Wednesday, December 21, 2005

We are in the "real" world

PHewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!!!!! We made it down the Alaska Highway! That is a brutally LOOOONNGGGGG drive but we finally arrived around 3:00 pm yesterday! We had great roads and were able to cruise at a relatively good speed. We had a few run-ins with some deer that almost didn't make it but we were able to miss them all. Merle and Lois drove with us as far as Quinell and then we went our own ways. I called Lois after we crossed the border and we were surprised to find out that they were just a few cars behind us!! It was really nice to have the company and it felt safer too. We are going to meet back up with them at Lois' sisters house, in Milwaukee, the early part of next week.

We are staying at an RV Park in Ferndale, WA, just above Bellingham. I am here visiting an old highschool friend, Crystal (Pike) Johnson, for a day before we head down to Arlington to visit one of Martins highschool friends. We have a few more people to visit in the Washington/Oregon area and then we will head to California for a few weeks. We will be with family (Grandma Sally's sister Pat and all her kids, grandkids, and great grandkids) for Christmas Eve and I am sure it will feel just like home with all the kids running around and the chatter.

We got in yesterday and went straight to the RV park to get our motorhome de-winterized, and organized a little, and then headed over to Crystals house for a great pizza dinner and visit. We had a great time playing with her three young boys, cute as can be!! This morning I woke up and went back to Crystals for a Bible study with her moms club that she is a part of. It has been great to see her again and get to know her a little, amazing how much we've changed since highschool yet are still the same.

Tristan woke up this morning and said "Are we going to start driving pretty soon?" I thought he would be relieved to be parked for a little bit but he expressed that he wants to keep moving until we are in warm weather!! I think he is going to be just fine living in heat, if that is where we end up!

I am feeling quite giddy right now!! It is a really good feeling to see us realize our dreams. We have talked about it for so long and it is hard to believe we are right in the middle of it now! We are looking forward to an incredible year!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

The next phase of our adventure!

Well, we are officially out of the duplex, that we were renting, as of yesterday. It has been a very exhausting week, with getting everything organized, boxed up, and cleaned with the addition of making MANY trips out to the motorhome to get our things loaded up!! I slept 10 hours last night so I guess my body is trying to play catch-up! We have the motorhome parked at Martin's parents house until pull-out day on Dec. 17 (5:00 am). We are going through a tank of propane every 2 1/2 days as the temperatures are below zero right now. Martin has started to count down in days, rather than weeks, since we only have two weeks left!! I am starting to feel like I did, as a child, when it was Christmas Eve and I couldn't sleep because of being so excited for morning to come! It is hard to believe that we are making our dreams come true!!!! Even the kids are excited, after being a little unsure how they were going to feel about it, which makes me even more thrilled!!

One of our biggest concerns was the cat, since we decided to take him with us. We just didn't have the heart to part ways with him since we got him the same time that I gave birth to Tristan and he is just part of our family. We were concerned because when he is reallly ticked off he will pee (just once). Since we are in a motorhome that costs a lot of money and has carpet that cannot be easily replaced, we were very nervous. He didn't eat or go to the bathroom for three days but finally ate last night and went to the bathroom in the litterbox!!! We know we are home free now and he seems to be quite happy. I think the thing that has made the difference is that we put our own bedding in the motorhome along with a lot of other things that are familiar to him so I guess he has just accepted it as home. Hopefully the rest of the trip will be just as smooth for him!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

countdown has begun!!

I haven't been keeping up with this too well!! We are officially leaving on December 16!! The countdown has begun and the anticipation is at an all time high!! We need to be out of the duplex, that we are renting, by the end of this month; the movers are coming on the 23rd so that we have time to clean the place after our stuff is out, so we only have three weeks to get packed up. We are beginning to move things into the motorhome and pack up the rest for storage and will be staying at Martin's parents the last two weeks before we leave.

We did go to the Live and Learn Unschooling Conference in St. Louis, Missouri and had a grand time! It was so wonderful to be around so many like-minded people and such unique, fun, amazing children (and adults) that are following their interests and passions!! It was very inspiring! We also had five days after the conference to play as a family; we went to The City Museum (huge, fun playplace for adults and kids along with an aquarium, art center and more), Gateway Arch, The Magic House (science museum), NACAR Speedway (go-cart racing tracks sponsored by NASCAR, which also had rock climbing wall, laser tag, and games), the St. Louis Zoo, and Grant Farms (a huge petting zoo where the Anheiser/Busch clydesdales are taken care of, owned by the Busch family, where we got to pet and feed goats, kangaroos, camels, llamas, etc and we took in a show where parrots and other animals did tricks). You can see that we fit a lot in for the five days!! We had a wonderful time and the kids begged us not to come home! We felt it was a little bit of a tease for what the next year is going to bring us. We reluctantly got on the plane home but not without a lot of complaining, mostly on my part!

