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Thursday, November 28, 2013

So Much To Be Thankful For

Please bear with me…many of you know how wordy I can get…and Thanksgiving seems to bring out my inner novelist. Sorry. I have an incredible amount of things to be grateful for this year! At the very top of that list is definitely our ability to be together as a family once more. After Nic spent a whole year away from us in Virginia (he did get a 1 week visit with us every 6-9 weeks, luckily) while we were still in Colorado, our little family slowly started to disintegrate. It was a very trying time for us. Our eldest daughter started acting out. She had such big emotions and feelings, and had trouble expressing them about her father being gone. The youngest went through many milestones that he missed (crawling, walking, talking, 1st birthday, etc.) and I was constantly worrying about him. He left in May of 2012. Four miserable months later, he and I made the decision to ditch the sticks and bricks home and buy an RV. That way, we would be able to be together AND he could still go wherever his job needed him.
#1: I’m thankful that my Husband and I are very daring! Together, we took a leap of faith and haven’t looked back.
Rewind to a couple days later in May after Nic left for Virginia. MHG had finished 1st of 108 kids in Kindergarten. The staff at her school couldn’t believe that she was in Kindergarten and was reading (and comprehending) at a 5th grade level. They re-tested her 3 times before finally believing it. Upon hearing that news, we checked to see if they had advanced placement, gifted or accelerated reading classes, to which the response was no. Also, she had been the little star of Kindergarten. She had always received the starring roles in her class plays, always had the most lines to recite and loved every second of her time in the limelight. If we decided to homeschool her, she wasn’t going to have those special events anymore. Believe it or not, I toiled over the decision for months before finally deciding that academics were a little more important that starring roles in school plays. (I always loved the spotlight, too.) I spent all of this time, while trying to decide what to do, simultaneously shopping for the perfect curriculum for she and I. Come July, we submitted our Letter of Intent to Homeschool. By the end of August, her Oak Meadow First Grade curriculum arrived and we immediately set to work that day! (This decision was made before Full-time RVing was even on our radar.)
She responded well to her new academic lifestyle, so we decided to continue it this year. This year though, we are using Calvert for second grade. It was substantially more expensive (almost 4x more money), but it is worth every penny. It suits her academic needs marvelously! (Oak Meadow was a bit too behind her level.)
#2: I’m thankful that we made the decision to homeschool MHG again this year. She is so much more responsive and focused. She’s learning stuff way beyond what she would’ve been, had she stayed in public school. Best of all, she’s home with us all day long and that always helps to strengthen familial ties. She’s back to being our sweet little girl again.
I spent the fall of 2012 Homeschooling and downsizing our home to fit into an RV (packing, moving to storage, selling, donating most of our stuff). Come March of this year, Nic flew home for a week, we bought our RV and he spent a few days fixing it up with his buddy Pip. He flew back to Virginia and left me to handle the majority of what was left (a lot of it with help from friends and family). April 27th, after I spent almost 2 months renovating and redecorating our home on wheels, it was ready for us to move in.
#3: I’m thankful that we found the perfect RV to fit our family’s needs and I’m REALLY thankful that we own it 100% and don’t have payments to make on it!
Nic came back a couple days shy of June 1st after being gone over a year! A couple days later we bought a truck that perfectly suited our towing needs.
#4: I’m thankful that our truck was in the right place at the right time and I’m thankful that our finances were all in order so we could actually afford it.
Since then, we have made two successful cross-country trips RVing. We had no prior knowledge or experience in towing things. The first trip we made towing it was 1,666 miles across the U.S.! Go big or go home I guess, lol!
#5: I’m thankful that we didn’t die in a fury of fiery flames from having absolutely no idea what we were doing!
Now for the less verbally extensive things I am thankful for:
#6: I am thankful and grateful for our incredibly supportive, loving, loyal and helpful family and friends!
#7: I’m also thankful that they didn’t give us too much crap over living this lifestyle!
#8: I’m thankful to have met such amazing people at the RV resorts we have stayed so far…primarily Terrie, James and Minnie of Americamps RV Resort in Ashland, VA.
#9: I’m thankful that we were able to bring with us that which we hold dearest…and then all the material things we care about too.
