Portland Onward

The incredible journey rolls on!

After our hole up nights in Spokane we ventured onward to Portland for our first ever Life is Good conference. Passing the Multnomah Falls for our first ‘real super tall’ falls sighting was a blast! We also enjoyed the other beautiful sights right around that state park area. 20170525_192210Oregon is just breath taking, in so many ways. The falls, the mountains, the river, and then the ocean! We landed in Portland a few days earlier to spend with a sweet friend from the Peace Corps. She generously hosted us for two nights and we got some nice perusing of Mt Taber where we could spot Mount St Helens and Mt Hood as well. Such a gorgeous day we scored trapsin’ around there. We also visited this cool little bird sanctuary/gardens called Rhododendron Garden. Tons and tons of some really cool ducks, and the greenery ain’t to shabby either.

It was a blast cooking in a real kitchen! Made some Domoda (a West African dish) that is just sooooo fun too cook with/for people who appreciate the dish. The kids and I had been craving it for some time. Being on the road alters you intake quite drastically. We’ve been super healthy. I can count on one hand the number of times we have eaten out in the last months, but that said, if you’re camping stove is tucked away…. you alter what you eat quite a bit. I think I’m about to go completely raw just to alleviate thinking about it any more 😉

Any rate…. we enjoyed cooking on the stove! And next day headed to our LiG conference. It was hosted at an Embassy Suites which you know is like living in luxury. The made-to-order breakfast omelets and the free happy hour are incredible…. but my all-time-favorite is the insanely huge king size bed and blackout curtains! Even my early risers were not waking before 9am every day! We had lots of fun meeting new people, expanding our growing tribe of cool people. It was fun to be amongst this long-standing conference and enjoy their activities. We had lots and lots of fun! Even got swimming and hot tub soaking in too!

20170528_131213It was another amazing birthday at the end of the conference! D turned 13 on us! I can’t believe how much the time has flown. For her birthday, knowing we would be on the road when she decided, she requested to visit San Francisco to visit Japan Town and also a favorited Kawaii shop of a YouTuber she knows and follows. It’s been high on the list for a very very long time, and since we knew were doing the conference in Portland I told her it’d be possible to make the visit. She was ecstatic of course. The store she wanted to visit was not open except for weekends, so for her actual birthday we headed from the conference to the Oregon coast. We stayed in a yurt for two nights at Umqua Lighthouse State Park and spent endless hours on the ocean side. Beach combing, fishing and seal lion spotting. It was such a magical time. It was just so beautiful, and the weather cooperated with us the entire time. Plenty of campfires and cooking, which made us all happy. Super great sleeping, and the yurt was so fun! (Our first experience in a yurt!)

In the midst of all of the conference and birthday hoopla, we celebrated another lost tooth!20170601_115421 Somehow in the mix of adventure, life is still happening! :) From Umpqua we headed down the coast to CA. San Francisco bound we passed this most incredible rest stop…. I was just driving along thinking we would not make our first stop for another hour and a half or more, and then I spot all these people turning off the road, and I glance over at these masses of amazing rock, a climbing hill, and gi-normous waves lapping to the coast. I pop a quick U-y and head back to see the sights. We climbed out and all gasped…. it was such an amazing spot. We trekked all over the place, made some sandwiches, cut a watermelon, and at least two hours later we were ready to depart again.

That evening we made it all the way to the Avenue of Giants. I just had to pass through one of my most favorite spots before arriving in the big city. We ended up boondocking on the Avenue and waking to the Giants early in the wee hours of the morning. It’s such a magical place to visit. Awe-inspiring. Breathtaking. We took the Avenue straight to 101 and ended up on 101 to SF….. which was so cool cause the last time we did this trek we were on 1, right along the ocean. That is an amazing drive as well. 101 was super cool to experience cause we could see a whole new part of the country, and you get to experience Redwoods for miles and miles. At one point, we pulled off at this super cool gift 20170603_175652post/shop and we were the first people in for the day…. the cool owner let the kids feed the fish their breakfast. I purchased some super cool bumper stickers to add to the bus, and we toured his amazing wood sculptures. It was a treasure trove for sure.

