Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Good bye House

We got everything out of the house on that last day. The house echoed from being empty. I had the kids do one last good bye. They said good bye to their playroom, good bye to grandma's room (guest room), good bye to her bathroom, good bye to the fireplace and kitchen and back yard. It reminded me of the book Goodnight Moon. Instead it was "good bye room, good bye kitchen" etc. It was kind of sad. We lived in that house for 2 yrs 9mo & had so many memories. Going all Griswald at Christmas & decorating the inside & out (we got 1st place the first year & 2nd place the second year), hiding 200 Easter eggs in the front & back yard, throwing big birthday parties, having sleep overs, having my mom stay with us, having my in laws come visit, the many booboos, the huge yard & patio, being at the end of the cul de sac so kids could ride bikes, the rocks they painted, the frequent chalk art on the patio, the big daddy fires & smores, the beautiful mountain view, the dark sky & star gazing, jumping on the trampoline, playing in the snow (yes in southern AZ), taking neighborhood walks & runs. It was a nice house. It was too big (3100 sqft). The mortgage was too big. The upkeep wasn't fun. The constant cleaning drove me nuts, but it was a nice house. It was the first house we bought & sold. It was the first house that didn't have all white walls (military). It had lots of space, but just too much space. I didn't like having the kids on the opposite side of the house at night. They were simply too far & although I told them to sleep in their room I often carried at least one back to my room to snuggle at night. You'd think I would be used to moving every couple of years since we did that with the Air Force for so many years, but I was still sad. Would the kids remember living in that house? Dalton didn't want to move & said he was going to miss our house. Annika didn't want to move because she would miss her friends. Emry was my cheerleader & said it was ok that we moved. I know we have more adventures ahead & we won't regret this decision, but it's still kinda sad closing that door forever. I asked hubby as he locked the door behind him if he was sad about it & he said "kinda, it's a nice house, but we need to get out before it falls apart on us." As long as we're together, right? Good bye house. Thanks for the memories.

Our 5th Wheel, Our Home

Initially we decided on getting a 42ft 5th wheel with 5 slide outs. Hubby said if we were gonna live in it full time then we needed to be comfortable & have space. I agreed, but man o man the price on that thing was not appealing. The whole idea was to do this debt free, but it wasn't going that way. Instead of getting a used truck to pull it hubby got a brand new truck. Oh boy. Then instead of a used 5th wheel he wanted new so he wouldn't have to deal with anything breaking right away. I can understand that, but ugh the cost of a brand new 5th wheel. I really liked the one we picked initially. It was a Highland Ridge Open Range 3x427BHS, but the more I thought about it the more I was sure it would be too big. Someone had mentioned the state/national parks & that we probably wouldn't be able to get in due to size. I'd like the opportunity to workamp at a state or national park, but if our rig is too big (haha that rhymes) then would they turn us down? I told him we needed to rethink & research again. He found a shorter one & I agreed it was a good one. It's 10 ft smaller, but looked good. It's a Jayco Eagle 325BHQS. It has the triple bunk beds that I wanted & hubby likes the 2 recliners that looked straight on to the tv vs having to turn your head to the side to look at the tv. It has an island in the kitchen area, which helps with counter space. I realized that tonight as I was cooking & prepping dinner while my in-laws were here. Our bed is facing the wrong way (I wanted it to face side ways so the closet was bigger vs being straight), but oh well. Gotta sacrifice something I guess. Another sacrifice was the bunk house only has 1 slide out vs 2. I really liked the dual slide outs because it was extra floor space for the kids, but again we had to compromise. We also only have 1 bathroom, which wasn't a big deal but that 42ft one had a separate bath all for the kiddos. I just tell myself that that was one more thing to clean that I wouldn't want to clean :-) I think overall it's a good fit & I can't imagine having an extra 10 ft to pull. Of course buying the darn thing was a hassle. We drove 4 hrs to El Paso, TX to buy it. We looked at several different bunkhouse styles that they had on the lot & decided on the Jayco Eagle. We were prepared to buy it right then & there & drive it home, but there was a paperwork problem. Gah! Seemed like we were having one problem after another getting started on our journey (first the house, then septic, now this). Because we were residents of AZ & not TX they didn't have the AZ title paperwork & couldn't get it until Monday. Of course it was Saturday. After hubby's dramatic talk & show he put on they agreed to do everything right then (paperwork, sale, gift card) and deliver the trailer to our house that Tuesday. We were on a time limit due to closing, but in the end it all worked out & we have our new home. Here she is

