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Shanti’s first race!

Well actually, her first race was (prenatal) Cinco De Mayo last year, 4 days before I even knew I was pregnant!

Here we are now, she’s almost 8 months old and I’m back at it again, or at least trying too! I’m learning that although I do well with spontaneous adventure and live what some call a “nomad lifestyle”, I’m still very goal oriented. Rather than, “I should start running again.” I succeed much more with “I’ve signed up for a race and now I have to train”. So that’s what I did!

The Oklahoma City Zoo 5k was to raise funds for the Monarch Butterflies. Matt wanted to run with me so this was an ideal choice as strollers were welcome in the course that took us throughout the entire zoo!

Before I continue, I must give a shout out to Velia from V Lala Galleries! The fun pants Shanti and I are wearing are designs straight from her art wall. You can see her other creations by clicking on her website Velialala.com!

Getting ready for the race!

This girl is such a champ! She woke up at 7am as we pulled into the parking lot, got changed in the backseat and was ready to roll with us. I’d like to believe she brought a few extra smiles to the runners as we were all waiting for the gun to go!

…And we’re off!

… And we stop. Matt was ready for the first water station about 200 yards into the 5000 meters. He made sure and confirmed they didn’t serve espresso.

I’m not a huge fan of zoo’s given the whole animal prison feel, but this one had an open layout with an abundance of greenery along the path. We definitely stopped for a a few photo opportunities.

A little over 3 miles later was the finish line! Cheering and high fives welcomed us along with neck medals … one for Shanti too!

After every good run there’s a necessary stretch and maybe a necessary grunt in pain?I wasn’t laughing at you babe… I was laughing with you.

Meanwhile, Shanti’s sharpening her two teeth.We finished up the day with a mini tailgate picnic full of delicious healthy snacks.

Not quite sure when the next family day on foot will be, but I’m sure it’ll be soon!

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Ever seen a bus blocking a highway?

Our time in Arkansas exceeded all expectations! Quality family time with tons of fun, and help with progress on the bus. Perfect! Here’s a wrap of some of the captured moments during our stay in Hot Springs!Now it’s time to drive the beauty to Oklahoma where there’ll be more family, fun and help!

The journey from Arkansas to our new home in Oklahoma is gaged at about 5 1/2 hours. Hahahahaha! That’s in a car, no baby and not one bathroom break… so you can imagine… we had a car with a baby and a momma who drinks a lot of water following a school bus that tops out at 60mph and drops to 15 on inclines. With all of this in mind, we estimated about 7 hours. Driving through the night is always best for Shanti so we chose to leave right after dinner so she could snooze the whole way.

And we’re off! (notice the hanging camper in the window? Thank you O’Bryans!)

In no time, we were 100 miles in and if had to guess, Shanti was peacefully dreaming of playing with her cousins and eating paper (her two most recent favorite things to do).

As the sun began to drop with Matt driving in front of me, we shared this beautiful sunset (via walkie-talkies).

About 150 miles from our new home, Matt mentioned the bus feeling different. We even pulled over to smell and look at the engine. With no apparent problems, we kept on trekking. About 15 miles after he checked it out we were climbing our way up a hill at a whopping 9 mph wondering if this was always going to be the case.

In what seemed to be a moment of seconds, I saw the bus leaving a trail of fluid and heard Matt over the walkie say, “Something’s not right, I’m losing all engine power“. By the time he pulled off onto the shoulder mid-hill (which you always try to avoid in a beast like that!) smoke was barreling out from under it. As my heart sank, I could hear Matts break when he informed me, “This isn’t good babe”.

So it’s in the middle of the night and we’re in between two tiny towns on a back woods highway. Matt quickly got on his phone to find a local tow-truck company that would be willing to attack this challenge. We were so lucky. Not only did he find a company, but the kind owner also owned a school bus and was eager to help!

Here’s a video of Matt attempting to move the bus across the street and into the opposite direction. The towing man suggested we do this since it’d be tricky to make a U-turn with the tow truck and the bus going up hill on a small highway.

Since moving forward clearly didn’t work, Matt put it in reverse to maneuver backward then to turn it down hill. Unfortunately the back wheels caught the lip of the shoulder and he was going nowhere except backwards farther into the ditch! As you can imagine, my stomach was at my feet watching helplessly from afar.

My job while cringing across the street? Keep Shanti safe, warm and peacefully sleeping during this unexpected event. Success!

While we were waiting for the tow, I pulled our car far off the shoulder (even more than the first picture shows) at an angle so I was in no position to be side swiped while aiming my headlights at the bus. This ensured that any vehicle rounding the corner would clearly see the brightly lit bus.

