Thursday, May 31, 2018

Embarking on our Adventure

We attended church with Steven and Nancy Sunday morning.
Michael (our niece Megan's husband) spoke.  I felt the Spirit so strongly.  His talk was about Joseph Smith's first vision and gaining our own testimonies of the gospel.  It was wonderful.

We said our good byes, with many tears, and returned to the RV.  Everyone changed out of church clothes.  Eric had the tow hitch ready for the car and we attached it.  The light relay to the car didn't work!  We left anyway.

Our trip was rather uneventful other than the typical "howw muuuuch loooongerrr?"  Despite providing an arrival time, the question was asked more often than I cared to answer.
We traveled from Mapleton UT to Durango CO, 349 miles from driveway to driveway.  We made better time than I had anticipated.

You can see the map here.  It suggests 5 hours 45 minutes.  I estimated 8 hours on the long end.  It actually took just under 7 hours.

During our last 10 minutes of the drive, between Durango city and the cabin, a truck decided to pass us on a blind curve of the rather curvy mountainous road.  There was a vehicle pulling a trailer coming the other direction on the two lane road.  Eric hit the breaks.  I'm sure the oncoming vehicle did too.  The truck very narrowly made it back into the lane.  Eric and I held our breath.  My heart skipped a few beats.  If there was a collision, we were feet from it and would not have been able to avoid it.
Deep breath.
We made it and we don't need to dwell on what ifs.
There is a reason there are "no pass" areas on roads!
Is impatience really worth your life or someone else's?

We went to dinner at my brother, Denver's home.  Denver and his wife Erin were gracious to host us for the evening upon learning that we were coming at the last minute.  He even made elk burgers for me and dessert for everyone too.  Amanda and her family, and Hollee were there.  We all enjoyed our visit.


On our way home, we stopped by my dad's liquor store.  This was our first time to see it.  Wow, it's beautiful!  Inside and out.

Grossness warning:  I got sick.
I have not eaten much meat in the last few months.  I ate chicken salad the night before and then 3 elk patties less than 24 hours later.  I think my stomach was a bit overwhelmed.  I tried to vomit. My stomach tried.  I made all the motions and sounds.  Only a little would come up.  More than a "verp" where you burp and just a little comes up with it and before you realize what is was, you already swallowed it.  But it was certainly not enough to empty my stomach.  It was enough to go up my nose and burn and enough for me to need to blow my nose to clear it and to spit "stuff" out a few times.  Yuck!  Sleep made it all better.  I was fine the next morning.

We had breakfast and headed out Monday morning.  We all have dogs and they were getting along and sniffing and doing what dogs do.  I was doing some dishes I didn't want rattling in the sink on our drive and talking with everyone in the great room.  Then all of the sudden Hollee's German Shepard, Charlie, had our little Brussels Griffon dog, Piglet, in her mouth and shaking him like a chew toy.  Hollee was right there and got them separated immediately.

I surprised myself.  I calmly asked if there was any blood.  At the same time, Hollee was slightly freaking out, feeling bad.  But Amelia was most upset and concerned.  Crying, screeching. tears, the whole works, almost hyperventilating.  I continued washing the dishes and asked for someone to put Piglet into the RV.  And off he went.  I was cool as a cucumber.

A few minutes later, when Eric opened the door to the RV, Piglet shot out and headed straight for the German Shepard.  Well, you can guess who won that fight.  Charlie clamped down on Piglet right across the body gripping just behind the front legs on one side and the neck on the other side.  Thankfully, Scott and my nephew, Adam, were with Charlie when Piglet went after her and they were able to get the dogs separated quickly.  This time, Piglet was not so fortunate.  The skin was broken in a couple of places and he was indeed hurt, covered in slobber and super stinky.  I gave him a quick bath because I was not going to suffer the scent gland stench during our drive.  And thanks to a very good friend teaching me, I knew how to empty the glands and wash it away.
That was enough drama for one day and we hadn't even gotten on the road yet.

We traveled from Durango CO to Roswell NM, where Eric's cousin, Steven Michael, lives.  We missed a turn to stay on the 550 and continued to Farmington, NM.  We were able to get gas though, so it wasn't a complete waste.  After that, I was more careful about my co-piloting duties.

You can look at the map to see our path.  We drove 437 miles driveway to driveway   The map suggests 7 hours 1 minute.  Our actual travel time was just over 8 hours.

Total miles: 786.

We had one tense moment when a truck pulling a trailer was in front of us and turned off the road.  The turning wasn't the problem, it was the coming to almost a complete stop in doing so.  Eric had to hit the breaks.  Naomi had just started eating cereal.  For lunch.  We had Eggs, hash browns and bacon for breakfast.  This is how we roll in the RV, eating in motion.  I thought it was the easy button.   The bowl slid and spilled all over Naomi, the bench she was on, into Elanor's shoes under the table, and all over the floor.
Eric began looking for a place to pull over.  I began wiping up the mess. Naomi got up to change her clothes cause her entire woredrobe was 10 feet away.
I cleaned up and Naomi changed.  But we never pulled over.  I was extremely nauseous and sat down without talking or moving much for a while.  I was more grateful for the inability to puke than to be able to get it out that time.  I did not want another mess to deal with.

