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Pic of the Week

Thursday, April 30, 2009

We got our second screen room today, so we can return the first one. Hopefully this one will be the right size. We've got an appointment next week to get the holes for the grommets drilled.

We also had another group come to see our house today. It's encouraging to have so many people coming through.

Otherwise, today was a fairly slow day, just trying to catch up on housework and laundry from the weekend and getting the house ready to show again. Still ruminating over different furniture options and whether or not to put a washer in the trailer, and still figuring out when we'll be able to move in. Lots of options to consider.

I'm looking forward to hitting the road. Won't be long now!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Stop and smell the dandelions

The kids and I went for a walk this morning. I pushed Rinnah in the stroller and he pushed his teddy bear in a little stroller we got for him last week. He wanted to walk to the park. The park is not far from our house, just under a mile, but at a toddler's pace this could take all day. Still, I couldn't think of anything that was really more important this morning, so off we went.

Along the way he kept saying "flower!" and bending down to smell the flower every time we saw a dandelion, or about every 7 inches the whole way down the block. I thought it was cute and precious, so I took a picture on my phone. Ian thought that was awesome, so from then on he said "flower! pich!" (picture) and wanted me to take a picture of him smelling the flower. Each flower. All the way down the block.

From A Different Road

He repeated this on the way home. I played along for awhile, until it had been 20 minutes and we'd made it less than a block from the park. At that point I started making him hurry so we could get home and make lunch for Jeremy and so we wouldn't miss the garbage truck (the highlight of his week is watching the garbage truck come). But I couldn't help but think it would be nice if we could just spend a few hours out there. How awesome to be in no hurry at all, stopping every time you see something interesting, even if it's only been two seconds since you last stopped. How awesome to be just as thrilled over dandelions as any other flower. How awesome to notice the small details. Even though I know he was excited about getting to the park, he still was enjoying the journey to get there. I hope we can nurture that attitude in him, and that he will never outgrow it. Maybe we can even learn something from Ian as we embark on our next adventure, to not be in a hurry and to enjoy the journey even more than the destination.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Another showing

We had another showing of our house today. This one came at much less notice, just a few hours as I was sitting down to get Rinnah to take a nap and then work on garage sale items. We didn't want to say no though, so we hid the piles of laundry we had just taken out of the truck & camper and did a quick cleaning job to make the house presentable. In some ways it was easier since we hadn't been around for a few days.

I've been working on getting more things ready for the next garage sale, since quite a lot of our things weren't priced and ready for the last one. Other than that, I feel like we're almost to a standstill with progress on moving into the trailer. We've eliminated most items from our house that aren't either a) being used regularly or b) serving a decorative purpose for showing the house. I think we're going to have a few slow weeks and then a crazy crunch right at the end to get everything out.

My brother Jon is in town this week, and it's been nice to spend some time with him. The next time we'll see him is when we're in Colorado. Hopefully we'll get to play some board games together before he leaves.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Home for awhile

Ian was quite disappointed when we went to our old house for his nap and bedtime today. "I want sleep new house!" he kept saying. I'm glad to know he likes the new house!

I cleared most of our stuff out of the trailer today, so I can just get the last few things tomorrow. Then I just need to get through the mountain of laundry from the weekend and we'll be back to where we started. I still have a lot to do to get ready for our next garage sale and pack up more things. Some days I feel like I'm holding back and I'd love to move into the trailer tomorrow, but other days I feel like 7 weeks is nowhere near what we need to get everything done.

We did find out that we left our jackets in West Chicago (doesn't that sound like a song?) yesterday. *smacks forehead loudly* We have got to figure out how NOT to leave a scattered trail of belongings across the western United States when we leave. Oh well, at least our friend is gracious enough to mail them back to us. Ian will be excited to get another visit from the brown truck.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Back in Jacksonville

Today was a very full day.

We left Milwaukee at 8:30am (pat on the back to us for leaving that early!) in the middle of icky weather-40 degrees and rainy. We drove to West Chicago to meet up with a friend from our days at church in Wheaton, IL. It was really great to see her. We had a delicious lunch with her and some nice time to chat. And surprisingly, Ian was actually very well-behaved while we were there. I was impressed.

We were hoping to meet up with another friend too, but unfortunately the timing didn't work out. So we hit the road for the long trip home. We made it back to Jacksonville late, so we're camping at Grandma Fox's house tonight and Jeremy will head back to work in the morning while I clean up the trailer and take Ian to his speech appointment.

