Wednesday, March 20, 2019

2019: How can it be March already??

Warning: this will be a long post. However, in my defense, I had a few weeks of panic when an email from Google arrived with notification that their blogs were going to be deleted. I have done a little more research, and if I'm not wrong (fingers crossed) my blog will be okay because I don't use google+. Admittedly, I was pretty upset thinking that years of family events and memories would be deleted. Not to mention the panic I felt trying to figure out how to save it all! Fingers crossed and prayers are being said that we are still going to have a digital journal of family events for a while. In the meantime, I need to figure out how to back up what is on the blog.

Because time has gotten away from me, I am going to try to summarize the major events that have taken place so far this year. Thank goodness it isn't July!!

January - Family Christmas: The extended families had numerous obligations for work, school, and family; so, we opted to not hold our annual Christmas Eve family gathering until after the holidays.  We all met at the yellow house and enjoyed brisk weather, warm fire pits, laughing children, crazy dogs, catching up, games, and relaxation.

The girls' Christmas present was a trampoline. It was a little hard
to wrap so it ended up being covered with extra cardboard boxes
and "unwrapped" on the family work day.

Because the living room in the yellow house is really small, we
decided to spend time outdoors. Scott moved Miss Lippy to
the side of the drive way and we used the parking area
for a gathering place.  He had a last minute brainstorm
and built 2 7 ft. long tables and several 2-person benches
out of the old deck boards. They are perfect!! I just need
to give them a new coat of stain and they will
last us for years.  The changes in the parking/driveway
made to accommodate the 5th wheel gave us an
abundance of parking space.

We always have to go through some doggie adjustments
when the family gathers. Tico and Maya got along fine.
The rest of the boys in the pack needed some time to
acclimate to one another. But, the grand girls always
pick up right where they left off.

This year, we decided to eliminate adult gift exchanges and focus
on the kids. They got some interesting gifts this year: money,
journals, games, Hogwarts wands,
 and 400 dum-dum suckers!

I believe if they had been given a bag of rocks and sticks, they
would have been just as happy. They seem to thrive on the fresh
air and outdoor activities when they get together at the
yellow house.

To explain the 400+ dum-dums: Leslie & Rebecca's gifts for
the girls were delayed for one reason or another. Leslie wanted them to
have something to open so she made a mad dash to Sam's club
and bought gigantic bags of suckers!

Jamie and Ryan were so excited to see THAT surprise!  Actually,
they were really good sports about the sugar overload.

Family pics wouldn't be complete without Scott's weird face.
It's a good thing Seth hasn't picked up that habit. It still shocks
me to see Seth standing next to Scott and wondering if
he will be taller than him
the next time he comes over.

We were all joking that Uncle Scott will eventually become know
as Uncle Moneybags if he continues to use
 his spare change as gifts for the girls. 

Not one to let a reason to celebrate Christmas pass,
Jamie planned crazy gift opening games for the girls.

It consisted of trying your best to wrapping gifts wearing oven mitts.
It had to be opened before your partner rolled doubles. If not,
the give and mitts were passed to the next player.

She didn't leave out the adults. They got their share of frustration
trying to unwrap extremely well wrapped gifts.

I think it was more fun taking pictures and listening to them
than it would have been had I played as well.

G... no words.  If he wasn't sneaking inside to warm up, he was sleeping by
the fire pit.  he does not like being cold, smelling like smoke, or being
outside. But, he was there and didn't complain... at least not
to me! Now, Leslie might have gotten an ear full.

My handsome guy... Can't believe he is a senior!!!

Scott set up targets for a bit of shooting competition. We just used his
pellet gun and some paper targets 

Leslie was sent to get targets and only found these.  We
had to get a little creative and give points to who
hit closest to the bull's eye on each target.

Even the grands got to try out their skills.  Once
they figured out which eye to close and how to
put the stock near their shoulders, they did ok.

It really wasn't that loud. No idea why ears needed to be covered.
Maybe she was cold??

