I Was Reminiscing

This morning while getting the girl’s breakfast ready, about all the places I’ve lived.

Illinois (for the majority of my life)
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California (for only a few months of my life)
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Washington (for about 10 years)
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Texas (almost 2 1/2 years now)
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Of those places, Washington has been my favorite.  We lived in Western Washington sandwiched between Pacific and the mountains.  Beautiful!
However, I think there are other places I would really enjoy living.
Maybe Florida (because I love the beaches there and long to be much closer to the ocean). 
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Although, somewhere in the Virgin Islands would be nice (because those beaches are also nice and I would be closer to the ocean). 
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Hubby has suggested Ecuador many times (because it’s less expensive to live there and then there are beaches and the ocean).
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I’ve heard France has some nice beaches and the ocean.
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I think I’m beginning to see a pattern here.
 
Now I’m curious . . . .
 
What states and/or countries have you lived in?
Of those states and/or countries, which is your favorite?
Are there another states and/or countries you think you would like better?
Why?

Seeing Texas

One museum at a time.

The girls and I very much enjoy visiting museums.  However, we tend to find a favorite and then go back time and time again.  Not there is anything wrong with doing that, but we are missing out on learning opportunities and gaining new experiences by not exploring other museums.

So, starting this month, the girls and I will be seeing Texas one museum at a time.  Of course most of our museum visits will be in the DFW area, but each month we’ll choose at least one new museum to visit starting with . . . . .

Nasher Sculpture Center Museum

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Of course I’m always interested in hearing from others, so if you have a favorite Texas museum, leave a comment.

Plans Change

We have had a lot of plans for our future and as is true for most of us in life, those plans sometimes need to change.

One thing our move to Texas has made me realize, is that I need to let go of some of those things I really had hoped to do in life. Like farming. Yes, I’ve had to let go of the farming dream. For a number of reasons, it’s just not feasible for us in the future.

Why?

For those of us who may not be familiar with the Dallas area, it’s a very large city that is growing in leaps and bounds right now.

Hubby recently heard that there were approximately 1000 people per day moving into the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) area. Texas has made it easy and lucrative for businesses to move here and that is exactly what they are doing. Many large companies have pulled roots from other states and move or are moving to Texas. Dallas is a magnet for many of these companies who are building their offices here. This, of course, means building more houses, apartments, roads, schools, etc.   This also means buying up more farm land to expand and build on. Every day I pass fields with farm animals roaming around as shopping centers are being built across the street and roads expanded to carry the additional traffic thru that area.  The land that those buildings and road are now sitting on used to pasture for these farm animals, so there is less farm land available now.

While roads are being expanded and probably beyond, traffic becomes a problem. We’re fortunate to enjoy some farm scenery around the RV park, but this also means hubby is commuting to work. His commute can vary from 40 minutes to 2 hours depending on traffic. While this is doable for the time being, it’s not something he wants to do his entire working career here and I don’t want him to. After all, any additional time he spends on the road is time he isn’t here with his family. That’s not a good trade-off.

The additional influx of businesses means the job market here is outstanding!!! It also means the real estate market is booming. As I’ve looked at real estate have discovered three things.

  1. The cost of buying land we can build on is more than we can afford.
  2. The cost of buying an existing farm is even more cost prohibitive.
  3. Hubby’s commute would be as far as, or possibly further than it is now.

Aside from the cost and commute, we have had to decide what is most important. Specifically, what are our priorities now that we live in the DFW area?

Ultimately, we decided that getting a farm down here is out of the question.  My hope is that we are able to find a home that sits on a large enough piece of property that I can do some gardening. That will be the extent of our farm life. A home with a pool and nice outdoor living space is what we will look for in our home down here. More travel seeing other parts of Texas, the U.S. and the world is what we desire.

Some of that travel will need to include visits to other’s farms so I can get my fill of the farm life I’m leaving behind.

Sometimes our priorities in life change and even though I would love to do all those things my heart desires, I have to pick and choose those things that are most important – spending time with family, seeing the world, enjoying life – those are the biggest desires of my heart so that is what I need to do.

