Thursday, July 31, 2008

Recreation Day

We didn't really plan to hang out at the resort all day long. We were thinking of heading into Lynchburg to see what was there. But, Austin is the type of person who thinks if something is there, then it should be experienced.
And given how much "something" there was here, it took us all day long to experience it. If we would have had our traveling buddies with us, we'd have played some sand volleyball. Austin made friends with one of the rangers named Dick and he was so kind to him.

Of course, if we are going to be here having fun, some work must be squeezed in also. We also squeezed in another Bookcrossing RAK.

You can't tell from this picture, but there is a mini golf course behind this. There are also tennis courts and a pool, which we did not use.

This might have been Austin's favorite thing to do, go out on the lake. We didn't use the canoes. We used the paddle boat they had along with the canoes.

It is so pretty here. Nathan went out for a walk on the nature trail and a lab joined him for his walk. He came back and told me how much he was looking forward to getting a dog and that hopefully Auburn would get one that would take walks with him.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Lynchburg, VA

We left our traveling buddies and North Carolina bright and early this morning. We headed up to the Thousand Trails campground near Lynchburg, Virginia. It was a short three hour drive, which we decided was a fabulous distance to travel in one day. After unhooking and leveling, we went to taste some local food and upon the recommendation of a local we tried Napoli's restaurant. Great Italian food with good prices! Then we headed back to the resort for some fun. This is only our second Thousand Trails experience and we've been pleased so far. This is a really nice place to spend a few days. There is a lake with boats and sand volleyball. We played mini golf, fooz ball and ping pong ball for most of the afternoon. The staff seems so nice and helpful. We will go out and do some sight seeing tomorrow and hopefully find a new cat/kitten.

More food and fun

Today we hung out at the campground again and had another relaxing day. The teens slept in in the way that only teens can sleep in, so that gave Mom and Dad time to catch up on some things. We played Apples to Apples, did some scrapbooking projects and gabbed. The kids wanted to cook dinner again so we got to kick back and enjoy being spoiled. They made spaghetti and meatballs, garlic bread, salad and chocolate cake. I think the girls ate a tub of frosting together, just while making the cake. ;-0 Life is still good.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Lazy Day

Today we had a nice relaxing lazy day at the campground. We went to the pool and swam some.
We did some laundry, ate lunch, hung out playing Apples to Apples and just lounging around and chatting. Austin and Lauren (our niece) wanted to cook dinner so they tackled that project. They cooked the entire meal together without any adult help at all! They made Chicken Schnitzel, Potato dumplings and Oreo pie.

It was really good. I was so impressed with their talent and their teamwork.

After dinner, the guys and the kids played a bit with the volleyball and giant frisbee. Here is Nathan with Joshua, our nephew.

Today made all of the hard work to get "here" more than worth it. This is what I pictured when I wanted to do this. I know every day won't be this good. That is just the reality of life. But to have some days this good means the world to me.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Kenly NC-Tobacco Farm Life Museum

We must still be tired, because this morning we slept in until after nine. We kept waking up and then would doze off again and just couldn't seem to get out of bed. We tried to attach the screen room, but the parties involved deemed it way too much work so we've decided to sell that one and buy a freestanding one instead. Between those two things, we didn't get headed out to do sight seeing until fairly late in the afternoon. That's ok, because the place we wanted to see didn't open until two.

We visited a neat museum that told us how tobacco is grown and harvested and what some parts of life was like for tobacco farmers in the early 1900's to the 1950's. First, we had to get a drink.

Proof that sometimes there is more joy in the doing than in the getting. Next, we went through the museum that had some hands on things for children.

After that we went to the blacksmith shop where a real blacksmith was giving a hands on demonstration. This is a working shop which made it even better for us. He let one of us actually learn how to work with the metal and tools while there. It was awesome!

And then we went to see all of the buildings, including a one room schoolhouse.

We'd recommend this museum, not just for the museum itself, but the staff was superb.

After leaving there, we stopped at a Super Wal-Mart which was insanely busy. I'm not sure why I'd even bother to stop there since I'm not the biggest fan, but it's what we saw and we needed food. We took our turn at making dinner and the kids asked to cook dinner for tomorrow night so it looks like I'll only have to cook once every three nights when we have traveling buddies along. Sweeeeet!

It was short day, but a very nice, relaxing day for us. We think the weather is still very enjoyable. The bugs however, are not. 'Eh, no place is perfect.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Our first destination

A picture of our new house and the "men" at a rest stop in South Carolina.