New Mexico is a new state for us.

The mountains remind us of Utah

We crossed the continental divide! No picture of the indicating sign.  It came and went in 2 seconds.  Eric saw it and read it.  I was not aware the continental divide was in New Mexico, nor did I see the sign.  We talked about the east-west watersheds after passing it.

This scene went on and on for a LONG time. 
10 mile view.  Yes, we clocked it.

Chillaxing during the drive.

I got a little fancy with Eric's lunch apple.


While Eric was working we decided to check out the sights.  Aliens....

International UFO Museum

Tire tread alien

Even street lights are creepy aliens   

We were in a gift shop and 3 different onions at 3 separate times suggested that we get Eric a real tin foil hat.  So fitting!

We went out to dinner Tuesday night.  We fit perfectly in one of the banquet rooms.  The food was delicious and the price was so low we asked if it was right (Nice right? When do you go to a restaurant and think they missed charging a meal or two because the bill is seemingly too low? Me - never.  Well, till this happened).  Visiting was the best part though.

Change of Plans:

I was talking to a dear friend just a few days before we left Utah.  When she heard that out travels included Roswell she suggested Carlsbad Caverns.  Awesome, we will go.  However, it is 100+ miles from Roswell.  I came up with 3 options.
1. Day trip while Eric is working.
2. Carlsbad, then Las Cruces
3. Las Cruces, then Carlsbad.

Eric opted for #3.

We decided to leave Roswell a day earlier than our original plan.  Our path has changed just a bit from this to this.

Wednesday in Roswell.  We went to the "Bottomless Lake."  It's like the local reservoir in Springville.  Pavilions, sand, and really cold water.  This was bigger though.
We got to bring along the two older cousins.  I think it was a good time had by all.  I got to read and only intermittently look up to take a head count.

playing "Baby if you love me..."

We got back a little later than I had anticipated.  Then I went to a grocery store for a few things.  Eric was done with work and we loaded up the bikes and got the RV ready to go.

We said our good byes.  It was suggested that we could just live there.  I felt so loved!  Even if it was said because they love their cousins.

We loaded up and headed to Las Cruces.
We saw much of the same desert scene for a good portion of the ride.

The we came to a beautiful valley and trees abounded.  Then came a mountainous forested region.  It reminded me of Flagstaff Arizona.  We did not expect to drive through elevations of 7500+ feet.

The map says  3 hours 14 minutes.  It took us 4 hours.  It was 189 miles from door to door.

Total miles traveled: 975

We will be in Las Cruces for almost 2 weeks.  Then we will travel east, visiting Carlsbad Caverns. And to Dallas by Father's day weekend.  Then we will begin looking for our home!

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Our last week in Utah

Monday was soap making day.  Amelia decided to make soap to sell at the Georgics fair this coming Saturday.  I helped her, but she did most of the work.  Well, until we noticed the second batch of soap turning into jelly.  Amelia looked up possible explanations and discovered that adding certain things, like fruit, can raise the temperature of the reaction and "volcano."  We emptied the molds back into the pot we use for making soap.  I stirred until both arms were sore.  The soap cooled and returned to a saponified looking soapy consistency, but it was super thick.  We returned the soap to the molds and we will see how it turns out.  Although Amelia has helped me make soap in the past, I don't think she realized just how much work it is.

Cinnamon Orange, post volcano remix

The other 3 soaps looked good, but we left them outside to cure and one got too hot and "melted" a bit.  Argh.  I felt really bad for Amelia.  It was our favorite - peppermint lavender with lavender buds.  I am excited to try it myself though.
The thick soap survived and smells wonderful when used!

Monday night was dinner at the Kotters.  We have been friends for over a decade.  We just love them!
Dinner was great.  After dinner it was decided that we would play songs from the Greatest Showman movie.  Angela played the piano along with the music.  Her kiddos sang with gusto.  My kiddos joined in along with Doug.  Eric and I sat back and soaked it all in.  It was super fun to hang out with them and experience their musicality.

Eric and I made a list of things we needed to accomplish before we left.  I got right to work and enlisted the onions.

The onions and I reorganized the compartments under the RV.   Everything was haphazardly shoved in hastily to get us out of Nana's house.  I think we will be able to find things a little easier now.  At least I will.  I know where everything is.
We cleared out all of our things from Steven and Nancy's garage and put them in the RV or designated them to storage.

