Night 4- Al Fresco, not Al forno

We’re getting into the rhythm of trailer-camping.
Owen rides his bicycle throughout the day. He makes friends and they explore the trails. I asked him what they talk about and he reports, “we talk about mine craft”.
As soon as the week ends, we’ll be homeschooling again. Al-fresco style.

Happy Boy on his bicycle
Happy Boy on his bicycle
Making a pick axe out of twigs, inspired by mine craft.
Making a pick axe out of twigs, inspired by mine craft.

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Richard found an abandoned broken bicycle and claimed it his new project. He’s dismantling it and picking out his desired pieces. The aeronautic engineer in him is elated with the outdoor project.

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I’m finally able to read a novel! Currently fascinated with historical romance set during WW2. Since we’re living a minimalist lifestyle, I get done with my house chores in no time. Who am I kidding? There are dishes that needs to be put away but it can wait. My purple lounge chair in the screened-in canopy beckons me.

The weather has also improved. Maybe because we’re deep in the forest, but we no longer feel like we’re inside a sauna. There’s a cool breeze, my peripheral vision shows all shades of green, the sound of Richard’s wrench and Owen laughing in a distance is very soothing (maybe not the wrench). I can feel oxytocin being released in my system.

I am where I need to be.

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Mental Preparation

This is it. This is our last week living in a single family residence, aka a house. A spacious house with room to stretch my arms, legs and sanity.

Don’t get me wrong, trailer-camping for the entire summer in a forest is the place to be; the smell of forest, the aroma of firewood burning, the sound of children playing, the sound of birds, crickets—- you get the picture.

What I’m most worried about is my claustrophobia. I survived it for 4 months last year, so I should be able to withstand a month (or two) living in a confined space, right? I pray to the gods of open space that I’ll be fine.

But just to be on the safe side, I’m preparing myself mentally.

1. If I have to, I’ll use the facility shower. So what if it takes extra effort to pack my toiletries and change of clothes? My goal is to enjoy a hot shower without feeling like the shower walls are closing in on me. Not hitting my elbows and knees in the shower will be a bonus. On that note: I won’t have to cut my hair. I won’t have to worry about clogging the drain. I’ve been growing it out for a year. I want what Rapunzel has.

2. It will be nice to have easy access to my favorite things like my art and my homeschool items. The “office” space in Owen’s room will now house my art and homeschooling items. Last time, I couldn’t get to my acrylics and canvas. I struggled to find an outlet for my creativity. I ended up painting the interior walls of our trailer in many colors and giving it a make over. Something great came out of that(!)

3. As cozy as I made our bedroom with soft beddings, a nice shade of wall color with matching curtains, it didn’t help with my anxiety. I used to wake up not knowing where I was. It’d be pitched black and I felt as if I just ran 5K. (More on that later!) I literally feel like I’m in a coffin. Here’s my solution: I’m taking over the living room! The couch unfolds into a bed. The bathroom is two steps away (literally). There’s elbow and leg room but more importantly, I don’t have a wall 6 inches on either side of my face. There’s room to breathe.

4. Cooking was a bit of a challenge. Just like art, I need counter space to spread out my art supplies; in this case, my ingredients and prep bowls. Well, I’m not a James Beard Award winning chef nor do I run a 2 star Michelin kitchen in this trailer. I have to cut back on a lot of things. It’s time to buy those pre-cut veggies, frozen ones and make simpler meals. Instead of making a vegetarian, a non-vegetarian and a kid-friendly meal, my boys will have to eat what I make (and vice versa). One meal. One pot. The benefit of this is weight loss. The moderation will do wonders for me!

5. Speaking of weight loss; now that we have no choice but to be outdoors. This means bicycle riding daily, walking after dinner and even playing badminton at the grassy area where the farm animals can watch. I’m looking forward to that. I also want to start training to do my first 5K.

In conclusion, I just need to remain positive and keep an open mind. It will be great. It will be a different experience from the last time. Who knows, maybe, this is the last time we’ll ever get to go trailer-camping again. It’s time to activate our motto and start believing it: Life Begins Where Fear Ends.

I think what will help me the most is to remind myself that this is all temporary. It’s not forever. And it’s not all about me. Owen will have a blast and the memories we’re creating is good for our family. Good for our souls.

Not All Who Wander Are Lost…

imageJul 3, 2015 Ocean Shores

Many wonderful things have happened since we closed down this site for our winter hibernation. In brief, I loved seeing the Autumn colors all over Olympia and its neighboring cities. Winter was even better. Yes, it rained and it didn’t bother us much. We hiked in the rain, got our boots muddy and came home to a heated home. We kept ourselves busy in our cave with homeschooling, catching up on (old and ) new TV shows and got to know our adopted city.

Spring came along and our kind landlady told us how beautiful spring in Olympia is, so we decided to extend our hibernation.

