Thursday, December 1, 2011

Ham Family Bed-n-Breakfast

We arrived in Florida on Sunday night. When we left Valdosta, GA the GPS said we were a mere 3 1/2 hours from our destination. The more we drove, the further away we seemed to get. It took us more than 10 hours!

On Monday the trailer went into the shop. They found 5 separate leaks, but nothing obvious to cause the mold issues. They also fixed the electric panel, the vent fan, and the slide wall. The dealership allows you to stay in the service bay when the techs are not working, but it became just too stressful to be there. Our friends the Ham Family decided that we could upgrade from the backyard campground to the bed and breakfast section of their hospitable home!

It is surprisingly quiet here, which is such a welcome treat! Christmas movies are playing and Christmas candy is cooling. This is just what we needed!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Memory foam

We are back "home"in the Walmart parking lot. Bone weary from travel and staying up too late enjoying friends, we pushed only as far as southern Georgia before stopping. Katherine has been dying to go to Cici's Pizza all summer so we indulged her tonight.

Robbin braved the black Friday sales to pick us up some memory foam. It makes or beds far too comfortable! I keep thinking how great it would be to pile several on top of one another. I might never get out of bed.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Good Friends

Incredibly, our very good friends Jim and Robbin have family just 20 minutes from Rachel and Michaels family! We are so lucky to be able to enjoy Thanksgiving twice, each time with people we love!

We went over last night to say hello, and on the way I was pulled over by the County police! I was so afraid! I hadn't done anything wrong, the officer had never seen Maine tags so he ran the registration through the computer and our came up unknown (the Georgia system had never seen Maine tags either!). While he was checking on my license another cruiser pulled up leaving me to believe that he had called his buddy over to come check out this vehicle from Maine!

We pulled the trailer over to Robbins parents driveway this afternoon to spend the night with them. It's so much fun to visit with friends!

Tomorrow we finish our trek to Florida. I'm looking forward to having hookups, sunshine, and seeing more good friends that we've missed!


We made it to Georgia! We arrived well after midnight, I think it was almost two! We plugged right in to shore power and still had no power. We borrowed as many blankets as Rachel had and I went in with the kids to sleep; I just couldn't take another minute. While I was sleeping the power came on. It was just a coincidence that we didn't have shore power...the breakers to the house were off. Sigh. Still there were some parts of the trailer not receiving any power but we had heat!

We had a fabulous time with our "soul family". Rachel and Michael have eight children and amazingly all the children pair up perfectly. They each have one from the other family that they are inseparable from, and Katherine pairs with the three "little girls" who are all ten. The moms can't get enough of one another, and the dads get along too well! The dynamic is truly amazing. The only bad part is having to say goodbye.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


We woke up early this morning in the hopes of getting to Georgia today, but the battery was completely dead. We ran the car for a bit but could not get any charge. Drat.

We couldn't pull the slide in without the battery, so eventually we had Walmart charge it for us, a three hour process. When all was said and done we still didn't have exterior lights. We drove to a RV dealer, arriving at 4:45. They pulled it right in and found a bad fuse. Phew.

We stopped shortly after due to traffic and empty bellies. Within an hour the battery was dead again. Sigh.

I have had two large diet cokes and plan to just keep driving till we reach warmer weather.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Stopped for the night

We left Maine late on Saturday which made for a were hours of the morning arrival in Massachusetts. We visited with friends and family, planning to leave within hours, and instead repainted an entire room for my mother. It set us back a day but the room sure did look nice.

When we got into NY I decided to trust the gps. That never ends well for me. We went under a bridge with a 11' clearance and I mentioned to Gary that we really needed to remember to measure the height of the trailer and actually mark it on the dash so we would have that info handy. Just minutes later I happened to notice an 8' clearance sign and pulled right over. I started to have a panic attack because we were on a busy highway and the only solution I could see was shutting down the high way so we could back the trailer up to the nearest exit. A tow truck stopped and notified the police. We waited an eternity for him to arrive. His brilliant idea? To drive under the bridge slowly. Eeeek.

Apparently we were not even supposed to be on that road with commercial plates and/our towering a trailer. He ran our plates, gave us a hard time about our Patriots logos, and sent us on our way. It seems that they are extremely conservative with their signage as the bridge was well over 10'.

We finally made out into Pennsylvania where we are now parked at a Walmart for some shut eye. We are all feeling incredible grateful to be back on the road.

We have plans to spend Thanksgiving with our soul family in Georgia, and we are thrilled that it's going to work out that way. More good friends will be just 20 minutes away so we'll get to see them as well! Gosh, I sure have missed this nomadic lifestyle!

Saturday, November 19, 2011


We are heading back out today. We had planned on leaving weeks ago, and we still aren't completely ready, but we are leaving today regardless.

We took our kitty in to be micro chipped yesterday. It feels very strange to be inserting a tracking device into something living, but we lost him for a week and it was very traumatic. I think it should have a GPS as well. We are pretty sure out kitty was stuck somehow out in the woods when he was missing, and the chip won't help with that scenario.

We are going to be unplugged for the next week as we travel south. Our route is still undermined as we try to see as many friends as possible on our journey. I'm so grateful to have the new phones to keep us connected. Not so grateful for the bill though.

More later! I hope to be able to report that we made it out of Maine today!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

I'm back!

So much has happened, but I'm just going to jump back in. We have real phones now and I'm hoping that it will make it easier to update the blog.

We are still in Maine. We are almost finished working on the house and plan to leave here this weekend. This isn't the first weekend that we have planned to leave, but we need to be in Florida for a service appointment by the end of the month because our trailer is having huge, messy, annoying issues.

Last night we went to the community Thanksgiving dinner. When we lived here it was my favorite thing and I looked forward to it all year. This was the first time they have done it in a few years so it was neat that we were still here. We didn't see many people that we know, but we brought some friends with us, and met the kindest woman. She came over and put her hand on my shoulder telling me how much joy she had gotten from watching our family. She told me that she sees so much negativity toward large families but she really looks up to us. It was incredibly sweet.

We are all looking forward to leaving and to finding some sunshine. I'm looking forward to living at the Walmart! There is talk about buying a house when we get to Florida, but you know how we like to talk!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Friday, August 26, 2011 Part two

We don’t plan to stay in the house but another 2 weeks while we finish up the slight remodel. We replaced the floor in the kitchen, added cabinets and new counter tops, added a dishwasher, removed a kitchen from a bedroom, removed buckets of wallpaper, painted, painted, also did some painting, and enough landscaping to fill 3 trucks loads, if I recall correctly, with yard waste. Phew. The goal is to have renters in within the next 4 weeks.

We have another house under contract, but it’s a short sale and best case scenario it doesn’t close until sometime in November. That house needs a lot of work inside, but comes with an extra large 2 car garage that we could use for personal storage, and might even be able to add a pad with all the amenities to hook up our camper there for times that we come back to stay. It’s located on a corner lot, so we could make it so that the tenets don’t even know that the property is related.

We also have an offer in on a foreclosure that will close within 30 days, and that house doesn’t need much work at all. However there were 4 offers including ours, and we still haven’t heard back. The listing broker was pretty sure that they had accepted our offer, but didn’t want to offer false hope. I’m feeling very peaceful about the situation either way.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Friday, August 26, 2011 Part one

I tend not to write when I’m in the middle of something, because when you are a dreamer, like I very much am, you tend to be in the middle of something fairly often, and when it doesn’t come to fruition, it makes you look flakey. I’m not saying that I’m NOT flakey, just that I’m doing what I can to keep that image on the back burner.

With that disclaimer, we have purchased a house and have been living in it for 2 weeks today. The house is absolutely beautiful. It’s a 120 year old Victorian that currently has 3 bedrooms and 2 full baths with an abundance of unfinished space offering the possibility of expansion into potentially a 7 bedroom home.