All in all, I think this weekend was very helpful for us. Jeremy did awesome driving and I think he's feeling a lot more confident about that. We learned a few things, like a GPS with lane assist will be bumped up a lot higher on our priority list. Also some bungee cords and/or duct tape to keep the steps from flying open again while driving down the highway-wasn't in the original budget, but we think it should be now. :)

I honestly thought that after moving in supplies for a weekend, we'd be feeling worried about fitting everything in. But there are many, many cabinets that are still empty and the only thing in our large basement storage is strollers. I'm feeling very good about the storage space available. We also have some more ideas on furniture layouts that we want to try.

This weekend really gave us a taste of what things will be like, and everything is better than we had expected. We are even more excited now about being able to hit the road for good in a few more weeks. We just have a lot to do to get ready to go!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Lots of fun

This morning we headed off to the zoo first thing. We got there shortly after they opened at 9 and I'm glad we did. We were able to spend about an hour and a half looking around before meeting up with my friends. Ian got to see penguins, impalas, lions, cheetahs, jaguars, and lots of geese and ducks.

Ian with the jaguar

From Milwaukee Trip

Kim & Rinnah
From Milwaukee Trip

Around 10:30 we headed out to meet our friends, but by this point it was raining fairly hard. So we decided to go out to a place called Monkey Joe's instead.

That turned out to be an awesome plan. Monkey Joe's is an indoor place filled with all sorts of inflatable bounce houses, obstacle courses, and big slides. Ian LOVED it! He was climbing, bouncing, diving, jumping, and laughing like crazy. I think it may have been his favorite thing we have ever done. He was smiling and laughing constantly until he just was too tired to climb anything anymore. Needless to say, he is now enjoying a nice long nap.

It was a shame not to be able to visit with my friends as much, since all of our kids were running everywhere, but I still got to chat with them here and there and it was worth it since Ian had such an awesome time.

Ian & Jeremy on the slide
From Milwaukee Trip

After the first time, he wanted to go on the slides by himself, he just needed help getting to the top.
From Milwaukee Trip

The whole group (well, except for the five dads who took the pictures)
From Milwaukee Trip

And here are some pictures from the museum yesterday. One of Ian's favorite things was making change at the cash register:
From Milwaukee Trip

Rinnah liked a small climber toy
From Milwaukee Trip

Friday, April 24, 2009

Children's Museum

Today I took Ian and Rinnah to the children's museum in Bloomington. They had a blast! Hopefully soon we'll have a better connection so I can upload some pictures. Ian was able to do and enjoy so much more than he was when we went last summer, and it was neat to hear him talking about what he was doing. Rinnah loved the area for little kids, especially the slide and a little padded climber toy.

After the museum we came back for lunch. Both kids fell asleep for 15 minutes in the car which apparently was enough to sabotage naptime for both of them. That was disappointing, but at least it meant that Rinnah slept in the car the first few hours. We drove a little over four hours today, which I think was two too many. Halfway there Ian started whining that he was "all done riding big truck". It was a long trip. At least we're not planning on doing that very often.

We arrived at our campsite just after 8, and Ian had been asleep for 20 minutes and Rinnah was very close. We were able to get Ian back down pretty easily, so Jeremy stayed with the kids while I went out with three other moms I've been friends with online for over three years now, since we were all pregnant with babies born in September 2006. It was so great just to get out for a few hours and chat with other ladies. I really appreciated that yime.

Tomorrow we go to the zoo! The weather forecast is king of iffy, so hopefully we won't have much trouble with storms. Ian's going to love the animals.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

First night camping, first minor disaster

Today was the beginning of our first real trip-no dealer training wheels for us this time.

We started off, in typical Weatherford fashion, leaving about an hour later than we said we would. Oops! At any right, we did finally hit the road. We already love our "Exit Now" book which tells us where there are large-vehicle friendly parking lots to stop at. Since we left so late, we didn't want to wait until we got to the campsite to make dinner, so we stopped at a truck plaza and had some really delicious sub sandwiches. Highly recommend "SubWorks" at the Lincoln IL travel plaza.

We pulled into our campsite a little after 8pm. There was lightning everywhere and the wind was picking up, so we figured we were pulling in just in time. We checked in, got our spot, and left the kids in the car while we tried to get things set up as quickly and quietly as possible, given that it was very dark by this point. We got the power and water hooked up, lowered the jacks, and went in to put the slides out.

