Broken Photos!

All my old photos were hosted by PhotoBucket and PhotoBucket recently made a change that took all photos off third party sites so you will see those broken link images all across the internet, including my old traveling pictures 😭

I have to go through my accounts and find each picture so I can replace it manually. It’s a project, and in case I hadn’t mentioned . . . we’re in the middle of a GIANT MOVE (with kids)!

So the old pictures will have to wait until we’ve settled in to our new place.

For new posts, there will be no problem so you can follow along on our adventure!

Too Comfortable?

Can you be too comfortable?

When we get really comfortable, are we still growing? I think we humans thrive on constant challenges. That’s why routines start to feel like ruts. And you start to wonder if this is really all there is to life.

All of which is to say, it’s time for us to move again!

What’s Going On

I haven’t blogged here for years. This blog was intended to document our nomadic life when our family of five lived in a 22′ RV and traveled the country, rarely staying in the same spot two nights in a row.

Our original adventure in 2011

That was a great adventure. It was also sooo hard. And I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I’m pretty sure that easy is to adventure as parmesan is to spaghetti (oh, I should mention here that I loathe parmesan cheese).

And we were so ready after that adventure to accept my parents’ invitation to move in with them and have some stability, a couch, and the ability to plug things in whenever we wanted. My parents are angels. I absolutely could not have imagined any better parents.

While we were here, we expanded our business teaching and selling woven baby wraps for parents who want to keep their baby close to their heart. We were able to reach vastly more people with the incredible benefits of baby wrapping, and we made a ton of friends.

While we were here, our kids experienced school for the first time and then experienced being taken out of school to homeschool.

While we were here, our children grew from ages 2, 3, and 8 to ages 6, 7, and 12. They learned to ride bikes, bake cookies, and play chess. They have swum in the Gulf of Mexico, splashed in rain puddles, caught frogs, caught lizards, and spent lots of time with friends.

We're A Little Wild...

A lot has changed.

The Next Great Adventure

We are moving onto some land in the mountains of New Mexico!

We cannot wait to finally get to experience country life as we’ve wanted to since we had kids. We’re looking forward to mountains and forests. And seasons! Spring, Autumn, and Winter have been missing from our lives for too long!

Why Not Make it Really Uncomfortable Exciting?

Oh, yeah. The home that is available for us to move into is a beautiful one room cabin with skylights and a wood stove but no electricity and no plumbing.

So that should be interesting.

A Corner of the Cabin Waiting For Us

Keeping Up Wrap Your Baby

While we are physically moving in a very drastic way, our family business – Wrap Your Baby – is not going anywhere 🙂

You will still find all the wrapping resources that you need at WrapYourBaby.com

Diana, owner of Wrap Your Baby

You will still be able to buy high-quality, comfortable, and beautiful wraps from us. We will use solar panels to power our computers so we can receive orders and answer questions.

We will have to go a little farther to get your packages to the US postal service, but we are willing to do that every day for you ❤️

Cloth Diapers On the Road

Question: are you crazy to move into a 22 foot motorhome with cloth diapers for two and no washer/dryer?!

Answer: yes

But here’s the plan: First, I am switching to flat diapers in preparation for our newborn-to-be.

flat diaper vrs fitted diaper
Flat diaper, compared to a fitted diaper that we have been using.

I love flat diapers for several reasons:

  • they are super cheap
  • they take up very little room
  • they are a cinch to wash
  • they dry if you look at them hard
  • they are one-size-fits-all
  • they are old-fashioned

It will be easy to wash wet diapers in the sink or at a campground and hang dry them inside of an hour to use again.  In this way, we will not get too desperate for a laundromat.

Both babies will use the same diapers so there will be no need to store them separately.

Storage space will be much less than with fluffy prefolds, fitteds, pockets, or all-in-one diapers.

Many, many flat diapers will fit into the zippered hanging wetbag that will be our diaper pail.

We use only wool covers, which are re-used again and again without washing due to wool’s amazing properties.  When they do need to be washed, I will hand wash them in the sink/a bucket/the tub.

