Perfect for Full-Time Living

We have two more nights in Georgette. In preparation for our upcoming move from RV to RV, I’m packing yet again. I’ve been packing and repacking for the last 3 months and quite honestly, I’m a little tired of packing. I’m ready to feel settled, so the excitement of this move is growing rapidly.

(This cartoon is so true)

Settled has become a bit foreign to us and some might question how we could possibly feel settled living in an RV.

RV living has become quite popular and it’s not just popular with the retirees. It has become very popular with families. So popular in fact, RV parks have waiting lists and some have waiting lists that require you to get on the list months and months in advance.

The RV park we’re in had a waiting list and we were fortunate to get in a couple weeks earlier than first anticipated. For a matter-of-fact, we’re on a waiting list for another RV park and went on that waiting list the same time we were put on the waiting list here. We still haven’t gotten a call. I should add that after driving thru the other RV park, we have decided to stay put. While the other park would be a little closer to the office for hubby, we’re in a much nicer RV park now and quite happy being here. I suppose I should call the other park and have them remove our name.

But I digress. I believe we can and will feel very settled in the new RV. It may take some time as we get things put away and organized, but we will get settled.

Earlier this evening we were discussing our upcoming move and hubby hit the nail on the head.

Georgette makes us feel like we’re camping.

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It is little things that I really liked about Georgette when we got her, that are driving me a bit crazy now.

Like the storage under the dinette seats. It’s great to have that storage space, but to get anything out we have to remove the back seat cushion, hold up the seat, pull out what we want and then put everything back together again. Repeat for putting things away. Perfect for camping, not so perfect for full-time living.

To get into our bed, we climb in from the end of the bed. There is maybe 5-6 inches on either side of the bed. It’s just enough that I can shimmy alongside the bed to make it, but there isn’t enough room that we can get into the bed from the side. Getting into bed requires crawling from the end of the bed. Perfect for camping, not so perfect for full-time living.

Lack of counter space has become a big issue as well. I’ve seen some RV’s with a terrific amount of counter space, but for the most part, RV’s aren’t known for having ample counter space. At least not the RV’s we can afford. After all, when you’re camping, you don’t necessarily need a ton of counter space. You’re spending a lot of time outdoors and the RV is that convenient place for sleeping, taking a shower or having somewhere dry to go on those rainy days. When camping, most of our cooking is being done outside. Perfect for camping, not so perfect for full-time living.

I realize that for some full-timers, what we have would be more than enough. We each have those things that are important to us and had I been looking at RV’s thru the lens of full-timing when we bought Georgette, we wouldn’t have Georgette. Maybe I should expound on this a bit.

If we were traveling full-time, Georgette would probably fit the bill just fine. We have discovered that what we want/need while traveling is very different from what we want/need staying stationary. We have been trying to set up home in an RV that is meant for travel. A year ago, when we ordered Georgette, we had no idea we would one day be trying to make her our home. For our family, she is the perfect travel companion. Unfortunately for our family, she’s not the perfect home.

Lili told me yesterday that she’s going to miss Georgette. I will too! In the short time we’ve had her, we’ve made some wonderful memories and we will carry those memories with us forever.

Now it’s time for some new memories to be made. For now, those memories won’t include camping trips, but we do look forward to getting settled in our new RV home. Perfect for full-time living.

All I Need Is . . . .

 

Okay, this clip may be a somewhat accurate portrayal of me as I was trying to figure out what I needed in the RV.

The RV is stocked with everything we need, except my Kitchen Aid mixer. All I need is the stocked RV and my Kitchen Aid mixer. And my mixing bowls. All I need is my stocked RV, my Kitchen Aid mixer and my mixing bowls. And the Instant Pot. All I need is the stocked RV, my Kitchen Aid mixer, my mixing bowls, and the Instant Pot. And . . . . .

You get the picture.

