December 30, 2006

California Happenings

We're enjoying our time with John during his vacation. It's been so great having him home *all the time*. We're diggin' it! :)
So, we usually get up, have some coffee and hot chocolate, go outside and soak up some warm morning sun. The boys play, mom and dad tidy up the bus, and before you know it, it's 1:00 in the afternoon. The days fly by.

We went on a great hike today and we took some great pictures, but now can't seem to upload any to Blogger. I'm working on that one. Stay tuned... (I was able to upload them all to our flikr account, if ya wanna check them out!)

Before we went hiking, we stopped at Nature Health, a little healthfood store I found here just yesterday. I'm stoked, though, because she has a produce 'co-op' that you pay $5/month and get organic produce at her cost! I picked up a huge head of broccoli, 4 avocados, 2 mangos, 2 fat tomatoes, a big bag of celery and some cilantro for $9. Nice! What's nicer, is that she let me take all that food home, even without paying for it! She rings the produce up separately so she doesn't have to pay the 30% tax on it, as she's making no profit. No tax is charged to me, either. I was out of check blanks, and she said just bring one by! Wow! So, that's why we stopped there today before our hike, so I could pay up.

Then, John was craving some of his favorite mexican tacos, so we stopped at this little taco stand right by the park and he loaded up with tacos and a torta. Ohhhh, soooooo good! The boys played and munched and climbed trees, then we were on our way (finally!) to the mountains.
We ran into a ranger who gave us some maps/handouts with some great hiking trails. We'll be checking many of them out while we're here. It's only a 15 minute drive to the mountain; which is visible from our campground. In the dark, you can see the cars crawling and curling up and down the winding road. Very cool.

So, it's taken me a month to find my groove. That's ok. I'm missing home less and less, and enjoying where we are *now* more and more. It's all a journey.

We listened to Amy Steinberg's song many times today. The boys love it and kept asking to hear it again and again. Can do! I love it, too! It's amazingly beautiful and tender and powerful all at the same time.

I am exactly where I need to be,
I need to be exactly where I am,
I am a blessing manifest.

You must listen to it!

December 27, 2006

Ooooo, Baby!

I know anyone who's given birth or welcomed a child into their life will relate to this. I remember it vividly, falling deeply in love before I even laid eyes on my boys, and then having that love explode immeasurably the first time I saw, touched, smelled and tasted my babies. To recapture that love, even in those moments of chaotic trips to the grocery store with 3 energetic little boys...what a blessing to us all.


THE DAILY GROOVE ~ by Scott Noelle

:: Falling In Love for the First Time... Again ::

Do you remember the moment you fell in love with your
child for the first time? For some it happens before
birth, for some it's the moment of birth ("love at
first sight"), and for some love blossoms much later.

For most parents it's easier to love a newborn
unconditionally than an older child, because we have
fewer expectations of babies -- their existence alone
is a blessing.

Today, take a moment to recall the times your child
has inspired your heart to open wider than ever
before. Let yourself re-experience that glorious
feeling of Pure Love washing over and through you!

The more often you deliberately re-activate that
feeling, the easier it'll be to stay centered in your
heart -- even under conditions that seem hard to

When you feel your heart closing, simply recall those
peak experiences to help you return to your natural
state of open-hearted, easy-flowing Love.

Tell yourself often:
"Unconditional Love is my *birth-rite*!"

December 16, 2006

Our Lovely New Landing Spot

(this entry and the entry below were written Friday, Dec. 15)

We are now about 10 miles south of where we were before, right on Lake Elsinore. The town itself is about 35k people, and has any shopping we’ll be needing, including an RV shop. We’re at Lake Elsinore City Campground. It’s huge and has trees of many varieties, including several pines, so it feels familiar. There are very few people staying here right now, so it’s incredibly quiet and peaceful. The camp hosts are SOOOO nice, they’re from Greeley, CO and are workampers who travel around and work/camp in exchange for reduced camping fees and pay. There aren’t any ‘amenities’ like a laundry room, but there are 2 laundry mats just across the street. Still no wifi, but my withdrawals are lessening.

We inquired this morning about monthly rates, and they are typically $380/month for 2 people, and an additional $100 per person/per month. Eeek! Even kids! Well, they were sweet enough to just go the $380, plus $50/month for Max, so this is where we’ll be for the long run. Sure beats the $730 we were paying over ‘there’ to be treated like garbage.

Everyone is happier. There is much space to explore and no more feelings of being under a microscope. Our door opens to a beautiful lake view, and a huge yard. We’re the last site on this strip, so we won’t be having anybody on our door side at all. We listen to the sweet sounds of chirping birds all day, and the occasional boat roar by. It’s wonderful and I finally feel at ease.

