Monday, July 28, 2014

Our 1st Camping Trip in the Trailer!! (Pic Heavy!)

We went on our first camping trip in our trailer a few weeks ago!  It was actually MY idea.  Yes, I am over not liking the trailer and not wanting to go on our year long trek.  God has restored my joy ( and impatience!).  I am feeling much better in my pregnancy so I am sure that helps my mental status too.

Thank You Jesus!!!



Daddy and Little Miss ( and a dolly)

It is so great to be able to just bring everything you need along with you in a trailer( especially when potty training)!  I have only tent camped before so this was really nice with 5 kids!  


Snuggle Bug catching lightening bugs




Princess and Little Miss snuggling after a long, fun day.




On our 2nd night at the campground we had a really bad storm come through at 1:30am.  We knew some storms were coming so we signed up for text alerts before we hit the hay.  We got an alert and I jumped up to check the TV stations.  We watched for a couple of minutes and it was nearly right on us and the main thing was 70-80 mph winds...that can easily topple and throw a trailer around

.  I said we had to decide whether to jump in the truck and head 5 minutes to my mom's place to take shelter or to go to the bathroom/shower building right next to us.  I quick woke up the kids as calmly as I could,"You have to wake up, quickly please.  Stay calm, but there is a storm coming and you need to get your shoes on NOW, we have to go."  Yeah, they were pretty freaked out. lol 

  It wasn't more than 5-10 minute after we got the text that the storm hit.  I grabbed diapers and wipes and that was it. We decided to go to my mom's but as we slid open the sliding doors the 75/80 mile an hour winds hit us full in the face along with the stinging sheets of rain.  We just had to yell,"RUN!" and head to the shower house.  Bubba didn't even have his shoes on, Princess lost a flip flop in our mad dash. The lights went out as soon as we got to the building which only increased the panic( not to mention the flexing of the metal roof).  There were others taking shelter in the building too, women wrapped in blankets to cover themselves, men in just their PJ pants holding children.  There ended up being 2 tornadoes in the area and lots of lots of straight line wind damage.

Below and above are just a couple of the many many trips the grounds keepers made that next morning  trying to clean up the snapped trees and limbs. They had to saw some downed trees in pieces and haul away.  We were right between 2 trees but praise God our trailer stayed put and so did the trees!

Our power was out till the next morning and for a family that cannot sleep with out the sound of a fan, that was TOUGH. 



Hubby chillin


This pic does not do the apple cobbler justice.  The black is just the bottom of the pan through the liner BTW.  I did it in the dutch oven and it was soooo good.  It was a pinterest find.  I will put more apples in it next time though.


We also tried making eclairs over the fire.  We made these stick called 'dough boys'.  It is just a thin dowel for the stick part and then a bigger dowel that Hubby cut and drilled a hole in and stuck on the end of the smaller dowel. That way the dough gets spread out more and cooks through.  I would love to claim the idea, but again, found it on pinterest! 



After you wrap the crescent roll around the stick and cook it till golden brown, you then put vanilla pudding inside and smear chocolate frosting on top.  I really tried to have us eat as healthy as possible on our trip, but you got to make some exceptions ;)  

Because what is camping with out smores? I did use organically made, minimally processed graham crackers at least though! lol  And yes, they taste exactly like the regular, chemical/preservative laden kind ;)


Little Miss LOVED being outside all the time-and it showed!  It was great having a bath right in the trailer. 

I am proud to say that as a camping girl growing up and then as a scout leader for my daughter for 8 years, I cooked every meal over the fire!  (go me, go me)   Even though I had a perfectly good kitchen in the trailer. Above is a pic of our fave meal of biscuits and gravy over the fire. 

Here was our meal list

Breakfasts:
Eggs, Bacon and Toast( everyone was astounded that toast can be made over the fire LOL)
Pancakes and sausage
Biscuits and Gravy 
Cinnamon Rolls
( oh I did use the oven for this on our last morning because we didn't have time to make a fire)

Lunches:
1st day arrival was just quick sandwiches as Hubby got the trailer set up
Walking Tacos 
Hot dogs
We allowed everyone to get something from the concession stand the one day


Dinners:
Pizza Roll ( from scratch not the frozen kind)
Foil Packet Dinners
Pork Burgers

Desserts:
Banana Boats
Eclairs
Smores
Apple Cobbler

And we had 1 more dinner that I cannot recall for the life of me!