The location exceeds my wildest imaginations with a HUGE fenced yard, at the end of a dead end street, and walking distance to everything. I can actually see the library from my bedroom...

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Sunday, June 26, 2011

We were invited over to hang with a good friend last night. These friends saved Gary’s butt this winter when he flew home to empty out the house. He told them to come take whatever they wanted to do with what they pleased, and knowing that he needed the entire contents of the house removed, took everything. At the time Gary told me that he would never have gotten it all done without them, as they literally took away garbage for him.

I knew that they had much of out old stuff, as she would periodically say, “OMGosh, we are just loving (insert beloved item here) and are so happy to have it!” but I wasn’t prepared to see my old things in her house. When I walked in, I saw my former beloved bowl, a gift from another good friend, sitting on her kitchen table. It literally took my breath away. It was a knee-jerk reaction, I think because I have been able to believe that all my stuff is tucked safely away in the attic, and this was an in my face example that I no longer own much of anything.

We ate dinner on my old purple dinner plates and used my old Correlle bowls, and heck even watched a movie on our old television! My friend was so gracious and told me that if there was anything at all that I felt I wanted back it wouldn’t bother her in the least, but truly I don’t want any of it back. I was honestly happy to see that those things were being used and making her happy. What I said to her was that Karmically, that wouldn’t be good for either of us. I wouldn’t trade a single one of my experiences this last 8 months for all the things I used to own!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Birthday Party! (Still August)

Today was a surprise party for a good friend. There were several people there that we haven’t seen in ages, so that was a treat. The kids had a blast running around together like crazy people!

I was worried that I wouldn’t get enough social time in Maine, and boy was I wrong! I’m beat! The quantity is much less than I’ve grown used to, but the quality is very different. There are so many people to see and catch up with that it can be a bit overwhelming.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Being back in town is surreal. I feel kind of disconnected from here, yet without any new connection to compare it to. It feels like where we used to be from, but there isn’t a replacement location. It is kind of neat to be always looking around, knowing that it’s more likely than not that I’ll see a familiar face.

Everywhere I go I run into someone, which makes me feel bad about not having contacted that person about getting together, but it’s just too much. I did put out a post on FaceBook so I figure that anyone who wants to see us will get in touch.

I can not get over how cold it is here. It’s summer for goodness sake! The past few days have been rainy and raw. Last night I curled up into as tight a ball as possible and just couldn’t keep warm. I guess my blood really has thinned out. I can’t even imagine if it were actually cold! I guess I’m not a New England Girl anymore!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Today was another wonderful day. The day started with one of Gary’s friends stopping by to say hello, followed by my super special friend Jen and her super special kids. We caught up and hung out together all afternoon, and even took a ride to the local farmers market. It feels like summer has been in full swing for some time as we have been in the south so it seemed strange that the farmers market didn’t have much available.

While we were at the farmers market I ran into another friend and chatted for a few minutes. Then we came back to our premium campsite and we all hooped together for awhile. It was a blast!

Then Jen and crew headed home and our other super special friends Gannet and Ron came over with their super special daughter and they brought us pizza! We had a great time catching up and hung out together all night! The girls decided to have an overnight so they folded the table into a bed. That’s the first time we have converted it. I love that we have enough space to have guests.

Today was really great, but omgosh so overwhelming. In a good way, of course, but goodness I’m tired!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Thursday, June 23, 2011

As expected our current reality exceeded my expectations! Our friend Tony is letting us stay in the yard of one of his vacant rental properties. We have a nice little yard for the kids to play in, use of the washer and dryer (and the whole house if we wish!) and the best part is that we are on the parade route for the largest 4th of July Parade in the State of Maine!!! Every year we come to participate in the celebration and it’s kind of a pia to fight traffic and find a place to park, so this will be a real treat. We are really looking forward to it. It’s actually a week long celebration with a street party on the 3rd that will be literally across the street from us!

It’s been surreal being in Maine. Usually we get very excited to see an automobile with Maine plates, and now every where we look we see several!

We visited with our favorite children’s resale shop and scored a pair of new sneakers for Christopher for $4 and some nearly new sneakers for Molly for only $2.50. I’ve sure missed this shop!

Of course we hit up our favorite store, Marden’s. I bought a package of diapers for $1.68! I let the kids all pick out new journals. They were a little pricey at $3.99 but they were really nice and I figured that they should have some quality materials to encourage their writing. I read something years ago about how we usually give kids crappy materials to work with and they often get frustrated, so I’ve made an effort to provide them with quality whenever I can, and honestly I notice a huge difference between the cheaper crayons and colored pencils.

Friends are trickling in to visit so I need to get off! More later!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


I was three years old and really, really liked ice cream. I may have already mentioned my love of ice cream. Anyhow, I was in the bath tub when I heard the familiar jingle of the ice cream man and I lost my fool mind.

There wasn’t time to stop and dry off or even time to get dressed, let alone beg for money. The only thing that mattered in that moment was stopping the ice cream man before he drove to the next street. I jumped out of the bath tub, ran down the stairs, out the door and up the street.


Screaming for ice cream.

Yeah. I really did.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Monday, June 20, 2011

Tonight my mother offered to take everyone out for ice cream to a local dairy that has been providing summer time treats as far back as to when she was a child.

When I was a child, our neighbors were a family with 4 children. In the summer time they often took a trip to the dairy as an after dinner treat. The father was a rather strict military type, and every time they came out he would ask me, “Kerry, have you had your supper yet?” I would have to think quick and judge if they were on their way to the dairy just yet, because for a long time I would answer in the affirmative each and every time, but on one occasion they were on their way out for Happy Meals first, and I answered yes and got left behind!

What I find so fascinating as an adult is that it never occurred to me to answer honestly. I don’t’ remember trying to lie, I just never even gave a thought to what reality was, all of my energy went into figuring out the right answer that would get me ice cream and/or a Happy Meal!

In my defense, I really, really liked ice cream; tomorrow I’ll tell you another story that will put it all in perspective.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Massachusetts. Twelve hundred miles in two long days. I had many things that I wanted to write about, but I allowed the children to use my laptop while I was driving so the battery was dead when I had a chance to use it. Sigh. I have to laugh at myself here, because in just a few short years of writing on the computer the idea of taking pen to paper doesn’t occur to me.

We stopped in Hershey, PA on our way from Georgia to Massachusetts because it’s becoming tradition to stop there when traveling through PA. The last time there we were able to resist the World’s Largest Peanut Butter Cup, but this time our will was not as strong, and we succumbed to the peanutie chocolate goodness. I do believe it was the best thing I have ever eaten!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Friday, June 17, 2011

Somewhere in Tennessee. We are stopped for a potty break for the kids and it’s super convenient that McDonalds also has free wifi!

This morning we had a heck of a time getting out of our friend’s driveway. The end of it is so steep that the trailer was dragging the van right out. The breaks were on and the wheels were turned all the way right, and it was still moving! Thankfully we were able to stop traffic and get it positioned properly, but yikes!

Then we stopped for gas. I had asked Katherine to accompany Molly in to the bathroom, and she cam out laughing that the fridge door was open and that there were eggs shattered everywhere, and that they were all over the rug. Since this was just about the worst case scenario AND she was giggling I thought for sure she was trying to joke with us. Even though she said, “I really don’t know why I’m laughing, I’m trying to be serious!”

Sure enough, there were fridge contents everywhere and scrambled eggs all over the brand new carpet. Ugh. I told those salesmen at LazyDays that the carpet was never going to last.

I know that there are far worse problems to have, and I really am grateful that it was only yolk. I’ll be even more grateful for the ice tea that I’m hoping someone brings me from the McDonalds!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The power is out. It has been storming out and apparently a transformer blew. The kids are going insane. Complaining about how boring it is without electricity. Focusing on all the things that they can’t do.