After numerous missed shots, Scott finally got out
his fancy shooting chair and the girls started
hitting the target.

January - February Winter Birthdays:  Leslie and Rebecca had their birthday in January and Seth had his in February. I didn't realize how neglectful I've become about taking pictures until I started looking through my pictures for this update. I had to scavenge pictures from everyone's Facebook pages. Needless to say, I need to start remembering my stupid camera when we get together!  Here is what I was able to find; not much but better than nothing!

The family decided to meet in Temple to celebrate Seth's 18th birthday.
It is a 2 1/2 hour drive for Leslie's family; an hour for Ryan's family;
35 min. drive for Becca from work; 40 drive for Seth from Gatesville; and 30
min drive for us from Killeen. Schedules were crazy at this time of
the year and we were determined to NOT put off this important
milestone for Seth.

He hasn't ever been too thrilled about getting his
picture taken. But, his aunts and mom were
relentless and got a pretty good shot of him.

He was even really good natured about the Roadhouse
birthday tradition. 

How can this sweet, gentle giant be 18?!?!?

Jamie has become the official baker for birthdays. She managed
to make a personal cake for Leslie...

another one for Rebecca...

and one for the family to enjoy. We are so
lucky to have her... the cakes are always

March - Granddaughter Sleep-over; Sophie's fund raiser; Family Camping: One of the things I noticed while we were at the Roadhouse was how much the girls miss each other. They were disappointed that we had to end birthday dinner so early and it was so hard for them to say good-bye. I decided to have their moms bring them to me for a weekend around their spring breaks. Unfortunately, their breaks weren't at the same time; they were back to back.  But, luckily it worked out. Depending on the day and hour, they had a great time, an ok time; and a not so good time. But, they managed to create lots of sweet memories. We played on the trampoline, colored, visited a local Rock and Roll Ice Cream Parlor, shopped for books at Barnes & Noble, had a visit from Aunt B, stayed up way too late, went to church, and ate a lot of junk food.

Uncle Scott and Poppy set up an outdoor table under
and awning because we had simply beautiful weather.
Too beautiful to stay inside for meals.

I love that the girls enjoy coloring. I'll admit that I'm a coloring
fan and cherish the time we spent coloring and chatting. 

The girls managed to fit on the new IKEA sleeper/sofa. But,
a couple of them have issues with gas so one of them
moved to the love seat in the middle of the night.

I managed to get a beautiful picture of the grand girls
with my feathered girls in the background.

Who can pass up a chance for a silly pic??

The trampoline was a rest spot, jumping spot, snacking spot,
and chatting spot. Still one of my smartest purchases ever!

March - Baking and Camping: During part of the Ft. Worth grands' spring break, Sophie needed to learn to make cinnamon rolls.  She was chosen to attend a leadership conference for a week. However, it will cost $1,000. Leslie wants her to earn as much of the fee as possible so she decided to sell cinnamon rolls to the school staff, Gerson's work associates, and their church family.  I drove up and spent a couple of days with them to teach her how to make them.  Sophie did an amazing job and worked so hard. Together we managed to get about half of her orders filled.  She finished up the orders once they went home after our camping trip.

Sophie learned how to use the bread machine to make her dough.
She used regular yeast for the first batch and it took forever.
Once we got the rapid rise yeast for bread machines, the
process went much more quickly.

Before long, she had two bread machines going at once
and didn't need any help at all.

Doesn't everyone need an apron this cute??
The socks really set off the outfit.
It's a shame she looks so serious.

We had originally planned to camp at Big Bend National Park. Unfortunately, the government shut down made it tough to get reservations in time. We ended up going to a local Corp of Engineers Park. It was okay, but quite a let down after planning on Big Bend.  Leslie, her girls, Scott, Ron and I went out early and got camp set up. Ryan, Jamie, and the twins joined us a couple days later. Rebecca came out and spent a day with us. It was cold but bearable and the girls had a great time.