Since we had left so early we arrived in San Francisco by early afternoon. Crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, we landed in Japan Town for a little poking around, and then cruised over to the Kawaii shop. Nothing disappointed! Everything exactly as she anticipated and she thoroughly enjoyed her extended birthday. We enjoyed some Chinese food (another birthday wish) and headed to a hotel. Fortunately, I had a hotels.com credit to use for our hotel this time around cause MAN! SF is expensive! Not to mention…. ‘holy California gas prices Batman!!!’ I will not be sad to depart from the state, merely due to the cost of being here! But happy we got to hit all of our favorites before doing so.

Today we depart the comfort of the hotel and make the trek to LA to visit my brother and family for the evening. From there the trek through AZ and finally to NM. We are all kind of excited to have a spot to land for a few weeks. And to have time to plan future treks. But I, for one, am already relieved that the trek has taken a slower pace and the trek is ours to command now. Time is on our side and we can venture at our own pace.

AND…. sunshine!!! I’m welcoming the warmth and long-overdue sunshine! (Never enough if you ask me 😉 )

20170603_175652 20170603_162326 20170603_160157 20170603_155850 20170603_135558 20170603_092120 20170603_092718 20170603_092722 20170603_092744 20170603_120734 20170603_091958 20170603_091824 20170603_091758 20170603_091540 20170603_074559 20170603_074137 20170603_074304 20170603_074401 20170603_074509 20170603_074414 20170603_072750 20170602_160531 20170602_183603 20170602_160325 20170602_162114 20170602_160319 20170602_161720 20170602_160252 20170602_160947 20170602_154841 20170602_154059 20170602_154317 20170602_154349 20170602_154434 20170602_154758 20170602_152008 20170602_152045 20170602_152404 20170602_152603 20170602_153637 20170602_152002 20170602_151918 20170602_151914 20170602_151415 20170602_151338 20170602_150912 20170602_150924 20170602_150933 20170602_151248 20170602_151220 20170601_134023 20170601_144950 20170601_155711 20170601_163741 20170601_174058 20170601_134020 20170601_133050 20170601_132922 20170601_132906 20170601_131118 20170601_124620 20170601_125331 20170601_131030 20170601_131040 20170601_124136 20170531_202049 20170531_201141 20170601_123945 20170601_115421 20170531_201114 20170531_201109 20170531_203922 20170531_202342 20170531_195224 20170531_191457 20170531_191501(0) 20170531_194602 20170531_194924 20170531_191238 20170531_190940 20170531_190109 20170531_190103 20170531_185113 20170531_175622 20170531_095740 20170528_131213 20170528_202957 20170531_165836 20170531_175845 20170531_175859 20170531_171738 20170529_102114 20170531_181340 20170531_181032 20170531_174748 20170529_203337 20170527_192846 20170528_131110 20170529_115125 20170531_175614 20170527_192834 20170527_125618 20170527_121736 20170527_101341 20170526_144839 20170526_144730 20170526_115552 20170526_105641(0) 20170526_120436 20170526_110038 20170526_122633 20170526_110652 20170526_123257 20170526_112141 20170526_144300 20170526_114108 20170526_144432 20170526_115029 20170525_193033 20170525_193042 20170525_191812 20170525_191652 20170525_192210 20170525_193115 20170525_193205 20170525_192252 20170525_201017 20170525_192852 20170525_194050 20170525_192845

Continue Reading

New Territory

It’s been quite a week! One of adventure and tons of newly unexplored territory!

For starters, I mentioned our beloved annual gathering at Kalahari Waterpark last week. The week was a tremendous blast. Kids got to catch up with friends from all over, we had much much water-logged days and gorgeous sunshine as well. (Just too bad the outdoor park was not opened yet!) We brought a buddy along with us as well, so that added to our fun and excitement for the week. The unanticipated ‘fun’ for that week was that I got robbed on our very last day in the park there…. it was such a major bummer.

I had brought along my Ergo baby carrier with me and I always presume this is the best place to put anything at all cause most (1) don’t even know what the Ergo is when they look at it, and (2) more than likely have no idea there is even a pocket on it somewhere. WELP…. totally proven wrong this particular day. I left our stuff at a table, which consisted of a few shirts, flip flops, towels and my baby carrier. In the baby carrier I had my phone, two credit cards, my room key and my most favorite kick-ass tree of life ring. Some point between 12:45p and 2pm someone nabbed my carrier. The whole stinkin’ thing. Gone. It was right about 2-2:30pm that I noticed it gone. Sort of in shock and looking all over the place I’m thinking ‘holy crap…. someone stole it.’ And the next thing I heard was ‘cha-ching, cha-ching’ as I heard my money being drained from my credit card and checking account.

