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October is my favorite month of the year and this one was one for the books. I turned another year older, the kids ran cross country, and we went on vacation to Florida for the first time as a family.

“I can’t remember all the times I tried to tell myself to hold on to these moments as they pass.”

Welcome to “Moments” here on JoyFoodSunshine. At the end of every month I share a recap of our family’s favorite moments!  Here’s a snapshot of our life from October 2021!

Life lately

October is my favorite month of the year and this one was one for the books. I turned another year older, the kids ran cross country, and we went on vacation to Florida for the first time as a family.

Baby Zach (9 months)

Zach really hit some fun milestones this month. He started clapping, playing “SO BIG” and peek-a-boo. He cut his two bottom teeth and is starting to try to crawl.

He hit a “stranger danger” period which is normal for this age. He does not like letting anyone else hold him besides me when we are out amongst other people.

Teething has been quite a bear for him, and he has been a little miserable these last two weeks. Poor baby!

But in general he’s still the sweetest, happiest, snuggliest baby on the planet and I love him so much. I wish he wasn’t getting so big so fast!

Postpartum Jeans

This post struck a cord with many of you. It was just a blip on my Instagram stories – but I know you all can relate to how I feel.

I’m 9 months postpartum and just this month I finally feel comfortable wearing jeans for an extended period of time. I even bought a size up because I didn’t want to have to force myself to “squeeze” into my pre-6th baby jeans.

This time around (and after Keilah) I decided to be kind to my body instead of beat it into submission.

I’m just trying to breathe it all in and I’m feeling so emotional as the end of Z’s first year is rapidly approaching. I gave my girl clothes sizes 12M-2T to a friend and as I drove away I burst into tears. My sweet Mara from the backseat said, “Are you sure you don’t want another newborn mom? Positive?

Ugh. I am sure I don’t want another one, but that doesn’t make the end of this season any easier.

My Birthday

I turned another year older this month – the age you officially “round up to 40.” Honestly 36 doesn’t feel as big as 35 did. Maybe because I was pregnant when I turned 35 and entered geriatric pregnancy status (haha) but it’s just proof of the irreversible passing of time. I got my hair done that week so my birthday was a little less gray! 😉

My birthday was on a Sunday so we chose to celebrate on Saturday (pastor’s wife life). It was rainy so we couldn’t go hiking, so we chose to go to an indoor trampoline park and let the kids jump (mom life haha).

The family ordered Chinese food for dinner so I didn’t have to cook, and Bethany made me my favorite brownies. It was a great day! Bethany also made me a sweet card that commemorated our trip to Chicago.

Pumpkin Patch

We went to the pumpkin patch before we left on vacation. I had to snap our annual picture here! We go to a local farm and I love it because it’s simple – just pumpkins. No gimmicky fall festivals, etc.

This pic is SO Mara. Picking the biggest pumpkin and insisting on holding it herself.

Cross Country

The kids had a great cross country season this year. Gabe and Naomi both placed in the top 10 in both of their races and they all tried their very hardest.


Fall is my favorite time of year to hike. We went on a couple great ones before we left for vacation to enjoy the colors.


This was the highlight of the year for me (besides Zach being born, of course).

This was the first time our family has vacationed for a full 7 days – and it was magical. We stayed in a house directly on Seagrove Beach with it’s own private beach and pool. For all but one day the weather was beautiful and we enjoyed every minute of this setup.

We built sand castles, caught “hermes” aka: hermit crabs, collected shells, jumped over waves, boogie boarded, swam all day & night, went on beach walks, ate lots of snacks, watched the sunset and gazed at the stars. We laughed until we cried and enjoyed our own little slice of paradise.

My heart is full and I feel so grateful to have made wonderful memories that will last a lifetime.

Z loves the water so he had a blast at the beach. He slept through a lot of it, but that was the great thing about our setup, we could put him down for a nap and still swim and play while he was sleeping.

We ate most meals in the home we were staying in. I preferred to order dinner in because we had the best view of the sunset – and it set around 6 pm this time of year, which is right in the middle of dinner time. So we’d eat dinner, then bring our dessert outside and enjoy it as we watched the sunset over the water.

We did go out a couple nights and it was so fun. I was surprised how many people asked me “Are those all your kids?” and when I said yes, the follow up question was, “Are they all biological?”

I thought, “can you see them?” LOL!

In the security line at the airport someone said, “Excuse me miss, are they all yours?” All of 7?”

I replied, “Oh no, we only have 6 – I’m not crazy.” 😉

One of my favorite things about this trip was that the pool was lit at night. The kids thought night swimming was the best. One night Ritch and I just sat by the side of the pool with Zach while the kids laughed and played, the ocean waves came in and out and the blanket of stars shone in the clear night sky.

Another night Ritch jumped in and made night swimming even more fun for all involved, including me and Z watching from the sidelines (because I only swim when the sun is out to keep me and Z warm in this phase of life)! 😉

The weather wasn’t great the last day and a half (relentless 60 mph winds and dangerous ocean conditions), but it didn’t stop us from going souvenir shopping, playing games, going on very windy beach walks and swimming in the heated pool.

Overall, it was an amazing week and I may have shed a few tears about it coming to an end. We will definitely never let another year go by that we don’t vacate for at least 7 days at a time!


We got home on Saturday the 30th – the day that most people in our neighborhood trick-or-treated. We walked in, dropped our suitcase, scarfed some frozen pizza, put on our costumes and went trick or treating. After 10 hours of traveling, including delays, it wasn’t the most relaxing day – but the kids had fun.

Gabe was the Mandalorian, so naturally Zach had to be baby yoda!


Here are some of our favorite recipes that we’ve made in October.


Here are a few more snapshots from October.

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  1. Hey Laura,
    I really like your blog.
    Today, I just wondered which shoes you are wearing on that „post partum jeans“ picture. They look great!
    Greetings from a mom of 3.

  2. Thank you Laura, I look forward to your monthly updates. Sounds like a very special vacation and the photo of your children on the beach and the sun beams shining through the clouds made me smile 🙂