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Pic of the Week

Friday, July 31, 2009


We got this close to the hot air balloon today

From Loveland CO 2nd visit

We even rode in the van to the launch point. But the fog didn't lift so no balloon ride for us. Sigh.

Since we had most of the morning free, we packed up and headed back to Loveland today. On the way we stopped at a Stride-Rite outlet and got Rinnah a little pair of walking shoes. She'll stand on her own now and has taken a step at a time, so we know walking is right around the corner and we wanted something close-toed with a sole for walking outside on the rocks and sand. Her feet are too little for most of the walking shoes though-they only had two pairs of shoes in the store that would work for her. So we got these for $15. I think they're cute!

We're at a new RV park and now our trailers are parked facing opposite ways, so the doors face each other and we have a little yard in between. It's nice. Ian learned to play baseball tonight!

From Loveland CO 2nd visit

From Loveland CO 2nd visit

From Loveland CO 2nd visit

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Another day, another rainstorm

The balloon ride was canceled again this morning. Bummer. We're trying again for tomorrow. If we get to go, then we'll spend another night at this campground so Jeremy can work during the day. If the ride is canceled again, we'll spend the morning packing up and moving to the cheaper campground before Jeremy needs to start work.

Instead of a balloon ride, I went grocery shopping. Still fun, but in a very different way. I hit a major sale here and saved more than I spent with my coupons, even buying about 12 pounds of chicken, 5 pounds of ground beef, and two pot roasts. And we got four free snickers bars to boot!

Then I took Ian to Chuck E Cheese. Uncle Mike came along too. That was kind of fun. We got to play skee-ball, and Ian got to do a bunch of different rides and games and even sit in a monster truck. At the end I told him he could pick prizes for himself and Rinnah, and he picked a spoon for each of them. Interesting choice. At any rate, we had a good time.

And tonight we made s'mores! Ian really liked roasting his marshmallow (on a very long stick). Sadly, I didn't get any pictures since Jeremy had to work late and I was juggling kids and marshmallow sticks. Maybe we can have a reenactment tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Colorado Picture Post

The campground wifi was working well this afternoon, so here is a pic overload.

This morning Jeremy and I were going to go on a hot air balloon ride. We won it at a fundraiser auction over a year ago and wanted to go for our anniversary last year, but they wouldn't let us since I was pregnant. When this trip got planned, we thought it would be cool to go in Colorado (it's a nationwide company) since that would be so much more beautiful than Illinois. We were all set to go, but at 4:30am, they canceled for rain. :( My mom said she could still watch the kids tomorrow, so we rescheduled and we're hoping for the best.

So instead of that, we spent a couple hours at the North Pole amusement park. That was awesome for Ian. They had all the cool kiddie rides-carousels, trucks & boats that go around in a circle, a train, a big slide, a sky ride, a magic show, a little roller coaster-Ian loved all of it. Rinnah was even able to do some things there. She loved when the magician made the birds appear! And there were lots of animals (reindeer, llamas, deer, etc) throughout the park too. The best part was that it was small enough that there was always another ride right around the corner and there were no long lines to wait in.

Jeremy & Ian coming down the big slide

From Colorado Springs

Ian on a plane ride
From Colorado Springs

Ian and I on the sky ride
From Colorado Springs

Jeremy & Rinnah on the train
From Colorado Springs

Jeremy & Ian on one of the up & down rides
From Colorado Springs

Rinnah & Jeremy on the carousel
From Colorado Springs

We had a wonderful time, and Ian thoroughly enjoyed himself. We stayed until 1pm, which is pretty late for the kids having not had lunch or a nap. They were real troopers for that. After naps, we had dinner outside with my mom & brothers. Then we went and played another round of free minigolf here at the campground. Ian gets so excited he can't stand still when we tell him we can go play golf. It's so adorable!