I run over to the front desk and report it stolen and they contact security. But again, as the minutes are ticking by I hear money leaving my account. I ask them to send security to my room so I can run and close my credit cards. I run up to the room contact checking first and sure enough, there is a $400.29 charge at the Best Buy down the street at 2pm. Between contacting them and the next bank (where $373.68 was charged at the same place), the security from the hotel shows up. Going through the low down they offer to call the local police. I’m all for it…. if there is anything that can be done to recover my things, I’ll do it.

She goes to escort the Deputy to our room and I handle the other credit card closing. Both banks, by the way, are super great and easy to deal with. They close immediately and no further charges are incurred. And they reverse the charges or will issue refunds. So it’s handle pretty easily. Chase offers me a new card by walking right into a branch and providing ID. So that process as pretty painless….. not nearly needed or appreciated, but easy none the less. Thankfully.

After filing the report with the Deputy he says he’s headed to Best Buy for surveillance footage at or around 2pm that day. I finally get a shower, which allows me to feel half human again and the adrenaline is able to chill a bit. I take the little kids out and about the resort peeking around for the potential of them throwing my carrier somewhere. I was kinda hoping I’d just see it in the trash along with my phone. The carrier and phone are fairly useless to someone…. likely they are just hitting it for the money, right? But no luck. Nothing found. I drum up the urge to drive down to the Best Buy as well. I feel like if I have searched around there I will have done all I can possibly do in this situation.

While down the street peeking around I realize this is kinda stupid. My stuff can be anywhere on this planet at this point in time….. So whatever urge took over at that time, I decide to park and go in and talk to the manager. The thing that really got me was how the heck this person could have done this without a PIN number or ID?! I walk in and ask for the manager. When he arrives he asks, “how may I help you today?” And I reply with, “Uhm…. I’m really not even sure. I’m just trying to grasp something here…. HOW on earth does this merchant allow someone to make purchases of this magnitude without a PIN or ID?” He instantly knew who I was. But I continued on. I explained, I can hardly purchase a burger in Chicago without one or the other…. How does this even happen? He is immediately flushed in the face and is extremely apologetic but explains that is how the merchant works and the banks allow them that option. He goes on to explain that the Deputy did indeed come into the store and they went through footage. They have footage of a young woman coming into the store, purchasing a TV and a laptop and leaving into a silver jeep that had pulled up directly in front of the store.

So… the upside… they have good footage. They believe this person(s) is(are) local and my fingers a crossed resolution comes about this situation. BUT…. at the moment what is there to do but move on with life, right?! So the very next day we drive home to Chicago. The plan was to have a night’s sleep there anyway cause are headed westward to Portland for our first time at Life is Good conference out there. The downside was that we would be delayed cause I had to replace the debit card and stolen phone. The bank was so simple to deal with, the phone… ugh… a whole other story… of which I will not bore you with the details. I’m sure anyone who has Sprint knows exactly what I may have gone through that day, and after 5 hours of dealing with Sprint in person and on the phone, I’m finally back in business. I was even able to locate a new-to-us Ergo for just $30 on FB Marketplace, just 5 minutes away from the store where I got the new phone!!! So everything aligned fairly easy…. if you subtract the hours upon hours with Sprint. So…. we high-tailed it outta Chicago later in the day that Saturday!














(Our celebratory dinner…. the “Yeah! Mama didn’t kill anyone at Sprint today! AND…. we are hittin’ the road!” dinner.)


We head north and west through Wisconsin. We had an overnight in the wee wee hours of the night just next to the the Minnesota border, spent the day in and around Minneapolis seeing the Stone Arch Bridge, Minnehaha Falls, and Indian Mounds Regional Park. It was a super fun morning before heading westward further to Fargo. We did an overnight in Fargo, ND and then headed out to Standing Rock. The kids and I wanted to see the spot where we had heard of so much going on with the water protectors. 20170522_165215We drove out to the camp to see the bulldozers out there doing what they do. We drove just to the bitty start of the reservation and felt we wanted to go back and see the camp spot again. It was powerful…. even with it completely abandoned. We knew people who went there during the whole stand in, and we were well involved with collecting and donating. So it was a very powerful visit.