Seriously, I got rid of or packed most of our belongings and the things I packed are sitting in a storage unit. But the things I brought with us in the RV don’t all fit.  My Kitchen Aid mixer is too tall for cupboards, under seat and under bed storage areas.  It will only fit on the counter or in the closet space.   There isn’t enough counter space for the mixer and we need all available closet space for our clothing, because we don’t have a lot of closet space.  For a matter-of-fact, we don’t have enough closet and drawer space that will hold enough clothing for the four of us.  I brought the food we had left at our house and we don’t have enough cupboard space for all the food, so I bought a storage container with drawers and was able to squeeze it in next to the fridge and it’s now full.  However, I still have food that is sitting on the counter because the storage container didn’t provide us enough additional space and there isn’t room for another storage containers.  We are utilizing the microwave as cupboard space, which means any time we want to use the microwave we have to pull it all out.  I have a basket full of baking supplies that is sitting on the couch along with our coats, which we don’t have room for.  Our second bathroom shower is being used as an overflow storage unit and is now full.  We would put more of our things in storage, but it is full as well.  We didn’t want to pay an additional $60 per month for a larger unit, so the choices became getting rid of more belonging or getting an RV with more storage.  Everything that is in the RV has been or will be used on a regular basis, so getting rid of things isn’t a great option.  That meant one thing – ask Santa for a larger RV.  A fifth-wheel to be exact!

After looking at several units, Santa is working on granting my Christmas wish!!!!!

Today we signed a purchase order for a Heartland Oakmont OM390MBL.  If all goes well, we should be moving everything over to our new, roomier RV sometime after Christmas or maybe after the first of the year.  We are requesting something be added to the new RV and that might delay move-in by a little bit, but hopefully we’ll have the paperwork approved within the next 1-2 days and can begin to re-pack some things and prepare for yet another move.

Since the plan is to be full-time RVer’s for the next 1-2 years, we really need to have something as homey and comfortable as possible.  The new RV should do the job wonderfully and we’re keeping fingers crossed that Santa is able to give us the gift of a bigger home this Christmas!

 

 

30 Days Left

In a mere 30 days, we will drive away from the place we’ve called home for the last 19 years and 9 months.  I’ll drive Georgette, towing hubby’s car and hubby will drive the U-Haul truck.  The girls will be securely fastened in their seats watching movies, coloring, playing games and reading (Georgette makes it pretty easy to do those things).  The dogs will make themselves comfortable in their traveling crates and we’ll head south.

I’m sure we’ll all shed some tears as we say good-bye to the past while also feeling a sense of excitement as we head toward new adventures.  Our first big adventure will be moving out of our 5-bedroom, 2 1/2 bath, 3000+ sq ft home and living in Georgette while we await the sale of our Illinois home.  That will be a pretty big adventure!

Until then, we have 30 days left to dispose of things we no longer want or need.  Only 30 days left to get everything packed and ready to go.

With only 30 days left, one would think I wouldn’t have time to sit here blogging about having 30 days left.  However, this is how am I spending my day today?

I don’t have time to be sick.

Now I’m off to drink some Echinacea and any other herbal remedy I have on hand to rid myself of this illness.  After all, there is only 30 days left.

I Should Be Packing

Instead, here I sit writing a blog post and wondering what I should start packing next.

Hubby received the official job offer from HR and accepted it last week, so it’s all official now and we know for a fact WE ARE MOVING!.  But what we don’t know is when.  We are guessing he will need to report to his new job sometime in the next 6 weeks, but an exact date would be helpful.  Obviously, his new boss wants him sooner rather than later, but his current boss would like to find someone to fill the position before he leaves.  So the two bosses will battle it out and come to an agreement on a start date.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we’ll know for sure sometimes this week, but I’m only crossing my fingers and I’m not holding my breath.

So I look around the house and try to decide what to pack next.  Since we can’t buy a house there until our house sells here, we want to rid ourselves of the vast majority of our belongings.  No need to pay a monthly storage fee for a bunch of stuff we can’t use for the next several months or quite possibly the next year.  Moving everything in this 5 bedroom home would take a very large storage unit and maybe multiple units.  It just makes more sense to save that money and buy what we need when we need it.  Plus, we have accumulated a lot of stuff we just don’t need.

