Thursday, November 19, 2009

Should someone else travel like we do?



(For an indepth article on this subject, go to our on line magazine - http://thelemonadedigest.com)

I had a question recently about whether or not we recommend people selling their home and going on the road. It is a very personal choice. Circumstances are so different for everyone. For us it has been wonderful and difficult at the same time. I have to ask myself continually if the difficult times would be any better in a home or is that just life with six kids. Does living in the camper help us to see the issues my children have and better enable me to deal with them than if we owned a home and I would not see all of the character problems they have?  Now, I am not saying my kids have a ton of character issues, I just mean that there is no hiding a bad attitude in 42’ with 7 other people.
A big difference for us is the age of our children. It seems that most full time travelers have older kids. Not us, we have ages 5 months, 2, 5, 8, 15, and 17. It is difficult to travel with the little ones. They get sick of sightseeing and being in the van too much. Yet, they love it at times also. It is hard, but yet I know this I what we are supposed to do. We do not want to go way in debt for another home so we will continue to travel until we decide not to. I think if I could have at least 10 acres with a pole barn or cabin on it to go back to, it would be just about perfect. We could travel 3 months then rest 2 months. It seems like after 3 months on the road, we are ready for a month break. There is so much involved in this. My husband works full time from his lap top, so we have to go where he has good internet, so we are in campgrounds a lot instead of the national forest like we had dreamed. We can't afford satellite internet that would make it possible to camp more remotely, so sometimes I am disappointed how much we stay in “parking lot” type campgrounds. Although, we have stayed at some pretty awesome ones, too.
Having the new baby was a bit of a surprise, a wonderful one though. He certainly has changed things. I have to constantly deal with bears, mountain lions, alligators, scorpions, and other creatures. It is hard to have children that are perfect size for a predator to eat. Being out in the forest hiking, I have to really watch out for the young ones.
Visiting people is one of our favorite things. We really enjoy spending time with family we have never met.
Oh, I could go on and on. I guess I would recommend keeping a home if you have it paid off or can afford both. We couldn't afford it, so we had to sell our home. I am going to start looking for a little land to build a little something on, for short stays and then get back on the road. Do you have an extra 10 acres?
I love traveling full time. Like I say, it is "wonderfully hard". I am happy we did this. It is days like today that make it worth it. I saw my daughter play her guitar on stage at a youth group. She sang and played a song all by herself. Oh, she was so beautiful. She looked like an angel singing to God our Father. Her voice rang and her smile spread love through the whole building. My son played drums and rocked the room, while I, mom, sat in my seat in tears at how wonderful my kids are. I walked back to the camper to find a 5 yr old "Rescue swimmer" with goggles and flippers on. My 2 yr old had goggles on with her princess dress. When we had a house we didn't have as much time together or time to do some of the little things in life. We are able to help many people and spend lots of time together. It is great, hard at times, but great.

(0ct 2012 - I wrote this post about 3 yrs ago.  I hope you go to our magazine to read my thoughts on the subject now.)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

What an average day looks like......





Gabriel decided to go on a camera shooting spree... this is life from the lense of a 5 yr. old.







He took pics of the signs on our bathroom door. We have no locks.





Hanna mending her shirt.

He took great shots of everyone, including himself!

Today was one of those long days. I got a call from the Rachael Ray show a few weeks ago. They are interested in our life. The lady on the phone asked me what an average day is like. Well, that is what today was, an average day.

But, with us, and average day

is wild and crazy!

I was so behind on chores. After waking up early and attempting to read my bible before anyone wakes up, Gabriel comes to join me for an early morning mommy time. Not long after, Tytus and Josephine wake up. Cody is helping the men today doing some volunteer work building a huge 36,000 square foot building. We went to their meeting and sent him off to work. Shae began working on his laptop in our bedroom/office/bathroom/sewing room/shower/storage room. Hanna had made eggs, and I began to make grits and bacon. I decided to make a double batch of homemade pancake batter to keep in the fridge and lots of sausage to freeze and take out as we want it. I didn't get the pancakes batter done until about 2pm. It seemed like a lot kept me from it. We ate in shifts and some began school work while others began their morning play. Between everyone needing me constantly and trying to do school with Hanna and Naomi, I felt like not a whole lot got accomplished on my list of chores I am behind on. At least the clothes piled all over my dresser are clean, right? Cody came back for a break and lunch. Gabriel and Naomi built a raft from some wood by our camper. It was a pitiful raft that they couldn't even pick up because it was so flimsy. Gabriel decided to try a huge pole and in the process got over 15 slivers in his hand! That took me at least 20 minutes to get most of them out and Shae did the rest. Everyone played while I cleaned and changed numerous poopy diapers. We were all extremely thirsty since we were out of milk and the water here is gross! Cody was supposed to work this afternoon and Shae and him were supposed to go help my uncle hang some lights. I didn't know what to do. I called my family and asked them if they needed the guys still today and they said no. So, it worked out great. They will hang the lights tomorrow! Hanna finished her school and began to help me get things in some kind of order. I carried Tytus in the sling a lot today. He is very happy in it. Shae moved his laptop down to my desk since I have the comfy chair and his back hurts pretty bad. He went over and helped with drywall after he finished his work, though. He is so tough! We had left over night for dinner. I took everything out of the fridge and defrosted it. I have to do that quite often. We cooked glazed carrots, cranberries, chicken, salads, chicken bites, made a pie and some had leftover hamburger on noodles with alfredo sauce. It is a great way to clean out our little fridge. Shae and I ran to Walmart and bought lots of water. We got back just after nine pm. I had to clean up the playroom so I could make beds on the floor. Josie and Gabriel fussed at each other until we finally had them in jammies, teeth brushed, kissed by all, and off to bed. Josie came out from the back and Hanna and I played her to sleep with our guitars. Cody worked on getting his Gold Medal of Achievement and Shae ate pie. I put Tytus down, fell asleep watching TV while my husband started snoring next to me. I woke up again, came out here and started on the computer. You see, I need to make about $20,000 to pay off our van and hospital bills. Then, we need another $300,000 to buy and build the home we want. We want to try to do it debt free. So, this blog will help with that. It is hard to type though. My L didn't work the other day, then it was the E, and now it is the S. I have to push real hard to make it work!