That's when I heard an unsettling sound, the sound of water rushing in the kitchen. Apparently the faucet was left on, which wouldn't have been a problem except for these great cutting board inserts we have for the sink, which we thought were great for keeping dish soap and things from flying out of the sink while driving. Turns out they also keep water from coming in. Water was pouring all over the floor.

Thankfully, after sacrificing Ian's bath towel, we found that most of the water had been contained to the tile area. A few scrap pieces of carpet filling in as rugs were wet, and there was one part of the carpet that was pretty soaked. But the island containing the kids' clothes was apparently well-sealed, so the damage was minor. We figured something would go wrong the first night; at least it was minor and easily fixed. It was kind of funny now that we think about it.

The kids were exhausted after such a long trip and being up so late, so we didn't have too many protests at bedtime. It's just after 10 and they're *fingers crossed* asleep, so we're ready to head to bed for the night.

Once it's daylight, we'll try to get some pictures of our new rig at the campsite.

We asked Ian what our truck's name is, and he said "Sofa". So much for getting a cute name from the two year old. :) After we asked him a few more times, it morphed into "Soba", so as long as we can verify that it's not a swear word in Chinese or something, we may adopt that as the name of our truck.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Less than two months

until we leave!

We went over to the trailer today while the realtor had our house open, and once again Ian was convinced we were moving in. We told him yesterday about how we'd be going to the zoo in a few days to see his friends, so as soon as we got in the trailer he said, "animal trip?" Poor guy! Maybe we should stop telling him we're going places until we're actually on our way.

We did finish getting the water tanks cleaned out (they had been sitting with bleach water to sanitize them) and I brought over a bunch of things for our trip this weekend. I was pleasantly surprised at how little room we actually took up with the food, toys, and clothes that I brought today. Obviously we'll have quite a lot more when we're actually moving in, but I think the storage is more than adequate. It will just be a matter of good organization so things are easy to get to.

Tomorrow the plan is for me to do some grocery shopping and finish loading the trailer during the day. Once Jeremy's done with work, we'll be hitting the road as soon as possible to stay at a campground near Bloomington. This way on Friday we can try out our basic day idea-I'll take the kids to the children's museum in the morning while Jeremy works in the trailer, then come back so we can have lunch together and the kids can take a nap. Once the kids are up from their nap (hopefully around 3 or 3:30), we'll hit the road to go the rest of the way to Milwaukee Friday night. Saturday we'll meet our friends at the zoo-it sounds like 9 or 10 families are planning on coming now, so that should be a lot of fun.

We're excited about taking our first real trip!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A little brag

Just wanted to brag about my husband a little bit.

He always helps around the house. He does all the dishes and yard work, and helps with other cleaning too. He values what I do all day and always is ready to help when he's finished with work. Today I was out with the kids doing grocery shopping when he finished work, and when I came home he was washing dishes. I'd never find him lounging in front of the tv expecting to have the evening to relax after working all day. We are really a team with everything around here, and I love that about him.

Some of my online buddies have been commiserating lately about their husbands acting like the wives don't do anything all day, and the husbands expect to have a couple evenings a week and sometimes an entire weekend to disappear with buddies while the wives never get a break....I am so thankful that my husband isn't like that. He is considerate and respectful and thoughtful. This was a good reminder about what a great husband I have. I am so excited to take this RV trip with him!

Monday, April 20, 2009

It works!

The pump works! And it turned out that we didn't feel stupid AND we didn't have to take it in-the best of both worlds I guess. The dealer said it sounded like an air lock-some kind of bubble in the pipes preventing the pump from being primed-and gave us a few things to try to get the bubbles out. They didn't work. But I did manage to get it working by running the pump while it was hooked up to the hose. The dealer didn't sound too confident that this actually fixed it, but hey, it sure looked like it to me. At any rate, the pump works and it didn't cost us anything to fix it.

We are still trying to figure out furniture arrangement. I feel like there is enough room there, it's just how to make the best use of the space. We have basically three areas to work with, and they need to be our dining area, kids' sleeping area, living room seating, toy storage, and play area. We have a folding table, folding chairs, and collapsible beds. We'd like to not have to fold up the table every time the kids need to sleep. And we need some comfortable furniture for the living room-we have recliners or a sofa, but I don't think we can have both. So many possibilities.

