Catsup? Ketchup? Catch-up? It’s all sauce.

Crap everywhere syndrome is what I call it when my children get out multiple categories of things out and never put them back. It’s a curse that every parent is blessed with. Sometimes, amongst the chaos, we find the most wonderful keepsakes:

23511243_10155746137113548_8926787494921908159_o

She’s a master wordsmith.

It’s mostly word-for-word from a book she was reading at the time. I’m fairly certain the poop part was improv. After we found it and had thoroughly chortled, we helped her come up with some new similes that were not so crappy.

Remember when I told you we needed a new control board for the jacks? The control board came in, and guess what? THAT WAS NOT THE PROBLEM. It ended up being a jack motor, and thankfully General RV was able to get it ordered and installed in a miserable but timely manor. They also dented the camper twice, ripped off a corner, and lost a trim piece but I can’t with that. I had to let it go to be able to function as a semi-normal human and not have an aneurysm.

November 16th we FINALLY GOT TO LEAVE MICHIGAN! It’s not that we don’t love all of our wonderful family and friends, it’s that we were COLD. We headed straight down I-75 and spent a whirlwind few days in our Old Kentucky Home! Whispering Hills RV park in Georgetown was our base of operations again.

We had a WONDERFUL time in Kentucky! We spent an afternoon at the Explorium with Wesson’s friend Harlie and her family. Horses to ride, dinosaur eggs to hatch, a bubble room, and good company! What’s not to love?

And we went to Monkey Joe’s with the always wonderful Nalleys! No one took any photos! We were too busy chatting, and the kids were all over the place. I think Melissa tried to take a picture at the end but the kids protested and that was it. That’s ok, we know what we all look like, and how could we ever forget them, anyway?

I also spent some time at the Fraternal Order of Police Auxiliary Fall Bazaar catching up with a few police friends. Again, no photos. Way to go!

23675053_10155770425153548_3251024420463674776_o

You got it, G-Town!

Our next home was a Bass Pro Shops parking lot in Chattanooga. It’s perfectly fine to stay in a parking lot once in a while, and lots of people choose Walmart or Sam’s Club. I prefer a good Bass Pro, though. For some reason it feels less gross. Maybe it’s the clientele…

On our way through Georgia the next day we stopped to pee at Confederate Air Force Pad #1.

caf_titan01

I mean, we used our own bathroom while parked next to the missile. No one peed on any relics from the 60’s.

Can we talk about a rooster that needs to be battered and fried? The campground we stayed at in Georgia had the “best” rooster. Instead of a gentle wake up call when the sun came up he sounded as if he’d been a 40 year smoker. CAW-HOOOORK! CAW-HOOOORK! Please, Georgia, put it out of our misery.

You know what comes after Georgia: FLORIDA!!! We had finally made it! The sun was hot, and the air was hot, and the ground was hot…Maybe there are regrets? Nah. The first Florida campground we graced with our presence was covered in Michigangsters. The retired University of Michigan professor in the Airstream behind us was from Lansing (go figure), the couple next to us were from Kalamazoo and Silver Lake, and the young family on the other side of them were from Auburn Hills! We couldn’t have planned it, honestly.

Justin ended up saving the couple from K-Zoo almost immediately. Their jacks were broken and he found a way to fix it without too much labor, and then we noticed that they were leaking propane like crazy! They were thankful for his help and as much as we protested they insisted on giving him a little something in the form of a visa gift card. We immediately put it towards a fancy new microscope for the kids (ROOOOAD SCHOOOOL) and made sure everyone thanked them profusely. They were great people, and hopefully we’ll see them again down the road.

Oh, and my non-socialized homeschool children made friends immediately. Huh, who’d have thunk it.

23916285_10155781730613548_7822659334055307408_o

Real Thanksgiving went off without incident. I take that back, I burnt the ever loving crap out of the pie. I made pie crust from scratch – which was fantastic, by the way – and then I realized that I didn’t have a pie pan. In the spirit of improvise, adapt, overcome I made tiny pies with the muffin tins. I stuck my petite homemade delicacies on the grill and not so promptly made them inedible. Live and learn.

November 28th we went to Manatee beach! Yay! We needed a Christmas card photo and we really just needed to play on the beach.

Look at those pretty little beach babies! The sun was hot and the water was crystal clear. Many sandcastles were made. Wesson’s wish for the day was to “sit back, relax, and float” and he certainly made his dreams come true.

24173655_10155796566208548_4926693945114092395_o

We even got a somewhat decent family photo out of the day as well! Success!

24273755_10155800874963548_7947918928441058702_o

I really like this cute photo of Mara, but she was, of course, being sassy at the time. I had made them perfectly good hamburgers for lunch, and she stopped mid-burger to say:

Mara: Where do they sell brisket?

