Tuesday, November 23, 2010


I am embarrassed that it's been so long since I last posted.  Thing is, I haven't known what to say because the short story is ... we don't live in our RV anymore.  Awkward when the name of the blog is 'we live in an RV'.  Know what I mean?  The long story is more interesting...I can prove it - keep reading.

When we bought and moved into our RV, we did so with the intention of selling our home in Utah, spending the summer working in Idaho, then moving back to Utah in the fall for my husband to coach wrestling and for our 2nd baby to be born.  And that's pretty much how it all went down until the offers on our home fell through one by one during the summer.  It was listed as a short sale, and though we got LOTS of offers - 3 in the first 2 days it was listed - the bank didn't approve any of them.  Our realtor showed it a lot during the summer, but we'd already moved everything out...it was empty, lonesome and surely unappealing.  The few offers we did get ended up like the others...denied by Wells Fargo.  When it came time for us to get ready to move back to Utah, our house was still there...still empty....no more offers, and even then we were still planning on living in our RV in an RV park about 10 minutes from our house.  The obvious thing to do was obviously not obvious to us at first...and then it was....

SO we moved back in.  We had to get a kitchen table and dressers and I spent about $50 making cheap decorations so it doesn't look so barren in here.  Here are some examples...just to make things interesting. :)

{For these first two I bought 6 little frames from the thrift store - $1 each - and painted them white...I also bought an old sheet which I tore some strips off of.  Glued the frames to the strips, added pictures of my babies and wha-la} 

{This one is at a weird angle because it is sort of behind the Christmas tree now...had to get creative to take this pic. :)} 

{Continuing on with the picture frames...I also got these 2 frames at the thrift store.  One was $3 and the other was $1!  Painted them white and used the same sheet to make strips of fabric for the ties.  I also took a strip of fabric and stapled it across the frame...handmade flowers (made with fabric from that sheet) glued to paperclips hold the pictures onto the strip of fabric.  Printed the pictures at Walgreens for $.10 each}

{This gem was $7 at the thrift store.  It was brassy gold.  A $1 can of flat black spray paint later and I love it!}

{This is WAY out of proportion...it's not as ginormous as it seems...$1 at the thrift store.}

{Possibly my favorite find...this desk was $10!!! at a thrift store.  It was really beat up.  What a little paint can't do, huh?  The candle sticks on top were $1 each at the thrift store and the 'believe' sign was $5 at another thrift store, but I got that a long time ago so it doesn't count.} :)

{These gems were $1 each...they are plastic and were the same yucky brass/gold color that the swirly thing up there was.  I love how they turned out with a little spray paint!}

{This picture was left behind by some naughty tenants who abandoned their apartment when my husband and I were apartment managers a few years ago.  I've been lugging it around ever since, but never put it up.  I found this frame for $5 at the thrift store and had nothing to do with either of them so I put them up together.  It's a little weird, but I like how it turned out.}

{Got this idea from my friend, Jeanne Oliver who made one last year.  It is made with rolled up pieces of old music.  I tied mine together with little strips from...you guessed it...the sheet I got at the thrift store.  The flowers are also made from that sheet.  The leaves are paper.}

Aaaaanyway - Our RV is parked on the side of our house.  It's too big for the RV pad that we happened to have (weird how things work sometimes), so it sticks out of the fence.  Awesome. :)

A month after we moved back, we welcomed this little angel into our home.

{Lydia - one week old}

I LOVED living in the RV, but I am so thankful that we've had some space to get used to being a family of 4.

We moved into the RV with a lot of debt...credit cards and student loans mostly.  This summer, we were able to negotiate with most of the credit card holders and they are no longer calling us and sending us mean mail anymore.  What a blessing.  Because of the credit card and collection calls, we felt buried.  Once those were gone, we felt so much closer to FREE.  Then someone brought up the option of modifying our mortgage.  We are trying that, and if it goes through, our mortgage will be cut in half.  And we will be able to handle it even on the hit-and-miss income we earn.  Another enormous blessing.  If that doesn't work out, we'll lose our house and move back into the RV.  What a blessing to have a back-up plan.  We are still working on selling our financed car.  Once we do, we will have our truck to drive and a VW Bug that Jeff restored in high school (his sisters had been using it, but it became homeless at the beginning of the year, and he took it back).  BLESSING.  No more car payments.  In the coming weeks we will cut our cell phone bill from $150 to $40 ish.  Feeling blessed that we found a way to do that and still be able to do everything we need to do.

So here we are.  From the outside we're still in the same place we were in before we started this little journey.  Jeff still doesn't really have a job...only odd/temporary jobs, and we're still not sure what's going to happen with our house, BUT we seem to have run into a downpour of miracles on this end of the summer.  Life is far from perfect, but it is perfect for us and we are happy...THIS happy.

We will keep posting as long as you don't mind that I am posting from my 13'x13' kitchen instead of from my 4'x4' kitchen.  I still owe you pictures of the renovated RV, which I will post as soon as some snow clears and I can walk through our backyard without getting stuck. :)  Thank you SO much for the emails you've sent asking if we're okay...we definitely are.  We'll keep you posted.


Saturday, September 4, 2010

It's a Family Tradition

I think I could write a whole book about family traditions and how important I think they are.  A tradition is so much more than the tiny little thing it seems like on the outside.  Traditions give you something to look forward to and make you feel like you're part of something special.  That's my two cents, anyway.