When we got ready to go to the new house today, I think Ian thought we were moving in. He refused to leave without his new bed (which he still refuses to sleep in) and was quite upset when we left without Rinnah's new bed. He went to the playroom and picked about three toys, and he was ready to go! I'm glad he only needs the basics. :) He was kind of disappointed when we came home for lunch.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Getting ready for a trip

We're starting to get ready for our trip this weekend. We're going to Milwaukee to meet up with some friends who have kids Ian's age. We'll go to the zoo, and we're going to stop by and hopefully see a few people in the Chicago area on our way home. Still trying to figure out the details on where to stay, but I'm sure it will work out.

I am a little concerned about the kids sleeping though. We brought their new beds in the house and set them up, trying to get the kids used to them so it wouldn't be such a huge adjustment. Totally backfiring. Rinnah stopped napping since we brought hers in, and Ian loves to 'jump' on his-well, really more of a full-force belly flop than a jump-but won't actually sleep in it. They've got to adjust eventually....right?

I also need to call the dealer tomorrow about the water pump. Hopefully they'll say something like, "Did you open the thingamajig first?" and we'll feel dumb but relieved. I'd rather not have to take it all the way to Chatham again to be repaired.

In non-rv news, Ian has started a new bedtime tradition. When he gets ready for bed, he has me and Jeremy sit down while he sits in the big rocking chair, and he sings us a song. It's adorable! Every once in awhile there's an intelligible word like "truck", but mostly he's just babbling in a sing-song voice. It's so precious. I hope he'll do it for the video camera sometime soon.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Driving practice

Jeremy and I went out to a big parking lot today to practice driving and backing up the trailer. Wow, was that an eye-opening experience. We learned several important lessons.

1. The mirrors on the truck are basically useless when backing up. Oh, sure, we could probably see if we were about to be clobbered by a tree, but they wouldn't help us avoid that. Something about the mirrors really distorts the angles of the truck and trailer, so it's very disorienting to try to use them to navigate.

2. Giving directions is just as difficult, if not moreso, than driving. Thanks to our first discovery, we realized the easiest way to park is just to drive blindly following the directions of the person standing outside and watching the trailer. Except for straightening out the truck to line up with the trailer, this approach was a lot easier. Definitely requires good communication and good directions from the spotter.

3. Our fear of right-hand turns is completely justified. It is impossible to make a sharp right-hand turn without either using two lanes on the street you're turning onto or driving over the curb by about three feet.

4. Little orange soccer cones were not built to withstand being run over by a 12,000 pound trailer.

It was a very helpful experience. We'll definitely do it again. It does help to have more of a feel for how wide the turns are, rather than just aimlessly taking corners as widely as possible. And we are not nearly so intimidated by the thought of a campsite where we need to back in-that was much easier than we expected.

I worked a little in the camper today too. I took out the dinette table and chairs, and tried the folding table and chairs we have. That actually gave us a nice little area. Realistically, we aren't going to want to fold up the table and chairs twice a day for the kids to take naps and go to bed, but it will be good to have the space available if we need it or want it on occasion.

We tried to fill the fresh water tank to sterilize it with bleach, but ran into some trouble when we couldn't get the water pump working. We'll have to call the dealer on Monday. We didn't actually use it at our walkthrough, but that's just because it was another thing we didn't realize we needed to test. It would be nice if the dealer made us feel silly because we missed some valve somewhere, but if there's really a problem I hope they'll take care of it for us.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Campground memberships

I've been looking around at different campground memberships, and I'm so not sure what we need or would use.

There are some mega-expensive nationwide plans out there-like $1000 for a previously purchased membership + $750 transfer fee + $500 annual dues. Believe it or not, that's a bargain compared to buying a new one. It does include 50 days of camping per year and some discounts beyond that, but there are a lot of rules and limited availability. It didn't take long to rule that one out. I don't think it would be worthwhile for only 2 years, and even if it were, I don't think we'd want to put out that much cash up front.

Then there are a slew of programs with annual membership fees of less than $100 that give you various discounts per night. I think that two or three of these would definitely be worthwhile, but it's so hard to figure out which ones will be where we want to stay (especially since we don't know where we want to stay!) and which ones would be available when we want them.

Some people have also had good luck just negotiating a cheaper rate with campgrounds when they plan to stay for a week or more at a time, so that might be a possibility for us too. It's a shame we can't do much workamping. It'd be nice to get the free campsite, but most places want you to stay for at least a few months and work 15-20 hours a week, which doesn't really fit with our current plans. It's a good emergency backup anyhow.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

So much for that idea

Well, we don't have a screen room installed. It's the wrong size for our awning, so I have to figure out how we can exchange it. Bummer.

