Dream BIG Dreams

About a year and a half ago, my husband came home from work and had this disappointed look on his face as he was looking down at our youngest daughter. He said, “When did that happen?” I looked down and realized she was sitting up. She had been doing this for about a week and I really thought he knew that. But he didn’t. He had just worked four night shifts in a row and had no idea what was happening at home. We communicated as best as we could, but he was sleeping when I was awake and it made communication very difficult.  I watched my husband’s heart break in that moment as he realized he missed yet another milestone in our daughter’s life. A baby sitting up may seem like such a small thing. But it made me go from being so grateful for his financially safe and stable job, to wishing we could figure something else out so we could have him home more. I wanted him to be included in these moments, not just tell him about them.

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It brings me to tears to think about that moment, because his heart was so broken. He was working these long hours for us, losing sleep for us, and missing moments for us. While I appreciated him for his perseverance in taking care of us, I knew something had to change. I didn’t want this for our family. He was working long hours that switched back and forth from day shift to night shift. He was doing all of this to support us, so that I could stay home and be happy with our girls. I just wasn’t ok with him being unhappy so that we could be happy. That’s when we started looking for something else.

We were able to find him a job that he could do from home. It would be a major change for our family. But through prayer and wise counsel, we decided to take the leap. We are thankful for the people that were put in our path to open those doors for us. We couldn’t have done it without the community we are in.

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This job change happened 5 months ago, and we are still in the transition period. It has been challenging, stressful and tiring at times. But by far, the most rewarding decision we have ever made. My husband has gotten so much closer to our girls, because now he has the time to spend with them. I feel so much less overwhelmed because he is there. He may be out in the office working the majority of the day, but he is there. My girls know he’s there. My three year will often ask if she can “go show Daddy” something she made. We try not to interrupt too much, but what a joy it is to tell her, “Yes, he’s in the office. Let’s go show him.” We don’t have to catch each other up on what the kids are doing because he is now doing life alongside us.

We found out we were pregnant the day after my husband put his two weeks notice in. While that added some stress to the situation, we knew that God was leading us down this path and we knew He would take care of us. After two completely healthy and normal pregnancies, the unthinkable happened, and we had a miscarriage (you can read more about that here). It was the hardest thing we have ever been through, and he was there for all of it. Every appointment, every complication that followed, my husband was right there. His job change couldn’t have happened at a better time. We didn’t have to worry about calling in or trying to get off work, then being penalized for it. He was there without question. And I can’t imagine going through that without him.

While he is in the building phase of his business, I am working more than I normally would. I am more than happy to do it, because it is a means to better end. The goal is more family time. We want to have more experiences together. We want less stuff so we can make room for the things that matter. Instead of getting a new car, we got rid of one. Instead of getting a bigger house, we are downsizing. That picture I had growing up, the one about the big house and white picket fence… I have no desire for that anymore. I just want my family. Big house or small house. We want time together. We want experiences. We want to serve together and make kingdom differences in the lives of others. We want to give of ourselves and our time freely. Our biggest goal this year is to be financially free. Completely out of debt. We are working hard to get rid of all of it. We started working on this when we got married, and I cannot wait to finally be done. I can’t wait to see the doors that will open once we are debt free.

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We are planning to sell our home and travel in an RV for at least a year. Now before you write me off as crazy because I have two toddlers, hear me out 🙂 This is something my husband and I have always talked about but never thought it could be a reality. As we are working on getting both of our businesses to be completely mobile, it’s becoming a reality! Once our businesses are able to sustain us completely online, we are getting ourselves on the road!

I want to hear about your dreams. What would you do if you weren’t held down by debt? What are your dreams that seem so far out of reach? What if you decided to go for it? What would that look like?

Love + Donuts,

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10 Tips for Traveling with Kids (By car)

When I started asking around about how to travel with kids, I would often get the response: “Don’t do it.” With my family living out of state, that wasn’t really an option. So we decided to figure out how we could do this without losing our minds.

We are not perfect at this, but we have traveled in our van for 10+ hour drives multiple times and have learned a lot. There are things that worked for our family that may not work for yours. But here is a list of what has worked best for us!