I was not very kind in this process.  I wanted it done my way!  The onions were actually all content enough to help to begin with.  But then I ruined it by being critical and drill sargent - esque.  I hate it when I choose the task over relationships with my children, yet that is my tendency.  I am learning to recognize it sooner and change my behavior faster and apologize quicker though.  I get frustrated with myself.  Thankfully my kiddos forgave me and everything has a place whether I put it there or directly supervised, or someone else did packed it and made it work.

The commonwealth we went to last year borrowed our carport for their Shakespeare play.  They brought that to us and we added it and a few other items to our storage unit.  I am amazed.  It's pretty full, but we still have a little bit of room.

Throughout the process of our final packing, we accumulated more and more trash - too much to go to a local park or random public trash can.  We would have filled a couple of cans.  So.....  I decided to go to the dump.  But the truck was no where close to full.  I remembered a home school friend saying they had some things to go to the dump, so we went to their place and picked up some large garbage items and off we went.  Win -win!  I helped out a friend and I felt like I got my money's worth.

I had the tires checked to make sure everything was in good order that way on our RV.

By Wednesday, I was ready to go.

I made some deodorant for Nancy and a few for us with Elanor's help.

Then I decided to try a 4th recipe of toothpaste.  After 3 epic fails and much money spent for the supplies, I was hesitant about the fourth recipe.  However I was drawn to it and it proved to be worth  my while.  I love home made toothpaste!  Well, it's really mouth paste because it's good for your whole mouth, not just your teeth - per the originator of the mouth paste.  I hope to never use store bought again.

Amelia decided she liked the mouth paste enough to make it for her georgics fair.  She made several batches, requiring 3 trips to two different stores.  I must say I was less than enthusiastic to make the 30 minute drive (each way) for 2nd round of containers and then the run for supplies we ran out of just a couple of hours before the actual georgics fair.  It turned out to be worth the effort.  She sold every single container (I was mistaken).

We primarily visited with friends on Thursday and Friday.  It was bittersweet, but more sweet.

Saturday was Market Day/ Georgics Fair and the end for the year awards night.  We had a wonderful time visiting,  and buying.
The biggest surprise was that Brent and Misty came out from Tooele to see us while at the georgics fair.  We had not been able to get together before hand.  I was so touched.  I got to physically be with them and hug them and say good bye in person. I am so sad I didn't think to get a picture.

Our good friends, the Warehimes, came too.  I was glad to see them and say good bye as well.

Amelia had a price structure that she worked really well -
one for $3
two for $5
five for $10
Only two people purchased one item, everyone else bought 2 or more.

Seth sold chain mail earrings and bracelets.  There was not much business at first.  Then I saw him in his chain mail vest.  There were many more people drawn to that.

I was so impressed with Seth and Amelia and the strategies they used to market the products they brought to sell.  Both were satisfied with their experience.  I am proud of them.

At the awards ceremony, I had the opportunity to give the boys in my class a gift.  I chose safety glasses.  And I made a little case for each of them out of science - y fabric.  I received several hugs and it was touching for me.

Naomi received a bookmark from her mentor.  Scott received safety goggles. Elanor earned a bow and arrow set in her class.  In Georgics, the scholars were given the opportunity to choose their awards.  Seth earned a hatchet.  Amelia earned a mortar and pestle and an analogue kitchen scale.

Saying good bye was more difficult than I had anticipated for myself.
Amelia and Naomi had a particularly tough time with lots of hugs and tears.

This is most of our home school group. 
Some are on the grass to the left, and some are on stage.

Saying good bye to family was hard.  I take comfort in knowing that they are bound to me by blood or by marriage.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Bowling, San Francisco, water play

We have a system of rewards and corrections:
Homesteader moments and Squatter moments.
We use a a system of jars.
The goal is to fill the homesteader jar and maintain an empty squatter jar.
When the homesteader jar is full, a parent date is earned.

Before we moved, Seth and Scott had filled their homesteader jars. I do not want to make room for 11 jars. So we will need to figure something else out. However, the boys have been waiting patiently to go on their date with Eric.

Scott found a bowling coupon and said Seth could come too if he wanted to. Yes! Eric took Seth and Scott bowling on Monday.

Eric flew to San Francisco early Tuesday morning to meet the owner of the company he now works for. He returned Wednesday night. I was grateful it was a short trip. Eric said things went well.

Eric's connecting flights were right next to each other.

Scott went to his last Webelos meeting. He has earned his first award!

Seth and Amelia went to a farm to take a tour and to milk a cow and then go out to dinner on Wednesday. It was a field trip for their Georgics class. They left around 12:30 pm and didn’t return until almost 10 pm. I am so used to them being with me all the time, I missed them. They had were interested and had a great time. Yay.