But even though I’m not packing right now I have been busy getting things done.

Since we can’t buy another house until this house sells, we will need somewhere to live.  Fortunately, we have a second home and her name is Georgette.  Georgette will become our home and why not.  She has everything we need and she is ours, so why not take advantage of what we have.

The problem, however, is that typically, RV parks only have a certain number of full-time spots available and those spots are full in the Dallas area.  This means getting our name on wait lists and hoping that something opens up by the time we need it.  None were able to give me any guarantee though, until today!!!!

I called yet another RV park today and they have a waitlist going, but what was different this time is that they could guarantee me a definite move-in date.  The location is good, the price is comparable to the other parks in the area, and they were able to guarantee a move-in date of December 28th.  Not quite as soon as we’ll probably need it, but we have a date and another guarantee.  If something opens up sooner, they’ll contact us and we can move in earlier.  That’s more than anyone else was able to do for us and this park is in a better location than the other parks.  So I feel good about this accomplishment today and I’m actually excited about living in Georgette for awhile and will likely be ready to move back into sticks and bricks after this house sells 🙂

If we know nothing else, we know that we’ll be starting the New Year in Texas and that I really need to get back to packing.

Georgette and the Great Southeast Adventure – Part 9 & 10

We were in for a looonnngggg drive after leaving the Greensboro Campground, but we didn’t know just how beautiful of a drive lay before us.

Our trip took us north thru North Carolina, into Virginia, West Virginia and on into Ohio.

The drive was absolutely spectacular.  One of the most scenic drives I’ve ever been on, but I have no pictures to share because I was driving.  For a matter-of-fact, once I got comfortable behind the wheel of Georgette, hubby planted himself in the passenger seat and hasn’t driven since.  Yes folks, I really do have control issues, but hubby also enjoys being the passenger more than the driver.

Next time we make that drive, I’m going to make every effort to stop and take pictures along the way.  The Great Smoky Mountains and the Appalachians are breathtaking and we were fortunate to have taken two different routes that allowed us to see both.  Although, I think the Smokies are part of the Appalachian mountain range.  Guess it’s time for us to do a little geography lesson on U.S. mountain ranges 🙂

We stopped in Dayton, OH for the night at the Dayton KOA.  We got there in time for hubby and the 3 oldest to go for a swim while I stayed back to get things ready for our evening.

Although I didn’t get out to explore the campground, I’m told by hubby and Lili, that it is an awesome campground and we need to go back to visit for more than just a night.  I don’t think it will happen this year, but it sounds like we’ll be putting it on our campground list for next year.  Unfortunately, because I didn’t get out to explore, I didn’t get pictures again.  Plus, two of our dogs were having tummy problems which meant I was making more that usual trips outside with them.

Sadly, on Day 10 we headed home and as we pulled into the driveway I felt a little rush of sadness.  I suppose the end of a good vacation always brings about tinges of sadness, but having spent 10 days with Georgette felt more like saying good-bye to a good friend.  Silly I know.  Especially since she sits in our driveway 🙂

Our Great Southeast Adventure had it’s fair share of challenges.  Since we don’t have perfect children . . . .  let me rephrase  . . .  since we have perfectly normal children, there was bickering, arguing and fighting from time-to-time.  Hubby and I weren’t always on our best behavior every moment either.  FS1, while appearing to have a good time on our trip, was also out-of-sorts which was stressful and yet somewhat expected.

However, despite those little stumbles along the way, we built lovely memories on our trip and in many ways we can thank Georgette.

I also learned a lot from our adventure.

– Thanks to hubby, I think I can now set everything up on my own at campsites.

– Getting from place to place in an RV just takes longer.  While we certainly saw many RV’s flying down the interstate, we kept Georgette at recommended speed limits for safety.   Allowing ourselves more time and enjoying the sites along the way will make future trips much more enjoyable.

