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Sunday, May 31, 2009


Today was a nice day. We went to church, then had lunch with my mom, then we came back to the house. While the kids took their naps, we cleaned up the house for the showing. Then we went shopping for a few things for the RV while we had to be away from the house. Wal-mart apparently has a seasonal RV section which was nice, since we avoided paying shipping on several of the things we still needed.

When we took the things back to the trailer, we managed to fix the furnace vents. When we had the water tank repaired, the mechanic forgot to put that part back together, so he had mailed us some foil tape to fix some parts. We finally got that taken care of.

It's so hard to believe that tomorrow is June! June has seemed so far away, but now it's right here. Less than three weeks until we leave!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Big workday

Today was our big workday. We actually got a whole lot done.

I took another couple of things over to my mom's house, but more importantly, I organized all of our "resupply" boxes-the boxes that my mom will either send us or bring with her when she meets up with us on the road. Thanks to my couponing, we have plenty of shampoo, conditioner, body wash, soap, cleaning supplies, etc. to last us well beyond the two years we're planning even after the garage sales. Since I'm not sure if I'll be able to find newspapers regularly, I don't want to count on being able to get more while we're traveling. Plus, we already have this stuff anyway. And knowing that I've been getting all of that for free or better, I just don't think I could handle walking into Wal-mart and paying $3.99 for a bottle of shampoo. This way, we won't have to buy those things, but we won't need to make room for two years worth of shampoo and toothpaste, plus I know my mom will enjoy being able to help us out by bringing the boxes.

I also organized the things that are already in the trailer. I've managed to free up so many storage tubs at home that now we have more than will fit in the trailer, so I need to add a few tubs to my pile of things to return to the stores. I'm still feeling very good about the space we have in the trailer for storage. Hopefully we still feel good about it in a few more weeks.

While I was working on that, Jeremy did a lot of cleaning. Someone is coming to see our house tomorrow, and Jeremy was awesome and did a lot of the sweeping, vacuuming, and scrubbing. Tomorrow afternoon while the kids are asleep we'll just have to clean up the last bit of toys and breakfast crumbs.

After we show the house tomorrow, the next item on the agenda is getting ready for Jeremy's parents coming. Yea! We are really looking forward to their visit.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Another day, another truckload of stuff

We brought a whole truckload of stuff over to my mom's for storage again today. It makes me wish I had more time to really weed through everything and sell more of it off. There shouldn't be this many things that we can live without for two years but we still want when we come back. Oh well, it is what it is because we're in a hurry.

Tomorrow is our last big workday until crunch week. Jeremy's parents are coming this Saturday (woohoo!) and on Friday my brother is graduating from high school. I'm hoping to pack up the boxes for our resupply (my mom will either bring them when she meets up with us or ship them to us) and finish organizing the boxes already in storage so the space will be ready to just bring in all the furniture when we move it over. We also need to get some of the smaller touches done on the trailer, like buying screws to mount the toilet paper holder. Small but important details. :)

It's going to be a fun couple of months. We're really excited to have Jeremy's parents here-they haven't seen the kids in person since last summer shortly after Rinnah was born. And soon after that we'll start on our adventures, and the first month or so is packed with fun adventures and visits with friends and family.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

More preparations

Jeremy has really been helping a lot around the house lately, and Rinnah was very cooperative during Ian's nap so I got several more boxes packed today. I'm hoping to make our move on the 19th as easy as possible, since we're trying to take only one day to

-move all the furniture out of our house and into storage at my mom's,
-move everything we need into the trailer
-clean our entire house

and somehow squeeze in meals and naps for the kids.

There's a lot we can't pack up yet, since Jeremy's parents are coming and obviously we'll want to have a place for them to sleep, and chairs to sit in, and food to eat. But there are still some things to pack and sort. Today I sorted through most of our medicine and decided what to take and what to pack in a resupply box. I've also packed up the cases to our dvds (we're just bringing the movies in a big album) and all our music cds. Lots of these things I wish we had more time to sort/sell/give away, but we're feeling kind of crunched so it's just winding up in boxes. We'll probably be kicking ourselves when we have to unpack it all again.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Love the stroller

Wow, we should have bought this earlier!