The camp site we had backed up onto a huge, empty field.
The grands were able to play baseball, kick ball, horse shoes,
climb trees, and shoot off sky rockets. 

For some reason, the guys preferred to assume
the responsibilities of the spectator section.
However, Scott had a pretty good reason to sit around.
The brakes on Miss Lippy locked up on the way out.
He spent the first couple of days at camp working
on getting them in good working order again.

The nights and early mornings were pretty cold. However,
the afternoons warmed up beautifully. The girls were
able to remove several layers of clothing and got
plenty of exercise.

Unfortunately, there was only one hiking trail at the camp grounds.
We were only able to cover part of it because one loop was

The part that was cleared was fairly easy to walk, nice and wide,
and had a few really scenic areas perfect for pictures.

Like this one...

And this one...

and this one.

Any time spent with family around a camp fire and enjoying
nature fills my heart with joy and happiness.

Unfortunately, this camp out wasn't all joy and happiness.
We experience the sorrow only pet owners understand.
Crazy Hoss, Rebecca's bulldog, died while we were at camp.
He was eleven years old and we think his old heart
just gave out after a day of running, barking, and
being loved.  We will miss the crazy, sloppy guy.

Whew! The last time I got this far behind, I swore it wouldn't happen again. Never say never! Anyway, that's the last few months in a nutshell.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

RV living has been a long process... light at the end of the tunnel.

The last post I wrote about our move to full time RV living home addressed the site prep. Over the past couple of months, we have had one set back after another because of the weather.  But, I think I can safely say there is light at the end of the tunnel.  

What we have accomplished so far may not seem like much. But, like I said before, we have had horrible weather to work around. On the "done" side of the to-do list, we have:

1. The loop and RV pad both completed.
2. The additional parking and car port are in place in front of Scott's little barn.
3. The RV has been moved on site.
4. Our power drop is installed and the RV is hooked up.
5. After some trial and error, the furnace, water heater, and AC all appear to be working.
6. The fresh water tank is filled and the pump is working.
7. We have a portable honey wagon for dumping the black/gray/galley tanks. 
8. Most of our belongings are unpacked and in the RV.
9. Some remodeling (or customizing as Scott says) has started.
10. We are actually living in the RV!

Here are a few pictures and captions to give you an idea of what we've managed to get finished.

Getting the 5th wheel moved in was a challenge. It was sitting on top of a hill, at
the end of a dirt driveway with a very narrow gate. In addition, it was in Lott; which
is about an hour away on a winding country road. Luckily, Scott (who drives
big fire trucks all the time) was able to help Ron get it moved.
We had a bit of trouble getting into our gate and around the corner of the garage.
It is pretty clear we will need to widen the gate at some point. The 5th wheel got
dinged on the corner of the garage and Scott felt horrible about it.
He patched it up with a fiberglass patch kit for RV exteriors. We just need to get a
decal or something to put over it and you'll never know it happened. 

Scott rewired the garage and  put the 50 amp power outlet on the back side of it. He also put
in a 30 amp box for Miss Lippy. She will be our guest room when family
comes to visit. She is parked up next to Scott's barn right now but can easily be moved closer to
the power outlet when family visits.

Scott suggest he put a motion sensor light on the corner of the
garage so we can see if we need to walk into his
house after dark. I don't think he wanted to be awakened
in the middle of the night by his parents calling, "Help! I've fallen
and can't get up!" But really, he is quite thoughtful
and has been a Godsend!

We put some railroad cross ties along the edge of the
RV pad so the gravel won't constantly be
spreading into the back yard. We hope to go to a local mobile
home dealer and get a set of stairs to use when we
are home. The RV steps aren't bad, but getting groceries, etc. in
will be easier with better stairs. 

We put solar lights in the cross ties and along the back of the garage.
We also put down a path of paving stones to keep
the yard from getting a path; and,
to avoid tracking in mud when it rains.

