It started in July 2013. At that time, our goal and mission was to bring fun and creativity into the world through designing and screen printing clothing. Over the last few years, we realized our passion wasn't clothing, but rather a deeper desire to help people reach their personal dreams and take their business to the next level.
Authenticity. A simple word with much deeper meaning, especially to a human being. Whether you are working to grow your business, your social media presence, or maybe you’re simply searching to define who you are as a person, authenticity is something you should strive for. It’s our originality, our weirdness, our ability to stand out among the masses that attract others to us.
Think back to when you were a teenager, hoping that special someone would look your way, what did you do to get their attention? For some, especially my husband, Jay, jumping off a roof onto a trampoline seemed to be the best route. For others, it was how they dressed, who they were friends with, or the things they had. Popularity in High School seemed directly linked to the type of car you drove or if your parents owned a house on the water, at least in my experience. While that brings up all sorts of ridiculous memories, we can learn something from our petty, teenage selves.
Well, my feet are killing me, my throat is sore from screaming on rides, and my babies are passed out in their car seats. I begin writing this as our day at Disney's California Adventure comes to a close.
First and foremost, I MUST thank Eric and Casey McBride for giving us their double stroller. It was a life saver having a space for the kids to not only sit, but fully stretch out and nap.
We started our Disney Parks adventure at Disney's California Adventure by arriving at 11:30 with Ashlen having just woken up from a nap. After changing one diaper and one pull-up, we we're on our way.
Starting with Mater's Junkyard Jamboree gave us a great example of how the rest of our day would go. Ashlen was in love! She would chime, "Again?" Over and over.
It was then that I realized how amazing Disney is to families with babies. We took advantage of their Rider Switch program more than once. I even got to sneak away at the end of the night and experience the new Guardians of the Galaxy ride that has now replaced Tower of Terror.
I want to brag about my incredible babies. I got to watch my almost two year old jump up and down in excitement when she met the characters she loves. It was at multiple times that either Jay or I started to tear up at the beauty that is watching our exhausted little girl dance, wave hello and shout at the top of her lungs, "Hi princess!"
Having two under two at Disneyland Parks can be challenging. There were times that Oliver would fuss because of the sensory overload with the lights and sounds. Then there was the struggle of keeping Ashlen in line, waiting patiently, and not brushing up against the people ahead of her (oh the concept of boundaries!). But nothing was better than the smiles Oliver would give to people walking by! We were stopped constantly just because passersby fell in love with his personality.
Ashlen's absolute favorite Disney Princess is Cinderella. Her love started with a tiny duplo character in a blue dress who she quickly named, "Ella." With Halloween approaching, I searched high and low for a Cinderella dress, knowing she could don it at Disneyland. After a Value Village discovery, some sewing help from the ever-creative Nana, and the sparkliest shoes, we had a mini "Ella" in our midst.
Our day at Disneyland started much earlier. There was so much to do! Our number one goal was to see Ashlen's reaction when she met her favorite princess in person. We woke the kids up at 6:30, got Ashlen dressed in the parking lot and sought out some princesses.
Ashlen got to meet Ariel, Cinderella, and Snow White all while wearing her special dress. Cinderella, in particular, was very amused at meeting herself.
The day at Disneyland unfolded in the most ideal way. Ashlen loved It's a Small World and said, "Hi baby!" to every single animatronic doll we floated by. She also had a blast in Minnie Mouse's house and got to meet Mickey!
Oliver seemed in awe of It's a Small World too and definitely didn't mind the dips on Pirates of the Caribbean. Most of all, I keep going back to the joy on his face as he smiled to everyone exiting Autopia.
What a wonderful trip it was. Many have thought us crazy for attempting such an adventure. Our kids may be a bit of work, but finding the fun amidst the fussing makes it all worth it.
Living, working, and raising two babies under two in a trailer is quite the adventure. It’s NEVER dull, each day presents new and exciting challenges, and I guarantee you will have a bundle of stories by the time your trip is over.
I’m writing to you from our 24’ converted cargo trailer in Medford, OR. This is the second stop on our month-long trip with destinations in California, Arizona, Utah and Nevada.
