Wednesday, August 31, 2016

New Dentist

Just because I love to add chaos to already busy weeks and because a trip to OR for PT, starting school, trying to do 5 days in 3 days wasn't ENOUGH, I scheduled our first trip to a new dentist this week, too. LOL  Hope recommended Dr. W, AND he takes Delta Dental; so off we went.

I was in my late 20's before it was discovered that Novocaine does not deaden me. I spent years having dental work (cavities drilled and filled, teeth pulled, braces) assuming the pain I felt was normal.  I NOW KNOW BETTER! A good dentist uses other stuff on me, waits and gives me second doses as needed - but I STILL dislike going to a dentist.  Some things get burned into the psyche and don't go away.

I sat in the office, trying to look supremely calm and confident - so the kids would be confident. I've decided when I'm Mom G's age I'm not going to the dentist without a fight.

After our appointments, we checked out a few new RV Parks and campgrounds  (long back story), took the kids for ICE CREAM (a tradition after shots and dentists) and bought groceries for Mom G and us. I was excited to find a bit of Japanese comfort food on this emotionally trying day. LOL

*Note full-timers still need to take care of basic dental and health care needs. We are working to get as much done while we are here, less to worry about when we are traveling more extensively in the future.

BTW, this was our one year "nomadiversary" - one year of living and traveling full time in our Caboose. I'll need more time to process and write a post worthy of that date - later.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

School Daze 2016

Never before, in our family, has the start of school signaled such huge changes in our lifestyles. We've been spending 6 - 10 hours a day at Mom G's - clearing brush, cleaning, visiting and playing.  School means priorities have to shift a bit, and schedules, of necessity, have to reflect that change. This is imperative with two high-school students. I'm still fairly free-flowing as a teacher - but we DO have structure, the hours DO have to add up, we DO have some subjects (Alg 2 for instance) which will take significant chunks of seat time at the trailer. We can't be ALL about PE and Life Skills. ::snort::

The past two weeks, I had been reminding all of us school was starting on the 29th, and our schedules would change; it was still a bit of a shock to all - from Stacia to Mom G.

Michael goes over to Mom G's in the a.m. We are TRYING to finish school with a couple of hours to spare, so I can drive the kids over too, but that didn't happen Mon - Wed.  There will be days we school until 4:30 or 5:00 p.m., and then I need to cook dinner... I DID realize our program, as written, is an honors program...and the boys have decided they are not honors students this year. I do plan to ease up a bit - but that didn't happen this week. ::snort::

We move through history in a 4 year cycle. All of us study the same year at our own level. This allows time for great conversations and natural integration of the material into our family time as we're all thinking on the same things. This year we are covering Ancient Civilizations. We are starting with Egypt.....We'll use the Bible and other materials as original source material to explore the many civilizations of this time. We'll complete a Bible survey in the course of the year. This adds new depth to both our Bible reading and our history studies.  We'll do some things together - and most things separately. I no longer have a young student to oversee...and am working towards more independence for Stacia. HOWEVER, Stacia is a mad extrovert and craves  interaction time with me - so we'll balance. I'll work to develop those independent study skills which will serve her well in college, but I will also include plenty of time together working through material.

Without further fuss - 2016 Second Day of School pictures - the first day they were on top of Spencer's Butte.

Nolan  - Junior
 We are deliberately doing some school outside of the trailer so all note we ARE schooling. LOL And, YES, we also enjoy the lovely sun this time of year. 

Stacia - 6th grade - WHERE IS MY BABY????

Alex - Freshman

The boys like to school on their bunks - we like to school outside. Yuuki suffered some separation anxiety and solved it by joining us. 

Poor Yuuki, she loved spending all summer with the kids. 
Most years, we do a rolling start to school. We did the same this year as there were only three days in this week. We accomplished all that was on the schedule...and as I type, I realize I need to get busy and plan out next week. ::snort::

Prayers are appreciated as we work to integrate our schedules, with Mom G's needs, and life in a new location - you all know - deep down - we'd rather be up north now, heading to the NE for the fall. LOL

Monday, August 29, 2016

Mad Dash North

Dr. C, Michael's VA neurologist, felt Physical and Speech therapy would be beneficial. We made the most of the trip to Eugene. We got up early and arrived in time for breakfast with Mom, Dad and Lorri.