Concerned that I am using a public laundry facility to wash cloth diapers?  I am too, a little.  Baby bottoms are so pure and sensitive, and it is important to me that only clean cotton be used to cover bottoms and genitals–that’s one reason why we cloth diaper in the first place!

So, while I have no worries about the cleanliness of my diaper washing routine (the diapers come out perfectly sanitary and so do the machines), I am used to having my own washer and not having to worry about the cleanliness of the other users!

I plan to use vinegar in each wash as a disinfectant against what might be lurking in the machine.  I will use baking soda as a deodorant in hopes that it will counteract any residual scented detergent.   And I will take comfort in knowing that flat diapers are so thin that they do not hold onto bacteria or chemicals, but wash out very thoroughly.

I will dry on high heat as an extra precaution, nonetheless.  Flat diapers can take that kind of treatment.

Toddler wearing a flat diaper with snappi.
So cute in cloth!
Rear view of the flat diaper.
Rear view of the flat diaper.

Welcome!

girls in RV

I’m just creating this blog as a record of our dream-chasing journey around this beautiful country.  The blog is just a baby, and I have a lot to add.  The next few months will have a lot to say about transition.  We have a lot of work to do to shake off the shackles of convention, and it doesn’t always go as quickly as we’d like, but I think that this part of the journey is as deserving of documentation as the yearned for part to come: traveling fulltime.

Once we get going, I plan to add a map of our travels, and lots of pictures of where we go.

Now, while we’re transitioning, and later, while we travel, I plan to wax just a little philosophic as the mundane parts of the day spark little flames of inspiration and revelation in my heart that might speak to yours as well.  This isn’t a blog about travel.  It’s a blog about aligning your life and all of your actions, with your dreams.

Driving the MotorHome Around Town

*I wrote this on 26 January, but it didn’t get posted until now–documents my first driving experiences with Benny*

mirror view

It’s true, we plan to fulltime in the motorhome without a toad, or pulled (towed) car.  That means that we will use our motorhome for all of our errands, grocery shopping, and any other getting around.

I’m getting plenty of practice.  We transferred the registration from my car, to Benny the Brave, which means Benny is now my only means of transportation.  I learned to drive it this weekend.

Monday I drove to the health food store.  I drove around the parking lot until I found two empty spots, back to back.  Benny fits in the width of one parking space but is just a couple of feet too long.  So I usually center the vehicle with the front in one spot and the back in another.  Also saves me from having to back up when I leave, which would not be safe in a busy parking lot without someone to guide me.

Benny also takes up the full width of the parking spots, so squeezing in between two parked cars would not be easy, nor appreciated by the owners of those cars when they returned.  So I look for two spots front to back, and space on both sides.  Grocery stores usually have plenty of wide open spots in the back of the lot.  Maybe I won’t go to the mall on Black Friday, though.

The drive was so easy and comfortable that on the way home from the health food store we stopped at the Salvation Army to look for wooden plates and metal cups (I want our dishes to be not-delicate, and not-plastic).  Most of the parking is only one space deep (we wouldn’t fit) but behind the building are several unused spots and I just pulled into them horizontally, making sure I had room to pull forward when we were ready to leave.  No problem!

Tuesday we stopped to mail a wrap to a customer at our tiny corner gift-store/post office.  They definitely don’t have parking to accommodate Benny, but across the tiny residential street is an unused storage building with plenty of open paved space.  I just pulled right onto the paved space which is sort of like the shoulder of the road.  Trotted across the street to the post office, then back to Benny where I could have pulled forward to leave, but because I wanted to head in the opposite direction, I did a tight little U-turn that Benny is remarkably good at.

Benny parked
Parked at vacant business across from Post Office.

Then we headed for Goodwill, hoping to find what we hadn’t found at the Salvation Army the day before.  Goodwill is in a shopping center and it was easy to find a pull through spot (2 spots, really) near the rear of the parking lot.

Today (Wednesday), I drove to my weekly Moms Group which takes place at a church.  I almost parked in the corner, where I felt we would be out of the way, and then remembered the no-backing-out-if-possible rule.  I circled around and found a double spot near the back where I’d be able to pull forward and out when it was time to go.

