Dear Friends and Family,
There are many sad stories about how the COVID pandemic has transformed American life and hurt individuals and families. But, this is not one of them. In fact, the Hawkins family not only survived the COVID pandemic and shutdowns, but we found a way to thrive.
While Mom committed in 2020 to significantly reduce her travel when flying became “normal” again, Dad came up with a great idea to reduce her plane trips even more this year…just go with her in our 38’ travel trailer i.e. the camper.
Immediately following Christmas 2020, the Hawkins family left brown and grey Pennsylvania and headed south first to Georgia and then to Florida. At the time, packing up everything we thought we would need for 3 months while having COVID (we found out
later) and doing it in the freezing rain…seemed like a semi-reasonable thing to do. As we pulled out of Pennsylvania and headed South to join the Students for Life team, that’s when it hit us that perhaps we were a bit unusual.
To say that we enjoyed January through mid-March in Florida would be an understatement. Gracie saw the ocean for the first time. Mom and Meme (Kristan’s mom) swam with and petted manatees. The Hawkins family got up at 4am, got some Dunkin Donuts (the only way to bribe Bear), and went to watch a Space-X rocket launch from the Cape Canaveral Seashore. Dad is still upset that Mom made everyone miss the first few seconds of the launch to pose for a picture (who knew the sound would come after ignition). On weekends and afternoons, we found time for lots of beach trips to hunt for shark teeth, take a boat tour of the Everglades (which was a lot prettier than we expected) to chase some dolphins and venture out on a deserted island, get an airboat tour to spot like 30 alligators (course we later found one nightly across the street from our camper who was missing an eye due to a tragic alligator battle…according to our neighbors), squeezed in some history visiting Thomas Edison’s house and the forts in St. Augustine and Pensacola, and managed short trip to Disney while Meme and Pap visited (they were super excited to spend their retirement cash on theme park tickets).
But we didn’t let the fun stop there, after returning back to Pennsylvania for a few weeks in March, we traded in our Ford Expedition for a Chevy Silverado dually-truck (those big ones with the extra tires)…we call it "Jim"…to allow us to travel safety with the new camper we ordered. Plus, we decided (in a move I’m 100% sure my father still disapproves of) to stage our house and list it for sale while we left for the spring in Arizona, Utah, and Colorado. And that’s what we did. Within a few weeks, our house was
under contract, and we told the kids, “Congrats! We’re going to be homeless in June!”
So for the foreseeable future, you can now call the Hawkins family “full-timers” as we travel the country together - abolishing abortion,
visiting historical sites, and hiking. At some point, we’ll build a house on our property in Idaho, in the backyard of the Tetons. But we’re in no hurry. After spending a month in Arizona exploring Route 66, an old mining town where the kids took the best fugitive pictures ever, the site of the “best-preserved meteorite crater on Earth,” a lava field, Sedona (of course!), the Grand Canyon (not really our favorite, too many tourists and trash on the ground), and our first trip to Medieval Times (for Bear’s birthday - we had to go out due to “middle child syndrome”), the Hawkins family left Arizona in May and headed for Mom’s idea of a vacation — hiking in all 5 national parks in Utah.
While we won’t go into all of the details of our trip through Utah, just know that it’s a must see. Bryce Canyon is like another world. Despite Zion having too many “California types” for Dad, it was stunning. While the kids loved the Moab Credit Union’s free drive-in theater at night, Arches National Park during the day and night was unforgettable. We even got to see dozens of Space X satellites (one of the very ones we saw launch in Florida) orbit for multiple nights in the desert sky.
From Utah, we went on to Colorado Springs and Denver where spring showers, a medical emergency with our puppy, Martha, and Mom’s work trips dominated our time …so we’re already making plans to go back. While at 7,000 feet, the kids met some fellow “full-time” kids and they watched in amazement as Gunner Bear Studios, Inc. continued their movie making business…yes, we traveled with a King Kong mask all spring to film in the dessert and mountains for some authentic scenes.
