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 😉 )

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Helluva

Yep, that about sums it up!
Helluva day, weekend, week…. you name it. Not in a negative way, thank goodness. But in a “whoa did that just happen?” kinda way.

So…. I think I left off at what all we had been looking at in terms of move-to vehicles. Truthfully, after seeing and driving like the 5th rickety old bus…. and just ONE RV… it was abundantly clear that we need to hone our search. We had a little pow-wow and agreed that the bus was not necessarily our route because we ( me namely) would not like the adventure (the new lifestyle) to be about the bus as a project, but the travel and exposure to the world around us. I was drawn to the class C with the sleeping loft above the drivers cab. This offered enough sleep space for everyone, was small enough for me to maneuver and perfect for the task at hand.

As the weeks wore on however, I was getting a little stressed trying to (a) hone in on one specific/suitable/affordable vehicle and (b) get our twelve year home packed up and move us out by the end of the month. As K’s 48 Hour Film Festival project approached it became even more apparent that I needed to nix the vehicle search for the present moment and get us packed and moved. So two weeks ago, that’s the direction in which we moved.

 

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August 26th through the 28th K participated in the Chicago area 48 Hour Film Festival. Last year’s participation was on a team with others guiding the way, and with that experience at hand, he wanted to lead his own team this year. He signed up under his business name, Saikouba Entertainment, and rallied some friends to help with writing, acting and filming. It was quite a whirlwind of a weekend with everything  that came into play but overall a super amazing experience. He learned a great deal both from the successes and the mistakes and is already gearing up for next year’s festival (not to mention several other festivals he may participate in throughout the year before then). I’m extremely proud of the efforts he put forth and all that he carried away from the weekend. It was a seriously intense project and from what we found out from the first night…. he is the youngest director to enter this festival. Huge kudos to K and team! We look forward to the movie premier this coming weekend back in Chicago!

From the close of that weekend we had the rest of the house to pack up, purge, move, freecycle, sell, store…. you name it. The 72 hours before we locked the door behind us is truly kind of a blur 😉 . I recall lots of phone calls, texts, emails, FB posts, people stopping by. I frankly to remember what was thrown to the curb and what was taken away. All I know is that 5 x 11 storage space is truly packed to the BRIM! Not an inch to move. Had we had our RV (or alternate vehicle) in hand before leaving, we would not have packed likely so much into the storage unit. There is lots crammed in there awaiting a second and third round of purging as we move into the new RV. So that will be a whole other experience to endure. Bracing myself.

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Our last night was bitter sweet. All of our beds had been moved out but one. Rock star C kept me company as we packed up the last of the last. And we all camped on the living room floor on a pile of blankets and pillows. The final day we had three more trips to the storage, packed up, slipped the key under the door and we were OFF!

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We did not find and RV or similar before leaving town. But alas it was time to go. End of month, end of lease, and conference pending. We were venturing off to the Rethinking Everything gathering which we are still truly reeling from. It was such a remarkable time being among this significantly profound group of people. It was right where we needed to be at that very moment in time. So much ahead to still face and settle, and at this very moment in time we could be among the kindest, gentlest, most supportive and abundantly grateful group of people we could have ever met. It was remarkable.

Leaving there Monday we headed to Chattanooga where we were going to look at an RV. I figured, once I got over my stress of the immediate need (or the original thinking that it was an immediate need), it would likely be best to check out RV listings on Craigslist all the way down and back from AL. After all, we were going through several states, many of which would likely have plenty of listings at a price range we could afford! Thus the Chattanooga stop. It was the perfect size RV but it was in really rough shape. Onward…. to a wee bit of bummer. We were hauling to Louisville to see another and just an hour before arrival we get a text that one had sold already.

We stop for dinner, set up two more appointments and think we should just haul but to Cincinnati that way we were right there to see the next two. Welp….. about an hour out from Cincinnati a text….. it’s sold already.

Ergh. Well, at the very least we got to enjoy a very nice hike through Mammoth Cave, and a super cheap pizza buffet. We decide to stay in OH anyway cause we need to see one more in OH tomorrow, and then hopefully, one in Indianapolis. Also, a quick peek online tonight and I revealed there were two more super great listings in the Chicago area! So there are options ahead! We are eager and abundant! Looking forward to finding *the* one so we can begin to feel more settled in this process. The hotel living and eating out WAY too much is getting old. It’s bringing about mama grouchy at that moment, and that means everyone is feeling it. Realizing it has me revamping myself…. but it is going to be SO amazing to finally have something picket out! To get the storage unit purged, *and* to feel we finally have a ‘home’ to settle into! Keep your fingers crossed that we may fall in love with *the* perfect one before pulling back into Chicago!

