September 22, 2009

...and... She's Back!

Not going to try to play catch up, but sure is nice to be back. After spending most of the summer 'displaced', staying here and there, and then finding a rental which needed much preparation, our life is settling down into a nice little groove.

The boys are all taking classes at the local homeschool cooperative for the next 9 weeks (only 1 day/week, Monday afternoon for 3 hours), we had our first day yesterday and they all did great! I have to admit, I was a little nervous, but I kept manifesting a positive experience, and that's what we all had. A parent is required to stay on-site during the entire time, and help in the classrooms for two of the three hours, so I got to bop in and out of the boys' rooms. It was fun.

The baby belly is coming right along. I'm getting very curious about this little being inside me. You'd think since I've done this 3 times before, the pregnancy thing would be less than exciting, but I gotta tell ya, it's not! I can't keep my hands off my stomach and I want to grab anyone that's nearby every time I feel the baby move so they can feel it, too. The boys are good sports, and always come running when I say, "Ooo, look, baby on the move..." They love seeing it, although sometimes, their response is, "Oh, that's gross, it's like an alien in there". Funny monkeys.

We saw John last week and part of the weekend, then he was off to work again. It looks like he'll make it home this weekend, but we never really make any definite plans unless he's actually driving this way. Things change so quickly for him and his job. We talk and text (well, I text him, he's not so fond of that avenue of communication...yet...!) every day, more than once usually. It's a tricky balance staying 'connected' when you physically are not. It's worth it, though, and something we both take seriously. Marriage can be full of bumps and thumps, but when you're married to your best friend, every single down only brings you to a higher place. Always evolving...

We had a relaxing day at home today, followed by a night-time excursion on the golf course that included lots of running, some wrestling, glow-sticks and a bow and arrow. I was jonesing for a bath, so I hopped in when we got back into the house, and before I knew it, I had 3 joiners. You'd really laugh if you knew the size of this tub. It's on the smaller side of a standard sized tub, but they managed to all find a little corner to tuck themselves into. It was so sweet, really, 5 of us in the tub together. I love that they are so open, my little men. They're the best.

May you cherish every moment... Peace...

June 27, 2009

So... You Wanna Know What's Up?

The short of it goes something like this:

We're expecting a baby.
John's working in Minnesota.
The boys and I are 'house-sitting' at a little slice of heaven in the Black Hills.
We're house hunting.
I *need* (want?) a nest, again. Love my community here, my support. Invaluable, especially now.
Still have the bus, though it is (and has been for a long time) for sale.
We'll still travel, not sure how that'll look yet.
The boys are crazy as ever.
I'm regaining my sanity. ;)
The bump is growing slightly and giving me occassional thumps to remind me of the new life growing inside me. Nearly 5 months along now.
I'm still in shock that we are, indeed, having another baby.
The boys are thrilled, thrilled that they'll be having a new baby to love.
I have to laugh at myself for thinking I had it all figured out, all my big plans! What a nice little reminder that I am *so* not in charge!

Hoping your life is just as crazy, wonderful, unpredictable and peaceful as ours!

April 2, 2009

Pictures from Mayflower Co. Park

Our Big Backyard... just beyond the lagoon that you see here, is the Colorado River, and a small beach upon which we spent nearly every day...

The boys discovered some large fish that had made their way into the lagoon, and so wouldn't be convinced to take a break until they actually *netted* one. Here you have it!

Saylor and Dustin; Dustin is the biologist who was here researching the lagoon area and who's vowed to us to do whatever he can to NOT let them dredge the area. The crazy noise that comes from this area every evening, did, indeed, turn out to be a toad. The Colorado Toad, to be exact. Loud little buggers!

Saylor and Erin making hummus

A friendly game of Chinese checkers... Sage, Yewan, Holden and John

Captivated by one of John's crazy, yet quite entertaining (i laugh every time i hear one, and i've heard them all dozens of times) stories from his childhood

Andrew celebrated his birthday while we were here! Between Erin and I, we were able to scrape together a cake, which was quite tasty with her scrumptious frosting...cashew butter, maple syrup mixture

The boys are gathering here to watch John and Andrew come floating on down the river.

John hauled our umbrella down the first day we were here, and this is where it stayed the entire two weeks, chairs and all. Nobody bothered them, and they were available whenever we needed them. The baby sure appreciated the shade! Thanks, honey!