And then back to Pennsylvania we went in June (with quick pit stops in Ailbene, KS to see the Dwight Eisenhower Presidential Museum and Raytown, MO the fictional home of Gunner’s favorite TV show, Mama’s Family) for three weeks to sell or donate
everything we owned and a put a few items in a storage unit (and Mom and Dad are fairly confident most of it will never see the light of day again) or in the Mercer storage unit (a.k.a. Meme and Pap’s basement). Surprisingly, Gracie was on the easiest to convince to let go of some of her bigger toys in exchange for new Barbie bribes. Bear, on the other hand, we can confidently say is traveling with the most plushies of any “full-time" kid…plus, not to mention all of the costumes for future movie scenes. For Maverick, we just had to buy him a foldable lego table and a large bin for what he wants to be the world’s largest army men collection to get him on board. Gunner was easy as he just needs his tech and his fancy, custom lightsaber that sleeps in his bunk with him.
After 4th of July and Pap’s jaw-dropping firework display (see the photo), the Hawkins family headed to the D.C. area so Mom could be close to work where we continued our quest to see every historical thing we could. Mom finally got to see Appomattox Courthouse (only not to be able to go into the Courthouse due to a bomb scare). The kids loved their second time at Mt. Vernon and first time at Arlington National Cemetery & the Robert E. Lee House as well as the Manassas Battlefield. At George Washington’s Boyhood Home (we’ve already been to his birthplace too…we’re stalkers), the kids astounded the tour guides with their astute questions and knowledge of Washington’s life. One evening, we visited the Spotsylvania Battlefields and even took a hike and found the burial place of Gen. Stonewall Jackson’s arm!
From D.C. we headed to the Cleveland area…and that’s when it gets crazy. During a routine pediatrician appointment in August, we were sent to the hospital in Pittsburgh for Maverick to immediately be seen by neurologists who admitted him. Thankfully, the scans and spinal tap were negative, but we still do not know actually what is causing Maverick’s walking troubles. We’ve been doing weekly physical therapy and will see specialists in Ann Arbor and Philadelphia before the end of the year to continue on with care. More to come on this front…
After leaving the hospital and getting settled to stay with Meme and Pap for two months while sorting out Maverick’s medical care and waiting for our new 43’ fifth wheel to arrive, the Hawkins family went to Lake Erie for a beach day and to a D-Day reenactment, which Maverick even dressed up for! Mom also drug Dad, almost kicking and screaming, to Washington state to stay in a glamping tent for an epic 3-day Dave Matthews Band concert at The Gorge (previously scheduled for 2020). On their way home to the kids, we had a quick layover in Sioux Falls, SD and became full-time residents (it’s 100% legal, I swear), so goodbye state income tax and hello
pretty license plates!
At the beginning of October, Mom, Dad, and Gunner drove down to Chapel Hill, NC for Gunner’s 4th medical study visit this year. While Mom and Dad love Trikafta drug for all that it’s done for Gunner’s health…he likes earning his study money on his “credit card,” which he usually spends on toys for his puppies, Thelma and Martha.
With Maverick’s unknown diagnosis lingering, Mom and Dad got a serious call from one of Gunner’s doctors one minute after they arrived at the dealership in Elkhart, IN to pick up our new fifth wheel (that we ordered in March… Let’s Go Brandon!). She told us that Gunner now has CF-related diabetes and would have to immediately begin blood testing and insulin shots. However, we certainly didn’t let everything going on stop us from enjoying the fall in West Virginia as we got to go back to Ft. Necessity and Ft. Ligonier, visit the Toy and Train Museum, Ft. Steuben, and the world’s largest collection of Christmas movie props (we got to go down on the slide from the “Christmas Story!”), get to the Ohio Amish country a few times (Bear loves antique stores to look for old toys!), and even do
Halloween, three times!