-xo

 

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Zoo

Today my big kids wanted to go off and be the big kids that they are so I took advantage of the time and took my littles to the zoo. Lincoln Park Zoo is a great location for a summer afternoon. We started at the farm this time around because we always seem to start near the conservatory and not make it to the second half of the zoo. This time we started that end and worked our way back to the Pritzker Family or Kids Zoo….. by that point they are pooped and can’t go on any longer. We had the most yummy ultimate nachos for our snack at the little cafe area, and after hearing the wolves howl in tune to the passing city fire engines (only in Chicago!), we headed over to the park to get a last run-around before climbing back into the blue bus and heading back to pick up the big kids. It was a pretty sweet day….. aside from my sweet M whining every second for food. Once those nachos hit her belly she as back to her usual self! 😉 I know you call can relate to those moments when you’re wee-one is whining up a storm and your thinking, “why on earth didn’t I just stay home?” And then your mommy senses kick in and you realize…. feed that stinkin’ belly! Wowza! Now why didn’t I just think of that before all this? 😉 Yeah, then you learn your lesson (for the millionth time) and enjoy the rest of the day in bliss. Happens to all of us! Been there…. done that!

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Fallen in Love

Yep…. all over again…. this time… with a bus.

I have been poking around trying to figure out what kind of vehicle we could potentially take off and spread our nomadic wings in come the end of the summer. This evening on Craigslist I found ‘the’ bus. I never would have thought I’d choose this sort of vehicle. I did not want anything too big and have been, consequently, seeking out larger vans, oversized vehicles in nature that we could tweak for our needs. I had been toying with RV’s in nature, but not really feeling the maintenance vibe of it all. So nothing has grabbed me quite yet. I also had been eyeing this Ford Transit 350 at Carmax, but that would just mean another loan. I’m not too keen on adding cost to the adventure. I was kind of hoping to free us from burdens. Many burdens. As many burdens as possible.

So, this evening, I was poking around yet again…. sniff sniff….
Low and behold, I see this beauty. A real beauty. I have fingers and toes, and hairs, and tails, and whatever else could possibly be crossed…. trust me they are crossed. I am plotting and manipulating…. there must be a way to smoothly make this happen. Sell our precious beauty of a blue bus to acquire this beauty of a red-striped 15 seater bus. Of course, this is provided I actually get to see it, drive and still continue to be in love with it. But I’m already fantasizing over the idea, the pics, the hope, the dream. I can see us in this beaut’! It’s the first that I can truly picture and the first that feels right in my bones. The price, the size, the everything…..

Keep all of your fingers and appendages crossed for us. Hopefully we see it this weekend in which case things may move quickly!! And even it it’s not this particular one… I feel ever-so-happy to have this feeling of ‘right’ cause now I feel like I know where I am headed in this decision and what will work for us. Yippee!!!

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Camp Excitement

Excitement is mounting!
I just finished booking the last of the ‘must-do’s’ for our trip coming up at the start of July. We are hitting the road eastward for several weeks with many fun things on our agenda!

Our first stop will be at a friend’s farm in Beallsville, OH where us city folks will be come country…. for a week anyway 😉 We are excited! Not only to work a farm, but to get to know our sweet, cool UWG friends more over the course of a full week! Yippy!

From there, I head to Leith Run, OH where I will camp with the kiddos in the middle of nowhere for 10 days. I’m thrilled, exhilarated, and petrified :) Ultimately, I know this is going to be the most amazing experience. We are just traversing areas of the unknown so this is going to be HUGE, fun and EXCITING!

After our 10 days in the trees, we will drive up to Pittsburgh and enjoy the luxury of a hotel for the night. We both await for SBJ to arrive on the Amtrak from Chicago to join us the rest of our trip, and also hopefully visit a dear Peace Corps friend for brunch before leaving town…. heading eastward again with the ultimate destination to be Pinewood Lodge Campground in MA where we will meet some super cool unschoolers at Unscholers Rock the Campground. We are super excited about this adventure as we will meet new(ly) found friends in a more intimate, relaxed setting (our style 😉 ).

After a weekend blast with the cool unschooolers we head up to Sugarloaf campground in the White Mountains of NH. This is uncharted territory for us. We’ve not experienced this area before and are super excited about the White mountains, waterfalls, and other beautiful treasures to be discovered. After about 6 days there we begin our trek back home so that SBJ can return to the work grind…. but not after the most amazing adventure of brand new territory! Other than Pittsburgh, everywhere on our trip will be brand new stops and discoveries…. which is huge for us because we have done some super cool trips in our time. To venture to new grounds is exciting! We can’t wait!

 

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Unschoolers Platform Giveaway!

Unschoolers Platform has SO MUCH GREAT TO CELEBRATE!

This coming year, February 2017 we are hosting the most fabulous keynote speakers! Pam Laricchia, Sue Wolfe Patterson, and Erika Davis-Pitre for an awe-inspiring week! Full of magic, inspiration and celebration!

The excitement is oozing from our pores so much so that we’d love to host an Early Bird registration giveaway!!! That is a FULL family registration giveaway!!! Enter NOW (with in the next 48 hours…. by Tuesday, June 14, 2016 at 5pm CST) and you will have a chance to win the family registration!

AND…. what’s more you ask?!?! You could have more than one entry to this giveaway! If you like/react to this post you will receive 1 entry for your family. If you comment in our FB group or closed page, you will receive 1 entry for your family. AND…. if you SHARE this post with friends, families or groups… receive 2 entries for your family! (And YES! If you share more than once, we will honor your shares per number of entries!)

AND…. YES, YES, YES…. do all three and you will receive four entries to the giveaway! What’s not great to celebrate about that!?

JOIN US! Have a blast! Find your tribe! Celebrate!

www.unschoolersplatform.com

 

UP_Early Bird Giveaway

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