It was six weeks ago that we decided to turn 4 work-related meetings into a month long trip in our trailer. At that time, the trailer was a mere cargo space with a kitchenette. But, with a little elbow grease, we rolled up our sleeves and turned a metal tube on wheels into the comfortable home it is!
Our daughter, Ashlen, is an independent, fireball of a 22 month old. She is passionate, adventurous, and has welcomed her toddler-like freedom with open arms. You can imagine creating a space for her to run wild while the rest of the family relaxes takes a bit of work.
Our son, Oliver, just turned 4 months. He is holding up his head, insisting on tummy time, finally plays with toys and loves his jumper.
I will say, I have never been so thankful for IKEA and the gizmos and gadgets that promote relaxation within a tiny home! My absolute favorite items during this trip either started with some IKEA inspiration or came directly from the store. There’s the wall-mounted folding table, the folding outdoor table and chairs, the collapsible hamper, the wall-mounted spice racks, towel bar and hooks, the shelving and endless array of storage tubs, drawers and containers, and the wall-mounted shoe storage we use as toy bins.
There are many other things I have fallen in love with, for example, the water filter that attaches to the faucet. You never know when you’ll be hooking up to a hose or using water from a truck stop. No longer am I worried about poisoning my family with my cooking (by using the water, my cooking ability is another story…).
As I scoured the internet, reading every Mommy-Blog that mentioned RV Living or Camping with babies, I could not find a solution to my bunk bed problem. We needed bunks that could fold down and make room for quads and other large toys during travel. But with two little ones, the younger at risk of scooting out of bed and the older needing to be “walled off” from the world so she could shut her eyes, I needed a very specific sort of plan.
Years ago, in planning for a trip to Mexico, we discovered the KidCo collapsible tent that can be used in place of a crib. Preventing rolling off their bed, no risk of suffocation, and the set-up is as simple as pulling it out of its packaging. We repurposed this tent for Oliver on the top bunk and strapped it into place by using tie downs through the exterior loops. An added benefit is that on extra cold nights, I know he will be warmer than the rest of us because the tent holds a little heat.
For Ashlen, we had to be a bit more creative. As you can see in the pictures, her bed is inside of a pop-up ice cream truck. It has a floor, so we squeezed her mattress inside and created what she now calls: her room. It provided just enough privacy that she is not distracted by our working, reading, or late-night TV watching, while still being a fun place to use her imagination with her toys. She’s decided to tell everyone that it’s Mama who is driving the ice cream truck and it’s not uncommon to hear a seemingly random, “french fries!” after she’s gone in there to rest (french fries and burgers are printed within the decor).
The rest of the survival comes from the ability to relax in such a small place. And that, my friends, is all in the details. The rugs, the framed scratch-as-you-go map, the die cut sticker wall decor, the pillows and blankets, even the twinkle lighted mountain banner. The little things can turn your space into a home that you look forward to coming back to after your daily adventures.
In all honesty, Jay and I can successfully work at our desk while Oliver plays in the jumper and Ashlen dives into her toys with Daniel Tiger playing in the background. The trailer life takes work for sure. But as long as everything has its place and you’re willing to remain flexible and spontaneous, you’ll find yourself with funny stories, great memories, and a level of closeness with your family that you never had before.
Note that our trailer does not have a bathroom. We did this intentionally because of the added maintenance, cost and space that is taken up by a toilet and black water tank. Ashlen is happy to use her potty chair and we don’t mind taking advantage of the RV park restrooms and showers.
For those of you who worry if this can work for your family: Jay and I decided long ago that we could train our kids to do just about anything as long as we committed to training and put in the work for a solid three days. After that, they’d have a new routine and we could live our lives without the challenge of added fussiness.
Mom Tip: never leave the trailer without a key. You never know when your toddler is going to flip the switch on your deadbolt. :)
The items mentioned above are highlighted only because of how much I love them and how much I love sharing my experiences. We are not paid by the companies to review them, nor are we using these products as intended by the manufacturers (ex. the ice cream truck is not marketed to be used as a bed). If you want to try them out, that’s up to you!
Jay & Indya Oakes
The Pacific Northwest is our home, Marketing is what we do, Adventure is what we love. Let us tell your story.