Mayflower County Park

After our time in Joshua Tree, we were ready for the water again. As it turns out, on our last night there, we met a beautiful family (from Canada... I told you!!!) that had decided to head toward the river, as well, so we agreed to meet up there. We've been here for two weeks, and have put the beach and river and lagoon to good use. The weather was magnificent, except for the couple of days that were so windy you couldn't be outside because of the dirt, sand and dust flying everywhere. It was great going to bed every night, knowing whatever you left out wouldn't get rained on. Desert living, I guess, but strange not having to pop out of bed in the middle of the night and do a mental run-down of what might be outside when you hear raindrops on the roof.

We experienced out first earthquake while we were here, too. The boys slept right through it, but I woke up thinking someone was outside pushing on our bus. The movement was enough to make the bus groan and creak, but nothing fell off of/out of anything. We went back to sleep thinking maybe the boys were just rolling over in their bed (that was John's explanation, but I really couldn't see how little bodies, even if they both rolled over simultaneously, could cause that degree of movement); and it wasn't until the next morning when John mentioned something to Erin (of our traveling partners for the time) said, "WHAT? *I* woke up thinking someone was outside pushing on *our* trailer!" We did a little research on-line, and sure enough, earthquake.

Saylor and Stone had some bigger kids to play with the whole time, too; Gio (we met him last time we were in this area, a couple weeks back) and Star and JJ (they live here in a house, their dad works for the park system). They were on their bicycles daily and worked on a fort in some jungle like growth that borders the campground.

Our time here was magical in many ways. We spent 2 weeks creating a new relationship with friends, having the most *real* conversations about *real* stuff. We learned so much from each other. The boys enjoyed their children (they've got 3 boys, as well: 5, 4 and 4 months). I ***adored*** their children, and it was sweet cuddling on the baby. Andrew graciously accepted my plea to teach us some new drum rhythms, so we did quite a lot of drumming together.

We're leaving today, heading toward Las Vegas where we'll meet up with Erin, Andrew and boys for a night or two so Andrew can share some of his bouldering knowledge with us. We're also planning a Trader Joe's run and a stop at REI while we're there. Then, it's onward to Hurricane, UT where we'll spend a week at Sand Hollow State Park with my mom, who'll drive from Reno to meet us there on Monday. After that, we're taking the road north to Rapid City for a couple fun-filled weeks with friends before we go east to Minnesota for John's work season. I **reeeeaaalllly!* hope that the weather decides to behave itself while we're making our way north-ward, and while we're actually there. It is spring, after all, so I do hope it decides to act like it!

March 26, 2009

Joshua Tree National Park

Again, I'm playing catch-up! We boon-docked at Joshua Tree, so when one has no electricity, or phone service for that matter, blogging just goes down to the bottom of list of things to do! :) At any rate, I'll do a run-down of our week there, and what we're up to now.

This was taken on our way to Joshua Tree. The boys decided on some pen and paper time. Sage is working on tracing his boat.

Joshua Tree draws climbers from around the world but we hung out with climbers mostly from Canada. We've been meeting Canadian's all over the place this trip. One of the couples we met, Karean and Alan, from Quebec, preferred rope climbing and so Alan set up this line for us to climb. That's me, in this photo, about 1/2 way up, (hard to see me, but I've got a purplish color shirt). Notice the diagonal line just above my head, that leads off left. The rope followed that line and so that's the direction I climbed. And, yes, I made it to the TOP!!! I love it!

Saylor is getting a lesson in rope tying from Alan. Also in the photo are Lelu (the dog), Avery and her sweet mama, Kara. This and the photo above were taken at Echo Rock. We thought we lost Saylor's climbing shoes at this location, not noticing they were missing for a couple days, and a trip back there didn't turn them up. We were bummed. ***HOWEVER***! :) They revealed themsevles in the surburban about a week later! So happy about that!

Enjoying some hacky sack with (left to right) Brent, Saylor, Kaleb and Jason.

Ani, Avery and Stone taking a break from climbing rocks and shredding clothing (the rocks here are **sharp**, we've seriously got many pair of pants with holes in the behind...Great Memories, though!)

John and the Joshua Trees... which aren't trees at all, rather a species of yucca. They're funky, aren't they? We stayed at the Hidden Valley campground, and there were fields full of them, all scattered in their groovy, twisted ways. Beautiful.

The clan hanging out at Cap Rock after bouldering. Well, some of us bouldered, while the others (ahem...moms and the littles) hung out and chatted...oh, and ate! :)

Pretty decent backyard, yes? We were by far the largest rig in this campground, which is filled with mostly VW bus' and tents. John found a way to squeeze in between two rocks so we could fit here, which was nice, because then we were just around the corner from friends.