We did get the rest of our things from amazon. We got a tire gauge that's huge-long enough to reach to the inner wheel of the pair on our truck & trailer. We also got a water filter for the RV, a heavy duty flashlight, and a set of orange cones so we can practice driving on Saturday.

This morning I took the kids to Springfield to meet up with my babywearing friends at the park. It had been a few months since I'd been able to go, and it was nice to catch up with people. It's amazing how much bigger all their kids are-I remember some of them from a year or two ago. Somehow it seems like they are aging faster than my kids. Probably since I only see them every few months.

It was a little strange to see a three month old who was only a pound lighter and an inch shorter than Rinnah. My little peanut is so tiny and petite! It's nice to be able to carry her easily and keep her rearfacing forever, but I hope she hits a little growth spurt soon.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

More practice

Today we went over and hitched up the trailer (using our brand-new checklist!) and brought it over to the local RV dealer who will install the snaps for our screen room tomorrow. It actually went really smoothly. Granted, we didn't have to dump any tanks and there was hardly anything to pack up, but it still went faster than I was expecting. It's seeming a lot less overwhelming now that we've done it a few times, and we know what we're supposed to do. The checklist helped me feel more confident too.

We also got our tire inflator today-that was some fast shipping from amazon!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

We have power!

I stopped by our local RV dealer today and picked up some converters so we can connect our fifth wheel to a household outlet. Now we're hooked up to power at my mom's house, so the battery should be charging. We're not planning on moving in, but it will be nice to be able to move the slides and turn on the lights.

We also made an appointment for them to drill the holes to install the snaps for our screen room this week. And we ordered some supplies from Amazon, like a water filter and some bright orange cones. We're planning on taking some time this weekend to practice driving (and backing up) the trailer, plus taking care of some minor maintenance issues. We'll sterilize the water tank, fit some filters for the furnace vents to prevent small toys or credit cards from being dropped in, and install the toilet paper holder. Exciting stuff.

Monday, April 13, 2009


Today was relatively quiet, which was nice. We went to Wal-mart to get some groceries. After the registers they have some of those toys that you can put quarters in and ride around. We've never actually done it for him. Since he was good, we went over there and I let him sit in it. Immediately he says, "broke! toy broke!" as he's spinning the wheel on the fire truck. I felt kind of bad that he thought it was always broken. That's probably what we told him last time we didn't want to spend fifty cents. LOL Since we had a few extra minutes before we needed to leave and he'd been really good shopping, I put in the quarters. You should have seen his face when the lights came on, and the music started, and the toy started rocking side to side. He was SO excited. It just made his day.

We're working on ordering some supplies for the RV. Hopefully we'll be able to get the grommets installed for our screen room this week. Jeremy and I are both a bit squeamish about actually drilling into the outside walls ourselves, so we'll be happy to pay a skilled person to do that for us. And we're prioritizing our list for what we need by next week, when we take a practice trip up to Milwaukee.

Just over two months until we're on the road!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!

Today was Easter! It was a wonderful day celebrating the resurrection of our Lord. We went to church, had lunch with my mom, and Ian even got to have a little Easter egg hunt in her travel trailer. After naptime, we came home and called Jeremy's parents on Skype. It was a nice day.

Yesterday afternoon, after the garage sale was over, and today both, we had quiet afternoons. It was really wonderful to have a little slower day. It's been weeks now that we've been going practically nonstop. I almost felt guilty because there was something else I should be doing. And there probably was. But we still very much enjoyed the chance to sit and relax for awhile during the day when we weren't too exhausted to appreciate it.

I think things will be slowing down a bit now, finally. We just need to maintain our house for awhile. The van is sold, the truck is bought and here, and the camper is here. We've got some shopping to do, and we really need to practice driving the camper, but it should be at a more realistic pace now for the next few weeks before we have another big push to get things ready to leave.

I was thinking again today about how a financial adviser would probably tell us this whole thing is a pretty ridiculous idea. We bought a vehicle new and sold it less than 6 months later. We're selling our home to buy an asset that depreciates in value instead of appreciating. We turned down a sizable bonus and raise for Jeremy by not moving to Cleveland. We're not buying a house when interest rates are at record lows. But you know what? I think our lives will be much richer this way. I am so thankful that Jeremy and I are on the same page and that neither of us is primarily motivated by money. Our lives would be a lot less interesting if we were basing our decisions solely on which would put us ahead financially. And I'm glad we'll be able to teach our kids that there are more important things than money to base your decisions on-go where God leads you, and do what's best for your family. All the rest will fall into place.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Garage Sale

Today was a much bigger success for the garage sale. In fact, we made nearly double the money I was hoping for. Woohoo! We can really get a list together now of the things we need for the camper and start shopping.