Onward… the journey and miles needed to be accomplished so we trekked onward. We next visited the Painted Canyon at Theodore Roosevelt National Park. It was stunning and beautiful and we were there right near sunset so the sun was coming down right beyond the amazing canyon peeks. We crossed the Montana border just before sunset and had an overnight in Billings, MT, and just before I spotted a 2000 lbs wild bison grazing just outside of the national park outskirts! (SO COOL!!)

It was mutually agreed upon we’d blow through one more huge leg of the trip to Spokane so that we could then enjoy a two night stay in a hotel…. no car! We were all feeling pretty fried. Fired up and excited cause we just discovered all of this new territory, but fried…. It was a lot to take on so quickly, but we also all knew that once we got the bulk of this journey down, the onward adventure would continue at a much slower pace. We have approximately 5 days in Portland and our trip southward is a no-rush adventure. We will be spending four to five weeks in Albuquerque, and a slow journey east ward from there. Eventually, later this summer we travel south and will spend most of the winter there. We are even discussing finding a place in Albuquerque to have a more permanent place, and continue to enjoy our long adventures. Lot’s to see, experience, discuss and decide.

For now, we are holed up in a Super 8, enjoying Wifi, snuggly beds, swimming pool and hot tub. We all slept till at least 10am today and it’s been just such an enjoyable day needed for all to recoop from the long-haul. These amazing kiddos accomplished NINE states in FIVE days and crossed four time zones! They rocked it and hard! Tomorrow we will enjoy much of this truly amazing scenery on our way to Portland. A mere five hour drive may be drawn out to six, seven or eight with the intentional stops to see the truly amazing parks, waterfalls, river scenes and more along the way. I love this breathtaking road and adventure!

We are excited to land at our friend’s home tomorrow! I know her from the Peace Corps and excited to catch up and visit. After two nights with her we will be at our first Life is Good conference, which we are very excited about as well! It’s going to an amazing time in Portland!!!

20170521_094804 20170521_094700 20170521_094535_002 20170521_094522 20170521_094301 20170521_093635 20170521_093737 20170521_093751 20170521_093821 20170521_094118 20170521_093401 20170521_093335 20170521_080728 20170520_202843 20170520_195503 20170524_155911 20170524_155901 20170524_155857 20170524_155855 20170523_190530 20170523_190725 20170523_220210 20170523_220217 20170524_131805 20170523_110124 20170523_161849 20170523_161923 20170523_161935 20170523_161941 20170523_104156 20170523_104124 20170523_082917 20170522_200042 20170522_195314 20170522_190216 20170522_190227 20170522_190438 20170522_190525 20170522_191549 20170522_185955 20170522_185946 20170522_185139 20170522_164632 20170522_135439 20170522_135708 20170522_164406 20170522_164409 20170522_164412 20170522_134107 20170522_134057 20170522_133657 20170522_133648 20170522_133114 20170521_195141 20170521_115305 20170521_160411 20170522_132256 20170522_132513 20170521_191740 20170521_191812 20170522_132559 20170522_132728 20170521_195113 20170521_103810 20170521_102744 20170521_102924 20170521_104837 20170521_114702 20170521_103130 20170521_103530 20170521_114925 20170521_114934 20170521_103616 20170521_102444 20170521_095621

Continue Reading

Illinois Beach State Park

If you caught the last post, we are putzin’ around Chicago for a spell and awaiting the ability to make a few upgrades (namely new tires) our rig so that we can continue on our journey. I have to say that Chicago is truly the least RV friendly city I have ever (ever) experienced. There are few-to-none places you can boondock and certainly RV facilities far and few between. We’ve been fortunate enough to have a friend here and there host us in their driveway which has been super amazing. But in effort to regain some sort of ‘normal’ life, we needed to escape the city for a spell. We decided Illinois Beach State Park would be a cool…. and most affordable…. escape. We booked 5 days, four nights up there and headed up for a long-extended weekend.