This whole area was such a great place to be. Filled with people of so many interesting backgrounds, from so many interesting places. Music filled the air every night, from drumming, to guitar solos and singing. We had a large fire each night we were there. We celebrated St. Patty's day here. It was such a wonderful time getting to know new people and learn more about bouldering and climbing. John was bouldering things in the V rating, can't remember the number exactly, it was a lower number, though. Those are difficult climbs, and he's such a newbie, so I'm quite impressed, though not suprised, at his natural ability. Stud-muffin. ;)

March 25, 2009

Right this Second...

on this dark, dark night... Saylor, Stone and John are down at the lagoon, just steps away from our bus, assisting a young man who's job is to delineate the area. The campground here has plans to dredge the little lagoon that's formed. That, in my opinion, would be a tragedy, as the lagoon is now complete with water dependent grasses and 3 species of frog larva, as well as lush habitat for several birds. Dustin (above mentioned young man) is here to document what's living there, what kind of habitat it is, whether or not it is, indeed, a 'wetland'. A wetland must meet 3 criteria in order to be classified as such, and he's found that the area does meet all 3 criteria. He's with us, as far as protecting the area. I believe his words were something along the lines of... "over my dead body..." Great Guy!

We saw Dustin poking around down there earlier today, so I asked him what he was doing. When he said he'd be back down there when it was dark, I asked him if he'd mind a couple kids tagging along. He said, "Sure! That'd be great, the more the merrier!" And so it is.... (i believe they're investigating the strange sound coming from the area right now... it even has Dustin stumped. Can't wait to hear a report soon!)

So, here we are, mom just fresh out of the shower, Sage watching his ever-loved Family Guy, and the big boys down exploring the world of biology. Isn't it wonderful the kinds of things that can happen when you live outside the box. Thank You, Abundant Universe!

March 11, 2009

Relections of the Moon

The moon was stunning on its way up tonight. After dinner, I snuck out for a bit more moon communion. The air was still, crickets were chirping. Perfect.

That's how I felt this afternoon as I was finishing laundry, too. Perfect. Life is Good. I'm so Grateful. I'm so Blessed.

Peace Be the Journey.......

Blythe, CA

Blondie boys.... A day after we'd arrived here in Hidden Beaches (just outside of Blythe, CA on the Colorado River), a lovely young couple crossed our paths. They're full-timing with their 10-year-old son and we were lucky enough to spend some time with this sweet family.
Geno even cooked us some soul-satisfying Italian grub...Amy pitched in, pie for dessert. Didn't I tell ya we were lucky??? Thanks again for the delicious dinner and thought-provoking conversation! :)
just hangin' our new backyard (for the week)
We've got quite the neighbor, here, too! This young lady is nesting in a tree right beside the bus. She just sits there and stares at us like this all day. Ok. We do plenty of staring at her, so it's a mutual thing. Daddy owl comes in for nightly visits...I hear him hooting outside right now. Ruka (our cat) was out the other day, and a little too close for Papa Owl's comfort, so he swooped down at her. She hasn't been quite so excited to dash out the door, like she usually does. I guess between him and the pack of coyotes we hear from across the river, she's decided inside is a decent place to spend her time.
On the dock at sunset

Slab City, USA

Slab City, located just outside of Niland, CA, is a trip, for SURE!! We first heard of this uniqe place a couple years ago, when we were parked at Lake Elsinore for the winter. A 'young-at-heart' couple stopped by to chat with us about our bus conversion and told us all about theirs, which happened to be parked, at the time, at Slab City. We'd planned to travel there before the rally, but fate meant for us to share this place with friends so we were there with a couple other families and had one interesting experience after another!

In the photo above, we're watching Into the Wild. Way cool to see that movie in *this* amazing place. "Alexander Supertramp" spent time here. See the movie, then come to Slab City, then see the movie again. Groovy, baby!

What is there to do when you're sitting around in the desert and the temps are topping 92 degrees? How about a solar oven? Brownies, anyone? ;) ***disclaimer*** this solar oven didn't result in entirely cooked brownies. We had to scoop them, quite drippy, but still yummy! into cups for everyone.
Solar Oven: take 2. The next day, we tried our hand at a batch of ham and bean soup. It cooked for most of the day, but I think the temp inside the oven only topped out at under 200 degrees. Slow cooking... :) We did, indeed, end up feasting on scrumptious soup later this evening, but we had to finish it off on a stove, but only for about 30 minutes or so, not too bad!