With meals and for snacks( though we were never hungry for snacks!), we had fruits and veggies and some chips like pirates booty and Stacey's Pita Chips( I LOVE the parmesan garlic ones!)



The campground also had mini golf that we did and we picked the hottest day of our entire stay to do it.  But I still beat the Hubby!  I also conquered this course after last being there when I was 6 years old.  I fell into one of the water hazards and have been traumatized every since.  I am glad to report they have filled those in with rocks now so no other child has to go through that ;)

The 1st part of the week was hot and the last 1/2 we were in pants and sweatshirts.  That's weather in the midwest for you though.

We did have some learning experiences.  Our sewer hose didn't fit but we were blessed with a couple next to us who were just leaving and gave us a brand new hose.

Then we got the water hooked up and it started pouring out from somewhere under the bathroom.  This was very disappointing as this was all suppose to be inspected and in good shape when we bought the trailer.  It ended up being a cracked cap and we were able to replace it.

We couldn't get our hot water heater to work.  We could hear it trying to ignite the pilot but it never would.  Our other neighbor said to try using sand paper on the connectors and that worked.

Our living room slide would not go out when we 1st got there which was very problematic because when the slide is in we can't get into our pantry.  After calling a couple people and looking things up on the internet Hubby finally got it working though.

I have a list of some things I would like to get for organization and storage after staying in the camper for week.  You can't really get a good feel for what is needed until you are i there living for a bit.

We really had a great time and didn't want to leave.  We hope to camp again for an extended weekend later this month at another campground( we want to try a bunch out).  We have even talked about staying for a couple weeks at a campground and just having hubby commute to work.  We may still do this actually...

We are still trying to sell our 1/2 ton truck to get a 1 ton 15 passenger van to haul the trailer on our own.  For now, Hubby's uncle let us borrow his pick up.  We are going to be getting a sway bar and stabilizer bar.  We already had this all researched out( lots of mathematical configurations to figure out what is needed-YAWN) but hadn't been in any rush to purchase them because we didn't have anything to tow the trailer with anyhow.  

Some newbies enter into the RV world without researching anything about GVWR's, dry weights, cargo loads,curb weight,  tongue/hitch weight, etc etc etc and that can mean major trouble.  I mean, life threatening trouble.  I recommend rv.net forums to talk to people who have been there, done that.  They really helped me in figuring out things, especially with so much math involved, acronyms to decipher and getting it all straight and knowing weight balance and how to figure it all up.  I just gave them all our #'s before we bought our RV( no sense in buying a trailer we can't tow safely) and the forum community helped to give me the formula's to figure out everything else and pointed me in the right direction for vehicles( this is really tricky because we have so many people in our car that we have to figure into #'s), tongues and weight distribution systems(WDS) that can handle the right percentage of weight to balance the load up front which should be 10-15% ( extremely important with a big trailer like ours and people often miss this crucial fact), etc 

Perhaps with a small trailer all this isn't as big of a deal or if you are just staying local.  But with a large trailer and the fact that we will eventually be traveling cross country, it is a matter of utmost importance to do the research and know exactly what you need to tow safely- for both you and the other people on the road.

I will do a future post about all that and what exactly we are getting and what factors into deciding what is needed.

But I have already bored you enough with the technical side of towing an RV!

I leave you with a couple videos of our camping trip
( and yes, i realize I need to still post pics of our trailer inside and out!)


video



Many Blessings,
The Mama







Monday, July 14, 2014

The Baby is a....

video




So the reveal didn't quite go as planned.  We were so afraid that everything would fall out of  the box too early we unwittingly made it too hard to actually open.  Oops!  Oh well.  


I had a big empty box in the attic that we covered in wrapping paper and then just got some stick letter to put on the front.  Inside we put 4 packets of confetti, balloons and taped streamers inside.  We had to get some rope and poke holes in the flaps so, theoretically, the kids could pull on them and the box would open over them spilling it's contents.  Then I just put more wrapping paper over the flaps( the bottom).  We made holes in the top of the box on either side after we wrapped it and hooked a bungee cord there.  Then we just strung a rope through that and hoisted it over a tree branch.





