You know what they say, ‘Time Flies when you’re WARM’….I mean, having Fun …. right it’s Fun. In our case, it flies extremely fast when you’re having fun while staying warm!!
We left Canada During a Polar Vortex, that’s right a POLAR VORTEX!! According to the Texas Locals, It’s VERY Cold in January and to be fair – It probably is, to them. BUT to a family of Canadians who just survived a few weeks of -40, it felt purely tropical!!!
The kids recess at school was cancelled one day because the weather dropped to 8 Celsius and they both came home confused. ‘Mom, I don’t get it, why would they make us stay inside?’ Jake was fired up about it, it was pretty cute!!!
After 5 months in Texas, we are on our way back to Edmonton. We all loved The Woodlands, which we consider our part time home and are all a little sad to leave. Texas may have nice ‘mild’ winters but Summer is its own beast. If you enjoy sweating, like dripping wet, while outside standing still – Texas in August is the place for you!! Nick is a lover of this but if you talk to Jake, he will strongly advise you to stay inside unless you want to die…..he can be dramatic. Luckily for Jake, we left right in the nick of time and will spend the rest of the Canadian Summer complaining that we’re cold;);).
I don’t want to intimidate anyone BUT we are a family of Yellow Belts Now!!!! Taekwondo became a huge part of our last 5 months and we loved it although Lily would say that Planks are not her favourite and Jake still seems to get kicked in the Penis too often. I may or may not have head butted Nick in the face – his nose bled but not from the inside (which if you know Nick, you look at him the wrong way and his nose starts leaking blood). Maybe we need to work on some blocking;). We took classes as a family and the the kids also joined with other kiddos. What a great opportunity for us all to learn about ourselves and each other while sweating it out. Wrestling at our house has levelled up – proceed with caution!!!
Nick is a One Wheeling Addict – Have you seen or heard of these death machines before?? While we were on a Trip to California, Nick chatted with a true enthusiast of the ‘sport’?? Would we call it a sport?…Let’s leave that for debate!!! It’s actually Super Cool…I mean, you have to see past how you look while you’re doing it but trust me, Cool!!!! We brought a couple back to Canada so hit him up if you want to try it (It would make his day to ‘One Wheel Talk’ with someone;) I’ve tried it too and honestly we both think it feels like snowboarding and you can carve with it which is kinda the best part of boarding!! Apparently what you shouldn’t do before you start is to Google One Wheel Accidents/falls … yikes;).
We really enjoyed the Lone Star State and here are some Willard Family/Actual Facts About Texas (The Woodlands and Houston to be exact);
- People are extremely NICE – We have travelled ALL over the States, Canada, and the World and I have to say that Southern Hospitality is REAL and Texans are amongst the friendliest people we’ve come across.
- People want you to succeed!! Everyone is very Pro Business and wants you to win. If they can help you, they will. Might have something to do with the whole ‘American Dream’ mindset!!
- The weather is fantastic – have I mentioned this before??
- Driving is a whole different ball game when you’re talking Interstates, Exits, and Overpasses. Picture Spaghetti Corkscrews all over the place and prepare yourself to hear your GPS yell, ‘RECALCULATING’ at you until you get the hang of things!!
- Texas is the 9th Largest Economy in the WORLD!!
The things that I love about the US, I really really Love but it’s not perfect (nowhere is really) and I think we all know and recognize where improvements can be made but that’s a whole other blog post!!!
The Versys Shop is up and running and making great strides and has an excellent team in place. Nick’s Op’s manager and his girlfriend moved down South so we have left Texas knowing that Versys is in very good hands.
Road Trip Time!!! Now I know y’all are jealous of our 51 hours of drive time;) Honestly, we really really Love road trips. I guess you’d have to if you’re us – otherwise, why torture ourselves, haha. Not to brag (but we will;) We do have it down to an art and will challenge anyone to a family road trip battle;
Here’s a small list of things to consider:
- What should you pack in the Thule Vs. What you need in the car for hotel stays.