This thing is amazing. I can push and steer it with one hand, even with both kids in it. On our first walk, Rinnah fell asleep. Rinnah, who hasn't gone to sleep for me in less than 45 minutes for the last three weeks. She fell asleep. So I came home for the debit card and shopping list and we walked to Aldi, about a mile away. In the store, I felt like I could blow on the handlebar and that would be enough to push it. Super easy to steer and spun right around the corner. Rinnah ended up sleeping for most of the walk, about 45 minutes. I guess she loves the stroller too. Ian was excited about the huge canopies that actually come down far enough to keep the sun out of his eyes. And there was a perfect little handlebar console thing with pockets for my phone and keys. We took it for a walk to the park tonight, and Jeremy was equally impressed. Now we just need to find a deal on the waterproof bag so we can haul it around in the back of the truck.

From Preparations

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

New stroller!

We ordered a double stroller about a week and a half ago. It was a crazy 50% off coupon code and I wasn't sure if the place would honor it, but sure enough, we found a big box at our doorstep today when we got home from my brother's birthday dinner. It is a very snazzy stroller. The only disappointing thing is that the tires don't arrive inflated, so we need to take it down to the gas station to fill up the tires. Maybe tomorrow we can get it ready to go for a spin.

My camera also arrived today. Woohoo! Two great packages in one day. I haven't gotten to try it out yet, but the note said they found a problem with the circuit board and they supposedly fixed it so the error won't happen anymore. I sure hope it's fixed, because I have really missed my camera these last few weeks.

We also made an appointment today for a fourth try to get our screen room installed. Maybe this will be the time it really happens!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

We had big plans for today-we were going to go to Springfield and take the kids to the zoo, then come back to Jacksonville and have a cookout dinner at my mom's house.

Then last night the kids got hit hard with colds. Both of them were up most of the night, so much that I was never in bed for a 30 minute period myself. Jeremy was up a lot helping too. Between the fact that we were all exhausted this morning, compounded by the raging thunderstorms outside, we opted out of the zoo trip.

Instead we spent a lazier day with a cookout lunch at mom's, buying some lawn chairs, and organizing a few things in the trailer. Now that the couch is moved out we can get a better idea of how it's really going to be in there. It's so exciting every time we go in there to dream of all the places we'll be going and people we'll be seeing. We can hardly wait to hit the road!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Church nursery

Today we got to work in the 2 year old room at church. It was really neat to see Ian interact with a group of his peers, and to see the differences in personalities of the different kids.

We also got the couch moved out of the RV today to make room for our table. This way what started as the dinette will become the kids' sleeping area. The slide area in the living room which had the couch is where we'll put the table, so we can eat there and when the kids are in bed, we'll have a table for playing games away from the kids. We are still working out what sort of chair we can get for Jeremy to use in the bedroom, but I'm sure we'll find something.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Garage sale round 2

was a huge success! We sold many items and cleared out a lot of our excess. And the funds will help purchase the last few items we still need for the trailer. I'm glad that we're able to get so much more stuff out. Once again, it was shocking and appalling to see how much extra stuff we've had lying around, that quite honestly we would have just packed into boxes and dragged along to the next house if we weren't moving into the trailer. I'm so glad that we've had some prompting to do some serious housecleaning and cut down on our stuff.

We've been looking at some numbers for the "what if our house doesn't sell" option and it's actually looking a lot better than we had originally thought. We'll probably still leave in June, if we can get everything done. We're trying to figure out whether it's cheaper to come home in the fall (and turn on heat, internet, water, etc) or to stay camping in a warmer climate (and pay campground fees) but keep driving to a minimum and stay at places for a few weeks to a month and get cheaper campground fees. It's an interesting question-the numbers are a lot closer than we expected them to be.

Friday, May 22, 2009

More garage sale prep

We spent the whole day today at my mom's house again (well, except Jeremy who came after work) getting things ready for the garage sale. We picked up some extra tables from church, set up the tables, and organized things on the tables. This way in the morning, for the most part all we need to do is carry the tables outside and we're ready to go.

Ian has been wonderful these two days at mom's, and I've been able to do plenty of work while he's around. Rinnah has been far less cooperative, especially for naptimes, but we've done alright despite that. I really hope people come and buy most of this stuff from us, because I am tired of looking at it and a little disgusted/sad that we have it all to begin with. I think we'll be taking a big truckload of stuff over to Goodwill before we leave if the sale doesn't go over big.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Another first for Ian

Ian reached another milestone today-the first time he blamed his sister for something.