A couple of years ago, Jeff and I decided to start a tradition for our family.  We had been lucky and had done quite a bit of traveling in our short 1 1/2 years of marriage including trips all around the country - from Florida to Washington State and even a trip to China.  When we came up with this tradition, we were on a trip to Brazil.  The city we were in is called Belo Horizonte and it's a very special city to Jeff and I.  I wanted to bring something home that really reminded me of the feelings we'd had that trip - visiting our close friends and seeing the places we both love - BUT the only things that seemed to represent my feelings were little trinkets...tiny statues and things like that.  Fun to look at in the store, but I am not a trinket kind of girl.  I have no idea what to do with them and think they just take up space and collect dust.  As we were roaming around an enormous market in the middle of the city, lightning struck my brain.  Our problem was solved and our tradition started.

We each picked out a couple of things we liked.  Trinkets even.  When we got home, Jeff drilled holes in the tops and added hooks so we could hang them from our Christmas tree, and wha-laaa!  A family tradition.

Since then everywhere we go we pick something out that we can hang on our tree.  We have written on the bottom of each "ornament" where we got it and the date of the trip so we remember.  If you think it's fun to decorate the tree already, try doing it while unwrapping treasures from all over the world as you go.  It is SUCH a blast and gives us a chance to reminisce about our memories and adventures.  I love it.

This last weekend we went to Coeur d' Alene, Idaho for a few days with Jeff's family, and while we were there we bought a Christmas ornament in keeping with the tradition.  I think it suits us perfectly, what do you think? :)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

64 continued....

Before I get into this post, I have to tell you - my cousin, Stephanie, is a music therapist who knows some of the most incredible things about the healing power of music.  She commented on my last post that there is a name for having a song stuck in your head - it's called a "brain itch" and as with any other itch, the only thing you have to do to get rid of it is scratch!  The way you scratch this kind of brain itch is by singing whatever song is stuck in your head all the way through.  I tried it - it totally works and was completely as satisfying as scratching an itch.  Try it!

Now that I've shared an important and valuable tool for happy living, I can get on with this post. :)  I've been doing all kinds of reflecting since we last talked.  Lots of thinking and wondering and trying to get into my own head and see what it is a really want out of life.  At the beginning of my reflection and goal-setting, I was still in the same mind-set I've always been in for goal-setting.  Achievement-oriented...I had (and still have) goals in mind that require me to accomplish something.  A check-list of sorts including things I want to have accomplished before my youth runs out.  Things on my list include:

I think those are worthy goals and things to aim for.  But as I thought about the song that had been itching my brain, "When I'm 64", and what I really wanted to reflect on, my entire paradigm changed and I realized I'd been going about it the wrong way.  Not entirely, but at least partly.

I realized that I didn't have to wait until I was 64 to have a little interview with myself.  My 28-year-old self doesn't know everything that my 64-year-old self will someday know and feel, but I realized that I have a better idea than I thought I did.  There are things today that I regret, and very few of those things have anything to do with things that I have achieved or things that I possess.   The things I feel regret about are small things - things I might have walked right past in my goal-setting session.  Actually, I'm sure I would have walked right past them because in my 28 years I've made goals plenty of times and never thought about them before.

The things I regret have everything to do with the way I live my life every day.  The way I treat people, the things I choose to let come out of my mouth, the way I choose to feel every day, the things I let get on my nerves.  I mean, lets be honest, I do regret not being more careful with our money and that we have to do some digging to get ourselves out, but I can think of a few things that I've carelessly let come out of my mouth that I regret much more than that.  Other things I regret include times when I've lost my "cool", times when I've said something I shouldn't have or when I didn't phrase something carefully enough, letting a day go by without saying a fervent prayer, not taking 20 minutes to take a walk every morning.  These are little tiny things that might not matter in an achievement-driven world, but they matter to me.  They make a difference in the way I feel and the way I make others around me feel.

On the other side there are things I have done that I will never ever regret.  I never regret taking Jackson outside to play or taking time to read him stories and let him look into my eyes and tell me something only he understands but that is clearly important to him.  I've never regretted keeping my home clean so that everything is perfect and relaxing at the end of the day.  I will never regret the things we're doing so that I can be at home with my babies.  I have never regretted taking care of my body and making the right choices so that I feel good.  Soooo many good things and these are the things I want to focus on.

A quote from "The Secret Life of Bees" comes to mind.  You know the part when August tells Lily why her house is painted bright pink.  She did it because it made her sister, May, happy.... and man....THAT matters.

I still have more thinking and reflecting to do....especially with this new insight that I have on what I REALLY want out of life.  The goals I already listed are good and important, but I don't think they are the most important.  I think if I were to accomplish those things, I would look back at age 64 and be proud of myself.  But if those were the only things I did, I think I would be missing out on profound satisfaction and the deep joy that comes from living each day carefully and intentionally.

So now I have new goals...