Me: Texas

Mara: Next time we move, move us STRAIGHT to Texas.

WELL! SOMEbody knows what she wants. I don’t blame her, I could use a brisket burger right about now too.

 

 

Justin and I had been collecting beer and tiny liquor bottles up until this point so that we could make each other adult advent calendars!

24273563_10155804660398548_2749431341828276224_n

That’s Justin’s collection. My tiny accumulation of bottles ended up as ornaments on the Christmas tree.

24313327_10155815991668548_7330611002781767615_o

We’re currently down to the last two and have only poured out two a piece. That’s a pretty darn good track record. Some may say that you never pour out a beer. We are of the party that says life is too short for shitty alcohol. Pour it out and move on to something better! That’s how you can tell that we aren’t alcoholics. *wink*

New destinations mean new places to ride our bicycles. Justin had been out a few times before I decided to head out myself and see what the area offered. I ended up in a nature preserve surrounded by vultures. I know, I know. That escalated quickly. One of the key features of this area is ALL OF THE BUZZARDS. Wauchula, Florida must be where all the good carrion is rotting. These bastards, however, were not moving out of my way when I wanted to ride my bike down the path.

24273754_10155805842133548_5362587698451623823_o

It’s not that I was necessarily scared of them, it’s that 1) I thought that if they all took off at once I’d be collateral damage and take a wing to the face or something or B) I would scare them and then they would projectile vomit on me. Yes, that’s a thing. No, I do not want to experience it first hand. I sacrificed this man to them and waited to see if he’d make it through unscathed.

24173668_10155805843503548_5049051484980224782_o

Thank you, random walker!

While I was waiting I saw this sign next to the alligator infested lake:

24173656_10155805950253548_4443294603858972169_o

I bet the buzzards did it.

Good news! He lived! He cleared the path and I triumphantly rode my bicycle through the area and beyond. On the way back the vultures were having some sort of meeting with a (live) cat – in the middle of the path AGAIN. I did what I should have done the first time and made a lot of noise, and everybody begrudgingly trotted away.

42dfb6889f2f77926ea5040d77b88d2b5beec274414bd1ff394e6f5b01a626c6.jpg

Note to self: put an air horn on your Amazon Wish List.

It’s, like, three sleeps ’til Christmas right now and I’m missing all of December on the ol’ blog so you know that you’ll be hearing from me again tomorrow.

I’ll leave you with this found masterpiece, fresh from the depths of Florida:

24130300_10155801070493548_1101881023768719300_o

Ruff, indeed.

You’re welcome.

Two tires and a thousand miles later

15151406_10154617422623548_1121281561_n

Two rotten, nasty tires about to become road gators to be specific. It wasn’t planned but the inconvenience of finding new tires sure as hell beat crashing the rig at full speed on the freeway. We rolled out of Lexington, KY a little late but better for it.

Tennessee was fun! We finally made it back to Adventure Science, which is one of the best science centers we’ve been to so far. On top of an awesome moon-walking deal in the space area and an entire wing dedicated to the human body (complete with a colon slide that lets you become a fart), they have this amazing tower that allows you to climb three stories of tubes, ladders and such to look out across Nashville. It’s a kid’s dream come true!

On our way out of TN we stayed at a state park on the Mississippi river called Meeman- Shelby. Yeah, I hadn’t heard of it either until twenty minutes before we got there, don’t feel bad. It was a really nice place and I was sad that we didn’t get to explore. It’s on the list to visit again later. Mara decided to clean up the playground while we were there. What a girl, eh?15101990_10154617423323548_2077105414_o

15126209_10154617423108548_1497311854_o.jpgOur next stop was Little Rock, Arkansas. We spent the night on the edge of the river in the midst of downtown. We chose to go to Heifer International and had a wonderful time! Not something that I thought I’d ever say. The kids did a scavenger hunt around their ‘village’ and probably learned a thing or two. It didn’t hurt that there was a prize at the end. In and around their facility they are growing crops and raising animals in hopes to learn new ways of operating farms in developing countries.

14915324_10154584590303548_2242616695896173023_n     15139378_10154617422798548_263718333_n

A few days outside of Dallas let us breathe for a moment. We did nothing and it was glorious. It geared us up for three nights in Austin, Texas! I think that we’ve always had a ‘thing’ for Austin. We made one attempt to move there a few years ago and failed to launch. I’d like to think it’s still on our short list for permanent residence some day. A magical walk in the park at night, a bat boat ride, underwater bowling at Bass Pro and a trip to the state capitol was just enough. Capitol buildings have been a staple of our travels long before we started this journey. There’s so much history to be seen and felt and learned. Did you know that the same man who designed the Michigan capitol also designed the Texas capitol? The senate ceiling looks almost identical, something that we all noticed immediately upon entering the room. The difference between the two was that the skylights worked in Michigan, letting in warm rays and natural light, and Texas is located on the surface of the sun. They could bake lasagna at their desks before too long and the skylights had to be covered.

