Here’s what we learned:
The original owners first came in the 1800s to Tillamook Oregon to farm crops. Harvest became an issue due to weather. They noticed a part of their uncultivated farm remained green with grass. Their cows were always happy and that became the start of the dairy farm.
The self guided tour of the factory was fascinating. There were plenty of posted information on the history, the cheese-making process and a farmer’s daily schedule.
They offered free cheese samples in which I had to decline because I’m lactose intolerant. There was a gift shop, cafe and small store that featured -you guessed it- tillamook cheese.
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.
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….
On this episode….
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.
August 26, 2014 Tuesday
My sister Pauline is in town for the week. She arrived today and brought with her plenty of California sun. After picking her up from the airport, we went straight to business. We walked all over downtown Seattle.
While the boys are on Pier 57, Pauline and I get lost (in purpose) at Pikes Place Chowder on Post Alley. We had clam chowder, sourdough bread and crab roll. It was really fun just hanging out with my little sister before she gets married in December.
August 28, 2014 Thursday
Today, Richard and I are on an overnight date. We bought burritos from a food truck, stuffed them in my purse and had lunch at the movies! Shhhh, don’t tell them. We saw “Lucy” (Scarlett Johansson) and was blown away. We had a lot to discuss the moment it ended!
Afterwards, we checked into Swantown Inn Bed & Breakfast.
The house has a lot of character and is very still and silent. The owners have homemade cookies for guests. We took a few to take home to Owen and to pay our babysitter…
While away, my sister babysat Owen. Here’s what she did for him:
I was chatting with my sister Pauline an hour ago and she asked me “What was your favorite part of today?” I was writing back to her in paragraphs, rambling. I asked her if the 3 items I mentioned should be shared on my blog. I was concerned it may be too personal. She advised me to share, so here I go….
July 17, 2014
Tomorrow is Richard’s birthday and we are staying at the Towneplace Suite Marriott in Medford, OR for two nights. We specifically wanted a suite for the full kitchen. I needed the space to cook several meals that will last a week (hopefully two) as we make our way up northern Oregon next week.
My gift for Richard: home-cooked meals.
While in Medford, we plan to take advantage of the stores, an Asian grocery store to be exact. We’ll visit Barnes & Noble, visit local parks and check out their library. We’re also making a run to Walmart for any RV-needs.
So going back to naming my favorite part(s) of today…..
1. Having a feast at McGrath’s Fish House. As if we were celebrating my birthday, I ordered whatever my taste buds desired. I had such a great dining experience. It’s been a while since I moaned with a fork in my mouth. I ordered a combination of prawn kebabs, crab cakes and salmon.
2. After our meal, we walked over to Harry & David. Back in California, we know them as “the small store inside the mall that sold popcorn and pears”. But here, it was a size of a Trader Joe’s . There was a section for wine, appetizers for entertaining, the sweet desserts and snacks and finally, the produce. It was one of my favorite part because when we were done picking up items here and there, Owen and I asked Richard to wait for us in the truck. We picked out a few things for his birthday and even had it custom gift-wrapped. Seeing Owen giggle in anticipation was priceless. He couldn’t wait for daddy to see it tomorrow.
3. When we got back to the hotel, the boys decided to go swimming and that’s when I put on my apron and put a bandana on my head. I was in counter-space heaven! I made Owen’s Mac-and-Cheese with broccoli and my chicken with mushroom sauce (made from scratch!). I loved being in my element. No TV to distract me, just me, my knife, my stove and the AC on full blast…
On that note: If I can ask anyone reading this to take a moment and be grateful for what you have- the amount of space you have in your kitchen, your bathroom, your privacy. Not that I ever took it for granted, but our (new) way of living now made me realize how easy it is to forget the luxury of space and privacy.
I went from a 3-bedroom house with a loft, 2.5 bath, two story house- to a travel trailer where my elbow hits the shower stall, where my kitchen has limited space and if I seek quiet time, it’d have to be outside somewhere where there’s mosquitoes and the heat.
I am grateful for: My best friend Melissa B. who reminds me that this is all temporary; to cherish the moments with Owen. My art friend Jenny P. who reminds me that other people have less. My spiritual friend Lee Ann who coaches me along and tells me it’s ok to feel this way, that I will learn to adjust. She’s going through worse yet manages to bring out the positives. I am grateful for my friends who I remain in contact with on a daily/weekly basis for their constant support and encouraging comments on Facebook. A simple comment really makes a big difference in my day, so thank you (you know who you are). And I’d like to thank the Academy for my sister Pauline, who’s been with me since day 1. (Cue music…)
The truth of it all, this is my favorite part of today. Counting my blessings. For having Owen and Richard in my life, whether it be in a new-built house or a used-travel trailer. It’s a great life.
Interview with Owen and Richard and Lela
1. What did you think about the museum?
Owen: It was fun!
Richard: Very interesting, exhibits were original with the right amount of challenge. It was age-appropriate, all of it.
Lela: I’ve never stayed at a museum for 3-hours. I loved it! Richard and Owen were learning and bonding at the same time.
2. What was your favorite part?
O: All of it!
R: Very-little distraction. It was quiet for a few hours until more kids came in the afternoon.
L: The soft couches scattered throughout for moms like me! I liked the dinosaur exhibit the most because I knew it made Owen very happy.