This post was sponsored by WaterWipes as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.
It is our third kid’s first birthday this week. I’ve said before that I feel like I’m a good Mom, but I’m way better at the whole toddler phase than the infant baby/phase, (so yay for making it through another infant-hood) and yet, I’m sad to see Ford growing up so fast and becoming so much more independent. Yes, it’s nice having him sleep through the night and not having to carry him everywhere anymore, but I miss those days when he was so tiny and curled up on me in a little ball, and I can’t believe that they are gone already. Frequently, I ask myself, “Why in the world did I think having three kids this close together was a good idea?” and then I see a tiny baby and remember why. Having my third baby, you’d think that I already knew everything there was to know, but, nope, Ford has taught me a lot, and he’s been a lot of fun. He walked at nine months, way earlier than my other two, and he thinks it’s funny to tackle his brothers (much to their horror or happiness, depending on what they were doing before getting tackled).
We kicked off Ford’s birthday week by going to the Farmer’s Market in our town and getting some fresh food truck donuts. Donuts are healthy when they come from the Farmer’s Market. The nearby fruits and veggies transmit healthy vibes and the donuts soak it all in. Just kidding, I don’t need fake excuses to down delicious donuts.
Ford loved his, and so did the boys. Luckily, one of the awesome products I’ve learned about on my third kid (I don’t know why I didn’t know about these sooner), is WaterWipes! I always wondered why baby wipes had to be full of chemicals and other yucky things, but WaterWipes are 99.9% pure Irish water, and 1% grapefruit seed extract. Makes sense, why would you need anything else? Ford has really sensitive skin, and I can use these wipes on his bum or, like I did at the Farmer’s Market, use them to get all kinds of mess off of his face and little hands, and it won’t bother his skin at all. Ford is so busy these days and I swear he is always dirty. Even if he just got out of the bath, it only takes him about 2 seconds to walk to the bathroom cabinet and find something to pour out onto himself. Thank goodness for WaterWipes, or I’d have to be giving him a bath every hour! (Keep reading because there’s a giveaway below!)
Because I want all of you to get to experience the awesome-ness that is WaterWipes, I’m joining in on a giveaway of 5 $100 Walgreens gift cards. WaterWipes have been super popular in Europe and now Walgreens has brought them to the States, I have been able to find them right there with the rest of the baby wipes when I run in to grab milk. Enter to win in the widget below!
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CambialoConQS #CollectiveBias
Although I have always been a “homebody” in a sense and have always wanted to put down roots in one place for my kids, there is a huge part of me that loves to road trip, and I’m mean full-on, stop-at-every-kitschy-diner-and-national-park kind of trip. I don’t think my husband realized what he had gotten into when we got married and a week later hopped in our truck and drive across the country from Georgia to Utah. When we got to Kentucky, there was the first, big, beautiful, 1970’s brown sign heralding some kind of road-side tourist spot that we knew nothing about but I insisted we pull over. That one wasn’t the most fun, but ya win some you lose some, and I was ready to pull off at another one four miles later. He wouldn’t let me pull over at all of them, if I had, our trip would have taken weeks, but you get the point. I love everything about road-tripping. In fact, in college I really wanted to go on tour with a band just working the merchandise table or something so that I could live out on the road for awhile. That’s my kind of scene.
When I road-trip, I don’t like having a schedule, I don’t like having a set anything. The whole fun of a road trip is being able to pull over and take pictures with a giant sombrero left out in the desert, or get boiled peanuts from a little stand on the side of the road, or drive down a dusty back-road just to see what is there and not worry about being in a hurry. I make the drive to and from my parents lake property at least 30 times a year and I still like turning off the roads I know sometimes just to see what’s there. You see the coolest things and meeting the nicest people when you’re just having fun and not worried about hurrying from point A to point B.
When you hear the word “road-trip” isn’t that exactly what comes into your mind? The windows down, friends in the car, rolling down an old highway with the radio turned up? Me too. I’ve been so, so lucky to get to do some amazing road trips with friends and family and have seen a lot of the USA, although I still have so much more to see, and our truck has been our means of finding all those amazing places. In a few weeks we’re going to road-trip to the beach, and I’ve been getting the truck ready, cleaning it out and getting the oil changed to get it ready to roll. The last thing you want to happen is for your car to get worn out or break down. I took the truck to our Walmart Auto Center and got the Quaker State ® Do-It-For-Me oil change for just $19.88. It was super quick while I shopped for snacks, and I’m ready for another 3,000 miles of open road. Quaker State ® Advanced Durability Motor Oil gives you more durability so your car will be ready for this road trip, and all the ones you take in the future. Quaker State gives your twice the protection, so you can travel twice as many cool places!
