random notes and chit chat from the insanity of our life

Peek into our life and see how crazy it can get with 6 kids, homeschooling, sewing, and now farming. We're in our first year on the land, and entertaining the world with what we don't know. By the grace of God, we're learning, day by day, so pull up a chair and laugh with us!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Catching up!!

Calico Ghost Town
So, we left Bakersfield and headed up 58 to something we had just heard about a couple nights before.  Calico Ghost Town, near Yermo, CA.  Wow, well worth the stop.  One night at their campground, which was just ok, but the ghost town itself was great.
We got there mid afternoon, and went up to the ghost town as soon as we were set up.  Tons of old buildings, some original to the town, some not, all restored beautifully.  A tour through a real mine (wish it was longer, but it was great anyhow.  A  place to pan “gold” (fools gold of course, lol).  A mystery shack, which, cool though it was, I’ll probably never do again.  I got SO sick in there.  I get carsick too, badly, so maybe it’s related…?  We had sodas in the saloon…some great sodas, in real glass bottles.  I loved my Shirley Temple soda, and Mariahs Dodge City Sasparilla was a real hit.  Both made with real cane sugar!
The kids also got to do leather stamping projects in the saddlery, for only about $2 each for the leather.  And some of the shops had some great stuff! Hard to leave, but it closes at 5, so leave we did.
After a good nights sleep, we went back up after breakfast.  Rode the train, and went into the woodworking shop, which was full of some of the best stuff ever.  Wooden toys…iron “bar puzzles”…tons of great stuff.  I really would like Steve to make me a picnic gear carrier like I saw.  For eating outside on the patio, it carries 3 bottles (ketchup and the like), paper plates, a paper towel roll, etc, with a nice handle for easy transport.  Really loved that! 
Then, it was time to go, though I suspect Lee would have stayed forever if he could.  Especially in the mine, which was Tonys favorite place.  Mariah loved the mystery shack (I was the only one to get queasy!)  Lee loved the leatherworking (may have to get him some leatherworking stuff eventually).  Sasha lovedit all, and Megan really enjoyed the shop selling the leather jackets and such, for the smell!

Needles, CA
Last stop in CA! 
Well, on the way to Needles, we lost our alternator, about 80 miles west of Needles.  Man, there is NOTHING out there!  NOTHING!  Even the rest stops were closed!!  But we made it to Needles, to our campground, and got set up anyhow.  Got a new alternator the next day, in Fort Mojave, AZ, and discovered that the prices were SO MUCH CHEAPER over the border!  Wow.  Total sticker shock at how much cheaper, especially the gas.  Did some grocery shopping, drove through Bullhead City, AZ and Laughlin, NV, and did a LOT of swimming for a few days.
The kids are really getting into swimming.  Mariah swims underwater.  Lee and Tony jump in and go under, and Sasha even dunked her head before we left the last day.  The only one NOT in the water is Jack.  He’ll put his feet in once in a while, but that’s it.  Not interested at all.  But he doesn’t complain about the life vest, so that’s fine.
Best of all was the daytrip (afternoon trip? Lol) to Oatman, AZ.  Old gold mining town on old Route 66.  They havea gunfight, which was cute, at least once a day (twice when the weather isn’t too hot), lots of cute shops (more Sasparilla, yum!), and best of all, wild burros roaming the streets!!  Seriously!  Some of the shops sell burro feed, so we fed, and petted, and fell in love.  One of them tried to steal the bag with Steves new t-shirt, lol!  Lots of great pics there. 

Flagstaff, AZ
So we left Needles about 7pm, after 3 days.  Nice place, would go there again, but preferably when it’s not so stinking hot!  Left at night to drive in the cooler weather to Flagstaff.  Good choice.  That heat, plus the climb in elevation, while pulling a large RV can be tough on the van.  This was perfect.  We left Needles about 7pm, at 92 degrees approx.   got to Flagstaff about 1115 pm…at about 44 degrees!  What a shock, lol!!!  Pulled into Camping World for the night, and went to sleep.
Morning came, and we got what we needed at Camping World (would NOT recommend that one!  Not thrilled with them), then off to Walmart for some groceries, Jiffy Lube for an oil change, and Bashas for produce.  Nice prices, and those cantelopes look delicious!  Looking forward to dinner!

