A World without walls
everyday life while homeschooling overseas
Boy, am I tired. Last night at about 1am, Peter started to cry a bit. Usually, that means that he has to go potty, so I jumped up to help him. When I got to him, I smelled a WAVE of NASTINESS! Vomit and diarreah hit me and I thought, "Oh no, no, no, no...PLEASE no!!" Yes. Peter had thrown up all over himself and had diarrhea, and what was worse (yes, it's worse) it was probably an hour or so previous to that time that that had happened. So it was dried onto him. Oh gross. Poor kid was caked with all the gross things of this earth. I tried to wipe him down as best I could with baby wipes and a cold wash rag (no hot water in the motor home). Finally Devin woke up, so he was able to take Peter over to a warm shower while I cleaned up as best I could. I had to climb up to the loft bed and face the monster that awaited me. I peeled the pillowcase off his pillow (YUCK!!!), then I had to tug the sheet out from under Josh on one side and Andrew on the other. Luckily, they were so dead to the world that they didn't even notice! I'm pretty sure I didn't leave any chunks behind (*vomit sound*), and I was able to sweep most of the stuff off the floor from the initial undressing of Peter (*more vomit sounds*). I tried to clean his pillow using a wet rag and some hand sanitizer (that makes an interesting smell). I piled all the sheets, blankets and rags into a laundry bag and got Peter some new clean clothes and made him a bed on the floor next to us for the night. Poor little guy. We got him all dressed after his warm shower and he fell back asleep and slept all night. I think that got it out of his system, as he seems to be back to normal today. Good times. I'm just grateful that we were at an RV park with water and showers and power. The power kept the fan going which covered all the noise of our nighttime efforts, and the shower was indispensible in getting poor Peter cleaned off.
After we all managed to get up (blah), we headed back out on the road. My goal was to get to Spokane and go to the temple and hopefully get all the way to Rainier. I think, though, that when I have these journey's-end-goals in mind, I become extra ornery and it's impossible to live with me. We drove through Missoula, then through Ceour D'Alene. Devin wanted to stop in Ceour D'Alene and see the lake and I got super ticked off. He did it anyway, which made me even madder! It WAS a beautiful spot. And what a shame that I ruined it by being snotty! I spent the whole time at that peaceful spot wondering when we were going to leave and checking my watch! Sometimes I surprise myself. Where did this come from?
Well, I finally got my way and we were on our way to Spokane. We found a park by the temple, dropped off the kids and Devika, and we went to MY goal. Yes, the temple is a GOOD goal, but I was honestly going about it the wrong way... Anyway, we get there only to find that it's a super small temple. Not only is it a super small temple, but it's the BUSIEST temple!! They were totally booked and wouldn't let us in!!!! They put us at the bottom of a super long waiting list, and we went to a waiting room where I sat down and just sobbed. I told Devin we should just go, but then the temple president came in and asked if we'd be interested in a sealing session if he organized one. Ok. I was a blubbering mess, though.
Red-eyed, he led us through to where we needed to be and arranged a sealing session for us and another couple who were in the same predicament. It was a lovely session. I'm actually glad it happened that way. Half the time, I didn't need to be attentive at all, so I was able to think and be introspective. I realized how uptight and unbearable I've been acting and that I really need to realign myself and lighten up. I've worked very hard to lighten up and be more flexible and I was regressing. I was also able to remember that time almost 12 years ago when Devin and I knelt across that altar to be sealed together for time and all eternity. I love him even more than I did then. It was time for me to let go again and just enjoy the journey, if not for myself, for him! So, while we didn't get to do an endowment session as I had planned, what we did was what I really needed. I'm back, and I am fine. I was able to take a deep breath, apologize to Devin, and make a resolution to do better.
