The Note that Started It All

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This is the note that started it all. This note was written almost a year ago. On our way back from a road trip to Norman, Oklahoma to see my family. Where we played the “What If” game all the way home to Austin.

What if we had a million dollars?

What if we could travel anywhere? Where would we go?

What if we could take a year off and travel? How would we do that? What would be our income?

What if we lived in an RV and travelled across the US?

So fast forward a year later and here we are getting ready to leave. Sort of fitting that our first stop is back to Norman, Oklahoma to witness my brother getting married. When we first talked about our dream, we envisioned that we could spend more time with family and friends. Move once a month, spend time with parents and reconnect with old friends. Our original plan of traveling for an entire year was cut short to just three months. With that being said, we had to make adjustments on where to go and who we were going to see. Going to Canada, just seemed to be the right fit. Plus, I need my first stamp on my Passport!

We leave in ONE WEEK. Never would I have thought in a million years that we would finally be doing this dream. Although we have been living in the RV for almost six months, I have not felt the true spirit of a nomad. We have had our creature comforts, our friends and our social life has been quite active. In a few short days, our journey will take us to the Pacific Northwest. Just in case you missed it, our loose travel plans. I am both excited and fearful. I love the unknown of our travel plans, I love the fact that I am going to spend more time with my partner than I ever have in the past. I can not wait to see Zoe’s face when she sees her first mountain, her first bald eagle, her first snake and quite possibly her first waterfall.

It doesn’t mean that I am not fearful of tire blow outs, breaking down, a screaming toddler, a tired toddler and even the fights that will happen because we are living on top of each other.

But I push away the fear and remember that we are embarking on a trip of a lifetime. And that is way more exciting than any fear that I may have.

So sorry if you made the list but we were not able to see you this time around. Maybe there will be a second leg of our trip and we head East.

OUR DREAM BECOMES A REALITY IN ONE WEEK.

Houston, We Have a Plan!

We have sat down, discussed our plan and have mapped it out. We always knew we wanted to head to Whistler, Canada but we had no idea the route we wanted to take until tonight.

And now the research begins on where to stay and what to do when we get there. My better half wants a plan for the road. He even decided that a map was not good enough, he needed a calender.

The only concrete plans we have is to leave June 7,  arrive  in Whistler by June 23, be at BurntWoodStock by July 26 and back to Austin by September 13.

Is it crazy to think we can travel 5600  miles in 3 months?

Is it crazy to think we can travel 5600 miles in 3 months with a TODDLER?

Where should we stay while in Fort Worth, Denver, Salt Lake, Boise, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, San Diego, Tucson and White Sands?

Any possible rendezvous with other nomads?

Please contact us at roadmaptonomad@gmail.com or send us a message on our Facebook Page. We would love to meet others on the way.

Modified RV Living Space and Bedroom for under $500

We have been in the RV for 3 months now, and just like when you are in a S&B house, we are ready to modify a few things to be more comfortable. After multiple beers and late night discussions, we decided that if we were going to stay in the travel trailer for longer than a year, we needed to make some modifications. By the way, never go to an RV show if you already own an RV, you will always want to upgrade.

Our First Dilemma: RV Queen mattress.

We co-sleep with Zoe and end up playing musical beds all night because we don’t all fight on a Queen mattress. On top of that, the mattress that came with the RV is terrible. I felt like I was sleeping on a bed of springy nails. I even bought us an expensive mattress topper, thinking that would help. NOPE. It made it a sink in, springy bed of nails. Since we bought the TT, I always thought there has to be some way to squeeze our perfectly semi brand new Tempurpedic king mattress into the trailer. Derek said it couldn’t be done without tearing out our wardrobes in the bedroom and cut down the night stands. Plus we would have to build a new platform for a king.

20130411-223754.jpgBut why let a perfectly good bed go to waste in storage. Let the modifying begin.
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OMG we got the Effing king bed to fit! We lost the ability to get to under our bed from the inside, but it is totally worth it having my whole family back in the same bed and on the most comfortable bed ever. I am a happy mama!

Next Dilemma: Couch and Dinette

Video of the interior of our trailer.

I dislike the fact that all furniture in the RV is stationary, bolted into the wall. I understand why it needs to be…..because of the whole traveling thing. But for our comfort, we need it to movable for cleaning purposes, Derek’s hobbies, my cooking, crafting with Zoe and various other reasons.

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Removing the Couch

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New Living Space with New Table and Chairs

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Hanging chairs on the wall gave us more floor space.

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Sorry, I had to throw in a picture of our happy baby.

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And if I really want to host a dinner party, we can now seat 6 inside the RV.