He couldn't find his toy 5th wheel, and when he did find it he claimed that Rinnah was playing with it and Rinnah moved it! Later he was looking for a pacifier at Grandma's house and it turned up on the floor next to the crib, and he said Rinnah dropped it. I guess that's an exciting stage to enter, huh?

Today was a big work day on the garage sale. I took the kids over to my mom's house and spent most of the day pricing and sorting more things, plus getting the trailer ready to move. After work Jeremy came and moved the trailer to the church parking lot and helped me price a few more things. I'll go back over tomorrow with the kids and we'll try to get a lot of things set out on tables so they'll be ready to go first thing Saturday morning. So far the weather report looks good. I hope we have a big turnout again like we did last time.


I went back to Walgreens last night since there are several money-making deals this week, and I wanted to get some more things to sell in our garage sale on Saturday. I walked in the door and saw that my arch-nemesis was working the cash register. She's the one who gives me the hardest time and scrutinizes my coupons like the money is coming from her own paycheck.

When I was finished shopping, I tried to find another place to check out, but hers was the only lane open. "Here we go," I thought to myself. I greeted her and put my items up on the counter. The first problem was with a pack of Boost Kid Essentials I bought for Ian. There was a $2 peelie coupon on the package that she insisted she HAD to use because she pulled it off the product. But I showed her that I had a $5 coupon from somewhere else. She kept saying that no, she had to use the peelie. She wouldn't let me keep the other coupon and threw it away when I insisted on the higher value one. Oh well, I wouldn't buy another with only $2 off anyway.

The next problem was an insect repellent that was on clearance for $3.59 and I had a $5 coupon. She just kept saying, "You already are getting this for only $3 and you want MORE off? No." I politely asked if we could run that by a manager, and it took some time because the manager was confused too, but eventually they rang up the item for $5 and let me use my coupon. Good enough.

Then she realized that the same thing was going to happen with the kids' drinks, since they rang up for $4.99 and I had $5 coupons. The manager just pushed that through since it was only a penny.

During this time she kept saying things like, "We all work hard for our money and you just want things for free!" "It's already on sale-you're getting this for only $5 and you want to use a coupon too?" "You always do this, you come in and you try to get things for free." I explained that yes, I do try to get things for free. We do all work hard for our money and my family is no exception-I consider it a 'job' to make my husband's paycheck go as far as possible. And no, I don't want to buy the product for $5-I want to buy it for free, because I do have a coupon. Walgreens still gets paid, just from the company instead of me.

She kept mumbling about how I was going to call district and complain. I did call district one time after three times in a week, the employees wouldn't let me use two register rewards (a walgreens coupon that prints at checkout) on the same transaction even though the fine print said I should be able to. And I didn't even name her name! But she says, "I know you called, and that's when they told us to keep an eye on you." They were 'watching' me long before I made that call.

The cashier couldn't keep her mouth shut and the manager eventually suggested that she go straighten up the candy aisle while he finished checking me out (and let me use my coupons). Overall, I found this whole thing a little amusing. Sometimes it gets to me and I get really frustrated that they make me feel like I'm stealing the products or something because I get things for free. But last night I just found it kind of entertaining. Maybe because things turned out my way in the end. At any rate, I did bring home two bags of things and got paid about $15 to do it, plus I have some more products to sell on Saturday and got a bunch of free things for us. Not bad for an hour's work.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Rinnah had her appointments today.

The first one was an eye appointment. I had heard great things about this doctor (a pediatric ophthalmologist) but maybe he was having an off day or something. He just seemed really cold to me and didn't want to answer my questions. At any rate, he agrees that she has bilateral blocked tear ducts. He showed me how to really massage her eyes to try to open them (turns out I wasn't doing it nearly hard enough) but said that by this point, my odds are maybe 5-10% of getting them to open without surgery. If they do the surgery, it's a super quick procedure, only about 5 minutes, but they do have to put her under general anesthesia for it which is a bit scary. The real issue is that even if we decide tomorrow that's what we're going to do, it will be a month before we can get a surgery appointment. Then she needs a followup appointment 6-8 weeks after the surgery. So you can see how this will run into our travel plans of leaving in a month. Lots to think about.