(oh, and I can get wi-fi if I come to the edge of the campground, so I'll be writing for the blog, then cutting and pasting when I can get online)

Mean People Suck

After my last posting, on a day that started out quite well, I returned home to the bus and the campground and our grumpy neighbor who barks at her son all day and everything went south from there. Apparently, she’d had it with Stone and was outside with her son, P, saying, “Stay away from that boy” Now, staying away from “that boy: would have been much easier if our homes didn’t FACE each other. Our doors opened in towards each other, so we were, in essence, sharing a yard. Not good. Not good because we have toys outside, and they aren’t allowed to have any outside. Not good because they want to play with us and our fun stuff, and she wigs out if they cross the non-existent border dividing our space from theirs. Not good because P is dying to play with ANYONE and so does anything he can to get that attention; mostly from Stone. Stone was handing it well, I would step in when I saw his temper beginning to flare. Well, I guess I wasn’t there to step in once. According to her, Stone said some inappropriate things (I have to say he does speak from his emotion, whatever that happens to be at the moment) and she was afraid things might escalate and someone might get hurt. So, it was icky and tense and just all around bad. She didn’t want to tell me what happened, just being very snippy and loaded with attitude. It broke my heart that someone could have such contempt for my child. And that’s what it was, it was written all over her. I don’t know why I let this whole situation bother me so much, especially from someone who so sorely lacks anything resembling gentle parenting or even any compassion at all towards her children. (Although, the little girl gets much more positive attention than P and an occasional kiss/hug. Never saw anything positive directed towards P, not even a smile)

Ok, so this is my way of processing it all. I’m not trying to spread ill will toward her or her family, I just have to try make it fit into my world. I’m grateful for the support and wise mothers/children we are surrounded by normally. We *help* each other out, mom to mom, mom to kid, kid to kid…we’re there for each other. Not there waiting and watching to pounce on someone for doing something ’wrong’. I had a small clue something like this would happen after our first day of being there. She had her husband come talk to John because she saw Stone push P. Oh. Gee, maybe you should have just gone over and gently asked Stone not to push. Nah, just be a tattle tell, and better yet, don’t have the balls to come tell us yourself, just send your husband.

All right. All done with that little story. I should be grateful for the events that unfolded that day, because they spurred us on to find somewhere else to go. This all happened on Wednesday, and we were pulling out of the Dirt Hole from Hell on Thursday morning! The campground and many of the people working there were full of negative energy. They looked at you like you were speaking Greek when you went in to simply check on your mail. We pulled through the gates and felt immediate freedom and so much relief! So, thank you icky neighbor. You done us a favor!

And, thank you Rebecca, for being there when I needed a gentle heart and spirit true! I love you!!!

December 13, 2006

Curse the lack of Wifi access :(

We've been unplugged from the rest of the world lately. And I'm going through withdrawals. Seems the wifi we were getting was from someone parked near us in the park, and they pulled out last weekend, now we're without it. Thanks to that anonymous giver of your unsecured system, though! Maybe someone else will come soon? For now, I have to drive over to a coffee shop and sip a drink while I surf around and do other computer/internet related stuff.

This last weekend, we went to the ocean both days. On Saturday we went to Doheny State Beach. The boys caught tons of little crabs, found a football, played catch and tag with John on the beach. On Sunday, we went to San Clemente. My favorite spot so far. Beautiful beach, not a lot of people, huge waves because of the weather. We sat up against these gigantic rocks that protected us from the wind, so all we had was the warm sun on our faces and the sound and smell of the ocean right in front of us. We brought a bunch of food, and hung out and ate and played for a couple hours. And an added bonus was that the boys got to watch the Metrolink and the Amtrak come barreling down the track right by us a few times. It runs right along the coast there. We're planning on riding the train while we're here.

We've been searching for a different campground. Not having much luck. We did find "Ortega Oaks". It's above Lake Elsinore and it's the campground that used to have a petting zoo. But, the woman who used to run it realized her dream of moving to Arizona and living off the grid, so no animals there to pet anymore. The people at Ortega were very nice, but they don't have any openings right now. And, the drive to get there is 12 miles past lake elsinore, up a very big mountain. So, John would add 30 minutes each way to his drive every day. We would end up saving about $115 on camping, but John's time, and his time with us, is valuable too.