Well, today was an average crazy day, but a good one. I am tired and a little dehydrated. I am going to take my vitamins, and do some research on the internet. I might try to be to bed by 2am and then up at 7am for bible study and the start of another wonderfully crazy day!

I'll add pics later, the connection is too slow! (I finally have a good connection! I'll add the pics)

Good night,

Sheri

Monday, November 16, 2009

Changing a bad tire in the desert!

How do you spell spoiled? National Treasure Rv Resort in Pahrump Nevada. Wow, it was great! We joined a club called Passport America. We get to stay for 50% off at different campgrounds.

We were on our way to Beatty, NV (after Hawthorne, and one night in Goldfield, NV). The weekend we were coming to Beatty happened to be totally full for their craft show! So, we called Amargosa Valley. There was an opening there, but no grocery story. The store in Beatty was so tiny and had 2 packs of diapers neither the right size!

So, on to Pahrump. The National Treasure RV Resort was only $20 a night for 4 nights with our Passport America discount. It was incredible. We had two pools, one was heated, the other not.



















There was a huge hot tub that we enjoyed. Shae and I even had a little date night in it. It was great to spend some time alone!

There is a bowling alley inside where we bowled 2 times. Shae won, then Cody, Naomi, Hanna, Me, Gabriel, and Josie. Naomi and Hanna were both better at it than me! I have the moves, just can't seem to keep it out of the gutter! We played horseshoes and shuffleboard. The restaurant was good and had good prices. Most of the workers were so friendly.







We made a trip out to Death Valley National Park from here. It was a little bit of a drive, but not bad. It is nothing like I expected. I pictured some huge, flat desert with sand dunes here and there. Instead there were huge mountains, ravines, washes, salt flats, salt sculptures, natural bridge, and that is just a few things.




We drove the 21 mule team road. It is not made for large vehicles, but that didn't stop us!
We think our van is 4 wheel drive and
can go anywhere and do anything!
We loved it. The road is now one of our favorites! Yes, I did get nervous a few times. Our van is not 4 wheel drive and is really long - it is a 15 passenger van! Shae loved that it was hard to drive. He had that fire look in his eyes when we rounded each corner and almost scraped through the rock. We stopped and the guys and Hanna climbed a big rock formation. They were up pretty high. Hanna really wanted to go, but I was not so sure about that as I watched her slip on the loose rocks on the way up. I kept yelling, "Hanna, you don't have to go!" But, she was determined and finally made it to the top. I am not sure if it was worth the trouble and all the work to get up there, but hey, they conquered yet another mountain in another National Park!



From there, we headed to a beautiful look out, something like - Zawleiski's look out. It was a breathtaking view of the mountains and rock formations. We hiked up a small hill to see the remains of what was once an underwater ocean bed. Usually by the time I get all the kids ready to get out of the van and hike to the destination, Shae and Cody are already on their way back. This time was different. Shae and Cody stayed and helped us get shoes on, diapers changed, and children carried up the walk. Just before we headed out, Shae noticed the tire on the back of our van had a huge bulge in it. He had known it would need to be replaced soon, just not in the desert! So, after enjoying the view, we headed to the gorgeous oasis resort in the middle of Death Valley. It was so beautiful as we drove through the gates and headed for a shaded spot for the guys to change the tire before it blew! The kids and I played on the playground.  Shae and Cody changed the tire. I'm not sure if we were supposed to be in there. We weren't guests of the resort, but just passing through as we switched tires in their shade. The kids had a blast feeding the birds while Tytus watched. We finally continued our journey to the lowest elevation in the western hemisphere, Badwater. It is in the middle of salt flats. We took our pictures and then headed home. We were all real tired from a long day of heat, hiking, and bad tires.

Sheri

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Our freedom isn't free - Hawthorne, NV



We enjoyed the park, Walker Lake, and our desert Princess.



