Friday, April 29, 2011

A Month for the Record Books


April 2011 will definitely go down in the record books.  We are still technically one day away from the end of the month and according to Accuweather, it is “likely to set record for [the] most tornadoes.”  This fact has affected me personally in a couple of ways.  First, while living in Virginia we were all forced to the basement because there was a tornado warning for the area (a first for my kids).  Second, shortly after leaving Virginia we ended up racing a particularly bad storm out the state of Georgia (and we got out only hours before it hit the area we had been in).  It was nothing too serious there, but who wants to drive a 38 ft camper through torrential rains and wind?  Not us!

On a more personal note, this month will go down in our family’s record book, because we’ve had a lot going on.  We finally made the plunge and “moved” South in our camper this month.  Both of my kids learned to ride their bikes without training wheels this month.  And yesterday, my son learned how to swim without his life jacket!!!  My daughter is hoping to work on her swimming skills tomorrow, so there is even a chance she will be swimming without her life jacket in April too.

And of course, the primary reason we left Virginia when we did… so we could view the Endeavor shuttle launch scheduled for today.  Unfortunately, that will not be happening in April (it was postponed till May 2 at the earliest).  I guess that’s something for the record book in May.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Never Forgotten... Always Loved

Today is a bitter sweet day for me.  With the exception of a few months where I lived in New York for a summer job (where I meet my hubby) and again for 3 months when I lived in Ohio last summer, I have lived the last 27 years of my life in Virginia.  I have lived in multiple houses, but all within about a 50 mile radius.

Today, all of that is changing.  We are officially moving out of the area.  We are still not sure where we will ultimately settle down; at this point we're thinking it could be Florida, Texas, or Australia.

This is exciting because we are one step closer to having our own place again.  The time of living in limbo is drawing to a close.  It's also an opportunity to find a new house and decorate it.  We sold or gave away all of our household furnishings last year, so I get to start from scratch (and let me tell you my tastes have changed a lot since my wedding registry).  I will also be able to make new friends, and depending on where we move, get reacquainted with ones I haven't seen in years.

On the flip side, I will be leaving behind friends I've made over the years as well as most of our immediate family.  I remember when I graduated from high school a certain song was my mantra.  For all my friends and family that I'm "leaving behind" I dedicate this to you.

Friends by Deborah D. & Michael W. Smith

Packing up the dreams God planted
In the fertile soil of you
Can't believe the hopes He's granted
Means a chapter in your life is through
But we'll keep you close as always
It won't even seem you've gone
'Cause our hearts in big and small ways
Will keep the love that keeps us strong

And friends are friends forever
If the Lord's the Lord of them
And a friend will not say never
'Cause the welcome will not end
Though it's hard to let you go
In the Father's hands we know
That a lifetime's not too long to live as friends.

With the faith and love God's given
Springing from the hope we know
We will pray the joy you'll live in
Is the strength that now you show

But we'll keep you close as always
It won't even seem you've gone
'Cause our hearts in big and small ways
Will keep the love that keeps us strong

And friends are friends forever
If the Lord's the Lord of them
And a friend will not say never
'Cause the welcome will not end
Though it's hard to let you go
In the Father's hands we know
That a lifetime's not too long to live as friends.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Inaugural Run

Sorry this is late in coming, but things have been a bit hectic the last few days.  You see, we actually did it.  We packed up the camper and hit the road.  We left Northern Virginia on Friday, April 22 and headed South.  Granted we only went 80 miles or so, but it was our inaugural run and we were spending Easter weekend in the Richmond area with family.

There was a bit of rain and wind, so that set my nerves on edge a bit at first.  As we got further and further down the road, I got more and more comfortable.  Parking was quite easy considering how long the camper / truck combo is and that it was almost dark.  Unfortunately, we had a malfunction while trying to unhook the camper from the truck, so family had to rescue us and take us to get a part to help us unhook.  Of course, I'm thankful that we didn't go so far away that we didn't have that option.

The last few days have been spent visiting with family, but today the grandparents are going to take the kids for the day so that hubby and I can fix a few more issues with the camper that we've found now that we're living in it.

Tomorrow, we will be off yet again, heading even further South.  All in all, I can't complain about our inaugural run.  Glad it was short, and glad there is family in the area to help us work through some of the issues we've found. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Countdown has Begun

If things go according to plan, we will be leaving Northern Virginia on Friday afternoon.  We have a few more things to do but we're confident we can get them done before we leave.

