fan of shorts and in the pacific northwest, I can generally get by with only wearing them a few times each summer. This summer, however, I’ll surely be living in as minimal clothing as appropriate #summerinthesouth #humidity #wemightmelt I bought these and wore them this week to wash the car. They are super comfy and should work well for our outdoor activities.
    • One of the places I’m most (unexpectedly) excited to visit is this historic inn + farm in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It will be a welcomed retreat after 2 weeks of camping and hiking in the Arizona/Utah/Colorado desert.
    • This art print will be the only thing adorning the walls in our trailer. I bought it over a year ago in preparation for this experience. How perfect is it?!
    • A few have asked what my work will look like while on the road … I’ll blog as much as possible. Obviously, there won’t be craft or decorating content to share so hopefully you will enjoy following along on our trip instead :) My goal is to post every day on instagram (minus the days we have no internet) and a few times per week on the blog. Classes will run this summer – Penmanship opens in May, Graphic Design opens in June. We’re so, so grateful that this internet business allows us to take it with us wherever we travel.
    • Three out of four kids have been home sick in the last week. For several days. One had strep, two have some other fever/sore throat thing that is not strep. As much as I’d like the kids to finish out their last few days of school at school, I am quite thankful that they are getting the yuck out of them now.
    • I’ll leave you with this: I’m seriously considering a fanny pack.

    Thanks for letting me ramble. Off to go check something off that list …


    74 thoughts on “a little bit of this and that”

    1. Los Poblanos is on my wish list of places to visit, too! I spent two weeks in the area 6 years ago, but didn’t know about it then. I look forward to seeing your post once you visit.

    2. Please do a post featuring the clothes and shoes (including outwear) you have packed for the road. I tend to bring one of everything and or not the right thing.

    3. I diggin’ all of it but the fanny pack. I get the convenience, especially with kiddos. But…

      I am excited for you and a little jealous. We have traveled a lot but not for this extended period. I will be praying for you family, your safety, sanity and that you experience joy in being together and learning about each other and the country you call home. I am really looking forward to photos of your time at the New Mexico farm. It is gorgeous. I have never been to NM and now want to go more than ever.

    4. I so needed this post! I’m preparing for a long term trip in asia this summer and I’m also a worrier who likes her creature comforts. Thanks for the reminder to breathe :)

    5. I am like unreasonably excited about this for you, considering I don’t actually know you, haha! Y’all are just a little bit ahead of us in parenting (I have three ages 8, 5, and 2) and this trip seems so daunting to me but also like something that I’d LOVE to do one day. I love the idea of minimizing and just being together and seeing more of the world in a simple. So looking forward to following along!

    6. Just a heads up… I am currently on a camping trip with my fam in the Nevada high desert and now at Zion in Utah. We’ve been encountering FREEZING temperatures at night. As in, two inches of snow when we wake up ?. Apparently HIGH desert is different than sea level desert as in cold at night, warmer in the day.. Ya learn something new every day ? have a BLAST!! I feel like your family is about 4 years ahead of mine in the adventures department. I can’t wait to hear about your experiences over the next several months ?

    7. Recently, you had a map of the U.S with your route sketched out on it.I have gone through your blogs many, many times and just can’t find it. Can you give me a date or a blog title that it is on? Thank you very much. I am trying to see if you are going by my step-mother’s house. Have a really great trip!

    8. I know you are super busy, but I would love to see your capsule wardrobes (for you + the kids). My husband and I are going on a six month international trip with our boys (ages 3 + 7) and space is limited, so I am planning to do the same. :)

    9. Yay for the fanny pack!! My husband and I are avid hikers and I have tried all kinds of purses and backpacks and messenger bags and really, the fanny pack makes the most sense for certain situations. Sometimes you just want your phone, your wallet and your camera and a fanny pack is perfect! There’s so much to be said for having your hands free and no strap on your shoulders. Let’s make them cool again! ;)

    10. Yes, I’d love to live vicariously through your travel post ;-)! Keep um comin! May the Lord bless your faithfulness to follow Him out of your comfort zone, I’ve found that’s where I encounter Him the most! And with a fanny pack like that how could you not want to resurrect that trend?!