1. Bring a potty chair

After stopping at many public restrooms that either grossed me out or scared my child with the automatic flush, we decided to start brining a potty chair with us. It’s been the best travel move yet. When we make our stops, we just let my oldest (three years old) use the potty chair in the car. It is SO much easier. It saves a ton of time as well. We also change diapers in the car.

2. SNACKS, SNACKS, SNACKS!

I’m just going to put it out there – snacks are from the Lord. What would we do without snacks? It takes some time – but I try to prep as much as possible so we don’t have to stop or worry about those things while driving. I’ll chop veggies and fruit and make Ziploc baggies that make it easy to disperse. I would also recommend getting a kid’s travel tray. They are perfect for snack time and coloring.

3. Stop for gas, food and potty all in one stop

This is a big one. After making a stop to potty, a stop for food and then getting back on the road to see that we only had 1/4 tank of gas – we learned quickly to make an all-in-one stop if possible. You will most likely be stopping a lot anyway, but it’s best to stop for gas, get some grub and potty all at once. Then, if your kids happen to be doing awesome, you won’t have to stop and interrupt the awesomeness that is going on.

4. Bring new books/toys

If you’ve got a book lover, now is the time to pick up a few new ones (or even bring their favorite ones). Interactive books are great. Not the kind that make you wish the batteries would die, but the ones that will keep your littles busy for a while. We love Usborne’s Slide & See books. Lift-the-flap books are also a winner in our house. If you just google “busy books” you’ll see a lot of options there. This busy book is perfect for road trips.

5. Make the most of nap time

For reals. Treat nap time like a really good donut. You want to savor it, and minimize the interruptions. This means try your best not to stop! Depending on the age of your kids (mine are 1 and 3), if you stop while they are sleeping, someone will most likely wake up. If you see one of your kids getting sleepy, stop before they fall asleep! We have gotten 2-3 hour stretches in without a stop because nap time is also from the Lord. Have a mini-date with your significant other and enjoy the quiet.

6. Chick-fil-A and Cracker Barrel will be your best friend

Mostly Chick-fil-A. Man, do we love us some Christian chicken. It’s the best two-for-one. Kids get to play, and we get to eat manna from Heaven. What more could we ask for? When you’re traveling, look for Chick-fil-A’s along your route. When you’re getting ready for a stop, follow the signs that point you to it. If the weather is not cooperating, make sure that Chick-fil-A has an indoor play place. Last trip we stopped at one when it was sleeting and the play place was outdoors. We were bummed to say the least.

Cracker Barrel is a winner as well. Play with toys and eat breakfast? Yes, please.

7. Stop often

Remember that kids are not used to traveling in a car all day. Give them grace and stop often. We take things slow and try our best not to get frustrated if one or both of the kids starts losing it. This is when Chick-fil-A comes in handy. They need to run around and play and be kids. If they are awake, we generally stop every 2-3 hours. Even if you just stop at a rest area and find an area to let them play – it can go a long way.

8. Leave before the sun comes up

This will definitely be different for every family. For us, driving through the night was a bad idea. We had one child at the time, and she did not sleep well at all. Then there was never a time for us to catch up on sleep either. So we don’t go that route anymore. But I know of many families who love doing that and their kids sleep great.

We love leaving before the sun comes up. Even if the kids wake up when we leave, they will nap more on the drive. The drive just goes better when we leave 1-2 hours before sunrise. It also helps with taking our time, we aren’t so rushed because we left so early.

9. Think of it as a trip, not a vacation

We have to remind ourselves that because we have kids, this isn’t a vacation. We’re never really on vacation because of all the responsibilities that come along with having toddlers. Yes it will be fun and you’ll get to enjoy time away with your family. But if you think of it as a vacation you may be disappointed.

10. Make the little things exciting for them

“Woah! Is that a cow?” Anyone have a three year old? Cows can be really exciting for them. Include them in things. Try not to think of them as a bother. They are part of this experience just as much as we are! Point out things you see and ask them to spot a certain item, color or letter as you travel.

 

Thanks for reading! If you have any tips, please comment below! I would love to hear. And if you would like to be notified when new blogs are posted, subscribe below!