Getting ready for the beach had me thinking about all the great road-trips I’ve taken, or want to take in the fall, so I thought I’d share my 5 fall road trips that everyone should take:
1. Hit the beach. Fall is the best time to go to the beach because all the kids go back to school, the fraternities and sororities are back at college, and it’s not quite as hot. Crab and Lobster fishing is at it’s peak in the fall (at least here in GA), and for most hotels the fall is not considered a peak time, so their prices are cheaper but the air is plenty warm to have fun. My favorite beaches to visit in the fall are St. Simons Island, or nearby Jekyll. They both have white sandy beaches and neat communities. St. Simons is very small and so most of the businesses on the island are run by locals. Jekyll is mostly un-developed and is probably the prettiest beach I’ve ever been to, with miles of beach with low, sprawling, Southern Oaks on the edge of the sand and Spanish Moss hanging down as shade. It’s beautiful.
The road-trip out to St. Simons is gorgeous too, imagine hours of cotton fields and low oaks. It’s scenery straight out of “Gone With the Wind.”
2. The Mountains When the Leaves Change. Yes, here in the South we’ve got leaves turning beautiful oranges and yellows all over the place, but there’s something special about driving those narrow, winding mountain roads surrounded by beautiful leaves and waterfalls coming out of the side of mountains. I’ve been lucky to have driven through the Smoky Mountains twice during fall, but it’s been far too long. One of my favorite spots to roadtrip to in the fall is Mentone, Alabama. It’s got a cute little hippie town with amazing mom and pop restaurants and then right on Lookout Mountain is the most amazing waterfall, DeSoto Falls. Imagine a 100 foot waterfall surrounded by fall leaves; it is well worth the drive.
3. Apple Picking. Now, for some people, Apple Picking might not require a road-trip, but we live far enough South that it’s a good 6 hour round-trip drive to the closest apple orchard, so it’s definitely a road-trip. Find some cute farmer’s stands on the side of the road to grab snacks for the drive and hit the open road! Apple’s are ripe early enough that you can have those windows rolled down and not get cold, win win!
4. See a historic sight. There’s a small window of time each year where visiting historical sights like Revolutionary War forts, old bridges, and Dinosaur tracks are actually enjoyable to go see. Most really old sights have no heat or a/c, and so in the summer it is way too hot, and in the winter it’s cold and they’re covered in snow. Fall is a great time to go see some really great history, and if it is outside, it’s usually free. Side note: While fall is also a great time to do genealogy and find family graves (since they are easier to find without all the leaves on the trees), keep in mind that hunting season has started, and it’s not the best idea to go wandering around in the woods during hunting season. Just sayin’. You’d be surprised how many people do that without thinking about it.)
5. Go to a Concert in Another City. While summer is peak season for music festivals and fairs, most artist tour through the fall as well. Find a singer you like who’s playing at a town four or five hours away, grab your best friend, and road-trip it! No rules, you don’t have to stay overnight, and you should leave early enough that you can stop at any fun looking restaurant or shop on the way. We live about five hours from Nashville and four or five times we’ve done day trips to go see concerts and it has been a blast. Bonus points if you play their music and sing along the whole way there too.
Before you head out on the road, don’t forget to grab your favorite people (or go solo- if you’ve never done it, try it! It’s freeing!), get your car ready to go with Quaker State, and take lots of pictures you can share! I’d love to see your pictures from your travels or how you’re getting your car ready to go!
This years Labor Day was beautiful. We went to the lake as usual, did all the boating, swimming, and hot dog eating that we could take, but my favorite morning was Monday. Sawyer had been asking to go to the waterfall, which is a series of small waterfalls in a creek that we get to on the fourwheeler. We hadn’t been in a long time since it’s hard to go with the baby, but my Mom offered to watch him and so while the guys were still out fishing, Sawyer, Rhett and I headed out into the crisp morning to go explore.