Here are some pictures from yesterday's hike by the waterfall:

Ian and Uncle Mike on the upper side of the bridge at the top of the big falls
From Colorado Springs

Ian and Uncle Mike watching the water much higher up the mountain
From Colorado Springs

One of the many beautiful views
From Colorado Springs

The kids and I at one of the overlooks
From Colorado Springs

The main falls at Helen Hunt falls
From Colorado Springs

The kids and I at the base of the falls
From Colorado Springs

Ian and I on the Pike's Peak Cog Railway
From Colorado Springs

Jeremy & Rinnah on the Cog Railway
From Colorado Springs

It almost looks like we were on a plane!
From Colorado Springs

Our family at the summit-over 14,000 feet up!
From Colorado Springs

View from the summit
From Colorado Springs

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Pike's Peak

This morning we went out to Helen Hunt Falls. It's a waterfall up in one of the national parks around here. The trail was beautiful and the views from the trail were breathtaking. I got some nice pictures there.

Tonight we rode the Cog Railway up to the summit of Pike's Peak, over 14,000 feet above sea level. It was awesome! The views were incredible. We even got to see a hailstorm at the top.

We're getting back pretty late tonight so pictures are going to have to wait, but I promise there will be some good ones from today!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Train restaurant

Tonight we went to a train-themed restaurant. It used to be the railroad depot in Colorado Springs, built over a hundred years ago. Now it's a huge restaurant. They had a ton of trains and historical memorabilia throughout the restaurant, which Ian loved. His favorite part was when a big freight train roared past the panoramic windows we were seated near. The food was awesome, too!

Here are some pictures I was able to upload this morning from the last few days:

At the Old West Museum in a hundred year old carriage

From Colorado Springs

Overlooking the picnic area where we ate lunch at Garden of the Gods
From Colorado Springs

Michael on the rock at Garden of the Gods
From Colorado Springs

Rinnah watching Ian come down the slide at a park in Colorado Springs
From Colorado Springs

Ian on the slide
From Colorado Springs

Rinnah excited that Daddy was sharing his yogurt with her
From Colorado Springs

From Colorado Springs

Ian enjoying some minigolf at the campground
From Colorado Springs

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Internet troubles

Yesterday we had a great time at Garden of the Gods. It was really pretty out there and we had a nice picnic lunch. Today we went to a huge church that had an awesome service, and played minigolf tonight. Unfortunately, the campground wireless isn't doing so well so I'm going to have to wait to put up our pictures.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Common questions

Do you work? What kind of job do you have?
Jeremy is a computer programmer for a company in Cleveland. He had been telecommuting for them for almost three years before we left. He still has the same job-he can work anywhere there is an internet connection. Kim takes care of the kids full-time.

How do you get your mail? We use a mail-forwarding service. We have an address through them, and once a month they forward all the mail to us at a campground.

Isn't it expensive? Actually, without a mortgage it's a lot cheaper to be on the road, even with the extra cost of gas. We purchased annual memberships to museums and zoos, so we can visit those all over the country without paying any additional fees. We spend a lot of time doing free or very inexpensive things like city parks, public playgrounds, walking on trails, and playing outside. The payment on our trailer plus campground fees is significantly less than we were paying for a mortgage plus utilities.

How do you live in such a small space with kids? We only had to make a few adjustments here. In our old house, even though we had a lot more room, we weren't really using all the space. We tended to all be in the same room anyway. We can't be quite as loud if one of the kids is sleeping or Jeremy's on the phone for work. The fans generate some white noise, and the trailer is divided into three sections so that helps. But we also have a lot less space to clean! We make much better use of the space we have now, and honestly, we wonder what we did with all the room before.

What is a typical day like? We all are up pretty early, thanks to the kids. Most days we're up and going by 6:30 or so. Jeremy is trying to keep his 9-5:30ET hours, which is currently 7-3:30 mountain time for us. I get the kids ready to go and we try to do a morning activity out of the trailer. Sometimes that's grocery shopping or laundry, sometimes we go to a park or museum, and sometimes we stay and play outside the trailer. We have lunch with Jeremy back inside, then it's time for the kids to take their naps. By the time they wake up Jeremy is done with work and we do an activity as a family. Usually that's going for a walk, or going to a park, or going swimming, or something else that is a shorter activity. We come back home, have dinner, and play outside until it's time for bed. On the weekends, when Jeremy is off work, we go to the bigger museums and do the all-day type of activities. We very rarely spend a whole day without going somewhere, even if it's just to a park.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Colorado Springs

We're in Colorado Springs tonight!

