Joanna Gaines and her family of seven spent some quality time at the beach this week as the Fixer Upper star and her husband Chip prepare to send their eldest child off to college.
The couple traded in their busy Texas farmhouse life for a peaceful sandy getaway with their children—Drake, 18, Ella, 15, Duke, 14, Emmie Kay, 12, and Crew, 4. And Joanna shared some of her newfound memories with her Instagram friends.
In her stories and posts, the 44-year-old renovation genius highlighted everyone lounging by the water and her youngest son’s experiences as he explores the new terrain. The photos show him climbing rocks, playing near the water, and expressing gratitude to mother nature.
In one video, we can see Crew walking along the shoreline thanking the waves. When Joanna Gaines asks him why he’s saying “thank you,” he tells her it’s because they’re washing his feet.
In another video, Crew tried with true determination to serve a volleyball during a family matchup.
“Soaking up the last few days of summer,” she wrote alongside the clip.
Joanna Gaines Reflects on Her ‘Heartbreaking’ and ‘Exciting’ Feelings As Her Oldest Child Prepares for College
The tropical vacation served as the last while the entire Gaines family lives under one roof. This fall Joanna’s son Drake will pack up and move away for college.
In a personal essay published in this fall’s Magnolia Journal, Joanna reflected on the new milestone. Thinking of her first child forging a life of his own made her consider her own beginnings and how they’ve turned into the life she now holds. And while she’s grateful for the moment, she can’t help but grieve the process.
“In our 20 years of marriage, Chip and I have experienced a little bit of all of it,” she penned. “Losing a loved one. Shifts in friendships. Bills we couldn’t pay. Moments where our hearts were broken. Times when all hope felt lost and circumstances were out of our control. When all I could think to do was lay facedown on the floor in surrender.”
“Soon, our oldest son, Drake, will be leaving home for college. In the grand scheme of heartbreaking things, this one comes with a lot of gratitude and excitement,” she continued. “But still, my first child is moving away, and our family dynamic will change because of it, and that can feel like a loss of its own. I catch glimpses now of what that life will look like and wonder if—or how many times—that might bring me to the floor.”