We finally headed out-"on the road". We left yesterday afternoon and made it to Brunswick, Georgia. We stayed at a nice campground with even nicer people. We got up early this morning and drove to Four Oaks, North Carolina where we met up with our favorite traveling buddies. They are the icing on the top of this fabulous gift. And speaking of icing and gifts, they even remembered my birthday had just passed and bought me a birthday cake. Ok, they did dinner and the cake for us! So we drove in, they helped us hook up and we got to put our feet up and relax. How awesome is that? The drive to get here was smooth and the scenery was gorgeous. We are at another nice campground and the weather is wonderful. Life is good. We were just discussing whether it has truly hit us now that we've driven to another state. We decided that yes, the fact we are now going to see the US has hit us, but the fact that we no longer have a house to go back home to is still a foreign concept. I wonder how long it will be before that seems normal to us? Or will it always seem odd to us? It will be interesting to see.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Our first RAK

It hasn't really hit me yet that this is real. And that is most likely because we are still in our home state and at our campground that we've been at for the past year. We are still wrapping up business, meaning amongst other things selling the few things like ATV's and our kayak, that we hadn't sold yet. Today we went to do our week's worth of laundry and it did hit me just a bit that this is our life now. We aren't doing laundry here because I don't want to haul laundry home. This is my only option. It was great to do a week's worth of laundry in just a few hours so I think I'll be ok with that part of our new life. While we were there, we had a neat experience. I always carry Bookcrossing ( books in my car so I can leave them in places we encounter. I normally carry adult books, but had the thought that when we do laundry there will be children that are there, bored and looking for entertainment, so I stuck some children's books in my box. I saw a young girl yesterday that appeared to be hanging out with her mother who was the attendant. I went and grabbed some books, brought them in and asked her if she liked to read and would she like the books. Yes and thank you! Neat, I thought and didn't think another thing of it. When we went to leave we saw that she and her mother were reading through the books together. If that wasn't enough to make me grin, I realized that she was actually teaching her mother to read English by using the books. Made.My.Day. I hope to have many, many moments like that in our travels.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Moving in and going back already!

Normally when you move, there are two parts, the moving out and the moving in. The moving out this time was pretty extreme. I'm happy to report that the moving in, however, was a delight. In one day, we had every box unpacked and completely put away. One DAY and we were done. This also meant that by this morning, I was completely freed up to do whatever I wanted to do which has happened perhaps oh...ten times since I became an adult. What I wanted to do, is my most favorite thing to do, and that was to spend the day with my two favorite children at this moment, Gabe and Liv. So I got up at 6 am to drive down to the city that we *just* moved away from for one last fabulous day with them. I called their mom on the way and suggested that we might go to Chuck E Cheese or the movies or the Science museum or something like that. So guess what we did today? Yup, Chuck E Cheese AND the movies (Kung Fu Panda) AND the Sugar Sands Science Museum AND something else (BJ's trip complete with one toy buying token each). Are they great negotiators or what? We had a blast. We said our good bye's for now and although it was hard to drive away, it still was good because I know that when I am with them, I will be able to be more "with them" due to living lighter. Or at least I hope so. We don't officially hit the road until Saturday, but since I'm itching to leave now, we might see what we can do to leave and inch our way north before then. Our adventure is about to begin and I am so excited that giddy is the only word I can find to adequately describe it.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

We Did It!

The song from Dora keeps running through my head because indeed, We Did It! In the eleventh hour, I wondered if we could actually do it. Not as if we weren't wanting to, but is this actually possible to do type of thing. We had moments where we sat down for a moments rest and said to each other, there is NO WAY we are going to be able to do this.

I'm not sure what will happen if we don't do it, but at this point it is looking impossible. We had very few snags and we are grateful for that. Really, the biggest one being that the people who were buying all of our largest, heaviest and bulkiest pieces of furniture simply did not show up to follow through with our transaction. They said they would, and we planned on it given we had much conversation with them about it ahead of time, and then.......nothing. When did we realized we needed to make another plan? Oh, about four o'clock the day before we had to be out of the house!!!!!!! Have you ever had to find a moving truck and a storage space in an hour? We have. We don't recommend it.

Then we realized it wasn't just the truck and space, we needed actual bodies to move this big bulky stuff. Again, made a plan and waited for help to arrive and did other things in the meantime. When did we realize that help was not arriving? Oh, about eight o'clock that night. ACK! Have you ever moved large pieces of furniture *and* a pool table in the dark and rain with teenagers? We have. We don't recommend it. But we pushed forward still.