Within an hour the Mighty Mouse of Semi tow trucks showed up!

It was amazing how much power this monster showed when lifting us out and down to the rescue. I recorded it too!By the time we back tracked to the mechanics it was creeping its way to 2:30am. Of course they weren’t going to be open so we went for a cheap hotel, a rest and and early sunrise.

After a nap at Motel 6, we went for a morning bite while we patiently waited for the mechanics to open and take a look at the engine.

Happy baby loving on her daddy at breakfast!

The final verdict brought us gut twisting news… it’s the transmission. Anyone who knows about a busted transmission knows it’s no joke.

Look at our sick girl just sitting there waiting for her surgery.

A few nights in the bus hospital and she’s almost ready to come home!

Here’s Matts silent interpretation of the situation.

Next up, her homecoming and a new backyard!

Categories: Bus life, Travel talk, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Another adventure away from the bus!

In the last post, Skoolie paint job is almost done! we had accomplished a majority of the exterior design. Since then, we have added our surprise addition which is a chocolate chip brown shiplap accent on the sides. It’s a tongue and groove style that went on nicely with some help from amazing, patient, knowledgeable, loving family members. Thank you Reggie, Bryan and Dane!

We got an opportunity to go back to Florida for a visit so we locked up the bus and headed to Miramar Beach! This makes for Shanti’s 3rd airplane ride!

I was able to get all my hair clients in for another round while Matt worked his camera around the area. I absolutely love that we can travel with our careers!

Between the catching up, Shanti got to reconnect with some of her biggest fans. My mom (Gam Gam), was all about getting this little girl in the water and we all loved it! Babies are meant to float, kick and splash!

And of course all that energy spent means for a crash on Gam Gams shoulder. This photo will forever be precious to me.

We stayed with Matts mom (Mi Mi), so there were plenty of snuggles from her as well! The hugs were accompanied by Shanti’s Great Grand parents (Maw Maw & Paw Paw). You’ve seen them in past posts like Shanti meets more family! We also made time for a family brunch!

This is TJ and Erica (she came to visit us in Barbados!) …and Shanti with the photo bomb.

What’s this, an 80’s themed birthday party for Dustin!? Well don’t mind if we do! (Special thanks to Stephanie, safe to assume it wouldn’t of happened without you!)

Look, it’s the couple that gave us the bus!

After the quick Florida visit we were ready to get back to Arkansas. Matt more than me as he really missed our other “baby” – aka the bus.

Matt rode his motorcycle back (with intention to sell it) so Shanti and I took a mother/daughter day of flights! Well actually, night of flights. Look at this sweet little tired girl…. and never mind my mouth piece.

Back home and almost finished up with the exterior! How do we ever repay for the amount of help we’ve received here!? Well you saw the land we’re living on in the post The wheels on the bus… go to Arrrkansas!and this week they’ve rented some heavy machinery to continue the renovation. You don’t have to ask Matt twice to play with big toys!

Meanwhile, Lacie is missing from the photos…. again. In fact, she took all of these photos, as usual. Lacie, I will be doing a full post on just you soon, so get ready!

Next up – a road trip to Oklahoma for more help from family and friends!

Categories: Accommodations, Bus life, Travel talk, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Skoolie paint job is almost done!

How many days does it take to paint a school bus? We don’t know, we’re still not done!

In the last post, Back to the bus!, we had started the process. This included sanding, stripping and cleaning it so we would have a fresh scuffed up surface to begin the painting.

Next, we masked the beast to prevent any paint going where it doesn’t belong and to create clean lines.

Then came brushes and rollers? Nope. We were lucky enough that Bryan just happened to have a paint sprayer! This grey primer you see here helps the final paint adhere to the exterior bus walls. Not gonna lie, I kind of dig the color.

Now she’s ready for a cosmetic makeover, starting with the main color! We chose a rich sandy tone for the neutral base and a vibrant turquoise(ish) color for the accent!

Now we paint!

But first, Peppa the pig! Some of you with amazing memories might recall this buddy of mine from the post Sweet Home Arkansas!

After our beauty was painted we taped off the lines to add our accent tone. There’s no proper name for the actual color but no matter what you call it we, think it’s fabulous!

Oh boy, am I’m excited for you to see what the next addition is!

No hints… sorry not sorry.

I’ll leave you with a glimpse of what we do when the Arkansas sun has won and we put down the paint brushes for some cooling off.

Next up, final work on the exterior!

Categories: Bus life, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Back to the bus!

