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.












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.
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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.











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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.


Trailer Tucked In

Our trailer is tucked in for the winter at a local RV storage. She was our home for 3 months and I had mixed feelings tucking her in for hibernation. Before locking her up, I reminisce.

Owen’s bunk bed is folded away and not a Lego piece is in sight. He spent his mornings in his room building away. Our couch looks empty without my floral cover and throw pillows. Our kitchen looks bare without the dirty dishes. Our bedroom is stripped. Our mattress top cover is going with us as well as our pillows and beddings. Out of habit, I adjust the teal and white curtain by the door.

I gaze at the welcoming yellow-painted walls and cheerful lime green kitchen. I recall the warm days at our first RV campsite at Bridgeport, CA painting away. We created lots of happy memories here and not knowing if we’ll continue to travel in our trailer in Spring makes me a little sad. Will we keep her stored away or sell her to a family? Whatever we decide, I’m sure it will be for the best. But for now, we fondly lock her up and say thank you and have a good nap… see you in Spring…

She sleeps next to a boat and a mini trailer. If you want to see her interior, there are pictures posted on the tab “Our Travel Trailer”. Scroll down for the makeover pictures.


Gracing us with her presence…

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.

Enjoying a ride on The Great Wheel on Pier 57.
Can you spot the Space Needle? This is the view from inside the Great Wheel.



Sisterly love. Just what I needed!

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.


This beautiful Victorian house is very elegant inside and out.
This beautiful Victorian house is very elegant inside and out.

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:

Eating s'mores while reading a good book.
She made him s’mores.
She built him a campfire.
She built him a campfire.


She & Owen went on the roof of our trailer. I just about had a heart attack whenI saw the picture. Look at him, all smiles and unattended.
She & Owen went on the roof of our trailer. I just about had a heart attack whenI saw the picture. Look at him, all smiles and unattended.
Thumbs up, no one is hurt, having a blast...
Thumbs up, no one is hurt, having a blast…


She roasted vegetarian sausages.
She roasted vegetarian sausages.
Owen loves Aunt Pauline.
Owen loves Aunt Pauline.

We found paradise at American Heritage Campground, WA.

We were originally going to be at American Heritage Campground for two nights but after driving up and feeling right at home, we extended our stay. Carla, Jim and Rita welcomed us with open arms. They moved things around on their reservation calendar and managed to find us a site where we can stay for as long as we want. 

As you look at the pictures, you will see why we didn’t want to leave…

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We ride our bikes daily and this is just one of the trails we go on.
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Our travel trailer is happy too because it’s spacious and wide here. We may have neighbors but they are far from us. It’s paradise here in the woods!
We found a monkey on a tree!
We found a monkey on a tree!
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Hanging out with the chickens, ducks and goats.
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This goat smells like Owen after a day of riding his bike.
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Part of the reason we are staying longer…. Owen can be a kid and ride all over. He makes friends and just look at how happy he is!
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Lounging around…

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For now, we’re here until September 9. There’s going to be a flea market and I’m considering joining in as a vendor. I have tons of paper quilling just stored away. More on that later…

Our address starting August 8. Last day to send mail: September 1, 2014

American Heritage Campground

9610 Kimmie St SW

Olympia WA 98512

Attn: Peute Family, Site #67

Useful Info: We will definitely be up here during winter- October 2014 through March 2015. Unsure if Oregon or Washington. Either way, it’s close to Portland Airport and Seattle-Tacoma airport. Hope we get some visitors!

What to say about Woodland, WA

While we were in Woodland, WA, we stayed at an RV park that made me feel like I lived in a shoe. Well, okay, who are we kidding— we do. But Woodland RV park was nothing like we’ve ever stayed at. And we can compare fairly because we’ve stayed at 9 Rv sites/campgrounds for the past two months. There were some bad-tolerable and then there’s this place. I’ll let you fill in the blank. It was (blank-blank). I should have done something when the 180 year old host-owner barked and asked me if I was sure I want to stay for 3 nights. He asked me twice! Being the nice person that we are, we honored our reservation. I won’t go into details (that’s what RV reviews websites are for) but I think these pictures will give you an idea.

The sites were narrow, we couldn't put up our awning and we couldn't breathe.
The sites were narrow, we couldn’t put up our awning and we couldn’t breathe.
There were rules all over the restroom and laundry facility. I like rules and we are avid followers but this was just too much!
There were rules all over the restroom and laundry facility. I like rules and we are avid followers but this was just too much!

The positive thing that came out of this experience:

1. We positively knew we weren’t going to settle here.
2. It was 30 mins away from Mount St. Helens Volcano and the boys got to go on a helicopter tour ride.
3. We learned to do more research when it comes to picking out RV parks/campgrounds.
4. It was 1 hour away from north Portland area and we went back there twice to explore. Which leads us to an important realization.

We liked the feel of this community called Beaverton, just 20 minutes from Portland.

We decided we’d like to find a furnished home in that area to see if we can survive winter. Richard wants to see what “a lot” of rain is like. I don’t mind the rain but he does… There are a lot of little towns surrounding Beaverton and it’s close to everything (my kind of town) but mostly, it was greener and bike friendly (Richard’s kind of town) and the library had a water fountain-park right outside it (Owen’s type of town). 

But no major decision has been made. We still have Washington to explore and so far… we are loving Olympia, Washington… . 

And how can you not like a state that has George Washington's profile on the highway signs?
And how can you not like a state that has George Washington’s profile on the highway signs?

Deepwood Estate, Salem Oregon

Info taken from

Researched and written by Paul Porter and Susan Gibby

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July 24, 2014

This elegant and unique Queen Anne style house was built in 1894 for druggist and land speculator Dr. Luke A. Port. It was one of the designs which helped launch the brilliant career of architect William C. Knighton who later served as Oregon’s first State Architect. He also designed many other public and private northwest showcases, including the Oregon Supreme Court Building (1914) during his nearly 50-year career.

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The five-acre estate was originally part of the circa 1889, 220-acre Yew Park subdivision. Although Historic Deepwood Estate is now a part of Bush’s Pasture Park, it was never owned by the Bush family.

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The interior of the house features warm golden oak woodwork and original Povey Brothers stained glass windows. The formal, English style gardens were among the first commissions by landscape architects Lord and Schryver. Near the parking lot is the City of Salem’s largest public greenhouse.

Another element of the Deepwood Estate is, as it is known today, the Rita Steiner Fry Nature Trail. The trail winds through native trees, plants and wildflowers along Pringle Creek. The Deepwood Estate and Gardens were individually listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.

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Deepwood is the most significant example of landscape architects Elizabeth Lord and Edith Schryver’s Northwest work. It is their only garden design that is open to the public. There are three other superb examples of their designs in the area, but they are associated with private residences.

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Deepwood Estate acquired its name from the popular children’s book of the day named The Hollow Tree and Deepwoods Book by Albert Bigelow Paine. It is available at the Salem Public Library.

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These are a few of my favorite things… (today)

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.

Gifts for Richard: chocolate popcorn, pancake mix, chocolate-covered fruits, chocolate bars.
Gifts for Richard: chocolate popcorn, pancake mix, chocolate-covered fruits, chocolate bars.

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.



Little Castle Creek, Dunsmuir CA

The drive was much better this time. I did more research during our stay at Corning. Richard & I read up on RVing  and learned to empty our water tank. Doing this was easy. Owen & I took long showers and I washed my hair. This was easy to do with the heat wave.

Our speed going up is no longer 30 mph. It is now 50 mph; but to be on the safe side, we stayed on 40 mph.

Enough chit chat. Here are the pictures from the local watering hole we found at our site.