We did this whole modification for less than $500, which included the IKEA furniture and materials from Home Depot to make the platform for the bed. Check out our shopping list.
Red Arm Chairs
Folding Chairs
Folding Table

Anyone looking to buy an RV couch, dinette, queen mattress and a mattress topper, all for $300? I have this posted on craigslist if interested.

5 things that I DISLIKE about the RV

A really great, honest friend came over to the RV for a play date and we started discussing the things I hate about the RV. She asked why I never post the real and gross things about living in the RV…well here it is all the shit(pun intended) that sucks.

DISLIKES, a super short list.

1. Testing toilet paper. Only certain toilet papers can go down the sewer holding tank. So we have to “jar test” every roll to make sure it dissolves quickly. So going to the grocery store and picking out toilet paper is always a crap shoot. You would think by now I would have a list of the “approved” toilet papers, but I always forget to write it down. To learn more about jar testing, check out this video by RV geeks. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eDLXXRVe2pc

2. Our King size bed touches all sides of the wall, so changing the sheets is always a yoga class. Basically someone would have to poop on it before I will change the sheets. Totally joking.

3. Poop still stinks, but it really stinks when you are always 5 feet from the bathroom. No amount of spray can cover that smell. If anything,  it just smells like poop and berries after you use one of those awful sprays.

4. Fridge is super small and I always have to play Tetris after I go to the grocery store. With no extra space I can never over buy at the grocery store.

5. Constantly bumping your head on cabinets. Derek and I are tall people, so if someone leaves a cabinet door open, there is a good chance someone is going to hit their head.

I know I said 5….but here is one more to think about.

6. Filling up your toilet before you go to the bathroom. In a sticks and bricks home, your toilet bowl water is already at the appropriate water level. In an RV, you have to fill it to a certain level so that all poop and toilet paper will go down better. Something I always forget to do and I always regret the outcome. Gross….but it is a reality.

Safe Is a State of Mind

Quite often I get the question “do you feel safe in the RV?” To me “safe” is a state of mind and no matter how well you prepare, sometimes situations are not safe and we learn a lesson.

I went out to my truck this morning and noticed that all my doors were slightly open. I quickly looked in my truck and saw that my middle console, glove box and back bag were all open. After more investigation I realized someone had rummaged through my vehicle. Up until now, I had felt fairly safe in this RV Park. The neighborhood is kind of trashy, old and with only one way in and one way out, you really had to live in the area to be back here. An uneasy feeling sat over me…did they take anything? NO Did I leave anything valuable in my car? NO Did this happen to anyone else?

After talking to my neighbor Mike, I learned that his car was broken into and they took a GPS, carton of cigarettes, and all his change from his cup holder. No big deal or so he thought, he realized on his way back to work, they had took his motorcycle key! My nosy investigative self wanted to find out if anyone else got hit. Sure enough I spoke with John, the RV across from us and they had been hit too. This time they took clothes, a new pair of shoes still in the box, cologne and Johns’ ID and credit cards. While talking to my neighbors about feeling violated, I heard a women yell

“Help, I need someone to call 911!”

There is one house that faces the entrance to our small RV park and this is where the confrontation was taking place. This women was yelling at her boyfriend and my neighbor John and I started to walk toward the house when John turned to me and said,

“Call 911, that guy is wearing my shoes and clothes that were stolen!”

Officers showed up minutes later and searched the house and guess what they found? All the things that were stolen from the RVers and more. All stolen property was given back including that missing motorcycle key and charges were filed against the assailant. Can you believe that idiot wore those clothes right in front of us? Later we found out that the girlfriend was confronting her boyfriend about stealing money from her and the fact he was in and out of the house several times in the middle of the night, last night.

While the officers were parked they got ANOTHER 911 call from DOWN THE STREET! They left with one guy in the back of their cop car to go check on another disturbance. April 1st can not come quick enough, I am ready to move on. We actually thought about packing up tonight and driveway surfing until Monday.

My state of safe has been disturbed for the moment. I need to realize that this situation could have happen anywhere and I need to release this anxiety.This man….. more like boy, did not take anything from me but I still feel very violated right now.

Breasts, pumping, truck drivers and bitten.

smp-8530Not so much traveling RV related but completely mommy blogger worthy. I received an email that my “successful” breastfeeding story is going to be published in a book! Not sure on all the exact details as to when the book will be released but it should be out in a few months. The book is a resource for moms looking for an online community for support. When I struggled with breastfeeding my daughter, I turned to the online community, friends and Le Leche League.