After our outing to the temple, we picked the kids back up and started on our way to Yakima, WA. We had about 3 1/2 hours to go. Halfway there, Devin decided he wanted to stop at a lookout area. My first thought was, "No way! We need to get to Yakima so we can get a spot and cook dinner and get the kids to bed at a decent hour!" Then, I stopped myself. Why do we need to get to Yakima so fast? We don't. Why do we have to have a spot in an RV park in order to cook dinner? We don't. Does it REALLY matter if the kids stay up a little later right now? No. We're on vacation. it's ok. So, we stopped. There were paths to run on up to this cliff overlook of the Columbia River. It was beautiful! We all ran on the paths and played! Devika made us dinner of fish, pumpkin and salsa! We ate dinner while the sun set over the Columbia River! The kids and I found cool basalt rocks to add to their special school rock collections and we did some science experiments using the COOLEST experiment book I've ever found! We learned about sedimentary rocks by cutting Snickers bars in half and inspecting them with magnifying glasses, then looking at shale. We had a GREAT time, and we would have missed it if I would have put up a fuss. What other wonderful times have we missed in the past few days because I've been uptight? I don't want to think about it. I'm ready to be open to impulse stops and unplanned awesomeness!! :)
After dinner, we loaded back up and headed on down the road to Yakima. The kids played on the iPad and listened to radio dramas and stayed up late (almost 9--Ha!). We found an RV park that was almost completely full. We stopped and were able to wash Peter's yucky sheets/blankets. I showered and felt much better. There was some GREAT wi-fi, so I was able to download some apps on my phone and do some other little things. I fell asleep feeling much more comfortable with myself. That's a good feeling.
Today was mostly spent driving. We got up late, did some laundry, left late, and drove up through Idaho, through Montana (Missoula), and over to the panhandle where we decided to stop for the night.
We stayed at a cute little RV park in Wallace, Idaho that was nestled in a pretty little canyon by a little creek. So lovely. Devin and the kids roasted marshmallows on a wood fire...AND we got WiFi! Woohoo!
This past few months have been FRANTIC at our house,so Devin and I decided that it was high time for a long vacation. Not just a long vacation, but an Internet free one!! So, we are off to enjoy ourselves. If you need me, we'll, just know that I love you and I'll see you in three weeks! :) I promise to take pictures and share our super fun adventures when I get back! Bon Voyage, myself...
What a beautiful thing to wake up inside a National Park, surrounded by super cool things!! :) We all got up, ate breakfast, and headed over to the visitor's center in order to get the kids their Lunar Rangers booklets and see what they had there. I found some super cool volcano books for school, and a headlamp which I've always wanted and has become invaluable to me.
We headed into orbit (the Craters of the Moon loop). We climbed the Inferno Cone--a super cool small dome that had NO growth on it except for one big tree at the top. The whole thing was covered in black cinder rocks that were SO pretty! The glittered with gold and silver! Who knew cinders were so beautiful? We all really enjoyed climbing up and seeing such a beautiful panoramic view!
We climbed to the top of a couple of 'spatter cones'. These are little volcanoes that just 'spatter' cinders out of them and make these cute little volcanoes that look like 'real' volcanoes as we are shown them.
Our next fun adventure was a Ranger led hike through this HUGE lava flow to these lava tube caves! We learned all about the flow and the caves and how they formed. It was so fascinating! The kids LOVED climbing through the caves. Some parts were some serious spelunking...
We decided to drive at night to Salmon--almost died! SO SCARY! The whole town was out of power due to some storm that had thrown most of the area into darkness. We were following the GPS to this RV park, but since there were no street lights, it was rather hard to see. We missed a turn off, so Devin was turning around. He thought he was turning into the parking lot of a filling station, but just in the nick of time, I looked up and forward and saw that we were NOT driving into a parking lot, but straight into a river off the side of a bridge with no guard rail!!! OH MY GOSH!!! I screamed until Devin finally stopped and thought I was going to have a heart attack as I imagined us continuing that last foot into a gorge. I still panic just thinking about it. More terrifying than climbing a volcano. At least the kids were all sleeping at this point. I would hate to have had them all freak out.
We managed to find the park, and lucked out that not only had the power come on just a moment previous, but the owner of the park was standing outside, which was good because we had no idea where we were! The owner was really nice and helped us hook everything up so we could have a nice sleep. Thank goodness.
What a day. And not really in a good way. Yet, it ended well, so what can I say?
Huh. That sounded like a Dr. Seuss story.