– Traveling as a family of six with that much room is much more comfortable than sitting in a vehicle while driving across 8 states (9 if you count crossing into South Carolina several different times on this trip).

It’s really is nice being able to stop for the night without unloading luggage only to load it again the next morning.  I suppose one could argue that you still have to do some set up for the night, but an overnight stop set up is minimal and probably takes less time than hauling luggage back and forth.  Although the girls do enjoy riding on hotel luggage carts 🙂  They probably consider that the downside of RV travel.

– Being able to take our dogs with us has its own set of challenges, but is better than trying to find someone to watch them or boarding them while we’re gone.  Plus, they really like going.

– Having our own beds to sleep in each night is NICE!!!!

– I really should use a set up and tear down checklist.  I know I forgot to strap the refrigerator/freezer doors at least twice on this trip.  Oops!!!!

Of everything I learned, the most prevalent was coming away from this trip with a greater understanding of how much better our lives would be if we lived smaller.  Smaller house, less stuff = more time to enjoy life.  As such, I have once again begun throwing things away and clearing out the junk in our lives.

I must admit, it’s hard.  One cannot spend this many years accumulating things they want or ‘might need one day’ and easily begin tossing without the hold habits surfacing.  And they surface often, but I’m working on it.

So thank you Georgette!  You carried us across 9 states and helped to make this trip a wonderful adventure!!

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Georgette and the Great Southeast Adventure – Part 7 & 8

Our time at Camp Wilderness was done, we were packed and on the road again.  This time our stop was the Greensboro Campground in Greensboro, NC.

The campground was clean and simple, but sat right off the interstate.  While there was certainly traffic noise, it wasn’t as noticeable as I expected it would be.  The single biggest downside in my book was the size of the sites.  They were quite small and I was constantly telling the kids to get off the site next to ours.  You really couldn’t take many steps at all before you were in your neighbor’s site.

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Our friends lived a few minutes away and during the two days we were there, they came out both days to spend time with us.  It was WONDERFUL!!!!!

This stop was probably the most relaxing as we stuck around the campground visiting.  The kids did a little swimming, we played games, took dogs for walks, played games and ate very well.

The weather was nice and there was a family in a site across from ours with kids which helped keep my kids entertained and vice versa.

Another memorable stop on our Great Southeast Adventure!

 

Georgette and the Great Southeast Adventure – Part 5

We woke up to another beautiful day and it was clear that we would be spending the majority of our day at the campground.  There was swimming to be done, but the bigger reason was LAUNDRY!  The amount of laundry six people can accumulate in 5 days is amazing.  All that laundry in approximately 300 square feet is crazy.  So I headed out in   search of the campground laundry facilities.  I walked thru the campground, over the parking lot, past the pool and found the laundry room.  Boy was I glad we still had the rental vehicle!   I had two full laundry bags that needed attention and they were heavy.  It would not have been fun dragging them to the laundry room.  It was also in that moment I decided I would invest in a collapsible wagon.

I’m quite sure there are more RV trips in our future that will require doing some laundry. Having something to haul those heavy bags in seems like a good investment and as I was doing laundry I began to think of other uses for this wagon – carrying small children, carrying pool towels and toys, loading and unloading the RV at home.  The ideas just kept coming.

But enough about my need/want/desire for a folding wagon.

After some time at the pool and with clean laundry put away, we decided to grab some dinner and pick up some needed grocery items.

We found a Mexican restaurant not too far from the campground –  La Poblanita.  It got some high ratings and having eaten there, I would agree that rating is well deserved.  Even being short staffed, they provided good service and the food was awesome!

I didn’t get many pictures of our day.  After all, no one wants to see our dirty laundry 🙂  However, I did take some pictures during dinner.

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I love this picture of Lili, although she was very uncomfortable smiling and had been uncomfortable for a few days.  She had two canker sores in her mouth which caused her lips to swell quite a bit.  This made eating and drinking quite difficult.  She had never had such bad canker sores before and I felt terrible for her.  Fortunately, they started getting better the next day.