The week after we got home was a decompression week from all the fun and comotion, and we spent most of that week on the couch vegging out! The week following Kevin ended up pretty sick (probably from pushing his body to the limits in St. Louis) and on the couch for four days solid and then last week Martin and Tristan ended up with strep throat for which they had to be on medication. Calista and I missed the whole thing, thank goodness, maybe it is all that healthy eating I do!

The kids really wanted to make Halloween big this year, since this is our last one in Alaska, and my stepmom, Nancy, really wanted to have a family party, as they were coming to visit from Fairbanks. The kids spent a few days setting up a haunted house in my sister, Robin's, unfinished basement. Robin spent many hours helping them since they wouldn't let me see it because they wanted it to be a surprise. We planned games, stories, jokes, and fortune telling along with the haunted house. Matt (Nancy's son, my stepbrother) and his fiance, Kelly, came out from Anchorage to join us and Kelly even had real ghost stories to share with us. We had a really good time and I think it was a great way to exit Alaska.

More and more over the last few weeks we are very aware of "last moments" here, in Alaska. It is sad and exciting all at the same time. We are going to miss so many people but we are going to experience so many amazing things and see so many amazing people!

Thursday, September 15, 2005

It has been a good week


It has been a really good week for me, starting with the fact that I have rid my body of the 6 extra lbs I was carrying around. My body is working much better and I am feeling lighter on my feet. I can't give all the credit to going back on my vegetarian diet, as I am also watching calories and exercising daily but the diet has definitely made me feel a whole lot better!

Something that hasn't been mentioned in our website or blog is that we "unschool" ( is a good place to start for more info) our children or we choose to learn by living life (life learning as some people call it). Kids have a natural desire to learn about the world around them and we allow our children's imagination and curiosity to unfold naturally without coercion, rewards, or punishments; without grades or stars and so many other things that the school system uses to get kids to "learn". That lifestyle also spills over into all aspects of our lives including our parenting. Two days ago Calista was outside sweeping the driveway, just because she wanted to see it free of leaves; Tristan was in the kitchen doing some dinner preparation, just because he likes to cook; and Kevin and I were curled up on the couch reading about Elizabethan England because it is so fascinating. I thought to myself "Yes, this really is a good way to live and yes, it really does work!"

We are headed to St. Louis, in two weeks, for an unschooling conference. We are so excited to meet other unschoolers (looks like there will be upwards of 700 people there including LOTS of dads), getting our creative juices flowing again, and just having a wonderful time. We were planning on taking the motorhome down but after much thought, especially with the price of gasoline, we have decided to fly. The price of our flight, hotel, AND car was much lower than just the gas would have been taking the motorhome down so we are comfortable with our decision.

Another wonderful thing that happened this week was that our oldest child, Kevin, turned 13. It seems to be a big milestone from his perspective, after all he is a teenager now! We had to make it big, so he decided that he wanted to rent a hummer limo to pick up all his friends. It turns out that the limo service does a special birthday party package where they take them around town on a 2 hour scavenger hunt. They dressed up in funky hats and had to do silly things like go into the foyer at Taco Bell and sing rounds of the ABC song and Row Your Boat. The afternoon was filled with the sound of teenage giggles, I take that back, those were mostly Tristan giggles, but they had a lot of fun. We then had a slide show presentation of his life, lots of cute pictures that brought back so many wonderful memories. Oh, how the time flies and how young I looked back then (oh yeah, I was young).

We are officially leaving the state of Alaska the first week in January so the countdown has officially begun! Our plan is to head right to New Orleans and surrounding areas and hook up with Habitat for Humanity and see what kind of a difference we can make there. It is hard not to be affected by this horrible disaster and not want to help in some way. Come March or so we will start traveling around and visiting everybody and having some wonderful adventures, I'm sure!

Thursday, September 08, 2005

To be or not to be, that is the question..........

I am feeling rather liberated today. The process of finding my TRUE self and shutting off all other voices is taking me through some winding, interesting paths. Today I have been dealing with my choice to be a vegetarian (or not). I have lived a mostly vegetarian lifestyle for 10 years, the last seven with some fish, eggs, and milk. In the last three months I made the decision to include meat in my diet again and I had all kinds of reasons to justify it, the main one being that in many social situations I was unable to eat much of what was being served and I felt rude telling people that I couldn't eat what they were serving. In the last three months I have gained 6 lbs., been horribly lethargic, and generally lacking a sense of well-being. I decided that it takes more energy to psych myself out, stew over questions of ethic, and really not enjoy my food than it does to just accept that fact that I am a vegetarian, that is just part of who I am. I woke up this morning to a bowl of Kashi and soy milk and feel like I am me again! I have a lot of other issues to deal with in this journey but at least one more layer has been shed!