#10: Last, but certainly not least, I am ever so thankful to my Husband’s employer. Without them, none of this would be happening. They pay our gas while traveling, our lodging, typically they pay for my Husband to get a rental car while we’re set up somewhere, and they make sure my Husband always has work so he isn’t removed from payroll…even if there’s no contracts to fulfill. They always have our backs and they take very good care of us. I can’t imagine a better company to work for. I am incredibly thankful for them.
There are many more things, but I don’t want to talk your ears off.
In the matter of food though, I hate cooking…although I CAN cook, for the record. I just have a million other things that distract me and take up my time. However, on Thanksgiving every year, that’s when I *typically* go all out. This year was a bit different though. I have no experience roasting a turkey in a gas oven, and not to mention my oven is miniature. I decided I wasn’t brave enough this year to attempt it, so we opted to buy a pre-cooked roasted Turkey Breast from Safeway instead. Also, I typically cook everything from scratch, but I did cheat a bit this year and bought packaged gravy, stovetop stuffing and canned cranberries. Let’s all keep in mind folks that I have NO countertops to prep food on, lol! I also only have 3 pots to cook stuff in and only 3 burners to cook on. I got rid of my microwave last week and have no idea how I’m going to juggle all of this:
  • Roasted Turkey Breast from Safeway (this was the first in ten years that I didn’t roast my own turkey!) (Which I did have to re-heat in the oven by the time all the other stuff was cooked)
  • Turkey Gravy
  • Orange-Glazed Green Beans
  • Candied Almonds
  • Homemade Mashed Potatoes
  • Homemade Spinach Dip
  • Tortilla chips and assorted raw veggies
  • Green Olives
  • Stuffing
  • Whole Cranberry Sauce
  • Deviled Eggs
  • Homemade Cheddar Biscuits
  • For Beverages:
    • White Wine
    • Sparkling Apple Cider
  • For Dessert: (store-bought) Chocolate Chip Chocolate Crème Pie
Well lemme tell you, it took a LOT of teamwork. Even Cindy was helping me out. I just laughed the whole day at the irony of the situation. I have spent the past 9 years screaming at everyone to get the heck out of my kitchen on Thanksgiving day. Stay out of my way!!! (Nic hates me every year on this day because although the food is delicious, I am a raging b****!) This year though, this year could NOT be more opposite. We practically live in our kitchen now, and not only that, I NEEDED everyone’s help. There was far too much to do, no space to do it and god knows I had to wash dishes about 7 times in order to have this pot or that pot or some bowl to prep something in. It was a hysterical sight to see, I’m sure. But, we did it!
There are pretty much no pictures of the insane process at hand because all of those hands were on deck. They were far too busy for photography sessions. Something would’ve burned had we taken the time out to do that. We did manage to take just a couple though.
Before starting, there was time for a quick dance with our potatoes. (MHG is proud of herself for taking this picture of Mommy.)
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MHG helping me make the stuffing.
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The homemade orange-glazed green beans I made. We don’t like green bean casserole in this home. The orange stuff is caramelized onions. It was sooooo tasty!
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It was a far cry from the tables I’ve set in the past, but the food still tasted heavenly. As it turns out, fancy plates and matching crystal goblets don’t make the food taste any better. Good thing too, cuz fancy glassware and moving RV’s don’t mix very well!
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My camera took 10 friggin’ pictures of us and this one is the best. Everyone was actually looking at it and smiling…I just wish Cindy had her eyes open…oh well. That’s life with kids, lol!
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Yup, that was a delicious meal! Well, I cleaned my plate at least. So did Nic and MHG…they had seconds actually. Cindy is a picky eater. After doing dishes 7 times just to COOK the meal, I was quite uninterested in doing the dishes AFTER the meal. (I left them there for a whole day before finally attacking them. Ha!)
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Afterwards, we went for a drive. We wanted to get out after being cooped up in the house all day in a hot kitchen! I got a kick outta the way they worded this:
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I should feed my kids turkey every day!
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Once we got home, this is what awaited the girls. I’m Vegan so I didn’t eat it, and Nic isn’t much of a sweets guy, so they had it all to themselves! (Not in one sitting though.)
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After a long day of fun, food and family together time…we all cuddled together in bed to watch The Peanuts Christmas Special. The kitties were so content after consuming their share of turkey, that they didn’t even mind cuddling with the girls! It was sweet.
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We had a lovely and perfect Thanksgiving. We were so thankful to get to share it together this year. I hope you and your family’s Thanksgiving was equally as special. Thanks for your continued reading of our blog. :)
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