When the power went out I was in the middle of cooking dinner, and Rachel has an electric cook top. I fantasized about going out for pizza instead, but since everything was done up to the point of cooking, I figured it was more responsible to head out to my house (the camper) to cook with gas.

The final game in the hockey playoffs for the Stanley Cup are tonight, and Gary has been looking forward to this for months. He is so into these playoffs that he even paid to stay an extra night in the expensive campground just so he’d have cable for one of the games. Tonight is the FINAL game, with the teams tied 3 games to 3.

Since the game start time was 8 minutes ago, I’m sitting here desperately hoping that Christopher will fall asleep shortly so that I can take Gary to a sports bar in the hopes that they have power. If baby sleep does not come soon I’ll have to drag Christopher along.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Monday, June 13, 2011

Things have been going really well at Rachel’s house. We haven’t set a date to leave yet because we know that it’s going to break many hearts to even hear that a departure is scheduled. I swear, even the dog and cat get along. It’s shocking to me to have two families with so many people (18, to be exact!) be so compatible.

We really need to be back in Maine very soon to tend to some business, but it’s incredibly difficult to even think about being there. Once we arrive I think that we will need to be there for several weeks, and I just can’t bear the thought. Not that Maine is so terrible, it really isn’t. It’s just that it’s where we came from. I know what’s there. As much as I love and miss our friends who are still there, I don’t expect to spend much time with them as they are busy with their jobs and families. I have gotten very used to having almost constant socialization. We might experience that in a campground environment, but there really aren’t any campgrounds in the vicinity of where we need to be. I’m not even sure where we’ll be staying once we get there as we no longer have a “home” there.

I know that it will work out and exceed my expectations, I’m just explaining the reasons that I’m having a hard time moving forward.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Well, the mall that we were looking for, we didn’t find. Instead we stopped for pizza and while there received a text from our friends asking what time they should look for us. We hadn’t been planning on leaving until the next day, but decided it would be more fun to rush back, pack, and arrive that evening.

It has just been incredible since we got here. Never before has there been a family that we mesh with so well. The moms adore each other, the dads get along great, and the kids think that they will certainly die if separated. As Rachel said, “I keep waiting for that ‘thing’ that is going to drive me crazy, and there just isn’t anything!” Gary and I agree completely. There is ALWAYS something to drive you nuts when being/having houseguests, even if it’s just something minor. Not to say that I don’t adore all my friends, but I couldn’t LIVE with any of my friends. With Rachel’s family, we could easily move in and never leave.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Thursday, June 2, 201

The visit with our friends wasn’t nearly as unruly as I expected. For the most part I told the older kids that they could stay out until 11, but they had to be brushed and in bed immediately at that point, and they were.

Last night I gave a little tutorial on cookie baking that turned into a cookie eating party that lasted until one in the morning! As tired as I was, it was a really nice visit; the adults chatted, the teens socialized (and there were cookies!!!), and since our friends were headed out this morning it didn’t feel like such a bad use of time.

They invited us to meet up with them in D.C. and NYC, which sounds so incredibly appealing! We are on a trajectory to land us in Maine within the next few weeks so it seems unlikely, but with our lifestyle things change so fast it’s impossible to know what is around the corner.

We are staying in the middle of Nowhere, SC. The other day we drove across the border into GA for groceries. I remarked that it was the largest grocery store I had ever seen in my life. The cashier asked where I was from, and then told me that she had never heard of Maine. Ever. I explained that it was in the north east. Blank stare. On the border of Canada. Blank stare. Part of New England. Oh yes, she had heard of New England! I remember that a friend had been on a cruise and met several people who thought that Maine was in Canada. Americans who had no idea that Maine was a state in their own country. This is just unbelievable to me.

Anyway, I’ll stop ranting now as I’m trying to get out the door to go visit a mall I hear is within 30 minutes. Gotta get me some culture! Haha

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Monday, May 30, 2011

Today was a travel day. I’m beginning to dislike travel days very much. Not because of all the riding, which does suck in its own way, but because even if I’m well prepared, my expectations are never met. We are always hungry and tired by the end of the day and we seem to arrive much later than we anticipate. If we do arrive on time, we never take into consideration things like how much time it takes to pick out a site.

We looked over a few minutes ago and noticed another full time family on the site behind us. We thought that they were several states away and didn’t expect to see them again until next winter, so that was a nice surprise! As happy as we are to see them, I’m concerned that the energy level is going to hit the roof shortly with excited children refusing sleep lest they miss a minute of socialization time with their friends!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Yesterday I had the opportunity to spend the entire day with just my baby and my bestie. We started out at the beach, then went for coffee, then we went back to her place to eat an amazing dinner that her hubby cooked for us, then a nice long walk with the dog. What a wonderful day. I was so grateful that Gary was willing to stay home with five kids so I could go off and enjoy my day. I simply adore the opportunities this lifestyle affords.

Today my bestie and her hubby and two of her kiddos came here to the campsite to visit. We grilled and ate yummy food, the kids rode bikes and did whatever it is that boys do, we played a competitive game of mini golf and just really enjoyed the company. Now we are packing up in anticipation of getting an early start in the morning (insert laughter here!).

My bestie and I have previously gone years without being able to visit in person and now I’ve had several visits in just a short time! What a wonderful life!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Friday, May 27, 2011

I’m having trouble accepting that it’s Friday! This week has just flown by with us being so busy. In fact I’m having trouble slowing down; my mind is racing. We are in the sweetest campground for the next four days. There are maybe 15 campers here, including us, and I don’t think many are occupied. I expect that there will be some more coming in today as it’s the start of Memorial Day Weekend and there is a dinner planned for tonight, but even if the place fills to capacity there are only 80 or so spots.

There is no free cable, no free wi-fi. We are “camping”. I hope that I can settle my mind so I can absorb and appreciate this wonderful experience. I need to soak in the peace!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Thursday, May 26, 2011

We have just arrived in South Carolina! Finally! We were not sure that Florida was going to let us go. Back in November we arrived in Florida expecting to spend a month, and six months later we were still there.

Today was a really long day. I was ready to stop and sleep any place I could find a place to park, but Gary really wanted to push on, so push on we did, and now of course I’m glad for his sage advice because in the morning there will be no driving! Hooray!

There is so much that I need to write about, but I don’t even know where to begin. I guess I won’t even try to get caught up, but instead I will make a conscious effort to be in the present.

This week as we were attempting to leave Tampa to head towards Orlando we received a text from some friends asking us to meet them there. They were available to be there the exact days that we were! It was a kick in the butt to get out of Tampa, and it was such a wonderful time of peaceful reconnection between the two families before we all head off in different directions.

I know that I overuse the word, but everything is just so amazing. I’m in awe so often by just how ordered the chaos is. I love watching how everything unfolds, how even simple things are so important, and the way things work out better than I could have even hoped for. It’s just amazing!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Monday, May 2, 2011

Still here at Lazy Days. This weekend it feels like time is moving very slowly as we are just in a waiting period.

Tomorrow we will make a run to the grocery to make sure that Gary and the kids are well stocked in preparation for my leaving on Tuesday. I’m excited that I’m going to get to visit with three girlfriends on my trek to bring back our van.