The rest I kept simple.  Got some gender reveal stuff at Walmart-table cloth, napkins, and stickers for voting boy or girl.





 I grabbed some little sheer goody bags in blue and pink and threw in some blue and pink gumballs with pearly white sixlets( chocolate) and then grabbed the cupcake centerpiece too.  I did not have time to make my own cupcakes so I bought them and tweaked them.  I bought chocolate 'Frozen" theme cupcakes in blue and took off the characters on top and replaced them with little onesie sugar decoration with pink and blue hearts in the middle.  Then the white cupcakes I had to take off the toppers and I had a little can of pink airbrush coloring at home( edible of course!) that I sprayed on them and put the onesies on those too.  That's it.  Simple( which means less hassle for me!)

Only 1 person thought it was a girl and that was my BIL.  He asked,"What's the heart rate?"  I said 150's and with out pause he said "GIRL!"  


Impressive

The funny thing is though that at 8 weeks 5 days and 9 weeks 3 days the heart rate was 176 and 171 which indicates boy.  Then the last couple times it has been in the 150's.  

We are totally shocked that it' a girl. We were so convinced it was a boy and to be honest I am still not a 100% convinced.  I am fine with a girl though, but a boy would have been nice because I haven't had one in 9 years. 

We are blessed either way!

Many Blessings,
The Mama

Friday, July 11, 2014

16 Years Ago...

16 years ago I married the love of my life. 


Not trying to be narcissistic here but all my other wedding day photos are up in the attic right now and I can't get up there because Little Miss is sleeping.  I had to steal this one from my mom's FB page.
I will get one down of both the Hubby and I and post it later!



 It hasn't always been an easy road, but it's been worth every bump and twist in the road.  We could have called it quits many times but were determined to stick it out and work through it.  We took the D word out of our vocabulary( divorce) and replaced it with the C word( commitment).

Anything worth having is worth fighting for and it makes it all that much sweeter and worth even more to us.

We had a lovely dinner tonight with the best food I have ever had.  Our family pulled together to make it happen for us since we had 2 children who had to be at 2 different events at the same time.  Thanks guys!!!

We got to get all dressed up and just enjoyed one another's company with no time limits( or interruptions!).  


18 weeks today!




I also got my U/S today and we are doing a fun way to announce the baby's gender  to our family tomorrow.  I will be sure to take pics and announce on here too! Probably on Sunday or Monday since we have another full day tomorrow.  You can sign up to get my blog posts sent via email if you would like.  Just put your email address in at the right of the page where it says subscribe.  I know how crushing it is to miss one of my posts ;)


Many Blessings,
The Mama



Thursday, June 19, 2014

A Birthday and A Journey with Princess

When we 1st saw Princess on the Special Home Find list she was 6 years old.  Now she has turned 11!

(Photo stolen from my mom- thanks mom!)



 She will be a teen in 2 years.  YIKES!


I came across an update on a story that was back from 2009 about an extremely neglected girl in the U.S. who was eventually rescued and adopted.  It was featured on Oprah.  I never saw the original show or ever heard the story. Till now.


If you want to know our story then watch click   HERE   and watch the video.  



THEIR story is OUR story. 


 I was blown away.  I have never ever run into a child that has been so similar to Princess nor a family who we could so closely identify with.


Was this girl born with some of the issues? Possibly.  Was some of it caused by her severe neglect?  Absolutely.  The affects of such neglect on the developing brain of a child is extremely profound.

 ( read The Boy Who was Raised as a Dog for more info on this.  Also Parenting the Hurt Child is excellent)

Praise God the food issues for Princess have subsided tremendously compared to this family.  It has to do with trust.  She trusts that we will feed her.  That trust was not always there and for good reason given her past( for those that don't know, Princess weighed just 12 lbs at the age of 3).

The girl in the video was older than when Princess was rescued so the girl had more years of the psychological impact of not having enough to eat. It is no wonder she has not healed yet from it and likely ever will.

But we still have food issues and Princess will still eat till she throws up if we don't keep a close eye on her.  If Princess is feeling insecure and that things are out of her control she will have food meltdowns.  It's kind of panic mode.  Food=Love to her.  I know people say this( the way to my heart is through my stomach) but you have no idea the very realness of that statement for our daughter and those that have experienced near starvation like her.