We found a very quaint little campground on the lake right there in Lake Elsinore, as well. It's called "The Outhouse". The woman who runs it is kind and she has a little boy a bit younger than Stone. BUT... they don't have any openings right now. They're working on evicting some people, though, so we left our information with her so she can call us when something opens up. We'd end up saving about $350 a month there!! Woo hoo! They have full hook ups and a laundry room, no wifi. But, we can access the lake from there, and the boys can go fishing any ol' time they want! It's also right across the street from the library, and just a short bike ride to Albertson's, so the location would be handy. The drive would be only 10 miles further than John drives right now, all on the freeway.

I've been missing my friends immensely lately. Even shed a few tears yesterday. John asked me what I wanted to do yesterday, and what I really wanted to do was go to a movie with Pam. I know I need to connect with some people here, especially the unschoolers at Long Beach. I will. It doesn't help that my major means of staying connected with people has been lost. Although, I could get used to this sitting in a coffee shop by myself listening to groovy music and checking my e-mail thing!

It's my mom's birthday today, and she's going to lunch with my sister. I'd love to be going with them. She (my mom) sent off a package to us today with some pepper sticks and other snacks the boys love and her funky sparkly little tree for us to put in the bus. The boys and I are starting to talk about what we might like to bake for Christmas goodies. It just feels so completely odd to celebrate Christmas when it's 75 degrees out and the palm trees are swaying in the breeze. Weird. I'm sure the tree will help, and the cd Amy's sending, and the baking.

I'll only be checking e-mail and blogging once or twice a week for now. Try not to miss me too much! :)

Manipulation is a GOOOOOOD thing...

Have you ever felt like you were being 'manipulated'? Well, now you can breathe easy and smile the next time you have that feeling...
This came to be at the pefect time - surprise, surprise, always works that way, y'know?-
I've been feeling quite distracted lately. Time to tune in.

THE DAILY GROOVE ~ by Scott Noelle

--> New Audio for Premium Subscribers:
"Radical Parenting" (details below)

:: The Joy of Manipulation ::

The word *manipulate* means "to handle skillfully."
Since the main function of childhood is learning how
to handle life skillfully, a "manipulative" child is
only doing what comes naturally.

A good relationship is one in which both parties can
manipulate each other in ways they both enjoy. They
dance with one mind, like Fred Astaire and Ginger
Rogers. It's called *attunement*.

When you and your child are well-attuned, the
manipulation can be so subtle that all you notice is
the pleasure of your connection. But when you're
distracted or stressed, your child will escalate to
unsubtle, unpleasant cues like crying or whining --
whatever it takes to get your attention.

Conventional (adversarial) parenting advice says you
mustn't "give in" to such manipulation. The parent
"wins" when the child gives up hope.

When you understand that unpleasant manipulation is a
symptom of failed attunement, the path becomes clear:

* Attune with your Self.
* Attune with your child.
* Focus on the pleasure of connecting.
* Everyone wins.

December 8, 2006

Friday, 12/8/06

I updated our blog to the Blogger Beta, and now I lost my Flikr Badge! Ugggh. Maybe my hero will again come to my rescue! A very tech savvy friend of mine from Soo Foo helped me out the last time it went all wonky! Mel.....? Would you be so kind? :)

John's working the day shift today, then next week moves back to the night shift. I'm looking forward to that. It's nice having him around here with us during our days. Our week has flown by. We've settled into a bit of a routine of doing a bike ride in the morning, just around the park. And, oh my! The park looks to be very level, but put a Burly and a kid or two behind you and you soon have legs on fire. There's a hill there somewhere, even though I can't see it! I have been saying I need some exercise...

Then, we play around the bus, we're close to the playground, so between here and there. D comes over, we play and snack some, then eat lunch. Hmmm, we do a lot of that eating thing around here! Then we go to the pool for a while. Sage mainly runs laps around the pool, naked, pretending to be "Soup-man" or "Pidaman", arms outstretched holding his make belive cape in the air. I've been jumping in the last couple of days, then mainly just sitting in the beautiful warm sun. It feels so good. The big boys play in and around the pool for an hour or so, then they're done. Then, shortly after, John arrives home and searches out his beloved Corona ;) and we all hang outside until it's just too chilly.

This weekend, we're going to go to a nearby town, Lake Elsinore, where there's supposed to be a petting zoo, then we're going to do a long drive along the coast. Just last night, as Stone was dozing off, he told me he really wants to go to the beach again. No worries, my love, we'll be there again soon.
I took this picture last week, just before I found a place to squeeze in for myself. We sure can fill up a queen sized futon in a hurry! Usually, John and Saylor sleep together on the futon in the living area, and the rest of us are here in the bedroom in the back of the bus.