We ran a few errands. I found the pickles Mom G had on her shopping list. Stepping into Staples was like walking into heaven! I didn't realize how much I missed a real office supply store. The boys and I had designed a lesson planner for them we liked. It is a two page spread, has room for 11 subjects, and tracks weekly and yearly hours for each of the subjects. This makes it easy to determine the time spent when awarding high school credit. Michael figured out how to fit it all on to a standard sheet of paper and made it "work."  Last year Nolan printed it each week and then just saved them.... I thought it would be easier to have the thing bound - which we thought last year, too, but our travels never quite took us by an office supply store at the right time. Staples copied and bound the trackers for us, and we're quite happy with the product.  Our writing handbook has been well-used; the binding broke years ago. They snipped the holes, re-punched and spiral bound it for us! Much easier to use.

We then headed over to the VA clinic feeling good about all we'd accomplished in the day. Krista picked up the kids. They'd been told to bring their tennis shoes, always a sign a hike or a game is in the making.  They hiked to the top of Spencer's Butte. Lots of Phys Ed on our first day of school this year.  I suppose these could be our 2016 First Day of School pictures.

It would be wrong to get the impression Michael is stumbling, shuffling, slobbering etc. However, his right arm doesn't swing and some days he  stumbles and staggers; they tell us he does have a bit of a shuffle, and his torso doesn't move when he walks. Part of Parkinson's Disease is muscles become stiff and/or rigid. Dr. C feels early intervention, via exercises, will give Michael more tools as the disease progresses.  His voice has gotten softer and hoarser over the past 4 - 5 years, and he is having trouble swallowing. Speech therapy will be in the mix to help with those symptoms. They haven't called with appointments. We're hoping they find a speech therapist in Roseburg.

We liked the physical therapist. She began by wanting him to come in weekly. We can't. We talked about every other week but settled on monthly. Michael will do his exercises daily and if he makes progress, we only have to drive up once a month.

Hawaiian time is a fantastic meeting spot for a late lunch/early dinner. This was quite the accomplishment as we didn't have much time to plan the trip. LOL
L-R; Nolan, Alex, Stacia, Krista, ARielle, Cory, Micahel and Bella, Bre, Izaak
Bella has reached an age where she isn't thrilled with strangers - classified as "other than Mommy and Daddy," and maybe a couple of others. I was prepared to play from a distance - but she smiled and laughed with both Michael and me and was happy to come right to us.  YAY, Bella!
We tried a selfie - Bella was interested in seeing us on the screen

Gemma has my binkie! 

Such fun
Go Bella....
We ran for the border and were home between 7 - 8 p.m.;  14 hours after we'd left. Our future appointments are on Mondays, we CAN do this again....or we may drive up on a Sunday night and come back Monday. We'll see how Mom G's needs, mesh with our needs.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Date up South Fork

Michael and I drove over to visit with Mom G. On our way home, we took the South Fork Road. A sign indicated there may be land or a house for sale up that way - we didn't see such - but we did enjoy the gorgeous drive, mountain meadows, river views and trees. 

LOVE having a tour guide with us in this area
 One of Michael's colorful boyhood tales revolves around a family who lived in an converted bus up South Fork. They had also built several cabins from press-board. There were a couple of families who lived up here 40 years ago.  Of course, we had to search out the site of the stories.  Forty years ago they had the brush cut back...but the road is still there....yes, they were squatters, but no one much cared 40 years ago.

We suspect this was where the bus was parked....Michael did a bit more looking and found an old water pipe and remains of a cabin.

We decided it would not be possible to get a Class A into the old spot....but we did find several promising spots for boondocking  AND a campground. Big Flat Campground is run by the US Forest Service.  There's no cell service, it's dry camping - but the sites are big enough for the trailer and/or a Class A AND it's only $8 a night. They close Nov 1st.