We realized at midnight that this was in fact possible to do.....if we didn't sleep at all. Oh, I'm just kidding. We did sleep. We just had to get up at 4 am. And for those of you who have seen me first thing in the morning, no, it wasn't pretty. At all.

The most incredible thing happened during all of this though. I realized that all of my fears of can we do "this", meaning live in this tight of quarters and this tight of a woven together *so* intimately lifestyle, started to fade. We did it meant just that-*we* did it. Teens that normally preferred to text on their phone or skateboard with friends jumped in and helped us do it. And without attitude. The next day as we pulled away from the house and grinned and said we did it, we meant the we more than the did it part. We were amazed at us.

It was a great sign of encouragement that even when it looks impossible, if we pull together, we can do it. Now today, we still are grinning and high-fiving each other that we did it. First sign of the reality that we did it, is that we all are battered and bruised as is typical of moving. Even the youngest of us is limping around like a war hero today. But we have that shared horror story, the first of our shared stories in this particular part of our life journeys. And I'm remembering why we wanted to do this in the first place. We wanted to go and see the world together. And the world is where ever we are at that moment. It's not so much the "go", but the "we" that means something to me. WE did it! Hooray!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Two days and Counting!

Today we are really beginning to feel as if this is IT, we are down to the wire now. The house is pretty empty, we have donated and dumped truck loads of things and we are giving anything and everything away to those who need it. It is incredible to see how much stuff we have, when instead of simply moving it from one house to another, we have to actually find a new home for each and every object. It makes it so much more of a conscious event. We sat and wondered aloud if we will even want to accumulate "stuff" again if/when we settle down again. For now, we have no idea how this will change us. We are just excited that this leg of our life journey is closing in and we are moving on to the next one. Steven came over tonight and as he shared what he will be doing when he graduates from school, I kept thinking how amazing it is that we will be traveling by land and he will be traveling by sea. It is also still amazing to me that we will be able to travel with some of our favorite family members and their great kids. I am taking lots of deep breaths, to get me through the next few days. I'm past the transition stage and just want to be DONE with all of this part.

Friday, July 11, 2008

On the Mend!

I'm thrilled this morning to be feeling so much better. A few of us are heading up to the place where the RV is now located to start "moving" in. Some of the other of us get to stay and sell things, mainly on Craigslist. I have decided that the people who buy on Craigslist are their own unique brand of people (and we buy on Craigslist, lol). They are people who want a bargain. Not quite yard sale bargain, but still a bargain. They are the people who will drive 60 miles for an item that we are selling for $10 and talk us down to $5.00 and then ask what we have for free. Ok, so only half of them do the last one. We have had amazing success using Craiglist though so I truly hate to say much else beyond thank goodness for this venue, given our time crunch and sheer load of things to dispose of. Oh wait, I do want to say ONE more thing on this topic. Another Craigslist people fact is that so far 100% have asked why we are selling whatever item we are and 95% of them are jealous of the life we are about to lead. I'd have never guessed that many people would say, "I wish I could do that". We don't tell them that they in fact could do that, for the same reason that we don't try to convince people to homeschool. Just interesting and it's been a nice boost to have so much enthusiasm surrounding us. Eight days and counting!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Bugs and More

With incredible timing, we seem to have been struck by bugs. Not just the sweet ants, which are typical this time of the year-but the worst of all bugs when you are busy-the viral kind. Yup, that's right-I'm sick. I'm hoping it passes by quickly because I have too much to do to be sick right now. Otherwise, we are still selling all we can. And for now, that seems to be more than enough.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Are We There Yet?

We are at 11 days and counting and as I look around the still full house, I am beginning to wonder exactly where we will be in 11 days. It will be interesting. I also wondered, as if I have time right to wonder such things, what happens when you travel full time and the kids ask the ever popular question, "Are we there yet?". I picture it now going something like this: Are we there yet? Yes. Are we there yet? Yes. Are we there yet? Yes. And that is part of why we wanted to do this, so that we are always "there", wherever that might be.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

12 days and counting!

I decided I should probably start our blog now, while I still have a few brain cells left. In 12 days we begin our adventure, otherwise known as we are moving into an RV to see the world. Well, technically to see the USA, and eventually the rest of the world. We are in the process of getting rid of almost everything and it is an overwhelming, yet freeing experience.