Posts Tagged With: arkansas

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!

 

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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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Sweet home… Arkansas?

I’ve returned to stay with my cousin Lana and her family for a well needed visit.  Here’s a post from my last jaunt through these neck of the woods, called Arkie to Okie, crossing state lines.

I recently came from the beaches of Florida where Palm trees populated the skyline and the nearest wild anilmal was a burnt spring breaker playing “Dude, where’s my beer?”. You can imagine how this new setting is refreshing and definitley provides a sense of country comfort. Let’s take a walk!

This house in the woods doesn’t classify as a farm, but there are times I feel like it should. Dogs, cats, chickens, roosters, a goat, duck and one curious pig named Peppa (that follows me on my run every morning).

   

  
 
   

    

  
With an enthusiastic 4 year old boy and a one year old little girl that I nick-named “Spider Monkey”, you’ve got to make time to burn through some energy.  I feel like this front yard is a great start!

   
Yep, that’s a trampoline you see in the distance.  This spring loaded circle-o-fun provides hours of endless games and the appropriate amount of nap inducing entertainment!

Meet Lana and her spirited little boy named Titus (or “Spider Man” depending on the day).

I don’t think anyone can get on a trampoline and not smile… Love. to. Jump!

   

This is my favorite trampoline photo.  A super-mom shining in the moment! 
  Moving on to the next option for kid-fuel ditribution, yard toys!

 

  
  

   

Hopefully tomorrow will bring a long walk and more playtime.  This is all of course dependant on the unpredictable weather of Arkansas.  Rain, sunshine, flash floods, tornado? All possible. We’ll see!

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Arkie to Okie….Crossing state lines

Leaving California usually provides mixed emotions. Saying goodbye to my hometown and childhood friends weighs heavy on the comfort seeking part of my spirit, yet knowing a new environment is in my near future brings a unique excitement that is irreplaceable. I’m not sure if it’s a hindering or useful quality of mine, but being in my “comfort zone” is generally short and sweet before I crave a different surrounding to stimulate my senses. I suppose there’s no need to label it “good” or “bad”… It just is.

To my memory, I haven’t posted these fun photos of the inside of the Sacramento airport. It’s so familiar to me that I forget my international friends have never experienced it. Check out the creative artwork at the baggage claim. I think it’s brilliant!

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Next stop is the land of fried okra, snappin turtles (nobody pronounces the “g” in “snapping”) and red dirt. Before we land, lets pause for a short story.

Southwest Airlines doesn’t assign seats, rather gives you a general boarding order that allows you to pick any open seat. This means, for travelers like me that don’t take concern in an early check in, get stuck loading a plane like a ten year old on a bus for the first day of school. All the cool kids with their window views, the runners up in the aisle chairs and the rest of us debating on the middle seat between the mom with toddlers or the business man who clearly uses the flight to recreate his work desk and take over the entire space with every tech gadget that they allow on board. My pick today was to squeeze front and center with an older man built like the traditional Santa Claus and a younger fit guy with legs the size of my waist.

Great news to me, Mr. Bulging-biceps was a friendly talker who was extremely intelligent and eager to trade stories. I could make this entire post about the conversation between the two of us, but instead I’ll just give you a photo with confidence that this gentleman crossed my path for a purpose. Thank you for the new workouts, encouraging words and a few well needed giggles.

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I landed in Arkansas to visit my cousin Lana for a week before heading to Oklahoma. Road trip! Her and the family loaded up as we set off for our 5 hour journey.

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*To my international friends: North Americans pay gas per gallon, not liter.

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I wonder what their fuel was before? Also, notice the sign to the right… Classic southern offer!

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This little pit stop has a flavored sugar disposing machine. Yes, you imagine correctly. It’s a huge colorful attraction in which you pick your choice of dyed sugar to weigh in and eat up. I rarely post strong negative opinions, but really folks… Can we at least pretend to care about the nutritional needs of our children?

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The famous Route 66 guides us in to the final stretch before finally arriving to the small town (by small town, I mean a street the has some houses surrounding the gas station-grocery store-post office that sits across the hwy from the only school k-12th. All shown in detail here).

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Agra, Oklahoma will be home while I visit my family including but not limited too: The precious Grams, 2 hilarious Aunts, 2 adorable Great Aunts, my Dad and his wife, 5 siblings, and 23 cousins still counting…

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