Life Update, 4/20/20

oleander - lowcountry - fripp island

Hi friends!  How are y’all hanging in there?  I haven’t really addressed the elephant in the room (COVID-19) on here because in addition to the upheaval that it has caused in everyones’ lives we’ve also been going through some pretty big simultaneous life changes and I haven’t had much of a chance to catch my breath.  I don’t think I’ve ever gone so long without writing on the blog, and for that I apologize!  It wasn’t my intent, I just got busy and then had a hard time making myself sit down and churn out some words.  I’m back though, and I appreciate you hanging around and being patient with me.  I’m pretty consistent with sharing life updates on Instagram, so make sure you follow me there for more current content 🙂

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So here is what has been going on with the Vail family lately:

photo details:

Caroline’s dress (comes as a 2 pack with a darling polkadot dress for only $9.92)

Tom retired from the Army at the end of March (on leave until beginning of July then he will officially be retired).  The photo above was taken on his very last day wearing the uniform.

sun splash pad - summer fun - toddler splash pad

We moved out of our Hawaii apartment the last week of March, and moving during a pandemic was so stressful.  It was tough figuring out how to entertain the kids while the movers were there but we bought this little splash pad to use since the pools and beach were closed and it did the trick and provided many hours of fun.

We stayed at the Embassy Suites in Kapolei for a few nights while we had the apartment packed up and cleaned and turned our the keys to the property manager.  Pretty sure we ate McDonald’s for breakfast 4 days in a row and I didn’t get a single workout in all week.  Tom and I decided it was just best for us to be in survival mode during this time so we didn’t even try to exercise or make anything too difficult.  He was really busy going back and forth to the house and cleaning and turning in our minivan at the port and accomplishing a million other things that are required when you move and retire from the Army.  I also parted ways with my car that I bought in college.  Tom had been driving it during our time in Hawaii and he was the A/C was no longer working and it was 15 years old at this point.  I gave it to our babysitter who happened to need a car at the same time we were looking to donate it, and I’m happy that the car will spend the rest of its days in Hawaii with someone who helped us out so much.  It’s been a good car to me but we need a second car that is bigger to accommodate our family.

coronavirus airports

outfit details:

Amazon leggings (the best!)| Amazon sweatshirt (size up 1 size to wear with leggings) | nursing tank top | mesh sneakers (similar pair more readily available) | child carrier | stroller (we’ve had the Uppababy Vista since Jack was born and still LOVE it)

We flew across the globe at the beginning of April (Honolulu to Charleston) and in the days before our trip our flight itinerary changed countless times due to COVID-19’s effect on the airline industry.  We ended up with a pretty brutal itinerary with 4+ hour layovers in LA and Atlanta, but we were thankful that we were able to get out at all and that the planes and airports were very clean and empty.  The photo above is the Atlanta airport in the early evening.  It was bizarre to see it so empty.  We are very thankful for our Delta AmEx Reserve credit cards because we were able to get into the clubs for free.  They weren’t serving food other than packaged snacks like cheez-its but we weren’t as worried about the kids running around because we knew things were clean.  It was easier to stay away from people too because the clubs were so empty.  The free wine is always nice too.

We are now are settled at Fripp Island, South Carolina until Tom starts his new job in DC and until the coronavirus quiets down.  Let me tell you, this has been the most stressful time in our lives (and probably would be regardless of the coronavirus) but we are incredibly thankful to be healthy and together and in a place that we love while Tom enjoys his much deserved retirement leave.  My family owns a little house here on Fripp Island and it’s nice that we had a place to land during so much uncertainty.  We didn’t know when or where Tom would find his first post-Army job, but we got the word at the beginning of April that he has been hired as a contractor at the Pentagon in his career field that he loves so much.  He’s a bomb disposal officer (think of the moving The Hurt Locker, if you aren’t familiar) and will now be working the policy side of things for the Army.  I’m so proud of him and we are excited to start this next chapter back in DC!

I found a house that we think we will rent (I’ll share thoughts on renting vs. buying in the DC area later) and I am really looking forward to making it our own for the next couple of years.  We don’t have it yet so I don’t want to jinx it, but I’ll share more details once we figure it all out and once we’ve signed a lease.)  COVID-19 is affecting the move, of course, and it’s hard to decide whether or not we should head up there as a family next month or wait it out down here where we are still able to go to the beach and enjoy a less urban environment that the virus hasn’t affected as much.  We also shouldn’t be receiving our household goods for another month or two, so that makes things more difficult.  As far as we know, they’re currently on a ship in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.  Our van is on a ship too.  We’re in limbo right now, to say the least!