I wanted to scream,"YES! YES! YES!"  at the point in the video where the dad talks about his daughter's progression and what others might think.  My goals for Princess are EXACTLY the same as he states for his daughter.  I hate when people belittle Princess's progress because it's not what they think she should be doing.  I am offended for my daughter and the long way she has come in her journey.

Seriously, though, just sub out our faces in the video and you wouldn't even have to edit any of the dialogue or interviews.  It is OUR story.


I hope it can give you a glimpse into our world with Princess.

Many Blessings,
The Mama 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Ultrasound Results




The Baby is Fine!!


In case you are ultrasound challenged:

  That's the baby's face profile and arm and hand. 
You can see some of it's leg and foot at the bottom.

Isn't that the cutest little nose??

Many Blessings,
The Mama

No Heartbeat

I had an OB appt yesterday.  I was 13 weeks 3 days.  I have been feeling good, the sickness is almost gone but I am just completely exhausted now.

But the Dr couldn't find the baby's heartbeat. He tried for quite awhile to no avail.  So he set up a Hold and Call U/S.  Which is that after the U/S I stay there till the results are in and they phone the Dr.  I suppose if it was bad news the Dr might come in or I would go see him even.

My appt was at 2:20 and at 3pm the receptionist was calling over to schedule the U/S which ended up not being able to be done till 4:45.

I really wasn't nervous at this point.  I was more excited to get another U/S.  I had had no signs of miscarriage.  Although, I am aware that sometimes a miscarriage will start happen after an U/S confirms that the baby died.  So didn't feel totally out of the woods, but fairly confident.


So we arrive for my U/S at 4:45 and were told that the U/S tech called 20 minutes ago to say that there had been an accident and she had gotten tied up in but was about 30 minutes away.


More waiting.  


Time is not my friend.  The more I have time to think about things, the more worked up I get.  So I was feeling much more nervous at this point and just wanted to know-kind of.

Plus my bladder was screaming to use the bathroom from the massive amounts of water they make you drink before an U/S.

At 5:30 the receptionist comes over to say the tech called in and was still sitting in traffic with no signs of it moving.

We could either just wait till the tech eventually showed up, which could be hours given the info that was coming in on the accident( sounded like a pile up) or we could reschedule for tomorrow morning( today).


Neither choice sounded good.


We were also told that the 2 other U/S techs had been contacted to come in but they were "in a meeting" apparently learning a new system.

Ok, the U/S tech stuck in traffic can't help that.  But 2 other techs were simply in a meeting and neither could come to tell me if my child was alive or not?!!  This really irritated me. It was clear by my orders from the Dr. with it being a hold and call that this was important.  And it said on my papers it was for an absent fetal heartbeat.

And then the receptionist says that morning is pretty full we will have to do it later.

Seriously?  There is no one that can be bumped so I can get in sooner since I already have to wait overnight?

I found it so uncaring and callous.  And don't worry, I will be letting the hospital know of my experience.

So we made the appt for 1pm and left.   Which they ended up calling and changing to 12pm anyhow.  I am glad it is earlier, but I don't think it had anything to do with helping me.  It has to do with helping them with their schedule.

So, today at 12 I will have my U/S.

We went to an awesome talent show last night that a friend of ours was in.  It was all Christian music and it did my worried soul good.  By time it was over I was at peace.

I am still feeling good this morning and while there is a tinge of "what if" in my head, I am more excited to see the baby and maybe, just maybe, find out the gender =)

I would still love prayers because it never hurts.  I will be sure to update when we get home today.

Many Blessings,
The Mama




Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Stealing of Joy...

I have felt off kilter lately, or rather that my life is off kilter.  I feel in limbo.  It could all be hormones or compounded by being sick, but whatever it is I don't like it.  I feel like I don't know which way is up.  The Lord has given me the power of discernment. I FEEL things.  What most would call their gut maybe.  I can 'read' people really well.  So my issue is that I have not felt God lately.  Since the beginning of April really.  My joy has for some reason been stolen for our trip across the county.  And I don't like it one bit.

It has been a very difficult, nearly 2 months of feeling this way.  I cried out once again this morning for God to restore my joy and at once I came across this blog post.  It sums my feelings up perfectly and what I have been going through.

The Touch of Jesus


Many Blessings,
The Mama