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Naomi and hubby!  She is quite a cuddle bug and especially loves cuddling with her daddy.

Our day was done and while it wasn’t necessarily an exciting day, I found myself enjoying the RV more and more each day.  Yes, Georgette got a bit crowded with 6 people and 3 dogs, but she was comfortable and cozy.  She felt like home and I went to bed loving our traveling home.

Georgette and the Great Southeast Adventure – Part 1

I had a wonderful plan in place.

First, I would take a lot of pictures along the way.  Then, after the kids were in bed, I would post about each day’s adventure.

It really was a wonderful plan, but I took far fewer photos than I had hoped and none of the campgrounds had great Wi-Fi.

For now, Georgette now sits in the driveway, recovering from her Great Southeast Adventure.  I’ve spent the week getting laundry done and preparing for our weekend away.  This time a closer-to-home adventure, but I wanted to at least share Day 1 of Georgette’s Great Southeast Adventure with you.  After all, I’m sure you’ve all been checking in daily hoping to read the exciting story 🙂

Wait no more . . . . .

We were loading the last of our supplies shortly before 6 a.m. and by 6:15 the kids were buckled in their seats and the dogs were in their travel crates when hubby took his place behind the wheel.  He turned the key and Georgette’s engine began to purr.  She doesn’t have a quiet, gentle purr.  Instead, she purrs loudly letting us know she’s ready to travel.  Hubby raised the levelers while I did a final walk-around to make sure all basement compartments were closed and locked, then made my way to the end of the driveway.  My job was to make sure there were no vehicles coming and then direct hubby out into the street.

With Georgette safely backed out of the driveway, I took my place in the passenger seat and we headed toward the highway.   This is when we discovered a problem.

Georgette’s generator wouldn’t start.

Georgette has air-conditioning in the cab, but it’s not enough to cool the living quarters and that is where the kids and dogs were riding.  If they were going to stay cool on the trip, we needed generator power while on the road and we didn’t have that.  Had Georgette let us down so early in the trip?  Since we would be traveling thru 90+ degree temperature, this truly was a problem that needed to be solved.  We had to make a stop to fill the fridge and that would give hubby a chance to check the fuses.  This would be an easy fix and if it didn’t solve the problem, we weren’t sure what we would do.

While I quickly wheeled the cart thru the grocery store picking up fruits, veggies and lunch food for the road, hubby was checking fuses and trying to get the generator running.

I returned, opened Georgette’s door only to discover her generator still wasn’t working.  What would we do?

Obviously, the next step was pulling out the Owner’s Manual.  Within a few seconds I discovered the problem wasn’t Georgette or her generator.  It was inquisitive FS2 who had turned a switch to the Off position when we weren’t looking.  Once it was turned back on, the generator started right up and we made our way to the Interstate and headed east.

We drove for a few hours looking at field after field of corn and soybeans.  Farms, towns and small cities were scattered about, but overall, it was a view we saw every time we left our small town for any destination within the Central Illinois area.

Finally, we got to Indianapolis and Georgette took us in a southward direction to Kentucky.  Finally, a change of scenery.  The flatlands were replaced with hills, which got bigger and bigger the further south we travelled.  The corn and soybeans fields disappeared and were replaced with rocks and trees.  Suddenly, our trip was much more visually appealing and we enjoyed looking out over the beautiful landscape.

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Georgette had been used to driving over the flatlands of Illinois and we didn’t know how she would handle the hills.  She revved her engine and pulled her way up each hill then cruised down the other side.  Any concerns we had disappeared as she tacked each hill beautifully.

By dinnertime, we were pulling into our camp space at the Renfro Valley KOA.  The kids were excited to get out and burn off some energy in the pool.  I also realized just how nice it was to have Georgette.  It took us (primarily hubby) just a few minutes to level her, plug-in the power, get us hooked up to water and put out the slides.  Since our clothes were already in drawers and closets, there was no need to unload suitcases and cart them to a hotel room for the night.  We were soon dressed into our swimsuits and making our way to the pool for a splashing good time.