The second appointment was with a nutritionist/lactation consultant about Rinnah not wanting to eat. Of course, today she did fabulous. The lady did give me a lot of ideas on things to give her and ways to encourage her. She also gave us a special spoon that's flexible with nubby ends, and Rinnah seems to LOVE it. I think she ate more today off that spoon than she has eaten cumulatively in her life until today. The lady told us that Rinnah has all the skills right now to eat, but some babies have textural aversions to the smooth spoon. We never would have guessed the spoon was part of the problem. She also said that once Rinnah gains more confidence with eating things, like the cantaloupe yesterday and spooned things today, she'll probably be more willing to try new things. Overall that was a very encouraging visit.

Ian was very good for Jeremy when Jeremy picked him up from the friend's house after lunch to put him down for a nap, so we went to the park tonight as a reward. Once again Ian walked to the far away park all by himself, about a mile. (Well, we were with him of course, but he walked without us carrying him.) He wanted to walk home too, but it takes a REALLY long time to walk at his pace and we needed to eat dinner before dark!

Monday, May 18, 2009

My camera was received for repairs today, so hopefully in 7-10 business days I'll have it back and can start updating with new pictures again.

Rinnah had some labwork done today, finally. The nurses in the peds office tried last week, and the result was blown veins in both arms, a very traumatized little girl, and a big brother who did not understand why Rinnah kept crying and got owies at the doctors office. Today we went to the hospital lab. It still took several attempts and both arms, but it's done finally. Hopefully that will come back normal and reassure us that it's only because she's stubborn that she's not eating and staying so tiny.

She has two appointments tomorrow-one with the eye doctor because her eyes keep getting gooky and watery, like a tear duct still hasn't opened. The second is with a nutritionist who will hopefully give us some tricks to get her to eat more. That appointment seems to be helping already since Rinnah decided today that she loves cantaloupe and she finished most of a jar of carrots at dinner. I guess just the threat of going somewhere is helping. :)

Originally I was just going to bring Ian with me, but now with two appointments that span the lunch hour and guarantee that we'd be home at least two hours late for his nap, I think he's going to stay here. He'll go to his friend's house in the morning, then Jeremy can bring him home for his nap and *fingers crossed* he'll sleep until I get home.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Relaxing day

Today we had a nice quiet day. Church, lunch at my mom's, naptime for the kids, talking to Jeremy's parents on Skype, eating all the leftovers in the fridge for dinner, and going for a walk before bedtime. It was a really enjoyable day.

Still hoping someone buys our house soon, but we're becoming a little more open to the idea of only traveling for a few months, then coming back for a few months. I'd love to not have to make that call because I think it would be really disappointing to miss out on all our west coast explorations, but it would beat not being able to afford to eat until the house sold.

Off to an early bedtime tonight. Ian has not been sleeping well at all the last few weeks so we're exhausted. I hope tonight is better and we're able to recover somewhat.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Car seat check

Today Jeremy stayed with the kids while I worked at a car seat check in Springfield. I have a love-hate relationship with the car seat checks. I love helping kids, and I love empowering the parents to feel confident enough to install the seat on their own. But I get so frustrated when parents aren't willing to do what needs to be done to keep kids safe in the car, and I am sad about seeing some things, like a one year old kid in a booster.

Rinnah did not decide to cooperate and take milk from a cup, so Jeremy had to drive all the way up to Springfield so I could nurse her over lunch. At least the kids slept a good part of the way in the car.

Here's a new video of Rinnah:

Friday, May 15, 2009

Happy Anniversary!

Happy Anniversary to us! Today we've been married for 5 years. Honestly, it just makes us both feel really old. If you had asked me on our wedding day where we'd be now (5 years later), I never would have said still in Jacksonville, after living in Thailand, about to sell a house and move into an RV. I might have believed that we could have a couple of kids. But I would figure Jeremy would have just wrapped up his PhD and we'd be looking for a job. I think what actually happened has been way more exciting and rewarding than our original plan. I wonder where we'll be in another 5 years. Maybe we'll be making plans more than a few months in advance by then.

To celebrate, we bought some prime rib from a local butcher and had a candlelight dinner while the kids were at my mom's. It was SO wonderful to have a meal where we could finish our sentences and not have to get up and down 15 times to fetch replacement silverware, napkins, or drinks.

Our belated celebrations will be twofold-first, we'll be going to Longhorn in a few more weeks for dinner. Second, somewhere in the next six months we're going on a hot air balloon ride. We're hoping to sneak it in while we're in Colorado, because my mom would be there to babysit and it would be much more beautiful than here in Illinois.

