Friday, June 13, 2014

Home Sweet Home... No Not Charlotte!

We made it home to Tennessee.  I don't think I've ever been so excited to see that Welcome to Tennessee sign as we crossed the boarder. We came in off of Hwy 81 so we avoided the mountains. I'm not sure I could've handled more mountain after driving through West Virginia.

We made it to aunt Marsha's house just as she was pulling in and we were parking. She gave us a ride up the hill and the kids were excited to see their cousins. The very first thing I did was head to the shower. That shower was amazing.  After two and a half days of driving with no showers (I probably shouldn't have admitted that... but let me just say I couldn't figure out the logistics of us showering in truck stops since there was NO WAY I was leaving my kids unattended) that shower was the best. After I bathed and got the kids cleaned it was nice to sit and chat with my aunt Marsha.

We left her house right before rush hour to head to my dad's house about 30 minutes away in Oak Ridge. After we maneuvered Honey to the back we were all glad to see each other.

The next few days were spent chatting, relaxing, going to the shooting range, visiting the science museum, playing games, eating, and just generally enjoyed my dad and his wife. Those days together made me really excited abut our decision to truly full time. Full timing means we can come visit for weeks at a time, anytime!

Averie enjoying a ride down granddad's street

Averie shooting with her granddad

Joshua shooting with his grandad

Nay wishing he could shoot... this was a smile I got in between pouts that he couldn't shoot too

Nay at the American Museum of Science and Energy

Replica of the Little Boy dropped on Japan

All three working together on an exhibit at the museum

We left my dad's house and heading back to Aunt Marsha's. Over the next several days the kids played, fought, laughed and loved with their cousins and they couldn't be happier. Knowing they were gonna visit their cousins is the only reason the kids left our friends farm in Mass.

We also got to spend time with my great Aunt Ann. She turned 96 in April so I am so grateful for every chance I get to visit. Even at 96 she wants to take care of me :-) She insisted on cooking me dinner and got up and did just that. That dinner was AMAZING. Her cooking is still dynamic.

Speaking of cooking I was able to stick to my vegetarianism and resist my aunt Marsha's fried chicken.  Talk about a difficult task!

The kids and I also starting hunting for RV's. We visited all of the RV dealers in the area. On the way back I realized we were passing the cemetery that my granny is buried at. It just so happened that not only were we passing her gravesite but also it was the 12th anniversary of her death. I went to the office and they helped me locate her and I was able to spend some time with my granny.


Overall we had a wonderful time and are all sad to be packing up to leave. Neither the kids nor I are ready to go.  It's gonna be a long drive back to Charlotte, that's for sure. We'll be back on the road in a few weeks though so we have that to look forward to. We'll spend this time taking care of business in and around Charlotte (camps, doctors appointments, selling stuff, and searching for a bigger RV).

Continue to keep up with us as this is not the end of our adventure. I will continue to blog throughout our journey. Until the next post... peace, love, and safe travels!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

We drove and we drove and we drove

We left our friends in MA yesterday and now I sit boondocking in a FLyingJ Pilot in Flatwood, WV. Don't let me mislead you... we didn't drive all of those 673 miles straight through. We had some awesome stops along the way. Yesterday we left the farm around 9a and arrived in Hyde Park, NY around noon. The kids and I toured FDR's home which was a great addition to our Great Depression into WWII studies. The home was/is beautiful and the museum was wonderful. While I thought the kids might be bored it was well worth the stop for all of us.  Since it was only lunch time when we left the FDR residence we decided to keep driving. We headed to our next destination of Scranton, PA to visit Steamtown. It was a rough ride for Honey. First, while going through a toll, I destroyed the step that I forgot to push in before we headed out. Many miles after that fiasco as I was descending down one of the many steep hills of PA a deer decided it wanted to step out and stand right in my lane. I did everything in my power not to hit it, including swerving and hitting my breaks so heard smoke rose from my tires. Maybe it was my daughter screaming "Mommy don't hit it" in a terrified voice, or the thought of what it would do to Honey (and us) if we hit it, or just not wanting to kill an innocent deer (okay maybe not this one as I cursed the deer after I stopped shaking) but I managed to maneuver just right and within inches of the deer before it decided to WALK away.  We didn't make it to Steamtown in time since they closed at 5p. We found a local WalMart to park at for the night.  The WalMart was in a large shopping center so the kids and I browsed around the stores until we were sleepy. We settled into Honey and slept well until morning.

A visit to FDR's residence in Hyde Park, NY

FDR Living Room

View from the Walmart parking lot

We woke early and heading to Starbuck's located across the parking lot and started our morning off with expensive but yummy cups of coffee and frappucinos before heading off to Nay Aug Park. Of course we had to visit the "Nay" park and he was excited to pose for a picture beside his name. We played and explored the park and then headed over to Steamtown. We were lucky arriving when we did because the one and only train ride for the day was at 1030a and 56 second graders on a field trip were already ahead of us in line to board. The Steamtown site was amazing and we had a really good time exploring. I highly recommend this site to anyone that has little one's that love (or even remotely like trains).

Of course we had to visit the "Nay" Aug Park.  He was so excited to pose by his name ;-)

In the Tree House at Nay Aug Park

SteamTown. Standing in front of the train for perspective.

