I like to have things planned in advance. I don’t care for grocery shopping. I am a mother of two young children. I’m an indoor person. I like having an “organized” homeschooling schedule. I enjoy “date nights” with my husband.
At least, I did.
Since leaving our house six months ago, I’m finding that my perspective and definitions of things is changing.
I’ve learned to have a loose schedule in mind, but to remain flexible. Some nights I’ve gone to bed not knowing where we’ll be parked the next evening. I’m learning that this can be kind of freeing.
Grocery shopping is still not my favorite thing; but, I don’t freak out at new stores/new layouts/new prices as much anymore. I have to do a bit more meal planning now, because we don’t have a lot of room for extra food. I get the family to help with this planning. I’m equipped with a microwave, crockpot, griddle, electric fry pan , grill and toaster oven, so we can make a variety of things. Our oven died a couple of months ago, so I haven’t made any baked goods for a while. I do miss homemade muffins, breads and cookies—store bought aren’t’ the same. But, we’re making them work.
I’ve discovered that my children aren’t so little anymore. Data has surpassed me in height and weight since we left, and Miranda is growing physically and emotionally.
For the first few months of this trip, I was still an indoor person much of the time. That’s primarily due to the cold, rainy weather we experienced for months! Now that we’ve experienced hot temperatures, I’m finding that I prefer to be out of the trailer (in the shade, preferably) than stuck inside sweating. I’m still terribly out of shape physically, but I still have hopes of changing that as time goes on.
Homeschooling - Mike told me this would need to be an unstructured school year. But, I had finally reached a comfortable level of structure last year. Hmmm. Some days I still struggle when I think about how little bookwork my kids are doing. But, I know they are learning so much about themselves, about being a family, about making new friends, about nature, about history, etc. In addition, I’m starting to see some of the spark and love of learning for the sake of learning return in Miranda. A while back Miranda told me she didn’t like learning new things. I think it was because I was requesting a “report” of some sort rather than letting her just learn about something that interested her. She recently took the binoculars to watch a bird in a nest, feeding her young. She invited Mike to come watch with her. That’s the love of learning I want my kids to have.
Date nights with my hubby have morphed a bit. We walk around campgrounds. We send the kids indoors while we sit alone by the fire. We get up earlier than the kids and sit next to each other, drinking our coffee. We talk while the kids are playing with other kids a few doors down or riding their bikes. We listen to audio stories at bedtime. I sometimes buy us chocolate treats that we don’t share with the kids. It’s not the same as going out for dinner or a movie alone, but it’s working. And, now that the temps are warmer and we don’t need the electric heat to keep us warm, we can close the curtain to our “room” for a bit of privacy.
It’s been six months of
- meeting people (it’s amazing how people you only know from “the web” can quickly become your IRL friends)
- eating new foods (crab legs, anyone)
- climbing mountains (literally)
- enjoying landscapes that do not include maple and pine trees (cactus are pretty cool)
- attending interesting events (AZ Renaissance Festival)
- watching my children really enjoy themselves (Data touring the Baseball Hall of Fame, Miranda collecting seashells)
- appreciating Mike’s photographic eye (he’s captured some beautiful scenery)
- learning historical concepts (reading about Bataan Death March / talking with Vietnam War vet with PTSD / Gettysburg tour)
- observing scientific phenomenons (Low tide vs. high tide / star gazing / stalactites at Carlsbad Caverns)
Yes, there have been some tough days. There have been some incredible days. And that would have been the case if I were still at the “stick house” in Holland.
It’s the in-between days—the days that offer such variety—that make this trip such an adventure. I can’t wait to see what the next six months have in store.