I hope the next five years are as interesting as the last five have been!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Shopping trip

Today I took the kids to Springfield to do some grocery shopping at Meijer and Target. Man, am I going to miss coupon shopping. I'm still hoping we'll be able to squeeze our chest freezer into the big hall closet.

From Blog post photos

I got all this, plus two boxes of Capri Sun I forgot to put in the picture, for only $60. Only $48 if you don't count the three bottles of infant medicine and the pajama top for Ian that I didn't have any coupons for. Less than $1 per item! Woohoo! And I used over $70 in coupons. I love coupon shopping. But I must say, it's a good thing I can't always get packs of cookie dough for 45cents each.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Plodding along

Today Jeremy took a test for work. He's been studying for months now, and had to drive all the way to Quincy (about an hour and a half) to take it. He passed! Yea! I know he feels better now that that is over with.

I was home with the kids, and I'm so thankful that Jeremy isn't away every day. It was amazing how much more isolated and overwhelmed I felt when the kids acted up when I knew I didn't have Jeremy downstairs to call if I really needed him. Jeremy was a lot more stressed and worn out today too, between the driving and the stress of the exam. We're both glad that this is not a typical workday for him. It definitely reminds us to be thankful for Jeremy being able to work from home.

This morning, I had Ian say "Good luck, Daddy!" as best he could. Jeremy came home during Ian's nap, so when Ian woke up I had him practice "Good job, Daddy." He said it, or at least he tried. So we went into the living room, and I said, "Okay, Ian-can you say what we practiced for Daddy?" He thought very hard, concentrated, and very clearly said:

"Happy Mothers Day"

That cracked us up! I'm so excited that he's at the age where he's saying funny things now. He makes us laugh every day.

I'm getting my shopping lists and coupons together for a big trip to Springfield tomorrow with the kids. Lots of deals to be had this week, and even though we are doing our best to eat through our stockpile, there are deals on things which we use a lot of and/or will keep for a really long time, so I can't pass it up this week. I hope the kids cooperate. It always makes for a really long morning for them when we drive out there to shop.

The realtor also called tonight wanting to lower the price on our house. I don't think we're ready to do that just yet. We'd love to sell the house, but not so much that we want to give it away. Even if we can't stay on the road full-time until it sells, our only time constraints are self-imposed. We think it's too soon to drop the price. There's no going back once it's lowered. I think we're going to wait it out a little longer.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

More stuff

It's kind of disgusting how much time I've been spending lately on stuff. It takes so much time to get rid of things.

Ian was over at a friend's house this morning and Rinnah cooperated and took a good morning nap, so I had some quality work time this morning. Sorted and priced more garage sale things (I hope people buy them, because I'm getting tired of looking at all this junk) and packed up a few more things we won't need anymore around the house, plus did a little cleaning.

We took some measurements today because there was a small washer & dryer on sale at Home Depot, but it's a good thing we measured. Width-wise it would fit, but it was too deep to be in our washer closet.

Tomorrow Jeremy is off to Quincy to take a Cisco test. Since our truck seems to be leaking power steering fluid, I'll probably be staying at home with the kids. That's just as well when I've got them on my own.

Ian has been doing some cute things lately. When he doesn't want to go to bed, he says "I want wake up!" He doesn't like getting water in his eyes in the tub but won't lean back for anything when I wash his hair, so I got him a pair of goggles. He didn't like to wear them, but he is now greatly comforted by holding them in his hand. Not over his eyes, just in his fist. He says they help. LOL

And Rinnah now plays peek-a-boo fairly regularly, pulling a bib or toy over her face to 'hide'. She's also doing a lot more babbling, which is really adorable to listen to. It will be so much fun when she can talk too!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Time is going fast

Today Ian had his speech lessons and did very well. Every few weeks lately he makes a huge leap, and today was one of those days. His pronunciation with certain sounds is getting a lot better, and he's starting to put "ing" on words. It's neat to see his progress.

I spent some time today looking for a nice folding chair for Jeremy that could fit between the bed and the dresser in the master bedroom. If we could find a comfortable one, I think that's our best bet for him to work. So far the ones I found are only sold in sets of 2 or 4 and they're kind of pricey to be buying extras we don't need.

We're also working on the list of what we still need to purchase before we hit the road. There aren't very many things left, but a few things for the trailer like bars for the living room shelves so items can't fall on top of the slide room when we're traveling will be helpful.