We wrapped up Vail Colorado with Matts childhood friend Gavin, you saw him in our honeymoon post from 2017. Now he’s officially “Uncle” Gavin! It’s such beautiful country up there! We were sad to leave but excited to get back, with only an overnight stay in Oklahoma we kept on driving. Shanti is such a great traveler! She was either talking to me or snoozin away.

3000 miles in 10 days leads us back to Arkansas where our bus was eagerly waiting for us to return home.

This weeks goals for the bus is to install the floors and start the exterior paint. The flooring is being provided by my families business out of Hot Springs Arkansas. O’Bryan Family Floors is a well known local company that offers quality product with a personal touch. We are so proud to support the family that’s actually let us live on their property in the mean time. You can see our current location by reading The wheels on the bus go to Arkansas!

Painting sounds like a quick task, or at least it did to me, but turns out there are a few steps that make it a 10 day process! I’ll make an entire post about those shenanigans once we’ve completed the challenge.

Before painting, it’s necessary to prepare the surface. We power washed it in order to get rid of any dirt, rust and buildup that would be in the way of sanding it down. Proud to say I got the privilege to attack this task! There’s something extremely gratifying about aiming and firing with force at a beast of a vehicle. This left me with muddy feet, sore shoulders and a natural high… and no pictures of it. Boo.

Meanwhile, Matt was scrubbing down the top to get it ready for the first coat. We’ve picked out the color scheme for the entire bus (to be announced later) but for the top it’s a white silicone based product. We chose this not only for the clean look, but it also seals the roof and helps reflect the sun giving us a cooler interior temperature.

After the prepping we had all of the boys in on the for a Sunday Funday paint day!

Unfortunately the photographer of the day, Lacie Lane, didn’t get in any of the pictures! Next time we’ll get proof she’s there.

The boys finished up at sundown which meant it was time for games, guitar and family… what a perfect way to end the Sunday Funday! We didn’t get too many photos, but here’s a few someone snuck. Clearly a bundle of smiles all night! A HUGE thank you to Bryan, Reggie, Dane, Jessie, Lana and Lacie for the extra hands and amazing energy!! Lub Lub Lub

Next step: Scraping, sanding and another solid wash. Sneak peek!

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Short hold on the bus, it’s time for a wedding!

July 20, 2019 is the wedding day of my little brother Ben. The little brother that some of you may recognize from all of the years on this blog. Here is one of the first pictures I ever posted of him, adorable!…and year after year…

Then my little bro grew up into a young man out of nowhere!

Fast forward even farther and now I’m doing hair for his bride on their big day! What a special event to be a part of, Shanti was pulled down the aisle in a wagon and of course they had Matt as their photographer, here’s a few photos from the day!Ben and Rachel, I wish you all of the happiness and growth a marriage can bring. We love you so much!

Matt and I left the bus back in Arkansas and took our little family on a road trip through Oklahoma on the way to Colorado (that’s where the wedding took place). We’ve really enjoyed the back drop of mountains, rivers and wildlife everywhere! Here are a few snap shots so far, we’re currently in Vail so you’ll get the rest of the journey once we get back “home” to Arkansas.Here’s a typical 6am roadside diaper change in front of a gas station that didn’t have a changing table. Nailed it!

Here we stopped at a park for some fresh air and leg stimulation. She was such a good girl just hanging out while I reorganized the car. Happy to be alive with not a care in the world.

It’s not uncommon for us to stop for Matt to jump on some sort of wheeled apparatus. This day in Vail was his new electric skateboard!

I tease him about showing off but he clearly has bragging rights! You are so talented babe!

I’ll close this post with a video from one of our leg stretching stops in a Delta Colorado!

Fun fact: I was born there:)

Categories: Baby Talk, Travel talk, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The wheels on the bus go…. to Arrrrrkansas!

As you saw in the previous post, we were making our way from Florida to Arkansas to park it where it’ll be stationed for a majority of the renovation. Along the way, it started overheating whenever we’d go up hills or if the engine was pushed too hard… no good. While letting it cool down in Mobile Alabama, we decided to take it to a diesel specialist who spent hours diagnosing it with an estimate higher than you can imagine or at least more than we wanted to hear.Check out the sign they put on our beauty queen. (It says “this is not trash”). Priceless. So Matt decided to contact Steve (the magical mechanic from back home) to see if there was an alternative. Steve said that it wasn’t hard to fix as long as you had the right tools and instructions. With that said, Matt was willing to park our beast road-side and do it himself! During a phone conversation, we got the most unexpected news, Steve was going to drive all the way to help Matt fix it! Sure it was only a few hours round trip, but would you want to drive that after working all day!? Here we have yet another helping hand willing to contribute to our journey. We’re so grateful! Fast forward through the evening, Matt and Steve got the bus dialed in and it’s ready to roll. 8pm seems like an ideal time to check in for a good nights rest however it’s also the perfect time for Shanti to sleep through the drive, so we decided to skip the bed and keep on trekking.