Amelia attended her last speech and debate class. She is very sad that she will not be with Mr. Sam next year. She has learned and grown in this class, as well as her scholar classes. Amelia has become quite a captivating orator. As a first year student, she earned the most metals her her class. She was excellent in the Shakespeare play too. I think these classes complimented each other nicely for Amelia this year.

Amelia commented to me a while ago that she has learned more in homeschool in 2 years than the previous 6. What she learns becomes part of who she is rather than something to learn for a test and then forget.

I marvel at Seth. I am amazed at his growth and maturity. About 2 years ago I was told to brace myself that Seth might not ever come home. (He was in state custody because he was an unsafe threat in our home) We prayed fervently for Seth’s return each and every night.   Our prayers were answered.

Eric and I are often asked about what changed. Even Seth cannot explain. We truly have had a miracle occur in our family. Seth has grown so much this past year. It is wondrous to see Seth memorize 97 lines of Shakespeare, watch him perform on stage, and enjoy himself. I love it that his smile has returned.

I did it. I finally decided to buy a shelf to attempt to organize the "stuff" behind the passenger seat in the RV. It was not exactly what I was looking for, but it fits well and it was all of $5.00, thanks to a very nice lady in Orem.



I even found a place for shoes!

Thursday day, we met up with some homeschool friends at the Springville reservoir. We arrived with full sunshine and warmth. Perfect for wading in very cold water. Soon after getting in the water, the weather turned. Grey clouds all around, whipping wind, and even the sting of rain. The children were COLD. The other family rode their bikes and they would be so cold on their way home. I called Eric to come get them with Aunt Donna’s truck. As soon as he arrived, the sun returned, the wind significantly lessened and all was calm again. Interesting!

Despite the weather, I had a wonderful time. The onions did too.

Thursday night was a “girls night out” for me.  I have not had a girls night out in a LONG time. We went to a comedy club to watch some amazing women perform improvisation. Super fun!

We drove together. We parked upon our return and proceeded to talk and talk and talk. We talked about all sorts of topics, learning much, and growing our friendship.

I noticed one thing that I have not experienced often. We referenced books! I found myself wanting to write down a new book list. This woman that invited me was teaching me, setting a wonderful example, just by being who she is. Our conversation was uplifting and positive. We came to a topic we both struggle with and we spoke in solutions; what we have learned thus far, what has worked in the past and what we have learned from things that didn’t work. We are both still on our journey for truth, but I left feeling uplifted and eager to push forward.  Well that and tired.  That was the latest night I have had in quite a while.

Seth and Amelia were off to their Shakespeare show off event early Friday morning. I was saying good-bye and Seth’s hands were full. I told him I’d just hug him. He leaned in. I commented that it brought back good memories. (Seth did not hug for a while. Just hands down allowing someone else to hug him, but zero reciprocation.) Seth, surprised, said “good memories?” I love it that he recognizes his path for what it was and chooses a different one.

I offered to take Elanor, Scott, and Naomi to the plays that were being performed on Friday, they said yes, so we went. We slipped in just to watch the plays and left promptly. We ate lunch at a park that recently received new playground equipment. Then we went back for the second play. We watched Love’s Labour’s Lost and The Tempest. I’m not sure my 3 younger onions were able to follow everything very well, even with the summary I read to them.   Exposure.  Exposure.  Exposure.

Saturday was a very odd day. We do just about everything as a family. Today we were separated.   Not bad.  Just different.

Seth and Amelia -Shakespeare show off

Elanor and Naomi - Megan’s baby shower open house and then to Aunt Donna’s property

Eric and Scott - Father and sons ward activity

Jaimi - Seth and Amelia’s final performance, Megan’s baby shower, time alone.

I seriously did not know what to do with myself. There is NO private space in our RV. The door closes to the toilet and there is a curtain to shield the shower, but you can still hear everything that is going on and I often find myself in a conversation that just can’t wait even 30 seconds through the door to the toilet.

It was nice to be by myself for the first few minutes, but then I felt left out. I was the only one home. Ha Ha ha. I can’t believe I am admitting this.

Today was our last day at our ward. I am looking forward to the next chapter in our lives, but it is hard to say goodbye to so many great people.  
Today was a special day in our ward.  We had 4 very different approaches to the same topic.  I was especially touched by a man that I do not know.  I said hello to him and his family once, but that was about it.  The spirit was so strong when he spoke.  He was so vulnerable and humble, and the words he spoke pierced me.  There was no pretending, textbook answers, happy face, fluff, or even beating around the bush.  This man spoke from where he was and what he has experienced and learned.  He was direct and real.  Being real is powerful.
I wrote to each of the children in my Primary class and today I handed them out.  I love Primary!  I will miss my class immensely. 

We were invited to dinner on our way home from church today.  I love it when I don't have to fret over dinner.  I have faith that we will get into a new groove and routine of things, but it is slow.   The company was great, the food was yummy, and the onions had a nice time.