It was both exciting and dismaying to see this all come together. I was shocked at how many things I had out, and priced, even though there were boxes and boxes more still to be priced and organized. I was very happy to see the totals so much higher than I had hoped, but also quite appalled that we had so much junk that we haven't been using and probably will never miss. Granted, not all of it was junk-a lot of it was things that I had gotten paid to take home from Walgreens and was now selling for a profit, like Glade flameless candles and toothbrushes-but a lot of it really was just junk. Here are a few pictures of the tables set up. Most of this is ours. A little is my mom's, but then again these pictures were taken after the first rush died down and a lot of things had already sold.

More on our first day in the new house

The first day in the new house was not what we expected. We had ended up staying a good part of the day waiting for the truck to be repaired. So for awhile, Jeremy was working, Rinnah was taking a nap, we had already done our walkthrough, but I couldn't go anywhere because Rinnah may wake up and we were waiting to hear back about the truck. All that meant Ian and I had some time where we needed to be out of the camper but couldn't leave the campground. We went over to the playground and he really enjoyed himself. It was kind of strange to be forced to sit still, since we've been working at a breakneck pace to get the house ready and get everything in order for picking up the camper. But it was really nice too. I kept thinking about how great it will be when we have more time for moments like that, just enjoying the nice day at the playground. Sure, I'll still need to cook, clean, and run errands. But I'm really hoping that by spending less time cleaning, and less time taking care of our stuff, that I'll have more time to just focus on the kids and enjoy the outdoors. And it will also be neat to be able to visit so many different museums and parks.

Here's Ian on the playground:

Playing with sticks

This swing was hung at the perfect height for him

Oh, and our camper is officially christened by Ian. Within 30 minutes of getting inside, he had crunched cheese crackers into the carpet, broken a toy, and peed on the floor. Ah, the joy of toddlers.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Total Failure

Our first attempt at a garage sale-utter failure.

It was about 50 degrees and spitting rain here. By the time I got over to the house (I won't even go into that story) Mom, David, and Michael were already putting tables outside. Mom had some gazebo things that she thought would keep things dry, but it was a total bust. Everything was soaked and after less than an hour I said forget it and we brought it all back in. Thankfully not everything had made it outside, so all my scrapbooking supplies are still good, and we brought things in before everything was ruined. But a lot of the cardboard boxes are warped, and the clothes are soaked...I hope everything dries out by tomorrow. It's not supposed to rain tomorrow, so maybe it will go better.

The good news is I sold $67.75 worth of stuff and you can hardly see a difference.

Edited to add: Someone else stopped by and bought our jumperoo! Now we've passed the $100 mark with lots to go. :)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Good experience

Our first night (and day) in our new house didn't go quite as smoothly as we hoped, but overall it was a good experience.

We had some snafus with the truck-we had to replace a valve stem on a tire, and then a battery. That took awhile, but two repair places later it was done. We did get to do the walk through, although not quite as leisurely or as thoroughly as I had hoped. I had to put Rinnah down for a nap during the time, and keep Ian entertained. About half of it got on the video. Hopefully we'll be able to keep everything straight.

We did not get to practice driving though. Because of the snafus with the truck and how long they took to fix, I ended up coming home with the kids before we even got to pull the trailer. Jeremy didn't get any practice, he just hopped straight on the highway and managed to drive safely to our old church to park for the weekend. Maybe next weekend we'll be able to get some orange cones and go out to a big abandoned parking lot and do some practice, because right now both of us are pretty intimidated about the idea of backing that monster into a spot at a campground.

The night and day in the trailer was a very helpful though, just to get a feel for what things will be like. There are several things on our shopping list that have jumped up in priority. We also have some ideas on furniture layouts. I think we're going to ditch all the living room furniture that came with the trailer, and see if we can find a different couch to put on the side with tall windows. That will be our only furniture then, leaving plenty of room for the kids' beds and toys. We got them these beds that fold up small and fast.

I think they're the perfect combination for us between being big enough for Ian, even when he is 4, and being small enough to not take up a ton of space when we have two set up in the living room. And with one side of the room free of permanent furniture, they should fit much better.