Our goal was to get to Jackson Mississippi and find a hotel to close our eyes for a few hours so we could continue fresh(ish) onto Arkansas. We accomplished our goal to Jackson however finding a decent hotel with a reasonable price at 4am didn’t pan out. Plan B? Sleep in the bus! We found a gas station with diesel parking and we made it home for an hour nap.

Thank you Matt for capturing this photo even though I was not into it. This will go down in history as our first night in the bus!

We woke up to a beautiful sunrise next to a gorgeous open green field that welcomed us with the faint scent of cow manure. Other than the smell (cough-gag-cough) it was perfect!

We fueled up and headed north. Just a few more hours coasting at an average speed of 50 mp, we arrived to the surprisingly green Arkansas.

Here’s the view of the new location for our new home! It used to be packed full of forest but they’re currently transforming it into a self-sustaining farm with a spring fed pond. How lucky are we!?

Looking outward from the property.

Birds eye view. How amazing is this spot for our bus conversion… Space, privacy, security and family (help hehe)! See our yellow buddy down there?

Thank you cousins for the instant smiles and open arms that welcomed our project. It wouldn’t be the same without you!

Next post, updated bus pics! I can’t wait to show you how far it’s come. Here’s a sneak peek with a sweet video of two of our helpers:)

Categories: Accommodations, Bus life, Travel talk, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Friday Fitness week #13 – Turns Out it’s Tuesday.

I committed to write a post on health and fitness every Friday and so far, I’ve pulled it off. Well that’s about to change. I’m still eager to share with you my thoughts and research findings, however from this point it’s going to be spontaneous Friday’s (Aka – write when I want to).

The rest of this post is simply to encourage you to bring it back to the basics. Get outside and move! Enjoy the fresh air, take off your shoes and get dirt on your feet. Ever heard of “grounding” or “earthing”? To sum it up, it’s connecting with earths natural energy through touch to raise your vibration. For an extended scientific video click here. It always gets me excited when science backs up a “tree-hugging hippie” theory.

When I was I Penang Malaysia , I found a reflexology rock path that combined grounding with pressure points. Imagine starting or ending your day with this!

If not solid ground, find some natural water and get in! When was the last time you jumped in a lake, swam in the ocean or even just walked barefoot through a stream? Here was a “backpackers shower” while I was trekking south in New Zealand !

..and an amazing waterfall in Tobago with Ryan from Barbados!It’s so easy to get wrapped up in daily routines and forget that just outside is a world full of walking paths, singing birds (you don’t hear them unless you listen) and endless things to look at. Seriously friends, things… to… look… at! Not a phone, TV, romance novel, pile of laundry or dishes. Guess what, those dishes will still be there after your walk but the mind-clearing you’d get from the walk would be lost if you didn’t go.

Here is our family last week choosing nature instead of Netflix. Confession: A movie and snacks followed this walk but at least we got it in!

Thought for the day: Instead of hoping your mind will feel better after your body changes, try changing your mind so your body will begin to change.

Your body will follow your thoughts. It listens.

What are you telling it?

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Friday Fitness #13 – Breastfeeding Flapjacks

There I was, laying by the pool in a tank top and skirt soakin up the Florida sun. From my backside, I roll over to my stomach and glance down, I totally lost it. Laughing out loud by myself as I witness my boobs just hanging there, literally. The left one tucked in nicely (as proper as a floppy flapjack could be) and the right one doubling in size, full of milk and trying to crawl it’s way out. Once I finally got a grip on my giggles, I laid there sincerely analyzing which position would best suit my situation. Should I lay on my left side so they look more similar in size? Maybe my right side so I don’t leak milk down the front of myself? I could stuff a nipple pad in, but I’d have to go get one first…Then the laughter kicks in again. Two summers ago I was analyzing which way to sit in the sun to accent my curves for Matt. Ten summers ago I was in Vegas after a trip to Mexico, who knows what I was thinking while flaunting in the sun!? And now, here I lay debating which boob to support. Oh life… you’re hilarious.