After Moms Circle, I headed to the bank to deposit some cash.  Totally forgot I wouldn’t fit in the drive through.  I circled the building optimistically hoping to use the ATM for my deposit but it had a little roof too.  I realize now I could have just parked a yard out from the ATM and hopped out the drivers door to do my business, but at the time it didn’t occur to me, so instead I parked at the grocery store next door.  I was planning to go there next, anyway.  Then I trotted across to the bank and made my deposit inside at the counter, then went over to the grocery store.

What I didn’t think about when parking at the grocery store was that pulling through the two front to back spaces had me facing the wrong way when I pulled forward to leave.  This parking lot had the diagonal spaces where each row is supposed to be one way traffic.  Of course, it’s not a big deal when you’re in a sedan to go down the wrong way, but with Benny’s bulk I didn’t want to block up the passage.  However, there were no cars parked on either side of me and this made it easy to pull out and turn back in the correct direction (a partial u-turn) to leave.  I’ll remember to be more careful with diagonal spots, and park where there are very few cars around to give myself plenty of maneuvering room.

Next learning experience, when leaving the grocery store’s parking lot, I drove around a bank in the same lot, as it looked like the way around the smaller building would be more straightforward and clear of traffic on my way out to the street.  Unfortunately, the far side of the bank was a drive-through with a roof, and no way to go around it.  I had to back into a parking spot to turn around and go another way.  Luckily, the parking lot was not full or busy!  From this I resolved not to go around buildings that I didn’t have to, if I didn’t know for sure what was on the other side!

So, learning more every day, but so far nothing nerve-wracking has come up.  Benny isn’t so hard to drive.  In fact, he’s a really fun drive, with a great view.  And it feels nice to have so much space (our whole house!) around us in the “car” instead of walls and ceilings so close together.

I drove on veggie power!

dashboard

Today I drove on veggie power for the first time!  I’ve been driving on diesel for a couple of reasons:

1) learning curve was slightly curvier than expected and we had to iron out a few kinks in our use of the vegetable oil system (which David could only do on the weekend because he’s still tied to his job, unfortunately).

2) several of my daily errands are so close to the house that I don’t get a chance to switch the engine to vegetable oil.

Number 2 is still true.  When I just go from home to the grocery store, I won’t be using vegetable oil.  Because vegetable oil is thicker than diesel, it needs to be heated to run through the lines (just like when you heat oil in your frying pan it becomes thinner).  So Benny must always be started on diesel, and switched to veggie only once the engine has warmed up.  Then, a few minutes before arrival, we switch back to diesel so that no vegetable oil is left to congeal in the lines for the next time we need to start er up.  A five minute trip just doesn’t allow the time for all that waiting and switching.  On the up side, a five minute trip doesn’t use up a great deal of diesel.

And of course, once we’re on the big adventure, there will be fewer five minute trips and a whole lot more hours and hours of burning vegetable oil.

This weekend David tested the engine to make sure that the veggie oil glitch was truly solved (it was) and filled up the veggie oil tank so this week I am veggie powered and loving it!

veggie oil system
Tweaking the Veggie Oil System

Driving on Veggie Oil

WVO fuel
David pumping waste vegetable oil into the tank.

David and I strongly believe in the importance of taking actions that support our personal survival as individuals, as a  family, as part of our various groups, through the survival of mankind, living things, and the material universe, as well as spiritually, because we are intimately connected with each of these dynamics and our survival is linked to each of them.

So when we first thought of living a traveling life in an RV, we immediately thought of the ecological impact.  Sure, we’d be doing less consuming, adding less to landfills, and at least the meaningless and repetitive drives to and from work and errands would be replaced with more meaningful commutes so that the gas used would at least be better justified.  But for a family that always thought we’d like to discover a lifestyle that was not dependent on cars and gas, it would be awfully nice to find someway to mitigate the crude oil factor of our plan.

Enter vegetable oil, able to fuel a diesel engine in place of gas.  Benny the Brave had a veggie oil conversion performed by his previous family that makes it easy and reliable to run him on used oil from restaurants–recycling an already used up commodity and greatly reducing carbon emissions as well as many other nasty side effects of gas/diesel.