We headed down gravel roads, paved roads, dirt roads, and trails in the woods over to the waterfall.
A beautiful swimming hole on one side, and sloping waterfalls on the other. The boys were free to climb, swim, dig, do what ever they wanted. I just followed around and joined in on whatever they invited me to.
Rhett carried around this old flashlight all day and used it like a telescope all day. One time when we were down there an entire family of otters came to play on the rocks. They slid down the waterfalls, wrestled each other, and were the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. So I kept telling Rhett to keep an eye out for them, but we didn’t get to see them that day.
Once they got their fill of finding clam shells, sliding and just exploring, we took a ride around the farm country in that area. We saw old farms, barns, cows, donkeys, and made friends with this friendly horse who kept chasing us up and down the road.
I love looking past this old store as we go by too. Its surrounded by all kinds of neat things, I just wish I could go inside and see what else is inside!
It was so good for my soul to just be outside, exploring with my boys in the fresh air. I needed that morning. We had a lot of fun boating and being crazy that weekend, but that morning is one of those days that just stay in your mind forever. I hope they remember it forever too.
If you haven’t already heard about my trip to Florida, you must not follow me on instagram where I recapped a story that involves my Grandmother being rescued by someone playing Pokemon Go. I’m not gonna spoil it here, go read it.
Our trip to Florida started as Brandon having a work trip and since he had a hotel room already and we can fly stand-by, we were able to get on a flight and tagged along! I had never been to Tampa before, and for some reason I had a negative expectation of what the city would be like. Tampa won me over big-time. From beautiful beaches and bays to awesome parks and playground, we had a great vacation! In the USO at the airport, a lady told me to go to Busch Gardens, and that right away I would see that it’s the best place to take kids to, so we went to the hotel and then straight there. If you or your spouse is in the military, once a year your entire family gets in free to any one of the Sea World group of parks (remember that if you go, military families!). Sawyer and Rhett both got to ride their first roller coasters, which they quickly got addicted to and wanted to ride every ride at the park, including the grown-up rides. Lucky for us, we went at a time when the park was pretty empty and there were no lines- we got right on any ride we wanted to! There were so many fun things to do for young kids, way more than any amusement park I’ve been to, from giant trampolines to tons of rides that even Rhett could ride, a splash park, playgrounds, climby tree houses, shows, food, animals (it has a zoo at it too!), and the best part was probably that most of the park is shaded by trees, has fans, or is air conditioned. So even though we had Ford in a stroller and couldn’t both be on the rides with the boys the whole time, the one waiting didn’t have to melt in the sun the whole time. I didn’t want to chance losing my camera there so just close your eyes and imagine some really awesome pictures of me and the boys smiling on roller coasters with palm trees and elephants in the background. Awesome, right?
We were a little sad we didn’t get to spend much time on the beaches since some were closed because of a bacteria in the water, but we did go to Cypress State Park to see the beach one morning. Sadly, it was the day we were leaving and we didn’t get to swim but the beach was really pretty and we did get to do a little seashell hunting. Sawyer has been on the hunt for shark teeth every time we’ve been to the beach and we didn’t find any yet, so if anyone knows a great beach that’s bound to have some, let me know.
We also hit up Chick-fil-a day while we were in Tampa. If you don’t have a Chick-fil-a near you enough to eat there once a week, I’m sorry. It’s the best, and on cow-day they give away free meals to anyone dressed up like a cow, not that I need an excuse to eat various forms of fried chicken all day long, so we are all over that. We weren’t home so we didn’t go all-out on the costumes like we normally do, but we had a lot of fun and ate a lot of chicken.
Yes, they are wearing Dalmation hats. It looks like a cow though, right?
We did go to more parks and had a lot of food and good fun, and the boys were so good for us. Hopefully we get to visit Tampa again soon, because we had a blast!
We have been away from home lots lately, in fact as I type this I have one boy snuggling me on my right and another snoring softly on my left. It’s the only way I can get these boys to bed when we’re away from home- wearing them out all day and then snuggling them. We’ve had SO much fun on this last trip, a one-weeker in Tampa, and I can’t wait to share the pictures and stories with you (although if you want to hear about me being the worst grand-daughter ever and Pokemon Go coming to my rescue, it’s on my instagram).