We close on our home in Illinois next week and some have asked when we’ll be buying a house down here.

Unfortunately, because the housing market hasn’t bounced back in Central Illinois like it has here in the DFW area, we won’t be putting any money in the bank from the sale of our house. We refinanced our house when the market was really good and used the additional funds toward the adoption of our girls. In essence, we received the proceeds several years ago and now we’ll be in the position of trying to save enough money to buy a house down here.

All the changes in our life are good though. These changes are life experiences and life experiences are what keeps life interesting.

So we’ll continue to enjoy RV living. We’ll enjoy some travel. We’ll spend time with family. Hopefully one day we’ll buy a house. Along the way, we’ll do our best to enjoy life and make memories.

 

 

Merry Christmas, Wicked Weather

Guess we’re in Texas now :-0

Our first Christmas in Texas was really quite nice.  The girls were excited Christmas morning to discover gifts under our little tree.  Of course it meant more stuff in our small space that have no home, but I’ve managed to find places to put some things and today I’m off to buy a couple more storage items in an effort to get things a little better organized.

Christmas afternoon we me my sister-in-law, brother-in-law and niece at a local movie theater to see the spectacular movie, Chipmunks Road Chip.  Yes, it was your typical Chipmunks movie.  Good music, decent entertainment and an enjoyable afternoon spent with family.

The next day we got to experience Texas weather at its finest.  It was warm.  Quite warm in fact and then the rains moved in.  Shortly after dinner, sirens went off and we headed to the RV clubhouse to take cover.  Fortunately, the tornadoes that moved thru the area were east of us.  Unfortunately, the tornadoes were deadly and there are many families without homes.  I really can’t shouldn’t complain much about our little space knowing that others have lost so much.  We woke up to a dusting of snow, but we have a roof over our heads, heat on this cold day, food to eat and clothes on our back.  Maybe I don’t have as much room or storage space as I would like, but we’re safe and together.  For that I’m truly thankful.

In a few day we’ll celebrate a new year and I’m hoping for some really good things to happen in 2016.

New Texas Residents

On Friday we bid farewell to Illinois.  I had been so focused on getting everything ready for our move that I hadn’t spent a lot of time thinking about the move itself.  So as I put the last of our belongings in hubby’s car (minus my cast iron skillets – story to be shared later), I suddenly became teary as the enormity of the move flooded over me.  After all, we had spent 19 years, 9 months in our Illinois home.  We had not only built our house, but we had built our life there and that life was full of memories.  Those memories we carry with us and it was those memories that flooded over me in that moment.

I wish I would have taken pictures of the empty shell we left behind, but those pictures will be available on our realtor’s site soon enough 🙂

On Friday night we stopped in Missouri for the night.  Driving Georgette takes a little more time.  For safety reasons, I don’t push her too hard and with hubby following behind in a packed U-Haul truck, we weren’t on a mission to make good time.  Our mission was a safe arrival period and we arrived very safely to the Springfield KOA.

On Saturday we headed out and a short time later stopped at a truck stop to find some fuses we needed for Georgette.  She had blown a fuse that caused the break lights to go out and that didn’t make me feel warm and fuzzy at all.  Hubby got the fuses, found the culprit and replaced it.  Voila’ – break lights.  That was until we hit the interstate and he called to let me know my break lights were out again.  Obviously, this was a problem and we were going to need to have Georgette looked at.  When and where was the question.

Hubby followed behind and we cautiously continued on our way making it to the KOA in Durant, OK.  It was dark by the time we arrived, but from the little bit we could see, it appeared to be a very nice campground.  They offered shuttle service to the Choctaw Casino next door, but I suppressed my urge to go drop some change in the slot machines and we hunkered down for the night.  Good thing too since the rains came in during the night and they came in hard.  Torrential downpours which tested Georgette, but she held strong and had no leaks.