It's a work in progress and certainly not a complete list, but I feel confident that I'm moving in the right direction.  And now if you'll excuse me, I have a little boy to squeeze and play with and a few dishes in the sink. :)  (<-- note the smile...boo-ya!  I'm on a roll with these new goals!)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

When I'm 64

The older I get the more I learn about myself.  For instance...I recently came to the discovery that I always have a song in my head.  ALWAYS.  Sometimes the same song stays in there all day or for a couple of days even, but there's always some kind of rockin going on in there.  (I use the term "rockin" lightly since I have caught myself mind-syncing the abc's and the itsy-bitsy spider before....at least I have a kid and therefore an excuse.)

Anyway, the song de jour is "When I'm 64" by the Beatles.  Now, I'm not very good at remembering song lyrics on my own.  It's much easier to sing along than it is to sing alone and I have been known to make up my own words when I don't understand what they really are.  I won't embarrass myself here, but I will say I don't know this song very well and since I don't know it very well, only the parts I do know have been running through my mind.  Like: "da da da da, da da da da, da da da, da. da. da. da bottle of wine..."  and something about a valentine and of course "When I'm 64".   (In case you can't remember the words and it's bothering you the way it's bothering me now, I will put the lyrics at the bottom.)

What's cool about having THIS song stuck in my head is that it totally ties in with what's been going on in my mind for the last few days.  I've been thinking about my great grandma who I saw last Saturday.  She is 93 and still doing well.  She's obviously not a sharp as she used to be, but it is sooo amazing to have her around. I love seeing her, and I think it is quite an accomplishment to live long enough to see and know your great-GREAT grandchildren.  

{Grandma Rowen when she was young with some of her friends from beauty school.  She's in the middle.}

I wonder if there's anything she regrets or anything she would do differently.  I wonder if she had the chance if she would go back and change some of her habits.  I wonder if she would have made some different goals or worked harder to get to them if she knew what her entire life looked like in retrospect.  Mostly I don't wonder those things about her...she seems content and satisfied with all she's done.  She should be.

{Grandma Rowen now}

But what about when I'm 93 or "When I'm 64" like I've been wondering all morning.  I wonder how I'll feel.  Wouldn't it be nice to be able to have a conversation with your older self and ask her what she would do differently if she could so that you could work a little harder or change a couple of things and be regret-free?  I mean, I 'get' the whole "live without regrets" thing where you do your best and forgive yourself for the things you can't do.  That's one way to live regret-free.  But I really want to know, and since I can't have a conversation with my older self (besides being impossible it would be creeeeepy), I have to make stuff up and hope that I make the right decisions.

For example...there are a couple of ways for me to treat my body, and I am in a place right now where I feel all pumped up about making some goals.  But I want to make the right ones.  So what would my 64-year-old self say?  Is it weird?  I am honestly wondering this.  If I were to work hard and change a LOT of my habits and get to a good, healthy weight and learn how to stay there, will my 64-year-old self look back and say, "Man, I missed out on a lot of good stuff...shoulda just gone with it."  OR If I stay on the track I'm on and not worry about it too much except to be reasonable will my 64-year-old self kick her own behind and regret not having the body and the physical stamina she might have had. 

Everything has the same conversation going on...pro's and con's on each side.  I have a lot of thinking and contemplating and goal-setting to do.  I want to do what's most important and sometimes what seems like it's most important today won't be the most important when I'm 64.  That's what I don't want to mess up (too much) on.  There is so much to sort out.  So much to wonder about myself and who I want to be.  The beauty is that I can pretty much decide to be whoever I want tomorrow no matter how different that person is from me today.  I really believe that.  Man, I gotta go find a piece of paper.  Time for some serious goal-setting.

Before I forget - here are those lyrics.  SUCH a better song with words. :)

When I get older losing my hair,

Many years from now.

Will you still be sending me a valentine

Birthday greetings bottle of wine.

If I'd been out till quarter to three

Would you lock the door,

Will you still need me, will you still feed me,

When I'm sixty-four.

You'll be older too,

And if you say the word,

I could stay with you.

I could be handy, mending a fuse

When your lights have gone.

You can knit a sweater by the fireside

Sunday mornings go for a ride.

Doing the garden, digging the weeds,

Who could ask for more.

Will you still need me, will you still feed me,

When I'm sixty-four.

Every summer we can rent a cottage,

In the Isle of Wight, if it's not too dear

We shall scrimp and save

Grandchildren on your knee

Vera, Chuck & Dave

Send me a postcard, drop me a line,

Stating point of view

Indicate precisely what you mean to say

Yours sincerely, wasting away

Give me your answer, fill in a form

Mine for evermore

Will you still need me, will you still feed me,

When I'm sixty-four. 

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Trailer living...it's a beautiful thing

So far we really REALLY love living in our little trailer.  I can't tell you what a relief it is to be able to say that and really mean it.  :)  True it is small, and we sometimes end up {quite literally} stepping over each other, but we have everything we need and now that I think about it, everything we want.  I really can't think of anything I want that I don't have right now.  THAT, my friends, is a good place to be.

I have learned a thing or two in the last 2 months since we've been living in our fifth wheel that I would like to pass on...

Believe it or not, RV space is limited.  (hah!)  But really, it's much more limited than you think and I have had to adjust accordingly.  Stuff piles up really quickly.  I've had to learn to be more tidy than I've ever been just to keep my sanity (and lets be honest, some walking space on the floor). :)  I'm not sure if this is a "pro" or a "con" of RV living.  On the one hand everyone likes a clean place to live on the other hand it's a little bit annoying, BUT on the other hand it only takes like 5 seconds to clean up...that's the advantage of a small space.  Aaaand after further deliberation, I choose "pro".

