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.