Winslow, AZ
So, weleft Flagstaff, and after another hour or so drive, we got to Winslow, AZ.  Yes, such a fine sight to see…  Need to take some pics of the kids at “Standing on a corner” park downtown before we leave.  Homolovi State Park found, we parked, hooked up, had a late lunch and then went to the visitor center. 
The rangers are VERY friendly and helpful.  We bought some inexpensive field guides to Southwestern snakes, insects, poisonous creatures and cactus.  Lee is obsessed with cacti!  We have already identified one of the ones near the visitor station, as well as the 3.5 foot gopher snake we saw.  Looking forward to seeing the ruins tomorrow, and hoping the wind dies down some.  It’s nasty!  But the ruins look awesome, and I’d hate for the kids to miss that. 
Saturday morning came, bright and sunshiny early.  Not much of a morning person, lol.  But we got up and moving anyhow!  After breakfast, we headed out to Homolovi II, one of the ruins here.  Wow, it was really spectacular!  Something about holding pottery shards that were made and used by people approximately 1000 years ago…  Tony was in love with it, too.  He just kept moving around yelling “Mama!  Pottery! More pottery!”  The rangers had encouraged us to let the kids climb, go in and out of the ruins of the house, handle all the pottery shards they liked…  Just don’t take any with us.  We gave Tony a quick pat down before getting in the car, to be safe, lol.
Next was into town, for a Native American art and dance festival.  Sadly, we didn’t get to see any dancing, but the art was fabulous, and there was a newsletter about the Petrified Forest, which prepared us for what we wanted to do the next day.  After taking the kids home, I ran back to do some laundry at the Laundromat.  Then after dinner, we capped off the day with a drive to the Little Painted Desert state park.  It’s a spot where you can see out into the Little Painted Desert, and as promised, it was spectacular at sunset!  You can’t see it during the drive, and you turn into the park…still can’t see it…drive to the parking area and there it is.  Incredible.  I made the kids stay in the car, as it’s rather steep, but they got a good view from where I parked, and I got some wonderful pics. 
Sunday was the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert.  Not too bad a drive from Winslow, and lots to see on the way.  We saw a motel that’s all teepees (the kids thought it was the Cozy Cone from Cars, lol!), and lots of dinosaur statues, as well as the Cholla power plant, which is coal fired.  Neat to see.
The Petrified Forest and Painted Desert were awesome.  Again, lots of great pictures.  The museum was neat, and just seeing and touching all those amazing things God made…  wow.  I don’t even know any other word but wow.  He is so amazing.
Tomorrow is Memorial Day, and it's early to rise, pack and go.  It’ll be quite a drive to Albuquerque, where I’ll finally have internet, I hope, and can post all this, lol.  Looking forward to wifi…a swimming pool…a playground…  Not sure what we’ll do, or if we’ll just hang out and relax for a day or two.  Either way, it’s another adventure!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

On the road, week one!