Something Jeff learned by reading the owner's manual for this thing is that even when the RV is hooked up to water and sewer (which it is here at my parents house...love it), you keep the tanks closed until they fill up, then empty them.  I would get into details here, but ew.  Suffice it to say, you don't want the solid stuff to stay behind, so you let the solids and the liquids build up and flush out together.  I feel like that was too detailed, but be honest if I hadn't said it, you'd still be wondering.  Anyway, this is where the odor control comes in and I have to say I'm pretty sure I've about mastered it.  I wouldn't say that if I didn't mean it.  Seriously I'm pretty sure I am part bloodhound.  I can smell the tiniest little stink.  And I'm pregnant, so I'm like a super bloodhound.  If I can't smell it, it doesn't stink.  Wow, I have really digressed.  Back to odor control...the trick is to get some really good chemicals.  The best ones say that they control odor for 7 days.  Maybe, but they haven't for us.  I've found I have to put the required amount in right after we empty the tank, then add a couple more ounces a day or two after that.  Tip number two is to flush fast.  If you don't give it time to get out, the smell doesn't come out.  It hasn't been too big a deal, just once in a while it really reeks.  I'm hoping this isn't a problem at all after today - Jeff got a new vent cover for the tank vent that's supposed to pull all the stink right out.  The guy at the RV store said they work reallly well.  I'll be the judge of that.  The last thing with odor control is to make sure the dishes are always done.  You might not think so, but they are stinky too.  Oh - and just to be safe in the odor-control department, I have 3 (yes 3) wall flowers from Bath & Body Works.  One in the bathroom, one in the kitchen and for kicks, one in the living room.   Do you feel educated?  You're welcome. :)

Something you might be wondering about, but wouldn't ask because it would be weird...showering.  I am not a fast shower-taker, but not a slow one either.  I think my average shower time is about 15 minutes.  I am pleased (more than I can say) to be able to tell you that I have yet to run out of hot water.  What bliss.

Something I love about the trailer is all of the windows.  If I had it my way, I'd open the blinds first thing in the morning and not close them til after dark.  The only thing that stops me from doing that is that the windows let in a lot of heat from the sun, so I just open them on the shady side of the trailer.  Not as cool as having them all open, but still awesome.  It makes the trailer feel bigger, and all that natural light...there's just not anything better.  It's sort of like living outside, but we're inside.   The outside feels so close and if you ask me, that's where it ought to be...close.  We've had a few incredible storms this summer too, which were spectacular from our little living room.  Being in the trailer made it feel like we were in the middle of the storm, but warm and safe.  Love it.

This isn't really anything educational, just an observation and certainly a "con".  It's the laundry.  Right now I lug our hamper of laundry across the driveway and into my parents' house about once a week.  I wash it, lug it back and fold it.  It isn't be too bad, but if I had my druthers, we would have a washing machine and dryer in here.  In truth, there was a washer/dryer combo in here when we bought our RV, but it was beyond repair, so we took it to the dump.  Good news is we have a space and all the hook ups for one.  Someday we'll get a new one.  Until then, it is laundry lugging for me, which is okay for now...I mean across the driveway isn't bad.  I'm nervous for October when I'll be even more pregnant and will have to lug our clothes (and an 18 month old) across the RV park to the laundromat, and in November when we have a new baby who spits up and poops on everything and a daddy who is coaching wrestling and has an extra set of sweaty wrestling clothes from that every day.  Surely it won't break me, but if you see us in December and we're all in dirty clothes, don't judge. :)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Real Housewives

A few years ago, my brother Tucker and his wife lived close to us in Utah.  She was working, he was going to school to be a pilot and worked part time at an airport "park and ride".  His job was to provide valet parking and drive the shuttle to and from the airport terminal.  The joke we always passed around was that he was a "professional driver".  After all, he DID drive for a living.  Okay, so hold that thought...it ties in.

{My brother, Tucker, with a fellow professional driver in Panama City.}

There I was folding my laundry and watching some show on tv just to pass the time when a commercial came on for the "Real Housewives of ..."  who knows where.  Two smartly-dressed women (who I'm sure have their charming moments) were at lunch together and one of them was in the process of telling the other "I called you garbage because that what you are...garbage."  ew.

I've seen the listings for the "Real Housewives" shows before but have never ever watched one.  Don't know why I ever would.  The whole concept is so unappealing to me.  A bunch of spoiled, bratty women getting into fights about petty things.  Sounds like high school in Beverley Hills.  No thank you.  Plus, am I the only one who thinks it's about the most ironic thing that it's called the "REAL" housewives??  Really?  Can my brother really call himself a professional driver?  Not if he wants anyone to take him seriously.  If I were to re-name the show I think I would call it the "Fake Housewives" at the very least or "Pretend Housewives" or "Women Who Happened to be Married to Men Who Provide For Them, but Who Don't Act Like Wives at All, Not to Mention 'Housewives'".

I don't know, maybe things are different in New Jersey and New York and Washington D.C....I seriously doubt it.