It was nice to see that all the sewer/water/electric hookup stuff was easier than we expected. I think maintenance will be very doable and take less time than we thought, as long as we can keep checklists and reminders for seasonal things. That's reassuring.

In the middle of trying to get the truck fixed so we could bring the trailer home, we got a call that someone wants to see our house tomorrow. Yes, this is good news, but made the rest of the day rather insane! I took the kids to my mom's house, put Ian down for a nap and then worked on pricing and organizing things for our garage sale which starts tomorrow morning. Eventually Jeremy was able to pick up the trailer and bring it to town. We got that parked, then he helped with the kids and garage sale stuff until we really had to get home to get the kids in bed. Then we did a quick clean of the house so it will be ready to show. Still not sure exactly how things will be working in the morning with vehicles, but we'll figure it out.

Wouldn't it be something if the people liked the house and we ended up needing to move into the trailer a month early!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Our first night

I'm writing this from our new house, as we spend our first night here!

We're at the dealership's campground doing our introductory stay. It hasn't exactly gone how we planned. We tried to come early to practice driving the trailer. We learned how to hitch the trailer, but the air in one tire was low and there was a problem with the valve preventing us from filling it. So Jeremy took the truck to a tire repair place while I measured closets and things in the trailer. The tire place couldn't fix it, so they sent Jeremy to a dealer. I picked him up while the campground moved our trailer to a spot for us. We got the very brief tour (20 minutes of how to hook up power & water, operate the slideouts, operate the furnace, & flush the toilet) and were sent on our way for the evening. I really want to do a good thorough job going over the trailer, looking at the roof and the outside and checking all the little details, but I don't know when we're going to get to do that now.

Jeremy needs to work in the morning, and obviously we won't be bringing this trailer home with our little Pontiac Vibe, so I think it will depend on what's up with the tire for what we do tomorrow. I'd love to bring the trailer home, but not without getting to really look closely at it. We'll see what happens.

As far as our actual stay, it's going pretty well so far! I managed to use both the stove and the microwave part of the microwave/oven combo for dinner, and then I baked brownies in the oven part. Not a gourmet meal, but everything worked. We decided we definitely need carpet protector under the dinette. Then the kids had bathtime (one at a time) and got ready for bed. Rinnah went to sleep without much more trouble than usual, but Ian had a very hard time settling down. I think it was just all the new place/new bed/new routine. He did eventually go to sleep though. We've got power and water, and are connected to campground wifi.

It's really exciting to get a better picture of how everything is going to work. We've just got to figure out what we really need and how best to store/organize it. I think this is going to be nice and cozy for us. I'm very excited about the view from the dining table changing every week or so. It's fun to imagine mountains, or a lake, or a forest, or a good friend's home outside that window.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

It's here!

Jeremy made it back with our new truck today! So far the only downside is that there's only one key, so we'll need to get some copies made. We'll have a mechanic take a look at it soon. It's very nice so far-all the features we wanted without any of the ones we didn't want to pay for. And tomorrow we'll be able to pull right up to our trailer and hitch on to bring it home on Thursday. Pics will follow tomorrow, since it's already dark tonight.

It's all becoming a little more real now, seeing the truck in our driveway instead of a minivan. We're getting excited! So far we've spent all this time moving out of our house, it will be exciting to work on moving in to the trailer.

Tomorrow night we'll be spending the night in the camper, at the dealer's campground. That will be an adventure-getting kids to sleep in a new bed in a new place, learning how to work all the systems, trying to get a feel for what furniture we'll want where. A big step closer to our final goal!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Add one more to the list

of things we said we'd never do, then actually did.

We bought a truck today on ebay. We didn't even know about this truck yesterday. But we looked this morning and there it was, a pretty blue, with a heavy duty fifth wheel hitch already installed, automatic...pretty much everything we were hoping to find down to the stereo with an aux input. And it was cheaper than any other truck we looked at. It's in Chicago, so Jeremy's going to pick it up tomorrow.

We also sold our van today to the dealer. We may have come out ahead in the long run by waiting for a private seller, but we needed the truck and we know we'll need to buy gear for the camper, so rather than have our cash tied up in an extra car payment each month we went for the quick sale. I think we actually did really well considering we bought a brand new car and then sold it to a dealer less than six months later.

We're becoming kind of impulsive, spontaneous people, aren't we?