I’ve been thinking recently about people and how I fit in; how we fit in. We recently had the pleasure of spending some time with a real live “dirty hippie” the other night. He spoke about our fellow RV park residents, referring to them as “capitalist pigs”. It was kind of an aha moment for me. Up until that point, I have felt like we pretty much fit in wherever we are. Sure, we haven’t found anyone just like us, but everyone seems to have something that we can relate to, including this dirty hippie. When he made the disparaging remark it really occurred to me how different we are from everyone. We aren’t dirty hippies, we aren’t capitalist pigs, and yet, everywhere we go we do find some way to connect. That is what is different on the road, and that is what makes it so nice. When there is something that we don’t agree upon, it’s okay to just focus on the things we do agree on.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Another neat thing that happened was the solution that materialized after we ran into a snafu when Robbin went to get the new tires. The place we had planned on wouldn’t take my credit card over the phone, so we then planned to have Robbin pay for it herself and we would reimburse her. Then they didn’t have the tires in stock. We called around to every place we could think of and they either didn’t have the tires or couldn’t fit her in until next week. While I was on the phone with the gentleman from the Uhaul shop were we were arranging a tow dolly rental, I again took a deep breath and asked the Universe to guide me to figure this out. Jim and Robbin were on a tight schedule and if everything didn’t go exactly as planned they wouldn’t be able to take the van. So here I am on the phone and I feel a nudging that this man can help. I had a mental battle with myself about asking him for help, but I finally found a way to fit it into the conversation and I asked if he had any suggestions for us. He named a place that I didn’t even know existed. I gave them a call and not only could they fit her in immediately, their price beat everyone else by a significant amount!

The plan is for me to fly to North Carolina with the baby (who is quickly becoming a toddler!) and drive the van the rest of the way to Florida. Then we will transfer all our crap and move in to our new home!

The dealership where we purchased has been just wonderful to us. I’m so happy that we were able to do business with LazyDays; they are just amazing!

Before I forget, another neat thing recently is that we were sidetracked from our travel plans by this trailer purchase. We came here hoping to find a larger motor home, and we were just about ready to leave when we fell for the trailer. Had we not purchased the trailer, we would have been in the path of some pretty nasty weather

Monday, June 27, 2011

Friday, April 29, 2011

The last few days have been a whirlwind of activity. I don’t even know where to begin!

For starters we traded in our beloved Class C motor home for a travel trailer. My pride is taking a hit at giving up the motor home, but we are so excited to have something brand new, space for everyone to sleep comfortably, and a vehicle to get to the grocery store!

We have been fairly stressed out lately trying to get everything together for the purchase; I swear, it’s easier to close on a house than it is to buy a travel trailer! Anyhow, I’ve been consciously letting go and asking the Universe to guide me and the results have been astonishing. The way things have been working out have been greater that we could have planned for, even if we tried. For starters, we needed to get the van from Maine to Florida. We could send someone from here to get it, but it needed to be road worthy first. Our good friends Jim and Robbin were in the very city where the van was located, and Robbin had some free time, so she was able to pick it up, register it, get it stickered and have new tires installed. They then offered to transport it to North Carolina for us. What a stroke of divine luck that they happened to be there this week?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Monday, April 25, 2011

Today we checked into LazyDays Rally Park Campground, another one of our favorite places. Our camping neighbor came over today and told us, “We have something WAY BETTER than television; Your family!” At least he had the guts to admit it to our faces! Most people just ogle us from afar!

This park has always been great. As I’ve mentioned before, they serve us breakfast and lunch and have drinks available for free all day long. The hot tub is always open so we can go after the kids are in bed, and the proximity to the pool is such that you can soak and watch the kids swim at the same time. We didn’t think they could improve upon things here, but they did! Since we were here last they put in a motor home themed restaurant! Gary and I were able to go over for a drink tonight with a walkie-talkie in hand. We plan to take the kids there tomorrow night for dinner.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Sunday, April 24, 2011

We packed everything up, did a final load of laundry, then made our way around saying goodbye to our friends. It was really, really hard.

(Janet and Bill)

The campground has felt like home from the moment we first arrived, and even thought it’s bare and the atmosphere is less than desirable (weekenders are NOT the same as snowbirds!) it wasn’t easy to leave.

We are now back in the Tampa area, boon docking at a walmart for the evening. We decided to stay put because we went into the store to look at phone contracts and I was too lazy to move anywhere else for the night. We are right across from a Whole Foods Market so I was able to pick up some unique groceries that I haven’t been able to get in awhile.

(view from my bedroom)

I mentioned how much better I like Easter Ziplock Baggies (no mess, no wondering who the stray candy belongs to!) and the children told me that they love Easter Ziplock Baggies because they get so much more candy inside. Joshua asked me if I had a good coupon, because his good friend Bubbles mentioned that he had the exact same candy at his house! Bubbles’ mom is a friend of mine and fellow couponer, and the kids have often mentioned that no matter which house they eat at it’s the exact same food!

Aside from the obscene amount of chocolate still in our teeny tiny house, all is good in my world!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter. Today the bunny brought Easter Ziplock Baggies instead of Easter Baskets.

I was concerned about having a candy hunt inside the motor home, worried that there wouldn’t be any place for hiding eggs. I had a hard enough time finding places to put them all when we lived in a huge house. My fears were unfounded though, because motor homes offer a myriad of places to hide small objects. One piece of chocolate went undetected almost the entire day! That never happened to us in our house!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Saturday, April 23, 2011

We just returned from another amazing experience! Our friends invited us to join them for dinner as they had quite a feast planned. We gorged ourselves on crawfish and oysters, (two foods that we had never experienced before and boy were they delicious!), garlic shrimp, blackened tilapia, Spanish rice, corn on the cob, spinach salad, and a whole table full of appetizers. Yum!

Invitations to dinner are hard to come by when you have six children, so we were especially grateful to have been invited. The food was just delicious; so many different flavors and textures!

It was of course bitter sweet because we are having to say goodbye again. It’s hard on everyone, and this time we know that it’ll be awhile before we see them. We hope to be back in the fall, but we have no idea where we’ll be pulled to. Sometimes the place that we feel we should be changes drastically from one day to the next, and we can’t predict what opportunities with arise for us. Usually they are far greater than anything that we could plan ourselves.

Monday, June 20, 2011


We were able to make it to the dock last night, but the fireworks were disappointing. It’s true that you could see them, but only through trees. I’m glad that we weren’t the only people there because I was terrified that at any moment a gator was going to come thrashing out of the water and eat me. I’m lucky to be alive!

Today is truly our last day here. I’m feeling somber at the thought of leaving. I’m not sure why; there is always something amazing around the corner, and I KNOW that, but it doesn’t make the transition easier. When we leave here we know that we are not coming back until at least fall, if ever, so it’s not just saying “see you soon” but rather closing a chapter in our lives.

Today I will rejoice in what I have. I am going to take the kids on our final three mile hike around the preserve and marvel at how empty it is compared to this winter when there were times we couldn’t even get a site! Then we will hunt for Easter eggs that the staff are hiding and enjoy the last hours at our beloved Thousand Trails Orlando Preserve!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Another wonderful day in HOT and sunny Florida. We are starting to feel the pull; it’s time to leave. There are few of us “full timers” and “snow birds” left in the park, instead “weekenders” are starting to trickle in. The atmosphere is different. People don’t seem as friendly and open to socializing now.

We stopped by to visit with some full time neighbors so we could return some magazines they had loaned us. We were in a rush to get them back lest we loose them or ruin them (Molly colored inside a hard cover book just today!) They took back the loaner magazines and handed us another bag full!

Today was spent just relaxing (if you can relax with a 3 year old and 14 month old underfoot!) and soaking in the sunshine. Dinner was simple cold sandwiches followed by a dip in the pool. Could life get any sweeter? I just wish that one of these nights I would remember to head down to the dock at the lake as I have heard it is a fabulous place to view the Disney fireworks!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Hot. Hot. Hot. Not even May yet and we are melting. I guess that explains why the campground is so empty. I’m still loving it though. I go for my walk and it feels like my face is melting right off my head, and strangely enough, I’m still appreciative.

I met a really nice woman today who gave me water and offered me a seat while we chatted. Interesting conversation about religion, the details of which I would rather not share, but the result is that I feel like we are earnestly discussing what we will be having for lunch next week in Aruba when we haven’t even discussed taking a trip together. Bad example?