Our trip is starting out pretty low key.  We will visit family in Southern Virginia for Easter weekend and then we will proceed to Florida.  This trip is exciting for numerous reasons.  1.  It means the next stage of our lives is beginning.  Hopefully, the life of being a nomad is about over.  2.  We are going to be heading South, which means we will get to be warm even first thing in the morning.  My kids and I love being outside and being South will allow that to happen more.  Hubby has been complaining about VA temps for YEARS.  In fact, he wears flannel till the temps go over 70 or 80 degrees.  Perhaps now, I will see him in flannel less and maybe even shorts on occasion (that doesn't happen unless the temps are over 90).  And 3.  We have booked a campsite in Florida near Kennedy Space Center which will allow us to see the shuttle launch without having to steak a claim somewhere hours before the launch.

Just like the shuttle, we've had a few delays of our own.  In fact we found an issue last night, but it can be overcome.  I'm going to miss Northern Virginia, because it's where I've spent almost all of my life.  It's where most of my friends still live.  But I've found that those times that I've gone out of my comfort zone have been tough at first, but well worth the leap of faith.  So T- minus 65 hours.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Out of the Nest

This weekend has been filled with pride and joy, but seeing my babies spread their wings has been bitter-sweet.  You see, over the last 4 days, both of my kids have learned to ride their bikes without training wheels!  My son has turned into a speed demon.  My daughter is still a bit tentative, but I don't see that lasting for more than a week. 

Besides the joy of watching my children reach this milestone, I also got to watch my husband teach them to ride a bike in a way I'd never heard of before.  I had made a feeble attempt to get them to ride in the yard.  After running into a swing, a tree stump, and some plants, hubby came to the rescue.  He took my son to the cul de sac in front of the house and used a variation on a method he used when he was a kid.

It worked like a charm.  My son was riding like a pro in only 2 hours and after only 4 hours my daughter is now riding for up to 20 seconds at time. 
video
 Where has the time gone?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Decisions, Decisions

I think it's safe to say it's official... I have decided to homeschool again next year.  Yes, I debated it.  You see, I like having some time to myself and since I've started homeschooling I haven't really gotten much of that.  In fact, I haven't been able to get to the gym in about a year (which I REALLY miss).

I've also been talking with my husband and he would like me to continue to teach the kids and he's even agreed to watch the kids more so I can get more alone time.  We're both of the opinion that I can do as good a job, if not better, than the school system (especially since I can give one-on-one attention and I also know the way my children learn best).  I also don't HAVE to work to make money.  If I had the kids in school all day, I'd be BORED out of my mind, so... 


I'm also wondering if part of the reason I'm willing to do this is because it gives me a greater opportunity to prove my organizing abilities.  This last year was kind of a seat-of-the-pants kind of thing.  Next year, I'm going to be ON TOP of things.  I've already begun to get all my curriculum together so I can start planning as soon as we're done with "this year." 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Weekend Joy

I think it's safe to say that everyone in the family had a wonderful weekend. On Friday, my younger brother went skydiving for the second time.  What made this special was that even though he was diving tandem (attached to someone else) he's been working as a parachute packer for long enough that the dive instructor let him track the altimeter and determine when to open the chute.  It was also special because he ended up diving through hail.  Not something he chose to do mind you, but certainly something many people can't claim to have done.  As proof, he's looked like he has measles ever since (it is going away slowly though). 

My father, husband, and son had a blast attending a robot competition on Saturday. Not only were they able to watch the competition, but my son was able to drive a small robot for a while and they were also able to talk to some of the competitors about the work they did.  They even found out that my son can join a team in 2 years (he's VERY excited)!


My mom, daughter and I had a good time while the guys were gone on Saturday playing games, going to the book store (my daughter LOVES books), and McDonald's playground. I also learned that my daughter likes to help in the kitchen with more than just baked goods.  Bonus to that: she tasted a food she's refused in the past because she helped make it. Score 1 for Mommy!

Today, the weather started out a bit gloomy and colder, but by mid-afternoon things had warmed up a bit.  Hubby ended up working on the camper and the kids spent hours outside playing with a homemade parachute (inspired by their uncle of course).  Tomorrow's weather looks like it will be even better, so I'm sure we will be out there with the parachutes and working on the camper yet again.  And I'm looking forward to it.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Wish Granted

Today, temperatures in Northern Virginia were over 80.  Needless to say, this makes staying in the area through Easter a bit more appealing.  If only it would last more than just today... rain and 50's expected tomorrow.