Posts Tagged With: arkansas

Well Bless Your Heart

So there I was, Shanti with a full diaper and giving me the hunger cues. Like most airport bathrooms, the line was out the door with a stretch of women holding an impatient fake smile. I squeezed by everyone with hope in finding a spotless changing table with our names on it. Let me prep this with informing you that it would be my first changing-table experience. Doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it’s obvious when seasoned moms are on their hundredth changing-table routine, one hand here, sanitary wipe there, here a diaper, there a leg, all while balancing the edge of a broken hinge with a knee. I was up for the challenge until I rounded the corner and saw what I was working with. A dirty table with a woman already gagging her way through it with her little one. I could have stepped up and done the same but I’ll have to be honest with you, I wasn’t in the mood to battle it especially with a dozen women standing there watching. Chicken. So at this point, I have no choice but to join the herd in line and comfort Shanti to the best of my ability.

We finally got to the front and I see the size of the claustrophobic mini stalls in which I doubt we’d both fit in with her car seat in hand. I wave the others on as I patiently wait for the only large stall offered. Finally! It opens.

I got to the end and closed the door. I laid out my makeshift sanitation station on the ground and don’t have the guts to lay her there, so on my lap it is. I semi successfully get her clean and in a new diaper when she starts back in with the hunger signs, an excited whimper, not yet a cry and the side mouth reach. Trying to prevent her full on hungry holler, I get out my boob and she latches quickly as if she’d gone days without food. Typical.

Less than a minute into it, I hear a conversation outside the stall. A young woman says, “M’am are you waiting for this one?”, the answer comes from a fragile petite voice directly outside my stall that says, “No, I’m waiting for the large one. I can’t use the toilet without a handrail”. I hopelessly gaze at the handrail I was resting my knee on as Shanti gulps away.

“Are you waiting for my stall M’am?” I ask, selfishly hoping there was another one I wasn’t aware of. “Yes, yes I am”.

So with Shanti still devouring her lunch, I packed up my mess on the floor with one hand and proceeded to shove it under the door with one foot while attempting to cover her head with my free hand (just in case there’d be someone offended by my half breast). I open the door and hip bump it open and smile at the ancient woman waiting for us. She smiled back with the sincerity of someone who had been there, done that and truly appreciated my effort.

Then she said the one line that all southerners have said or heard at least one time in their life, “Well bless your heart”.

She went about her business and there I was, my back physically against the back wall with my diaper bag at my feet (half packed and spilling over), her car seat at my other side and her in my arms with no clue of the episode.

I looked up to find every single eye in the room locked in on the free entertainment I had been providing. I’d like to think I gave a confident stunning smile back at the crowd but in reality it must of been a squished eyebrow of wishing I could just disappear. I put my focus back down on Shanti and as I was wrapping up, a kind voice walks by me, leans in and says, “You’re doing a great job momma”. This small sentence gave me the encouragement I needed to gather my things, snap my shirt and waddle to the sinks with baby in arm, diaper bag over the shoulder and the car seat swaying from my lose grip.

Note to all humans: Take time to be kind, you never know how a few words can change an entire day for someone.

Fast forward to the end of the trip. 2 flights, no fits and a journey that’d I claim as a success for a solo parent and a 2 1/2 month old. I fed her on the final landing to help her ears pop and gave myself an imaginary pat on the back knowing she was never in discomfort nor did anyone on the flight know there was even a baby on board.

As I’m leaving the flight we got all kinds of kind comments on her cuteness, my bravery (as if millions of others had never done this) and “such a good baby”! As we walked through the terminal I continued to get smiles, except now they were a little awkward. I was so high on mom mode that I didn’t think into people’s expressions as my final goal was to collect our things and find daddy outside waiting for us. It wasn’t until I sat down to strap her into the car seat that I glanced below and realized what everyone had been smiling at while trying to avoid staring at. Call me genius over here, but I never zipped up the breastfeeding flap on my hoodie! Luckily I had a bra that matched, but hello… it’s still open and goods were hanging out.

To give you a visual, below is the exact sweatshirt I wore on the flight with the same zipper flap open. I’d like to think every mom has a photo like the one below! (Thanks to my mother for snapping this nap time pic).

You can imagine the exhaustion driven laughter I tried to hold back as I zipped up my shirt, tucked her in and moved along. What a day.