Anyway, we’ve been enjoying the lowcountry spring weather and daily beach trips even though it’s still chillier than what we were used to in Hawaii.  Fripp Island is a private island with controlled access (you can only get on the island if you own a home here or are renting here) and because of that the beaches are still open.  They’re massive and wide open and empty (as you can see from photos below), and I can’t think of a better place for social distancing.  I can let the kids run around free and not worry about them getting too close to anyone.  I’m incredibly thankful to be here during this uncertain time.

outfit details:

striped swing sweatshirt | ring slinghigh rise denim shorts (old, current version linked) | sunglasses (c/o Mohala Eyewear and you can use code katiev for 10% off)

outfit details:

striped swing sweatshirt | ring sling | silver Birks | high rise denim shorts (old, current version linked) | striped t-shirt (I size up for a looser fit) | sunglasses (c/o Mohala Eyewear and you can use code katiev for 10% off)

outfit details:

baseball cap | silver Birks | high rise denim shorts (old, current version linked) | boatneck t-shirt (very old but this is their current striped one and here are the solid one)

photo details:

Caroline’s dress (comes as a 2 pack with a darling rainbow dress for only $9.92)

outfit details:

Tate’s dress | the girls’ bows are c/o Nashville Bow Co.

outfit details:

my pajamas (only $21.99 and so soft) | mug

Having to wear a jacket on occasion is a new experience for Caroline and she keeps telling us she wants to go home to Hawaii.  It’s heartbreaking.  Thankfully she gets excited when we talk about a new house with all of our old things in it, and I know she’ll do just fine once we get there.  She’s having a blast here too.  This limbo period is a bit tough in some ways though.  Jack and Caroline are sharing a room and neither are sleeping as much as they should be because they just want to play and then Jack wakes Caroline (our good sleeper) up much too early in the morning.  The baby is in our room and I’m very ready to move her to her own room once we get settled.  (I move the older 2 our when there were 8 weeks old, but we didn’t have a bedroom for Tate in Hawaii so she’s been with us since she was born.)  Or maybe Caroline and Tate will share a room.  Still haven’t settled on that part.  Stream of consciousness writing going on here…sorry about that.  So much is floating through my brain right now.

Ok well I’d better wrap this up!  If you’re interested in some of my ideas for the new (100 year old) house, here is the Pinterest board I’ve been adding to lately.  I’m so excited to get to work and really hope we get the house because it is so full of possibility and will provide lots of fun blog content 🙂

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Katie Vail
Katie Vail

Find me on: Web | Instagram | Facebook


  1. Kat
    April 20, 2020 / 7:41 pm

    Stay south for longer! You have to wear mask up there and can’t get out!

    • April 23, 2020 / 8:32 am

      We’ve decided that Tom will head up to start work and secure the house and I’ll stay down here until things calm down and until our household goods arrive in late June. I’m thankful for the wide open space we have here!

  2. Burny Kearney Drumheller
    April 23, 2020 / 6:08 am

    Katie, I hope that your family is enjoying Fripp Island! We LOVE it there! We have owned a lot on Pompano for years. It was our plan to build soon, but this virus has us on hold. My husband was laid off because clinical studies for the medical devise his company produces being shut down due to C19. I am a retired teacher and so ready to get to the beach! Shout out to all teachers working so hard!

    Beaufort is a sleepy Charleston. I hate that you are experiencing it during C19. As soon as this is over, I am headed to Beaufort to visit my mother who lives in Spanish Point and taking long walks on the beach!

    I am enjoying getting to know your sweet family! Thank you!

    Burny Kearney Drumheller

    • April 23, 2020 / 8:30 am

      Hi Burny! Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment, and I’m so sorry that your family has been affected by the virus. My mom is a retired teacher as well and I own this house with my parents! They have spent a lot of time here since she retired 2 years ago. It’s our family’s happy place. My husband and I actually got married in Beaufort! Our wedding was at the Old Sheldon Church ruins and our reception was at the Beaufort Inn. It truly is such a charming part of the country. I’m sure you are looking forward to getting back to the lowcountry and visiting with your mother. Hopefully your home build will happen sooner rather than later too 🙂

      Thanks again for stopping by!

  3. Lara Hurley
    April 23, 2020 / 5:56 pm

    I’m waiting to join my husband too in DC area and not sure about housing. It does seem easier to wait it out in an area with less restrictions than Dc Happy for you to be in a fun place, enjoy your littles even though I know the days can be very long they will be grown in no time! love Navy wife Army mom Lara

    • April 24, 2020 / 7:33 am

      Thank you Lara! I appreciate you reading and commenting. Best of luck on your move! Out of all the military moves this has definitely been the most bizarre. I’m sure you can relate!

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