I don't know who I feel worse for, the women who embarrass themselves on the show (even the commercials are embarrassing), their husbands, their families or any single man or woman who watches the show and thinks that's what "real" housewives are like. It is mostly to those who might be confused that I would like to direct this post.  That is most certainly NOT what real housewives are like.  Trust me, I know lots of them.

Being a housewife is so much more than staying at home because your husband can support you.  My mother-in-law works 10-12 hours a day outside of her home to support her family and is one thousand times the "housewife" of any "Real Housewife of New Jersey".

{Dan and LaNae...Jeff's -incredible- mom and dad}

I mean I guess it doesn't take much to be able to call yourself a wife.  A couple of court documents can do that, but really.  To me being a wife is much more, being a housewife is much MUCH more.  The real housewives I know are good women who encourage and lift the people around them, they are nurturing to their husbands and to their children, they honor their families, themselves and their homes, they are selfless and kind and well...maybe some examples would serve us well here.

I know a woman whose husband lost his job and his means of supporting their family.  He was out of a job for almost a year.  He searched and searched for work and couldn't find any.  She was frustrated, but understood that he was frustrated.  She held her tongue when she wanted to scream.  She didn't cry and throw fits to him.  She cried in the shower when she couldn't hold it in anymore.  She took walks to re-group before saying anything she might regret.  She kissed him and smiled at him and loved him when she didn't understand how he could relax at home instead of continuing his search.  She let him work through it.  She trusted that he would.  She knew that what was hard for her to go through was a million times worse for him.  She dressed her 2 children in the most adorable used clothing she could find, instead of the new clothes she was used to buying for them.  She made the best of it all, and I don't think her husband will ever EVER doubt that she loves, supports and trusts him.  I can look up to a woman like that.

I know a woman who left her job, her parents and siblings, and the life she knew to support her husband in a new job across the country.  A job that would last a mere 2 years.  Her teenagers argued, the younger ones said it wasn't fair.  She did it anyway.  She followed him lovingly and trustingly and showed her children (and more importantly her husband) that while dad could support the family financially from across the country, he could not do all the other important things dads and husbands do every day.  They needed to be together.  He will always remember that, and will always love her for standing by him.  I love her for that.

My dad's mom, Grandma Boyd, is gone now, but she is a woman who always had hot breakfast on the table for her husband and children...every morning at 6am they gathered to eat together.  Dinner was at 6pm when she had the table set with lovely dishes and delicious food.  She honored her family by serving them and making them her priority.  Thinking outwardly instead of inwardly...what a godly attribute.

My mom's mom always vacuumed the house and put on lipstick before my grandpa got home from work.  Grandpa's retired now, but grandma still does all she can to look her very best for him.  Talk about honoring her husband and showing him that after 55 years of marriage she still loves him and wants to please him.

I have an aunt who nursed her husband and stood by his side after a brain injury left him angry, mean, cold and depressed.  She loved him when she didn't recognize him, she forgave him when he treated her like he she didn't matter.  She looked past his actions to the sickness that robbed both of them of their beautiful life together.  She loved him anyway.  One day at a time for 5 years she loved him, until his recovery was complete.  Their marriage has now bloomed and blossomed like nothing you've ever seen.  It is breath-takingly beautiful.

My mom, knowing that my dad feels best when things are clean and tidy makes sure everything is in order before he gets home from work.  My dad also likes to eat dinner at 5, when he gets home, so guess what?  Dinner is always ready at 5.

These, to me, are real houswives and now that I've gone back and re-read what I wrote, I didn't even give many examples about a cleaning schedule or meal planning or any of those other things.  So the point there is forget about real 'house'wife....to me, you start by being a real wife, then work on the rest of the duties a housewife takes care of - caring for her home, loving and teaching her children, honoring her family, taking care of herself so she can take care of all those things.

I guess in the end, I feel like the "Real Housewives of wherever" are fakes (or at least they are portrayed that way in the commercials.  Like I said - never watched the show).  And I feel like anyone who watches that show and ones like it and believe that REAL housewives are like that are being cheated and tricked into thinking that housewives are rude and petty and care more about taking care of themselves than they do about taking care of anyone else.  They're not and they don't.

Call me old-fashioned.  I might even be flattered if you did.  I really don't believe any kind of happiness comes from acting like a "Real Housewife of wherever".  June Cleaver is closer to the secret to a happy, blissful life.  I know I'm not the only one who believes the way I do.  I've met too many women who believe like I do.  Too bad they're not the ones on tv to prove it to you...at least not anymore.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Reader Question: Income

You mentioned how much the trip is going to cost to get started, but what about along the way? Do you have money saved up or do you have some source of income? (this question is from my husband) 
-Bonnie Wright (and husband...obviously)

So....where do I start?  The short answer is no, we don't have money saved up for this - we will be working on the road.  The long answer?  Here it goes....

We have some savings, but it is only for emergencies, not for living on.  Right now, Jeff works full time (well...super full time - 12 hours a day/7 days a week) helping farmers.  He also works as a book-keeper for a mortgage company in Utah, which he does remotely from here.  He's been helping them with their books for about 3 years now and it works out well. 