Anywho, here we are, in Texas, just outside San Antonio. That’s going to have to be another post because I have too many things to say about deer and deer products.

15065076_10154617423583548_6555765_o.jpg

I have a few new posts going in my head about our actual school work, some RV specific things that maybe we want to remember – like Sir Robert Turdsley the First, our sewer hose attendant – and a few other matters of possible interest. I now have time to think in bursts longer than thirty seconds! I’ve worked my way up to at least two minutes and that is pretty darn good considering the fact that we are all together 24/7. This old thing is really getting some air. Stay tuned, America.

15102176_10154617422898548_155757906_o.jpg

Mara calls him Bob

We moved for 30 days and I ignored you

WELL! Here we are, a full month-plus since our last conversation. I know, I know. I’m supposed to be keeping you up to date. Would you accept this cookie as an apology? It’s a Keebler Elf with chocolate creme, of course you will.

The sale of the house closed as planned on the day planned. We drove our rig to the closing and hit the road immediately! I’m going to rip out a quick list of places we’ve stayed and then we can elaborate on a few, ok?

  • Bass Pro Shops – Portage, IN

14924111_10154572301788548_1394868178_o

  • Aunt Terri and Uncle Tom’s House – Grandville, MI (No photo. Dangit.)
  • Camp Dearborn – Milford, MI

14962269_10154572301733548_1024850317_n

  • Stacey’s House – Holland, MI

14958783_10154572301848548_552896115_n

  • Doctor Dan and Amanda’s House – Nunica, MI

14938018_10154572301678548_306925358_n

  • Conestoga Grand River Campground – Coopersville, MI

14975838_10154572301818548_1484165778_o

  • Aunt Brenda and Uncle Dale’s House – Brooklyn, MI

14958415_10154572301703548_1456297046_n

  • Mom and Dad’s House – Dearborn Heights, MI

14958868_10154572301653548_70885781_n

  • Cabela’s – Noblesville, IN

14955870_10154567599603548_1103217103847244601_n

  • Lousiville Slugger Field – Louisville, KY

14971250_10154572301693548_428752249_n

14958416_10154572305768548_1484912478_nThe first thing we did in Michigan was have our heating system fixed at the dealership,because if you are going to voluntarily live in the cold you should probably have heat. Don’t ask me why it wasn’t working, it must have known that we needed it. While it was being fixed we drove go karts and Mara won a big stuffed animal out of a claw machine. She is the Babe Ruth of claw machines. She once won TWO stuffed animals at the same time AND gave one to her brother. A winner with a heart of gold!

We spent a week at Camp Dearborn then headed to West Michigan again. On the way we stopped in Lansing and hung out at the state capital because *ahem* roadschool, remember? We did the tour of the capital building and checked out the awesome state library. On the way back to the East side we stopped there again and visited the state museum. Such a neat place as a whole, rich in history and easy to enjoy.

We visited the USS Silversides museum in Muskegon one afternoon and played on a torpedo or two.

14958712_10154572306268548_371146570_n

When we left the West again we headed to Aunt Brenda and Uncle Dale’s house for a week of visiting and fun. While we were there Mara finally got to shoot her rifle. She’d only had it an entire year. Everybody got to shoot that day! It was also a great opportunity to brush up on firearms safety with the children. If you haven’t had that conversation with your kids I highly recommend you do so.

We left there and spent ten days at my parents house. We somehow got the camper in the driveway and although it barely fit between the houses and fences I’m glad that we got to spend all those days there. The kids really got comfortable and we all had a great stay. With Grandma and Grandpa there we had an opportunity to take the kids out one at a time for some fun on their own. We took Wesson to ride the bumper cars, he jumped on a sky bungee thingy, and we got Slurpees. Mara wanted to go to Build-a-Bear. On our way into the mall we stepped into a puppy store and played with the cutest little Daschund. He immediately started licking Mara’s face and made it extremely difficult to hand him back over – that is, until we found out it was close to $3,000 to love him permanently.

What else did we do there… Hmm… we watched flaming puck unicycle hockey, made bacon pancakes, went to unicycle practice, attended Pumpkin Palooza in Plymouth, carved jack o’ lanterns, and went trick or treating!