Here’s a quick video I shot right before we left the terminal. Our happy little (75 day old) girl after a thousand mile road trip and an entire day of flying. What a champ!

Categories: Baby Talk, Not-so-happy trails, Travel talk, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Shanti meets more family!

I’d like to start by saying how grateful I am to be surrounded by a loving family, both mine and Matt’s. A group of people that have supported us from the beginning and now eagerly welcome our new addition. In a matter of 2 weeks Shanti met 4 Aunts, 3 uncles, 2 grandmas 2 grandpas, 2 great aunts, a great uncle, a great-great aunt and good bundle amount of cousins (no less than a couple dozen).

It’d take a few posts to gather all of the details, so I chose a handful of pics to show the love this family had to offer.

Below is Matt, his mom and her mother (Maw Maw)… 4 generations!

Following Maw Maw and Paw Paw’s visit, Matt’s brother and his family came to meet our little one. How exciting for her to connect with new cousins Jayden and Harper and her Auntie Erika and Uncle Jake!Just before leaving out of state, Shanti got one more outing with my mom. Can you see Gam Gam walking ahead of us?

If you’ve been following this blog long enough, you’ve seen this family throughout the years. My twin cousin Lana and her husband with 2 kids drove all the way out to Florida to meet Shanti!

After a few days on the beach, they were heading back to the middle of America… so I hitched a ride… again! This time I sat hip side to my little girl on her first road trip!Check out this comparison…

Once we finally made it to Arkansas, Shanti got swarmed with more cousins, hugs and tons of love!

To get from Arkansas to Oklahoma I rented a car and strapped her in. Mother-daughter road trip here we go!

Upon arrival we were greeted with no less than an abundance of more happy attention. Aunties, Uncles, Great Aunts, Great-great Aunts, Pa Pa, Ma Maw and more!

With our cups overflowing with family love, Shanti and I boarded her first flight (other than the 14 flights she took while in my belly) back to Florida!

Success! I took this video once we landed after the final flight… our little traveler!

Back home with daddy and we couldn’t be happier!

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16 flights, 4 states and a lot of love

Just as quickly as we arrived to our new place of residence, I was packing up to fly back to California for a round of hair for my loyal clients. This trip was a mother-daughter adventure and was packed full of work, food, work, a day out and more work. It was also my little ones first airplane ride!

Without exaggerating, we were in the salon 11 of the 13 days we were in California. My hands were in hair and mom was taking care of everything else for me, such a help! One day we were off early enough to check out one of our old favorite sushi restaurants, Mikunis!

With over 70 salon clients completed and a beautiful bride happy with her hair, we were on the flight back to Florida.

Upon landing back home, I didn’t put my suitcase away since just a month later I was headed back to California! This time with Matt to do a few more weddings and one last round of hair for my clients.

#PregnantGirlWithASkateboard

My dear friends Sandy and Cheryl put on a baby shower for us which was such a sweet surprise surrounding us with so much love and excitement! Tons of hair, 2 weddings and a flight back home puts us back in Florida and into October. Believe it or not, 6 days later I hopped another flight to head to Oklahoma and Arkansas for one last visit to my fathers family before our little girl meets the world.

Oklahoma was peaceful and full of family time which I value so much. If you’re new to this blog, feel free to look back on the older post, New found higher love or Hot with a 92% chance of muggy to get more of an understanding of these precious kids!

While in Oklahoma, my fathers amazing wife threw me a baby shower which was filled with so much love!

Fun and crazy fact, if you were to take the women (about a dozen) at this shower and added up the total amount of children they’ve had combined… it rounds out at 50!

After Oklahoma, my brother Ben and sister Hannah drove me to Arkansas where I got to spend about a week with my dear cousins. Road trip!

Arkansas was wonderful as always and ended with a fun photo to capture my best friend (cousin) and I with our role reversal. These pictures were taken 7 years apart!On my flight back home I realized that our little girl has been on 16 flights since being created and she’s not even born yet! Hopefully this is preparing her for the beautiful journey ahead.

Finally landed back in Florida with my babé where we’ll stay until Shanti Mae is born!

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On the road again!

After 8 months in Folsom, we were preparing to make our journey from California to Florida. First step was to sell our beloved Toyota 4Runner and purchase a “grownup” vehicle, a family friendly, fuel efficient, safe and reliable Subaru Crosstrek.