We enjoyed the drive, the hike and being alone. A perfect date.

Cool Neighbors

One of the routines of fulltiming and being in one park for an extended amount of time is you develop a rhythm.  Every Friday afternoon we get neighbors. Every Sunday afternoon the park clears out. There can be some funny sights as they come and go - like the one who backed over the picnic table.

We've had some great neighbors.

Jim, the 88 year old pastor camps alone as a widower.

Rod, owner of an industrial coating company doing all kinds of aerospace applications. Rod gave us a tour of his Monaco and a bike rack, too.

We've also had some neighbors we were  happy to see leave, but why focus on them?

Of them all, Oli and Britt are sure to be the coolest. They are from the north coast of Germany. They came over with their two girls about a year ago. They had parental leave to use and had decide to fly to America, buy a bus and travel for a year.  Isn't this bus fantastic?????

I love color. I know Michael was worried I'd be enamored and never want a Class A. I HAVE dreamed of renovating a School Bus....but I realized something I'd never thought of before - there is no BASEMENT STORAGE at all in a Schoolie. But what FUN to drive this around. They brought it over Howland Hill road. Michael was following them. I'm so impressed Oli drove the BUS through there.
Don't you love the frog? 
Britt and the girls will fly back to Germany in two weeks. Oli will stay a bit longer to sell the bus. They asked if we thought it would sell well in San Francisco. Yep - I think they'll do just fine selling it in the Bay Area.

We exchanged emails. We talked about flying to Europe (Space A) buying an RV and touring Europe....I think we can.

*Note - I asked if I could take pictures of the bus. I'm not REALLY a stalker. 

Friday, August 26, 2016

Teacher's Planning Day

I couldn't put it off any longer. Today, while the rest worked at Mom G's, I stayed in the Caboose, dragged out all the school books and planned our upcoming school year. This is my 28th year of homeschooling - I almost said "our 28th," but I want to be sure all know we don't keep our kids at home forever and ever and ever to school. ::snort:: 

I struggled this year. As I drug everything out, I realized it's not school starting, it's the fact that school starting means the gorgeous summer weather will end, the rains will come and we'll be spending another rainy winter in the Pacific Northwest.  We tried to stay upbeat about it, but last year was hard.  Being confined to 268 SF when it rains and rains, led to cabin fever. We consoled ourselves by double-timing school to allow  "travel all spring and summer." We came up with a plan to allow us to school 1/2 time during travel weeks, to see lots of cool new things and have adventures...we'd spend summer as hosts in ID (doing school to allow for less when we traveled), fall in the NE and Winter in the SE or TX. We just had to survive a minor set back. 

Planning for school this  year means accepting there is no reason to double time. We will go at a normal pace and spend a few hours a day at Mom G's. It will be easier for Michael this year as he'll have something to do and somewhere to go while we school.  We'll look for more to do outside of the trailer to keep us busy.  We will keep dreaming of the year we can travel "as planned." muhahahaha

I was GRATEFUL  Michael willingly went along with a teacher's planning day. It also gave me a day ALONE. I've been told I'm an extrovert, but I sure love down time all alone in the caboose. I've decided I'm becoming an introverted extrovert - yes, I'm sure that's a thing! Below are the history, lit, fine arts, Bible, and language arts and math arrived at the end of the day, but the kids keep those in their backpacks. 
Planning at the campsite
Japanese is in Nolan's are a few other electives....but I found all these I wanted to put back in the cupboard too. 
Movies as Lit at the top - can't wait
I updated Nolan's transcript. I created Alex's transcript. We're doing Year 1 of Tapestry of Grace - Ancient Civilizations. The kids are really excited. It is one of my favorite years too.  With Tapestry, history is divided into 4 time periods. This means each child cycles through each time period every four years. They study each period in grammar, dialectic and rhetoric levels - or in normal speak in elementary, middle school and high school. ::snort::  This is at least our 3rd time doing  Year 1 - Ancients; it may be our 4th. We're fuzzy. Tapestry allows students of all ages to study the same subject matter at their own levels. For the teacher, a two-page lay out shows me assignments for K - 12th grade on the same topic. I can pick and  choose to tailor the curriculum for each child. We love Tapestry - though we've developed our own way of utilizing it as a tool. I teach the child and not the curriculum. I tweaketh. 