I feel pretty strongly in my belief, as do most people I suppose. The difference is that I feel it’s important to respect what other people believe, that’s why I’m often reluctant to discuss religion because I feel like if I am honest, I will poke holes in the belief of another. However, I often feel as though the other party might not rest until I agree to agree to whatever they are selling.

I often feel as thought my choices are limited to admitting that the other party is right and I am wrong, or introducing ideas that might cause them to question their own faith. Neither option sits well with me, so I try to avoid the topic as much as possible.

I guess what I wish is for it to be less important for everyone to agree. Agreeing is nice, but so is diversity. We can all be different with our own thoughts and ideas and unique human expressions and it’s all okay.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Matthew was missing his friends the other day. He came home and told us that he went door to door knocking and asking, “Do you have any little kids that I could play with?” Eventually he found a family with a handful of boys. I just LOVE this.

Wouldn’t it be great if it was socially acceptable for adults to do this? “Hey, do you have anyone here who likes to shop? Play cards? Go for walks? Drink tea and chat?” Possibilities abound!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Sunday, April 17, 2011

There is a three mile loop through the campground and I walk it as often as I can. Not only is it great exercise, but if feels like a great release as well.

The snowbirds have been heading back “home” and the campground as been emptying, but today it appeared shockingly empty to me. Of course I knew that it slowed here “off season” but I was truly unprepared for what that actually looks like. It was sad to me how barren it looks. I feel like it’s spring, and that means things coming back to life, and yet it seems the opposite here.

Several people have told me that it’s time to go north, as though I’m a migratory animal who has lost my way. It doesn’t yet feel like it’s time to go north, I’m just starting to settle in here.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Friday, April 15, 2011

Today I bought myself a crockpot. This may seem like a very insignificant thing, but I assure you it was a big deal for me.

First of all, because I HAVE a crockpot back in Maine. Maybe. Gary gave away most all of what we had, but some things were stored in the attic. So it’s possible that I have a crockpot at home, and without knowing for sure, it seems wasteful to buy another.

Second, I didn’t find one at a thrift store. I did find a very old, rather small crockpot with a broken lid and the did agree to take some money off because it was broken. I started thinking about what I really wanted, and this small broken crockpot was NOT it. I realized that it was okay for me to have something NICE and even NEW!

I drove to the store intending to go crockpot shopping. Some of my older “approved babysitting” children wanted to go in, as did Gary, so I told them to go in and buy me a nice crockpot. I didn’t go look, I didn’t choose one, I didn’t even give them any instructions past “round”. I just TRUSTED that my family would find me exactly what I wanted and needed.

And you know what? They totally rocked it.

I am so excited to start cooking in my new (and not just new to me! Insert happy dance here: ) crockpot. I might even start some oatmeal right now so it will be waiting for me when I wake up! 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Thursday, April 14, 2011

As of tomorrow, all of our Thousand Trails friends will be gone. It’s been a LONG time since we have been anywhere without friends. At first I was feeling a little but afraid of what that will look like, but tonight, as sad as I am to see everyone go, I’m actually looking forward to having a little down time. Our lives are so socially complete, and I absolutely love it, but it will be nice to have my kids home for a bit too.

Here are some pictures that a friend just sent me. These kids are all just incredible people and we are SO blessed to count them as friends!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Tuesday, April 12, 2011 The Second

Noah and Katherine has been briefly to Tom Sawyer Island when they were left with Rachel and Co, but they didn’t get to explore it all because they LOST Rachel’s mother in law and didn’t notice until they were ON THE ISLAND!!! So of course they had to leave in search of her, so over to the island we went. Believe it or not, the boat that was supposed to take us back to the main land at Magic Kingdom ran out of gas, so we had to wait for that boat to be towed and another to take it’s place.

By this point everyone was feeling pretty wiped, so we thought a ride on It’s a Small World would be a good idea, but the line was so long that we gave up on it and went over to Peter Pan’s Adventure; a really great ride but far to short!

Next it was a gift shop for Katherine to use up her $10 gift card that she was given in thanksgiving for the time that our entire family was sick and she took care of everything and everyone.

I’m not sure yet what she choose because I left Gary with she and Matthew and I came back to the camper with Joshua, Noah, and Molly to wait. Riding the tram back to the parking lot we met a neat family that had three small boys; a set of twins and then a surprise baby 17 months later. Yikes! They were really sweet with their kids, and she was really peaceful about being the mother to small ones. It’s nice to see people being kind to their children.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Tuesday, April 12, 2011 The First

We just finished up what may be our last visit to Disney until next fall. I am ready to collapse with exhaustion, but it’s been a really fun day; one of the best visits to the Magic Kingdom that we have had.

We arrived right as the “Move it, Shake it, Celebrate it” parade was starting, so we enjoyed a few minutes of it before moving on to the Swiss Family Robinson Tree House and the Jungle Cruise. Then our stroller went missing again, but we quickly realized that someone had taken it accidentally and it was recovered at the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. Since we were right there, we took a ride. Lunch was peanut butter and jelly, cocoa almonds, and cheese crackers; it was nice to be taking it slow for a change.

We then rode Splash Mountain, which is both mine and Gary’s favorite ride; Katherine is still too afraid to get on it. She prefers Big Thunder Mountain and took a ride with her brothers while I waited outside with Molly and Christopher.

To be continued tomorrow.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Monday April 11, 2011 The Third

We are going to get up early and spend the day at Disney tomorrow so we can feel comfortable with moving on and saying goodbye to Disney until at least next fall. I’m shocked at how comfortable we have been in Florida and how difficult it is to move on. We are all excited about meeting up with Rachel’s family again really soon, but it doesn’t make the moving any easier because we know that it’s going to be some time before we get back this way, if we ever do. We hadn’t even planned on coming to Florida this winter, and yet we ended up spending the entire winter here and loving it.

We have met the neatest people, had the most amazing experiences, and just felt so at peace with our decisions. Even in the midst of hard times, overall it’s just been great! I am so glad that we made the choice to live this lifestyle!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Monday, April 11, 2011 The Second

Being as tired as we were, and really needing to get out for some things we opted to head to Cici’s Pizza for dinner. It was, meh, a little disappointing. There was a loooong hair in my pizza. It was really off putting. Gary brought it up to the manager who was not even apologetic and told him to wait on another pizza.

We headed then to the Dollar Tree as they have jelly with real sugar for $1, and I’m a sucker for jelly with real sugar, even if it does come from Egypt! It was a little odd being back in the same Dollar Tree that I spent time in prior to Christmas; the feeling that we have come so far since December, and just being able to reflect on how differently I felt in the same environment today.

We didn’t get back home to the campground until just shy of 10PM. As I got out of the motor home I saw some shadows in the distance and realized that it was three of my kids slinking off with another straggling behind! I tell you, there is no respect for a bedtime in these parts!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Monday, April 11, 2011

I’m all scattered brained today. Gary and I keep trying to figure out what our next step is, but every time we talk we go off on a tangent about something completely unrelated. Gah.

Just trying to figure out if we are going to the grocery store today or tomorrow is too daunting. Will be borrow our friend’s car or take the motor home? Forget about how long we are staying here or God forbid what next month looks like!

My best guess is that I’m low on iron right now, making me feel really tired and not so clear headed.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Sunday, April 10, 2011

I am completely wiped out. We spent all day Saturday with Rachel and Co, and our friend Kathy came with her daughter to spend the afternoon. At that point there were 24 people hanging out! We “stealth camped” behind the neighborhood the night before simply because we were too exhausted to drive anyplace, and since it worked out just fine, we did it again Saturday night. We tried to say goodbye to our friends then but they insisted that we come in the morning for coffee.

The little ones (and the dads!) passed out on the couch and the older ones (including the old moms!) stayed in the living room chatting. We were so tired, but didn’t want to give in to ending the night!