In the meantime, we had been looking into renting a Uhaul trailer to tow all of our belongings and after weeks of research, we (he) decided to build a trailer on his own to save cash and have something we can keep… and let’s admit it, it was a cool project for captain construction to have some fun with 😉 I’ll admit I was a little hesitant in the beginning but as time passed it proved to be perfect! I’m so proud.

Ok, so we’re packed, loaded and ready to go! Looking at the car-trailer photo from above makes me giggle knowing that everything we own is in that picture (excluding Matts surf boards). We have so much to be grateful for and so minimal to worry about. Beautiful!

The last time we made this trip (in reverse) we took the northern route through Nevada, Utah, Colorado and then on. This time we chose to go south to visit a few friends along the way and see some new scenery. First stop was in Riverside (Southern California) to see Craigg! You’ll recognize him from his first trip to Barbados, my time in Japan and most recently at our wedding.

Next up was Phoenix to hug Christie and John! Another bundle of joy that you’d recognize from Doing work in the AZ and also our wedding!

There really wasn’t anybody from Arizona to Oklahoma so we just made a quick overnight stop in New Mexico and woke up to get to my dads house for bedtime.

Our time in Oklahoma was short and sweet but allowed for a solid catch up with our family and announce the gender of our little one! We gave all 5 siblings a can of silly string and let them unload on us. Too much fun!

After Oklahoma we made what should of been a quick trip to Arkansas but considering we stopped every hour for the prego to pee, it took us far longer than expected. Sorry babe. The photo below is me attempting to get comfortable with a pregnancy pillow that was gifted to us. Epic fail… but we eventually made it to beautiful Hot Springs!

More cousins and tons of love greeted us on our final extended stay of the trip.

We made it to our last stop of Baton Rouge, Louisiana in which the camera regrettably didn’t leave our bags. I have no picture highlighting our visit with Matts grandparents (Maw Maw and Paw Paw) but it was short, sweet and full of homemade cookin! Early the following morning we said our goodbyes and put home in the GPS. Final destination, Miramar Beach, Florida!

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Honeymoon Road trip – part 1!

Saying goodbye was a bittersweet this time leaving my new found island home. As Matt and I packed up the last of our things, there was a sense of sadness realizing I didn’t have a return flight, yet at the same time excitement filled the air. A new adventure, an unknown journey, something I had never experienced before was just ahead of me! Airport drop off, next chapter… Married and moving to California!

Although the final destination is California, we flew into Florida to kick off our priceless road trip across the states for our honeymoon! This journey alone could of been a dozen posts with videos, hilarious stories and countless photos, but let’s keep in mind the goal is still to catch up to present date. So bare with me as we fly through what was a 3 week expedition from the east coast to the west!

Before we begin, let me just prep you with the underlying vibe this entire trip started out with. I had just asked Matt if I could close my eyes for a bit and of course his angelic new husband answer was something along the lines of, “Of course my dearest love, rest those gorgeous eyes of yours while I drive, I’ll have lunch waiting when you wake up”…. Or maybe he said, “Sure babe”.

Matt truly didn’t know I was filming until half way through the video. Brat:)

We started in West Palm Beach with his (and now my!) brother and family. We stayed long enough to purchase a 4Runner and hit the road towards our new home.

Matts Aunt Jerri and Uncle Wayde happen to be right along the way as we departed Florida. Brunch in Baton Rouge Louisiana started us off properly!

Last time I saw this guy was in Japan! My cousin Brandon and I have managed to stay in touch most of our entire adult lives while never living in the same state or country for the matter! I was so excited for him to meet my new husband and what a wonderful stopping point to eat, laugh and rest up!

Arkansas and Oklahoma consumed us with dozens of my family members eager to greet the newlyweds. It was the perfect half way point to take a week and reconnect with all of them.

My cousins (thank you Lacie and Lana!)  surprised us with a wedding reception full of food, games, dancing and gifts. We got to celebrate all over again!

One of our pit stops was Raton New Mexico. This adorable little church house used to be where my dad and his family lived. How lucky were we that they still owned it and got a key for another over night rejuvenation. The sunset photo is at the top of an overlook just outside of town.