    11. Eeek! Last summer I brought my three kids from Ok to NY to help my mom after breast cancer diagnosis/mastectomy/recovery. I was worried about what to bring so the kids didn’t feel like they missed home. I completely over packed. I was left shuffling through TONS of stuff ALL in my childhood bedroom. Try, try, try to stick to your less is more mantra!

      I LOVE the idea of that beautiful fanny pack. If you do it, I’ll do it. I need extra hands…maybe that would help?!

    12. This sounds so fun! My NYC capsule wardrobe for summer (because we have no closets in our bedrooms) is this: 3 pairs of summer sandals (saltwaters, bass sunjuns, worishofers – all are walking friendly but also dinner out friendly), a handful of lightweight cotton sundresses from Ann Taylor Loft, sunglasses, sunhat, lightweight wrap sweater for night. I wear the above allll summer for every activity, and it carries me through the season. I can’t wait to see your updates!

    13. My parents drove our family of seven from Alaska (via ferry to Seattle) to North Carolina in the mid 60s – I was only three, but my very first memories were of this trip. You will not regret showing the country to your children…I still remember my siblings singing “This Land Is Your Land”… :) I’ll be praying for safety for your family as you embark on this wonderful adventure!

    14. Before my husband and I take a trip of any length, we check and re-check our lists and then as we drive off I always say, “Well, if we forgot something, we probably won’t need it and if we do, we’ll find some place to get it.”
      I used to fret and worry about making sure everything was packed, checked, stopped, notified and all of the other pre-trip worries. When I found my self in the “oh well…” mode, my anxiety decreased rapidly.
      We have forgotten things, sometimes really important things, other times, just things we wished we hadn’t forgotten. We have never been the worse for any of it…don’t worry.

    15. Hi Emily!
      Have fun on your trip. I will be watching. If you need a place to stay in the Finger Lakes, New York area we have a cottage on Seneca Lake you and your family are welcome to stay at.
      Where did you get the cute black card rack in the picture on this post?

    16. Go for the hip purse! Fanny Packs were so the 80’s thing, but now they have the stylish hip purses that are sleek and fit the cell while keeping your hands free to wrangle kids. I got one that I saw in a few Burn Notice episodes (which I obviously watched without my kids) and love it when we are in FL in the summer. Just too hot to keep track of a purse :)

    17. Gah! Los Poblanos is amazing! I stayed there 6 years ago (before they expanded) in off season, and we (my then husband, daughter and I) were literally the only people there all week. The staff was all amazing and the chef cooked our breakfasts every morning, we had the gardens to ourselves. I love the animals and gardens and the wandering peacocks. We would wander in and reheat our leftovers in the kitchen for lunch. It’s beautiful and it felt like a second home, it was so welcoming and accommodating of kids. I’m so jealous…of all of it. I’m sure it’s scary, but as a single momma, please relish the luxury of being scared in such an amazing way! I am (daily) scared out of my comfort zone about much less fun things. I hope your family has an amazing time! And I wish Audrey was littler and I would send you our little girl Los Poblanos tee shirt we got when we were there!

    18. Hi Em, You guys will absolutely love travelling around. We took our kids out of school for about 15 weeks, 5 years ago. They were 6, 10 & 11. We didn’t do any schooling, yet the youngest had actually improved in her reading when her teacher tested her on our return. I am in Australia, so all we checked out was Queensland. We live at the very bottom of South Australia, so it was a huge drive. The amount of time it takes to drive from Mount Gambier to Brisbane, which is in Queensland is the same amount of time it takes to drive from Brisbane to Cairns. They are both in Queensland. We weren’t as organised as you guys. My husband had to find work along the way, which was very limiting to what we could actually do. Also we drove in our sedan – Nissan Maxima and lived in a tent. However seeing the scenery and other places was fantastic. It is an experience that you guys as a family will cherish. Living in minimal clothes with minimal things is good. I am looking forward to your stories and photo’s. It will go much quicker than you think and before you know it you will be home. Just enjoy and take in all the scenery. And take lots of notes on where is a good place to eat or a beautiful place to see. I might just ask for your notes and itinerary when you get back. I would love to take our family on a trip like that one day across America. Enjoy!!

    19. Emily,
      I am super excited for you. Can’t wait to go on your journey with you. Craig and I took a month long sabbatical this fall and it was wonderful. I know you will grow and enjoy it so much with your whole tribe with you. Can’t wait to hear about all the Sursees you find. xox Leslie

    20. I am from Austin, but my sister lives in Albuquerque, and we all LOVE Los Poblanos! It is beautiful, the lavender products are amazing, and it really is one of my favorite places to visit!