Things will be moving fast from here on out. Next weekend is our garage sale, then two weeks later Jeremy's parents are coming to visit, then a week after they leave we head out. It's so close now!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day

After a little coaching from Dad this morning, Ian came into my room, concentrated very hard, and very carefully said, "Happy Day!" It was cute and precious and my favorite moment of the whole day.

We had a nice day eating lunch with my mom and calling Jeremy's mom on Skype with the kids. We were also over at the trailer a little bit. We discovered that the dealer did not reconnect the furnace vents in the undercarriage after fixing the water tank. A little bit annoying, since the vent things were hard to put back together. I think we need some sort of foil tape to really get it right, but at least it's sort of back on now.

My goal for this week is to get some more garage sale things priced, since the next garage sale is supposed to be in two weeks. Also I'd like to get the couch moved out of the trailer and get our list together of the things we still need to purchase before we leave. It's getting close now, and especially with Jeremy's parents coming to visit right before we leave (yea!) we'll need to have that stuff taken care of soon.

Saturday, May 9, 2009


I had some big plans for today and what I was going to get done. They didn't all happen, but it was still a good day spending time with people.

As far as they trailer, I took some measurements and looked around a bit. I think the toddler bunk beds would be too tall since they need to fit under the low (under 5') ceiling in the slide area and still have room for Ian to sit up on the top bunk. So what I think would be the best option would be to build a loft for Ian's popup bed, possibly just build something to elevate the toddler bed we currently have. Rinnah's bed would then be on the floor under his. This way we still have the advantage of the kids getting accustomed to these tent beds we could take into other people's houses when we visit, they have an enclosed space without having to hang something from uneven ceilings, and we have the ability to fold up at least Rinnah's bed and still make use of the floor space if we choose. As a bonus this option is a lot less expensive since it uses what we already have. I wonder if that's something we could build ourselves?

Still trying to figure out a solution for the bedroom. I wish there was a way we could put our bed on a loft and give Jeremy an office underneath, but with only a 7' ceiling to work with I don't think that's really possible. We just need a REALLY slim profile office chair I guess. Either that or a bed that could raise up to the ceiling for Jeremy to work and lower down so we could actually get into it without having to army crawl.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Our house is back!

We picked up the trailer today. Boy, we were glad we went with a local dealer!! I know problems can happen with any trailer, and it was really nice to not have to pay for the repairs. They wrote up an invoice-it would have been over $1000 to fix the tank because it took 16 hours of labor. 16 hours! That's crazy! At any rate, we're very thankful to a) have our camper back, b) have the leak (presumably) fixed, and c) not have to pay the bill.

We're still debating furniture options. We've toyed around with the idea of toddler bunk beds. Currently we have these popup beds for the kids

They are great. They give the kids a little "room" of their own. Ian can sit up in the center. They fold up very small and they set up really quickly. We can definitely get by with these.

We're considering something like this:

From A Different Road

Toddler sized bunk beds, much shorter than a normal bunk. The top of the post is 5' high in this one. We'd probably make it a few inches shorter than that to clear the upper cabinets. The advantage would be a more permanent setup area, where we could leave the beds made on travel days and give the kids a little bigger space of their own, plus during sleeping time we'd be taking up less floor space than the current beds. The disadvantage is obviously that it takes up this much room all the time, and we don't know what it would do to the perceived space in the trailer with the open feel that the designers worked so hard for.

Ian was SO excited to ride in the truck and pick up the new house today. All day he was saying he wanted to sleep in the new house, or play in the new house, or ride in the truck. I switched the car seats around so he's in the center now, and with the console folded down he has a fantastic view out the windshield. He just ate that up. The whole time we drove he gave us a running commentary about the various colored trucks, cars, and cows that he saw. It was fun to hear him talk so much. I hope he's always this excited about riding in the truck!

Thursday, May 7, 2009


So our blog is getting a makeover!

It's very much a work in progress, and it's a good thing I have a brilliant programmer for a husband because it turned out to be more complicated than I thought to make the changes I wanted. Tomorrow we should finish getting content up and dud links cleaned out. Then I just have to figure out where I want everything and what to include, which is really the hardest part.

Cute kid tidbit: Lately when Ian doesn't want to go to bed or take a nap, he'll say, "I want to wake up!" which I think is way cuter than saying he doesn't want to go to bed.

Our trailer is fixed and should be ready to pick up tomorrow. Yippee!! On the downside, they didn't install our screen room and sound like they aren't going to. The guy I talked to sounded like this project had really eaten into his week and pushed his work way behind, so he was not at all interested in doing the screen room for us this week. Oh well, maybe we'll give it a try and hope the local dealer can fix our mistakes if we mess up.