It took awhile to get here. Checkout at the other campground was noon, so we drove to a Wal-mart and I did some grocery shopping while Ian took a nap and Jeremy worked. Once Jeremy was ready to go, we drove the two hours down to our new campground and met up with my mom and brothers. It's nice to see them again! We're parked right next to each other, so it's great for visiting.

It will be nice to do things together this week!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Mountain drive

Tonight we went for a drive through the foothills of the Rockies. It was gorgeous. We stopped at several little stores along the way and even found a small park with a playground nestled in the valley next to the river. It is so beautiful out here.

Here are some of our photos from the last few days:

Rinnah loved the tire swing-just the right height for her

From Loveland CO

Ian helped collect sticks for the campfire
From Loveland CO

Enjoying his first campfire
From Loveland CO

Rinnah was less enthusiastic
From Loveland CO

Ian had fun pushing Rinnah on the merry-go-round
From Loveland CO

Hopping on for a ride too
From Loveland CO

A little boy shared his bread so Ian could feed the geese at the park
From Loveland CO

Ian waiting to ride the train at the park
From Loveland CO

Ready to board the train
From Loveland CO

At the park along the river tonight
From Loveland CO

From Loveland CO

Tomorrow we hit the road again, off to Colorado Springs!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

First campfire

Well, it took us a month of living in campgrounds, but we finally had a campfire. We cooked hot dogs over the campfire for dinner. Compared to most of the campfires I've done, which have been in the middle of the woods while tent camping, it felt like cheating. We had fries cooking in the oven, I washed fresh blueberries under running water, and we had all the regular condiments right out of the fridge. But when we think of it as having a campfire right in our very own backyard, it's pretty cool. I took pictures, and I'll upload them tomorrow.

We also got our truck fixed today. It wasn't as expensive as we originally were told, so that was a pleasant surprise.

And Rinnah is really starting to stand on her own! For weeks, she would stand for a few seconds if she didn't realize she was doing it. Tonight she was standing for almost a minute, playing with her toys and even picking them up off the floor and standing back up straight. I don't think it will be long before she's walking!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Today I finally got a hold of another RV park where we want to stay next week with my mom. It was our backup plan if this park didn't have anything available the day we showed up. She said she hadn't called me back yet because they had a tornado come through last night. Turns out they had the tornado and 1.25" hail, and several trees came down on top of RVs that were there. I am so thankful that we weren't staying there! The storm came through in the middle of the night, about 11pm, and the tornado hit at 3am, so we would have been asleep. Praise the Lord that we weren't there with the kids. I can't imagine how scary and dangerous that would have been to have a tree fall on the house.

Oh, and today marks one month on the road! Woohoo!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Our truck needs a name

Today was rather uninteresting. We did some laundry and played at the playground here at the park. Ian told several people that they have "some big slides and some broken swings" which was true. Somehow, even days like today where we don't do much are a lot more enjoyable than they were at home. Maybe it's the change of scenery.

We also made an appointment for the truck. It's developing a tendency to shake us rather roughly at around 25mph. We want to see if this is normal old truck character or something that should be repaired before the truck shakes itself in two. This makes me really wish we had a good name for the truck. Any suggestions? I'm thinking of dubbing it the Eggbeater.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


We made it to Loveland today. We were hoping we could stay here. It's only about half an hour from where we were last week, but headed in the right direction to meet my mom and brothers this weekend. And it's the cheapest campsite we could find anywhere in the Denver area thanks to a membership discount we have. The catch was that this campsite won't take reservations at the 50% off rate. You just have to show up with your fingers crossed. We did, and there was a nice pull-through spot with our name on it! A bunch of spots here back up to the river (BAD idea with little ones) so we were glad to get a spot away from there. And we are right across from the playground too.