The Army training was awesome to watch. Gabriel sat out there for long periods of time watching them.



Veterans Day reminds me of our stay in Hawthorne, Nevada. We had wanted to stay in Lee Vining, but the elevation is a little high. With the cold air hot on our tales, we didn't want to take any chances. We went from a nice campground way out in the country in Likely, CA to a casino RV park at Bordertown Casino north of Reno NV. Then south to Hawthorne, NV. We stayed at Whiskey Flats RV Park. It was nice, considering it is in the middle of the desert! The night we got there we had a special treat. We got to watch military helocopters do exercises right by the camper. We found out they are training to head out to Afghanistan. I couldn't help but watch them with admiration and love. They are training for war as we get to camp, four wheel, sight see, and enjoy our family. I know they risk their lives daily so people like us can do what we do. Our military is a volunteer one. These people volunteer to put their lives at risk for all of us and the American freedoms we all enjoy. It is not only the ones that carry a gun, it is the soldier, sailor, or airman that does the bookkeeping, does accounting, teaches and trains them; they are all heros.

We were at the park one day. Some attack helos flew over us numerous times while we were running around. They looked so beautiful to me. I felt so safe and secure. As I watched them fly off in the distance, tears ran down my cheeks. Some people don't agree with these wars. All I know is that our soldiers are there, keeping the enemy busy over there, not on our soil. I was watching a show on PBS and the lady said something like, I don't think we should be over there. I wouldn't want someone coming into my country and telling me how to live and how our gov't should be. I think of the women and mothers in many of these countries - how they are made to wear masks so you can't see their faces - how they are beat and not allowed to leave home - how women are treated horribly by the govt and men. I think that if that were happening to me and my children, I would want anyone to come in and deliver me. I would be thankful for the country that had the balls to stand up to horrible men likes these. I just don't agree with her, I guess I like my freedom as a woman, as a human.

Well, time to get off my soap box, and into my bed. Sleep well America, it is a blessing that not everyone has.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Should we get a different camper or fix up the one we have?

(Written in my journal 10-14-09)

We have had our 5th wheel for a year and a half now. It has been good for us. But, we are considering changing our way of travel. The 5th wheel and truck are good. We have lots of room in the camper. We don’t all fit in the truck, so we bought a 15 passenger van that I drive. I haul a flat bed with 4 atvs, 3 kayaks, and 6 bikes. We really like to four wheel, so if we bought a driving camper we would have to leave them behind. Also, with a driving RV, we wouldn’t have enough room. We would have to get an older one and remodel. The new ones are way out of our budget. A driving RV would be so nice when we travel, though. Tytus, our baby, gets tired of his car seat real quick. Also, I feel like the time I waste driving I could be taking care of the kids, feeding them lunch, doing school, playing with them, reading them books, and we would have a bathroom to use. Two of my kids need character training. It is hard to do when I am driving. Then we are all quiet when the baby is asleep, so he DOES NOT wake up.

So, we have two choices:

1. Buy a driving camper. If we do that, we will have less room and not be able to bring the fourwheelers. I think it would be too cramped so we would need to buy a cabin somewhere to go back to every few months, to stretch out a little.

2. Keep what we have and remodel a little. Also, we are trying to not drive longer than 2 hours at a time. If we leave when it is his naptime, it is a pleasant drive for everyone.

I think for now we are going to do option 2. We will keep what we have and just change the ways we travel. Driving 2 hrs at a time seems to work better. Also, if the National Park or museum we want to visit is more than 45 minutes away from where we are parked, we’re not going. We will just have to move closer with our camper and stay for a few days. We are limited on where we can camp because Shae has to have internet with his air card and signal for his cell phone. Most National Park campgrounds do not have signal, so we have to stay at campgrounds outside of them. We would like to camp in National Forests more. It is free and tends to be very beautiful. But, there too we are so limited by Shae’s work. But, when I think about how we are limited on where we can camp, I just remember that we like food.

 No work, no eat.

 So, we are happy with what we can do and where we can go.

I would really like to remodel or consider getting a different 5th wheel. The carpet in the camper just grosses me out! It is the cheapest stuff and is just disgusting. I am constantly sweeping and vacuuming. I might just buy a decent vacuum, instead of the cheap shop vac I have. I want to pull all the carpet out and put some other flooring in, but the carpet is what helps the slide outs go in and out. I am going to try to be creative and come up with some way to get the carpet out. My husband thinks I am crazy. He said it would be so much work. I know he is right, about me being crazy and it being a lot of work (ha ha ha). So, I am going to do some research and see if there is an alternative.

I also want to take out the big bench seat table we have and put in a real table. The benches we have are cloth! I have 6 kids, and two eat like little pigs! I try so hard to teach them manners. But, it is very hard to in the camper. Josephine really needs to be in a high chair and Gabriel a regular chair.

 I would like to change out our windows, too. We really need the double paned windows. There is a little draft that runs through them.

That is all for now. I am ready for bed. The wind is terrible outside. I can feel our camper shaking!
Sheri