When we arrived to Florida a year ago, I was in my second trimester and starting to show a little bump. Looking back now, I should of rocked out my growing belly and kicked it beach side, but my ego wouldn’t allow it. I would still get my toes in the sand but always fully covered in a sun dress or something that resembled a “moo moo” as my Grams called it. As time went on, my self consciousness and distorted body image only got worse. It peeked once the doc told me to “lay low or else you’ll be on bed rest” as this news wiped away all workouts from my routine. I felt like I was turning into a pile of squish. Of course I was in love with my tight round tummy and the little one growing inside, however I despised the cellulite dimples on my arms (didn’t know that was even possible!) and thighs that could no longer squeeze into anything I owned.

Fast forward to now, I’ve got a beautiful little girl that has grown into a healthy infant solely on my milk. I was told throughout my pregnancy that breastfeeding would help knock off the pounds and “you burn soooo many calories that you don’t even have to worry about weight loss”! Lies… all lies! At least in my case.

My habit of researching everything health and fitness led me to trying to find a reason (or a valid justification) on why I wasn’t shrinking. Although I knew these things deep down, I guess it was nice to be reminded.

Common thought: “I eat clean and never binge on calorie dense food” (Aka – not eating enough).

Facts say: “Under eating causes your body to store excess fat in order to protect and nourish your baby and milk production.”

Common thought: “If I stay awake while she sleeps I can continue to be active therefore burn more calories”.

Facts say: “Sleep deprivation causes significant changes in hormones, primarily the ones that regulate hunger, appetite and metabolism”.

Common thought: “I’m totally exhausted (mentally and physically by 7pm, I must be using up all excess energy (fat).”

Facts say: “Daily stress (being a new mom and/or life) can cause Adrenal hormones to go straight to your waistline to protect your brain”.

Common thought: “My cousins, neighbor and half the women I know just shrank while breastfeeding, why not me!?”

Facts say: “Hereditary genes play a huge roll in body shape and the challenges that come with it. Ever heard of the 3 different body styles; ectomorphs, mesomorphs and endomorphs… look it up, it’s fascinating!

I suppose the conclusion of this Friday Fitness is to simply do your very best with what you have while working for what you want.

Today I will eat to provide health and happiness to my body therefore nourishing Shanti.

Today I will activate my muscles, stretch my joints and elevate my heart rate.

Today I will be an example to my daughter and fully embrace myself with love and care.

Categories: Baby Talk, Fitness Friday’s!, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 6 Comments

Bus conversion – Making it a Clean Canvas!

Our first family photo in our first owned home! (A proper fixer-upper to say the least).The last week has been filled with many discussions over coffee about the layout of our new space. As you can imagine, the decisions we make now will determine our comfort and functionality of our future living. Luckily there are several nomads who have done this before us so it’s been helpful to look at other people’s ideas for our bus conversion.

Even though we’d (I’d) rather be drawing out the design and spending time on the color scheme, first things first… create a clean canvas. Matt has definitely gotten his workouts in by removing everything in the bus so we can clean, seal and protect the shell of our home.

Once the bulky items were removed (and we got a day full of rain) any leaky holes or loose seals were quickly taken care of. Rust was removed then protected with Rustolium and any gaps in the floor were patched up with fiberglass and magic.

I’ll have to be honest with you, it was hard for me to visualize anything besides a bus until I saw it completely gutted out. Now I can see the endless possibilities for our home on wheels. Of course due to the small square footage, every space needs to be accounted for and every item needs to serve a purpose with multiple uses.

Nerd alert… This excites me!

The following is my husbands quick breakdown of his experience this past week working with his new found love.

Matt + Fiberglass = Endless creations

“Laying the fiberglass is a messy, but super crazy awesome process. Especially when you think about all the possibilities and things to create with it.

First Step- Buy raw fiberglass sheets, and Bondo epoxy resin.

Second Step- Find all the spots that need to be sealed, and cut small fiberglass sheets to cover those areas. Prepping is key because the epoxy resin starts to set in about 12 minutes.

Third Step- Mix the resin one to one and have a brush ready! It time to move quick.

Fourth step– Completely saturated the fiberglass with the resin. I started brushing resin on the floor and then on to fiberglass to saturate it. I quickly found that that was not fast enough so I just started dumping it in with my hand!

Fifth step- Lay it out and smooth it with your hand or brush.

And boom! We are all fiberglass experts! That’s how I felt at the end of this process. It was a little stressful because of the time crunch, but it’s a easy process. I’m thinking there will be a lot of this stuff around the bus now!”

Something to look out for! Matt has been filming our bus journey and will soon be posting the videos online. That channel will soon be announced!

Categories: Accommodations, Bus life, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

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