More perspective... 

On the Train at Steamtown

The notice above the door says "Spitting is Forbidden" Wonder why they had to post that on this 1930 train?

On the Train

On the Train

"Tickets Please"

We ate lunch in the RV before getting on the road. Instead of a place I had a timeframe in mind for this drive. I told the kids I would drive until 6p. I did just that and then some.  6p came and went and I still felt great so I kept on driving. 7 and 8 rolled around, still feeling great we kept on rolling. By 1030p I had had enough with the darkness, the fog, the rain, and the scary big trucks barreling down on me so I gave up. We stopped at an exxon but I was so freaked out by my surroundings that we had to leave.  I'm not sure what it was but listening to what my loved ones tell me, I trusted my gut. We drove 11 miles down the highway to the FlyingJ Pilot I am now typing this from.

Tired but excited kids at a rest stop in West Virgina

At a rest stop in West Virginia... we were laughing at how small Honey looks compared to the behemoth beside me and all the 18 wheelers.

They said I could sleep for a couple of hours here which means I better get off of my computer and try to do just that. Until the next post, peace, love and travels!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Our Week in MA in Pictures and a Big Final Decision

The major thing that we have learned over this past week is that we LOVE this RVing lifestyle and as a family made a huge decision.  Full-timing this summer was supposed to be a way for us to test the waters and determine if full-timing is for us or not and after only three weeks we have unanimously decided that it is. Since the kids are a go and I have been a go for almost a year now my mind is racing with all that I have to get done to make this happen. Things I am thinking about are money (first and foremost... as in where will I get it), the logistics of having to share the kids with another parent, getting a bigger and newer RV, what will we do with all of our stuff (what do we sell, what do we keep), and how do we break the news to our family (well, it looks like I just did ;-D ). I received a blessing to move forward with this from the people that I love and trust the most, so with their blessing we will get ready to move forward with this major life shift.

I know that the kids will benefit tremendously from spending a year traveling the United States... look how much they have benefitted in only three short weeks. I KNOW I will grow from this. I have been in search of a major change for my life for the past year... this is it! Our plan is to spend several months in and around the Charlotte area (not necessarily consecutively) to be near their dad, to spend a month or two at a time here in New England with our friends, to spend a month or so in Tn to be with my family (my great aunt is 95... time is of the essence), several months in the Atlanta area to be near my bestie and her new baby (she is due July 4) and to spend several months exploring out west.

I'll post more about this decision as things progress.  For now, here is a summary of our week:

My days have all blurred together. Instead of giving you details day by day I am just going to post the photos from our week and caption them. While they may be out of order trust that these were all taken over a weeks time (Mon-Mon). 

Of course we still had to do school work, even the smallest of us. The kids were thrilled to get to visit farm class and gymnastics class again.

School work


In addition to the classes we visited on our first trip here, the big kids participated in biography club with their friends. Averie contributed Dr Martin Luther King, Jr to the timeline. They made some new friends and definitely got to work on their social skills.

Making new friends and biography class

Appears to be deep in discussion at biography club

 We visited the most amazing bridge I have ever walked across.  It is a bridge of flowers and was so very pretty.  I can only imagine what it will be like when everything is in bloom.

At the Bridge of Flowers in Shelbourne, MA

A gorgeous bridge of flowers... Bridge of Flowers!

Nay smelling the flowers with Ms Christy

Us at the Bridge of Flowers

We visited Salmon Falls to see the potholes left by the ice age glaciers.
The potholes are amazing... the were made by glaciers during the ice age 

See for yourself
Beautiful scenery at Salmon Falls

We visited the Fish Ladder and learned way more than I thought I cared about about how fish travel to their spawning locations.  It was actually fascinating and I learned a lot.

About to cross the bridge to see the fish ladder
You can see the fish ladder through the fence... the ladder helps the fish cross the dam to swim to their spawning place

View from the other side of the bridge
Heading down to the fish viewing room
Can you see the fish? They are fighting hard to seim upstream to make it to their spawning place.  They travel from the ocean to the place they were born to spawn. Wow! Our natural world is amazing.

That is the size of an actual salmon... the photo does not do it any justice.

The next set of photos is of the kids catching tadpoles, newts, and turtles in Uncle Darby's pond (Uncle Darby is our friends 95 year young great uncle who lives across the street from the farm).

The girls searching for tadpoles and   Uncle Darby's house that he built with his two hands

The kids also had a great time helping out on the farm, especially with the chickens.  Nay was in heaven when he got to drive the tractor with Mr Josh.
Nay loving the tractor driving life

See that little head on the tractor? That's my baby!

Nay driving with Mr Josh

My first taste of rhubarb... Grandma Fritz's rhubarb cobbler was AMAZING. Where has rhubarb been all of my life?
Building a marble run with his new buddy Mr Josh before bedtime.

We had a fun time roasting marshmallows in the rain!


The kids enjoyed learning about formal tea's from the 18th c at Historic Deerfield

On the way home from Deerfield we stopped by Poet Seat Tower to enjoy the amazing view.

It says "Jump off the cliff and build your wings on the way down."
Wall art on the way to the top of the tower