Next, I'll try to explain what I have done inside. I still have a lot I would like to do, but need to make some decisions about the furniture first. I like the concept of the L shaped couch that converts to a bed. However, the bed is actually an air mattress and would have to be inflated each night and then deflated before the slide can come in. Crazy concept in reality. We figure we will look for a comfy recliner for Ron and I'll use the one that is already in the RV. Then, all we'll really need is an air mattress to put on the floor if any of the family travels with us. We wouldn't even have to deflate it when we travel because it could be placed on top of our mattress. 

I'm still torn about the ugly window treatment in the living area.  I would love to just put up curtains. However, the existing treatment does protect the edges of the blinds. I bought some fabric to recover the part that has the Granny brocade and I think I'll be happy with that. I'm just dragging my feet about tearing them all down. 

This is a picture of the kitchen before I started pulling off wallpaper
border and took down the window cornices.

There was a horrid wallpaper border all the way around the living
and kitchen area.  It wasn't hard to remove. I just got a little
carried away in a couple of places and pulled off
the wallpaper behind it. I have to figure out how to
fix that. There was a little of the sticky residue in a few places but
Goo-gone works wonders. 
Dining area before we removed 2 chairs and
turned the table and light fixture in the other direction.
The previous owner had covered the seats on 2 of the 4 chairs.
She had also painted the table top. I
like the color but I'm not sure I'll leave it that way.
I also found some cute farm scene fabric to recover the seats. We took
2 of the chairs to Goodwill. I hope we don't regret it. 

I've started covering the cornices in the sink area with duck
cloth. It was about the most neutral pattern I could find
since there is just so much going on with the furniture!

This is the stove area after the new back splash was up. Super easy to
do! I just hope it doesn't look too much like a 50's diner.

Scott laughed when he saw how much glass ware I had sitting out.
I kindly explained that as long as we are sitting still, it is our home and
I want the things that make me happy sitting out. When we travel, I'll
pack the glassware up and store it in the sewing room.

The previous owner loves purple. She had a beautiful comforter on the bed;
but, I wanted to use Mom's quilt. She didn't want it back; and, no one
in the family wanted it so I donated it. 

Luckily, she had already removed the RV cornices in the bedroom
and put up curtain rods. All I had to do was sew up some new ones
with fabric that matches the quilt.
I couldn't part with my National Guard clock so it sits in
the bedroom. I just had to turn off the chimes. All of this will
have to be stored when we travel. For now, it makes me happy
to have a few special photographs sitting out.

I recovered the head board to match the valances and pillow cases.
But, I haven't attached it to the wall yet. I'm leaning
towards removing it all together. I may paint the
wall in the slide out a bright, happy color instead.

Things we still need to do:
1. Get water run to the back of the garage so we can hook up directly. (On the
positive side of this, we are getting some boon docking practice.)
2. Buy more support blocks to get the RV completely level.
3. Ensure the water leak around the bedroom slide is indeed because of not being completely level. If not, get it fixed.
(During recent rain storms, we found a damp spot on the floor on the downhill side of 
the bedroom slide. Until we figure out exactly where the water is getting in, we pull in the slide when it rains and haven't had any other damps spots.) 
4. Continue to remodel the interior so it feels more like home.
5. Set up some sort of tool storage in the basement of the RV.
6. Organize the office area inside the RV.
7. Replace the uncomfortable RV furniture.
8. Downsize to a smaller storage rental.
9. ... and numerous other things I can't think of right now.

While all of this has been going on, Ron and I are getting our annual preventive health care out of the way.  We figure we won't travel during the winter months because neither of us like snow. Besides, winter is filled with holidays that we want to spend with family. So between mammograms, dental and eye appointments, colonoscopies, check-ups, etc. we have been really busy. Sometimes it seems like time is dragging and we'll never hit the road. However, I feel we will be more successful if we take care of every little thing before hand.  
As we continue to settle in, remodel, and figure out this new lifestyle, I'll provide further updates. 
Thanks for letting me share this crazy journey with you!