Back to the dough - Jeff will work with the farmers until the first week of October, when we will go back to Utah to a) get ready for this baby to come - she's due October 26th and b) get ready for the wrestling season to start.  Jeff is the head coach for a high school wrestling team down there.  The season doesn't start until November, but he's got to recruit and get organized before hand.  He will have a little bit of income from coaching and teaching the wrestling class.  And when I say a little bit, I mean he's mostly a volunteer like all other high school coaches. :) 

Jeff is also a network-marketer.  His focus is teaching people how to recruit without alienating their friends and family.  He is awesome at what he does.  Check out his blog - www.askjeffmaughan.com.

Side-note --  my husband is honestly superman.  Now you know part of the reason I believe that....plus look: 

I am seriously suspicious.  But that's a post for another day.  What was I even talking about?  Oh ya.

I also work very part time for an organization called Brave Girls Club (www.bravegirlsclub.com).  Among other things, they do retreats for women called "Brave Girl Camp". I am the camp manager, and will be able to do most of what I do from anywhere.

Wow - does that answer your question?  After all that I guess the real answer is we'll be working on the road and we'll do whatever it takes to get where we want to go (both physically and finacially). :)

New Look, Same {fascinating} Posts

I almost feel like I should follow up my title with "Plus 25% more free" or something.  That just wouldn't make sense.

I am SUPER excited about the new look of the blog.  Do you like it?  It will be changing more as I tweak it over the next few days, but it is much closer than it was!  Don't you love the header?  My sweet friend (huh...doesn't seem like a strong enough word...cousin?  soul-sister?) anyway, her name is Jeri Lynn and she designed it.  She does such a great job!  If you ever need stuff designed, give her a jingle....er....go to her website - www.jurradoesannouncements.wordpress.com.  Don't forget to scroll down to the footer....she did that too.  I feel so official like I should do a give-away or something.  Hmm...stay tuned for that.

Like I said there is more tweaking to be done.  Hope you like it!  (But if you don't, I still do and let's be honest that's what really matters.) ;)

Monday, August 16, 2010

The truck.....we're official!

Since Jeff and I had already been planning to stay at my mom and dad's house all summer and since we already had sweet hook ups and no reason to take the trailer anywhere, we figured we'd save up all summer and buy a truck in September right before we planned to move.  BUT I think we were both feeling a little anxious about our plan.  We would be limited in our choices and would have to buy whatever was for sale at the time and would work best.  THEN we would still have to figure some things out and sell our car.  I don't know about Jeff, but I was feeling nervous about it.  Maybe that's what led me to start casually looking around craigslist for a truck.  I don't think I thought we'd be able to get one any sooner, but knowing what was out there and how much it was going to cost made me feel better.  I found lots of trucks I thought would work and started emailing them to Jeff.  One in particular stood out to him and he was anxious to drive it.  This one:

It was perfect and Jeff fell in love.  It was priced WAY under what we thought we would spend.  We came home, did our research, took the truck to a mechanic the next day for an inspection, inspection was great.  Jeff offered $4500 for it - it was listed at $5750.  Bryce (the truck man) settled with us at $4700, which is what he said some other guy had offered him before, but he didn't like him so he didn't take it.  Jeff is really easy to like and is genuinely interested in other people.  I think that's why we got a deal.  Plus we have a cute kid and I'm hugely pregnant, which Bryce said he'd mentioned to his wife when he told her how low he was going to go for us. :)

Jeff could tell you the real details, but I'll tell you what I know.  The truck is a Chevy 3500 with a 454 engine (that means big and it can tow a lot). :)  It's already hooked up and ready for a 5th wheel hitch with trailer brakes and everything.  {Bonus.}  Now for the best part - 4 doors!  No car-seat-hoisting for me, which as you know I am wholly against.  It's super long and has the turning radius of a small tank, but other than that it is perfect.  It's a '95 with 105,000 miles.  That's an average of 7,000 miles per year since it was built...not bad.

Anyway, we're super excited to be set and ready to go when the time comes!  Also - if you're in the market for a '98 Infiniti QX4, we have one to get rid of. :)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Summertime and the livin's easy...

We have had a pretty magical summer here in Idaho.  I guess thinking about it there hasn't been anything too spectacular that's happened.  We haven't done anything extravagant or out of the ordinary, but it has been incredible.  We've spent summer days playing outside, throwing rocks in the irrigation ditch (our "water front"), bug-watching, jumping on the trampoline, swimming, hanging out with my mom and the twins (Nana and the girls to Jackson) and everything in between.  Summer nights have been spent hanging out with family, having barbecues, more swimming, family get-togethers at Grandma's house and sooo much more.  We've had a blast.  I will treasure this summer for the rest of my life.

Hmm, now I feel like I'm getting mushy, and that's not what I came here to do.  Oh ya - one thing I wanted to make sure to show you (since my sweet friend, Sally, requested it) is what it's like to celebrate holidays in the ol' RV.  We've had just one holiday here so far - 4th of July - which happens to be my FAVORITE holiday of the whole year.  My parents host a big party/family reunion at their house every 4th, so we got to be right here in the middle of it.  I took lots of video so you could see exactly what it was like.  And so without further ado...

Friday, June 18, 2010

Stop Worrying and Start Living -Dale Carnegie

I'm pretty sure moms always know more than they let on to...maybe even more than they think they know.  I just started this book - "How to Stop Worrying and Start Living" on my mom's recommendation.  She bought it at Good Will a while back, and loaned it to me the other day when I asked for a good read.  This particular book was printed in 1948, just a few years after it was published.  It doesn't look like the one in the picture...mine is black with a hard cover and it has Dale Carnegie's signature on the front.  It smells like an old book and the pages are well-separated, like it's been read a million times.  I love that.  I've only read the first 12 pages and already feel that it's changed the way I think and helped me see what I need to do in order to...well...stop worrying.