I will be the first to admit that I don’t give Illinois the credit it deserves. When I am wrapped up in city life, I will easily admit to ‘nature’ in Chicago not necessarily going hand-in-hand. But of course, once you escape that, or find it’s alcoves, you will come to appreciate just what Illinois has to offer really. Same holds true for Illinois Beach State Park.

Now, this was our first experience at an RV park as well! We had been boondocking, or staying with friends. We had not utilized a park yet, and so this was our first. I successfully had our first dump, which was quite an amazing feat in and of itself. I had been holding the kids off from ‘fully’ using the facilities other than the emergency pee simply cause I did not know how to to actually empty our tanks AND I did not know where we were actually going to come across our first opportunity. So this was great timing. It was definitely time to get it done, and it was in a non-busy, non-rushed atmosphere where I could put all of my newly acquired YouTube knowledge to good work. After our first, I felt far more comfortable and knew I could handle it all now 😉 .



We drove around the park when we arrived and the office was closed with a note that stated “go pick your spot and come back at 4pm.” So we did just that. We drove around to each of the various sections and truly picked the most beautiful one. It was a longer hike to the playground, but right across from the bathrooms and showers, and just steps from a beach pathway. Within the first hour of us being there we were greeted with a pair of deer, a few raccoons, a snake, and skunk (fearful of us thank goodness…. off he ran). We also could hear many owl and eagle calls through the trees as well. We were quite happy to have landed in a nature-heavy area with RV season seeming to be tail-end. There were very few spots filled in the park. A few showed for a Friday and/or Saturday night, but even then it was quite an empty park and perfect time to be there.

We had an electrical hook up which was perfect. Little-to-no wifi connections though. But with the amount of time we were outdoors, that did not seem to matter too much. We did several hikes a day and the park is close to a business district as well, so a mere mile walk westward into town and you could grab something if you happened to need it.

Several bonfires during the day and evening as the temps were quite cool. We were quite thankful for the working RV heater we had, and had strong empathy for those tent campers that showed up on those cool, cold nights!

Being right on the beach we had several beach walks and collecting of rocks, which also lead to rock art designs with sharpies. That was a super fun activity to do with the teens. The little did lots of widdling of sticks and collections of various nature items. Oh yeah, and we finally got our map up on the outside of the RV. We had been talking about how to track our travels and this seemed like a super duper fun way! You’ll see the kids have already been *all* over the place! It was fun to reminisce each of the trips when we did it!

It was a super great time, and after the 5 days we were sad to depart. Definitely a place we’d return to again!

unnamed-1 unnamed-2 unnamed-3 unnamed-4 unnamed-5 unnamed-6 unnamed-7 unnamed-8 unnamed-9 unnamed-10 unnamed-11 unnamed-12 unnamed

Continue Reading


Seems to be the word of the month….

I know it’s been awhile…. I have been recuperating….. regrouping….. and thinking….. a LOT.








Apparently after my last post, and even with my new found outlook on ‘home’-owning…. The universe felt we (namely * I * ) need another swift kick in the a$$.

After having the very kind soles in OH take extremely good care of us and being given another clean ‘bill of health’… I slapped a new rubber roof on our rig and felt very helpful for the adventures ahead. I was still nervous, mind you, of (a) what the oil gauge may do to us on our way to AZ and (b) whether my roof job would truly hold or not… but nonetheless, this was where we were and I was feeling really good. There was only one way to figure it all out, and that was to live it!

So off we traveled. Saying another fair well to our dear friends in OH and beginning our trek southwest. I was feeling quite at ease when a good two hours into the trek the oil seemed to be strong and steady. I was feeling good about the engine and knowing that if I held a sturdy 60mph then I’d be a-okay getting down to AZ. With the amount of time we had to get to AZ and the fact that the RV was holding strong, I figured I’d just keep on driving till I needed a sleep. After all, my crew mates could sleep as they needed and were quite comfortable, so I could get the miles behind us and keep on moving.

At that time, that seemed like the best laid plan until about 11p – 12a just on the outskirts of Indianapolis I started to hear something flapping. It was a strange noise…. One I had trouble identifying. At the beginning of it all I was pretty sure something up top the rig was flapping around and needed to be secured once more. I turned to K and said “oh no! I think something is flying off the rough!!!” He says the noise did not sound to him like it was up top. Then I began to panic. A huge massive semi passes us to the left, as they have been most of the day. The pull from the semi’s are quite grand on our rickety rig. This was what seemed to be the final straw, however. When this rig passed us to the left there was this huge explosive noise… a loud bang…. And then somewhat silenced. I freaked and immediately got off the highway. We seemed okay but still sort of clueless about what had just happened. Until, that is, we begin to accelerate again at the stop light. I knew then…. We had tire issues.