I'm excited to have the trailer back. I have all sorts of things I'd like to start putting in it and it would be nice to see the amount of space I have available, rather than imagining that everything will fit.

We're starting to mentally explore options for if our house hasn't sold by June. I guess there are really three choices right now:

a) Hit the road anyway. This would be great because we are very excited to hit the road and the schedule works out the smoothest if we can leave by June 20th. The downside is that it could get expensive if our house doesn't sell soon.

b) Try to rent our house. This would eliminate the expense issue and would actually help us build a little equity while we're out, but then we do have the hassle of being absentee landlords and the potential expense of major repairs to the house.

c) Wait to hit the road. Our least favorite option, but if the house hasn't sold, it makes the most sense financially.

We still have over a month, so we're hoping we don't actually have to make a decision because the house sells in time. It sure would simplify things for us.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

So much and yet so little

It seems like there is so much to do, yet so little that I can do right now and so little that I get done when I try. I've been trying to price garage sale things all week, but I've only done two boxes. Both kids (yes, Rinnah too) are pulling things out of the box. Toys they haven't touched in months are suddenly very exciting when they're in the box of things I'm trying to sort and price. Between their 'help' and their not taking good naps this week, it's very slow going. Tomorrow Ian goes to a friend's house for the morning, so I'm hoping I'll be able to get a little more work done then.

I called the dealer again today, and they have finally found the leak. It's in the water tank, at one of the sensors to tell how full the tank is. When I called at 4:00 they said it was taken apart and they found the leak, but haven't fixed it yet. It sounds like it was a pretty major ordeal to get to the tank because of the enclosed underbelly. They haven't done the screen room yet either. I keep asking when they think we can pick it up. "Oh, are you in a hurry?" they asked. Well, not exactly, but it would be nice to know if we can expect to pick it up by this weekend or if it will be another month. Just wondering if we can still leave in June, you know?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

What the kids are doing now

Here are some interesting and cute things the kids are doing:

-Rinnah waves now. Well, sort of. If you wave at her, she'll hold up her arm in sort of a "Heil Hitler" kind of way and give you a big grin. It's really cute.

-When Rinnah cries, Ian informs us that she's crying, then goes over to her and repeatedly says, "Happy. Happy. Happy." Sometimes it's a question, other times it's more of a command.

-Ian has his moments of inexplicable moodiness and tantrums. For example, yesterday he was furious that we wouldn't let him take the parmesan cheese from the fridge and put it in the microwave. Even though he's screaming, we can't keep ourselves from laughing a bit.

-Every time Rinnah looks at his shoes, he tells her "No eat brown shoes! Yucky!" He says something similar every time she looks at or approaches pretty much anything inedible. It's nice to give us a little warning to keep her from eating something.

-Ian has trouble putting the S sound at the beginning of a word. It always goes at the end. So "spoon" becomes "boons", "swing" becomes "wings", "stuck" becomes "ducks", etc. He also tends to switch the hard C sound with the final sound, so "cup" becomes "puck" for example. Sometimes it's very interesting trying to translate what he says. It's like translating someone talking in polish and pig latin at the same time.

-Ian was drawing today and he kept saying "IG369" while he was drawing. At least 7 different times. It must be a code for something, because he said it the exact same every time.

Here are two videos from today.

Monday, May 4, 2009


I've been on a shopping spree for the last week or two. I buy most of the clothes for our kids at a great little second-hand shop down the street. Her prices are awesome-$.25 for a t-shirt, $3 for jeans, $5 for winter coats or fancy dresses. I've been trying to buy most of what the kids need for the next two years. I washed all the clothes, sorted them by size, and boxed them up today.

From A Different Road

We're packing them in post office boxes because if there isn't room in the trailer for them, we'll be mailing them to ourselves along the way. And even if there is room, we'll be mailing back the outgrown clothes. Hopefully we'll only need to buy underwear, socks, shoes, and maybe an occasional supplemental item or two that I realize I overlooked, especially in the bigger sizes. This should be the bulk of what they need though. We've got clothes for Ian in sizes 3 and 4 (he currently wears size 2) and clothes for Rinnah in sizes 12months to 24 months (she currently wears size 6 months, but the 9 month clothes are in her dresser already). In the tub we have winter coats for them, which we hope to only rarely need.