Before heading here, we made it to a Vineyard church service. That was really nice. We very much enjoyed the worship and the message at that church. There were a lot of families in the church and a lot of kids the same age as our kids. I'd like to end up at a church similar to that when we decide to park in one place for awhile.

I've talked a bunch about the things that I love about our new traveling lifestyle. There's not a lot that we miss, but there are a few things. Here's my top 5:

1) My washing machine We had a really nice front loader that held a ton of clothes, got everything very clean, and didn't take any quarters to operate. I miss that.

2) Ian's bedroom door He's two and a half, and doesn't like to go to bed. We used to be able to put him in the crib and close the door, and he'd eventually get bored and fall asleep. Now his bedroom is the kitchen and Rinnah's asleep two feet away, so we can't let him get so loud and there's no way to keep him in.

3) Our little car The big truck does the job of getting us around to museums, parks, and grocery stores, but I do miss the 30mpg of our old car when we're not towing the house with us.

4) The hot water heater This one's more for Jeremy than for me. I know he misses taking his long hot showers. We have a decent amount of hot water, but not enough to hang out there any extra time.

5) The deep freezer I do miss being able to stock up on sale meat and buy in bulk. We have adequate space, but I have to be a lot more conscious of it and can't just buy up meat for a month or two at a time.

All in all, I still think we made a good trade.

Saturday, July 18, 2009


There are so many great outdoor things to do in this part of Colorado. We had already been swimming. This morning we took the kids to a new park, and then went for a walk on a trail along the river. It was really beautiful. We kind of wished we had bicycles and a trailer to take the kids with. The trail was all paved along the river, and Ian really liked going on the bridges across.

From Fort Collins

From Fort Collins

From Fort Collins

After our walk we went to the main city park. The kids played on the playground for a short time before we had a picnic lunch. After lunch, we went on a trolley ride. It was an original trolley on the original trolley tracks that has been restored and only cost $2.50 for all of us to ride for a half hour. Ian really enjoyed the ride, an it was a neat experience. It was fun to imagine people riding the same trolley back and forth to work or downtown a hundred years ago.

From Fort Collins

From Fort Collins

From Fort Collins

By then it was naptime. After naps we went downtown, because we found out Fort Collins has a free bike library and we wanted to try the trails on a bike. But by the time we got there, all the bikes were gone. So we walked around their old downtown and poked our noses in some interesting shops. We were hoping to go swimming at the campground when we came back, but Ian was already getting tired and cranky so we did a quick dinner and just worked on packing up. Tomorrow we're off to somewhere new. Not exactly sure where yet, but we've got a couple ideas to try.

Colorado is a lot of fun so far! I'd love to be back here when the kids are old enough to go hiking and white water rafting with us. Just being in a hiking store today made me want to go hiking again! There are so many fun outdoor activities around here. I can't wait to be able to do them as a family!

Friday, July 17, 2009


This morning we spent some time grocery shopping. I was still able to get some good deals. This new grocery store every week thing has some advantages and some disadvantages. It takes so long to figure out where everything is, but I like hitting up the different sales.

After grocery shopping we went to the science museum in Fort Collins. They're in the middle of moving, and it was pretty obvious that this is a temporary location. They had a few fun things for the kids, but after an hour and a half they had seen everything that was interesting for younger kids. No problem; after grocery shopping it was getting late anyway and admission had been free.

Once Jeremy was done with work we headed out to the city pool. They have a couple big waterslides, a lazy river, and a huge kids' water play area. We spent about two hours there and had a really nice time. Ian is going through an interesting phase with water. He'll ask to go, but then he's nervous when he gets in. He asks to go on the big slides, but won't go on the kiddie one. I guess he's just at that age where he's developing fears and all. Rinnah, on the other hand, loves it. She doesn't even mind too much when she gets a little water splashed on her face. She has a ball every time we go.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

A low key day

Today we had more of a slow day. Ian was having one of those days where all you can say is, well, he's 2 and he'll grow out of it. And if he doesn't, then we can help him move out in about 16 years. He was just entirely too disagreeable to get out anywhere. We spent some time on the playground and going for a walk. It was a good relaxing day.