THIS, other than the kids' backpacks, is the space I have for school materials. The tub stays in the van.  Since we aren't doing much travel I pulled the Good Sam Travel Guide and Off the Beaten Path out of the cupboard and will find a less accessible place for them. I could see I wasn't going to get all the books to fit. 

I learned last year it works MUCH better if the Tapestry books are inside and we don't have to run through the rain to search for a book......I sorted the books by units. I thought maybe I could put the multi-unit resources and unit 1 books on our shelf. 
Unit 1 is on the table
Seeing that wasn't going to work, I packed all but the first week of books back into the tub. ::snort::  I also pulled out the notes for week 1 and 2 from the teacher's manual rather than trying to keep the whole notebook inside. This is much more manageable. 
First week of books
A beautiful sight - there is something about organizing that picks up my spirit. 
All ready for school!
I decided to head up to the office and pick out a new book to read check to see if  this year's math books and the Astronomy kit I had arrived. They did. Think Algebra 1, Algebra 2 and a big I lugged the box back to our site - we are the farthest away from both the office and the showers - this very colorful Schoolie drove in and parked in the site across from ours. I must meet them.
Stalking the big pink bus

Fridays are for Fishing - #WYFF

A lot was accomplished today.  Sadly, no one had swim suits today at the end of the work day. Stacia is the one who always grabs the suits on the way out the door - and today - her thoughts were on fishing! Michael and she had added line to the rod and she was excited to try it again. 

Both Mom G and Michael had shared what has to be done after you catch a fish. You have to kill it, you have to clean it - and this means gutting. She has only done catch and release in the past. 

The kids have been snorkeling and know the fish are up by the rapids. Stacia chose to fish downstream...where they had not seen fish. She caught a 9 inch trout. She doesn't seem very excited about the next steps in the process, does she? 

Alex steps in....

She did it - the first trout on her new rod
 Ah - be free to swim another day....she watched to make sure it was o.k. 
The Smith is so CLEAR! 
I prefer catch and release myself.

#WYFF (Where's Your Feet Friday) is sponsored by Fulltime Families. For more #WYFF entries, click the tab above.

Ten Challenging Days

The past week and a half has been hard.  We had two weeks to "push hard" before school "begins" ....tentatively set for 29 Aug. We school pretty much year round, but we've slowed down on a lot of the subjects as we've been stationary and helping Mom G all summer. We see two weeks of visitors in September, so it's wise to get a week in before Labor Day.

The 16th a dear college friend, walked from this life into eternal life with Jesus. It's good she is out of pain. I miss our communication.
Oxygen - the wonder drug
The week didn't go as planned. The 17th,  Nolan had an episode which resulted in an ER visit, lots of tests for various this point we know he had one of three things. As is often the case, a concrete diagnosis may not be forthcoming unless there are other episodes. We're all praying this was a single occurrence. We DO know it was not his heart, he did not have a stroke, it was not an allergic reaction to an insect bite and there were NO TOXINS in his blood (so it was not poison, herbicides or drugs). All good things to have off the table.

I discovered during Nolan's adventure  I can drive the twisty, windy, narrow Redwood Hwy at 65 mph if needed. This is good to know considering where we are staying and why we are here.  Michael discovered some tourists won't pull over even if you have your emergency flashers on, your high beams on and are laying on the horn. He had NOLAN in the car and was forced to drive 30 mph until the hwy empties into Hwy 101. I got there soon after they arrived.
I'm guessing not even a foot underground - very little frost danger
On the 18th, while digging out Cork Elm roots, we hit a water main. It is obviously not 3 feet underground. ::snort::  This resulted in visits with neighbors and another trip into town. Things seem to be just fine now.
Why can you build a "tiny house" but not park an RV?????