Sneak peek below…

As I sit here, with a glass of wine and write my “successful” breastfeeding story, I can only hope that I am not alone when I tell my story. One hand is typing while the other hand is on my right breast, trying to stop the bleeding. See…..I have a daughter who is considered a “biter.” She has been biting my poor nipples since she was 4 months old. Maybe other moms would have stopped after the first couple of times, however I am determined to continue as long as she needs mommy’s milk. We usually have two weeks of a blissful breastfeeding relationship and then as soon as she starts cutting teeth, she is back to biting. See I didn’t know it was going to be this hard, always thought it would come natural to me, just as natural as holding my daughter. Lets start from the beginning….

My background of breastfeeding before having my daughter was limited. I grew up knowing my younger brother was breastfed, however I found out, while pregnant, that I was also breastfed. I do not remember growing up around nursing, heck I don’t even remember my mother talking about it either. My mother breastfed me until I was 9 months old and my brother until he was 14 months old. Her only resource was her older sister who was always doing the “hippie” thing in the 1970s. My mother has said that if it weren’t for her sister, she would have never breastfed, she had a positive role model for nursing.

Fast forward 30 years and here I am pregnant and I have no idea where to start “learning” how to breastfeed. So I went to the internet….starting with the only thing I had ever heard of “what to expect while expecting” website and then turned to babycenter.com. After reading a few forums on these websites, I knew this was not the type of parenting
resources I was going to rely on.

During my pregnancy I started to subscribe to various gentle parenting groups, pro breastfeeding facebook groups, looking for new moms on meetup.com and signed up for a new mom Le Leche League breastfeeding class. I always knew that I was going to breastfeed, I honestly never thought of the alternative.( I understand that this line of thinking might have set me up for failure in the beginning, if we had not had such a great start)

The first thing I knew that would help me with a successful breastfeeding relationship was to have an all natural, drug free birth. After all the research I done online, to me, this was the first step in successful breastfeeding. I gave birth at a hospital with an OBGYN who also had a drug free birth and nursed her children into the self weaning ages. This is the whole reason why I chose her as an OBGYN. I had some other high risks health issues during my pregnancy that made sense to give birth in a hospital. I had the birth that I wanted and no real complications. My daughter was given to me immediately for skin to skin contact and I nursed her with 15 minutes of her birth. During my stay at the hospital, I never put her down, she was held every moment by me, she slept in my arms and I basically kept her at my breast at all times. She used me to pacify the time, not a pacifier. I requested a lactation consultant at the hospital and she taught me a few new positions, such as the football hold, my daughter was congested and this helped her nurse better.

Early on, I had an easy breastfeeding relationship with my daughter, but like any relationship you have many highs and lows. I turned to my online groups right before I went back to work after being off for 10 weeks. Like many mothers returning to work your anxiety level is so high. I was obsessed with building up a stash before I returned to work. I found everything from “how to store breastmilk” videos on youtube, online checklists for returning to work and an evening LLL league meeting for working moms. I am a full time working mom whose work situation is a little different, in that fact that I am in sales and my “office” is my car. So returning to work was twofold for me; learning how to pump and pumping on the road in my car. Once again I turned to online groups and resources to try and come up with a mobile pumping system.

After a year plus of pumping on the road, I only had a few incidents that made me break down and start crying. I will always tell this story of the day I was parked at a gas station in the middle of No Where, Texas. I pulled into the back corner of the gas station to set up to pump, much like any other day. I was about an hour overdue to pump, so I was quite engorged and leaking. I still had one more appointment left for the day but had to take a break to pump. I set everything up on the pump, got all situated, and thats when the motor on my pump quit working. I looked at my boobs, and thought “well I guess I am doing this manually”. I pulled the right one out, started manual breast compressions and right than a truck driver walks up to my car. He pulled back so quickly and said he was sorry with embarrassment. I never found out why he was walking up to my car, but I bet I gave him a sight full!

All the places I have pumped while on the road: Gas stations, airports, carwashes, many of my customers’ companies mothers rooms, car, parks, grocery store, courthouse and pumping while driving(while I never wanted to do this, it did happen a few times) pumpingwhiledriving should have been my blog name!

My advice to all new moms is have a drug free birth, skin to skin contact as soon as baby is born, put baby to your breast in the first 15 minutes of birth and feed on demand. Heck, let that baby have the breast all day for the first couple of days/week. I never removed my daughter from my breast and I really believe that is why I never had supply issues.

The biting is what has been the worst part of nursing and I have tried everything I can find online to stop the biting and am still trying new ideas that I receive from the online support groups. Every time she bites and draws blood, I think of weaning. My new research lately has been how to wean my daughter. Still just researching, not sure if we are ready to stop.