We're also trying to figure out where we're headed next. We've decided that a good resolution would be to not leave one place anymore until we know where we're going. Hey, you've got to learn these lessons as you go. :)

I hope tomorrow we can make it out to the science museum. Surely by now we're due for a sweet day from Ian.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Uncle Jon

Today we met my brother Jon (Uncle Jon to the kids) and his girlfriend Katie for dinner. They live about an hour from here, so we met in the middle and had a nice dinner at Culver's. It was great to see them and have a chance to chat for awhile. Jon has lived out here for a few years, so we don't get to spend time together too often.

From Fort Collins

This morning we played at the camp playground for quite awhile. It must have been at least an hour and half. If Rinnah hadn't been so cranky from being up most of last night, we might have stayed longer. The kids had a blast.

From Fort Collins

The other adventure of the day was a tour through Fort Collins to find a bike shop. One of the tires on our stroller popped a leak. Luckily, it was about 50 yards from the truck in one of the most bike-friendly areas I have ever seen, so it was an easy fix. I'm just glad it didn't pop while we were out a mile or more from home, which we have been. The stroller is good as new now.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Fort Collins

We have finally arrived in Fort Collins!

We thoroughly enjoyed our time in Wheatland. It was a great place to just stop and slow down for a few days. Parked right in the midst of the beautiful city park, we walked to the pool and the playground, and did I mention the site was free? We'll definitely keep that town in mind if we find ourselves traveling I-25 through Wyoming again.

This morning I went to the grocery store and the laundromat with the kids, who were surprisingly cooperative for waiting at the dryer. I made a fun discovery at the laundromat-an original 1980s Ms. Pacman game. And with the original price, too! For a quarter I got three plays (about 20 minutes) and Ian got three plays (about 2 minutes). It was fun and well worth 25 cents!

After Jeremy finished work we headed off to Fort Collins. It was less than two hours drive so we could do it in the middle of the week. Now we're staying at the KOA here. I can see why people like their campgrounds. They've got a massive playground, a pool, paddleboat rental, fishing, minigolf, walking trails, and a bunch of other things right on site. Plus, they're only a few minutes from downtown Fort Collins which has another awesome park and a science center that we plan to do. It's like the Hilton of campgrounds. We're only here until Friday, but we're going to enjoy this campground for sure! I see why people would enjoy staying at mostly KOAs. Maybe if we don't go broke sending the kids to college we'll be able to do that when we retire.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Reflections on the first few weeks

We've been on the road for three and a half weeks now. Like most big changes, it seems like just yesterday and it also seems like we've been doing this forever. Today while I was at the park with Ian, I was thinking about some of my favorite things about our new lifestyle.

Time with the kidsToday I took the kids to the park twice, we went swimming when Jeremy finished work, Jeremy played outside with the kids for awhile, and I got some one-on-one playtime with Rinnah. It seems like we get a LOT more time together, just enjoying the kids. I was thinking about why it is so different from in our stick house. Partly, I spend about 10% of the time I used to on housework and picking up toys. And also we are deliberately planting ourselves near opportunities for things to do and places to see, whereas we felt kind of stuck in our little town before. I love that we are really soaking up our kids' early childhood, and not wondering where the time went anymore.

Lack of houseworkObviously, there is still some work to be done. But the kids have fewer toys, so it's faster to pick them up. Plus, we play outside a lot more so the toys don't get pulled out as often. We have fewer dishes, so we can't let them pile up or we won't be eating. We have to clean up throughout the day since the play area is also the main pathway, so the mess never gets out of control. Jeremy doesn't have any yardwork. I can vacuum the whole house in under ten minutes. And every time we move to a new place, we do a thorough cleaning/organization job out of necessity so it's like spring cleaning every week. The house is never a total disaster anymore because it just can't be.

Seeing new places We are getting to see so many new places. Some of them were planned and touristy, like Mount Rushmore. But others have been pleasant surprises, like this little town we're staying in now. Wheatland only has 3500 people, but they have a free RV park in the middle of a great city park with an enormous play area, a walking path, and a pool that only costs $1. We've really enjoyed our time here. And driving through rural South Dakota & Wyoming was gorgeous, which we never would have thought to do otherwise.