20160925_090602We pulled off to investigate. Searched on top and below. And finally came to see that it was one of our interior rear tires…. Not only a flat, but a complete and utter blow out. And it’s the middle of the night…. AND…. We are quite clearly in not the best part of Indianapolis.

I ask K to map us a Walmart. I just need to get us somewhere we can boondock, regroup and think things through. We hobbled our way to a Walmart and went in to get some water, food and use the facilities. The guard asked us if that was our rig over there and instructed us that this was not typically a spot for RV’s. He says, “we don’t usually allow overnights. We are not a 24hrs. spot and, well, this is not the best part of town you know.” Oh great…. You just had to say that in front my kids did ya?

We climb back in and hunker down for the night. I notice the Walmart tire and car repair garage and figure we ask them in the AM what they may be able to do for us.

Early AM I race outta the RV and into the car care area. I point through the window and let them know what had happened. They look at our rig and shake their heads saying…. “Oh man that’s a BIG RV…. I don’t think we can even fit that in here…. Let alone have the right tires for it.” The woman behind the desk is quite friendly and offering other information about spots in Indy that may be able to help. The gentleman goes out to the RV and checks out the tire ID and comes back saying he’s not seen that kind of tire in many many moons. My hope deflates quickly and I begin to worry again…. I can barely move on this tire and if I have to take it elsewhere I may loose my you-know-what.

The woman is quite kind and gives us a number to call. The RV spot is *very* hard to get a hold of. In the meantime, I call our AAA can they explain to me that I need to ‘up’ my membership to RV status and even IF I do that, it would not be valid for 72 hours. I finally reach the Indy RV spot who tells me that he does not do tires there, but refers me to a spot who may be able to help. At the very least, they offer on-site service. Phew…. Feeling a bit better.

That is… until I call them. They tell me they don’t have the tire. And that most places will not have the tire. That having that specific tire means we need to order it and won’t likely receive it till later that week, being that it was a Saturday and the tire could not be ordered till Monday. MONDAY?!?!? LATER THAT WEEK!?!?!? AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

I can’t sit in the not-best-part-of-town-Walmart with my kids for the WEEK!!!!!

I called a few other places and seem to be receiving the same information. So I opt for the 1st service to come on out and at the very least put our spare tire on. If the spare is on there, I can head back to Chicago and figure it out there. Perhaps someone in Chicago operates on a Saturday, but even, at the very least, we would have friends to stay with and figure it all out…. Verses sit in the Indy Walmart for a week or longer.

The service comes out and begins working. He mentions another spot that may be able to help and true to the other spots, they do nothing for people on a Saturday. World stops in Indy on a Saturday folks. Just keep that in mind should you be traveling through town. He puts the spare on for me and say, “Well… the spare is likely the next to blow, I feel I should warn you. It’s in bad shape as well. But it will carry you to a spot to get it fixed.” I am thinking…. “a spot to get it fixed?!?!” I had NO intentions of staying in Indianapolis at this point. I was burnt out. Fried. Crispy. WELL-over done. I was emotionally a wreck and totally spent on all we had been through with this rig to this point in time.

I ask him if he feels it’s ok driving up to 45-50mph. He seems to think it’s just fine. So that solidified my decision…. I was going to drive back roads at 45 mph all the way back to Chicago. Once I could feel safe and secure again, I could make next plans and figure out what to do.

A mere 6.5 hours later, we pull into a friend’s driveway. Nothing like open arms and feeling like you are safe again. I know I slept VERY well that night. Like a rock. But now the decision making had to happen. What to do? Replace the tires? Sell the RV? Still go to AZ and make it to Free to Be?

The decision is made at the very last second…. We opt to rent a car and make it to AZ for the conference. We rented a truly fabulous Ford Transit 350, which I have to say, was the BEST decision at that moment. I needed to be free of the rig to regroup. I need to cathartic trip to sooth the mind and sole. I need a *smooth* ride! I needed to visit Arizona. I needed the cathartic adventure to figure out where my mind and sole rested with this entire thing.