Stress immediately eased around here when all accepted the realization  we would NOT be finished with work before the 29th of Aug. In fact, we ARE here indefinitely for as long as we are needed. This looks like it will be - well - indefinite. We began talking about what it means to stay here as long as we are needed....and began investigating loans, land, and houses which are for sale in Mom G's neighborhood. We found some riverfront land we could possibly build on - and park the Caboose on while we build according to local code.....

We had a few hard conversations. If you care enough about others, you will lovingly and respectfully go to the hard places. We do and did.

We've continued to work hard. A neighbor told us they took a lot of "before" pictures sometime in the past.  She says it really shows how much we've accomplished.  It's easy to lose sight of improvement - we see so much which most likely won't be done before the "rains come."

There has been a lot of good happen, too, in the past couple of weeks.

We've learned to slow down and really listen to each other and what we each need in the moment. We're not ALL about work, work, work.....

Stacia's remaining birthday gifts arrived. 
Thanks - but WHAT is it? She'd never seen a telescoping rod before.

Aha! Pull out the reel, extend the rod and she knows what it is! 

Girly tackle box
CoRielle visited on Sunday, an event deserving it's own post. 
Um was trying to center the rock between them - they weren't in 2 camps

We planned a day trip, which Mom G is excited to take, for the end of September.

We firmed up plans for visitors arriving in September - Earl (Michael's brother) and Josiah (our son).

We made plans for a parenting seminar we are leading in October.

We had lots of campfires.  The kids enjoyed many swims.

We had a "family meeting" (::snort:: be quiet, you elder Gherkins, they love family meetings - I'm SURE of it). The kids, one and all,  voiced they would prefer we not buy land or a house locally. They would prefer we continue our plan to be Fulltime RVers and see America. They know this means we will be parked locally a lot of the time. We talked about trying to get support systems in place so we can take off for a week every couple of months and plan an annual long trip. This could, of course, all change instantly if Mom G decides she wants to move or is willing to allow others to care for her.

We began dreaming of driving the ALCAN and spending extended time with JaRissa in the state we love and belong to.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Another Summer Day

Michael had a hard morning - but he wanted to get "something" done. I'm surprised how much we got done.  The guys kept working on spots here and there....Mom G had a list of "little jobs" for Stacia. While Stacia worked on her list, I vacuumed, changed sheets and started some laundry....then I joined the guys outside for a bit. 

Looks like a bear visited....
 Stacia talked Alex into bringing fishing gear today. It was a sad moment when we realized we'd given her everything she needed - except fishing line. Alex fished.....she went to plan B. I know this photo looks bad - but she really had a great attitude.

She and Nolan played a game balancing on logs and rocks....they reported the water was colder than on Sunday. 

Michael and I sat at the river's edge and relaxed. Neighbor's came down and we visited. It was a nice end to a good day......well we did have dinner and a campfire back at the park. LOL

Sunday, August 21, 2016

CoRielle Visit - YAY

It's a great day - Sunday. A day to REST, worship and today, CoRielle came down for a quick visit!

Nolan and Arielle have always had a special bond. It was incredibly sweet of Cory to drive her down for the day. It meant a lot to all of us - and especially Nolan. I think it was good for her to see he was fine, too.

We visited a bit at the Caboose and then headed in to town and got some lunch. Next up was a walk along the jetty....
We have a great tour guide in this area - Michael - we may even loan him out. 

It WAS warmer down here

Do you spot Alex? 
Sea Lions
Battery Point Lighthouse
It was foggy in town, but BEAUTIFUL up in the woods....CoRielle wanted to see Mom G and swim in the Smith River and we were happy to oblige on both counts.

They needed to leave by 6 p.m. As the day came to a close, we FINALLY got around to attacking Stacia's birthday pinata.

It was a great day. Thanks again, Cory and Arielle for coming down to visit.  Below are some video clips - we really need to get a little mic and cut the wind. LOL