Jason and John...aka Goofy Face. We all (or maybe it was just me???) sort of drug our hot, sweaty butts around all day in a bit of a haze. When the sun went down and cool air filled up the space, people came to life. I know, we're wimpy. Jason is a skate-boarder (slash/singer/songwriter extraordinaire), and Slab City just so happens to have an empty Olympic sized pool that he put to good use. He was kind enough to give Stone some pointers and we all ended up spending quite a bit of time hanging out at the 'skate park' while we were there.
...soaking up some Girl Love...with Ocean and Avery...

Salvation Mountain

Some of the support that's inside Salvation Mountain. Tires of varying sizes were used, with limbs added to give the appearance of trees...or 'the monkey place', as Sage swiftly described it.
*The* creator at Salvation Mountain. Leonard Knight has been working on this gift to humanity for 24 years. He lives right there beside it, in a truck (or couple of trucks, I never figured it out for sure). Very primitive, either way. We toured the mountain a couple of times and were given a puzzle depicting Salvation Mountain and a dvd sharing his story. If you're ever near this place, do stop. You won't regret it!
Throughout the mountain and structure, which includes little rooms tucked away here and there, you'll find bible verses and messages such as this. The mountain itself (and everything else he makes/creates/builds/decorates are made from adobe and then given many layers of paint. The more paint he can get on it, the longer it'll last! It's impressive to know he's created all of this, yet lives with (and hence, works with) no running water or electricity. He digs the clay right out of the mountain, mixes it with water and straw (adobe) and gets to work. Amazing! He's also quite handy with the caulk. He's got his car and moped caulked to the hilt!
The Big Picture...

Late February

The campground at South Carlsbad State Beach overlooked the ocean; so we had to climb down those really looooooooooong stairs to get to the actual beach. It worked quite nicely, really; by the time you'd climbed those many stairs most of the sand had fallen off...y'know, outside, where it belongs, instead of in our bed!
Steve and friends worked on this doozy. It's a sand-replica of their skoolie...complete with solar panels on top, see?
This photo (of Eddie, Steve, peeking Caleb, John and Saylor) was taken at Oceanside Harbor--notice the harbor in the background. We'd heard about this parking lot that was on the beach and allowed overnight parking. (which is oh-so-rare for Southern California) For $15 a night, we thought we'd check it out. Well, it turns out, they have the pay structure set so that you pay $5 to be there for the day (days end at 8, with a grace period til 10), and then $10 to be there for the night--which, here at OH, gets you from 10:00pm to 4:00am. But, they were kind enough to offer a grace period until 8:00am. If you leave by 8:00 am, that's all you pay. If you're like us, and not even awake quite yet, you better get your butt over there and pay an additional $5; so it really came out to be $20 a night. To park in a parking lot. No hook-ups. I can handle those. It's the crazy parking lot patrol that quickly turned our little pow-wow into suck-city. We couldn't have any.thing. outside of our designated 'parking space'. And the spaces were very, very narrow. We were scolded when we had a few chairs sitting between a couple of the rigs so we could chat. No ticket, luckily. One of our traveling companions wasn't so lucky and ended up with a $200 ticket for drinking a beer in the parking lot. We probably won't spend any more time at this particular place. Luckily, we've found so many other wonderful places to be! :)
Our little round-up for the night at Oceanside Harbor. Though the parking-lot-crazies tried to rain on our parade, we did enjoy the big playground structure that sat directly in front of all our rigs, and then beyond that, the grand pacific. The harbor seals put on quite a show, complete with nearly round the clock concerts. Noisy little critters! The kids found over 50 whole (as in unbroken) sand dollars on the beach here, as well, so they were psyched. They also found a couple live crabs and a starfish. So, it wasn't *all* bad! There's a blessing to be found in every situation.

March 9, 2009

South Carlsbad State Beach

John and little ones, enjoying the surf...
A rare photo, indeed! Thanks, Kara! ;)
Dumpin' the least the view is nice!
Barber John! :) And my sweet friend, Winston. Where's *my* red head?

...making music with friends...

These shots are from a couple weeks ago, taken right after we left the rally in Newport Dunes. I'm playing a bit of catch up. Such is life when the fun never stops...tiring, but wouldn't trade it! I'll get some more posts up and hopefully get us caught up to where we actually are right now. (colorado river) And I really need to do our taxes somewhere in there, too. whew.

We update our status on Facebook quite often, so if ya'll wanna be our friend, look for me!

February 24, 2009

... re-appearing...

We're still here, just had one of the most fun, crazy weekends running wild with other FOTR'ers (FamiliesOnTheRoad). If I were to try to include every detail, I could write a small book. The short of it goes something like this. Imagine 14 families (71 people total, 38 of these people are children) descending upon a southern california resort. There's a swimming pool, a beach, kayaks, nightly singing around the bonfire, drum circles, strumming guitars, loads of laughter, peaceful people, shiny children, glow sticks, pot lucks, and impromptu communal eating...