- Cooler Bag – we have spent WAY too many hours deciding on a cooler and settled on a cooler backpack that fits perfectly between the kids and is within easy reach. I do a lot of road trip food prep (fruits/veggies/sandwiches). If you are travelling in the US – we like to go to (LOVE’s Gas Station – in a pinch, they have a lot of fresh cut fruit and veggies for sale)
- Road Trip Surprises are still a hit and I make sure I have enough for at least 2 a day!! Do you know how much leverage a pack of stickers can get you????
- Do you have the skills necessary to refill your kids water bottles on a bumpy highway without looking like you had an accident (tip: you can also have an off day skill wise if you actually need to disguise your own accident;);)??
- Audio Books. Nick is the king of the Audio books – he LOVES self improvement, business books and general ‘how to be a better human’ type books…you know, quality content….blah blah….I prefer murder mysteries and pod casts (but like, murder mystery podcasts)…ya, I think of it as research – incase Nick disappears out of the blue one day – either I’ll help find him OR you won’t find me;). We’ll see how I’m feeling at hour 49 of 51;)
- Chargers, Chargers, Batteries, Chargers and Seek and Find Books.
You know you’re day is going to be great when you’re packing up after one of your kids refuses to get out of bed or get dressed or eat breakfast or participate in life and you drop the super full bottle of body lotion (you know, the one you can’t buy in Canada) and the lid smashes making it impossible to pack – THEN you kick the dog food bowl over that has all the medication your geriatric golden needs, it’s all over your feet….you pick it up, wash up, get to the car, load up and your amazing hubby has ordered coffees and you pick them up and as your handing him his – the lid pops off and the coffee explodes and I mean EXPLODES all over the console – Clean up, Aisle 1!!! Then 20 minutes passes and you’re feeling confident things are turning around…. and then the SAME explosion happens to your coffee but now you’re on the move and you just have to deal……ya, it’s that kind of day. Road Trippin’ Ain’t for the Weak….ugh!!!!
A quick solution to a day that starts like this is Chocolate!!!!
As I’m writing this, we have been on the road for 10 days. We stopped in Duluth, MN, where the other Versys Shop is located, for 4 days and decided to drive through South Dakota instead of North and we now know that we really, really, really don’t enjoy Hotel life. Travelling with our dogs is pretty easy but finding hotels that allow 2 big guys can be tough and it seems like hotels book up so quickly which doesn’t allow us to be as flexible as we like. Our plans change daily and it’s a pain to have to reschedule everything.
*pro tip – don’t book hotel rooms though a 3rd party. If you book direct, it’s way way way easier to make changes and they will likely bend the cancellation rules!!!
Also, we are SOOOO tired of eating out. If I ever open a restaurant, I will make sure that the kids meals have healthy options!!!! How hard could it be to offer fresh veggies or fruit instead of fries. Charge me, I don’t care!!
We miss our Trailer House:(.
Our Plans are to come back to Canada and enjoy our friends, family and the summer. If you’re looking for us on the weekends, we will likely be out at our cabin – which we have missed immensely!!
The kids will Start Grade 1 in September in Edmonton – they are excited to see their friends and teachers. We have plans to head to Australia for a month in November which makes me the most EXCITED. Nick and I left a part of ourselves there many years ago and are excited to show the kids one of our favourite Countries. We have rented a motorhome ….weird right;).
We will be heading back to Texas after Christmas and will stay again until the end of May. The kids will head back to the same school and finish off grade 1 there. After that, who knows!!! We are fully expecting the kids to start having an opinion about our gypsy lifestyle but until then, we will keep it up and roll with life and see where it takes us!!
Incase anyone is interested (and Nick assures me that you will be;);). Our New Yukon now has over 20,000km on it and it has been awesome!! He really did want the Diesel, which is what our first one was, but he says that the Gas Engine is super snappy (that might not be his wording…).
Hope Everyone is doing well and we’ll see you all very soon…..only 10 more hours to go!!!
ROAD TRIP PICTURES