Friday, September 24, 2010

My memories of kayaking Lake Wappapelo, pregnant!

Lake Wappapelo, in Southeast Missouri was a great place to stay. It is one of those few areas that we would consider moving to when we are ready to settle down. The small town, self-sufficient, not a suburb, was very appealing to us. But, since this is the kayaking article, I best stick to that subject and not go on a rabbit chase.

The lake is quite beautiful and has good fishing. Shae, Cody and Hanna went on an exploration kayaking trip around the lake. The air temperature was pretty cold, so no swimming.

The next day we took the kayaks to the spillway for the reservoir.
Spillway of Lake Wappapelo, Missouri

I was very pregnant with Tytus at the time, but decided I would take a quick spin anyway. Those of you who know me know that I can be very adventurous. I climbed in, with a lot of difficulty since my belly was huge! Josie decided she wanted to ride with me. She climbed in and we headed out. I didn’t get too far from the shore in case we tipped over.

Fisherman dotted the shoreline, some catching fish, others not.

Seeing the spillway and enjoying the water from a kayak is a wonderful way to enjoy God’s creation. There is something special, peaceful sitting on top of the water; no waves, quiet, no rushing or appointments.

Josie got a little antsy and wiggly, so I decided I better get to shore before she tipped all three of us over; her, me, and sweet baby in my belly! I paddled to a little inlet where I thought we could disembark. Cody, my 17 year old was nearby so I hollered to him for some help.

He grabbed little Josie and set her on shore. I, on the other hand, was not as easy. Sitting so low in the kayak coupled with the water being much lower than the rocky shore, made for a bad combination. I put my left leg out of the kayak and realized that there was no way my large, pregnant body was going to follow.

The police officer, sitting in his car, near the shore, looked at me like I was crazy as I attempted to boost myself out of the kayak, with no success.
I had Cody grab my left forearm. He pulled as I pushed with my right.
Legs flailing, arms grasping, loud grunting, my dress flying up, are just a few of the actions of the moment!

I noticed the police officer looked away politely as my legs flew up and my dress slipped past my knees. I think I would have rather had him come help me, though!
With absolutely no grace and complete embarrassment, I got out of the kayak and on to shore, vowing not to get back in the kayak until after the baby was born.

Shae had two kids for a ride in his kayak.

Cody and Hanna tried to ride together. It was so funny as they almost
tipper over - over and over again.
Gabriel thought he discovered a new island
and named it the "Island of Pine".  He got to
be a real explorer, and THAT is one
of the many reasons we do this trip, so our
kids can do amazing things.

(This story actually took place in the spring of 09.  I am going back in time to tell some of our earlier stories.  Hope you enjoy!)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

How Do Eight People Use One Bathroom?

Many people want to know...."What about the bathroom, for all of you?"

Shae, hubby, cleaning out toilet with our drinking water hose??? I hope not! 

We have six kids and have been living in the camper for 2 years now.

One bathroom!

I think it would be great to have a second, though. I do not use bath houses at campgrounds. My thought is, this is my home, I wouldn't go to the neighbor's to go potty, why go to the bathhouse. The amount of time it would take me to run 4 small children back and forth to the bathhouse would be ridiculous. I don't like my older daughter using them alone, too many weird-os out there.

My son and husband use them some, but not a lot.
Cody, my 17 yr old, dumps the sewage tank every four days, sometimes we can push it to five.

We figure Cody must like toilets after
we found him drinking from this one
at the Discovery Center

There is a pecking order to the potty

1. me, when I was pregnant and now our little wee one potty training

2. our 3 yr old daughter

3. our girls, the boys can pee outside if need be

4. our 6 yr old son

5. me, when I am not pregnant

6. dad and our oldest son

Now, when dad is going in to the bathroom, everyone else better hurry up and go first. He may be awhile.

No reading in there, or at least not any longer than how long it takes you to go, except for dad.

We did put a lock on the inside, up high so the little ones can't reach it. We have tried signs that say occupied or empty, but they didn't work, our little ones kept tearing them down.

Privacy is horrible, though! If someone makes a sound in there...everyone can hear it. Giggles fill the room when daddy goes in.  He is so loud and the kids think it is so hilariously disgusting! 