In the morning we were faced with having to say goodbye. We are planning to head north fairly soon and will include a visit to Georgia where Rachel’s family lives. My only concern is that we will never be able to tear ourselves away!

Today I fell asleep twice! I don’t even remember the last time I even had a nap! It’s been really good, but having fun is exhausting!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Another amazing day! Rachel texted me this morning to let us know that we were welcome to use her house for as long as we wanted to swim, eat, relax, whatever. After doing some Walmart shopping and a brief visit to a thrift store to check out their bike selection, we headed to their house. We weren’t there long before she returned with her family.

The kids swam together all day long. Even the teens got in the hot tub. They came out briefly to eat, then back in they went.

The teen girls got a hold of Joshua and straitened out his hair. I’m not sure what I’ll have to use to bribe him in order to post a picture. I said he must REALLY like those girls to let them play with his hair!

(ha! When he doesn't know that I have a picture to post, there is no need for bribery!)

It was very hard to get our kids out to come home; we all just adore them all. When we were leaving tonight Rachel’s husband made a comment about us being family that just about melted my heart. The way things are going with the teenagers, that might be literal some day!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

We just got back “home” to the Walmart parking lot after a full day with Rachel and Co. We tried to meet up with them at The Magic Kingdom this morning, but we were about 20 minutes behind them getting there which caused us a three hour delay. It was insane. We kept saying that if it wasn’t for meeting up with our friends we would never be standing in line waiting. We waited for three trams to get from the motor home to the ticket center, then about an hour to get on the ferry…it was just madness. When we finally caught up with our friends, we were SO READY to go. We rode the Big Thunder Railroad and left, but not before trading out a few children. Matthew, Katherine, and Noah stayed with Rachel and I took her oldest and her friend.

We invited ourselves for dinner at their house, so I went back there to wait for them and do laundry.
Another friend of mine and Rachel’s came over with her family for dinner, so it was a full house! Between just our family and Rachel’s there are 20 people. The children all get along so well, it really doesn’t seem like there are that many of us. It was so hard to tear ourselves away from them tonight that we decided we’ll have to go back to their place tomorrow for dinner again!

I was thinking about how incredibly in love with my life that I am. I am always saying “that was amazing!” to the point that the statement is completely overused, but it never stops being true. I am having one amazing experience after another. Life is great!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

We woke up in the Walmart parking lot today. We had a nice relaxing morning. It has been so busy for the past few weeks that I feel like we haven’t even seen much of one another.

Noah is in need of a new bike and we are hoping to fine one second hand for him. We looked at a thrift store and a pawn shop today but neither had anything that would work. One of the things I remember fondly about past trips to Florida was the abundance of really large and very inexpensive thrift stores. In the Orlando area there just don’t seem to be any. This is the first thrift store that we have come across all winter!

We rounded out our afternoon with a short visit to Hollywood Studios where we discovered that Matthew is still not tall enough to ride the Rock-n-Rollercoaster. We did get to ride the Toy Story Midway Mania and saw the Beauty and the Beast show as well. There wasn’t a single street performer out, which I found really strange because they are really what make Hollywood Studios so wonderful.

Tomorrow we are meeting Rachel’s and her family at the Magic Kingdom. I’m already predicting that we are going to be late, but like always, the plan is to get an early start!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Monday, April 4, 2011

Today we spent the day with Rachel’s family at Epcot. Once again, It. Was. Amazing! I thought it was going to be kind of crazy, seeing that there were 16 children and only 4 adults, but it was not crazy at all. I remarked at one point that it must be what it feels like to be a Duggar.

I have been waiting a long time to meet her kids, and sometimes I felt like I must be just starting at them, taking in every detail about them; I hope I didn’t frighten anyone! It didn’t feel like I was meeting them for the first time, probably because I’ve seen so many pictures of them. I really love them all to pieces and wish that I could get to know them all better.

Trading silly bandz outside of Disney.

Cyr and Christopher.

Best Friends.

So Sweet.

Daddy and Molly.

It seems that there were a few crushes formed over the course of the day, and that was new, scary, and exciting territory for me as a mother! I’m just glad that my kids liked Rachel’s family as much as I do! Even the dad’s seemed to get along well, which is always nice to see. We are hoping that we can reconnect with them before their vacation comes to an end!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Today we had to leave our campground as our membership requires us to be out of the system for 7 days between reservations. As we were preparing to leave we saw that another full time family that we adore was just pulling in. They weren’t planning on returning to this park so it was a really nice surprise to see them. We visited for a bit, and invited them over so we could introduce them to some other friends that we thought they might like, and that’s when the chaos started.

Our children were excited to see their friends that just arrived, and miserable to be leaving the friends that they had been stuck to like glue for the two weeks prior, so it was kind of a hard time for everyone, then we lost the two little girls, causing the adults and other children to run frantically around the park; it was just miserable. We had the hardest time getting all our children into the camper so we could leave. It was the most chaotic experience I think I have ever had. As we pulled away it was evident that we absolutely needed to leave the campground, as hard as it was to say “see you soon” to our friends and as much as we wanted to stay, it was time to refocus ourselves as a family and find our center again.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Saturday, April 2, 2011

My good friend Rachel who lives in my computer came to Orlando with her family to visit the mouse. This is the perfect location to be in for visiting with all my long lost peeps because sooner or later everyone comes to see the mouse! I feel like I have been waiting my whole life to visit with her kids. They were just as amazing as I knew they would be!

I have to talk about the casserole that Rachel made for dinner. I really wanted to take a picture of it, but a picture would NOT do it justice! There were FIVE POUNDS OF CHEESE inside it. FIVE POUNDS!!!! She layered sauce, noodles, ground beef, sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, black olive, and of course the cheese! Two layers and 45 minutes in the oven. It smelled heavenly. I almost wish I wasn’t eating vegan because it really looked good.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Friday April 1, 2011

Recently I made a commitment to myself to be writing more often, and posting several times a week to my blog. I even verbalized some of these goals. Last night, I came home, very tired, but I knew that I had many things that I needed to put into words so I turned on the computer, opened my journal to see what I last wrote about, and discovered that everything I’ve written past February was gone. For whatever reason, when my computer last ran out of juice, instead of recovering everything it just reverted back in time. Sigh. So I’m disappointed, to say the least.

Interestingly enough, what I’m feeling compelled to write about today is loss. (interrupted by a couple on a golf cart delivering my daughters bike because she had a bad fall. Ugh. She’s okay now.) Anyway, there is an element of loss to this lifestyle. Every time we leave someplace, we have to say goodbye, and sometimes it isn’t easy.

Joshua in particular has really started socializing recently. He leaves the house at 8AM and we don’t generally hear from him until 11PM when he texts to check in, then midnight or 1AM when we text him to come home. But now, he again needs to say goodbye to his friends, the people that he has been spending 15 plus hours a day with. We know that there will be more good times and more relationships formed, but that doesn’t make it any easier to say goodbye.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Thursday March 31, 2011

Joshua has been spending so much time with his friends that we haven’t seen much of him at all, he isn’t even coming home to eat! He has literally been leaving the house at 8 AM and not returning home until 1AM. I told him that it was starting to hurt my feelings, only half joking because I would like to spend some time with his friends to get to know them.

Tonight I arrived home to a house full of teens. There was an empty box of crackers, and empty box of cookies, and empty bag of bread, an empty jar of peanut butter, an empty bottle of ketchup, and an assortment of empty drink bottles. Some of the boys were playing Legos and others were jamming on the guitar. It was great. Then the rain stopped, one of them grabbed my camera to take a picture of the sky, and before I knew it they were all gone again.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Wednesday March 30, 2011

The rain rain rain came down down down
In rushing, rising riv'lets,
'Til the river crept out of it's bed
And crept right into Piglet's!
Poor Piglet, he was frightened,
With quite a rightful fright.
And so, in desperation
A message he did write.
He placed it in a bottle
And it floated out of sight.