Early the next morning we headed out and before long we were in Texas and not too long after we pulled into the RV park – Shady Creek.  The goal was to arrive early enough that we had plenty of time to set up and unload the U-Haul before dark.  All went well and we were in Georgette before it got dark and I was faced with my biggest challenge of the move – finding a place to put everything.  I either needed to find a way to add more space or we were going to need something bigger.

Amongst all the clutter, one thing was abundantly clear, Georgette needed some Christmas spirit, so we got our Christmas on.  We dodged containers and all the mess and this was the end result.

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Yesterday we added a star.

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And we hung stockings.

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I still have a lot of mess to clean up and put away, but at least we’re ready for our first Texas Christmas and that is the most important thing.

First, Last, TWO WEEKS

We’ve celebrated 19 Thanksgivings since living in this house.  I’ve hosted about 15 of the 19 Thanksgivings, baking the turkey, ham, making stuffing, mashed potatoes, a variety of vegetables, and desserts.  This year, however, I had our Thanksgiving meal catered.  This was a first for me, but with only two weeks til moving day,

TWO WEEKS!!!!!!!!

my time needed to be spent packing and cleaning.

I ordered the food from my favorite grocer, yet it was still a little unnerving for me.  Overall, the food was pretty tasty though and it made Thanksgiving much more relaxing.  Just a few dishes to do and we headed out for another first.

A movie!

We’ve never gone to see a movie on a holiday, but with all the changes happening in our lives these days, it seemed like another fun first to try.

Of course this Thanksgiving was also the last that we will spend in this house.  For a matter-of-fact, it was the last holiday that we will spend in this house.

We’ve made some terrific holiday memories in this house over the years and those memories we will carry with us always.

Typically, with Thanksgiving behind us, I turn my focus to Christmas.  I’m typically dusting off the decorations and decking the halls about now,

but instead I spent the day bagging up more donations, helping hubby dispose of our mattress and box (we really need a new one), tear down the girl’s bedrooms and get them set up in the master bedroom.  I also packed.  I do that daily now.

We made some good progress as we tackled all the things that need to be done before we pull out in two weeks.

TWO WEEKS!!!!!!!!!!

Now time for bed, because tomorrow it’s only 1 week and 6 days.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back to a Family of Four

On Saturday morning, hubby took FS1 and FS2 to their new foster home.  To say it was an emotional day would be a gross understatement.  FS1 was in tears as the enormity of what was happening and the fact that mom was crying, began to sink in.   From the day we learned we would be moving, I began having conversation with him about what was going on and why they would be leaving our care.  He fluctuated between tears and joy that he was moving to a new foster home.  After all, he has learned that the grass may be green on the other side of the fence.  He left a violent family life for our home and the grass was greener for him here, so why not there.  However, even after several conversations on why he was moving, he still didn’t seem to comprehend the reason he was leaving and thought it was due to his behavior.  It broke my heart even more because I never want him to believe he can do something that would cause anyone to send him away.  So we had another conversation about why he and his brother were leaving and I immediately sent a note to his therapist and asked that she continue to help him understand that we do love him and if it wasn’t for hubby’s new job, they would still be with us.

FS2 just thought he was going bye-bye and very happily waved bye-bye and gave me kisses.  I’m sure he thought he was just going on a little adventure with dad and would see me later.  There is just no way a newly turned two-year old can understand that he isn’t coming back and if we see him again in the future, he probably won’t remember us.  My heart is still breaking and will continue to hurt for quite some time.  I’m guessing his heart will be hurting as well and I wish I could take that hurt away for both of the boys.  The fact is, foster care really SUCKS and these little guys have experienced more hurt than any child should have to endure.  Adding to their hurt is the last thing I ever wanted to do, yet our first responsibility must always be doing what is within the best interest of our family and that is something that anyone going into foster care must always remember.

We were a family of six for 15 1/2 months and now we are back to a family of four getting ready to embark on a journey, that in and of itself is highly emotional.  A journey that begins in 18 days and after the tears have dried, we’ll smile and remember.