    21. So excited for you! A very big leap out of the ordinary, but I’m sure you will never regret it. I am the type who goes into full panic mode the day or two before any travel. Did I pack this, did I remember that, do we have enough of those? I tell myself over and over- Wal-Mart is everywhere!!! Enjoy the road!

    22. Have I missed what type of rv/camper did you settle on? You will never regret this adventure…and neither will your children! With age, it will become an even fonder remembrance. But beware! Once the gypsy lures you…you will never be content with staying in one place!

        1. Thanks! We own a small fiberglass trailer called a Casita. Just my husband and I. We spent 18 months straight traveling the US and some of Canada…45,000 miles and every single night in our Casita! We loved every minute,

    23. We have been RVers for over 3 years now and we travel during the Summer also with our 2 kids. Even after 3 years under my belt, I still forget things so just roll with the tide. And for the clothing bit, I found out that if I pack a week’s worth of clothes, then we are good. Just embrace laundry mats. :) Sites that have them will be your best friend (along with free wifi). We are hitting Utah and Arizona this summer. Our goal is to see all the National Parks. So far we have 14 under our belt and we’ll see a good chuck of them in this trip. Good Luck and remember that you are only human. :)

    24. I’m so excited for you and your family! This trip is going to be such a great adventure and life changer. We’ll be taking a 10+ day road trip as we move from southern California to northern Virginia in late June. I’m excited to see parts of the country that we’ve never seen and spend quality time as a family. I look forward to hearing some tips along the way! Perhaps your long trip can help us with our short one.

    25. Oh love the hip fanny pack! Thanks for your transparency, sharing your struggles joys excitement! I look forward to vicariously joining you on your journeys via Instagram If u need another place to lay your shoes we are in N cal. Be assured of my prayers for you and yr family. Remeber God is going before you
      He’s in control of All the details – such an amazing God we serve

    26. Oh my! I would wear a fanny pack if it was THAT one!!! CUTE! Have a wonderful adventure….it is neat you are doing this–a forever memory for the kiddos…

    27. Buy every color of the Athleta short you mentioned-it’s all I’ve been wearing! I live in Phoenix (I know my shorts). Perfect for your trip!

    28. You will return home a different woman!! And by that I mean you’ll be surprised how little you need to be happy:)We took our 3 boys and traveled pulling our 28 ft RV when they were 17,14 and 8. My husband homeschooled the younger boys in the morning and afternoons were for field trips and more driving. We put on thousands of miles and made lots of wonderful memories…I’m so excited for your new adventures you’re going to experience!!

    29. The Los Poblanos Inn is amazing. You. Will. Enjoy! We had the pleasure of a couple nights in 2009. I have their soap in my bathroom right now. Such a special treat. :-)

    30. Suzanne @ princapecos

      About that fanny pack… I’d encourage you to consider a smallish cross body bag instead, maybe even with a built-in wallet. I’ve found them to be much more flexible, comfortable, and stylish. Just a thought. Happy trails!

    31. I’m super-behind on hearing about this trip, but I just have to tell you that I LOVE THIS! When my baby gets older, we are absolutely going to copy you guys. What a wonderful way to learn and grow as a family – in your relationships, your awareness about the world, your vulnerabilities. This is just so great. Have SO much fun and I can’t wait to follow along!

    32. Your trip sounds crazy and wonderful all at once! I’m sure God has some cool things to show all of you. If you find yourself driving through Austin, TX on a Sunday morning, I warmly invite you to attend our church service, 9 or 10:30am. We meet in an elementary school. :) I may/may not be there this summer (we are also doing some traveling…only 3 weeks!), but I know that other members will warmly welcome you. God bless!

    33. I always travel “carry on”. Limit your colors. Mine are black, white, red and gray with a little cobalt blue thrown in. If you get totally sick of what you have, buy something. I am sure you will need at least two pairs of shorts if you are going to be in the South during the summer.

      I have forgotten your itinerary but if you are in Yellowstone NP, make sure you do your laundry at the Lake Lodge. There is an adequate cafeteria style restaurant, a lovely porch to relax on and in our case, about five years ago, buffalo rambling through. I actually did a two page spread in our photo album on doing our laundry there.