We flew to The Netherlands and got to see much-missed family members. Our trip was memorable. We emphasized on culture, history, family and food. Owen got to see where half of him came from.

But now Summer has arrived and it’s time to crawl out of our caves. It’s time to stretch our aching muscles and see what’s in store for us.


 

Previously on Family In Tow….

We said good bye to dear friends and family.
We said good bye to dear friends and family.
We said goodbye to dear friends and family.
We said goodbye to dear friends and family.

 

The hardest part was saying goodbye to my niece Abby, who I babysat when she was a baby.
The hardest part was saying goodbye to my niece Abby, who I babysat when she was a baby.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I can’t believe we accomplished so much in 4 months.

 


 

On this episode….

Jul 6 icecream break
We thaw out of our hibernation and have ice cream at Port Olympia.
art continues
My style of art has broadened. I’m mixing media and taking all my experience and transferring it to my art.
Jun 2015 106
More importantly, Owen’s home school got more interesting with a more hands-on approach. After learning about algae, moss, kelp among other things, we locate one at the local beach.
I will also continue to volunteer at the Family Support Center. I was honored to be recognized by the governor back in Apr 2015 for my volunteer work.
I will also continue to volunteer at the Family Support Center. I was honored to be recognized by the governor back in Apr 2015 for my volunteer work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

6-20-15 Father's Day (26)
Not All Who Wander Are Lost… – JRR Tolkien

In the middle of July 2015, we’re going trailer-camping for the rest of the summer at our favorite campground at American Heritage Campground.

We have plans to visit family and friends in California in August. Depending on how the job hunt is going, it may just be me and Owen going to CA.

Richard wants to continue living the good life reading under the canopy of trees and marveling at the blanket of stars. Owen wants to hop on his bicycle whenever the mood strikes and explore the trails in the campground. I will  survive living in such close proximity with my boys (again). I like my space but I also love the smell of nature during summer camping. This is when I need all my friends and family to keep me from going insane…

Please write to me using our traveling mailbox. If you don’t have it by now, please send me a message via text, email or facebook and I’ll be happy to share it with you.

SAFE TRAVELS!

Random Pictures from Sep. 3-13, 2014

 

Sep. 3, 2014 Owen is playing with a little boy dressed in a cop uniform. There was a slow-speed chase.
Sep. 3, 2014 Owen is playing with a little boy dressed in a cop uniform. There was a slow-speed chase.
Sep. 3, 2014 riding our bikes at the campground with our wonderful friends Milenda and Dan.
Sep. 3, 2014 riding our bikes at the campground with our wonderful friends Milenda and Dan.
Sep. 3, 2014 riding our bikes at the campground with our wonderful friends Milenda and Dan.
Sep. 3, 2014 riding our bikes at the campground with our wonderful friends Milenda and Dan.

 

Sep 5, 2014 - I was a vendor at the local craft fair using my paper quilling expertise. This was my display table.
Sep 5, 2014 – I was a vendor at the local craft fair using my paper quilling expertise. This was my display table.

 

Sep. 5, 2014 The best part was having kids come to my booth and me teaching them. The highlight of my day.
Sep. 5, 2014 The best part was having kids come to my booth and me teaching them. The highlight of my day.
Sep 5, 2014 - craft display
Sep 5, 2014 – craft display
Sep 5, 2014 - craft display
Sep 5, 2014 – craft display

 

Sep. 5, 2014 Owen got to play with kids and made some friends.
Sep. 5, 2014 Owen got to play with kids and made some friends.

 

Sep. 6, 2014 Richard met a retired Dutch man who had been traveling for 4 yrs with his wife in the US and now has to return to his homeland.
Sep. 6, 2014 Richard met a retired Dutch man who had been traveling for 4 yrs with his wife in the US and now has to return to his homeland.

 

Sep. 6, 2014 He was selling his car for $1,000.
Sep. 6, 2014 He was selling his car for $1,000. We almost bought it.

 

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Sep. 9, 2014 This was my last walk-around the campground with my friend.

 

Sep. 10, 2014 Move-in day. This stunning display of cheerful flowers welcome us.
Sep. 10, 2014 Move-in day. This stunning display of cheerful flowers welcomed us.

 

Sep. 12, 2014 Richard found me an Asian grocery store. They had a lot of everything I needed.
Sep. 12, 2014 Richard found me an Asian grocery store. They had a lot of everything I needed.

 

Sep. 13, 2014 While the boys bond with building Lego, I have girl-time and played with different hairstyles. I like this look.
Sep. 13, 2014 While the boys bonded building Lego, I had girl-time and played with different hairstyles. I like this look.

Bicycling & Blackberries

We went on a 1-hour bike ride just 5 minutes away from the campground. This paved trail was beautiful. We went under canopies of trees and saw many shades of green.image

 

 

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The the next day, as we rode our bike around the campground, we discovered black berry bushes. We picked to our heart’s content and nibbled on them. I made blackberry jam and the boys enjoyed it on their toast.

