We have been officially living in our trailer full time (out of the driveway) for just over two months now. 70 days of new surroundings, new normal, new routines. 70 days without family or friends. The first couple of weeks felt like vacation to me. Endless days to explore and discover without the interruption of overbearing schedules or household maintenance. It was hard to keep track of time or days, except for the telltale influx of new campers each Thursday and their mass departure come Sunday. After the past year of change- deciding to travel, buying the trailer, renovating and preparing the house for sale, purging all of our belongings- the quiet and freedom of those first few weeks was exactly what we had all been craving. No more telling Princess that I couldn’t help her ride her bike right now because I was- painting, cleaning, etc. In fact after the first few days here she was a bike riding pro! I could finally take those hikes and spend that extra minute examining the hundredth bug Turtle has found for the day. This was the purpose filled life I had chosen, the one I had been dreaming of and working towards. Could I have achieved this freedom and calm without so drastically changing our lives? Of course one could, but we all know I need to be forced into these situations before I truly change.
The honeymoon period had to end eventually, of course. And though our days are still drastically different and more relaxed than they were a few months ago, we have taken on a new routine of sorts. If you know me well you know that routine is not really my thing. Although once upon a time I was type A, always early, very organized, color coded kind of girl, having kids has changed all that. I’m now perpetually late, most days I can’t find my own head, and I can’t remember what clean and organized looks like. In those silly memes or mock videos about the type of moms, I make the ‘hot mess’ mom look like Martha Stewart. But somehow, despite all that, we’ve fallen into a rhythm in this lifestyle that I’m quite enjoying. Downsizing our life- both possessions and activities, has cleared way to make time for what’s really important to us. I don’t mean to paint too rosy a picture- there are still challenges (as there will always be). Things have broken and gone horribly wrong (shattered jar of sourdough starter plus a shattered jar of flour, shaken and stirred by 2 hours of driving in near hurricane conditions…need I elaborate? and seed tick bombs- did you know those existed? I wish I didn’t!). There are still chores, I still struggle to be patient with my children, and my health continues to test me. Despite the struggles though, things are clearer, calmer, less overwhelming. I don’t know if it’s the freedom from possessions, the constant dose of God’s best antidepressant (nature), or the increased QUALITY time we’re spending together as a family, but I do know I’m never going back to what was before, no matter where we choose to dwell.
Here is a peek at our new routine. Again, know that I am not trying to come across as the perfect mom or family. In reality it’s a great day if we manage to complete several of these tasks, and on rare occasion we manage them all. But as the very nature of a blog demands one to be concise (not another one of my strong suits…), here, in a nutshell, is a day in the Blue World-
Each morning we greet the sunrise with a peaceful walk to start the day. JUST KIDDING! We did that one day while visiting the Outer Banks, and it was glorious. But in general I roll out of bed when the kids’ demanding cries for breakfast become too loud to ignore. And if we’re dressed by noon, bonus points for me! The morning is consumed by changing diapers, making breakfast, cleaning up whatever mess we left out the night before. Not much change there, except some of these tasks take a little more time than they did in the house. There is no dishwasher, no oven, and depending on where we’re camped I might only be able to run one appliance at a time. Lucky for me I have three eager helpers to move things along.
After breakfast has been finished, and the dishes cleaned and put away, we start the daily load of laundry. Between the five of us and practically living outdoors, we make a surprising amount of laundry each day. For our tiny washing machine that means at least one, usually two loads a day to keep up. Again, lucky me is blessed with helpers who still think the baby washing machine is big fun. And like dishes and cooking this task takes some extra time and care compared to life in the house. The loads are smaller (hence, there are more of them) and there is a string of filling, draining, refilling, draining, spinning etc. that takes hands on attention every 5-15 minutes until the load is done.
When the laundry has finally been washed we all go outside to hang it on the line. Which usually means I hang
the clothes while the kids enjoy some free time on the playground or just around the campsite.
If by some stroke of luck we’ve completed all of these tasks before noon then we have time for a hike, or a walk around the lake to explore. Using some of the nature handbooks I’ve collected I’ll try to incorporate some sort of home school lesson at this point, but more often than not I give up dreams of making every moment a learning experience, and focus all my energy on keeping Ocean out of lake. So far no one has fallen more than half in, so we’ll call that a success.
After our time outside it’s back indoors to clean up whatever mess they’ve managed to get themselves into, and to eat lunch. When lunch is finished it’s nap time for Ocean, and
television and tablet ‘independent multimedia studies’ time for the older two. If I can pry myself away long enough from Ocean without waking him, I’ll sneak out to do some structured learning time. The time is so short, and the list of things everyone wants to do without ‘help’ from Ocean so long that some days the freedom is overwhelming.
After nap we enjoy a snack and head back outdoors. If we were efficient enough to get the laundry out early in the day then by now it’s ready to be folded and put away. The afternoon is filled with more free play, nature study, or whatever grabs our attention. I try to head back in around 4 pm to tidy up and make dinner before Tom gets home (after all, I am the perfect wife and mother, remember?).
*The exception to all of this is if we spot other kids the the campground we immediately drop what we’re doing and rush out to play. These times are less than the kids would like, but they have had some fun playing with new friends*
The evenings, to me, reflect the most change. After Tom gets home and we eat dinner we….. get this…. spend time together! Not in front of the television! Not that we were complete sloths previously, but most evenings were consumed with caring for the house or being tired and overwhelmed with everything that needed to be done. And family outings to the park or such seemed like too much of an undertaking. But now that we live at the park, it’s a little hard to make those kind of excuses. In no time at all we find ourselves at the swimming pool, at the playground, or taking a bike ride. We have even spent a few evenings playing basketball, soccer or Frisbee (which, if you know our ‘love’ for sports then you know how remarkable a feat this is. We didn’t even own playing balls of any sort before now, that’s how pathetic we were).
Saturday mornings are spent at the Piedmont Triad Farmer’s market- quite possibly my favorite part of NC thus far. Small batch grass fed milk, pastured meats and eggs, the most delicious sourdough I’ve ever had. Princess lives for her weekly basket of fresh peaches. Afterwards we relax as campers do- fishing, picnicking, hiking etc.
Sundays we try to honor the Sabbath best we can. I’ve initiated a no screen Sunday rule for adults and kids alike. We have a special ‘Sunday bucket’ of coloring books and games to keep us occupied, and I like to spend the afternoon singing hymns and pretending I know how to play the guitar. We also try to skype with family, internet permitting (which I guess is the exception to my no screen rule).
To keep it interesting every 20-30 days we have to pack up and move as the campgrounds here don’t permit long term stays. But that just means weekend trips to the beach aren’t really out of the way!
And there you have it, a day in the Blue World. We miss our family and friends, our weekly family dinners and Sunday afternoons with grandma, movie nights and sleepovers with cousins, and play dates with friends. But our hearts and days are full and I’ve never felt more content <3