    34. Seriously!!! That is an incredible fanny pack. I don’t think you could go wrong. I can’t wait to see all of the pictures and follow along with your family via the blog and Instagram! I love that your heart is tender and eager to see what God has in store for you, I’m sure it will be amazing!!!

    35. On a much smaller level – I can relate to what you’re saying. :) We’re moving into temporary housing while we wait for our home to be built. Our temporary housing situation will be much smaller than when our home is completed…and there’s part of me that might actually enjoy/feel freed by living simpler. Less stuff, more space for time together as a family. I love the capsule wardrobe idea – I’d never heard of it.

      And Amen to worry = not trusting the Lord enough. It always amazes me when He’s gentle enough to remind me He actually has it all under control. ;)

      Blessings to you and your family as you prepare for this undoubtedly life-changing journey!

    36. I seriously can identify with your feelings right now!! We relocated temporarily across the country last year with 3 kids. It was so stretching, but the very worst part was the couple weeks leading up to it. Because yes, all furnishing was provided, but what did we need to bring with us? What to buy there? And cleaning out closets and dressers and cupboards for the family house sitting for us for those months….that was the worst!!

      But…we had an AMAZING TIME!! Far outweighed the stress of those days. We grew as a family, made some incredible new lifelong friends, and had amazing adventures (helped we went from a Midwest state to Northern California!!)

      Just press forward through these days, you’ll be on the road soon, and it will be AWESOME!!

    37. Oh my goodness! So excited for you all to take my suggestion for Los Poblanos! They need to start sending me a commission, haha! I urge everyone I know to go there!!

      I’m so excited to follow along on your journey!

    38. That does not count as a fanny pack! I live in New Orleans and do TONS of biking and overall walking to go out to eat and drink and just hang out around town. I have a bag very similar to this, and so do lots of other people – even the young and hip! You should get it! It is amazing to not “wear” a bag in the typical way and to have full use of your arms!

    39. I live on a boat (36 foot sport fisherman) and you can decorate just not quite like in a house. I have six decorator pillows that we use almost daily! With many covers that I swap out when I want to. I am willing to bet that you will acquire a ton of decorating inspiration on your trip. It will be interesting if you think “less is more” by the time you get home. Fanny packs are OK be yourself and you don’t need to conform to some “fashion law”! Looking forward to your travels and following you on ig! Best wishes and I hope your open to all that falls in your path.

    40. Just remember that if you forget something – don’t stress over it. You can buy it on the road!
      And, don’t pack too many tops for the kids, cause you’ll probably be buying some souvenir t-shirts along the road. AND, if you start acquiring too much stuff, just ship it home!

    41. If you need a place to rest in rural Western PA, come on over! Brush Valley zip: 15720. No stop light, so call/txt or you might miss it! A serious invitation from a long time reader. Nearby attractions: Jimmy Stewart museum, Johnstown flood museum and inclined plane, Meadows ice cream, Clem’s BBQ, Punsytawney Phil and Amish communities. I’ll leave the light on for yunz.
      Ruth Weaver… 724-541-1535…

    42. You will no doubt have a wonderful time. I took a two month trip with my 6 & 10 year old two years ago. We bought an ev for the trip and sold it as soon as we returned. I had a wonderful time and great memories. Would I do it again? No but glad I did. We went from Ca across to Flirida up to The Hamptons down through Kentucky and back. Visited all the most amazing landmarks and since my husband is a Fireman paid respects to 9/11 memorials along the way. Best cities D.C. , NY and PA. You can park your RV at the boat slip near the ferry to Liberty Island and take the subway in to the city and see a show! PA had amazing botanical gardens that lit up at night Longwiod Gardens! Amish country amazing corn mazes everywhere! Good place to buy a our red puppy cheap! A must see and fun for kids to get out and stretch their legs. D.C. Amazing Smithsonian. Not that my idea of seeing The Hamptions in an RV was ideal but awesome campgrounds. Just be sure to check bridge heights! Downtown New Orleans not reccomend for driving! I loved NM a lot nicer than I imagined. In the heat of the summer it was nice to find places with a pool. We stopped for a hotel stay once in a while for sanity reasons and time to reorganize! Good luck!