👉🏽VIDEO TIME! Click here to see a video of this leg of the trip!

After hitting beautiful New Mexico, we headed north to one of my favorite states… Colorado! Mountains, rivers, lakes, mesas, valleys and fresh air, what’s not to love? I was even more excited finding out that one of Matts long time school friends lived in Vale which meant another purposeful pit stop. A rejuvenating walk, sit down dinner and quality catch up time was the perfect way to start the tale end of our journey.

I made the mistake of not recording where each picture was taken, but I still wanted to throw in a few random photos we snapped along the way!

Next stop, Monroe Utah!

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Hot with a 92% chance of muggy

I landed in Arkansas to visit an extraordinary girl that I’ve been able to grow up with and watch develop into a strong woman and nurturing mom. You’ve seen her before in several posts including Dear highway, will you ever end?  and Look Keka, I got a bullfrog! World, meet my cousin (more like a sister) Lana Lane. We didn’t have much time for quirky photos or big events, but we dig snag a picture of the road trip to Oklahoma- me, her and her family. 

Once arriving to Oklahoma we immediately started our giggles with her sister, which of course means my other sister(ish) cousin, Lacie Lane. Things that would never happen in her home: strangers– because everyone’s welcome with a smile, hunger– because she’d give you her last to make sure you’re fed, misbehaving children– momma bear means business! From left to right, Tennesee (Lacies daughter), Lacie, muah and Lana.

We all joined her son in his first soccer game of the season. You’ve seen sweet Dane in the post Time to work hard(ish).Once the cousins went back to their Monday routines I ventured to my family’s house for some sibling summer fun! Kind of strange to be writing after all these years as if you, the audience, knows these kids personally. I suppose if you’ve been following since the beginning you’ve seen them grow from little tykes in Till next time Oklahoma to the most recent in New found higher love.  Now they range from 6-18 years old! 

I was flattered when the boys invited me on a sunrise fishing trip. Just us, a few poles, bait and priceless time to catch up.

The walk home brought a bundle of fish and some growling tummies. I’ll give you one guess on what we ate for lunch…

Wondering what the temperature is in Oklahoma on a sunny September afternoon? 

Hot with a 92% chance of muggy. 

Our cure? Swim! Last year my carefree siblings were livin it up using a horse trough as a pool. Check out the turkey that joined them in the post You know you’re a country kid when… This summers swimming pool? Well from their mouths, “it’s a real one Keka!” (They call me Keh-kuh)

Have I a mentioned how lucky I am to be surrounded by such wonderful energy? These kids are irreplaceable.

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Dear highway, will you ever end?!

All righty my friends, time to catch you up. I’ve left Arkansas to head west towards my dear family in good ol’ Oklahoma! The best part of this 6 hour roadtrip was the quality conversations with some of my favorite people.  The first half included my sweet cousin Lana Lane and her two sleepy kids.  

  Here are a few pics from that scenic (ha. ha. ha.) drive.   

   

  

 Recently, this area has been hit with storms creating flash floods.  Check out these examples of the water levels that have put many farmers out of business and residents looking for higher ground. 

  

In the state of Oklahoma, any beverage containing more than 3.2% alcohol by weight or 4% alcohol by volume, (most liquors, wines, and typical beer) may only be sold in licensed liquor stores at room temperature.   

 I thought I’d post these prices for comparison in years to come and also to give you non Oklahomians an idea of what they’re paying around here.

We met my dad half way so I got to continue the trip with two of my siblings Hannah Joe and Benjamin Dalton… related much? 

  

“OKLAHOMA, Discover the Excellence”

Hmmm …the excellence of? 

 

Finally arrived to my new home of Agra, Oklahoma (population 400 including pets).  I may or may not be related to at least 50% of the wonderful people in this modern village.  For more silly details of tornados, family time and Okie fun facts, see any of the posts here!

Next up… Work hard before you play harder! 

  

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“Look Keka, I got a bullfrog!”

I’ve gotten the opportunity to volunteer on several farms all over the world.  Ahh, such grand memories! They differed in many ways, but a common quality was the concept of recycling. Trash can? Only if the animals won’t eat it! Food scraps, egg shells, fruit skin and anything else parishable is collected as the day goes on. I love the idea of using all parts of any edibles as seen in the post I eat my left overs first, so this just makes me happy!