Connecting online with other mothers who are going through the exact same thing you are going through helps tremendously. I feel like online moms are way more honest with what is going on with their children. Often times you get a group of mothers together for a playdate and they tend to over exaggerate how well things are going with their children. Online mom groups tend to be more real and they usually seek out the group for some type of support.

My daughter is now 17 months old and our breastfeeding relationship is still strong. I promise to stop saying how old she is in months when she turns 2! I never thought I would be breastfeeding a toddler, but than again I never thought I would be co-sleeping, cloth diapering, drug-free birth or baby wear. I have no end date in sight, I will let my daughter choose that and instead sit back and relax with these good reasons for nursing a toddler.

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My Hit List of Bloggers

So I have not felt inspired lately. We have settled into a routine, we have been parked at the same RV Park for a month and plan on spending another month here. No pretty sunset pictures, not much to do around the park and I am still trying to figure out this whole Stay At Home Mom thing. Needless to say I have been in a slump with writing. On the flip side, Zoe and I have had some awesome days spent playing outside, glorious playdates and exploring all the free things to do in Austin.

However, I got to thinking why not write about the people who inspire me, make me laugh so hard I pee my pants, even make me cry and these bloggers make me want to be a better writer. I follow travel bloggers, mommy bloggers, lacativist bloggers, birth/midwife/doula bloggers, simplest bloggers, gay single dad bloggers, attach parenting bloggers and organizing bloggers. So grab some tissues and an extra pair of underwear(just in case you pee your pants) because we are going to explore the many bloggers who make me laugh and cry.

Travel Blogs

Technomadia
This was my first resource for dreaming about living the nomadic life. I stayed up one night and read their ebook, “No Excuses, Go Nomadic,” cover to cover, and realized we could live in an RV NOW! This couple gives monthly streaming talks about life in an RV, has written travel apps, interviews other nomads and constantly writing about the good and the bad of life on the road. Although I have never met them, but hope to some day, they are sort of the celebrity RV couple in the subculture of nomads. Have not met another RVer our age that has not heard of the technomads.

Gone with the Wynns
I have a confession to make. I am obsessed with their videos. I use to come home from my 9-5 job and watch their youtube channel when I was still dreaming of living the travel lifestyle. Go check it out. I will wait. (((((time lapse with a great montage))))) Awesome videography huh? Okay one last video, this is my favorite and holds a special place in my heart. I was camp counselor in Maine and this was my first big hike up Cadillac mountain, the first place in America to see the sunrise.

A Life Made Simple
Wishing I could remember how this blog was found. There has been countless nights awake nursing a baby and I just start wondering around the internet. Most of it is crap or not important. And then there is moments where you sit up in bed and say. Oh My God…this person is just like me. That is this blog. It is a travel blog but it is also a parenting blog, which is where my blog sort of fits into.

Nomadic Jesters
This women literally runs about 18 different Facebook groups about various nomadic topics, blogs, writes newsletters, so lets just say she is super involved in the digital world of networking. If you dream of living the nomadic lifestyle, this is the blog to follow and connect with.

Cheddar Yeti
An off beat couple who urbanize the RV experience and add some flair with their foodie photographs.

The Roaming Pint
A unique blend of travel and beer. I follow this couple mainly because they are fellow jayhawkers(Kansas) and I can be a beer snob. If I had a party, this would be the people who bring the best beer and leave it in my fridge! Plus, are you looking for a unique gift for a beer snob? Well you should check out their unique upcycled merchandise.

Boyink Travels
“This was the first family we met with face to face to discuss how they did everything. We took away from that meeting, that we were ready to make the plunge.

“Why would a family give up a comfortable middle-class existence in the second happiest town in the USA? The short answer is because we can. Besides that – the desire to meet people & see places. The realization that our kids only have a few years left at home with us. And a desire for the adventure of a lifetime. Now – before old age and ill health kick in”

Mommy Blogs

Baby Sideburn-The Things I Wish I could Say Blog
This blogger had me at F*CK. She writes about and says the things that I often filter in my mind. She cusses, she bitches about parenting, and tells it like it is. Not everything about parenting is simple, kind and loving, most of the time it is a WTF moment? Oh and did I mention she loves lists, when ever she is ranting it usually is in a list form. My favorite quote from her

“Tents are F’ing Awesome. Until a kid farts in them and then they become a dutch oven”

I suggest you follow her on her Facebook page so you can read her awesome thoughts throughout the day, not just her blogs. On numerous occasions I have almost peed my pants reading her posts.

