What we loved about Gulf Shores, Alabama.

We had been planning to take a vacation the last week in January and into February, and we had the Gulf Shores in mind (thanks to my friend Sara Broers and her travel blog Travel with Sara. I’ve followed her posts about her vacations there but what really sold me was the pictures she posts on her Instagram page of the soft white beaches and blue skies. 

Those beaches are something else. 

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And in Alabama! Just a short 17 hour car ride away.. (see how to survive a car ride with a one year old)

We thoroughly enjoyed our visit, and within a day of being there, I already said we WILL be back. 

A few of my highlights/suggestions:

When you get there, I recommend visiting the Welcome Center to get information and brochures on things to do and see. They were so inviting and very helpful.

Despite my resistance to bring the bikes, Dave threw them in, and I'm glad he did. We spent a wonderful afternoon biking through the Gulf State Park. (note to self: maybe Dave is right sometimes.. maybe.)

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There were tons of trails and a huge campground that’s got us thinking about coming back with our camper next time.

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We mostly just hung out while we were there, but we did sneak in a quick drive to Fort Morgan. If it wasn't so windy that day, we would have spent a lot longer exploring!

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On my birthday, I enjoyed a lovely yoga flow at Glow Yoga. They were so welcoming and warm. Literally. It was hot yoga. It felt so good to start my 35th year off with a sweat sesh and good vibes.  

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One of the last days, we spent a few hours walking through the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo, Holtan LOVED it! 

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We stayed right on the beach in a condo, this view was steps from our door. Very inviting.

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While the weather wasn't tropical, it was MUCH warmer than Iowa, and was mostly in the 50s and 60s while we were there.

The rest of the vacation was spent reading books, walking along the beach, some fishing for Dave, and playing in the sand. We had such a fun time, we can't wait to go back! 

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How to survive Driving 17 hours with a one year old

We drove down to the Gulf Shores of Alabama a few days ago.  Before we left, we debated how best to do the trip.. do we drive over night and try to go straight through? Do we split it up, and stay somewhere half way? Or do we take 3 days to drive down, and maybe add a little sightseeing along the way? 

We decided to split the drive and stay near Memphis, TN.  The day before we left, I had a moment of panic. Are we crazy? Are we really going to drive for 17 hours, over 2 days with a ONE YEAR OLD??

Well, we did, and we survived, and I'm now going to enlighten you on how we did it. 

1. Snacks. And then more snacks. Cheerios, puffs, yogurt melts, banana muffins, crackers, ritz crackers, fruit, gas station food, so many snacks I don't have space to name all of them. And there are crumbs in the car seat to prove it.

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2. Elmo on repeat on a portable DVD player.  One, Two, Three... Four, Five, Six.. That's how the numbers go... Seven Eight Nine, Ten Eleven Twelve, That's all you need to know. I now sing ALL of the Elmo songs in my sleep.  

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3. Pajamas all day. The first day he wore a one piece outfit with booties, and that was a pain in the butt every time I had to change him in the gas station bathroom. So from now on.. pajamas it is. Plus, I know his toes will be covered.

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4. A seat next to them. I'm so glad we took the truck, there is much more room for me to climb to the back to entertain the little guy. The last half hour of the trip got a little sketchy, but we made it! 

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Not pictured: favorite books and toys... right now, anything that has wheels or is about animals.  

Who has survived long car rides with kids? Anything I missed? 

owning our own businesses

My current thoughts on business ownership.

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While owning your own business does sound quite glamorous, it is not all its cracked up to be. Sure, from the outside looking in, it appears that we have it made. We work outside, among the plants, watering, and laughing, and then we get the winters off to lounge, vacation, and put our feet up. 

I wish. 

This business is hard work. it has proven to be even more challenging throwing a baby into the mix of our family (I wouldn't trade it for the world though!) 

While we do get winters "off" from having open store hours, we are still working in the off season. Ordering, networking, lining up jobs. 

It does, however, have its perks. We get to make our own hours, and essentially are in control of our days. Dave and I both have the same goals. We want to do whatever we can so that we can spend as much time as a family. I don't want to work for someone else all week long while Holtan is at day care only to feel even more exhausted than I do now. I feel both fortunate for the opportunity to be with him daily, but also proud that we have made the choices and put ourselves in a position that makes that possible for our family. 

We work every weekend. We work into the evenings. We sometimes work into the night. 

It's what we have to do to live the life we want. 

And man oh man, is the uncertainty of seasonal, retail income, oh so very scary. But you never get anywhere in life without taking some risks, following your heart, and trusting that it will lead you in the right direction. 

 

Busy busy.

“I’m sorry i can’t, I’m just too busy.”

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As a direct seller this is probably what I hear the most from people. I completely respect that. BUT, I do have to question it sometimes.

For some, it’s an easy way to gently tell me no, and that’s great. A simple No works too.

Or is it an automated response now? When people ask us how life is, we immediately respond, “we’re keeping so busy! Or it’s crazy busy!” It almost feels like it’s a contest sometimes.. I’m busier than you, ...and we GLORIFY that busyness. Like if you get SO busy you might get a metal or something.

When was the last time you slowed down? Said no. Decided you didn’t want to be BUSY that day. Answered the question of how are you, by saying, “I’m well, relaxed, enjoying my life.”

It gets back to choices. Decisions. We all make them every day, and each of our choices adds up to the life we’re living the moment we’re in. But if we’re too BUSY to even notice that moment, what’s the point?

I also hear this A LOT from moms. We’ve got kids to feed, to run to this practice, and that event. You’re busy. I do not doubt that. But when was the last time you were busy for YOURSELF. You did something you enjoy, like a craft (or whatever you like) got so caught up in it, you lost track of time and didn’t even realize you were busy with it?

This is how I feel about my tupperware business. I can get caught up in working on it, and poof, hours later I’m wondering what happened to the time. Now, I’m not saying that Tupperware will be that for everyone, but it could.. it challenges me, allows me to be creative, keeps me growing as a person, a leader and a business woman.

I think many of us are working too hard at being “busy.” My hope for everyone out there is that you are busy doing the things that you love.