We also sat down and looked at the calendar today, and realized that there's really only one free Saturday between now and when we're hoping to hit the road, and that one is now earmarked for renting a moving truck. Kind of crazy to think about it on such a fixed timetable. I think we're about at the point to start packing up the clothes we won't be taking with us, and some of the other items that won't be coming. Pretty soon we'll pick a date to move into the trailer, since we'd like to be in it for a few days or a week while we clean out the house.

We're really looking forward to hitting the road!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Mom's house

We've spent a lot of time at my mom's house this past week, mostly because my brother Jon has been visiting from Colorado. We had a nice time visiting together over several meals while he was in town.

A lot of time has been spent cleaning her basement. My mom has always liked to collect things and she keeps some things for sentimental reasons, like old toys and artwork from me and my brothers. My dad kept all sorts of old magazines, paperwork, and boxes in piles around the house. And they built a big beautiful home that they planned to retire in and never had a need to really clean things out because there was plenty of space. With five kids at home there never seemed to be time for a big spring cleaning.

But then my dad passed away, and my mom is thinking she may eventually move to a different place, so she's (wisely) trying to get rid of some of the excess now, while there are plenty of people to pitch in. We have been helping her a lot with big heavy items in the basement that have been left from building the house and from when a tornado hit the house a few years back. We got a lot of work done, and mom got a lot more things together to put in the next garage sale. But it was still a bit sad to not be able to spend time together playing board games since there was so much work to do downstairs.

I look at our giant pile of stuff we're trying to sell, plus the things we have decided to keep. Even after just two years in this house I'm amazed at the clutter we have. It's easy to see how the amount of stuff could grow so quickly after years in the same place when you have the space to not worry about getting rid of things.

I'm hoping that this time in the RV will give us a new mindset, of trying to NOT accumulate stuff instead of always looking for the next new thing. I'm hoping it will teach us to be content in a smaller space that makes it much less tempting to fill our home up with things, simply because we won't have the extra room. I'm hoping we'll just get out of the habit of constantly getting new things and we'll get used to being happy with what we already have.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Off to the shop

Jeremy took our trailer off to the dealer today. They didn't sound too excited about looking for the leak, but they did have a few ideas about loose valves that would also explain our troubles with the pump. If that's it, it would be a lot simpler to fix. Here's hoping!

I went on a big shopping spree at the secondhand store again today. I've been gradually trying to pick up more things for the kids because I don't want to have to pay full price as the kids grow or have to spend hours hunting through garage sales in strange places. I realize I can't get everything ahead of time, but I'm hoping to have the bulk of their wardrobes for the next few years purchased before we go. I've had better luck shopping for Rinnah than Ian. The only trouble is that I keep finding these adorable little dresses and outfits, so she's only going to have cute clothes and hardly anything to run around and get dirty in!

Still working on garage sale stuff. I did some more sorting and there's still a great big pile of things to price. If we can get that done, I'd really like to sort through some baby clothes and sell about half of those too. I have some doubts about being able to pull that off and actually be ready to move in about six weeks.

That's right, six weeks! Before we know it we'll be on the road!


Hey, I installed the comment system that my brother Jon helped develop (Intense Debate) and I'd love to see if it's working. So please click the comment button below this post and tell me one suggestion you have of a place we should see or an activity we should do while we're traveling. Thanks!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Back to the dealer

Well, it appears we may be having some problems with our water tank after all. It sounds like that wouldn't normally be a big deal, but ours has a spiffy enclosed underbelly that keeps things from freezing and also keeps us from being able to repair it ourselves. We're dropping it off at the dealer tomorrow so they can take a look at it on Monday and also install the screen room for us. Hopefully the water tank will be a quick fix.

We've been getting more things ready for the garage sale. The second garage sale will be in another three weeks, so it's not right around the corner but I would like to get a LOT more stuff priced and sorted, so I'm working on it. It's really amazing and sad all at the same time how much stuff we have that we don't need.

I also sorted and boxed the kids' clothes that I have for them to grow into. Definitely need a few more things for Ian, but I'm keeping my eyes open. They're in priority mail boxes, so if there isn't room to take them in the trailer we'll just have them ready to go from here. And we'll also be able to ship back the clothes they outgrow in case I can't find a resale shop who will buy them back.

Here's a picture of my family tonight. All my brothers were in town, so we got a group shot:

From A Different Road

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