A little secret, turn on the tv or music for cover noise when in the potty.  I don't know if my husband realizes that is why I put Jimmy Kimmel on the tv for a few minutes later at night!!!

Another problem, not to get crude, but the stink can spread quickly. We always turn the bathroom fan on.
Our sink and shower are seperate from the toilet which is nice.
I cut a shower curtain in half and put hooks through the holes. The hooks hang over the side of the shower. They can be moved around the door to cover the shower for more privacy.

This was no doubt one of the grossest times on our trip.  The poo overflowed in the dump station and our own turds were floating across the road!  I was pregnant and got out of the truck to see what was going on, I almost puked.  It was so unbelievably disgusting, I am cringing now, two years later, just thinking about it!

It was quite unpleasant when the sewer hose ran under our
stairway!  Everyone had to be careful not to trip on our poo!

For more stories about poo and other (fecal) matter, read my son's article
"Into the Depths"

Happy camping!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Sometimes I don't think I can do this anymore....

I about lost it.  Sometimes I don't think I can live in a camper anymore.  I don't have these days very often.  Just every now and then.  If I can get through those moments, hours, or days, I will be fine. is very hard sometimes.

It has been two years on the road now.  Traveling has been wonderful, yet I miss having a home sometimes. 

Trying to get all of our stuff, for eight people, and live in a 8'X42' box is so hard.  I have been working at it for over two years, from when we bought our camper.  About two weeks ago, I walked into our back room and said, "I give up, it is impossible. Eight people cannot live in 42'.  So, it can be messy, cluttered, and some things can break, and I'm ok with that."  I can't fix it.  I try and try.  I purchase different storage shelves, change things around, pack up some items while purchasing others all in an effort to make our life better in this home on wheels.  I finally realized that no matter what I do, I cannot do it!  It is actually a good place to be, in my heart that is.  I spend too much time trying to live in an impossible situation. 

I have found that in my moments of greatest weakness, God moves the most.  When I am trying to fix, change, manage, and do, I tend to fail at some level if not all levels.  Am I saying that I don't have to do anything?  God will sort my laundry and change diapers?  No, I am talking about my striving and having no peace in the midst of such abundant blessings.  Yes, I am preaching to myself right now.  It is so easy to get caught up in the here and now, the immediate need of the moment and lose the eternal value of the day.

My one year old tried to go in the back room two days ago.  He couldn't even walk because of all the "stuff".  It is all really wonderful "stuff" mind you, but still too much of it!  If we had a house, it wouldn't be much at all.  In a camper, not much is a whole lot of "stuff".  I lost it.  That is it!  Walmart was my destination and nothing would stop me.  I bravely jumped in the van with my 17 year old son and 1 year old son.  Everyone could sense that mama had reached the end.  I bought a bunch of plastic containers of all sizes, crammed them in the van and headed back, after paying of course.

Everyone had to sort, again, and try to take out as much as possible.  One of the main reasons we sold our home and gave away or sold most of what we owned was so we would not be so bound to material things.  Yet, here we are, once again, spending all of our time maintaining our "stuff". 


I have to admit, it was not easy.  It was like I was packing away some of my dreams.  I thought that I would have more time to paint, draw, craft, sew, cook, etc, with my kids.  I brought lots of projects I had hoped to finally get done, thinking I would have more time.  This is not the case.  So, as quickly as possible, I passed the boxes to Cody, who crammed them in the van.  It was a lot of hard work for everyone, and sad in some respects. 

I know, though. all those things are just things.  I want to see my kids hike mountains, kayak rivers, meet amazing people, learn the history of this wonderful country. 

We will do those projects some day...or not....

But, I do know that I am kids are ok....and the earth will still revolve with out all of our "stuff".

Thursday, September 2, 2010

A Day Like Today Makes it All Worth It

As I have said before, this lifestyle is not for everyone and for us, with six kids, it is not an easy one.  But, days like today make it all worth it.

I enjoyed a long walk and swim today.  It was amazing.  The family went to the pool this afternoon and we had a blast. 

Hanna tried driving for the first time.  She has her permit now.  It went pretty good, lots to learn.

If we had a house, we would not be here, right now. 

Sometimes I want a home so bad, but then I take a deep breath, thank God for my life, and enjoy my day.  I didn't feel that way today, though.  Today was wonderful.