 

Are you tired? Because I’m tired. We’re at Slugger Field for another few minutes. We came here so that Justin could brew some beer with Goodwood Brewing. It was part of his prize for winning his category in the homebrew competition at the Kentucky State Fair. It lead to creation of his own blog and I’m super excited for him. He’ll be brewing with other people around the US and Canada as we travel. You can follow Roadbrewing.com for updates on that portion of the adventure.

Surprise! I never finished my blog post and now we are in Lexington, KY! We had a great dinner with friends and after we replace two dry-rotted tires on the truck tomorrow we’ll be headed to Tennessee. The destination is really San Antonio, Texas so that Justin can have a small umbilical hernia fixed at the awesome Veterans hospital. We are going to slow-roll our way down there. I promise and pinky swear that I will update you sooner than thirty days from now. I’ll sign off with a selfie of me wearing my sunglasses indoors and a hat that I didn’t purchase, because that’s what the cool kids do.

14971350_10154572306713548_1988520933_n

Hookin’ ain’t easy, kids.

 

 

The countdown has begun! Or began already? It’s happening, let’s just go with that.

We’ve been crazy busy for the last few months pouring our blood, sweat and tears into the house so that some other brave soul could come along and call it home. I once described it as having a 60 hour per week, seven day a week job that broke my spirit day in and day out. The children took the brunt of the madness, being ignored for the sake of getting things done. If one word could describe those two months it would be neglected. Neglected projects we had to finish, neglected children, neglected sanity. Document the good and the bad, right? We’re back from the madness, though! We barely know what to do with each other now that we aren’t so busy.

The house went up for sale on August 26th, and in six viewings and less than three days we were under contract. We’ve spent the last month doing the back and forth dance that is selling your home and I am happy to say that the closing date has FINALLY been scheduled for next Thursday. I couldn’t put enough a’s in my YAAAAAAAAAY if I wanted to. In the month we’ve been waiting, we went on a few adventures. Let’s share!

Cumberland Point Campground was our first outing. We scheduled this trip so that we wouldn’t be in town when the house was being shown. It was extremely awkward and off-putting to have people traipsing through the house while we were here. We left for a few, we hid in the camper for some like creepers. By the time we left for camp, though, we were already under contract. This is what we woke up to every morning:

14423885_10154440473953548_1585137097_o

What. A. Dump. Waking up on the lake every day was the best. We took the opportunity to¬† hike down to the rocky beaches on the peninsula we were occupying. I say ‘hike’ like we aren’t a family of small children and people with foot problems.

14285719_10154440473843548_1664480824_o

Look at the tops of the trees left from when the dam flooded the area!

14206153_10209481546929413_8832788395425853050_o

With the exception of a few that showed up on the last day we were basically alone in this camp with another couple who happened to pick the spot right next to us. Our lucky RV neighbors, Jim and Laura, were a retired couple who were on the tail-end of a trip to Canada. They were the most helpful, kind, wonderfully social people with the best booze. We picked their well-traveled brains all week long. With any luck they will be at their home in Texas when we get down that way.

14408237_10154440473848548_320425862_o

*womp womp*

On our way out of the campground the TV antenna was assaulted by the wind or maybe a tree. It definitely didn’t break off because we left it up. We’d never do such a thing.

After a few more weeks at the house we packed up and moved to a little campground in Georgetown Kentucky called Whispering Hills. There wasn’t much whispering and the hills were missing, but the campground was decent. It was nice to have a full hookup in the camper. We ran both air conditioners and used our own shower! I even plugged in THREE things at once. It’s the little things in life that keep us going. Other than a donkey on the nearby farm that wouldn’t shut his donkey hole HEE HAW HEE HAW HEE HAAAAAW (always in threes) it was quiet, and that was just what we needed.

14408045_10154440473813548_1793714532_o

Trying out our new fishing poles

I wish i’d have had the washer/dryer hooked up already but because we didn’t I ended up chatting with a wonderful woman from Pensacola, Florida when I went to do the laundry. She started in right away, like I was a cousin she hadn’t seen in a year or two, and filled me in on everything the family was doing. She and her husband were headed up to Ohio to meet some people they had met on a previous excursion. Although I cannot remember her name, she was a wonderful laundry companion and I hope we see each other again down the road. I would have pegged myself as a hermit and an introvert, and I still kind of do, but it turns out that I love to chat up a stranger. Who knew?

At the end of the week, with no closing in immediate sight we resigned to the fact that we’d have to go back and sit at the house again. Then, the stars aligned and gave us a date. We’ll be here until next Thursday. The REAL adventure begins!!! For whatever reason that old Cheryl Lynn song popped into my head just now, funky beat and all. “What you think ah! What you feel now! What you know ah! To be real!” It’s real, y’all, and it’s finally happening. Hold me.