That my mom would even suggest this book is an insight into my heart, whether she knew it or not.  Worry, anxiety, distress, doubt, fear, uneasiness and that unsettled feeling in my heart and stomach have been my constant companions for a while now.  And when you feel those feelings long enough you start to believe them AND you start to let them define you.  You start to think that what you feel is what you believe and who you are.  Those are lies.  Ugly lies that keep us down and make us feel hopeless and helpless.  They make us feel stuck in the mistakes of the past and worrysome about the worst the future could possibly hold.  But that could be its very own post...needless to say, 'worry' had made itself uncomfortably comfortable in my heart, without me really even realizing it until now.

What's funny about the age of this book is the irony of it having something so worth while to teach me.  Not that I am foolish to think that there aren't entire libraries of old books full of things I don't know.  What I mean is, even though this book was written 60 years ago, the things that Dale Carnegie writes about aren't new, and at the same time they are SO new and enlightening.  None of the concepts are so new and foreign that I haven't heard them before.  I think it's the power in his words that hits me so hard...I mean listen to this...

"Anyone can carry his burden, however hard, until nightfall.  anyone can do his work, however hard, for one day.  Anyone can live sweetly, patiently, lovingly, purely, till the sun goes down.  And this is all that life really means."  -Robert Louis Stevenson

Dwelling in the past and fretting about the future is what gets us into trouble...the meaning of the entire quote is summed up in the very last sentence - "and this is all that life really means."  Life isn't lived in years or weeks or even days, really.  Life is lived right NOW.  I mean, when else are you going to enjoy life?  Tomorrow?  To think that we can be happy or that we will be happy at some point in the future is not only illusive...it's impossible.  In order to be happy, we do what we can....we do everything we can right now and enjoy it.  Sure we learn from what we've already been through and we plan for what we think lies ahead, but why hold on to any anxiety about it.

When I picked this book up, I wondered what it would say.  And after 12 pages it makes perfect sense that the very first chapter would be about living right NOW and forgetting about the lie that I can change anything in the past or control anything in the future.  And because of that, I have to let go of my pet excuses....the ones I keep around because they make me feel "good".  The excuse that "I will be happy when...[fill in the blank with 1 million expectations] and "I will start exercising tomorrow...or Monday...or after I have this baby."  Lie.  It's not gonna happen.  The excuse that "I will keep in touch with the people I love another day" or "I will set the table and make beautiful dinners for my family next week."

They're all lies.  If I want to change anything or accomplish anything worth accomplishing, TODAY is the day.    And you know what the real secret is?  The real secret is that once you decide to live right now (and as a side-note, I DO believe that there is a learning curve and it takes time to learn a new skill), but once we decide to live for today and for the very moment we're in, everything changes.  On the very first day of trying (you know...when it's the easiest) the anxiety about tomorrow goes away, and life becomes blissful.  I have really learned what I had always heard and what Dale Carnegie is teaching - there is no happy destination somewhere in the future...that illusion is a mirage....a pretty picture in the desperation of life's desert.  Life is meant to be blissfully happy right now.  AND there is more than enough to be blissfully happy about.

I'm not perfect at it, and still feel worried but I am taking it a day at a time and learning to do what I can about my troubles today and let tomorrow take care of itself.  I choose to live today...to be happy today....to let yesterday and tomorrow take care of themselves....Here's to a happy day TODAY for you!!!!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Keep only what is useful or beautiful...

"Have nothing in your houses 
that you do not know to be 
useful or believe to be beautiful"
                       William Morris

I got this quote from my mom (actually it was on her facebook page), and it describes PERFECTLY the feelings I've been having and the tactic I used to decide what stays and what goes.  Surely it's because we knew we were moving into such a tiny space, but we were VERY picky with the things we packed.  If you've been reading for a while, you already know we sold most of our furniture and big stuff like that, so that's out of the picture.  But MAN we had a ton of other crap...an entire house full of things that were neither useful nor beautiful.  (Since taking up space does NOT count as 'useful'.)  

For example...when we were in Utah and getting ready for this adventure I decided to go through my clothes and keep ONLY what I really really love.  I ended up with 4 bags...FOUR. BAGS. of clothes to take to good will.  

And I still kept everything I liked.  That means I was lugging around all this junk and looking at it every day, which made me think, "I have nothing to wear".  When the truth is I have LOTS of things to wear...clothes that I LOVE....that make me feel good about myself.  Maybe I just couldn't see them all because they were hiding in all that crap.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE that it's GONE!  Why keep it around? Nobody knows.

As a continuation of our clean out, the day before we left for Idaho, we took another whole trailer load of stuff to Good Will, and in another trip about a month ago, we took a trunk-load of books.  

Now that we're here, and we have plenty of room for everything we need (with room left over), I don't know why we didn't do this earlier.  I wonder why we kept all that stuff around for so long.  More junk = more to organize (and give you a headache), more clothes = more laundry, more dishes = more to wash, more space = more to clean!  Seriously, why keep it?