Parenting Blogs

The Progressive Parent- Alternative Parenting Blog
This one is where you might need a tissue. I have been following this mother for awhile, her son was around the same age as my daughter and I always felt connected to her style of parenting. She lost her son a few weeks ago to Sudden Unexplained Child Death. It is heartbreaking and I have cried several times while reading her blogs. She truly is a wonderful, beautiful writer and the pain and grief is there and in your face. Sometimes it is to unbearable to read her blogs, but it makes me appreciate all that I have around me even more.

Peaceful Parenting Blog
I started following this blog while pregnant after trying to read “What To Expect While Expecting” If you have this book and you are expecting….throw it the away. This is a much more natural, gentler way of parenting. Great resource for everything from intact sons to vaccinations to normal weaning age for breastfeeding.

Activist Blogs

Improvingbirth.org
The Leaky B@@b
The Feminist Breeder

Little House on the Praire Living
Mashable
100 Thing Challenge
Single Dad Laughing

Note to Blog: If I could get even half of these people in the same room for a bitchin party, I would never have another party again.

Final Thought:
I counted all the blogs I read, I may have an addiction.

Disclaimer: Anything in quotes above is not my thought, but the thought from the author.

RV Bedroom Organizing Tips

We have been in the travel trailer for 2 months now and I finally feel like it is OUR space and organized the way that I want.

Click on any picture to get some organizing ideas and decorating tips.

Closet

Click on any picture to get some organizing ideas and decorating tips.

wardrobe cabinet

Click on any picture to get some organizing ideas and decorating tips.

Hangers

Come on, click on the picture!

drawers

Click on me!

drawers2

Please click me!

shoe storage

Why don’t you click on me?

under the bed

Last time to click.

Next up on the cleaned, organized and decorated series: Kitchen and Living area.

Pecan Grove RV Park Review

Pecan Grove RV Park
1518 Barton Springs Rd  Austin, TX 78704
Local:512- 472-1067
website: none

OFFICE HOURS M-F 8:00am to 5:00pm Sat. 9:00am to 2:00pm Sun. Closed

My goal is to write a review for each park we stay and based on this criteria:
1. Park Amenities
2. Staff and Services
3. Connection to Wi-Fi
4. Price 5. Park Location

1. Park Amenities– Restrooms with Showers, Laundry and Small Lounge Area in the office. I only used the restroom once and never used the showers. They were older community showers and restrooms and I have become use to using our shower. I really hate lugging my shower stuff back and forth. Derek used the shower a few times, he wasn’t impressed and started using our own shower. We did our laundry a billion times during our stay and it cost us roughly $2.00 per load.

2. Staff and Services– The staff is friendly however I was told we could never get a monthly spot because we have children. I guess the full timer monthly spots don’t want screaming kids around. Which makes me wonder where we are going to live once we come back from our travels. We tried to extend our stay for the month of February, however everything going on in Austin in Febuary and March, Pecan Grove is booked solid. So we will be back for April and May.

3. Connection to Wi-Fi Wi-Fi was included in our weekly fees, however we were unable to connect unless we were outside our RV. So far we are 0 -2 on the park Wi-Fi working.

4. Price Because we could not get a monthly spot and apparently no one can (Some people have been living in the RV Park for 15+ years. We ended up spending $225 per week for 4 weeks. They do not have a website you so you need to call ahead to make reservations and they only take reservations 3 months in advance.

5. Park Location This is what makes up for everything else. Location, Location Location! Just a bridge south of downtown Austin, there really is no where better to stay in Austin. You are within short walking distance to Zilker Park, many restaurants, and my favorite eating spot/grocery store Thom’s market.  There is also a new trailer food park, Barton Springs Neighborhood Food court, a new trailer food park that has live music on the weekends.

Next Review: Austin RV Park North

 

All You Need is Love

Love Chevron Valentine’s Card
Find unique birthday and Valentine’s cards at Shutterfly.
View the entire collection of cards.

First off, I think Valentines Day is a waste of time and money for couples. I feel super sorry for the men out there that are trying to live up to some ridiculous standard. If you want to “spoil” me on a certain day….go right ahead but don’t make it February 14.

Now for children, I think it is another awesome excuse for me to do fun themed crafts with my kiddo, bake some shit that is pink or red and send out cards! So when I found this idea on Pinterest. I thought this would be a great craft for the grandparents! I made the homemade edible paints and let Zoe run naked while painting these artistic paintings. But when mixing up the paints, I quickly remembered I have that weird kid that does not like to get messy or slimy. She touched the paint, stuck a handful in her mouth, quickly spit it out just to give me a look like “you are crazy if you think I am going to continue to touch this crap.” The “Art” turned out great and it took several days to dry enough so we could mail it off to all grandparents.

By the way, the things I make from Pinterest never turn out like the pictures. Who is the person posting those “model” craft photos?

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