    43. yes to the stylish fanny pack that can also be worn crossbody. I like carry a great bag when I travel, but usually have a crossybody tucked inside as my wallet, so if I want to ditch the handbag at the last minute, easy peasy, I’m good to go. this looks like it needs to make it into my repertoire. I, for one, am really looking forward to your trips posts and admit to already thinking of y’all and being excited for you as I’ve seen 5th wheelers in the ATL area. :D

    44. That’s one cute fanny pack! Go for it! I’m SO excited to keep up with your journey! Thanks for letting us all tag along :)

    45. How exciting! You will be fine. Your family will be in my prayers. I can’t wait to see more posts on this trip. Just remember to breathe and have fun.

    46. I’m so envious and admire you for doing this. My husband and I took just 2 weeks in an RV and I promise you it changed our life for the better more than words could ever convey. It was so freeing to know everything we needed was within the 28ft of our RV. 1 set of sheets, 3 dishtowels, 2 knives, no TV. It made me realize how little we really need to be happy. We came back to our big old house that’s full of collections as completely different people. We’re building a tiny house now on our property in TN. I dream of that little house and long for the day when we can live there full time. I’m meeting with a realtor in our city to prepare to sell this big house. I’m purging clothes, dishes, clutter. This all stemmed from our epic RV adventure. The US is vast, I could hardly comprehend it. I couldn’t believe all we saw and learned from the fabulous glorious National Parks, how landscape, scenery and people are different all over. (RV Camping people are super cool and nice) I could go on and on. We wished we had done it when our son was young. (he’s in college now) You’re kids will learn and experience so much. More than they could ever learn in a class room. I don’t even know you but I’m so happy for you. Be excited. Be very very excited and thankful for this grand opportunity!!!

      1. Thank you so much, Anne-Marie. It feels so encouraging to hear your wisdom and how your trip has made you better. We can’t wait to see the country, meet the people, expose our children to so many new experiences and to see how God is going to speak to us during it all.

    47. I can tell you, living with less feels great. We did two months in a converted JEEP Cherokee around Australia and it’s amazing how little you really ‘need’. At the end, after cooking on BBQ’s and a camp stove for 2 months – the thing that my husband and I both looked forward to was a roast dinner. So I wouldn’t worry about missing your home and the stuff in it…I think you’ll love being on the road! I’m excited for you – what an amazing adventure!

    48. Emily, I’m so excited for your family, and to follow along on your exciting journey. I feel a similar assortment of feelings (although I AM a worrier :), as we are moving from Vermont to Arizona at the end of May! After living in Vermont for 30+ years, this is a HUGE adventure for us. Maybe we will pass each other on the roads! Have a wonderful trip. Relax and enjoy every minute. –Lisa

    49. I might be almost as excited as you are to take this trip! I can’t wait to follow you along each day. Thank your for allowing your followers to travel with you :) Have a wonderful, safe, tons of fun memory making adventure! And that fanny pack by the way…..darling!!! They’ve come a long way since my middle school days :)

    50. Jaclyn | One Thousand Oaks

      Road trips are so fun! They hold some of the greatest memories I have with my family as a kid. There were some moments that during the trip were not that great, but looking back now we laugh about it. I am looking forward to the day that my kids (3y, 9mo) are big enough to go on a road trip and enjoy it, (for the most part lol) I also love the print from one Canoe two! You can totally pull off that fanny pack! It is amazing! I love how versatile it is, so it doesn’t *have* to be a fanny pack if you don’t want. Stop by Michigan on your way home! It is a beautiful place!

    51. Ale,

      Oh my gosh, your adventure sounds like a dream come true. We would love to do that some day! The New Mexico resort is gorgeous and I can imagine it will feel heavenly after the extended camping/hiking. I cannot wait to follow along and live vicariously through your experience.

      We are doing a much smaller scale trip next month with camping and some hotels mixed in and was in a similar quest for bringing only the essential clothes. I ordered these pants from Athleta and have worn them EVERY DAY since they arrived last week. I am going to order them in black too and they will be my bottoms for the trip. They are quick-dry, super lightweight and feel like you are wearing pajamas:

    52. Love the poster board list! Even when preparing for a week long vacation, there always seems to be so much to do. Making lists helps, but I have never thought to make it big so that the whole family can see it. I will definitely be using that tool in the future!! thanks and have a safe trip!

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