Adventure Bound Campground Vail, AZ & bike riding

Once we sold our house we had to stay in a local campground for a week so hubby could finish up at work. The closest one to the kid's school was Adventure Bound Campground in Vail, AZ. It was convenient to the highway & Wal-Mart, which we seemed to be at quite often. The pictures online looked nice so I booked. Let's just say it didn't look exactly the same. It was a decent campground, but it was mostly a mobile home park with a lot of permanent rv'ers. The laundry room was clean & plenty of washer & dryers. The bathrooms & showers were clean (only used the showers once) as well. The pool wasn't huge, but it was clean & nice with chairs & an area you could entertain. We were all the way on the left side of the park with nothing but fence behind us (you could hear the coyotes at night) & no one on our row except at the ends, we were in the middle. The space between was ok, but thankfully we had wide open space. We had a concrete pad with picnic table & rocks instead of grass or gravel. It made for less mess coming into the trailer, which was nice. There were quite a few kids in the park as well. The swing set really needed to be updated. It was that old metal type & one of the swings had lost it's black outer layer & it was just metal. I feel bad for the kid who cuts himself on that. I liked how it had poop bags & small trash cans all around the perimeter of the campground so you could clean up after your mutt & toss in the can vs having to carry the poop home with you. The best part of being there was Emry learning how to ride her bike. It's a feeling I can't describe when you see your child take off on their bike for the first time all by themselves. I was so excited & just in awe. I owe her riding ability to the Strider Bike. If you don't know what one is then you're child is missing out. You see it's hard for kids to learn how to balance & pedal at the same time so what the Strider bike does is make them learn how to balance first, which is harder. The pedaling comes more natural afterward. There's no pedals on the bike so they use their feet, like Fred Flinstone, to walk the bike while learning to balance. I bought the bike 3 yrs ago, I think, so my son could learn. My oldest actually got on it & quickly learned how to balance (she was 6). Once we moved into our house she learned how to ride a regular bike so fast. The training wheels came off & away she went. My son (5 1/2 now) also learned how to balance on the Strider real fast, but he's still hesitant to get on his regular bike without training wheels. At the same time he was learning to balance so was my youngest. Oh how they fought to get on the bike. Once she mastered balancing she would fly on that bike & cut corners so fast. Made me nervous yet amazed at the same time. I took off her training wheels when we were still in our house, but she wasn't real interested in getting on just yet. At the campground she decided to give it a try & by golly her first time out she got it! I was holding onto her seat at first, but her bike is so small I was hunched over too far so I grabbed the back of her shirt & ran while helping her balance. After a few minutes I lessened my grip then finally let go. The smile on her face was priceless. Yes I got it all on video! She was so proud of herself & so was I. She mastered it so fast & I credit it all to the Strider bike. She would go down the slopes in the road & pick up speed while I held my breath & ran behind her praying she wouldn't crash. I was sure she'd munch it, but nope she even put her legs out to balance more. Smart cookie! While at the campground we would walk the dogs at least 4 times a day & there she was on her bike zooming past me. She'll be 4 yrs old next month. Way to go baby girl! Next is to get my son rolling along with us.

Home...I mean Roadschooling

Ahhh homeschooling, what can I say? In my head it's all sunshine & roses, but in reality it's quite stressful for me. It's mainly fear. Afraid I'll mess up. Afraid I won't be up to speed on what they should be doing. Afraid I'll screw them up. I tried the homeschool thing a couple years ago with my oldest when she was in 1st grade & although it started out well, my sweet child decided she didn't want to cooperate. I know what the problem was. I was too busy & preoccupied with other stuff to give it 100% & she got lazy & uninterested. Thankfully she's a smart cookie & the mommy plea of "please just read for 30 minutes every day" was a huge plus because she went into 2nd grade reading on a 4th & 5th grade level. Whew! Thought I totally screwed her up. Of course her math wasn't up to par, but she bounced back & was right where she needed to be by mid year. Going into 3rd grade her reading again was fantastic & her math up to par. Her recent benchmark test scores was a 97% in reading & a 90% in math. I think she's doing just fine. So now that I've dropped everything off my plate with no distractions, except the great outdoors, & we're ready to roll. I will have all kinds of time to homeschool....I mean roadschool. This time I'll have a 9yr old, 5 1/2 yr old & 4 yr old to school as well. Oh boy. Prayers are always welcome & much appreciated :-)  I have all their curriculum ready & a schedule as well. I decided to piece it all with some of this & that vs going with one company's curriculum. Honestly it was just too pricey & I know my kids & what will work for them so I wanted to pick & choose. This is what we'll do in case anyone is curious:
Math: Math U See (Primer & Gamma). LOVE the use of those little blocks & the videos blew me away! Gonna have hubby watch & learn to because I was impressed.
Reading: 30 min of daily reading for the 9 yr old with book reports when she finishes a book & 15 min of reading for the littles along with different reading programs (Hooked on Phonics, Reading Eggs, Reading Bear, Teach Your Monster To Read, etc)
Writing: Cursive for the oldest & different daily fun writing ABCs & 123s for the littles (writing in shaving cream, using bingo daubers, paint, watercolors, worksheets, etc)
Language Arts: Grammar Ace from Sonlight (uses School House Rock Videos)
Science: Magic School Bus videos & Young Scientist Club bundle with 60 different experiments!
Geography: As we go we'll learn about the state, capital, state bird, flag, flower, facts, etc (Brain Food Doodle Map)
History: Liberty Kids videos with discussion
Government: Tuttle Twins book with discussion
Music: Learning all the notes (whole, half, quarter, etc), FACE, EGBDF then hopefully as a family we can learn the guitar
Art: all the time, we love creativity & will use the great outdoors in our projects
Life Lessons: cooking, budgeting, saving money, giving, etc
Bible: Daily readings from their children's bible, discussion, memorizing verses