December 4, 2006

New Friends

Saylor and Stone have made a new friend here. Well, they met him right away, it's just taken me this long to write about him. Anyway, D and his family are staying here for a few weeks while their new house is being finished. D says it's HUGE and is so excited about all the cool stuff they bought to go in it, like a pool table and a popcorn machine, and air hockey and...

Evidently, D's dad works for Blizzard Entertainment. Means nothing to me, honestly, but he went on to say that he helps people play War Craft...HUH? You mean World of War Craft? The only reason I even know what that *is* is because Hayden's a player and a fan. So, Hayden, we met one of the kids of the *top guys* there! I guess, by D's explanation, he's 3 away from owning the whole company. Cool!

He is such a nice little boy, and his mom is super sweet, too. She was telling me that they'd like to move. She's lived in CA her whole life and just doesn't "fit in". They have 4 children and people are always asking her why they had so many, are they Mormon? Funny! She's very kind and gentle with her kids and down to earth. I needed to meet someone like that here!

Today, my 3 and D all went swimming. (I was there, too, but water's too cold for me and Sage) Both boys are really enjoying him and they all get along together really nicely. They go outside in the morning, and I can't get them to come back in until it's nearing dark. They even request their lunch to be brought to the picnic table by the playground. Lucky ducks!

My Brother...The Best

Here are a few more photos of Laguna Beach. The kids had a blast discovering all the living beings in the tide pools, and Sage had a good time taking pictures of strangers. Notice his not-so-happy face there? He wants the camera BACK!

Sage's First Ocean View

We spent Sunday afternoon with my brother who is a graduate student at UC Irvine. He's such the scholar! We went down to Laguna Beach, and Sage saw the ocean for the first time. He chased a couple waves out, then decided he better stay closer to us when he saw it come rushing back in towards him. It was a beautiful day, and so good to feel sand between my toes and smell the air full of sea.

December 2, 2006

A Great Sunny Day

We had a lovely day. John squeezed in only a few hours of sleep, but was in good spirits and was up and about hanging out with us. We love that! We even spent a little time at the pool. I was a wimp, only got in about to my knees, but John (mr. I Can't Stand Cold Water) was a trooper and jumped right in. It was good to feel hot!

Yesterday (Thursday) we went into Corona and stopped at a local Mexican grocery store. They have the most beautiful produce, and inexpensive, too. They also serve the authentic tacos that John loves, so we grabbed a few of those and shared them.

We made a couple other stops, looking for tires for Saylor's bike and a new rim for Stone's...mission accomplished. Ms. Mama also made her very first ever trip to Trader Joe's. Fun! I even got to go in all by myself because Sage had fallen asleep, so I got to browse some and pick up some delicious goods for all of us. Saylor's been craving sushi (ok, so has his mum!) so I grabbed some veggie rolls. He and I polished those off as soon as we got back to the bus. We did share 1 with John, though. Can't wait to go back! It's 11 miles from where we are, doesn't seem like much, but by golly, it is quite the drive out here.

We also stopped at the library in town and I grabbed a book out of their little Book Shop there, for $1, hardcover! It's called "The Catastrophist". Set in the Belgian Congo in 1959; all about Patrice Lamumba and his rivals and the main character trying to survive it all. Looking forward to starting that. It's been a long time since I've read something other than non-fiction. I love a good book.

The Secret keeps creeping into my's everywhere. Yet another sign that I must watch this DVD as soon as possible. Ellen had it on her show today (Degeneres, that is). I never watch her show, and was flipping through the channels as I nursed Sage back to sleep and I saw the info bar at the bottom of the screen. So glad I caught that. Good thoughts, positive thoughts, uplifting thoughts, abundant's all within me...what a gift.


December 1, 2006

Back it up Boy!

That's among one of the stream of really great, loving things our current neighbor says to her 4 year old son....ALL......DAY.........LONG........
My heart breaks every time I hear her speak to him. He stands at their door and looks outside, wanting to come join our boys in play, and she barks at him to get away from the door. I'm tempted to tell the dictator that her child is most welcome to come over and play, and that that would be far less annoying than hearing her yell at him all day.


I told John he needs to get me outta here. This place isn't working for me. It's like living in a dustbowl; only a few of the most coveted sites have grass and the rest of us are left wading in fine dirt. The playground is outdated and boring. The rules are endless. They just don't really like children. It's obvious. And to top it all off, we can't pick up a freakin' signal for our satellite tv. OH, the horror ;)

Ok, I think that I've aired my grievances for the world to read, so I can freely let them go! Really, I'm not usually such a downer, but a girl can only take so much! I'm off to make up my Gratitude list now...