I really wonder what it is that makes us hold on to stuff.  Does it make us feel better somehow?  Do we not get rid of it because we are lazy or because we really think it is useful or it will someday be?  Whatever the reason, I'm glad we figured out that we don't need all that junk.  We are in a good place.  A place where we really have everything we need and enough of the things that we want that we're happy.  I am so glad to be here, and my challenge is for YOU to try it out.  It's spring time still (at least if feels more like spring here than summer), and even if you think it's too late for spring cleaning, it's not.  So try it out...go through your things and keep only what you know to be useful (that's KNOW and not THINK....if you haven't used it in the last 6 or 12 months, it's not useful...and fooling yourself into thinking it might someday be useful is just that...fooling).  And of course keep everything you believe to be beautiful.  That means if you have decorations that you don't love, get rid of them.  Clothes and dishes too.  Keep only what you really truly LOVE (that's all you really use anyway!  The rest just takes up space!).  Have a yard sale and use the cash to replace the things you didn't love with things you DO love.  Or give it all to Good Will and know that someone will find your ugly useless thing there and it will be just the beautiful thing they need.

Feel free to do this or not, but I promise it will be worth it if you do!  

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

First Night

Wow.  We have been in Idaho for 2 weeks now.  In some ways it seems like we just got here yesterday...in others way it seems like we've been here for MUCH longer.

Last night was our first night sleeping in the trailer as a family, and it was perfect!  Jeff and I obviously have a bed to sleep on.  We brought our mattress from our 'bricks n sticks' house and it is just as comfortable here.  Plus even cooler since we're in a camper. :)

{Our Bed...the cabinet doors have yet to be painted...maybe I'm avoiding it a little.} 

We made Jackson a little "room" in the living room where he can have all the dark he needs in order to sleep well.  (Right now his bed is back in my mom's house, so he can nap and Jeff can work on the roof during the day.)  But this is a picture of where his bed goes...the blanket is what makes his room (eventually I will make a curtain), and the white noise from the fan right by his head is what allows us to move around and even watch movies in the living room while he's sleeping away.  The best part??  He slept in for an extra 2 hours this morning!  I think it's the dark that helped him sleep longer...whatever it was I LOVED it! :)

{Jackson's sweet room} :)

Until now, we have been sleeping in my mom's house while the trailer underwent a major overhaul.  We have painted the entire thing and Jeff installed new carpet.  There was nothing really wrong with it before, but we wanted it to be more like home, and had extra paint and carpet from remodeling our home in Utah, so why not?  (I could give you a million reasons 'why not' after the fact...remodeling anything is EXHAUSTING...but totally worth it.)

Paint and carpet sound like such easy things on paper...even after going through the craziness and never-ending-ness of it, I feel kind of sheepish saying that it took us nearly 2 weeks to get just that done.  It sure feels like it drags on forever when everything is out of its place (because there is no place for anything) and chaos reigns.  Somewhere in that chaos we tried to sleep out our beds.  Jeff and Jackson made it, but I got all restless and had to go inside and sleep on the couch.  It's the chaos I swear.  I don't know how to relax when things are so out of order.  I think I'm okay with that (as long as there's an alternative place to sleep!) :)

{The Chaos...not before, not after, but during...ack!}

Anyway, back to trailer living.  This morning I made our very first trailer breakfast, and loved everything about it.  I have such GOOD memories of trailer camping from when I was a kid, and I love the smell of the gas stove (which is different from the way it smelled when I cooked with the gas stove in our house...then again that's probably all in my mind) even the food for some reason even smells different.  I love all the quaintness of the whole experience.  I made eggs and hashbrowns.


The best part?  The dishes.  Seriously this idea of 4 plates, 4 cups and 4 bowls is something I could get used to.  When there aren't many dishes there aren't many dishes to wash!  This might be the start of a life-style change for this little family. :)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Public Service Announcement

A couple years ago in Utah, they did a huge public campaign on driving with unsecured junk in the back of your truck or trailer.  Like every other commercial on the local stations was about stuff (ladders, couches, mattresses, garbage and everything else} flying off the back of some guy's truck and some other guy running off the road to avoid it OR being smashed by it.  The message got through.

If I were a public servant, I would put out my own campaign.  I already have it ready in my mind...

Miles and miles of traffic backed up...everyone frustrated....5 mph instead of 65 mph....everyone wondering "what is going on up there?"   Cause lets be honest, if you get 3 miles down the road 30 minutes later, and traffic's been slow because of an accident, you let it go.  If, however, you get up a mile and see a sign like this on the left-hand side of the road:

Then you see another one like this:

Then you know that the only reason traffic is backed up for miles is because of idiots who, instead of merging when they see the very first sign...or even the second sign....WAIT until they are all the way up to the very LAST sign and the lane has ended.  So they have to stop, and everyone else has to stop so they can merge.  And the most annoying part is you know that some of them do it just to get ahead in the lane that seems to have no traffic.

SOOO the point to my public service announcement would be:

If you're the idiot guy who waits until the last minute to merge OR if you're the dummy lady who doesn't let anyone merge, YOU'RE the one causing the traffic jam, and thank you very much from the rest of us. :)

Illustration from our last trek to Idaho:

Wow...I feel like I've done a real public service....at least it feels good to have that off my chest. :)  Maybe I'll go out for election next year.