I know it seems like a lot, but we won't be doing all these every day. Each day will be bible readings, life lessons, math, reading, writing & language arts then we'll do science on Monday, History on Tues, etc. I plan on having several breaks so we can walk the dogs & get the wiggles out so they can come back & concentrate better. Studies show that kids who play more & are outdoors often have better concentration on their school work. Total opposite of what public school is like now. I'm nervous, but excited to see how we roll with this. No choice really since it needs to be done & we're committed to full time wandering for a couple years. Let the teaching begin!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Selling a Home is a Nightmare!

Gah! Talk about an ordeal it was to sell our home! We had agreed to close sooner than the set date because hubby was anxious to get on with our move, but we had to have our septic tank inspected & certified before closing. Oh boy that's where the nightmare began. Well let me back up a bit. First the home inspection was to take place. We waited & waited while a week went by. I texted our realtor & told her we were having our estate sale that weekend & hopefully the inspector wasn't planning on coming on the weekend during the chaos. (Side note the estate sale was CRAZY & we sold everything except a few items that were later picked up & donated to a new thrift store that would benefit the local high school & food pantry. We made almost 3 times more than I expected. Woohoo! I'm sure several items also walked off & jumped into someone's vehicle, but whatever). Ok where was I? Oh yes so the realtor contacted the inspector & he stated he had already been to the house. Uh, wait what? No he was either confused or went to the wrong house because he never came by. Good thing I said something or else our wait would have been longer. So then the realtor messages me back & said the inspector will be there in 30 minutes is that ok? Uh no it wasn't ok since I was getting kids ready for school & the house wasn't in tip top shape, but at that point we were tired of waiting & needed to move the process along so yeah I guess I could be ready in 30 min. Of course he deactivated the alarm over an hour later. Grrrr. So that went well & only a few minor repairs that the buyers agreed to let hubby fix. Done. Next was the septic inspection & certification. We lived in that house for 2 yrs 9 mo & never had any septic problems & never had it pumped out. So the guy comes out & pumps it all out (peee-uuuu) and tells us we have a bunch of tree roots growing into the pipes & it was going to cost like $150 or whatever PER HOUR for him to cut them out. Seriously?! That was unexpected & we rolled our eyes at that. Oh how I wish that was the worst, but no it kept getting worse. Upon inspection he says he can't get to the filter, it's jammed or something & needs to be repaired & up to code. Gah! Then he discovers the whole top of the tank is cracked & we needed a new top. NOOOOO!!! He called his sub-contractor to come take a look & thankfully the company they got the tops from had one in stock, but oh sorry they couldn't deliver that day & the next day they had deliveries in Phoenix & they don't work on the weekend & oh yeah that Monday was Labor Day so no work on that day either. Good grief! So Thursday turned into Tuesday & the top arrives, but that guy says the tank isn't draining. Seriously? It was draining just fine before they started farting with the whole thing. Can't certify it if it's not draining. But oh wait the first inspector guy documented on the invoice that it was draining just fine. When asked about it he claims he told us differently. Umm no you didn't & he documented it himself. Hmmm so who's lying? Anyway so they have to dig up even more of our yard to find the problem. Turns out they had to replace all the pipes. So our $600+ estimate turned into over $6000!!! At this point we were just ready to be done & out of our money pit of a home.What was probably the most irritating was that the guys working those little Cat diggers were the owners of their company & guess they didn't like working past noon & one day past 2p. Oh c'mon! Finally after digging two 30ft long trenches, laying all new pipes & hooking it all up it was all done (2 weeks later). They had to put our yard back together as well. I was so grateful that we were at the end of the cul de sac with an empty house on our right & the house next to that one was also empty & the house across the road from those 2 empties was also empty waiting for the new buyers to move in. All that was near us was our neighbors to our left who worked all day, but I still felt bad because those darn diggers were in our side yard next to them for 2 weeks. I did apologize to them for the mess & he was nice about it. Probably glad to see us go with our noisy kids & dogs...hahaha! Anyway so when it was all said & done we closed on our house with very little profit in our pocket, but it was done. Hope they don't hear the little critter on the roof who stops by now & then at 1am. Our new 5th wheel sat in our driveway (thankfully we had a huge driveway) for almost 2 weeks & we were more than ready to get outta there. Yes it was a nice house with a great backyard, but it was simply too big & the mortgage, ugh don't get me started. So my advice to you is do NOT buy a house with a septic tank & beware of the trees that are near that tank. Nothing good will come out of it & it'll leave a hole in your wallet.