 

 

 

 

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River Forks County Park, Roseburg

Sunday, July 21, 2014

We finally found a park within biking distance from our campsite. Added bonus: a fort, river access, large playground, endless greenery and it’s in the 70s. What more could I ask for, right? Well… It’s raining and we’re taking cover under an oak tree. Now that’s more like it!

 

Enjoying the bike ride to the park.
Enjoying the bike ride to the park.

 

7-21-14 Roseburg, OR 009

 

He he played at the playground until he saw.... the fort.
He he played at the playground until he saw…. the fort.

 

7-21-14 Roseburg, OR 012

 

Umpqua River
Umpqua River

 

 

Kids + Art Day + Bike Day = Happy Friday

June 20, 2014

Friday

I woke up this morning and didn’t want to do anything but have a lazy friday. Richard and I were supposed to tackle the last painting in our bedroom but we didn’t feel like it. Owen’s (girl) friends were at our door early and they remembered my offer to show them how to make flowers out of strips of paper. We gave them two of my paper quilling yesterday and they were fascinated. So today, they were ready for Art Day and I was down with that.  

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Art Day with kids completes me!
6-20 Art Day, Bike Day 006
I was overjoyed when I saw that the girls’ mom turned my gifts to them into hair clips.
6-20 Art Day, Bike Day 007
I was overjoyed when I saw that the girls’ mom turned my gifts to them into hair clips.
6-20 Art Day, Bike Day 008
Owen is showing Jasmine how to twirl paper. He is making her a panda with a belly button.
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Quiet little Mailene wanted pink flowers.
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Time to take a break from art… Richard pulls out the tandem bike. The girls and I watch in awe…
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We all took turns on the tandem bike. Richard was happy as a dutchman!
We all took turns on the tandem bike. Richard was happy as a dutchman!
We all took turns on the tandem bike. Richard was happy as a dutchman!
Snack time! Everyone gets apple juice!
Snack time! Everyone gets apple juice!
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This is Maria, the girls’ mom who works at the RV site. She sat with us and watched in fascination as I made flowers. She asked me what I do with them and I told her I give them out to kids and I sell them. She purchased 3 packets from me at $10 each. She is going to turn them into hair accessories for her girls.
6-20 Art Day, Bike Day
This is what the money I earned bought us. Lunch! A burrito bowl from Burger Barn (10-mins away.)

My first bike ride on our adventure

Tuesday was my first time riding my bike while on our adventure. The ride was great, although there was quite a lot of wind. Only the last 5 miles were straight into the wind, but it was brutal to end that way. It did not take away from the wonderful ride though. About 13 miles from where we are staying is a place called Twin Lakes. We had already checked out this place by car earlier, but I wanted to ride all the way around it this time. By car that is not possible, because there is a stretch that is really just for hiking. I had to pull and carry my bike over boulders and fallen trees, and across a few streams. It was all worth it. While I was heading back on the paved road on the other side of the lakes I spotted a dirt road going up the side of the mountain, which I had noticed earlier on my way up. I decided I wanted to make this ride worth while, so I turned into the road.

I was not completely convinced yet if I wanted to actually trek up that road, because it looked quite steep and I was already not so fresh anymore. But the adventurous spirit in me won again and I decided to go up and check it out. The dirt road was pretty well maintained. I was not sure yet where the road was going, but I quickly discovered that it was the road to the buckeye campground, trail and hot spring. I had read about the hot spring and it apparently attracts quite a few people. This explained why the road was in a good state and it made the ride up not bad at all. A bit washboardy at times, but there usually was at least one track that was relatively smooth. I saw the sign for the campground, the trailhead and the hot springs, but I did not see any of the actual sites. I did see some of buckeye creek and it looked very nice with plenty of trees.

By this time I had figured out that the road, if it did not dead end, would most likely connect me to the 395 a few miles above Bridgeport. The condition of the dirt road past the creek was far from what it was before the creek, but most of it was going downhill by now and it was not all bad either, just more bumpy and rocky. The further I was able to guess the destination of the road, the more convinced I was it would connect me back to the 395, and it sure did, although maybe a mile further from Bridgeport than I had hoped for. Not too bad, because I started off with some downhill once I got to the 395, but it quickly flattened out and turned straight into the wind. Those 6 or 7 miles back to the trailer were my real challenge for the day.

All in all a very fun ride with plenty of surprises and challenges. It was exciting to try out roads without consulting a map and aiming for success. After all I could have turned around if needed. But it is so much more sweet when it all works out in the end. Yay!

View of Upper Twin Lakes at Mono Village a few days before my ride.
View of Upper Twin Lakes at Mono Village a few days before my ride.