Sunday, April 5, 2009


The open house went really well. Our realtor was nearly speechless with how the house looked. I think the low expectations may have worked in our favor. She couldn't believe the change we'd made this week. It really does look pretty good, I must say. I can't really relax here because I feel such pressure to keep everything looking clean and neat, but I do feel like I can breathe easier with so much less stuff lying around. At the same time, I can see why people who live in RVs for awhile see 'stick houses' as a big waste of space. Now that we've cleared out so many things we don't actually use, there is a LOT of open space that isn't really serving any purpose.

We're pretty worn out from all the work on the house, but at least maintenance should be a little easier than it was to get it this way. Think we could just let the kids live in the little house in the backyard until the house sells? Things would stay a lot cleaner that way.

This week we'll be learning the ropes on our new home! Hopefully we'll have a truck to take it home with us by the end of the week, but that's still very much a work in progress.

Saturday, April 4, 2009


Well, the house is pretty much ready, believe it or not. I'm sure our realtor will be pleasantly surprised. We hadn't exactly given her a lot of confidence when she came by on Wednesday. Jeremy has done a ton of work around the house and yard, touching up paint, taking care of the lawn, and fixing random things that were wearing out. I've kept working on the stuff issue, packing, sorting, pricing, and cleaning. Today we both hit things hard and now, at 11:45pm, I think we're pretty much ready for the open house. All we have to do is wash our breakfast dishes, put the laundry in the hamper, and keep the kids from undoing all our hard work before we leave for church.

The house looks better than it ever has since we've lived here. I hope someone comes to the open house tomorrow and falls in love with it. It really is a nice house. If it had wheels, we'd definitely be keeping it.

Friday, April 3, 2009

The days are blurring together

We have been working our tailfeathers off these last few days trying to get the house ready for the open house this Sunday and also trying to buy a truck so we can go pick up our new house next Tuesday. Craziness! So much sorting, packing, scrubbing, painting...it is going to be such a relief when we're done with all this. When we picked a date to have our house on the market, I wasn't really thinking we'd be moved out by then, but in many ways it feels like we have to be.

We do have some promising leads on selling our van and we've found another truck that would work well for us (the first one didn't work out), so things are encouraging on that front. Hopefully our house will move quickly too and we'll be free once we hit the road.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

We are not our stuff

We didn't really think of ourselves as people who had a lot of stuff. For the 2005-2006 school year, we lived in Thailand with what fit in four 70 pound suitcases. It seemed like so little when we were packing, yet when we arrived we had more than we needed and wished we had packed less. In fall of 2006 we returned to the US, had our first baby, and moved into our first house. The following spring we purchased our first home, a three bedroom home with a partially finished basement, about 2100 square feet. Neither of us are big spenders or shoppers and we considered our home very modestly furnished without a lot of 'things'. Every time we moved, including moving into this home, we sold, gave away, or tossed many items.

So how is it that in the two years we lived in this home, we accumulated so many things? Something about having the space made us no longer need to continue to purge items we don't need, and we acquired more toys and furniture as we added to our family. It still didn't seem like a lot until we decided to move into an RV and get rid of all the things we no longer needed or used. We were ashamed to see how many things that really was. Box after box was filled. We rented a 14 foot truck at one point to move things out before selling our house, and our house was still more than adequately furnished after that. All over the world, there are families whose entire home is the size of that truck. And here we are, filling it with just some of our excess. It was enough to make us sick. Have we really been good stewards of our resources? We say that things aren't our focus, that people are more important, but are we really teaching our children that by the way we live? How many hours have been spent taking care of this stuff we don't even need-cleaning, organizing, and picking up-that could have been spent playing with our kids?

We are looking forward to this time to see how little we really and truly need in the way of 'things'. We'll go back to talking and playing games together instead of each person having their own toys to play with. And hopefully we'll shed the need to always be looking for our next new thing, and instead focus on the next new place we'll experience as a family and the next new friend we'll make along the way.

More of the same

So, aside from the fact that we're still rather disgusted with ourselves that we had enough junk we don't really need to fill a 14 foot U-haul, today was a pretty good day. I found my missing van keys, and we found Rinnah's missing pacifier. Jeremy got mirrored closet doors hung in Rinnah's room which really brightens things up in there. And I got more stuff sorted, priced, stored, and pitched.

You know, when we were in the earlier stages of planning this (like 3 or 4 weeks ago), I would read on forums where people were in a similar spot to us, only they were planning on leaving in spring 2010 or even 2011. That made me kind of nervous and rightfully so. This would have been a whole lot easier if we had given ourselves more than four months. Well, next time we want to sell 80% of our belongings, including a house and two vehicles, we'll know better.

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