Museums & Zoos We bought an annual pass to the children's museum (which also works at many science centers) and a pass to the zoo (which also works at many aquariums). With those passes, we've already been able to see many different museums and zoos for no additional charge. The kids are learning and playing, and I don't feel like we have to devote a whole day to going since we didn't pay admission charge. We just come and go as is convenient for the kids' schedules.

Learning geographyIan already knows that Grandma lives in Illinois and he can point out that & our current state on the map. He loves adding a new sticker every time we get to a new state. Jeremy and I are learning a lot more about geography too, just getting more of a sense of how big everything is and how quickly topography can change.

Living more simplyWe have fewer things, limited internet, fewer toys, less fridge/freezer space, and a lot less square footage. But we don't feel deprived at all. We are learning to cook simpler meals, since our microwave is also our oven. The kids are just as happy digging in the rocks or watching the train go by as they were playing with our big fancy toys. We are making the most of parks and playgrounds and other simple ways to enjoy our time together.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

We sure have a knack for timing

We started today having no idea where we were going to camp tonight. It's a freeing feeling, but sometimes there are just too many options. Stay here? Cheyenne? Fort Collins? Denver? Somewhere else? I think we have decided that we won't leave a metro area until we know where we're going next anymore.

At any rate, we went to a church this morning and then looked into our options. We'd love to spend some time in Fort Collins. It looks like there's quite a bit to do for families there, and it's right where we're headed anyhow. The only problem is finding a campsite-the nice site with a good location is expensive, and the other options are pretty far out of town (45+ minutes) which makes it difficult to spend the morning doing something with the kids, since we mostly just drive, and it's also harder to squeeze in an activity in the evening without obliterating bedtime.

So we decided on a compromise. We'll stay at the free campground for a few more nights and explore the wonders of Wheatland, WY (population 3500) and then move on to the fancy campground in Fort Collins.

In order to do this, we needed to refill the water tank and dump the other tanks, since we only have electric hookups here. We waited until after the kids took a nap. And somehow, managed to time it so we were outside parking the trailer when this storm rolled in. I was directing Jeremy when I started to hear "ping, ping" on the fence across the creek. I was just thinking that rain isn't supposed to sound like that when I started seeing and getting pelted with hail. I hopped back in the truck and we watched the hail come down for awhile. The radio said quarter-size hail. I'm not sure we saw hail that large, but it was large enough to sting quite a bit when it hit you. After the hail came the 50mph winds and driving rains. We made a break for the trailer with the kids and got inside. Fifteen minutes later it was beautiful again. How do we time these things?

So now we're hanging out in a quaint little town in southeastern Wyoming for a few days, then on to Colorado.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

My first traffic accident

Well, it was bound to happen. I (Jeremy) was backing into a tight campground site tonight and hit somebody's car. Fortunately for me, the other party has promised not to sue, although he doesn't look very happy about it:

From Rapid City, SD

(note: picture was staged)

Ian's car rides in the back of the truck when we're travelling, and tonight the 90-degree bend between the truck and trailer caused the front cap of the trailer to squish his car against the cab of the truck. Fortunately, Kim spotted it before any major damage was done, but there's a very obvious dent in his car now. I'm just glad we don't have to report it to insurance and it didn't damage anything more expensive.

Despite the difficulties in parking, tonight's site is actually rent-free. It's in a city park in Wheatland, WY that has free camping with electric hookups for up to three nights. Since Wheatland is just over halfway from Rapid City to Fort Collins, it was a perfect spot for us, just a few minutes off the highway. We even found a church in town that we can visit in the morning before we take off for Colorado.

This morning, we visited our final stop in Rapid City: Rushmore Waterslides. The slides didn't go over too big with the kids, although Rinnah enjoyed splashing in the kiddie pool. Kim and I traded the kids back and forth so we could enjoy the slides. Ian did enjoy the mini golf afterwards, though:

From Rapid City, SD

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