so, i was going to just do this in one post, but its way too many pictures for just one. so two it is. i also know that most people may not be interested in reading a long stop by stop account of my trip, but i had such a good time on this adventure and don't want to forget one single thing about it. plus my mom wants to read it.
i left kansas on july 6th and headed to um, kansas. it was only a little over 2 hours to jess's house, which made it a perfect stop for lunch. i've been reading jess's blog for over 3 years, and i was able to finally meet her in person at hope spoken, but boy was i still nervous pulling up to her house.
obviously, i had nothing to worry about. jess is so sweet and meeting her family was so fun. it is funny to read about people on a blog for several years and then meet them. especially when its not the person writing the blog. but her husband and two (now three!) boys were the sweetest. the even took me to the farm and levi gave me the grand tour. he told me the name of every single tractor. silly me thought they were all just called tractors, but it turns out they each have a name. jess had her baby less than 2 weeks after i stopped by, but i'm sure i'll get to meet the sweet guy when i drive home. a girl can dream can't she?
excuse this really low quality picture of me and the boys. i took a screenshot from jess's instagram. not the best way to do it. :)
next i headed to tulsa, which is in fact the opposite direction of west. originally i was going to go straight to texas from jess's house, but who can resist a stop at lesley's house? lesley and her family had just gotten home from a big roadtrip to montana, but they were still willing to have me for dinner. lesley is quite the cook and her husband is a pretty great griller. so obviously dinner was delicious. and they had a whole plate of homegrown tomatoes from their yard. i thought i had died and gone to heaven. their two little girls are about the cutest things ever. i asked the older one what her favorite food was and she said bacon. i wish i could agree with her.
lesley is such a nice lady. and so funny too! i was so grateful to get to meet her at hope spoken after following her on instagram and her blog for a year or two. she is full of spunk and knows how to dream big dreams. also she has chickens. so fun.
lesley sent me on my way to ft worth with a bag of the most delicious cookies i've ever had. i rationed them all the way to arizona. i ended up driving past midnight to ft worth, so i enjoyed quite a few of those cookies on the way. at one point i was so sleepy that i had to pull into mcdonalds and get an ice cream cone. i'd never done that to keep myself awake before, but you can bet your bottom dollar that it won't be the last time.
when i finally got to ft worth, i didn't think i could possibly be any happier to see my bed. that was, of course, until i saw this little package waiting for me.
kimber has a super cute etsy shop and was sweet enough to gift me a few prints. she also wrote me a sweet card AND stayed up waiting for me. she's a keeper, that one.
kimber knows how to make a girl feel welcome. the next morning, we had cinnamon rolls with her cutie patootie daughter, then went to shipley's and had the best donut i had eaten in months. after lunch at panera (all we did was eat) we met up with anna, and i got to meet her family. i met both of these girls at hope spoken and am so very glad that i did. we probably only got to talk for an hour over the course of the weekend, but we clicked and we're rooming together next year! visiting these girls felt like visiting old friends i've known forever. we get along so well and all enjoy similar things. including shopping and food. which is what our day revolved around. anthropologie, because duh. anna even made her first anthro clothing purchase.
they took me to velvet taco, where i proceeded to eat one of the best tacos i have ever had. i mean really, it was incredible. i am still thinking about it and would like 5 more please.
you could say it was taco heaven.
then we went home and watched american blogger because what else would you do with friends you met at a blogging conference. kimber's husband joined us too. i think he paid the most attention to it since kimber and i couldn't stop chatting.
i was really sad to leave ft worth. these two are sweet friends and i'm counting down the days til i get to see them again. but it was off to the next place! a fews hours west landed me in midland to see wynne. i also met her at hope spoken (are you sensing a theme?) and she is about the cutest texan you'll ever meet. i've never seen her in an outfit i didn't like and she got the prettiest hair. but more than that she has a heart of gold and never stops adventuring. she's been to africa 8 or 9 times in the last three years and is such an advocator of those in need. after hearing her story at hope spoken, hanging out in her home and meeting her sweet kids was so fun. she was also kind enough to have me for lunch even though she had just returned from a 19 day road trip out east, 12 of which it was just her and the kids. she was home for 3 days before she headed rwanda for 10 days. this girl has got a love for travel. i love that about her.
after i said goodbye to wynne and found a much needed ipod charger, i waved goodbye to beloved texas and started off towards new mexico. i've never been to new mexico, so i was excited to see a new state, but i was also excited to see the two cute little girls that were waiting for me.
this stretch, despite being over 6 hours, was actually my favorite part of the whole entire drive. i probably saw less than 10 cars going the same direction as me. it was so green and beautiful. i seriously did not want it to end. buuuut the babies were calling my name. boy was it good to finally see their faces. (and their mom and dad of course.)
after a good night of sleep with all twelve thousand of annika's stuffed animals, we spent the day at the botanical gardens, the aquarium, and well, shopping of course. 46 pictures for your viewing pleasure.
the gardens were sort of magical but also sort of really stinking hot if you weren't in the shade. although in kansas it is just hot everywhere. shade or not you're sweating your buns off. but it was worth the heat to spend time with these cutie pies. i taught isabella how to do this trick with her tongue when she was literally just hours old. i'm sure it was just a reflex or something, but i made this face at her and she made it right back. also i would like to take a moment to talk about how she is going to be in 5TH GRADE this year. stop the time people. its all happening to fast.
jocilyn bought me a sweater at anthro. bless her heart. and annika gave me some stuffed animal company while i tried things on. that girl loves her stuffed animals.
after some delicious pizza, a viewing of frozen and a full nights sleep, i had to say goodbye. but i didn't have far to go. just a quick drive across town for an impromptu stop at ruth's house. i commented on her instagram the day before saying i was driving through and wished i could see her. well what do you know, she was free the next morning and was sweet enough to let me bring her some coffee. i obviously loved all of my stops, but this one was such a fun surprise. i met her 6 boys, who were some of the most polite little boys i have ever met, and got to see her cute house. best of all, i just got to sit and chat with her for an hour. we met at hope spoken, but probably only talked for 5 minutes. so to spend a bit longer with her was a treat. she is such a gracious and wise woman and is an incredible mom. i took lots of mental notes while i was there. her boys are lucky to have such a great mom. she is speaking at hope spoken this year, and i am s t o k e d to hear her share.