So, it's Saturday, the 18th, and we left on Friday the 10th.  Didn't have much internet at Yosemite, so haven't posted lately.  Let's catch up!
Friday, we wanted to leave around lunchtime, but it took a lot longer to get ready than we expected.  Pulled out about 2.  The drive to Yosemite should have taken 3 hours...ended up about 5 or so, lol.  Never having been there, neither of us expected the steep drive up that would make us crawl, and stop over and over, pulling off to let the van cool.  But we made it, and it was WELL worth it!  Yosemite was amazing.
We planned to leave there Monday, but ended up extending our stay to Thursday.  It was just so gorgeous, and the campground was great, and we had nowhere to be, lol.  We did several short hikes, saw the history center, the big trees at Mariposa Grove, all sorts of stuff.  It was just wonderful.  We took tons and tons of pics, which I still need to figure how to get off the phones, lol.  And videos and pics on the video cam, too.
We went actually into Yosemite 4 days, and spent a lot of time relaxing at the campground, too.  The kids rode bikes, waded in the river, sorted what they believe to be gold out of the sand on the banks...
Definitely somewhere we plan to return to someday!
Highlights of Yosemite...seeing Steves face as he saw Half Dome.  Lee falling in the water after being warned the rocks were slippery (one of those scary at the time, funny now things).  Lee and Sasha learning to ride their bikes WELL at the campground, and loving it.  The amazing pictures in the Ansel Adams gallery (Steve and I went alone to that, lol!!).  Watching the butterflies land on Megans toenail polish down by the river.  Jack loved the shuttle buses.  Sasha loved the history center, with the old cabins and homesteads.  Tony says his favorite part was camping, and Lee loved the tunnel tree in Mariposa Grove (got some great pics!).  Mariah says the waterfalls and rivers were here favorite part.
Then, Thursday, we left Yosemite.  Again, took it very slowly down the hill, so that we didn't overheat the brakes...or go sliding off an edge, lol.  Between that, and the slower speed on the freeways for towing, what mapquest said was a 4 hour drive to Bakersfield turned into 7-8 hours, but we made it here.  Not without a casualty, though.  Our bike rack on the back bumper overweighted the bumper and bent, so we lost a bike.  Have been in Bakersfield since, repairing the bumper and reinforcing it.  Should be leaving tomorrow, it seems.  But the kids are loving the pool, and today the park had a bounce house set up, so it's been fine.
Hopefully, I will have better internet most of the time now, so I can update better.  Sorry for the quick overview, but I've been by the pool all day with the kids, and need to start dinner now while they shower.  Keep it rubber side down, everyone!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Following Him.

For the last 2.5 years, we've been blessed with this amazing experience.  A farm, 10 acres of green to roam, to grow things, to enjoy.  We raised a steer, who is now in the freezer.  We raised chickens, for both meat and eggs.  Ducks, turkeys, guinea fowl.  Goats and sheep, and horses...because what kid doesn't want a horse?  And it's been awesome.  We've loved it.
So when I tell people we're moving, invariably they ask "Why?"  "If you love it, why leave?".  Well, because it's time.  God said so.  He made it very very clear that He has something different planned now, and I have to trust that His plans are greater than mine. 
Because I DID have plans.  3 months ago, we were planning where to put the fences, to keep the chickens out of the garden.  I was poring over seed catalogs.  And I was waiting anxiously for the VBS emails to start!  I do love VBS.  And then...it became glaringly obvious that Steves health was getting worse.  And one day...he said "I can't keep doing this".  And I'd been waiting for that for years, and seeing it coming faster and faster for the last months, and yet it was a shock in some ways.  Suddenly, this enormous change that we had always talked about as "someday" was "now".  "NOW"!! 
And so, we're following Him.  Clinging to the knowledge that He has gone before us, and laid His plans, and that He has something else awesome planned for us.  Because He always has.  2.5 years ago, when it became glaringly obvious that we were going to lose the house, I broke down in tears.  "Why, God?  We had it so good here!".  And He let me mourn, and blessed us with something even better.
And just over 7 years ago, we were told that Steve would probably never walk or work again, and DEFINITELY never have children again.  And not only did God let him walk and work again, but He has blessed us with 2 more adorable miracles since then!!
So I know that He will give us His best, which is all I can ever want.  And yet, I don't think He minds us mourning, either.  Because it's hard to let go of the future in my head, you know?  And yet, I'm not losing anything, because I'm winning so much.  I'm anxious to get started on this adventure He has for us, and see what awesome gifts He has planned!  I have already seen so many...a huge lessening of Steves stress.  His ability to really interact with the children again, since he's less stressed, and less exhausted.  Friends, old friends and new, coming to lift us and carry us and help us through. 
Walk with us through this journey, and we'll see what He has planned, and you can share in the rejoicing, ok?  And maybe some mourning along the way.