It’s been raining non stop for days and I still kind of like it. It’s been nice staying inside, being together. Having everyone inside together feels very centering. It feels cleansing and renewing to have the rain falling. Waking up to the pitter patter is peaceful (as long as you don’t wake up wet!) I’m loving the rain.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Ham Family was going to meet us over at Disney to spend the day, but it was raining and storming so we decided to head to an Orlando Mall instead where the kids could watch people at the indoor skate park. Mr. Ham took pity on Matthew who had his face pressed to the fence and signed him up to go skate. I think it was the best day of his life thus far! He has been asking forever to go to a skate park!

We decided to have dinner together at a chain restaurant that specializes in burgers. We waited in line for awhile to order. When we got to the front of the line we were told that they were out of fries. Ugh. Still, we could manage with onion rings. By the time we placed our order they were out of those as well as some other items. Certain people in my family opted just not to eat at all. Believe it or not, it was only downhill from there. No silverware, dropped burgers, overcharges, unattended toddlers (okay, so they were OUR toddlers, but still, they were reeking havoc!). Despite all the turmoil, we had a great time being with our friends, but I can stay home and have that kind of chaos for free!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Monday, March 28 2011

The kids all had such an amazing time on the Ham Family church camping trip. No one wanted to leave, and even Joshua was off socializing all weekend. One of the elder men took a huge group of kids on a hike and they came back with bags full of tangerines, which they then marketed and sold to the rest of us.

Noah had an verbal altercation with another boy. When it was over, the boy came to our door and asked to speak to Gary. He then apologized for his behavior, explained that he was having a hard time and took his frustration out on Noah. When Gary asked what part Noah had in the disagreement the boy didn’t want to say for fear of diminishing his apology and being disrespectful to Noah. Wow. I had to seek out his father to tell him how impressed we were!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Sunday March 27, 2011

We have been joking for some time that the Ham Family is planning to eat us. We know that having us around has to be a lot of work, and yet they keep offering their home to us over and over, so the only logical explanation is that they are going to fatten us up and then eat us. The second night of the church camping trip we were informed that we had to attend a mandatory meeting and someone said something about a community campfire. I said, “The HELL we are going to that meeting! Clearly they have decided that we are too much meat for just their family and they are going to be sharing them with their friends!”

Thankfully we did not get eaten at the meeting, but they very suspiciously called all the new families up to give them a gift bag, and our family was all introduced individually by names. You could almost hear people licking their lips at the sight of my delicious brood!

The third night of the church camping trip they had a chili cook-off. There were about 30 crockpots filled with chili up for judging. Mrs. Ham told us it was how they use up the leftovers from the previous year’s new families. LOL

Saturday, April 9, 2011

March 26, 2011

We spent the first part of the week with at Ham Family home. The invited us to go with them on a church camping trip for the weekend. I spent the first night on my death bed with mastitis and a migraine. Ugh. It was bad. I literally parked the RV and climbed into my bed. I didn’t even level it and I’m told that when Gary started to level it I cried like I was dying with the movement.

The next day I felt much better and after a shower I was able to join in on the fun. These people have all known each other forever and the entire campground was occupied by their church group, so it offered a nice opportunity to just let the kids wander knowing that there were mothers on every corner who were willing to watch out for each others kids.

The talent show had been cancelled due to overwhelmed adults, so the kids themselves joined together and put on a show. I was really impressed by not only how confident these kids were, but also that the parents were all willing to come out and cheer for them.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Friday, March 18, 2011

We all had another amazing time back at Thousand Trails where we met up with some old friends and made some new friends too. One of the things that I just LOVE about being on the road is the connections that we make. Everyone on the road understands how temporary everything is, so it has not been unusual for us to meet a family and spend the entire day together, or even several days in a row. When we were at home it would have been strange to meet someone and immediately spend large chunks of time together, without first planning it out. It feels like things are much more “in the moment”.

We were invited back to the “Ham House” so that’s where we went when we left TT. We first stopped for gas and some groceries, which seems to be an all day process for us. We then took Margie’s advice and locked the kids in the camper with a movie, some McDonalds food, and lots of begging on our part and went to have a date night. Only we totally suck at such things and ended up inside McDonalds ourselves because the place we had intended to eat at cost $12 per person not including drinks and that was way more than either of us wanted to spend. Are we pathetic or what? Truthfully we just wanted a few minutes of quiet so we could chat.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Usually I have a hard time writing because there is nothing going on, but recently there has been so much going on that it’s been too overwhelming to put it into words.

First, I was able to meet up with my childhood friend, Dawn while she was at Disney with her family. It was a fabulous experience that we wouldn’t have had we not made the decision to be on the road.

I was also able to spend the day at a retreat weekend with many people that I’ve known online for years. Last year when the plans were being made Gary and I talked about me going, about it just wasn’t feasible with a small baby. However, since we were “living” just a few miles down the road I was able to participate. It was awesome! It has been a dream of mine to meet some of these people, and it just feels like so many of my dreams are coming true. I feel like living in a motor home is my authentic life.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Sunday, February 27, 2011

For Christmas this year Gary and I each received a ceramic travel mug with a silicone lid. Gary is forever filling a coffee mug, placing it down, then forgetting which one is his. He will often steal take accidentally pick up a coffee that doesn’t belong to him. These mugs eliminated that problem, because mine is pink, his is brown.

However, ceramic is not motor home friendly. A few weeks ago my beloved mug fell out of the cabinet and shattered. I wasn’t here at the time, so my family decided that since I loved the mugs so much, they would take all the colored silicone from my broken mug and trade it with Gary’s so that it would appear that it was his mug that broke. It was a kind gesture for which I am grateful, but it’s hard to trick a mom. I could tell by the way the broken mug was placed in the garbage can that the silicone had been messed with.

I began a search for a replacement mug for Gary. I went to a few stores and all were sold out. Then Katherine and I together spied one lonely mug, placed behind some other objects, and it was brown! Score! We were so happy!

Fast forward another week, and doesn’t my mug break again? This time it was Christopher who picked it up and slammed it down on the concrete pad (at our “premium site” at the Ham house!). Joshua suggested that we try repairing it, and low and behold, it was successful. Thank you E6000! The only problem was that Gary had already thrown away my silicone lid. Sigh. He is such an amazing husband that he offered to retrieve it for me. My mug is whole once again.

So here I sit, my family still asleep as I savor the first cup of coffee of the day in my beloved coffee mug; the wonderful pink mug that reminds me of how much my family loves me and that they value my happiness as much as I value theirs.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Tomorrow we leave our beloved “premium spot” behind our friends home. Our children are begging us to stay here, even thought we are going over to Disney World. They would literally rather be here than at Disney. Admittedly it’s very hard to leave. It’s been a wonderful experience being here.

I’m curious to see how it feels being back over at TT, because it was SO hard to leave there. I wonder if we will be able to appreciate the amenities or if we will miss having our friends too much.

The best part of being on the road has to be the people, all the amazing people that we are getting to meet and connect with, and the hardest part has to be saying goodbye.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Friday, February 25, 2011

Tonight, Jay, a friend of the Ham Family stopped by and ended up chatting with Gary and Josh. When Jay found out that Josh had an interest in music and owned a guitar, he went home to get some “guitar parts” to gift him. I have no idea what they were, picks and strings and a tuner and a pedal thing; both Gary and Josh were very impressed and thankful. He also put all new strings on Josh’s guitar, and stayed around playing and teaching for several hours. As I was putting the little kids in the tub I was listening to Stairway to Heaven. It was wonderful.