I really could go on, but what I'll remember most about this weekend is the *extraordinary* people that gathered here, more ~forever friends~... The children were interesting, funny, kind, compassionate. The teens inspire me to love me just the way I am (ya, there was a rockin' cool group of teens, here, TOO! I'm telling you, we had it *all*!)

It was our first FOTR rally, and we'll surely be seeking out others along the way. We're pulling out of Newport Dunes today, but continuing our own little rally of sorts, as we're traveling with a couple others families for the next couple weeks. Our tentative plan is to head to Oceanside Harbour today (cheap boondocking on beach), then on to Slab City, and then jog up to Joshua Tree. Promises to be a gooooood time! :)

I have lots of pictures from the weekend, they're just not on the lap top yet. I'll get some up the next time I can pull myself away from the fun long enough to do so.

Hope you're enjoying your life, wherever you may be...

February 16, 2009

Bolsa Chica

We arrived at Bolsa Chica State Beach (Huntington Beach, CA) on Monday evening. The weather has been a bit on the cool side; 10 to 15 degrees below normal....DANG IT! But, we're still having a nice time, so don't feel too sorry for us! ;) We've got a view of the ocean from where we're parked, and are a few short steps away from the beach. The sand hasn't been too much of an issue (i was kinda worried about sand). I guess we've slipped into a little system that seems to be working well to keep it under control. I'm wearing pajamas to bed ( i never wear pj's) but by doing so, I don't feel the sand on my legs all night, so that's my major help.

We met this interesting family (one of the many people we meet on the road, who I like to call "beautiful souls") on our first morning at Bolsa Chica. Meet Laura, Dave and Lily. Laura lived in Nepal for 7 years, as well as traveling far and wide to other places, and now sells fairly traded beaded bracelets that are hand-made by women in a Katmandu village. Shoot, I can't seem to find their website right now, but will link to it as soon as I find it!

On Thursday, John and Saylor went to wash the car and check out some surf shops. As fate would have it, a lovely surf instructor happened to walk into the shop they were browsing, and asked if they wanted to go surfing. HELLS YA! So, they made a stop back here to pick the rest of us up, and we met Richard (whose real name is a Hawaiian one that I can't recall at present; he goes by Richard here, because "it's just easier") at a private little spot just down the coast a bit. He brought the boards and the wetsuits, and gave John and Saylor each a brief lesson.

After everyone was sufficiently worn out and chilly, we followed Rich to pick up his son (newly 6) from kindergarten, and then went to have lunch at a local pizzeria (which was SO good, and SO cheap! kids even eat free on Thursdays! Gee, our lucky day, all around!) We invited them over for dinner last night, and enjoyed their company and conversation.

We'll be heading to Newport Dunes tomorrow and will be there for a week playing and exploring with other families on the road.

And of course, we're hoping to do lots more surfing. I didn't try it yet, too cold for me on that day and I've been fighting off a sore throat. But I'll give it a try, no doubt about it.

As I prepare to publish this post, it's pouring down rain here, so we're all finding quiet (ha! ha!), indoor things to do today. Saylor is making himself a cup of hot tea, and Stone and Sage are building a gigantic pillow fort on the back bed.

Sending Peace and Love to one and all.....

Boys on the Surf

Saylor and Rich heading out for Saylor's first wave.

And here he is! He popped up and rode the wave all the way to shore on his FIRST shot!

Every time he popped up, he stayed up and rode it all the way in. I could be heard shouting and cheering excitedly from shore! :)

John's been surfing a couple other times in his life, but this was his first time with someone offering a 'lesson'. It was helpful, I think. He admits that Saylor did way better than he did! But he still had fun and can't wait to do it again.

February 11, 2009

Film History Museum

We visited the local film history museum and learned all about Nudie! Have you heard about Nudie? Sounds like quite a guy! He made very jazzy, sparkly, embellished suits for lots and lots of famous people. This is his car. It was used in an Arnold Schwarzenegger film, the one with Danny Devito...? Can't remember the name now.

The creek that ran through the campground (Turtle Creek). We were backed up to it, and could hear it rushing by, even from inside the bus. Relaxing... The creek was cooooold! John jumped in it and did a super quick wash job, though. We all laughed our a**es off at his panicky sounds of pain. Saylor and Stone considered it, but changed their minds after they witnessed Dad's experience.
Of course, on the day we pulled out of here and finally got around to taking a picture, fog covered Mt. Whitney. Oh well. You'll just have to take my word for it, it was *right there* behind us.