This year, Gunner busted out his custom lightsaber, again. Bear was in an adult-sized Batman costume (wait until you see the Batman video they made),Maverick would only smirk in his George Washington costume (because George didn’t smile), and Gracie charmed everyone in her Martha Washington dress. Mom is still bitter Maverick and Gracie didn’t win the costume contest at the Jellystone Campground. In November, we settled into our new camper…we call her "Norma"…and Dad continued in his quest of becoming an expert in random things RV repair (things break all the time, it’s crazy).
Plus, Gunner and Gracie got a A+ from their CF care team in Chicago. One of the tests at the hospital even revealed that Trikafta, the drug Gunner has been in the clinical trial for and Gracie began taking in June after FDA approval, is now making their cells function like they don’t have CF! While it’s not a cure, this is a significant moment in the battle to ensure they live a normal lifespan.
Now, we’re all looking forward to finally heading south after Thanksgiving to Florida. We’ll be in Orlando (Maverick picked out Universal Studios for his special Birthday Day.) and then the Florida Keys for Christmas---we’ve already purchased our ugly sweaters and made a reservation at Benihana as we have plans to re-create The Office’s “Benihana Christmas” episode.
During this Christmas season and in the new year, please keep praying for Maverick, Gunner, and Gracie and all of their medical needs. And say a prayer for big brother Bear who takes on all of the stress and is the best helper in the family. Also, pray for our safety as towing your only house makes it even scarier…especially with the dangerous Florida drivers; they’re crazy. While a few things are uncertain due to Maverick’s medial situation, three things are very clear…the Hawkins family has never been closer (literally or figuratively), we’re having lots of fun, and our homeschool field trips are better than anyone else’s. Merry Christmas.
With Much Love,
The Hawkins Family
A Christmas Letter from Kristan...
Kristan Hawkins is a Christian, wife, mother, grassroots activist, author, speaker, and a human rights advocate. President of Students for Life of America, she was recruited in 2006 to launch Students for Life of America’s full-time operation. Since then, she has built up a small organization made up of a few dozen student groups scattered around the country to a coordinated national team serving more than 1,200 Students for Life chapters in all fifty states. Under her leadership, Students for Life exists to abolish abortion by transforming our culture by recruiting, training, and mobilizing this pro-life generation, who are the direct targets of today’s abortion industry. A frequent speaker and media analyst, Kristan’s expertise includes abortion, feminism, disability advocacy and healthcare, as she navigates the social conditions and public policy that impacts the human rights issue of our day.
A published author, Kristan wrote Courageous: Students Abolishing Abortion in this Lifetime. She has interviewed on Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, the Today Show, CBS, ABC, and HBO and has received the title, “One of the 4 worst anti-abortion misinformers,” by Media Matters, a title of which she is very proud. Kristan regularly speaks at pro-life conventions and events across the United States including leading college campuses such as Yale, Harvard, Dartmouth, and UC-Berkeley.
We are the Pro-Life Generation
Envision a Nation Without Abortion
Planned Parenthood’s Abortion Business
Embracing the Controversy of Abortion
Lies Feminists Tell
Lies Pro-Choice Politicians Tell
Social Justice Begins in the Womb
"Kristan Hawkins is revolutionizing the pro-life movement through her visionary leadership, tireless energy, and electrifying communication. The abortion industry sees Kristan as one of their greatest threats, due to her unprecedented mobilization of tens of thousands of young pro-life leaders on more than 800 high school and college campuses. Do NOT bring Kristan Hawkins in to speak for your organization if you want it to stay stagnant. But if you are ready for a massive jolt of transformational energy and profound, life-saving results, book Kristan TODAY. I can attest from experience:
when Kristan talks, pro-life leaders and advocates listen ... and take action."
— David Bereit, founder of 40 Days for Life
Listen to Explicitly Pro-Life!
Tune in every week for a new episode of Kristan Hawkin's podcast Explicitly Pro-Life! This is the only podcast that focuses on how we can change the tide in America to overturn Roe v. Wade and shift the political playing field in America. Download wherever you get your podcasts!