The little people need a bath every day, and that isn’t even enough, honestly. I can’t believe how dirty my children are getting here. This is the outfit that I peeled of my daughter tonight:

It was perfectly clean when she put it on! They constantly look like they are swimming in mud, with dirt all up their legs and arms, even all over their faces, it’s just nuts. Even the baby is filthy dirty. I love it. Makes me feel like they are playing hard and having a good time.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Ft De Soto beach is my favorite place on this planet thus far. I just love the silky white sand, the gentle rolling surf, and the clear blue water. Love love love it. It doesn’t hurt that there is a dump station and free water nearby either!

When we first arrived at the beach, we followed a different path that led to a secluded, partly shaded mini beach that really was fantastic for small children, but it wasn’t the beach experience that I was looking for, so we packed up and headed back to the main beach. Even thought the water was much colder, so cold in fact that we really didn’t want to swim, we all had a fantastic time. Noah and Matthew dug to China, Molly buried herself in the sand, Katherine found seashells, and Christopher was as happy as a clam climbing in and out of the holes, and showing us shells that he would pick up. I was just so thrilled to have the sun shining on my face with the sound of the surf in the background. Pure heaven.

When we were leaving Gary was doing his “COD check” (which is what the children call his OCD inspired pre trip checklist) when he discovered that our trailer wires were severed. We drove quickly to a grocery store so I could replenish supplies while he worked on the wires. I was so happy to find that he had it all repaired by the time I was done shopping!

We then drove back to our beloved Cracker Barrel parking lot in St. Pete, where we spent the third night this week.

Today we are headed back to the home of our friends, the “Ham” family. The kids were SO excited to find out that we were going back that they begged me to drive there last night!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Sunday, February 20, 2011

We woke up in the Cracker Barrel parking lot today intending to get an early start and hit the flea market first thing. Instead Gary waxed some of the motor home and I made pancakes. We eventually made our way over there where we met up with my father.

Everyone wanted to go to the beach when we were done, but my father offered us to come to his condo, do wash, swim in the pool, and visit a bit, so that we did. The kids did little more than watch television all afternoon, and for the few minutes that I sat to watch as well I was surprised how much I enjoyed it. It didn’t feel like a negative influence that I needed to limit but rather a nice indulgence.

I was able to get all my flea market fruit cut up while we were there (watermelon $4, cantaloupe $1, honeydew $2, pineapple $2, and half a flat of strawberries for $7!).

Now we are back home, in the Cracker Barrel parking lot, planning to get an early start and head to the beach in the morning!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Thursday, February 17, 2011

We had reservations to be at our beloved Thousand Trails park for the weekend, but decided instead to stay over here with our friends. The kids could not be having a better time; it really is amazing how well they all get along. And that Jason and Christy haven’t thrown us out on our ears? Nothing short of a miracle. Noah commented, “They say that they are enjoying us and want us to stay, but clearly they are lying because we are a LOT of work to have around!” lol

One of the reasons we wanted to stay was for the kids to try riding the actual BMX track. I don't have any pictures from that night, but I do have some of Matthew in their yard. He is such a daredevil!

Jason and Christy were interested in couponing, and I gave them some hints to get them started. It was hard for me, because I would have to essentially relearn everything to be back up to speed with unfamiliar stores, so I couldn't just take them and show them how to legally shoplift. As they are getting going, I’m missing having coupons. However, I don’t EVER want to have boxes coupons like I used to.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

We stayed in bed really late today, and frankly, I’m embarrassed by it. Getting out of bed is never easy, but when you have a warm, snuggly, just turned one year old pressed up against you it’s doubly hard.

Whenever I sleep late I’m reminded of Randy Pausch who realized that he was dying and didn’t want to miss a second of time with his family. If I were dying, would I stay in bed late? I don’t think so. I would wake up early and rouse my kids out of bed, and we would play games and do crafts and cherish every moment.  I think I would also eat a lot of pork ribs.

Traveling without a tow vehicle is really hard. The minute I can figure out a solution, we will get one. Today we have a need to do laundry, not a pressing need, but it would be nice. We also need some automotive supplies, so it would be nice to run to the store. If we go, it’s going to be an all day event as we need to unhook the camper, pack up the inside, pull up seatbelts, etc. It’s a lot of work, and takes a lot of time. When ever the motor home moves, we first need to pack up everything we own, as if we were moving. So if we go, our whole day will be consumed with traveling, and the things that we need to get done around here will need to wait for another day


The good news is that while here with our friends, they have been very generous in offering to take us to the store, so that’s been really great, but I don’t want to impose on them any more than we have to.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Monday, February 14, 2011

We are still here in the Tampa area with our friends Christy and Jason, and the weather has been beautiful. Christy and Jason have been so incredibly generous with us, it just blows me over. We are so grateful to count them among our friends. 

Today was Valentine’s Day so each kid got a little plastic cup filled with candy.

 It was the smallest Valentine’s Day treat we’ve ever had, but this year I wasn’t trying to fight the winter blahs. February usually finds us going stir crazy, but this year we are fully occupied all day, outside. The kids are running and biking and tree climbing and rope swinging. Our friends have four children, and our six just adore them all. I have often found that when there is a group of kids there are a couple that just don’t get along, it’s only natural with so many different personalities. But this group of ten all seem to adore each other and I have yet to hear a disagreement between them. 

Today was also Christopher’s first birthday.

I didn't have anything planned, and I hadn’t really been to any stores in awhile, so while making a grocery run today I picked him up a ball, and I would have completely neglected to do that if Christy hadn’t reminded me by purchasing a gift for him herself. Ooops. Sixth child syndrome! In contrast, we had a party with over 100 people for Joshua’s first birthday.

Christy kept everyone entertained with Valentine’s Day crafts and party decorating. You can see why no one wants to ever leave here!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Sweet Molly. The other day Molly grabbed Noah’s big toe and told him in an impish voice, “Noah, I’ve got your pig!” She was of course confusing “this little piggy” and “I’ve got your nose”.

Shortly after I pulled into a gas station to turn around and immediately she asked, “Mommy, can I go in with you?” I told her that no one was going in this time and she replied, “Oh, we’re just sleeping?” We all laughed out loud that our three year old assumes that we are sleeping in the parking lot at the gas station. Life on the road!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Friday, February 11, 2011

We have left our beloved Thousand Trails and have arrived in the Tampa area to stay in the back yard of some new friends. Tonight we joined them at the BMX track to watch their boys race. It was really fascinating to me as I’ve never seen anything like that in real life before. I imagine that it’s exhausting to ride a bicycle up and down all those hills and around all those turns!

Our friend’s son won the race!

I picked up a real feeling of community from the group. It made me miss that a little bit, but then I really had a sense of being able to sample the best of everything on the road; we can be here, partake of the friendship and community, enjoy everything they have to offer, but we don’t need to be tied to this or any one place. We can be a part of something no matter where we are as long as we are open to the opportunities.

Tomorrow we are doing a deep clean to rid ourselves of any lingering “cooties”. We’ve been wanting to rent a steam cleaner to do the rugs, so it seems like a good time to run it over anything porous.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

We are still at the Thousand Trails Orlando. Still loving it.  We have met the neatest people. Honestly, I think that is my favorite part of traveling is al the interesting people we get to socialize with.

The flu hit us hard this week. First it was just the three little ones and I expended every ounce of energy I had caring for them. I was really worried when the three older ones started in, but it wasn’t long before I found myself completely out of commission too. It was absolutely miserable. We have such limited everything that if a blanket for instance became “contaminated” there was no easy fix. I do not have a linen closet to pick out another, and I do not have a washer or a dryer. The campground does have a laundry room (and thank heavens we were in a campground when this hit!) but they are not open all night.

Anyway, I think the worst of it is over. I’m pretty confident calling “the end” on that particular “experience”.

We have been talking about not going west this year. I’m not actually disappointed about that decision because we are all loving on the Florida weather. I hear that it’s not so nice everywhere else. We have reservations off and on through April, at which point it should be safe to travel back north. We are all looking forward to getting our van and either hitching it up to take with us or trading it for something we can.