Thursday, August 27, 2015

Homeschooling On The Go

Off on another adventure.  Dad came across an incredible hitch model that makes bumper towing more like fifth wheel towing, which is safer, easier and more comfortable.  Only problem is? It's a $2000 hitch.  We decided it would be worth it to have a safer drive and comfier ride. (Especially since we are both towing newbies).

I was reading a blog about the hitch and came across the idea of buying used... Duh! Our truck is used, our trailer will be used, why wouldn't our hitch be used?  The best news of all? There was a practically brand new-used hitch for half of retail value in Kansas City! That's only 2 1/2 hours away! (Which is considered close in the Midwest BTW.)

So here we are on road trip #2 three days after we have started homeschooling 3 year old AJ.  So we took our lessons on the road. Which is actually the whole reason we decided against mainstream schooling. The flexibility is awesome with homeschooling. Today we learned about God creating Adam and Eve and trees and water.  AJ picked up right away excitedly pointing out all the trees along the road.

Another lesson today was the number zero. Which is a harder concept to teach than you think. Any other number is, "count how many rocks". But you can't count 0 rocks. So with AJ's obsession of trains, every time we saw an empty train track I would ask "How many trains do you see on the train track?" His response is usually, "No trains." So it gives me the perfect opportunity to explain zero!

With that being said, it's a little scary how easy homeschooling has seemed to be so far... I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop to make homeschooling more challenging, which I expect around December 12th.  But hey! It's just another adventure with the Wandering Whitehursts!
AJ hard at work!

*if anyone is interested, look up Hensley Arrow hitch on YouTube*

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

De-Stuff

The closer we get to a decision on Dad's career the antsier I get to live in this RV.  About a month ago Dad and I drove to/from Dallas while listening to a book on tape by Marie Kondo on the Japanese art of tidying.
About a week later I took every article of my wardrobe (winter, summer, and maternity) and dumped it into a pile in my living room. *see photo.  I separated the clothes into 2 piles. One, as Marie would say, gave me joy, while the other did not. It wasn't about what I have or haven't worn recently it was about being happy with every article of clothing I owned.

Guess what? Before this sorting I could only fit one of the three wardrobes mentioned above in my closet/dresser at a time. Now I could fit all 3 wardrobes at once!  It felt good! It was like getting rid of this weight I didn't even know was there. I donated 6 large garbage bags of clothing! 6! It's been over a month now and there isn't a single article of clothing that I miss. And every day I wear something that I truly like.

I consider this the beginning of my process to living with less and finding contentment in it.


AJ taking my picture before the sorting began.

The "no joy" pile

My 'helper', LJ

Donations!!
Before this would only be one of the seasonal wardrobes, now it has my winter, summer and maternity wardrobes all together.


My beautifully organized drawers!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Our First Wandering

Who knew our first Wandering Whitehurst adventure would begin before we even owned our trailer? 
We currently drive a small sedan and a midsize SUV. Combined, these two vehicles can tow about 6000 pounds. You may not realize this, but very few families of four would ever consider living in an RV much less one that weighs less than 6000 pounds. So we identified our new desired tow vehicle and went to work searching for it.  Unfortunately everyone else wants this same vehicle as well.

After missing out on 3 vehicles to other faster, more risk taking buyers, we found our target.  The owner promised he wouldn't sell it out from under us while it was being inspected, as a different seller had done. I received the call from the auto shop regarding the inspection and felt a big green light to buy. The only problems? It was 8 hours away in Indiana, Dad had a full schedule of shifts coming up, shipping was going to cost us $800 and 2 weeks, and LJ (15 months old) and I were sick with colds. How could we get this vehicle in our possession before a better offer came up?  Well, you throw 2 days worth of clothing in a suitcase, rent a cheap car, transfer 2 car seats over, pack a ton of snacks and an iPod with cartoons on it (yes we are the only people on planet earth that do not own a tablet), purchase certified checks and try to get out of town. Crazy? Absolutely! But don't ever try to stop a determined pregnant women from buying the truck of her dreams. 
So here I am sitting between my two baby boys as they sleep peacefully in the back of our brand new to us 2001 Ford Excursion Diesel in the middle of nowhere Illinois... Or Indiana... Or Iowa after a combined 12 hours of driving with about 4 more to go. But she is beautiful! With low miles and a beast of an engine with towing capacity of up to 10000 pounds I am one happy, tired and sick Mama.

The irony of the situation has just hit me. In the process of "downsizing" we have just purchased the largest SUV on the market which dwarfs our current 7 passenger SUV. So we have dubbed her "BB". We are undecided if it's for Black Beast or Black Bear. But as 3 year old AJ would say, " I like my car because she is loud. Very very loud vrooom, vrooom!"



P.S. On our way home we got the chance to stay with Jon's second family from childhood in Iowa for a few days. We got to visit a dairy farm where the boys learned about the entire process from bottle feeding baby cows to making butter.

In The Beginning...

Our adventures begin, not as you would expect but with an adventure in downsizing. Let me back up a bit. About 2 years ago, my husband ("Dad") and I started thinking about upcoming changes in our life.  We were beginning the waiting process of new orders with the Navy.  We knew that if Dad stayed on his current career path as a Naval flight officer, his next assignment would be on an aircraft carrier, deployed for about half the length of his 2 year assignment. We mutually decided this was not where we saw our family going.  So we started searching other options. Dad started pursuing a transfer into human resources while also considering the option of becoming a civilian.  This brought up even more questions. What did he want to do for work? Where would we want to do it? How could we financially set our selves up to be prepared to buy another home with as small of a mortgage as possible, if any? As Dad started attending career fairs and seminars he started finding his interests and passions and pursuing leads in the local area as practice for when it was time to really set our sights on what would come next. 

So where did we want to go? We've always considered the southeast, but the southeast is a large area and we were stumped as to how to randomly pick a place and decide to call it home no matter how much research we could do.  I remember one day Dad brought up the idea of living in an rv so we could "sample" areas we might consider for our new home. At first I thought he was crazy, but something started to change in me at this time.  I began to realize I had a dependence on stuff.  I would go to the store for a new dress and come home with 5 new decor pieces. Come to find out ceramic centerpieces are not practical with toddlers.  I began to look around and see all of our excess cluttering every available space in our modest 750 square foot home.  Everyday I was faced with anxiety about where things should go and why it seemed I could never get rid of the clutter. And then it dawned on me. I have to get rid of this stuff. I want to become less dependent on stuff and more content with less. And then the craziest idea entered my mind. You have to have less stuff if you live in an RV. And so began the idea that has started to take shape in our lives as our "dream" of living in an RV full time.