There are other significant perks to running on vegetable oil, most significantly 1) it can be found free around the world and 2) my family will not be smelling and breathing diesel fumes.

Vegetable Oil was an integral part of our plan, and when we saw Benny for sale, we couldn’t resist.  Benny fleshed out our motorhome dream perfectly, and it is a worthwhile bonus to know that he has spent the last year with a family who shares our values and whose lives have been filling up this little motorhome with love and laughter rather than . . . anything else!

In fact, Benny came customized with both “vegpower” and unschooling bumper stickers.  That’s right, the previous family is a family of unschoolers as well!

Learning to Drive the MotorHome

windshield view

The first weekend I spent 20 minutes driving around a parking lot and parking in the spaces.  This weekend I drove us to the library, and later to the health food store and Grammy’s house.  Today I drove the girls to the health food store by myself.  On the way home we stopped at the Salvation Army.

Benny seemed impossibly huge that first day.  When I started on a real street, I could barely watch the road, I was so busy studying my mirrors to make sure I was inside the lines.  Because Benny JUST fits inside the lines!

But it’s not taken long to come a lot easier.  It takes a lot more of my attention, but I can put my singing-to-Annabelle-so-she-won’t-cry on autopilot and still have all my attention on the road.  I was really happy with my self sufficiency, driving the girls around without David to babysit me today.

I’m also becoming comfortable with backing up using only the mirrors (and without turning to look over my shoulder, because it’s pointless).

I wanted to stop by where David’s working today and bring him warm-from-the-oven chocolate cookies but he wasn’t answering his cell and without his confirmation, I was leery of driving down the tiny neighborhood street.  What if parked cars made the street too narrow for me to proceed?  I’d have to back down the whole street, and for that I would need someone guiding me, and what if David wasn’t there because he had made a run to Home Depot?  Nope, couldn’t risk it!

So, I’m still tentative.  But I love driving this thing.  It feels so good!  And people like waving at us.  And we made a friend of the security guard at the Health Food Store because he liked the looks of Benny.  I’ve heard so much about RV people being the friendliest people, but now I’m wondering if RVs don’t just bring out the friendliest in all kinds of people.

What if you just took a month long trip?

What if, instead of renting out our house and living in our MotorHome fulltime while traveling the United States, we just saved up money and went for a month long trip?

Honestly, I’m not sure how to answer this question.  What if we did?  Then we would probably have a very nice vacation, not get very far from home (driving only a few hours a day), and come back and resume living in our house and sending David to his 9-5.

Never mind the fact that we have no way to save up money for a month long trip because we use it to pay our mortgage and groceries.  But playing along with the “what if” I reply with the above scenario.

But are you asking whether we are interested in doing that?  Whether it will fill any of our needs or wants?  Whether it could replace the plan of living on the road?  Of course not.  Are you implying that it is a better plan than re-inventing our lives?  Better in what way?  What problem are we trying to solve here?

Because I don’t have any problem with the plan to live fulltime on the road.  It’s not that we’re getting evicted and have nowhere to live but our vehicle.  It’s not that all my friends are doing it and I’m under some sort of fulltime peer pressure.  And it’s not a mid-life crisis.

The fact is, that we have formed a plan that is our ideal scene, that fits with our goals and purposes, that inspires and excites us, and that solves the problems we have with our more conventional home, lifestyle, and schedule.

So don’t worry about it.  We’ve solved the problems, and there’s nothing left to solve.  We’re just revving up now for the grand adventure we can’t wait to embark upon.

Don’t worry.  It’s not a mistake, it’s an adventure, and I refuse not to make mistakes OR have adventures so don’t try to talk me out of it.

I know that the people who want to live fulltime in a motorhome with children are few and far between, so I can imagine that to most of you, this doesn’t sound ideal.  But it does to us.  It’s not a life that will be tough but we’re going to man up and live with it because of whatever-old-reason.  It’s what we dream of doing, and we’ve decided that dreams were made for doing.

Don’t worry.  And thank you for your concern and your love.  And if you have any more theoretical lifestyles to propose to us, perhaps an explanation of what you think would appeal to us about it?  So we have some idea how to answer, “What if?”