In a nutshell, we were slated to leave Rexburg right after breakfast. We were ready to go by 9am! Record time! I should have known something would happen to kill that one off... We took off, and stopped by Radio Shack in order to set up my phone number/data plan on my new iPhone that I got for my birthday. Actually, AT&T was first. They said no, go see Radio Shack. Radio Shack said no, go see Best Buy in I.F. We went to Walmart instead. Walmart said yes, here you go. I popped the SIM card in, and my phone said no. We spent the next 4 hours trying to figure out why. In the end, between Mike, Daniel, and Devin, we found that the phone just belongs to Sprint and can't be unlocked unless you have a long-standing account with them and have, in essence, 'paid for' your phone. We tried calling the guy we bought it from to see if he would be kind enough to help us unlock the phone, but when we finally got through to him, we lost the connection and he never called us back. Daniel figured out a 'loophole', where he would sign his sprint contract on our phone, then go unlock it....except they're making him keep it for 30 days before he can do that. So, to fix the problem, we looked on Craigslist and saw that someone listed an iPhone 4S--UNlocked already--so we ran down to I.F., met the guy, bought the phone, popped in the SIM, and off we went! We only left 7 hours late. And now I am a proud owner of two iPhone 4S's. So silly. *sigh* One day lost.
But not really. We got to Craters of the Moon at 7pm, just in time for the evening Ranger programs!!! And it was perfect! We went on an 'evening stroll' with a Ranger and discovered all about the volcano ring and cinders surrounding us. We learned about A'a and Pa'hoe'hoe lava flows and climbed on them. These kids will NEVER forget the name of the lava flows! Best way to learn something to hear it, see it, touch it... :)
At 8pm was the Jr. Ranger program, where the kids got to learn things and earn their badges in one fell blow! At 8:30 was the evening program, which was SUPER cool, because as the program went on, first there were bats flying over us as dusk left and as the darkness fell, a huge storm blew in (that was all bark and no bite)! The winds picked up and there was lightning all around! It was so cool! Claire cried the whole time! Ha! We got back to our lovely campsite, put the kids to bed, and by that time, the storm had blown itself out, so Devin, Devika and I sat outside at our picnic table and looked at the most AMAZING stars we've ever seen! The Milky Way was crystal clear! It was so beautiful! Honestly, it was the perfect way to end such a tough and frustrating day.
The first stop in our vacation saga is Rexburg, Idaho. This has been in the works for months and months. At first, we wanted to just show up and surprise the heck out of everyone, but the whole reason we were coming to the US was to buy ourselves a motorhome so we would have a home and a car when we returned to the US for R&Rs or home leaves. So, we enlisted the help of my dad to find our motorhome. We found it on Craigslist, asked my dad to look at it, and it seemed to be ok! So, my dad was our eyes and hands. :) He found it, bought it, and in order to drive it home, had to enlist some more help, so my little brother was in on the secret. Then Devin wanted to get me an iPhone, so he asked for help from Mike. Then Celeste found out... I THINK my mom was mostly surprised when we showed up on the doorstep. well, we didn't actually show up on the doorstep. Dad and Daniel came and picked us up from the airport. Then, we drove in the back way so we could see our new 'house'. While we were back there, Daniel called my mom to ask her opinion on something and to come to the back to check it out. Back she came and we all jumped out at her to surprise her! :) That was fun.
We did lots of fun things while we were in Rexburg. Claire's favorite part was all the shopping! Ha! We only brought carry-ons with us on the plane, so we had to outfit ourselves with clothes, and outfit our 'home' with all the necessities of life (blankets, pillows, silverware, cookware, dishes, towels, etc., etc., etc.), so that took up quite a bit of time. Nice thing is, though, that we won't have to do that hardly at all next time! :) Hooray!
Here are some of the things we did during the 4-5 days we were in Rexburg:
We celebrated Devin's and Lily's birthday by eating a yummy cake with strawberries!
We watched a movie on the big screen outside in the backyard! :)
We had lots of BBQs and fun times watching movies and playing together. Then came the highlight when we all took a trip over the Yellowstone for a quick view of some paint pots and Old Faithful. Unfortunately, it was super cold and raining, but at least it wasn't blistering hot! We still got to see the geyser and a fun time was had by all.
And now, it's time for the rest of the story....
Who Am I?
As a Stay At Home Mom of 4 wonderful children, I have the amazing opportunity not only to home school them, but to do so in many different places! I am married to the most amazingly wonderful (and handsome) man in the whole world! Together, we seek out, every day, that Joy in the Journey that makes life exciting!
by Dan Brown
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