  
Take it around the back and toss it to the furry feathered kids. Snack time! 

    With all of those amazing nutrients going back into their system, they produce fresh eggs daily for the family to enjoy.   

 Fun Fact: By placing fresh eggs pointy side down, it allows the air pocket to settle at the rounder top end. This keeps the yolk centered and further away from possible bacteria. I found this website that goes into much more detail!  

Another trick: Boil your eggs for only one minute then remove from the heat and cover for 15 minutes. Your yolks will be creamy and soft, uh yum.

 

“Look Keka! I got a bullfrog!”

For some reason I pictured a huge green frog with monster like eyes and slimy brown spots. To my surprise, here’s what he was showing off.  

Tornado warnings and thunder storms just meant that the fun stayed on the porch and continued inside.  

 

Random things to do on a rainy day…

Play with the little kids (and wonder how the others can distroy a clean room in under 2 minutes).

  

Workout with the children (or use them as convenient weights). 

Pile up old clothes that dont’t fit (or that you’re sick of backpacking with) and bust out the scissors! 

And of course the position I find myself loving to be in, hair time for neighbor friends! (aka kitchen cosmetology). 

I’ll close this post with a small personal fun fact.  There’s been a petite bracelet on my wrist since 2012. I tied it on during my backpacking through Spain and brought a matching one home to my dear cousin Lana.  She put it on her wrist that same day and it lasted through the years of wear and tear… until now.  Upon it falling off, she immediently wrapped it around baby Kasiah’s arm for the next chapter. Little item, big meaning. Love you girls!

 

Categories: Accommodations, Edibles!, Fitness, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Real farmers wear overalls

You know I’m in my happy place when there’s fresh food, unique treats and live music all in one venue. Welcome to the Hot Springs Farmers Market!

 

  

Let’s just dive into the edible items that grow from this precious earth!

Side note: His overalls made my day. 
  
  
 

Prefer baked goodies?  There’s some creative ones around here!

  

 

…and for all the carnivores out there, please help me understand what a “pork berry” is.

   

Thirsty? Tired? Hungover? Sick? Anxious? Just want something scrumptious? Problem solved! Kombucha tea is a groovy beverage with hidden bubbles, a tangy bite and an abundunce of health benefits!

 

Beyond the chatter of eager attendees and locals catching up, there was a magnetic sound coming from this talented 15 year old.  His name is Ben Carey.  With an adorable smile and a natural stance behind the microphone, it’s no surprise he made it through the tryouts on the popular show “The Voice”! 

Best of luck following your passion! 

Happy children, colorful clothing, handbags, jewelry and dog treats were just a few addtional items that we saw while strolling through. 

  

  

  
Would it be “stereo-typing” to claim that only in these parts of the country would there be a knife shaperening stand between the organic herbs and homemade jam?

  

As we departed the market, (just down the way from Doc and his knives and beyond the pork berries) we were granted a sight of this vibrant bouquet.  Doesn’t it look just like a breath of sunshine?  

“It’s not how much we give, but how much love we put into giving”.  Mother Teresa 

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Flappy candy ninja crush

Remember when playing outdoors until the sun went down was a daily occurrence? Back when 30 minutes of Nintendo was a treat? I can remember the adults having to find us outside to convince us to hydrate, not with gatorade, fruit pouches or pepsi… just good ol’ water. 

With that said, on this glorious afternoon we didn’t watch a movie or play some flappy-candy-ninja-crush game, we headed out to the woods for some tree loving, dirt stomping exploring!

Two kids, all the dogs, the cat and no surprise to us, Peppa the pig snorted along too! 

 

  

 I was so excited to see that someone had built tree forts out in the middle of nowhere! That was until Lana informed me they were actually hunting blinds. In my world… they’re forts.

  
  What hike would be complete without a silly face piggyback ride?!

  
Or just a free lift during nap time.

  
  
I spy a country kid!

 

What’s on his head? That would be his new found pet turtle named Franklin. Titus with his camo pants, a sun kissed snarle, side kick cat and a turtle hat classifies the following photo as my favorite of the day!

  

Handstand shot!  
The post could end here, but as all country kids know… checking for tics is just a part of the walk!  Toe to head and behid the ears, it’s a partner kind-of-thing. 

 

Tired kids, no tics and a workout for us… success!

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