The conference was great. Arizona was fabulous! The time away even more so! After the conference we took some time to check out some local neighborhoods that I had been eyeing on Craigslist. It was good to narrow down options and ideas should the idea of settling somewhere become the main topic. What surprised me most, however, was how much I would fall in love with Albuquerque!!!

We opted to go for a night there as K wanted to create a self-tour of all of the Breaking Bad filming spots. I was excited about this too as I had watched the series along with him. It was going to be super fun to see the filming spots! What I did not realize though, was that we just happened to land there the week of the International Balloon Fiesta! So we then opted to stay two nights in order to see and check it all out. First day we see all of the Breaking Bad sites, check out some local neighborhoods (as I was already falling in love with the place!), and visited Old Town. It was such a great time! Next morning, before sunrise I drive us to a spot where we can see both sunrise and the balloon fest start. It was such a truly magical morning! We began our trek home from there…. But as we pulled out I felt very sad to leave. The spirit, the atmosphere, the nature, climate…. Just about everything we experienced felt wonderful. The one and only thing I did not check into was the unschooling community. (I did check the homeschool laws though 😉 I just did not reach out to the community just yet.)

20161004_113725-copy 20161005_074919 20161005_073535 20161005_071730 20161005_071708-copy 20161004_184110-copy 20161004_125711-copy 20161005_075529 20161005_081249 20161005_153425 20161005_154218 20161005_160112 20161005_160603 20161007_134514 20161007_141955 20161009_123021 20161009_212600 20161011_144132 20161011_144152 20160925_093202 20160930_140752 20161012_140607 20161012_134843 20161011_144409 20160925_143607 20160925_200839 20160925_214224 20160928_095248 20160928_162636 20160928_183610 20161002_142510-copy 20161004_113638-copy 20161004_1034250-copy 20161002_142409-copy 20161002_135754-copy 20161003_121809-copy 20161003_113026-copy 20160930_113427 20161003_112039-copy 20160929_064335 20160928_185712 20161003_075030-copy 20161012_131306

Onward and upward, homeward bound. We pass by Amarillo to see Cadillac Ranch and leave our mark. Oh! Forgot to mention, just prior to Albuquerque we passed by the Zuni nation and nearly came home with a stray dog 😉 I wanted to visit because I had a friend who lived there for some time, long ago and I wanted to visit and see the reservation. While we were there the kids fell in love with a stray and even called SBJ to see if he’d be up for us bringing him home. When we went back for it, he seemed to sort of be hanging around a house so we were not sure he was completely stray to begin with. I told the kids they needed to ask to avoid the police chasing us out of town. But they were kinda chicken to go ask 😉 I will whole-heartedly admit I was a-okay with that cause I could not envision this journey with a new found friend! They were a wee annoyed with me, but at that point in time, I could not fathom the drastic change in family membership.

From there…. many other cool stops. We spent a night in St. Louis. We visited Lincoln’s home in Springfield, IL. After picking our rig back up we had some super fun nights in a local hotel with friends. And then it was time to get back to reality. K had an orthodontist appointment and we needed to figure out the ‘what’s next’ to our story here.

That’s where we seem to be at this moment…. The what’s next portion. We are good, locally, on our tires, but we need to replace them to take off again. We had been doing quite a bit of boondocking in the city but quite frankly…. It’s super stressful. Chicago is *not* (even in the slightest) a very RV-friendly spot. We also still need our generator connected, so that makes it a bit more challenging in that we are not totally contained/sufficient just yet. Once we have power and tires, we are in pretty good standing. We just are very (very) low on funds to do so with everything else we have had to put into it. So are here, regrouping and figuring it all out.

Through it all we celebrated a second birthday of our little C and a sixth birthday or our special M. M lost a first tooth in AZ! And we’ve been enjoying the Halloween season upon us!