After the pool, we got something to eat and then took the kids to the playground for a little while before we all settled in for a good’s night sleep.  After all, we had another full day of travel ahead and we needed rest.

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First Night with Georgette

Last night we went camping at the Weeks Driveway Campground.

Because the anticipation was high, followed by a high level of excitement, sleep was minimal.  However, the primary goal was to take a trial run before heading off to a public campground.  Spending the night with Georgette allowed us to learn more about her and we learned a lot.

One thing I learned is that the learning curve to RV ownership is bigger than I thought.  The dealership was good at going thru everything with us, but I needed to just get in there and go through everything myself.

We also made some discoveries that will require a trip back the dealership to repair some warranty items.  For example, getting the gray water tank cap fixed.

We, or should I say hubby, learned the importance of making sure all the caps are on the tanks before use.  I think he would agree that it’s especially important on the black tank.  I had no idea what happened, but Naomi came in to tell me that daddy opened the door and “Whoosh” lots of water came pouring out.  Yuck!!!  (For those who may not know, the black tank is toilet waste.)

Lili quickly claimed the top bunk and Naomi the bottom.  They have curtains that help block out some of the sound and light in the RV.  FS1 has the pull down bunk above the cab, but no curtain.  I don’t really sew, but I need to come up with curtains or something that blocks out the noise and light for him as well.

We’ll likely need a few camping weekends to gain a real comfort with Georgette, but there is great potential for a lot of fun times ahead!!

 

 

NEWS – Turning a Corner

NEWS!  In this case is stands for North, East, West, South.  Direction!  It’s something I’m struggling with lately in regards to my blog.

I’m in a rut and I feel a bit lost on which direction I should take my blog.  I want it to be in a place that makes me happy, because ultimately I need to be happy with my blog and I’m not there right now.

When I started writing almost 8 years ago, it seemed so simple.

Hubby and I were on a very big adventure.  We were adopting and there was so much to write about. I wanted to share all the pictures of this beautiful baby girl that we were bringing into our lives, our home and our family.  I wanted to share the ups and downs of adoption.  I wanted to document the journey and have something that our daughter could take with her thru life.

From the beginning

 

Adoption #2 was a different experience, yet I still had much to share, but I also had a lot of things happening here at home.  Lili was growing quickly which gave me lots of stories to share along the way.  The blog turned a corner and I was not just documenting our adoption journey, but was documenting our life as a growing family.

Starting again!

 

After bringing Naomi home, we were adjusting to life with one more when tragedy struck and we lost our youngest son.  I was grieving my son while also feeling happiness that I now had two beautiful little girls in my life.  It’s was a STRUGGLE!!!!!  I had to be strong for my girls at a time when I didn’t feel strong.  I had to do everything I could to help them feel safe and secure when I felt my world had just fallen apart.  As a result, the blog turned another corner.

Our life moved forward.  The girls continued to grow.  I took on the challenge of becoming a homeschool mom.  Hubby and I made a decision to significantly change direction in life hoping to leave our life here and settle on a small farm somewhere.  Then life changed direction on us causing us to put farming on habitual hold.  We also opened our home to foster children again, accepting two little boys into our lives.  Then most recently we decided to get back into camping.  No tent camping this time around.  We’ll take our second home on the road as soon as our RV, Georgette (a name I just now decided to throw into the ring of possibilities) arrives.  And once again I feel my blog turning a corner.

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So many things have happened in our lives over the last 8 years.  Big things which gave me lots of material to blog about.   And somehow, even with 4 kids under the age of 8 living under this roof, I feel a little lost.  No big life events happening, just the day-to-day stuff that keeps me busy.

My blog is turning a corner.  I don’t know if I’ll take it to the north, east, west or south, but I need to find a direction that makes the most sense and write about those things that matter to me and my family.

Hopefully, one day I won’t ponder this so much and will instead sit down at the keyboard and have the words that describe this crazy life of ours with lots of pictures to share.  I think that’s what my girls will want to one day look back on.