OH…. Also…. Let’s throw this into the mix. As we thought we were preparing for the CampForce Amazong job in KY, we received word that SBJ did not get it due to some paperwork being missing (on time). Then…. Just as we are regrouping on that turn of events, I begin interviewing for a very fabulous online/virtual position that I would love to have, and he gets a “wait we still have space in KY for you” email from Amazon, AND he’s in negotiations regarding a promotion at current work position! So the other monkey wrench is whether he joins us or not. Does he forego promotion for the Amazon? OR take the promotion over Amazon? And then if he stays, where will he stay? Housing has been a huge issue since we began. And it was ok for the time being because he was joining us in a few short weeks. But at this point, if he stays for the promotion and more permanent solution needs to happen.

AND…. Then if he stays, do we travel short term and relocate back to Chicago? Do we eventually try to move to Albuquerque? AHHHHH!?!? The choices!!!

All the while, we left the city and have been staying at Illinois Beach State Park for a period. It’s been SOOOOOO much better than the city. Cathartic really. It’s been lovely. Chilly. But lovely. The current attempt is to (a) figure out what SBJ will do regarding work, (b) try to fix our generator and tires, and (c) plan to stay an extended period with friends on their farm in OH. That time will also likely be the most necessary and cathartic to figuring out the ‘what next’ from there.

Till then…. I’m off to enjoy this insanely warm October day (for Chicago that it is)… and the rest will hopefully reveal itself to us as the end of this month comes, and the new moon enters! We intend to enjoy a ghostly Halloween above all else! Our most favorite holiday will be the priority and the rest will come to us as it needs. Perhaps I will begin a “support Nakita Baby Nomads” campaign to help us acquire new tires 😉

Happy Halloween All!!!!



Continue Reading

Seeking our angel

I slept a whooping 11 hours last night. I needed it, apparently…. big time.

It’s been a long haul the last few weeks. Purging, cleaning, selling, packing, job hunting, travel planning, and….. dealing with 12 years of life here, with six other individuals; some of who are meeting the departure (from this home, not for travel) with a bit of apprehension. To be expected though. It has been a home base for twelve years. Many ups and downs in this home, but primarily…. supreme awesomeness. Bittersweet that the end was met with such a toxic blow as a homicide was discovered in our storage locker. The murder in the building has taken an immense emotional toll on each of us in our own right. A few kids feel this adventure and departure a blessing. A few see it as a mixed blessing. They are eager for the adventure ahead, but they are met with the sadness of this not being home any longer…. and in the same breath, *all* are relieved this will no longer be home. A murder in your home is something so immensely powerful it truly feels an unanswered question as to whether we would ever be able to get passed it and move on. One thing remains certain though… we would not be the people we were intended to be if we stayed, lived through it, and came out the other side the bitter, cynical people I am already seeing us veering towards. So undoubtedly this is a timely departure.

With all of that on my plate, sleeping over 11 hours last night, and having a $#it ton on my to-do list today, I remained kind of paralyzed throughout the day. We need to make a storage run tomorrow. I have a ton more to sell off or we are immensely screwed with not having enough storage space (as I intend for all furniture and sellable stuff to be gone), AND we have tons we were planning to move into a new vehicle that we do not have at the moment…. and may not have till after the first trip or two.

With all of that more thought out, it becomes abundantly apparent that we need a bus or RV immediately. We looked at a bus yesterday and the majority of us like it. It would definitely be a work-in-progress…. unschooling 101 kind of project. But the fun of it all is that we could make it the way we’d like to have it. There are not too many RVs in our remote price range on Craigslist right now. That (the RV route) would be kind of nice too because it would be all set and “all set” is appealing after the last month of ‘getting ready’ for this life change.

Point boils down to we are seeking our angel. There is a person out there that realizes a small personal loan to purchase the vehicle of need will change our lives forever. We are not seeking donation. We are seeking the assistance to be able to handle this big move, with full intent to pay back in full. Without a car loan or rent, utilities, etc. hanging over our heads, we are able to invest fully in repaying our angel.

I have full faith there is someone out there who has it in their heart to assist us. This magical time in our lives is meant  to be with all that we have been through. Abundantly grateful!


Continue Reading





We are now the proud new tenants of a 5 x 11 x 8 storage unit. This family of seven will be cramming in 14 years of life with kids into this little closet space. Think we can do it!?!? 😉

No furniture, just the essentials. Just the “I just can’t bare to get rid of this” type things. I think we are doing an amazing job of widdeling it all down to next-to-nothing! But the hour glass is dropping! Quickly! Very little time left to accomplish the amazing!





Continue Reading